Thessaloniki 10: Kamsky wins and leads

6/2/2013 – On his 39th birthday Gata Kamsky destroyed Alexander Morozevich in a 25-move Chigorin. He snatched the sole lead, with 7.5/10 half a point ahead of Cuban Leinier Dominguez. Fabiano Caruana outplayed Veselin Topalov with the black pieces and at 6.5/10 has a theoretical chance to win the event. Express report with pictures of the free day simul and GM analysis of the most volatile game.

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From May 22 to June 03, 2013, the fourth stage of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012-2013 is taking place in Thessaloniki, Greece. Twelve players are competing in a round robin tournament with time controls of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes and an increment of 30 seconds per move for each player. The Grand Prix Series consists of six tournaments to be held over two years, with 18 top players, each participating in four of the six tournaments. The winner and second placed player overall of the Grand Prix Series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in March 2014.

Round ten report

Round 10 – June 02 2013, 14:00h
Grischuk Alexander 2779 ½-½ Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Topalov Veselin 2793 0-1 Caruana Fabiano 2774
Kamsky Gata 2741 1-0 Morozevich Alexander 2760
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 1-0 Bacrot Etienne 2725
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 ½-½ Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Svidler Peter 2769 ½-½ Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699

Round ten under way in the playing hall of the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki

On his 39th birthday Gata Kamsky destroyed Alexander Morozevich in a 25-move Chigorin

[Event "Thessaloniki Grand Prix"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.06.02"] [Round "10"] [White "Kamsky, Gata"] [Black "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C96"] [WhiteElo "2741"] [BlackElo "2760"] [Annotator "Chirila, Cristian"] [PlyCount "49"] [SourceDate "2013.06.02"] {Kamsky has had a great tournament so far, but he is not the only one. With his impressive win over Caruana, Dominguez managed to tie for first with two rounds left to play. Kamsky was having his last white against Morozevich, a player who is known for his unconventional, fighting chess. Let's see how the game went!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {The Ruy Lopez, by far the most played opening in this tournament. It seems like every top player has it in its repertoire nowadays.} a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 (7... O-O { is another possibility} 8. c3 (8. a4 b4 9. d4 d6 {is the Anti-Marshall, the following endgame is safe for Black.}) 8... d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 {is the Marshall, know to be very an extremely sharp opening in which theory knowledge plays an important role.}) 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 {The Chigorin Defense. This was the main line used by 1...e5 players against the Ruy Lopez, but nowadays its reputation has declined. Nevertheless its still safe to play it.} cxd4 {Interesting choice, Morozevich plays according to his style, surprising his opponents and hoping for a complex game in which he can outplay his opponent. Kamsky is playing this kind of positions so its normal to expect him to react in a healthy way.} (11... Qc7 12. Nbd2 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nc6 {is the main line, leading to complex position in which the player with a better understanding usually prevails.}) 12. cxd4 exd4 13. Nxd4 Re8 14. Nc3 Bb7 15. Nf5 Rc8 (15... Bf8 16. Qf3 g6 17. Nh6+ Bxh6 18. Bxh6 $14 { White has the bishop pair and Black's black squares are quite weakened. If White will be able to consolidate his center he will be in the driver's seat.}) 16. Bg5 Nc4 (16... b4 $5 {I think this is a better try in order to deflect the knight from the defense of the center} 17. Na4 Bf8 18. Rc1 h6 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Nb6 Rc7 $14 {White keeps some initiative, but if the position simplifies Black could have a pleasant game due to his bishop pair.}) 17. Qd4 $1 {Very strong play by Kamsky, centralization at its best. Black's king is already feeling the danger} Nxb2 $2 {Black fails to see the refutation and grabs the pawn.} 18. Bb3 {White returns the favor, he would have been immediately winning if he played} (18. Nd5 $1 Bxd5 (18... Rxc2 19. Ndxe7+ Rxe7 20. Bxf6 $18) (18... Rc4 19. Ndxe7+ Rxe7 20. Nxe7+ Qxe7 21. Qxb2 $18) 19. exd5 Rxc2 20. Rxe7 $1 Rxe7 21. Bxf6 gxf6 22. Qxf6 {The point is that Black cannot win the queen because he will get mated on the last rank.} Re1+ 23. Rxe1 Qxf6 24. Re8#) 18... Nc4 19. Rad1 Qd7 20. Rd3 Bd8 $2 {The mistake which seals the deal. Black could have put up some resistence with} (20... Ne5 21. Rg3 Nh5 22. Nxe7+ Rxe7 23. Bxe7 Nxg3 24. Bxd6 $13) 21. Nxg7 $1 Re5 22. Nf5 Nxe4 (22... h6 23. Bh4 Bb6 24. Rg3+ Kf8 25. Bxf6 $18) 23. Nh6+ Kf8 24. Bxd8 Rxd8 25. f4 {Complete demolition! Kamsky is the sole leader now but will have a hard task tomorrow against Caruana with black. An exciting finish awaits us!} 1-0

