Thessaloniki Grand Prix opens with a bang

5/22/2013 – Changing the mood from the previous Grand Prix, the first round kicked off the tournament with some victories for the white side. Svidler demolished Bacrot, punishing passive play. Kasimdzhanov showed that he isn't to be trifled with, despite being the lowest rated player. Kamsky beat Dominguez while the rest of the games were drawn. Full report with pictures and GM commentary.

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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 one report

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

Topalov, Veselin - Grischuk, Alexander ½-½
Grischuk received ample compensation for his sacrificed pawn, and was even able to obtain an extra one in the endgame after applying pressure throughout the game. However Topalov held on resiliently and the game ended in a draw.

Ponomariov, Ruslan - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½
The d3 Spanish claims even more territory in modern theory as now Ponomariov incorporates it into his repertoire. However the attempt is unsuccessful and Black obtained relatively easy equality.

Ivanchuk, Vassily (above) - Morozevich, Alexander ½-½
The Kings Indian Defense is usually a fun and exciting opening, in which White blasts through the queenside and Black sacrifices all his pieces to obtain a strong attack against the enemy king. However, at times, the position becomes completely locked up and a draw is unavoidable.

Kamsky, Gata - Dominguez Perez, Leinier 1-0
A strangely positional Sicilian Dragon left Kamsky with pressure throughout the entire game. Slowly but surely the American pushed forward and improved his advantage, until Black's position collapsed. The blunder at the end was tragic but done in an already very difficult position. The Cuban could have tried to hold on with 44... Kd7 it probably would have been to no avail.

Svidler, Peter - Bacrot, Etienne 1-0
Bacrot's extremely passive play seemed to give him a solid position, but Svidler's very energetic rook moves allowed him to obtain a decisive advantage very early on. Black's bishops never played any role in the game and the Russians swept his opponent off the board in only 27 moves.

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam - Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0
Kasimdzhanov comes in as the lowest rated player in the tournament - the only one not quite 2700 (although only one point shy from it). However he is far from a weak player and he has plenty of experience playing in such strong tournaments. Nakamura might have underestimated his opponent slightly as he played a dubious version of the Benoni and landed in trouble quite quickly. White was positionally better throughout the game and went into an endgame up a pawn, where Black could do nothing but wait. Kasimdzhanov's technique was good and he took home the full point.

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Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony took place in the Amphitryon hall of Makedonia Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki on Tuesday. The players and guests were greeted by the Tournament Director Theodoros Tsorbatsoglou, President of the Greek Chess Federation Georgios Makropoulos, General Secretary of Sports Kiriaki Gianakidou, Minister of Macedonia & Thrace Theodoros G. Karaoglou, Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

For the drawing of lots the players picked up rooks in the shape of ...

... the White Tower, the famous landmark of Thessaloniki.

Ruslan Ponomariov got the start number three

Also attending the opening ceremony were MP of the Greek Parliament and former Minister of Health Andreas Loverdos, FIDE Vice-President Ali Nihat Yazici, Head of the Appeals Committee Zurab Azmaiparashvili, AGON Chief Andrew Paulson, FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, consuls of USA and Bulgaria, and other distinguished guests.

Zurab Azmaiparashvili chatting with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

My, how tall you are! Advisor to President Ilyumzhinov Berik Balgabaev,
FIDE Vice-President Ali Nihat Yazici and US Champion 2013 Gata Kamsky

Alexander Morozevich chatting with Peter Svidler, Kamsky and Andrew Paulson in the background

Rustam and Firuza Kasimdzhanov

At the technical meeting the players were briefed on the most important regulations –
time control with increment only after move 60, no draw offers, zero tolerance rule, dress code.

The participants include three former World Champions Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan). GM Teimur Radjabov has withdrawn from the Thessaloniki Grand Prix for personal reasons and has been replaced by GM Etienne Bacrot from France.

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

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. 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.


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