Thessaloniki Final: Caruana stops Kamsky, Dominguez wins the tournament

by ChessBase
6/3/2013 – In a wild turn of events in the last round, Caruana played a masterful Spanish to take down Gata Kamsky. With this victory Caruana tied for second in the event and paved the way for Dominguez who defeated Topalov in a very precise endgame. The Cuban scored 8.0/11 and gained an incredible 30 rating points. GM Analysis of both key games.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.



From May 22 to June 03, 2013, the fourth stage of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012-2013 took place in Thessaloniki, Greece. Twelve players competed 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 eleven report

Round 11 – June 03 2013, 12:00h
Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2699 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 1-0 Svidler Peter 2769
Bacrot Etienne 2725 0-1 Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Morozevich Alexander 2760 ½-½ Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Caruana Fabiano 2774 1-0 Kamsky Gata 2741
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 1-0 Topalov Veselin 2793

Bacrot, Etienne - Ivanchuk, Vassily 0-1
Bacrot obtained superb compensation for his sacrificed pawn in this topical Gruenfeld. His series of innacuracies starting with 18.d5?! and ending with 22.Bg5?! gave Ivanchuk the opportunity to gradually improve his position and eventually take over the initiative. A beautiful combination starting with 33...Qf7! and 34...Nxd1! sacrificed a queen but gave Black a winning attack.

Despite his good start, Morozevich's finish was subpar and he finished near the bottom of the table.

Morozevich, Alexander - Ponomariov, Ruslan ½-½
The Russian's opening experiment left him simply down a pawn after only a few moves of chess. Luckily for him, Ruslan returned the favor with the very weak 21...exd5? instead of interposing 21...Ng4+! which would have left him at least up a pawn and with good chances for an attack on top of that. Clearly fatigue was a big issue in the last round. After returning the pawn there were almost no winning chances for either side.

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½
In what seemed to be a very wild game, Grischuk actually simply got a very comfortable draw. The game up to move 20 was following Dominguez-Korobov from Loo earlier this year. The entire variation is currently considered to be quite sound for Black, and the move that Kasimdzhanov chose, although new, is a forced draw that Grischuk had previously analyzed.

With great mastery of the Najdorf and a repertoire that is very up to date, Grischuk obtained an easy draw in the last round.

Nakamura, Hikaru - Svidler, Peter 1-0
Nakamura found himself in trouble very early this game as his over-expanded structure was vulnerable to all of Black's pieces. Svidler finally won two pawns, but he did so in the worst possible way as he found his bishop permanently pinned on the eighth rank and dis-coordinated completely with the remaining rook on the fifth rank. Svidler could have simply shuffled the rook and a draw would have been agreed, but he kept pushing too hard for the win and Nakamura calculated a pretty and precise finishing blow near the end using his passed e-pawn to take the victory.

Nakamura was as cunning as ever, and Svidler simply pushed too hard.

Before the decisive game: orange juice vs. water.

Caruana, Fabiano - Kamsky, Gata 1-0
Caruana kept putting pressure on Kamsky's position from the very beginning. White created more problems for Black and his advantage increased, yet Black held on for a long time. Kamsky finally cracked on move 35...Kh7?? and Caruana swiftly punished him. Grandmaster Chirila offers full annotations:

"Everything's going according to plan..." the Italian avoided the Marshall attack and obtained a strong edge.

[Event "Thessaloniki Grank Prix"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.06.03"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Kamsky, Gata"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C88"]
[WhiteElo "2774"]
[BlackElo "2741"]
[Annotator "Chirila, Cristian"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[SourceDate "2013.06.03"]

