Nalchik R1: Grischuk, Aronian win, Kamsky escapes

4/15/2009 – The fourth FIDE Grand Prix Tournament started with a number of exciting games. Alexander Grischuk outplayed Boris Gelfand very nicely, while Lev Aronian crushed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with the black pieces in 32 moves. Gata Kamsky hung on for dear life in a very grim position against Peter Leko and held a draw in 121 moves. Round one report with a wrap-up by GM Sergey Shipov

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Fourth FIDE Grand Prix
in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria

Press release

The fourth FIDE Grand Prix Series Tournament is being held in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia, during 14th -29th April 2009 at the Intour Hotel "Sindica". The games start at

The fourteen participants are: Vladimir Akopian (Armenia), Evgeny Alekseev (Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Etienne Bacrot (France), Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Gata Kamsky (USA), Sergey Karjakin (Ukraine), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan), Peter Leko (Hungary), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Peter Svidler (Russia).

The fourth FIDE Grand Prix will be the strongest in the series, and one of the strongest tournaments of the world this year. New functions on the FIDE website allow us to see the current rating changes of top-grandmasters. The average rating of the tournament in Nalchik will be around 2725 points based on the April 2009 list to be published soon. Previously the highest average rated tournament was held in the third stage of the series, Elista (2715 points).

Schedule
Tuesday 14.04.2009 Arrivals & Opening Ceremony
Wednesday 15.04.2009 Round 1
Thursday 16.04.2009 Round 2
Friday 17.04.2009 Round 3
Saturday 18.04.2009 Round 4
Sunday 19.04.2009 Round 5
Monday 20.04.2009 Free day
Tuesday 21.04.2009 Round 6
Wednesday 22.04.2009 Round 7
Thursday 23.04.2009 Round 8
Friday 24.04.2009 Round 9
Saturday 25.04.2009 Free day
Sunday 26.04.2009 Round 10
Monday 27.04.2009 Round 11
Tuesday 28.04.2009 Round 12
Wednesday 29.04.2009 Round 13 & Closing Ceremony
Thursday 30.04.2009 Departure

Round one results

Round 1: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leko Peter
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Mamedyarov Shak.
0-1
Aronian Levon
Akopian Vladimir
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Eljanov Pavel
Grischuk Alexander
1-0
Gelfand Boris
Alekseev Evgeny
½-½
Svidler Peter
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Bacrot Etienne

Round 1 review

The following game notes were provided by FIDE and are translated from the comments of GM Sergey Shipov. We are grateful for permission to reproduce them here. All photos by courtesy of FIDE.

Mamedyarov-Aronian
Shakhriyar was unable to cope with his temper, imagination and creative mood. In a well-known variation of the Vienna Game he overextended his forces, attacking on both wings (11.a6, 13.f4), but did not manage to hold in the center. Levon’s fine bishop manoeuvres (14…Bc8! and 17… Bh4!) created tension in the opponent’s defences, and then Black began to exert pressure on the weak e4-pawn by 23… Nd7! Being short on time, Mamedyarov launched a desperate attack by 24.Nh5, but failed to pose serious problems. In my opinion, White would have more chances to survive after the centralizing 24.Rae1!? In the game Aronian accepted White’s knight’s sacrifices and proceeded to the won endgame with a nice combination – 30…Qxg2+!

Akopian-Kasimdzhanov
Vladimir attempted to alter the theory conclusions in a mainstream variation of the Petroff. He made a logical novelty 18.Bf3 (earlier White only played 18.Nf1) and started bringing his pieces to the kingside. Rustam skilfully solved all the problems. The accurate 21…Bd6! Forced exchanges and took the sting out of White’s attack. In the subsequent game Black slowly started to take the upper hand. White’s pawn attack on the queenside only created a few weaknesses in White’s own position. However, at the critical moment Kasimdzhanov did not find the correct solution. Playing 35…Qf5! (with the idea 36.Qc4+ Qe6!) Black could hold the extra pawn and obtain decent winning chances, while after 35…Rf8, which happened in the game, White restored the material balance and soon the game was drawn.

Alekseev-Svidler
The younger Petersburger played a strong novelty in a fashionable line of the Slav Defence (14.0-0! instead of 14.cxd5), got a big advantage, but was unable to convert it into a full point. Svidler’s reaction to the new move was probably bad. Instead of the dubious 16… Rb8 he should have played 16…Nb6! in order to look for equality in a position with opposite coloured bishops. Alekseev then failed to develop his success. He missed the energetic 20.Nc5!, which intends to meet 20…a5 by 21.Nd7!, winning a pawn. The same invasion looked equally strong on the next move. The fnal mistake was made on the 22nd move by 22.Rc8. I think Evgeny should have taken the risk and capture the a6-pawn with the queen. My analysis confirms that Black’s initiative in this case in temporary and evaporates quickly. The text-move was followed by mass exchanges, and an extra pawn in the end-game could not console White. The position was drawish, and the result confirmed it.

