FIDE Grand Prix in London, Round 11: Three winners Print
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 06:29
Three winners in the first Grand Prix in London: Topalov, Gelfand and Mamedyarov!

Before the last round the Azeri player was leading with half a point ahead of Topalov, Grischuk and Gelfand but the draw in the last round by Mamedyarov gave a chance to the others to catch him at the top. Veselin Topalov managed to win with black against Anish Giri and Boris Gelfand won with the white pieces against Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Alexander Grischuk faltered at the end and could only draw against Nakamura.

In the 11th round all the eyes were on the leader of the tournament Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Obviously, the Azeri played for the draw to secure at least a tie for first place with a peaceful variation of the Nimzo Indian. Step by step, both players exchanged the pieces and the knight’s endgame was equal from the very beginning.

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Many quick exchanges were made in the game between Topalov and Giri. After twenty minutes of play, there was rook+bishop+knight endgame on the board. Everyone could expect a quick draw but Topalov started to play for the win. The 41st move of Anish was a mistake but his position was already difficult. The two black pawns e5-f5 looked unstoppable and Anish Giri could not hold the position.

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Michael Adams decided to play safely today, using 3.Bb5+ against the Sicilian of Dominguez, and more exactly a form of Maroczy Bind. Dominguez found a way to equalize by opening the centre with 14…d5! Position was symmetrical without any real perspective for any side. Pieces were exchanged and the draw was agreed.

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Nakamura showed again his fighting spirit, playing the Sicilian Dragon against Alexander Grischuk. The Russian player accepted the challenge, entering in the main sharp line. There was never a real danger on the black’s king and the tension was about the “c” file. After exchanging rooks, the position became equal and players repeated the moves. Draw.

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Ivanchuk probably surprised his opponent by playing the Sozin attack. Wang Hao got a worse position after the opening and was force to give up his pair of bishops quickly. The a6 pawn became also weak and black couldn’t avoid the space domination. The attack seemed very promising but Wang Hao played few accurate moves, forcing the draw repetition.

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Boris Gelfand went for the Moscow variation of the Slav defence against Kasimdzhanov. Boris made a courageous decision with 14.b4 giving up an exchange in purpose. In compensation, white had a very strong pawn’s centre on “b4-c4-c5”. Rustam had to lose some tempi with his bishop from a4 to c2, and meanwhile white was pressuring. 31…Rf-a8? was the decisive mistake, which gave away the b7 pawn. Position became too difficult to defend and Boris, by winning his last game, is finally sharing the first place!

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Final Standings

Round 10

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov took the lead yesterday for the first time and he keeps on leading after the tenth round as five out of sixth games were drawn. In the tenth round the rating number one in the tournament Hikaru Nakamura managed to win against Anish Giri after four defeats in a row! The last tweet of the American player spoke for itself: “While I do my absolute best to commit harakiri, (chess) at least her calming presence from afar puts it all in perspective. » So far, Hikaru was losing 26 rating points and was falling down to the 11th place in the World ranking but improved his situation today. One round to go Topalov, Gelfand and Grischuk share the 2nd place with “666” points half a point behind of Mamedyarov: The last round starts at 12 p.m.

Wang Hao – Mamedyarov:

Mamedyarov appeared very relaxed when he arrived at Simpson`s with his manager. Shakhriyar decided to play the Caro Kann defence – his opening of choice for this tournament. Wang Hao prepared a surprise for his opponent 5.Nc5 trying to defuse any preparation. “Shak” paused for thought, and then replied 5…e5!? which caught Wang Hao unprepared, as he had not expected Mamedyarov to know this line deeply. The forced line that followed saw a quick exchange of queens which led to the endgame with a slightly better pawn structure for white. “Hao”-ever it was not enough and a draw was the result.

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Leko – Gelfand:

The main question is how Gelfand will recover from yesterday`s loss. Boris seemed in a good mood and was smiling before the game. Peter Leko went for a quiet line based on Nc3-Bc4 in close Sicilian. Nothing much happened until move 20 after which some pieces were exchanged. White started to take the initiative by opening the “f” file, and putting a strong bishop on d5. White started to control the black squares, and the knight on e3 defended the whole white pawn centre.

