Khanty-Mansiysk GP Recap

by Alejandro Ramirez
5/28/2015 – It was an interesting Grand Prix, despite the high draw ratio. Three players emerged victorious at the end, though only two of them qualified for the Candidates. All three took very different approaches to the podium: Jakovenko with six decisive results, Nakamura with only two, and Caruana who, despite being in danger in the last round, won the tournament and the Grand Prix series.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

The fourth and final stage of the 2014-2015 Grand Prix Series. This tournament is specially important as it will determine the winner and runner up of this year, both of which will automatically qualify for the 2015 Candidates Tournament - the winner of that will challenge Magnus Carlsen to the World Championship Match! The tournament is taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Ugra, Russia from May 13 to May 27.

Khanty-Mansiysk Recap

  Player FIDE rating
May 2015
Baku Tashkent Tbilisi Khanty-
Mansiysk
Total
1  Fabiano Caruana (ITA) 2803 155 75   140 370
2  Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2799 82 125   140 347
3  Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 2738   30 140 140 310
4  Evgeny Tomashevsky (RUS) 2749 82   170 30 282
5  Boris Gelfand (ISR) 2744 155 15   85 255
6  Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 2735 35 125 75   235
7  Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 2753 82 75   55 212
8  Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 2738 50 50 110   210
9  Dmitry Andreikin (RUS) 2723 20 170 10   200
10  Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2780 82   40 55 177
11  Leinier Dominguez (CUB) 2734 10   75 85 170
12  Anish Giri (NED) 2776   40 75 55 170
13  Peter Svidler (RUS) 2734 82   20 55 157
14  Baadur Jobava (GEO) 2699   75 40 20 135
15  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) 2754   75 40 10 125
16  Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB) 2715 35 15 75   125

The FIDE Grand Prix has come and gone, a much shorter ordeal than last year's five tournament per player marathon. With only four venues and each player playing in three of them, the favorites quickly rose to the top. By the end of Tashkent, the second tournament of the series, Nakamura and Caruana were already the clear favorites. Andreikin had some outside chances, but with a dismal performance in both Baku and Tbilisi that did not come to happen.

Plenty of players came into Khanty-Mansiysk hopeful for a position in the Candidates - a reward for finishing in the top two of the Grand Prix series. Tomashevsky had his opportunity: after winning Tbilisi and having a solid Baku, he came into the tournament leading the standings.

The pace was set by round three: Caruana faced Tomashevsky in a crucial match for the standings. Behind Tomashevsky, Caruana came as the favorite. He was second in the rankings and was the top seed of the event. He made this felt in the third round.

Caruana led the event from this game on

[Event "KM FIDE GP 2015"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2015.05.16"] [Round "3"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Tomashevsky, E."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2803"] [BlackElo "2749"] [Annotator "Ramriez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2015.05.13"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. a4 {the ...a6 line is so Solid, it has prompted White to try everything under the sun. The idea that Caruana plays is somewhat obscure but had been considered before.} e6 6. Bf4 { Tomashevsky had faced this twice before: a draw against Indjic and a loss to Nakamura last year.} a5 7. e3 Be7 8. g4 $5 {This, however, is totally new. The g4 moves combines something from the Shirov/Shabalov attack in the Semi-Slav, but with the bonus that the bishop on c1 made it out of the pawn chain. How good this is will require more tests. The pawn here cannot be taken.} Na6 (8... Nxg4 9. Rg1 Nf6 (9... h5 10. h3 f5 {is much sillier than it is in the Shirov/ Shabalov variation.} 11. hxg4 $18) 10. Rxg7 $16) 9. g5 Nd7 (9... Nh5 10. Be5 { looks pleasant for White, but maybe it is better than what happened in the game.}) 10. h4 Nb4 11. Be2 b6 12. h5 Bb7 13. cxd5 {Closing the center is logical, but perhaps not completely necessary in this position.} exd5 14. Qd2 f5 $5 {Perhaps Tomashevsky was starting to feel the nooze in this position, as he was quickly running out of moves and of space. However I don't like the idea of opening up the g-file and weakening the e6 square.} 15. gxf6 Bxf6 16. h6 g6 17. e4 $1 {Opening the position against the enemy king.} dxe4 $6 (17... O-O $1 18. e5 Be7 {is the computer recommendation.}) 18. Nxe4 O-O 19. O-O-O Nd5 (19... b5 $1 {This move was very important. It is multi-purpose: Black takes control of c4, it allows the knight to go to b6 and it threatens the pawn on a4 in some variation. The pawn itself is immune on b5 as it would open up the bishop on b7.}) 20. Bg3 Ba6 21. Bxa6 Rxa6 22. Rhe1 Ra8 23. Kb1 Be7 24. Qd3 $14 {White has some nice position pluses now. Black's king is permanently weak and he can attack the c6 square.} Rf5 25. Ne5 Qc8 26. Nc3 (26. Qc4 $1 Nxe5 27. dxe5 Qe6 28. Nd6 $16) 26... Nxc3+ 27. Qxc3 Nxe5 28. Qb3+ {A fancy intermediate that probably was not as good as just taking directly.} (28. dxe5 Qe6 29. Rd6 $1 Bxd6 30. exd6 Qf6 31. Qxc6 {was devastating. Caruana might have underestimated the exchange sacrifice.}) 28... Rf7 29. dxe5 Qf5+ 30. Ka2 Bb4 $2 (30... Qg4 $1 {With the idea of Rf3 in case of e6 was the best chance of holding, but the position might still be lost.}) 31. e6 Re7 32. Bh4 {The blockade is lifted and the rest is easy.} Ree8 33. e7+ Qf7 34. Re6 b5 35. Rd8 {The computer doesn't like this move, but who cares.} bxa4 36. Qe3 Bxe7 37. Rxa8 Rxa8 38. Bxe7 {It's just up a piece now. The pawns are too weak to count as compensation.} Re8 39. Ka1 a3 40. bxa3 Qf5 41. Qc3 {A brilliant game from Caruana, not afraid to get into a messy position.} 1-0