Ivanchuk-Bacrot
Both sides played very non-standard and creative chess, which surprisingly quickly led to a dull and equal position. Already on move 5 the position was completely original! Instead of 5…Bb7, which was played earlier, Etienne selected 5…Be7!?, and then bravely opened the center by powerful pawn thrusts (8…b4 and 10…c5). I have a feeling that White’s play in this game can be improved, and he really could obtain an opening edge. Per-haps, instead of 13.dxc5, Vassily should have maintained the tension by 13.Qe2, in order to find a more convenient way to resolve the central tension later in the game. After the text-move Black under-took series of exchanges (I would like to draw your attention to 16…Bxf3!), simplified the position completely and made a draw easily.

Karjakin-Eljanov
This game is just another nightmare of Capablanca. The third world champion predicted the drawing death of chess due to increased skill of the players. Even wild complications often end peacefully, if both sides are up to the task. This is exactly what happened in the duel of the Ukrainians. The Zaitsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez led to a spectacular exchange of blows, none of them leading to a knock-out. Starting with 22…d5 and to the end of the game one can only admire imagination and accuracy of the players. Half of their moves deserve exclamation marks (25. b5!, 27.Bxh6!, 27…f5!! etc.) The storm has passed, and a simple end-game arose. White’s symbolic advantage was not sufficient to play for a win.


Boris Gelfand and Alexander Grischuk analyse in the press conference after the game

Grischuk-Gelfand
A high-quality positional game. In the Tartakower-Makogonov-Bondarevsky Variation of the QGD the players found new nuances in a well-known position. Grischuk implemented a novelty 19.exd4 (Timman played 19.Nxd4 against Kasparov 11 years ago), and Gelfand immediately made a mistake. He should have restricted the White’s queen by 19…g6!, improving the kingside structure along the way. After 19…Ba8?! 20.Qf5! White created unpleasant pressure. Maybe Black could survive by the tricky 19…Nc5! (with a textbook trap 21.Nxd5 Bxd5 22.Qxd5? Nxa4! 23.Bxa4? Rxb1 24.Rxb1 Qc1+!), but calculating all the resulting variations was next to impossible. After 23.Ne5! White’s advantage be-came significant. It is easy to criticize 25…a6 (which created another weakness in Black’s camp), but it is hard to suggest an alternative. Defending with-out any counterplay is a very tough task. Grischuk converted his advantage in impeccable style.

Leko-Kamsky
Black did not equalize in the anti-Gruenfeld. The novelty of the American grand-master – 12…Be6 – seems weaker than the usual 12…Nc7. In the subsequent game the e6-bishop became a problem for Black due to the Nf3-g5 threat. Looking for the solution, Gata opened the center (14…f6), but Peter replied with strong counterattack. The spectacular 17.d5! underscored Black’s weaknesses. White’s attack was parried at a high cost of damaging the pawn structure. Leko maintained the tension and created un-pleasant threats. No wonder that at some point Kamsky decided to give up material to complicate things. He could probably abstain from the queen sacrifice 32…Rxf4 and continue resisting by 32…Qd7 (or 32…Qd5), and it is hard to suggest anything concrete for White. The game proceeded to an end-game, which was objectively lost for Black; however, it ended in a draw. Peter wasted a lot of time before the control and made a few mistakes, eventually missing a well-deserved victory. On the other hand, Gata deserved this draw, be-cause he fought bravely and never lost his spirit.


Opening ceremony


The obligatory black-and-white chess dance routine at the opening ceremony


The participation of children is always a welcome part of these events


The little drummer boy, one could say


The dignitaries and guests – in the middle of the front row FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the President of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic Arsen Kanokov. How many players can you recognise in rows behind them?


Players on the stage: Akopian, Ivanchuk, Leko, Grischuk, Svidler, Kasimdzhanov,
Kamsky, Gelfand, Aronian, Mamedyarov, Karjakin, Alekseev – missing: Eljanov and Bacrot


Costumed girls carry names of the countries that are represented


A different set of ladies lead the players (here Peter Leko) in a polonaise


This is what she thinks of Peter's dancing skills. Actually the
players are being led to the drawing of start numbers.