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Kasimdzhanov – Grischuk:

Almost all the players of the tournament want to avoid the Marshall Gambit. In this game there was no exception, as Rustam chose the exchange variation of the Spanish opening. White decided to open the centre and found a very interesting plan, putting the queen on “b1” in order to push c3-d4. Sasha took a long time to play the first 15 moves and had just 14 minutes left for 22 moves. The two times World Blitz champion is quite used to time trouble…Taking initiative on the king’s side and centre, Grischuk increased his advantage, pressuring on the f2 pawn.

Kasimdzhanov survived from the attack when Grischuk offered the exchange of queens with 38…Qf3? The rook endgame, which appeared, was finally drawn. A disappointment for Grischuk who could have taken the lead.

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Nakamura – Giri:

Giri didn’t change his main weapon against 1.e4 and the Petrov appeared once again on the board. Hikaru exchanged the queens after 5 moves and decided to play a long endgame. White pieces had more space but black pieces found good placing. The bishop on b6 protected by the a5 pawn was controlling the queen side. Hikaru settled his other bishop on a second strong square e6.

The position of Anish was very solid with the bishops on c6 and d6 but Hikaru managed to break through and finally won the game!

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Topalov – Adams:

The only chance for Veselin to catch the leader was to win today with the white pieces against Michael Adams. We saw one of the first Queen’s Gambit of the tournament, which looked pretty safe for black. Veselin managed to double black’s pawns on the “b” file and took a small advantage in the endgame but it was not enough to implement it into more.

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Dominguez – Ivanchuk:

Vasily was in a good mood before the start of the game, looking at the pictures of Staunton on the wall of the Simpson’s in the Strand. The famous Immortal Game was played in the same building between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851. The Ukrainian player decided today to play a rare line of the Spanish opening (4…d6). Leinier replied with a safe line, putting all his pieces in the centre and obtained a slight advantage, due to the doubled black pawns on c7 and c6.

Ivanchuk managed to exchange queens and equalized by putting a strong Bishop on e3. Draw.

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Round 9

Boris Gelfand is still leading with 5,5/8, just ahead Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with 5/8. Today, we almost had a forfeit as Sasha Grischuk arrived just before the Zero tolerance kicked in. The Russian player decided to go for a rare and close Sicilian, to avoid the Sveshnikov of Boris. Right after the opening, Grischuk converted his development advantage into a clear pawn up. On move 23, Grischuk decided to go for a direct attack, sacrificing a piece on e6, giving a winning position. Boris blundered with 24…Kd7?? Allowing 25.Qg4. Boris lost the lead!

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Nakamura and Mamedyarov have chosen Caro Kann as a main weapon against 1.e4. Once more, the American player seemed well prepared and spent just fourteen minutes for twenty first moves! Adams managed to install the strong Knight on “e5” with the bishop “c3” and pawn on “f4”. White increased their advantage and Nakamura made a huge mistake 26…Rb8? and got absolutely hopeless position. The tournament is a nightmare for Hikaru who has lost 5 th game:

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Anish chose a close line of the Slav defence with 4.e3 today. White managed to get the pair of bishops and an impressive pawn’s structure with c3-c5-d4-e3-f4! After 30 moves, the position was totally blocked and the only possibility was to break through by g3-g4 and Anish did succeeded to do so on 36th move. Rustam kept the balance, by putting his rooks on h7 and h8. Dutch player tried all he could, found another breaking point with 48.c4! Rustam finally found a draw repetition!

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Ivanchuk opted for a strange opening’s choice, in a kind of King’s Indian reverse. The Ukrainian player played solidly and didn’t create a lot of danger. The position of the Bulgarian player looked even better, putting pressure on the d3 pawn.