Despite winning his first round, Tomashevsky found himself in -1 after his fifth round loss to Karjakin. He lost again to Giri in the seventh and finally defeated Svidler on the ninth, but it was too little too late.

At 64 average moves per game, no one cane blame Tomashevsky for not trying

Meanwhile Nakamura had a very stable tournament. Despite some of his aggressive opening decisions, his games ended up being quite solid. Even his Dragons resulted in quiet endgames. After six consecutive draws he finally found his momentum, feeding off the poor tournament that both Vachier-Lagrave and Jobava had, beating them in consecutive games in rounds seven and eight.

[Event "KM FIDE GP 2015"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2015.05.21"] [Round "7"] [White "Nakamura, Hi"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2799"] [BlackElo "2754"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2015.05.13"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 b6 3. c4 Bb7 4. Nc3 e6 5. a3 d5 6. e3 {Despite the unusual move order this position would not be unknown if the black bishop was on e7 and it was White to move, however MVL can use this tempo to go to d6 directly.} Bd6 7. Bg5 {Avoiding the bishop trade makes sense, but it does cost a tempo.} h6 (7... dxc4 {considering what happened in the game, either this or 0-0 seemed safer.}) 8. Bxf6 {Normally this trade is not desirable, but White has a specific idea in mind.} Qxf6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Qa4+ {It's surprisingly difficult to protect from this check. For example:} Kf8 (10... Bc6 11. Bb5 Bxb5 12. Nxb5 c6 13. Nxd6+ Qxd6 14. Rc1 {gives White a bit of pressure as c6 might be under attack.}) (10... c6 11. Nxd5 {doesn't work.}) 11. g3 c6 12. Bg2 g6 13. Nge2 Kg7 {Black castled artificially, but now White is ready to play e4 thanks to all the tempi he gained from this maneuver.} 14. O-O Qd8 15. e4 dxe4 16. Nxe4 Re8 17. Rad1 {White's position is more pleasant. It's difficult to develop Black's pieces. Already MVL should be on high alert to not to fall into a much worse position, though it's difficult to see how.} Na6 18. N2c3 Nc7 (18... Rb8 $1 $14 {As ugly as this move looks, it's time to start preventing all of White's threats.}) 19. Nc5 $1 {A nice tactical trick that makes White's position nearly crushing.} bxc5 20. dxc5 {The piece is regained with big dividends.} Nd5 21. cxd6 Qxd6 22. Ne4 Qe5 23. Rc1 Nb6 24. Qb4 {The smoke has cleared. White has the safer king, the better pawn structure and the better pieces.} Rad8 25. Nc5 Rd4 {A blunder in an uncomfortable position.} (25... Ba8 {would have made the game last a lot longer, at least.}) 26. Qc3 {The bishop is under attack, but Rce1 is also a threat.} Bc8 (26... Rb8 27. f4 Qf6 28. Ne4 {is also hopeless.}) 27. Rce1 {Black simply can't defend all his pieces.} 1-0

However one final candidate for qualification appeared near the end of the tournament. Jakovenko had a total of six decisive games in this tournament. He started with 1.0/3, but recovered impressively. The win against Caruana in round eight opened the tournament for himself and Tomashevsky to try to qualify, and even Gelfand and Karjakin regained chances.

Some years ago it would have been difficult to believe that Nakamura finished a
tournament with no losses - his style used to be prone for many decisive results!

After beating Karjakin in round ten, he realistically had to beat Nakamura to qualify. It was possible that with a draw he would advance, granted that Caruana lost and some other results went his way. Unfortunately for the Russian he is left out of the Candidates yet again, not an unfamiliar scenario for him. Specially heart breaking is that he let go of Gelfand from a winning position in a very important round nine: in the 2008-10 Grand Prix series three spots qualified for the Candidates. Jakovenko finished fourth in that series...

