Hamburg GP: Dubov knocks out Svidler

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
11/11/2019 – The one match that went to tiebreaks at the second round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg saw Daniil Dubov getting the better of Peter Svidler. Svidler had the upper hand in both 25-minute encounters, but could not convert any of his good positions into a win. Dubov, on the other hand, made the most of his good position in game three of the rapid play-offs. | Photo: Valeria Gordienko

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Missed chances

The third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix is being played in Hamburg, Germany. The 16-player knockout has a €130,000 prize fund, with the series as a whole having an additional prize fund of €280,000 plus two qualifying spots for the 2020 Candidates Tournament. The tournament takes place in the Kehrwieder Haus from November 5th to 17th. You can find more info here.

Anybody who has competed at any level knows that to be defeated after having missed some chances to win has a distinctly bitter taste. Perhaps that is what Peter Svidler felt after being knocked out by Daniil Dubov at the tiebreakers of round two in Hamburg. The eight-time Russian champion had superior positions in both 25-minute games, but failed to convert them into full points.

First, with Black — naturally out of a Grünfeld — he was an exchange down but had a strong passer on the b-file:


In an endgame that required utmost precision, Svidler wasted a key tempo with 39...c4, when starting to bring the king in with 39...♚xg5 was the right choice. Dubov quickly set up the correct defensive configuration and the draw was signed not long after.

Daniil Dubov, Peter Svidler

The stage is set for the contenders | Photo: Valeria Gordienko

In game two, the players followed an opening line in which a very young Etienne Bacrot defeated Vassily Smyslov with White back in 1995. White was a pawn up and had the initiative, but needed to pay close attention to Black's counterplay chances. On move 25, Svidler made an inaccurate rook move:


Instead of 25.bc1, defending the weakened e3-square with 25.♖be1 was a better idea, which most likely would have allowed White to preserve the a-pawn. Nonetheless, Svidler got a better heavy-piece endgame a pawn to the good afterwards:


At first sight, 41.♔g5 seems to be a bad idea, allowing 41...♜h5+, but in fact after 42.♔f6 ♛h4+ 43.♔f7 there are no more checks for Black and the passed g-pawn becomes increasingly dangerous. Svidler opted for what seems more natural to most human eyes, 41.f6, and went on to fall prey to a perpetual check after having had a clear edge at several points of the game.

Both 25-minute games


Peter Svidler

Not a good day at the office for Peter Svidler | Photo: Valeria Gordienko

Svidler started the second pair of rapid tiebreakers with White and played a strange sequence of moves in the opening, taking his dark-squared bishop to three different squares before move 9 — 6.e3, 8.f4, 9.g5. Nothing too bad came out of this though. In fact, White got the bishop pair, although it was Dubov who had more of an initiative. The younger Russian started taking over, and on move 23 simplified into a winning rook endgame:


The game continued 23...xe5 24.xe5 xe5 25.xe5 xf3+ 26.exf3 xd1+ 27.xd1 xe5.


And Dubov had no problems converting this rook endgame into a win, as his queenside majority swiftly moved down the board. 

In a must-win situation, Svidler played the Dutch Defence with Black. Unfortunately for him, however, his need to create winning chances at all costs quickly left him in an unenviable situation. When Dubov played his eighteenth move the compatriots agreed to a draw, with White actually having a completely winning position.

Both 10-minute games


All games available at

Daniil Dubov

Daniil Dubov | Photo: Valeria Gordienko

For Dubov, this is a second consecutive strong performance after his disappointing outing at the Isle of Man — he was a key figure in Russia's triumph at the European Team Championship. In both events, he showed enterprising chess and plenty of resourcefulness in critical situations. His rival in the coming semi-finals will be Jan-Krzysztof Duda, another player known for not shying away from going into sharp, interesting battles over the board.

Commentary webcast

Commentary by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko


Nov. 5–7 Round 1 + Tie-breaks
Nov. 8–10 Round 2 + Tie-breaks
Nov. 11-13 Semi-final + Tie-breaks
Nov. 14 Rest day
Nov. 15-17 Final + Tie-breaks


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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