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Leinier went for a solid Bogo-Indian today against Mamedyarov. Probably the Cuban player wanted to play a safe line, but “Shak” showed his intentions with the aggressive 10.g4, 11.g5. Dominguez decided logically to counter attack on the queen-side and in the centre by d6-d5. Mamedyarov kept control of the position, exchanging pieces to arrive in a very confortable endgame with two bishops against knights.

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Wang Hao decided to go quickly to the endgame in one of the main line of the Nimzowich. White looked a bit better thanks to their powerful bishop on “d4”. The Chinese player had to exchange a pair of rooks but couldn’t penetrate in black’s position. Leko created a strong blockade with his king on f7 and his rook on d7. After suffering, Peter managed to draw the endgame!

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Photos by Ray Morris-Hill

Round 8

“So far so good” were the words of a Boris Gelfand leaving the playing venue yesterday evening. Today, his opponent Anish Giri decided to go for a sharp King’s Indian. Boris had to think for a while and opted for the bayonet attack. First moves were played very fast and after 22 moves, Gelfand decided to sacrifice a piece! The two white bishops were very dangerous and Anish decided to give up an exchange with 25…dxc5?! Boris took a good advantage but 30.Rf1 was an inaccurate move and gave the opportunity for Anish to come back in the game and eventually equalized. A disappointing draw for Boris who could have increase the lead.

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The first game to end today was between Topalov and Mamedyarov. In a well-known line of Caro Khan, Mamedyarov equalized right after the opening. “Shak” didn’t know 18.Be1 but it was not a big danger for Black and after one hour of play, both players decided to repeat the moves. Draw in 31 moves.

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Hikaru Nakamura decided finally to play 1.e4 instead of 1.Nf3. The American played chose the exchange variation of the Spanish. Vasily Ivanchuk decided to go for the endgame with 5…f6. After exchanging some pieces, both players decided to double rooks on the “d” file. The endgame knight+bishop looked drawn but Vasily kept on pushing on the queen’s side and Nakamura started to makes mistakes in time trouble. Ivanchuk jumped on that occasion to win the endgame!

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Leko and Grischuk were in a fighting mood today, opting for the very sharp Sicilian Najdorf. White opened and attacked on the centre, forcing Black to react by giving an exchange, counter attacking with the knights on the White’s king. The Hungarian had the possibility to take a big advantage by playing the computer move 22.g6! but preferred the more human and safest 22.c3.

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The Hungarian player made his advantage slip away with 26.Rh3. Grischuk took his chance, played very accurate moves and drew the game.

The game between Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Michael Adams was much more peaceful with the English opening. Rustam had a pleasant position to play, pressuring without any big risks. The Black pawns on “b4” and “c5” looked slightly weak in the middlegame. Adams managed to exchange his weak pawns, and everyone could expect a quick draw. 37…h5? was a mistake and Michael had to fight in a queen endgame with a clear pawn down. The position got worse and Kasimdzhanov was unable to defend it.

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Wang Hao surprised Dominguez by playing a Bd7 Richter-Rauzer Sicilian variation. The position looked like more like a typical Najdorf, White attacking on the king’s side and Black on the queen’s side. The Chinese player went for a typical exchange sacrifice with 15…Rxc3?! complicating the position. Dominguez reacted calmly, exchanging queens, putting his bishop on “d5” and took a big advantage.. The rest of the game was a matter of technique for Leinier but the 37th move was a mistake and the Cuban player had to finally draw his game. A small miracle for Wang Hao!

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Round 7

Before the 7th round, we still had one leader, Boris Gelfand (4/6), chased by a pack of four players (Grischuk, Topalov, Mamedyarov and Leko) with 3.5/6.

Strangely, none of them are facing each other today. The UK production company Sunset+Vine, famous for their innovations in televising major events, are shooting the whole day for the second time this week.


Leinier avoids the main line of the Berlin defence and decides to go for the closed Spanish opening. Right after the opening, Peter decided to destroy the pawn centre with 15…c6 and 16…d5!? The endgame, which arose from these exchanges, was a bit better for White due to the pawn structure. Not enough to break Leko’s defence and the draw was agreed.

