Nalchik R10: the bloodiest round of the tournament

4/26/2009 – High drama in Nalchik: five decisive games, with Aronian, Leko, Akopian, Mamedyarov and Grischuk scoring. After the dust has settled we see Levon Aronian once again in the sole lead, with Peter Leko half a point behind. Three players share 3rd-5th places, a full point behind Aronian. We bring you commentary by GM Sergey Shipov and pictures from the Grand Prix in our round ten report.

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Fourth FIDE Grand Prix
in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria

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 3 p.m. local time = 15:00h CEST. After five rounds there is a free day (on Monday, April 20) and another after round nine (on Saturday, April 25).

Results of today's round

Round 10: Sunday, April 26, 2009

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

Round ten review by GM Sergey Shipov

The following game notes were provided by FIDE and are translated (by Misha Savinov) from the comments of Sergey Shipov. We are grateful for permission to reproduce his commentary here. All photos by courtesy of FIDE.

This was the bloodiest round of the tournament – just two draws in seven games! Five games ended in White’s favor. As you can see, the right to make the first move plays a vital role at this level. Aronian retained the sole lead by confident win over Eljanov. Leko used the atomic novelty to crush Gelfand. Alekseev lost a logical game to Grischuk and stepped behind. Other games were only of local importance...


The press room at the FIDE Grand Prix in Nalchik

Levon Aronian-Pavel Eljanov
In the Ragozin Defense Levon created non-trivial problems for the opponent with his novelty 11.Qb4! I think Pavel’s reaction wasn’t optimal. Instead of 11…Ne4 much stronger is 11…a5!, for instance, 12.Qd4 b6!, and Black can castle and develop the bishop to a6. The Black’s knight arrived on e4, but it only provoked the raid of its White counterpart. White placed his knight to d6 and got strong pressure on Black’s weak pawns. Eljanov initiated exchanges, after which Aronian’s bishops began to dominate. Black’s 29…Nfe4+ was played out of desperation. Aronian confidently converted the decisive advantage.


You saw that I had two bishops, didn't you? Aronian and Eljanov after the game


The top Armenian GM showed some excellent piece play in round ten

Alexander Grischuk-Evgeny Alekseev
A good game. In the Rubinstein System of the Nimzo-Indian Defense Black got a very solid position, but did not equalize completely. White gained more space, and his bishops were potentially very strong. The position was quite complicated, as neither side could easily develop the initiative. Grischuk played very slowly, and provoked the opponent to employ a risky plan. The h-pawn home run (22…h5 and 22…h4) did not bring Black any fruits. White’s strong reply 24.e5! cut Black’s pieces off the kingside. Grischuk developed very strong initiative. It is difficult to point at the decisive error. I can only recommend 25…Ndf4 26.Ne4 c4!? with the idea to sacrifice an exchange on d6, and if 27.Rdc1, then Black can sacrifice a pawn by 27…Nd3. In both cases he gets some initiative on the light squares. After the knight was transferred to f5 (25…Nde7), White got an extra pawn without any compensation. Evgeny gave up another one in order to proceed to the ending with opposite colored bishops, but it didn’t help. Alexander overcame his usual time troubles and showed good technique during the concluding stage.


Giving up pole position is not an easy thing: Russian GM Evgeny Alekseev


Alexander Grischuk is now in third place, together with Alekseev

Peter Leko-Boris Gelfand
The line of the Petroff that occurred in the well-known 15th game of the Karpov-Kasparov championship match in Moscow 1985, was recently reassessed in White’s favor. Even the fire-proof Kramnik lost two games (to Naiditsch and Ivanchuk)! Lately Black found some saving ideas, but today another blow came! Leko showed that White does not have to regain the b5-pawn. By 17.Be3! he completed the development and soon started to create serious threats. I enjoyed the tricky 20.Qc2! with the idea to sacrifice the queen on h7 after the knight check from e7. The march of the f-pawn to f7 (21.f4!) was also splendid. It became clear that Peter follows his home analysis, when he instantly played 25.Kf1! not allowing the Black’s queen to f2, and solving the back rank problem. Of course, sooner or later Peter had to start working at the board, but it did not prevent him from following the first suggested line of the best computer engines until the very end of the game. White’s final attack (started with 27.f6!), its pointe – 34.Qg7+!, and, last, but not least, the sharp-minded knight maneuver 43.Na8! make it a real masterpiece. Congratulations, Peter, bravo!


