FIDE Grand Prix - Geneva: Teimour Radjabov regains sole lead

by Albert Silver
7/14/2017 – Three wins, but what a win one of them was. In round six, Indian Pentala Harikrishna had scored a big win over Levon Aronian, not only dashing the Armenian’s dreams to pieces, but making it a three way tie for first with Grischuk and Radjabov. In round seven, Teimour Radjabov had some inspired opening play, and milked a small advantage for all its worth into a resounding victory to take sole first. Here is the report, video interviews, and analysis by GM Lenderman.

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The Grand Prix is being organized by Agon Limited, the commercial partner of the World Chess Federation, the game’s governing body. Agon has the exclusive commercial rights to organize the cycle of the World Championship.

Each Grand Prix has a prize fund of 130,000 euros, and the Geneva Grand Prix is supported by EG Capital Advisors, Kaspersky Lab and S.T. Dupont.

Twenty-four of the world’s best players are competing in the Grand Prix, with 18 of them participating in each of the tournaments. They will play a nine round swiss open played at 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

The tournament runs from June 6-15, with a rest day on June 11 after round five. Each round starts at 2 pm local time (8 am New York time).

Round seven

Bo.
No.
 
Name
Rtg
Pts.
Result
Pts.
 
Name
Rtg
No.
1
8
GM
Harikrishna Pentala
2737
4
½ - ½
4
GM
Grischuk Alexander
2761
4
2
12
GM
Radjabov Teimour
2724
4
1 - 0
GM
Svidler Peter
2749
5
3
2
GM
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2800
½ - ½
GM
Nepomniachtchi Ian
2742
6
4
17
GM
Riazantsev Alexander
2654
3
1 - 0
GM
Li Chao B
2735
10
5
3
GM
Giri Anish
2775
3
½ - ½
3
GM
Aronian Levon
2809
1
6
9
GM
Adams Michael
2736
3
½ - ½
3
GM
Jakovenko Dmitry
2703
14
7
16
GM
Hou Yifan
2666
2
½ - ½
3
GM
Gelfand Boris
2728
11
8
7
GM
Eljanov Pavel
2739
1 - 0
GM
Salem A.R. Saleh
2638
18
9
13
GM
Inarkiev Ernesto
2707
½ - ½
GM
Rapport Richard
2694
15

Photos by Valera Belobeev for World Chess

Some friendly banter between Anish Giri, Erwin L'Ami and Peter Svidler

The first of the big games of the day was between two of the joint leaders, Pentala Harikrishna and Alexander Grischuk. The game’s opening was dominated by Grischuk’s innovative play and when Harikrishna failed to find the best follow-up it was Black who began to dictate the terms. Both players agreed that Black was better, but there was some doubts as to whether the draw was a bit premature by Black, and whether he might not press to try for more. This is a question he may find himself asking more over the next day or two should he fail to catch Radjabov, who did not miss his chance.

Despite getting a good position from the game, he seemed very unsure of the final situation

If Grischuk seemed to lack that killer instinct to make the most of his chances in round seven, Teimour Radjabov had no such reservations. The standings being what they were, his initial goal was conservative, just wanting to get a position that was alive and playable, so that he might try to leverage it into more. He got his wish, and the superb win over Peter Svidler is analyzed in detail below by GM Lenderman.

Teimor Radjabov analyses what he saw from his game

Teimour Radjabov - Peter Svidler (annotated by GM Aleksandr Lenderman)