Wang Hao-Topalov:

A very exciting Gruenfeld played by Veselin, who was 2 pawns down after 8 moves, but of course still in his preparation. As compensation, Veselin immediately had a better development. After 13 moves, White didn’t develop the king’s side at all with the bishop still on f1 and pawns on “e2” and “g2”! All the black squares were weakened and Topalov logically took the advantage step by step.

Approaching the time trouble, Hao managed to survive from his opponent’s attack and eventually equalized. A tough draw for the young Chinese player and a disappointment for Topalov.


Anyone is expecting blood in that game! “Shak” and Hikaru have explosive styles based on attack. So far, Hikaru’s results are not as he expects. Without any big surprise, we had a King’s Indian arriving on the board and Shakhriyar went for a quiet line based on g3, Bg2. White took the space and Hikaru decided to change the course of the game by playing 17…c5?!

It appeared that White suddenly took the advantage by creating some attack after 18.e5! Mamedyarov kept on pressuring his opponent until the time trouble, where Black couldn’t find the best defence. Mamedyarov is scoring his second full point in a row.


After few moves, Vasily was not writing his moves. Carol Jarecki, the arbiter, made the small remark to the Ukrainian player. Vasily just forgot about it! In a strange move order (Reti), Rustam took the c4-pawn and tried to keep it as long as possible with 10…Qd4. Vasily didn’t go to the arbiter to ask for a draw (2 times repetition only) and finally the draw was agreed after only 11 moves!


These two players know each other well very well and are from the same generation (Boris is born in 1968 and Michael in 1971). Michael went for the Rossolimo line of the Sicilian, choosing the b3, Bb2 plan. Boris decided to develop his pieces in an original way with f6, Kf7. Position looked pretty equal but Black had compensation with the two bishops.

Boris even went for the a2-pawn, which seemed risky. Black kept his two pawn advantage until the rook endgame and managed to win. An important victory for Boris who is in real good shape so far!


Anish played the solid Maroczy Bind against Grischuk's 6…Ba7 Paulsen Sicilian. The young Dutch player went for the usual plan with a4-a5 in order to take space on the queen’s side. Grischuk’s position remained solid, exchanging all the pawns on the queen’s side and equalizing comfortably. The draw was agreed after a long fight!

Report by Robert Fontaine

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Round 6

We have a fight of continents between Hikaru Nakamura and Wang Hao! Surprisingly, Hikaru chooses a quiet line with double fianchetto 2.g3 and 4.b3. Wang Hao had a pretty safe position and waited the time control to see a big blunder (45.Nxa4??) from the American player.


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Alexander Grischuk and Peter Leko in pursuit of Gelfand have white pieces today and will try to reduce the gap. Alexander avoids the main weapon of Michael Adams (Marshall gambit) and goes for 6.d3. White opened quickly the centre forcing black to give away a pawn. In compensation, Adams had pair of bishops. It was enough to secure the draw in the endgame.

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The last game of the day sees Veselin Topalov facing Dominguez. Tonight, Silvio Danailov (manager of Veselin) arrives in London. Veselin is facing the 4…a6 Slav defence and decides to take immediately space with 7.Ne5 and 8.f4. Topalov took gradually the advantage, sacrificed a piece to win beautifully on the endgame.

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Back to business today with the only leader of the tournament, Boris Gelfand (3,5/5), playing against Vasily Ivanchuk. The Israeli player went for an aggressive line against Queen’s Indian, sacrificing a pawn very early in the game. Both players said ti was a complicated game and finally the draw was agreed before the time trouble, on move 25.

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The Uzbek player Kasimdzhanov plays the Azeri Mamedyarov in one of the latest modern lines of the Meran. The position became very sharp when Mamedyarov decided to develop his initiative on the King’s side, pushing his “f” and “h” pawns. The 38th move was a terrible blunder from the Uzbek player and “Shak” jumped on the opportunity to score a full point.