{As I pointed yesterday Kamsky was not yet the winner of the tournament, and
if somebody had the ambition and motivation to make things harder for
him, that was Caruana!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {And yet another Ruy. I am
curious to see some statistics regarding the openings that have been played
this tournament...} a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. Re1 O-O (7... d6 8.
c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 {leads to the Breyer variation, which is a major weapon in
Kamsky's repertoire as well as a very solid opening.}) 8. h3 {Choosing not to
allow the Marshall} (8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 {is the
Marshall Gambit which Caruana most probably did not have time last night to
analyze in depth.}) 8... Bb7 9. d3 d6 (9... d5 $5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxe5 Nd4
12. Bd2 c5 13. Nc3 Nxb3 14. axb3 Nb4 {White is a pawn up, but Black can claim
compensation due to his bishop pair and the possibility to quickly dispense
his forces in the center. Practice has shown that Black needs to be very
precise in order to keep the pressure and not allow White to develop his
pieces harmoniously.} 15. Ne4 Qd5 16. Nf3 Rfe8 $44 {Howell, D- Adams, M 1/2
2011}) 10. a3 Qd7 11. Nbd2 Rfe8 12. Nf1 Nd8 13. Ng3 g6 $146 {According to my
database we finally got the novelty. Black takes control over the f5 square
and prepares a future maneouvre Bf8-g7} (13... Ne6 14. Ba2 c5 15. Bd2 Bf8 16.
b4 $14) 14. Bh6 Ne6 15. Qd2 c5 16. Ba2 {White is preparing the push b2-b4
which is typical in this structure. By doing that he will put pressure on
Black's pawns complex and prepare a future breakthrough with d3-d4 after the
c5 pawn is exchanged.} Rac8 17. c4 (17. b4 $5 Nd4 18. Ng5 d5 19. c3 $14 {was
another possibility for White}) 17... Kh8 $6 {I don't like this move too much.
In some lines the f7 pawn will be unprotected, which offers White an extra
advantage to try and juggle with.} 18. Ng5 (18. b4 Ng8 19. Be3 f5 20. Bxc5 $1
f4 21. Ne2 dxc5 22. Nxe5 Qc7 $13 {Is a line proposed by computer. The human
mind finds it hard to cope with such positions especially when having a
pleasant positional edge. Therefore Caruana decides not to consume his time on
fantasy chess and plays practical, simple chess.}) 18... Nxg5 19. Bxg5 Ng8 20.
Bxe7 Rxe7 21. b4 f5 22. cxb5 axb5 23. f4 cxb4 (23... fxe4 24. Nxe4 (24. dxe4
exf4 25. Qxf4 c4 $15) 24... Bxe4 $1 25. Rxe4 Nf6 26. Ree1 Nh5 {Would have
solved Black's problems. He is now in control of the game and it is White who
has to be precise in order to keep the balance}) 24. axb4 {Now the a2 bishop
cannot be closed anymore. White has a very pleasant edge.} Rf8 25. Rf1 Rg7 26.
Rae1 h5 27. Rf2 h4 {Black is creating yet another weakness, but the position is
already extremely difficult to handle, especially when you have just a few
minutes remaining on the clock. From now on Caruana's precision resembles a
Swiss watch.} (27... fxe4 28. Nxe4 Rxf4 29. Rxf4 exf4 30. Qxf4 Bxe4 31. Rxe4
Qa7+ $1 32. Qf2 Qxf2+ 33. Kxf2 Ne7 {with good chances for black to hold}) 28.
Nf1 exf4 29. Rxf4 g5 30. Rxf5 Rxf5 31. exf5 Qxf5 32. Re8 Bd5 33. Bxd5 Qxd5 34.
Ne3 Qd4 35. Qd1 Kh7 $4 {With seconds left on the clock and with the pressure
reaching unbearable heights, Kamsky finally cracks. It was obligatory to play}
(35... Qf6 36. Qh5+ (36. Rb8 Rf7 {In order to create some counterplay on the
open file}) 36... Rh7 37. Qe2 Re7 {Black is dodging bullets but he has a
chance to hold}) 36. Qh5+ Nh6 37. Re6 {Caruana is once again proves that he
is one of the best players in the world. His ambition and motivation, backed
by his extra energy due to his younger age, have had an important role today.
Kudos to both players for an extraordinary show!} 1-0


Dominguez in his typical thinking pose. The Cuban jumped to number eleven in the live ratings with this victory.

Dominguez Perez, Leinier - Topalov, Veselin 1-0
Topalov obtained a comfortable position out of the opening. However he overextended by putting his knight on e3 and slowly but surely Dominguez obtained play against Black's weak pawns. He was able to simplify into an endgame where his passed b-pawn was a serious concern to his opponent. It's possible that the endgame was drawn regardless, but Topalov didn't find a way and Dominguez was extremely precise. He won the game and the Grand Prix with a remarkable 2926 performance.

Grandmaster Chirila was kind enough to also annotate this important battle:

[Event "Thessaloniki Grand Prix"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.06.03"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B48"]
[WhiteElo "2723"]
[BlackElo "2793"]
[Annotator "Chirila, Cristian"]
[PlyCount "141"]