Peter Leko and Boris Gelfand before the decisive round ten game

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov-Peter Svidler
This game contained a number of finesses, and Black’s first and only mistake became fatal. The players discussed the Shabalov-Shirov Variation of the Slav Defense. The position quickly became original. Black had problems with his king, however, Peter bravely started to fight in the center (16…c5!) and for a long time played very well, but apparently spent too much energy and got very tired. On the 31st move he could force a draw by 31…Rd7! (and White must give the perpetual), but blundered. After 31…Ke7? 32.Rxf2! it turned out that Black cannot take the rook on f2 due to tactical nuances. Shakhriyar was merciful in his final attack. The 36.Bxg7! blow immediately killed all the resistance.


Peter Svidler and Shakhriyar Mamedyrov analyse their game for the press

Vladimir Akopian-Etienne Bacrot
White did not get anything out of the Accelerated Dragon. Black managed to carry out some exchanges and created counterplay on the queenside. His novelty 12…Ne5 proved decent. However, it seems Bacrot overestimated his chances. By 22…Rb4 he could force a draw (23.Nc3 Rd4! etc.), but decided to continue the struggle, and ended up in an unpleasant ending. White’s pawn majority on the queenside was the most important positional factor. Perhaps detailed analysis will show many ways for Black to make a draw, but finding any of them at the board was difficult. Akopian demonstrated impeccable technique (41.g4!, 49.b4!) and won a good game.


Vladimir Akopian, now in joint 3-5th place, and Etienne Bacrot, in 6-9th


Will he come to round eleven clean shaven?

The French GM revealed to the press that he is, like many chess players, quite superstitious. "One of the signs is that I don’t shave when everything goes well. It’s one of the details. And it works as long as it works." So now off with the stubble, Etienne!

Sergey Karjakin-Vassily Ivanchuk
In this game Karjakin tested Ivanchuk’s knowledge of Karjakin’s games. Up to the 37th move the players repeated Karjakin-So, UAE 2008. The tempo of the game was very slow, creating the illusion of serious struggle. Ivanchuk played a new move – 37…Re8, but the position was completely drawn anyway. I don’t think this game will add anything to the theory manuals of the Sveshnikov Sicilian.


The Ukrainian duo Karjakin and Ivanchuk – but soon Sergey will become a Russian

Gata Kamsky-Rustam Kasimdzhanov
The 4.Nc4 Variation of the Petroff was considered harmless for Black, and this game did nothing to alter the evaluation. White was busy fixing the disadvantages of his structure, and allowed simplifying exchanges in the center, after which Black had no problems whatsoever. The grandmasters played well, did not blunder anything, and kept changing pieces. There is only one moment that requires clarification. When Kamsky sacrificed the d4-pawn, Kasimdzhanov could show some greed by 29…Rf8!, which would extend the struggle. However, in the game he allowed the opponent to annihilate everything on the queenside, and it ended in a dull draw.


The press conference after the game Gata Kamsky vs Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Standings


Back in the lead: Armenian GM Levon Aronian


In second place: Lékó Pétern (ás hé ís cálléd ín Húngáry)


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

Round 3: Friday, April 17, 2009

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

Round 4: Saturday, April 18, 2009

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

Round 5: Sunday, April 19, 2009

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

Round 6: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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

Round 7: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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

Round 8: Thursday, April 23, 2009

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

Round 9: Friday, April 24, 2009

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

Round 10: Sunday, April 26, 2009

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

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


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