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Peter Leko plays Giri in a very fashion line of Sicilian Najdorf. Peter gives a pawn quickly in order to have initiative and two bishops. Anish started the counter attack on the “a” file and managed to equalize. Both players decided than to repeat quickly the moves and agreed for a draw.

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Round 5

Today is the last game before the first free day. So far, we have only one leader: Boris Gelfand. Due to Yom Kippur, Boris and Shakhriyar had to start the game at 1pm. Ivanchuk, who arrived a bit earlier to watch the game, was surprised by the pawn sacrifice of Boris from the very beginning of the game.

Shak Gelf

For the third time in the tournament, Giri is playing the Petrov’s defence. Adams surprised his opponent already after the 8th move, obliging the young Dutch prodigy to spend more than 20 minutes on his reply. Finally, Adams went for the usual long castling and actually had nothing significant out of the opening. Anish equalized and methodically exchanged the rooks on the “e” file, entering into a bishop endgame. Draw.

Adams Giri

Wang Hao came up with a new idea in the Meran defence today, installing very quickly a powerful Knight on “e5” with the 2 pawns “d4” and “f4” behind it. Rustam Kasimdzhanov decided quickly to sacrifice a pawn for the activity, putting pressure on the white king in the centre. The bishop on “g7” combined with action of the two rooks was very unpleasant for Hao, who was probably pretty happy to exchange most of the pieces and entered in a drawn endgame.

Hao Kasim

Nakamura came with a fresh and surprising opening today, playing 3…Nge7 on the Spanish opening, so called the Cozio defence. Both players were playing very slowly spending each an hour for the first 6 moves! Black looked fine with natural development, putting all their pawns on black squares. Hikaru took the advantage but played the inaccurate 37…Qf6, letting Leinier get back into the game. Strangely during the time trouble, Nakamura blocked his bishop on “a2” and got a significantly worse position. As a result, Leinier, step by step, took the advantage. On move 71, white missed a chance to win the game with 71.Bxg6! but finally the game ended in a draw.

Lenier Nakamura

We had a very theoretical fight in the Queen’s Indian played between Topalov and Leko. After 18 moves, Topalov just spent 5 minutes…and Leko 25 minutes. On move 20, Topalov decided to go for an exchange sacrifice, which was declined by the Hungarian GM. The rook was “en prise” for a few moves, both players ignoring it. After a few moves, Leko finally took the exchange on move 22, and tried to make a blockade on the “d4” square.

Topalov found a good attack but in time trouble, Leko managed to exchange queens, and the endgame finished in a draw…

Topalov Leko

Vasily Ivanchuk was probably inspired by this and started in an aggressive mood, playing h4-h5 against the Gruenfeld defence of Alexander Grischuk. The Russian player decided to play naturally and placed his pieces in the centre. After 15 moves, the position appeared quite balanced. The main action appeared to be on the “h” file, and both players repeated the moves by a continuous attack on the Queen.

Ivan Gris

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All photos used in this report kindly provided by Ray Morris-Hill Photography

Round 4

Today was heavy rain in London, but as Ivanchuk said, it's a great weather to play chess! Very fighting games today with no short draws and the players were happy slogging it out after three hours of play.

One of the leaders of the tournament, Peter Leko, decided to play a close Spanish opening against Michael Adams, who is well known to be the specialist of the Marshall gambit. Avoiding the main weapon of the English player, Peter went for a peaceful line, very technical and positional. Adams equalized, took the control of the only open file of the position and was already aiming to be better. Not enough however to break down Peter’s defence and the draw was signed.

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The Azeri player chose today a very unusual move order in the Spanish opening. Grischuk, his opponent of the day, decided not to go for the sharp lines and went for a closed Spanish opening. White decided to take some space, chasing the white colour bishop by h3-g4. Grischuk kept on pressuring his opponent. After 24 moves, all the black pieces were on the 8th and 7th ranks! That was the moment chosen by Grischuk to sacrifice a knight for 3 pawns and activity. Mamedyarov was obliged to give back his knight but it was clearly not enough and his position remained completely lost. First victory of the tournament for Grischuk!