[Event "Geneva Grand Prix"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.07.13"] [Round "7"] [White "Radjabov, Teimour"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A34"] [Annotator "Aleksandr Lenderman"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {Welcome everyone! This is GM Aleksandr Lenderman with the Geneva Grand Prix Round 7 Game of the Day. Today the choice was clear to me, since we had a decisive game on one of the top boards, and also it was a nice, clean game by Radjabov, who is in excellent form in this tournament.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 (2... g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 {Is another common line for Grunfeld players, but these days many players don't want to venture here, since White has a lot of additional dangerous options here.}) 3. Nc3 d5 {As far as I know, the most common way for Grunfeld Players to play against this White's move order.} (3... g6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d5 {Is also a common way for Grunfeld players to play, but still, I think White has some pressure here if he knows the line well.} ( 5... Bg7 6. e4 {Leads to a Maroczy Bind Structure, which most Grunfeld players wouldn't want to play, since this is basically suffering for most of the game, and there aren't as many dynamic options for Black here.})) 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e3 (5. e4 {Is also a very common move here, after which Black usually plays Nb4 and leads to very sharp positions.} Nb4) 5... Nxc3 {Definitely not the only move here.} (5... e6 {As far as I know this is the most common alternative, which will most likely lead to an IQP (isolated pawn position), where White has the isolated d4 pawn but will have attacking chances.} 6. d4) (5... Nc6 { Isn't played as often because of an unpleasant...} 6. Bb5 {After which Black will probably still have to eventually play e6, but now he has allowed a slightly annoying pin, and therefore some concessions.}) (5... g6 {Is also not as accurate, right away, since here after a strong queen move, disturbing Black's harmony, he has to make some annoying concessions, for example...} 6. Qa4+ $1 {This is already unpleasant for Black.} Bd7 (6... Nc6 7. Bb5 $14) 7. Qb3 $14) 6. dxc3 {And this is the first somewhat surprising move. Almost exclusively White plays bxc3. However, Radjabov, one of the leaders at +2 (4.0/6), playing Svidler, who has 3.5/6, half a point behind, decided to put the ball in Black's court to try to create some kind of a battle in a dry position. That,along with the fact that as far as I can tell, Svidler doesn't like positions that are too dry. One game that comes to mind is Karjakin-Svidler from the 2015 World Cup Finals, where Svidler just needed a draw to win the finals, as he had been leading 2-1, but wasn't able to defend a slightly unpleasant but tenable position. This no doubt had an impact on Radjabov's decision to play this kind of a position this round. Needless to say, it paid off big time this game for him.} Qxd1+ (6... Qc7 { Perhaps this deserves attention. This is already a rare position though.}) 7. Kxd1 Bf5 {This move is designed against a quick e4. It's an interesting option but definitely not the only option.} (7... Nc6 {Is an alternative which Nepo tried against Vidit in the last Olympiad. He's also tried b6 the game before against Wang Yue.} 8. e4 b6 9. Kc2 Bb7 10. Bf4 f6 11. Rd1 e5 12. Bc1 (12. Bg3 $5 {Maybe this or somewhere earlier was a possible improvement for Radjabov.}) 12... Na5 13. Bb5+ Kf7 14. Rhe1 a6 15. Bc4+ Nxc4 16. Rd7+ Be7 17. Rxb7 Rhb8 18. Rxb8 Rxb8 19. b3 Nd6 20. Nd2 b5 $11 {Black equalized comfortably and went on to draw without particular problems. 1/2 (37) Vidit,S (2669)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2740) Baku AZE 2016}) (7... b6 8. e4 Bb7 9. Bb5+ Bc6 10. a4 a6 11. Bxc6+ Nxc6 12. Kc2 e6 13. Rd1 Be7 14. Bf4 Ra7 15. Nd2 $14 {Here White has some pull, in a game which ended up being a draw in...1/2 (47) Wang Yue (2728)-Nepomniachtchi, I (2719) Moscow RUS 2016}) 8. Nd2 Nc6 9. e4 {So, White got in e4 anyway, but Black's idea was to force the White's knight to d2 first, so that White has a harder time developing his bishop on c1.