{We have given so much attention to Kamsky's games that it would have been a
pity not to have a closer look at the decisive game of the tournament, with a
fantastic Leinier gaining the spotlight.} 1. e4 c5 $6 {we have seen that 1...
e5 is the correct move here...(joke)} 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3
Qc7 6. Be3 a6 {A sharp Taimanov is ahead of us, with his opening choice
Topalov shows that he is not yet ready to leave behind this disastrous
tournament for him} 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. O-O-O Bb4 9. f3 Ne5 10. Nb3 b5 11. Qf2 {Not
the main option for white but a very inspired choice from Leinier. He is
feeling that all Topalov wants is a double edged game in which pieces would be
flying over the board, so he decides to test him in calmer waters.} (11. Qe1
Be7 12. f4 Ng6 13. e5 Ng4 14. Ne4 {Is the main line in which Black seems to be
scoring quite well.}) 11... O-O 12. Bc5 Bxc5 13. Qxc5 Qxc5 14. Nxc5 d5 15. f4 (
15. exd5 b4 16. N3e4 Nxd5 17. Be2 Nf4 18. Bf1 $11) 15... Neg4 16. e5 Nd7 (16...
Nf2 17. exf6 Nxh1 18. fxg7 Rd8 19. Nd3 $14 {white will soon recapture the h1
knight with a better endgame}) 17. Nxd7 Bxd7 18. Rd4 Ne3 19. Kd2 Nf5 20. Rd3 b4
$15 {Black is already better, his space advantage on the queenside and the
semi-open "c" file on which he can press gives black the upper hand.} 21. Nd1
d4 (21... Rfc8 22. Ne3 Ne7 23. Rd4 a5 24. Kc1 Rab8 {is still better for black})
22. Rg1 Bc6 23. g3 Rac8 24. Kc1 a5 25. Rd2 Rfd8 26. Bd3 a4 27. Re1 $6 {Missing
an opportunity to exchange a pair of pieces and free himself, better was} (27.
Bxf5 exf5 28. b3 axb3 29. axb3 Be4 (29... Ra8 30. Kb2 Rd7 31. Nf2 Rda7 32. Rb1
$1 $16) 30. Kb2 d3 31. cxd3 Rxd3 32. Rxd3 Bxd3 33. Ne3 $14) 27... g6 28. b3 (
28. Bxf5 $1) 28... axb3 29. axb3 Ra8 30. Kb2 Ne7 31. Bc4 Bf3 32. Nf2 Nf5 33.
Bd3 Ne3 34. Be4 Bxe4 35. Nxe4 Rdc8 $6 (35... Nf5 36. g4 Ne7 37. Nd6 Nc6 38. g5
$14) 36. Ree2 Rd8 37. Nd6 Nf5 38. Re4 (38. Nxf5 $1 gxf5 (38... exf5 39. Re1 Rd5
40. Red1 Rad8 41. Rd3 $16 {With invasion on the "a" file following which can
prove to be decisive}) 39. Rd1 Ra5 40. Red2 Rad5 41. Rd3 $16) 38... Nxd6 39.
exd6 Rxd6 40. Rexd4 Rxd4 41. Rxd4 Rb8 42. c3 bxc3+ 43. Kxc3 Kf8 44. Rd7 Rc8+
45. Kb2 Ke8 46. Ra7 h5 (46... Rb8 47. Ka3 Rd8 48. b4 Rd3+ 49. Ka4 $14) 47. b4
h4 48. Kb3 h3 49. b5 Rc5 50. Kb4 Rc2 51. b6 {Leinier is playing the one rook
endgame almost perfectly, the pressure is rising and Topalov needs to react
precisely now in order to maintain chances for salvation} Kd8 (51... Rxh2 52.
b7 Rb2+ 53. Kc3 $18) 52. Rxf7 Rxh2 (52... Kc8 $2 53. Rc7+ Rxc7 54. bxc7 Kxc7
55. Kc5 Kd7 56. Kd4 $18) 53. Rh7 $2 (53. b7 Rb2+ 54. Kc3 Rb1 55. Rh7 h2 56.
Rxh2 {The b7 pawn is taboo therefore White is simply winning} Kc7 57. Rh7+ Kb8
58. Rg7 $18) 53... Kc8 54. Kc5 Rc2+ 55. Kd6 h2 56. Kxe6 Rg2 57. Ke5 Rxg3 58.
Rxh2 {The last critical position of the game, with a little help from his
opponent Topalov has managed to reach a holdable position, all he needs to do
is to make one more precise move} Rb3 $2 (58... Kb7 $1 59. Rb2 (59. Rh6 Rg4 {
And white cannot make progress}) 59... Rg1 60. Ke4 Re1+ 61. Kf3 Rf1+ 62. Kg3
Rg1+ 63. Kh4 Rh1+ 64. Kg5 Rg1+ 65. Kf6 Rg4 $11) 59. Rh8+ Kb7 60. Rh7+ Kxb6 61.
Kf6 {The position is now theoretically won and with the title in his hands. Leinier makes no mistake} Rb4 62. Kg5 Kc6 63. Rf7 Kd5 64. Kxg6 Rb6+ 65. Kg5 Rb8
66. f5 Rg8+ 67. Kf6 Ke4 68. Ra7 Rf8+ 69. Kg6 Rg8+ 70. Kf7 Rh8 71. Kg7 1-0


"And then the b-pawn advanced and advanced and advanced!" Grischuk, Svidler and Topalov.

Replay all games of the round

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

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 ½-½ Grischuk Alexander 2779
Nakamura Hikaru 2775 1-0 Svidler Peter 2769
Bacrot Etienne 2725 0-1 Ivanchuk Vassily 2755
Morozevich Alexander 2760 ½-½ Ponomariov Ruslan 2742
Caruana Fabiano 2774 1-0 Kamsky Gata 2741
Dominguez Perez Leinier 2723 1-0 Topalov Veselin 2793

The games started 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 began one hour after the start of the games and is free for premium members.


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register