Guest annotator, GM Christian Ioan Chirila, former World Youth Champion from Romania

Only one word to describe Morozevich: brilliant but erratic (sorry, two words!)

Ponomariov-Bacrot 1-0
The game started as an Italian but it soon reached the familiar Ruy Lopez contours. Ponomariov wanted to keep as many pieces as possible on the board and press for a win, because today was his last game with the white pieces. The position was somewhat better for White throughout the middlegame, as he had more space and a pair of bishops. In Bacrot's time trouble White finally pushed f4-f5 and Black had to make some important decisions with only minutes on the clock. He decided to exchange the minor pieces, but Ponomariov dubbed this a mistake and suggested that Black should have kept the knight on g7, as it is good defender of the King. After 46.dxc5 the Ukrainian knew that he was winning, but he spent a lot of time trying to find the best way and hoping to avoid the scenario from his game against Rustam Kasimdzanov. "Chess is such a strange game. Sometimes you are trying to increase your advantage but then you make a few inaccurate moves and can even lose the game".

Ruslan Ponomariov defeated Etienne Bacrot in an unusual Giuoco Piano

Topalov-Caruana 0-1
This was certainly one of the most exciting games of the whole tournament. It started badly for Caruana, who had black after an unpleasant loss in the previous round. Topalov continued to insist on the Ruy Lopez with a quick Nc3-Nd5. Black reacted poorly and was forced to concede the right to castle. White kept on pressing and Caruana admitted that he had difficult time finding the only moves in a long sequence. As the fatigue grew and the second time trouble approached, the players started exchanging mistakes. Caruana honestly said he had no idea what was happening and whether he was supposed to play for a win or for a draw. The old saying that the player who makes second to last mistake wins is perfectly relevant for this game.

Italian GM Fabiano Caruana

Grischuk-Dominguez ½-½
Grischuk used the popular 3.f3 against the Gruenfeld Indian Defence, but was very critical of his preparation because he had completely neglected the line with 8...e5. He somehow remembered the plans used in the match Anand-Gelfand and in the game Rodstein-Navara, to include d6 and Kb1. Dominguez said he couldn't remember much of the theory but he was able to introduce a novelty and improve Black's play. After the exchange sacrifice, he went after the c3-pawn, leaving the e4-pawn alive for the time being. In the end after 33 moves the game was drawn by perpetual check.

Alexander Grischuk vs Leinier Dominguez ended in a draw in 33 moves

Svidler-Kasimdzhanov ½-½
Svidler started with 1.e4 and Kasimdzhanov was ready to repeat the Ruy Lopez Arkhangelsk variation which brought him success against Ponomariov in round eight. White refrained from the main 8.c3 and instead went for the pair of Bishops with 8.Nxe5. It is interesting that both players already had this line in practice – Svidler drew Caruana and Kasimdzhanov beat Salgado Lopez. White repeated the recent novelty 12.Qd3, but Black came up with his own improvement in 14...Qe7. The players showed some fascinating lines at the press conference, but nothing of those fireworks were actually seen in the game. After the constant exchanges of the pieces, the game fizzled out in a draw.

On the friendliest of terms: Rustam Kasimdzhanov facing Peter Svidler

Chess fans following the games in the commentary area

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Standings before the final round

Free day simuls

Chess and pigeons: on the second rest day of Grand Prix the local chess clubs organized
an outdoor simul on Aristotelous Square, the main city square of Thessaloniki

Grandmasters Ioannis Papaioannou (Grand Prix commentator) and Athanasios Mastrovasilis started the event against 50 opponents. Due to high interest of by-passers, in the end 70 games were played.

