FIDE Grand Prix in Astrakhan: Inarkiev loses the lead

5/19/2010 – Ukrainian GM Pavel Eljanov was alone at the top of the table since round six, but in round eight he lost to his compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov in round eight. In that round Vladimir Akopian sweetened this three losses so far with a first victory, while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also won his first game in this tournament when he beat Evgeny Alekseev. Four GMs share the lead. Round eight report.

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The Sixth Grand Prix is taking place from May 10th to 25th in the new State Drama Theatre of the city of Astrakhan. The stakes are extremely high, not only due to high prestige of winning the event, but also because one can win here a ticket to the candidates matches.

Round seven – May 17, 2010

Gashimov Vugar
½-½
Svidler Peter
Wang Yue
½-½
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
Alekseev Evgeny
1-0
Akopian Vladimir
Inarkiev Ernesto
0-1
Eljanov Pavel
Ponomariov Ruslan
½-½
Gelfand Boris
Radjabov Teimour
½-½
Jakovenko Dmitry
Leko Peter
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily

The surprise leader after round six was Ernesto Inarkiev, and in this round he had white against the previous leader pavel Eljanov from Ukraine. Pavel needed to win, and against the trendy Advance Caro Kan he chose a very tactical line. Black emerged with an extra pawn and a better position after a brief skirmish and tied up the game on move 50.


Eljanov vs Inarkiev in round seven brought a change in the lead

Alekseev-Akopian ended with a win for White, and with that Evgeny Alexeev moved into joint second place. The other games were drawn. Full report here...


Evgeny Alexeev in pursuit, after seven rounds half a point behind the leaders

Round eight – May 18, 2010

Svidler Peter
½-½
Ivanchuk Vassily
Jakovenko Dmitry
½-½
Leko Peter
Gelfand Boris
½-½
Radjabov Teimour
Eljanov Pavel
0-1
Ponomariov Ruslan
Akopian Vladimir
1-0
Inarkiev Ernesto
Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
1-0
Alekseev Evgeny
Gashimov Vugar
½-½
Wang Yue


Round eight in the State Drama Theatre in Astrakhan

This round saw an all Ukrainian derby. Unfortunately for Pavel Elajnov it seems he has been jinxed in the second part of the tournament. He was beaten by his compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov In a Catalan/Bogo Indian and thus gave up the sole lead he had enjoyed after the previous round.


Former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov with his world-class glare


GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who won his first game in round eight

The second game in this round with the Catalan/Bogo was Mamedyarov vs Alekseev, in which the Azeri played in his normal express style and gave his opponent little chance to breathe. Alekseev went wrong with 18…Ng4 which Shaki nicely exploited thanks to the bad queen position on a6. The result was the loss of two pieces for a rook and negligible compensation. The game was over in 33 moves.

Vladimir Akopian managed to redeem himself somewhat, but remained in bottom position, with a hard worked win against Ernesto Inarkiev, who played the middle game extremely well and gave up his queen to get a dynamically equal position. Black seemed to have got his pieces co-ordinated around move 30 but Vladimir kept on pressing. Kudos to Akopian for not accepting the repetition and continuing to probe until Inarkiev drifted. White won a pawn on the king side and this turned out eventually to be decisive.

Peter Leko (Black) vs Dmitry Jakovenko was a Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein. It appeared that White had winning chances after 29…f4 30.Bc1!? but it appears that Peter had calculated the king and pawn endgame exactly and it will be difficult to pinpoint where Jakovenko could have possibly won.

Peter Svidler and Vassily Ivanchuk drew in a Petroff in which both players showed excellent technique, with the game at times looking like a fencing game. Once both king positions were compromised it was only a matter of time before a player was forced to take a perpetual.

Information, images and games by courtesy of FIDE

Standings after eight rounds

Statistics

Of the 56 games played so far:

  • 70% (30 games) have ended in draws
  • White won eight games = 14%
  • Black has won nine = 16%.

Links

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