At the other end of the scale: Gata Kamsky draws the 14


Next year this is what the players will have to do, we assume, after the drawing of colours


World Champions: Boris Spassky and Nona Gapridashvili in a press conference


Shades or no shades, the sixth women's world champion (1962–1978) from Georgia
won't let the tenth World Champion get away with everything he says.


FIDE Grand Prix Nalchik 2009 – Schedule and results

Round 1: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leko Peter
½-½
Kamsky Gata
Mamedyarov Shak.
0-1
Aronian Levon
Akopian Vladimir
½-½
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Karjakin Sergey
½-½
Eljanov Pavel
Grischuk Alexander
1-0
Gelfand Boris
Alekseev Evgeny
½-½
Svidler Peter
Ivanchuk Vassily
½-½
Bacrot Etienne

Round 2: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Bacrot Etienne
Svidler Peter
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Gelfand Boris
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Eljanov Pavel
-
Grischuk Alexander
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Karjakin Sergey
Aronian Levon
-
Akopian Vladimir
Leko Peter
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
GamesReport

Round 3: Friday, April 17, 2009

Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Kamsky Gata
Akopian Vladimir
-
Leko Peter
Karjakin Sergey
-
Aronian Levon
Grischuk Alexander
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Eljanov Pavel
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Gelfand Boris
Bacrot Etienne
-
Svidler Peter
GamesReport

Round 4: Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Svidler Peter
Gelfand Boris
-
Bacrot Etienne
Eljanov Pavel
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Aronian Levon
-
Grischuk Alexander
Leko Peter
-
Karjakin Sergey
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Akopian Vladimir
GamesReport

Round 5: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Akopian Vladimir
-
Kamsky Gata
Karjakin Sergey
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Grischuk Alexander
-
Leko Peter
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Aronian Levon
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Bacrot Etienne
-
Eljanov Pavel
Svidler Peter
-
Gelfand Boris
GamesReport

Round 6: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Gelfand Boris
Eljanov Pavel
-
Svidler Peter
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Bacrot Etienne
Aronian Levon
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Leko Peter
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Grischuk Alexander
Akopian Vladimir
-
Karjakin Sergey
GamesReport

Round 7: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Karjakin Sergey
-
Kamsky Gata
Grischuk Alexander
-
Akopian Vladimir
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Leko Peter
Bacrot Etienne
-
Aronian Levon
Svidler Peter
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Gelfand Boris
-
Eljanov Pavel
GamesReport

Round 8: Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Eljanov Pavel
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Gelfand Boris
Aronian Levon
-
Svidler Peter
Leko Peter
-
Bacrot Etienne
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Akopian Vladimir
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Karjakin Sergey
-
Grischuk Alexander
GamesReport

Round 9: Friday, April 24, 2009

Grischuk Alexander
-
Kamsky Gata
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Karjakin Sergey
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Akopian Vladimir
Bacrot Etienne
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Svidler Peter
-
Leko Peter
Gelfand Boris
-
Aronian Levon
Eljanov Pavel
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
GamesReport

Round 10: Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Aronian Levon
-
Eljanov Pavel
Leko Peter
-
Gelfand Boris
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Svidler Peter
Akopian Vladimir
-
Bacrot Etienne
Karjakin Sergey
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
Grischuk Alexander
-
Alekseev Evgeny
GamesReport

Round 11: Monday, April 27, 2009

Alekseev Evgeny
-
Kamsky Gata
Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Grischuk Alexander
Bacrot Etienne
-
Karjakin Sergey
Svidler Peter
-
Akopian Vladimir
Gelfand Boris
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Eljanov Pavel
-
Leko Peter
Kasimdzhanov Rus
-
Aronian Levon
GamesReport

Round 12: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kamsky Gata
-
Aronian Levon
Leko Peter
-
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
Mamedyarov Shak.
-
Eljanov Pavel
Akopian Vladimir
-
Gelfand Boris
Karjakin Sergey
-
Svidler Peter
Grischuk Alexander
-
Bacrot Etienne
Alekseev Evgeny
-
Ivanchuk Vassily
GamesReport

Round 13: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ivanchuk Vassily
-
Kamsky Gata
Bacrot Etienne
-
Alekseev Evgeny
Svidler Peter
-
Grischuk Alexander
Gelfand Boris
-
Karjakin Sergey
Eljanov Pavel
-
Akopian Vladimir
Kasimdzhanov Rus.
-
Mamedyarov Shak.
Aronian Levon
-
Leko Peter
GamesReport
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Departure

Links

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