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Vasily was playing against Giri who had a terrible defeat yesterday. The Ukrainian player decided to opt for the Gruenfeld defence. Giri took a small edge due to the passed pawn on “d5”, but was taking too much time for the first moves. After 20 moves, Ivanchuk had already 40 minutes more than his opponent. Black’s position was safe and looked even slightly better. Giri and Ivanchuk decided finally to repeat moves right before the time control.

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Leinier Dominguez amazingly spent 10 minutes to play his first move 1…e5. The Cuban player decided to prepare the Berlin defence, like Peter Leko did during the first round against Rustam. Leinier preferred 10…Nf5 instead of 10…Re8. Step by step, Rustam took the control of the “e” file and took more space. Leinier managed to exchange few pieces and arrived in a slightly worse bishop endgame. Not enough and finally the game finished in a draw in 59 moves.

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Boris Gelfand played a Catalan opening against Wang Hao. The Israeli player decided to play on the “c” file, exchanging the Queens and getting a better position with the pair of bishops. All the pawns were exchanged on the queenside, but still Boris could put some pressure on black. Boris managed to win a pawn in the endgame, and had to play 5 against 4 on the same side. Boris pushed until a he managed to get a winning rook endgame and finally succeeded to convert the point! Boris is now taking the sole lead in the first leg!

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The last game of the day is between two fighters and tactical players: Nakamura against Topalov. The American player surprised his opponent by playing Alapin Sicilian. But after 2…e6, Hikaru sat back on his chair, looking in the air, and probably thinking on which line to play. The position, which arose after the opening, looked comfortable for white, Topalov decided than to unbalance the position by taking with the “f” pawn on “g6”. The position was balanced even if white’s pawn structure looked better. Draw.

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Round 4 photos by Macauley Peterson

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Round 3

Today is another matter for Veselin, who is playing against Rustam Kasimdzhanov. In the semi-final of the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2004, Rustam managed to win the tiebreak 2-0, and eventually conquered the World title. The Uzbek player came with a great novelty in his pocket 12...c5! giving away a piece.

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Few moves later, white were forced to give back the piece. After 18 moves, Rustam spent only 2 minutes which shows that his home preparation worked well! After the game, Veselin said that he knew this move as well. The game ended very quickly in a draw in 37 moves and less than 1h30min of play.

Today, Boris Gelfand used once more the Sveshnikov Sicilian, which was his main weapon against Vishy Anand during the last World Chess championship. Boris must have worked on that opening for months with his seconds. Alexander Huzman, his oldest second and friend is here in London. After the opening, black was already out of danger and eventually fixed the queen side by playing quickly ...b5-b4. Boris decided to give away the "d6" pawn in order to equalize into an opposite colour bishop endgame. Draw.

Dom Gelfand

Vasily Ivanchuk lost yesterday. The Ukrainian grandmaster is known to have fragile nerves so his reaction today is important regarding the rest of the tournament. His opponent Michael Adams has chosen the solid Nimzo-Indian, and managed to get rid of his isolated pawn "d5". Black took a pawn but had to weaken their pawn structure with double pawns on the "f" file. That's the moment where the English number one gave away this pawn to arrive in a drawn rook endgame.

Ivan Adams

The American player Hikaru Nakamura arrived in a flashy red t-shirt, hair back and in a fighting mood! In hyper modern style, Hikaru went for a quiet double fianchetto development. Leko reacted solidly like in Gruenfeld opening, putting his bishop on "g7". Some pieces were exchanged and white took possession of the "d" file. In the rook endgame, black found some counter play on the queen side with a6-b5. Nakamura kept trying but missed the winning move 61.a6! Draw was finally agreed.