Sometimes, things just don't go your way

Closing Ceremony

The king and queen welcoming people

Getting the prizes ready for the players

Natalia Komarova, governor of Ugra, came to the closing

A relatively large crowd showed up

Three musketeers! Caruana, Nakamura and Jakovenko all finished tied for first with 6.5/11,
but they went through very different routs to get there.

Caruana gets handed the GP series winner's trophy

Well, he gets the small one

But gets to cheer with both. Fabiano Caruana is the 2014-15 GP Series Winner.

Final Standings

Replay All Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

Thanks to RDJLegend and SemolinaChessNut from reddit for some of the facts

Photos from the official website by Kirill Merkurev

Schedule

Round 01 – May 14 2015, 15:00h
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2744
Jobava, Baadur 2699
0-1
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
½-½
Svidler, Peter 2734
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
½-½
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
1-0
Giri, Anish 2776
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
Round 02 – May 15 2015, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2744
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
Giri, Anish 2776
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
1-0
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
Svidler, Peter 2734
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
½-½
Jobava, Baadur 2699
Round 03 – May 16 2015, 15:00h
Jobava, Baadur 2699
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2744
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
1-0
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
0-1
Svidler, Peter 2734
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
½-½
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
½-½
Giri, Anish 2776
Round 04 – May 17 2015, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2744
½-½
Giri, Anish 2776
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
Svidler, Peter 2734
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
½-½
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
Jobava, Baadur 2699
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
Round 05 – May 19 2015, 15:00h
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2744
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
½-½
Jobava, Baadur 2699
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
1-0
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
½-½
Svidler, Peter 2734
Giri, Anish 2776
½-½
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
Round 06 – May 20 2015, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2744
½-½
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
Svidler, Peter 2734
1-0
Giri, Anish 2776
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
0-1
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
Jobava, Baadur 2699
½-½
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
Round 07 – May 21 2015, 15:00h
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2744
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
½-½
Jobava, Baadur 2699
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
1-0
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
Giri, Anish 2776
1-0
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
1-0
Svidler, Peter 2734
Round 08 – May 22 2015, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2744
1-0
Svidler, Peter 2734
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
½-½
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
½-½
Giri, Anish 2776
Jobava, Baadur 2699
0-1
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
1-0
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
0-1
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
Round 09 – May 24 2015, 15:00h
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2744
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
Giri, Anish 2776
1-0
Jobava, Baadur 2699
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
Svidler, Peter 2734
0-1
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
Round 10 – May 25 2015, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2744
½-½
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754
½-½
Svidler, Peter 2734
Jobava, Baadur 2699
1-0
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
½-½
Giri, Anish 2776
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
1-0
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
Round 11 – May 26 2015, 14:00h
Karjakin, Sergey 2753
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2744
Nakamura, Hikaru 2799
½-½
Jakovenko, Dmitry 2738
Giri, Anish 2776
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2803
Dominguez, Leinier 2734
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander 2780
Svidler, Peter 2734
1-0
Jobava, Baadur 2699
Tomashevsky, Evgeny 2749
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2754

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics Grand Prix, Khanty

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

rubix rubix 5/30/2015 11:25
Ordinary people can only dream of being Russian champion once in a lifetime
rubix rubix 5/30/2015 11:10
And my apologies, I forgot to include Peter Svidler,
7 times Russian Champion, and a really nice guy on that list
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 11:47
But remember, that if he had won, against Gelfand, Naka would still be struggling to qualify!
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 11:39
Jakovenko is also easy to forget about

rubix rubix 5/29/2015 11:13
I forgot to mention Dominguez, Gelfand, Grischuk and Karjakin. Who knows Radjabov may even appear
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 10:49
Obviously So, Aronian, Kramnik and Topalov will be there, so why send 'little' fish in there?

rubix rubix 5/29/2015 10:43
Tomashevsky hopes that Fabiano and Naka will play in the World Cup, and reach the Finals, but why should they play?
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 10:05
Garry's statement to Anand as he retired, speaks volumes..."You are the old man now"
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 10:01
Hmm! Anand is most likely, to win Candidates 2016, as things stand at the moment

VVI VVI 5/29/2015 07:08
I expect Anand to win the candidates again.
dysanfel dysanfel 5/29/2015 07:04
So what what about Kramnik's Berlin. Kramnik has a kid and Carlsen can just play 1.c4 or 1.d4.
royc royc 5/29/2015 06:39
We now have three qualifiers for the Candidates. Plus, I expect Wesley So to qualify to make it four.

Although additional four more will qualify, and it may be premature, but my early bets are Caruana, Naka and Wesley to win the Candidates 2016.
cptmajormajor cptmajormajor 5/29/2015 02:18
These guys will be hoping magnus thinks the same way :)
Caruana showing he is a bona fide 2800 player and rightful challenger to the king.
Remember he is still young and improving.
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 12:19
Kramnik had the Berlin defence, refurbished and re-energized for his match against Garry
rubix rubix 5/29/2015 12:13
I have doubts that any of these guys have anything special to deploy against Magnus
1