} Be6 {This is according to my database a novelty, and possibly not the best one.} (9... Bd7 {Was played by the late Walter Browne all the way back in 1979.} 10. Kc2 O-O-O 11. Nb3 e6 12. Be3 b6 13. Ba6+ Kc7 14. a4 Ne5 15. f3 Bd6 16. Be2 Bc6 17. Nd2 f5 {With a complex game, which ended up in a draw in the end. But certainly both sides could probably make subtle improvements before. 1/2 (42) Andersson,U (2560) -Browne,W (2540) Banja Luka 1979}) 10. Kc2 g6 (10... O-O-O {This move deserves attention as well, since it stops Bc4 because of Rxd2!. However, White has annoying options here as well.} 11. Nb3 (11. Bc4 $4 Rxd2+ $19) (11. Nf3 $5 { Is also interesting, trying to induce the move f6 at some point.} f6 12. Be3 b6 13. Ba6+ Kb8 14. Bf4+ Ka8) 11... b6 12. Ba6+ Kb8 13. Bf4+ Ka8 14. Rhd1 Rxd1 15. Rxd1 g6 16. Nd2 Bg7 17. Bc4 Bxc4 18. Nxc4 Rd8 19. Rd5 $14 {White has a slight pull here, but it certainly looks like Black should be able to hold.}) 11. Bc4 Bd7 {Now it's starting to look like Black's strategy didn't work. He's losing too many tempos and White is putting his pieces on decent squares.} (11... Bxc4 12. Nxc4 $14 {Is also slightly unpleasant though. White has a plan with Be3, and a4 after b6. Black's bishop is a slight problem, in where it's very useful. }) 12. Nb3 b6 13. a4 {An important move, not only thinking about playing a5, but also preparing to play Bb5 after Ne5.} Ne5 14. Bb5 a6 $6 {But this move already seems like a real inaccuracy. I don't think it was necessary to create additional weaknesses.} (14... Bg7 15. Bf4 O-O-O {Still seems holdable for Black.}) 15. Bxd7+ Nxd7 16. Be3 e6 17. Rhd1 O-O-O 18. Nd2 $16 {Now White already has a serious advantage. White knight is getting back to c4, his dream square, while Black is tied down to the weakness on b6. In general, the main reason White wanted to swop off the light-squared bishops was because he wanted to have his knight unopposed on c4, where it can't be bothered by the Black's bishop, and also sometimes the White knight and bishop were redundant on the light squares.} Be7 19. Nc4 Kb7 20. a5 $1 Rhf8 {The problem for Black is that...} (20... b5 $2 {only makes things worse because of...} 21. Nd6+ Bxd6 22. Rxd6 $18 {And Black is just collapsing here with his weaknesses.}) 21. axb6 Nxb6 22. Na5+ Kc7 23. Bf4+ Bd6 24. Bh6 $1 {A very important decision here. White didn't want to trade off the dark squared bishops since then he would not have enough fire power to really apply maximum pressure on Black's weaknesses.} (24. Rxd6 Rxd6 25. Nb3 (25. Rd1 Nc8 26. Nc4 Rfd8 27. b3 f6 28. Nxd6 Nxd6 {And since the pawn endgame is going to be drawn, Black will be able to untangle himself eventually with Kc6, and even though he's worse, he can still fight here.}) 25... c4 26. Nc5 Ra8 27. Nxa6+ Kc6 28. Bxd6 Kxd6 29. Rd1+ Kc6 30. Nb4+ Kc5 {Would've won a pawn for White, but Radjabov correctly assessed that in this position Black would have better hold chances than in the game, since he was able to get his pieces very active and trade off or eliminate his weaknesses just for a cost of a pawn. This is still promising for White but it shows incredible patience not to go for this line, which I'm sure Radjabov saw.}) 24... Rfe8 25. Nb3 {Black still won't be able to avoid material loss in a long run, but here he also keeps his active bishop, while Black's bishop on d6 is quite restricted and can't do much.} Ra8 26. Be3 Nd7 27. Ra5 Kc6 28. Rda1 Kb6 29. R5a4 Rec8 30. Na5 Be7 $6 {Loses in one move, but the position was already probably lost.} (30... Kc7 31. Nc4 Be7 {Would've prolongued the game, but White should still be winning.} 32. Rxa6 (32. Bf4+ { Though the computer even doesnt want to take the pawn.} Kb7 33. Na5+ Kb6 34. Rd1 Ra7 35. Nc4+ Kc6 36. Ra3 {And due to a deadly threat of Na5+ with a mating attack, Black is already forced to play the pathetic...} e5 37. Bxe5 Nxe5 38. Nxe5+ Kc7 39. Rd7+ Kb8 40. Rb3+ Ka8 41. Rd1 {But this is equivilant to resignation.}) 32... Rxa6 33. Rxa6 {Should be enough for a winning advantage.}) 31. Rb4+ {Black resigned since is losing after Kc7 Rb7+ Kd8 Rd1 Rc7 Nc6+ and Black will lose at least a piece. A very nice game by Radjabov and this puts him in a commanding position to be able to win this tournament.} 1-0

