GP in Astrakhan: Eljanov back in the lead

by ChessBase
5/19/2010 – It's been a bit of a roller coaster, but after nine rounds and a fighting black piece victory over Teimour Radjabov, Ukrainian GM Pavel Eljanov is back in the sole lead at the FIDE Grand Prix. Four GMs – Jakovenko, Mamedyarov, Gashimov and Leko – follow half a point behind, notably with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who had a bad start, amongst them. Friday is a free day. Round nine 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 nine – May 17, 2010

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

Teimour Radjabov - Pavel Eljanov: 0:1
Pavel Eljanov continues to impress all chess enthusiasts with his amazing fighting spirit. Today he had black against Teimour Radjabov and won in style, returning on top of the table for the third time during this tournament.

GM Pavel Iljanov, back in the sole lead after beating Radjabov with black

It seems that Eljanov’s choice of the Ragozin Variation came as an unpleasant surprise for Radjabov. Teimour was spending a lot of time considering his moves, but his position kept changing for the worse. Black transposed to a complicated endgame and seized the initiative. Eljanov kept increasing the pressure, and Radjabov defended without his usual persistence. Soon after the control he placed a pawn on g3, where it was doomed. Eljanov won the pawn and flawlessly converted his advantage. On the 56th move White resigned.

Teimour Radjabov, certainly not happy with his minus one (4.0/9) score

Ernesto Inarkiev - Shakhryiar Mamedyarov: 0:1

Ernesto Inarkiev lost his third game in a row, this time to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The Russian played rather passively against the Sicilian Defense, and his opponent created a powerful group of pawns in the center, which eventually cost White a piece. Mamedyarov converted his advantage almost effortlessly and won the game on the 46th move.

Vassily Ivanchuk - Dmitry Jakovenko: ½-½

The quickest game of the round was played between Vassily Ivanchuk and Dmitry Jakovenko. The Ukrainian surprised the observers by playing the English Opening, however, the Russian remained unperturbed. Black traded a couple of minor pieces and created a solid defensive setup of a Hedgehog type. Breaking this fortress was very difficult, and the players agreed to a draw on the 27th move due to a threefold repetition.

Peter Leko - Boris Gelfand: ½-½

Peter Leko made another attempt to break Boris Gelfand’s Petroff. The Hungarian troubled the enemy king by advancing his pawn to h6. Black seized the initiative in the center. The trumps of both sides were equally strong, and the game ended in a threefold repetition on the 26th move.

Wang Yue - Peter Svidler: ½-½

Wang Yue was unable to pose problems for Peter Svidler. In the King’s Indian Defense the Russian successfully relived the tension in the center, and his pieces became quite active. White spent some time cementing his position in the center, but in the meantime Black traded all the minor pieces, and the resulting ending was completely drawn. A draw was agreed on the 26th move.

Peter Svidler, Wang Yue in the press conference after the game

Evgeny Alekseev - Vugar Gashimov: ½-½

Vugar Gashimov, one of the top GMs in Azerbaijan

Evgeny Alekseev played a rather toothless variation of the Sicilian against Vugar Gashimov, and got nothing out of the opening. He even had to play accurately in order to make a draw, and achieved the desired result on the 37th move.

Ruslan Ponomariov - Vladimir Akopian: ½-½

Ruslan Ponomariov, former FIDE World Champion from Ukraine

The longest game was played between Ruslan Ponomariov and Vladimir Akopian. Akopian did not manage to solve his opening problems, and Ponomariov created strong pressure at the opponent’s position. Prior to the first control Akopian carried out an exchange combination, however, despite very limited material, Ponomariov developed a dangerous attack. Akopian had to show a lot of determination and creativity in order to survive, and was rewarded by a draw on the 96th move.

Vladimir Akopian (or Hakobyan), grandmaster from Armenia

Information, images and games by courtesy of FIDE

Standings after nine rounds


Of the 63 games played so far:

  • 70% (44 games) have ended in draws
  • White won eight games = 13%
  • Black has won eleven = 17%.

It is remarkable that there have been more black than
white wins in this tournament


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