Nalchik R12: Leko wins, joins Aronian in the lead

4/28/2009 – One round before the end Peter Leko scored an important victory over Rustam Kasimdzhanov to join Levon Aronian on the top of the table (Kasimdzhanov joined Ivanchuk at the other end). Sergey Karjakin defeated Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk beat Etienne Bacrot. Tomorrow Aronian plays Leko. Full illustrated report with commentary by GM Sergey Shipov.

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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 12: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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

Round twelve 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.

There are now two leaders in Nalchik. Leko confidently defeated Kasimdzhanov and caught up with Aronian, who barely survived against the inspired Kamsky. Everything will be decided tomorrow in the individual game between the leaders. Aronian plays White.

Gata Kamsky-Levon Aronian
A classic example of the equally strong sword and shield. Kamsky attacked brilliantly, but Aronian defended with incredible accuracy. I think Black’s opening was far from perfect. For instance, the knight maneuver to b6 is unconvincing. White quickly completed his development and created a strong attack in the center by 12.f5! Levon accepted the challenge, taking everything his opponent dared to sacrifice – a pawn first, then an exchange. Basically, after 14…Bxf5 and until the end of the game Levon was constantly parrying various threats, making many only moves in process. White’s exchange sacrifice 16.Rxf5! is excellent! Kamsky could create very annoying pressure by the tricky 18.d4!, restricting Black’s knight and passing the right to move to the opponent. In my extensive analysis I didn’t find how to equalize for Black. White could get excellent winning chances. Levon’s smart knight maneuver allowed him to exchange White’s powerful bishop. Later Levon made a very timely piece sacrifice (21…0-0-0!) and managed to survive without much trouble. In the subsequent game Black’s rook and pawns successfully held against two minor pieces.

Peter Leko-Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Rustam was unable to hold against a better prepared and motivated opponent. In the Petroff Defense White maintained some pressure on a half-empty board, as he controlled a central file. Leko used his kingside pawns as a weapon, and it seems Kasimdzhanov accelerated this by 19…Nf6. Instead of it, he could play 19…c5 or even safer 19…c6 with the idea to meet 20.h6 by 20…b5!, fixing the pawn structure completely. Rustam’s decision to bring the knight to g8 (20…Kh8?!) turned fatal (once against better was 20…c6, intending b7-b5). Peter’s powerful 22.c4! created tension in the center, and Black was unable to bear it. Rustam eventually got rid of the h6-pawn, but paid dearly for it. The last mistake (27…f5?) reduced Black’s pain.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Peter Leko in the press conference after the game


Effortless: Peter Leko joins Lev Aronian in the lead


Down in the dumps: Rustam Kasimdzhanov joins Ivanchuk at the tail end

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov-Pavel Eljanov
Black played very creatively in the opening (substituting the usual 6…0-0 by 6…dxc4), but failed to equalize. White got the space advantage, while Black had a very weak pawn on c6. Shakhriyar brilliantly sacrificed a pawn by 14.e6! and created strong pressure. Pavel sacrificed his pawn in response – 17…c5. I think White should have taken it in a different way: 18.Rfe1!? c4 19.Bg3! Re8 20.Qxd5 – in this case he keeps many pieces on the board and maintains a significant advantage in the center. In the resulting ending Black quickly brought the king towards the center (22…Kg8!) and secured certain compensation for his material loss. Both grandmasters played really well in the subsequent complications. The assessment “White is slightly better” remained unchanged until the draw was agreed.

Sergey Karjakin-Peter Svidler
Every defeat comes unexpected. This game started well for Peter; White’s pressure in the Zaitsev wasn’t particularly dangerous. The players relentlessly simplified the position, but Black took too long before making the freeing d6-d5 break. He should have played it on the 27th move, and then the game would most likely be drawn, while after 27…Rde7?! 28.Qb2! White created dangerous pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal. In order to defend it Black had to fianchetto his knight, which gave White a few tempi to develop the initiative and advance his passed pawn. In the time trouble Svidler committed a couple of errors (instead of 35…Qc7 more accurate is 35…Qc5, and instead of 39…Rc8 much better is 39…Re7!), and Karjakin managed to trade the b7-bishop, which was the only obstacle for his passed pawn. Black’s position got worse, and his defeat did not surprise anybody.


Peter Svidler analyses after the lost game


Sergey Karjakin simply enjoys sweet victory

Vladimir Akopian-Boris Gelfand
This masterpiece was tailored with the best tactical fibers, and can be added to the Petroff textbooks intact. White made an interesting new move in an old but still popular line –12.Qa4+!?, but it seems it was anticipated by Boris. If I am wrong, I beg the pardon and express my utmost admiration to both players. Every move they played was perfect, and it resulted in an almost equal position, in which Black’s strong knight on d5 compensated for White’s long-range bishop.

Alexander Grischuk-Etienne Bacrot
Sasha reminds me a fearless boxer with strong neck – his opponents hit him a lot, but he always hits back, and never falls. As far as I see, the most difficult thing in this game for Grischuk was avoiding the move repetition in the time trouble. This time he succeeded, repeating all possible positions just twice. Bacrot was up to the task for a long time, but made a mistake in the ending. The automatic 45…Rxb4? was losing, while 45…c3! would make a draw, as in this case White could not take the d6-pawn and keep his e4-pawn at the same time. After White traded an exchange for two pawns (by 48.Kxd3!), Black was unable to defend against the connected passed pawns, and was one or two tempi short for creating adequate counterplay.


The player with the toughest neck: Alexander Grischuk


Mistake in the ending: French GM Etienne Bacrot

Evgeny Alekseev-Vassily Ivanchuk
This game was quite interesting (the Sicilian Defense led to a sharp fight in the center), but the crowd in the internet gone wild in the queen ending. Why on earth Alekseev did not transpose to a winning pawn ending by 33.Qd3+? It turned out that the former Russian champion knows pawn endgames better than computer-armed internet experts. This ‘won’ pawn ending led to a drawn queen ending... Here are some exemplary lines: 33.Qd3+ Qxd3 34.cxd3 Kg6 35.Kc2 Kf6 36.Kb3 Ke6 37.Ka4 (37.Kc4 Kd6!) 37…Kd5 38.Kxa5 Kd4 39.a4 Kxd3 40.Kb5 f5 41.a5 (41.gxf5 g4!) 41...e4 42.fxe4 fxe4 43.a6 e3 44.a7 e2 45.a8Q e1Q (Black makes it right on time!) 46.Qd5+ Ke2 47.Qxg5 Qb1+ 48.Kc5 Kf3 49.Qxg7 Qc2+ 50.Kd5 Qe4+ 51.Kd6 Qxg4 52.Qxg4+ Kxg4 – and this pawn ending is drawn. Therefore the result of the game is logical and fair.

Current standings


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

Round 12: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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

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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