A huge win for Teimour Radjabov (left) as he retakes sole lead with 5.0/7 and two rounds to go

With this win, Radjabov is now in sole lead once again, and things suddenly become very interesting in the Grand Prix standings. Consider that he scored 71 points in the first event, While Ding Liren scored 70 in his first event. That one little point might have a powerful impact on things should Teimour go on to take sole first. If he does, he will actually be one point ahead of the Chinese player with 241 over Ding Liren’s 240. They both play in Palma de Mallorca later this year, so whatever the result, whether Ding Liren is ahead or Radjabov, both will have their chances to decide their fate in that final event of the Grand Prix. Of course this analysis is all based on the current standings, but with two rounds to go, anything can happen still.

Boris Gelfand and Hou Yifan analyze their draw after signing their scoresheets

Among the interesting games of the day was Pavel Eljanov once again, who found himself in his sixth decisive game of the event, this time on the winning side. He played Saleh Salem with White, and faced a Modern Benoni on the board. Black was never quite able to resolve his opening problems, and was one tempo behind, but an explosive one. Just as he got his dream …b5 advance going, he met with a catastrophic counter in the center. See below, and don’t forget you can move the pieces directly on the diagram.

Pavel Eljanov - Saleh Salem

 

Pavel Eljanov has generally been known as a solid player. With events like this, with only one draw, he is going to wreck that reputation for good. Not that the spectators are complaining!

Things are certainly heating up and the last two rounds will be cataclysmic. Don’t miss out on the action, and remember you can follow the games live in the Live Games section.

Standings after seven rounds

Rk
SNo
 
Name
FED
Rtg
Pts
1 12 GM Radjabov Teimour AZE 2724 5,0
2 4 GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2761 4,5
  8 GM Harikrishna Pentala IND 2737 4,5
4 2 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2800 4,0
  6 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2742 4,0
  17 GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2654 4,0
7 1 GM Aronian Levon ARM 2809 3,5
  3 GM Giri Anish NED 2775 3,5
  5 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2749 3,5
  7 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2739 3,5
  9 GM Adams Michael ENG 2736 3,5
  10 GM Li Chao B CHN 2735 3,5
  11 GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2728 3,5
  14 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2703 3,5
15 13 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2707 3,0
16 16 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2666 2,5
17 15 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2694 2,0
18 18 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2638 1,5

Modern Benoni for Advanced Players

The Modern Benoni is perhaps the most dynamic approach to meeting 1.d4 without sacrificing a pawn. A lot of legendary players have had a sincere love affair with this opening. The most imaginative world champion of all time, Michail Tal is perhaps the player who has done most to popularise the opening. In this DVD International Master Ari Ziegler is giving you a fighting repertoire against all White systems in the Modern Benoni.

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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Zmeu Zmeu 7/14/2017 03:57
Very nice annotations by Lenderman. Thanks!
hserusk hserusk 7/14/2017 02:28
This air commentary and annotation by Radjabov is great! Really useful stuff.
Nobody needs such trifles like a chequerboard -well obviously.
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