GM Athanasios Mastrovasilis in a simul section with youthful opposition

GP players visit the simul: Dominguez, Ponomariov, Kamsky, Kasimdzhanov, Svidler

Etienne Bacrot gives autographs to young fans

Gata Kamsky poses for pictures with a couple of others

Firuza Kasimdzhanova enjoying a Greek caffè macchiato

Game summaries by Goran Urosevic, all pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich

Schedule and results

Round 01 –May 22 2013, 14:00h
Topalov Veselin 2793 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Kamsky Gata 2741 1-0 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 ½-½ Caruana Fabiano 2774
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 ½-½ Morozevich Alexander 2760
Svidler Peter 2769 1-0 Bacrot Etienne 2725
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 1-0 Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Round 02 – May 23 2013, 14:00h
Grischuk Alexander 2779 1-0 Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Bacrot Etienne 2725 ½-½ Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699
Morozevich Alexander 2760 1-0 Svidler Peter 2769
Caruana Fabiano 2774 1-0 Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 ½-½ Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Topalov Veselin 2793 ½-½ Kamsky Gata 2741
Round 03 – May 24 2013, 14:00h
Kamsky Gata 2741 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 ½-½ Topalov Veselin 2793
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 0-1 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Svidler Peter 2769 ½-½ Caruana Fabiano 2774
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 ½-½ Morozevich Alexander 2760
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 ½-½ Bacrot Etienne 2725
Round 04 – May 25 2013, 14:00h
Grischuk Alexander 2779 ½-½ Bacrot Etienne 2725
Morozevich Alexander 2760 ½-½ Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Caruana Fabiano 2774 ½-½ Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 1-0 Svidler Peter 2769
Topalov Veselin 2793 1-0 Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Kamsky Gata 2741 ½-½ Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Round 05 – May 27 2013, 14:00h
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 ½-½ Kamsky Gata 2741
Svidler Peter 2769 ½-½ Topalov Veselin 2793
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 0-1 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 ½-½ Caruana Fabiano 2774
Bacrot Etienne 2725 ½-½ Morozevich Alexander 2760
Round 06 – May 28 2013, 14:00h
Grischuk Alexander 2779 ½-½ Morozevich Alexander 2760
Caruana Fabiano 2774 1-0 Bacrot Etienne 2725
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 ½-½ Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Topalov Veselin 2793 ½-½ Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699
Kamsky Gata 2741 1-0 Svidler Peter 2769
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 1-0 Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Round 07 – May 29 2013, 14:00h
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Svidler Peter 2769 ½-½ Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 0-1 Kamsky Gata 2741
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 1-0 Topalov Veselin 2793
Bacrot Etienne 2725 ½-½ Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Morozevich Alexander 2760 0-1 Caruana Fabiano 2774
Round 08 – May 30 2013, 14:00h
Grischuk Alexander 2779 ½-½ Caruana Fabiano 2774
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 1-0 Morozevich Alexander 2760
Topalov Veselin 2793 0-1 Bacrot Etienne 2725
Kamsky Gata 2741 1-0 Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 0-1 Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 0-1 Svidler Peter 2769
Round 09 – June 01 2013, 14:00h
Svidler Peter 2769 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 ½-½ Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 ½-½ Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Bacrot Etienne 2725 ½-½ Kamsky Gata 2741
Morozevich Alexander 2760 0-1 Topalov Veselin 2793
Caruana Fabiano 2774 0-1 Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Round 10 – June 02 2013, 14:00h
Grischuk Alexander 2779 ½-½ Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723
Topalov Veselin 2793 0-1 Caruana Fabiano 2774
Kamsky Gata 2741 1-0 Morozevich Alexander 2760
Ponomariov Ruslan 2742 1-0 Bacrot Etienne 2725
Ivanchuk Vassily 2755 ½-½ Nakamura Hikaru 2775
Svidler Peter 2769 ½-½ Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699
Round 11 – June 03 2013, 12:00h
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 - Grischuk Alexander 2779
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 - Svidler Peter 2769
Bacrot Etienne 2725 - Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Morozevich Alexander 2760 - Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Caruana Fabiano 2774 - Kamsky Gata 2741
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 - Topalov Veselin 2793

The games start at 14:00h Eastern European Summer time, 15:00h Moscow, 7 a.m. New York. You can find your regional starting time hereThe commentary on Playchess begins one hour after the start of the games and is free for premium members.

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