Nakamura Leko

Grischuk who is one of the biggest King's Indian specialists decided to play today the Gruenfeld defence, completely surprising his opponent Wang Hao. The Chinese player went for a side line, forcing black to exchange their powerful bishop "g7". The diagonal "g1-a7" became weak and the Russian grandmaster played a very strong continuation with 23...h5!
On move 27, Grischuk could have won the game with 27...Rxd1 28.Rxd1 Qe2! Players entered in a terrible time trouble with 10 seconds left on the clock. Position became equal and Wang Hao escaped with half a point. Here is Wang Hao comments on Facebook : "Today I played badly again, somehow blundered a simple move and definitely deserved to lose the game, but my opponent missed his chance and after blitzing in the last moves of the first time control, when my heart was beating like a drum. Suddenly I found the game was drawish, a lucky escape!"

Hao Gris

Crazy game today between the youngest player in the event, 17 year old Anish Giri, and Mamedyarov who decided to rush on the king's opponent! Black never managed to get out the opening, and 13...exd5 was already the decisive mistake. The black king had to stay in the centre of the board white many weaknesses on black's camp. The game became a nightmare for Anish and the young Dutch player decided to resign after only 21 moves.

Shak Giri

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Round 2

The players arrived in high spirits, chatting together and joking, thanks probably to the beautiful weather we have here in London.

Gelfand, the only winner in yesterday's round and current leader of the tournament, faced today the former FIDE World Champion (2005), Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria. Queens were very quickly exchanged and white found a comfortable position. The black's bishop was controlled by the strong pawn chain g2-f3-e4. Pressure on Black was not enough and the game eventually was drawn.

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Vasily Ivanchuk started his tournament with the black pieces twice in a row. The Ukrainian GM decided to go for the "French defence". It's well known that Vasily can play any opening against anyone! By taking the control of the "d4" square, it appeared that Leko had the situation under control. Peter mentioned after the game that the decisive mistakes of Ivanchuk were 32...Kf7 and 33...hxg5. The position was hopeless for Ivanchuk who resigned after 42 moves.

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Hikaru Nakamura, who tweeted yesterday "Losing is fun when you decide to fall asleep and blunder right before the time control", felt the need to recover quickly from his loss against the Uzbek player Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Anyhow, the American player was clearly in a fighting mood using the King's Indian. 18...bxc5 seemed to be a novelty. The jumping knights of Hikaru started to create problems for white. On move 59, Rustam made a mistake but the next move was worse with a terrible blunder allowing black to mate in 2! Hikaru is coming back with 50%. Today Hikaru adjusted yesterday's Tweet with "Winning is fun, losing is fun. Playing interesting games of chess with both colours is what makes it all worthwhile.3

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Adams against Mamedyarov fell into a very interesting fight of style. Mickey has a very positionnal style of play while "Shak" is known to be an active and agressive player. "Shak" suprised his opponent by choosing the Caro Kann defence, avoiding any home preparation from his opponent. The Azeri player decided to stick to his reputation and made a crazy move with 20...Rd3!? giving away a full piece for the attack. The combination ended in a drawn endgame with an exchange up for white.

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The young Dutch talent Anish Giri was playing the Chinese player Wang Hao today, who said that he was still suffering from jet lag. The youngest players of the tournament went for a solid Slav opening. Position was very close and eventually equal very quickly. The only open file "c" got blocked by the black Knight on "c4". It turned out that both players agreed for a repetition of moves on move 30.

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Alexander Grischuk decided to go today for the English opening and had his white rook on the "c5" square only after 20 moves. The Russian player managed to create a passed pawn on the "d" file, increasing slowly the pressure on black side. Grischuk tried to bring his king into the action but Dominguez found a great way to cut the action with 53...Qc5! The game finished in a rook endgame with a pawn up for white, which was not enough to win. Draw.

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Round 1

The first round of the World Chess Grand Prix in London started at 2pm local time with the first move played by the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Most of the games started smoothly and the Chinese player Wang Hao was playing very quickly the first 20 moves, with still 1h56 on his clock. His opponent, British number one Michael Adams who replaced GM Peter Svidler at the last minute. Adams took his time to fully equalize after exchanging the Queens. Adams was pushing the whole game, got a pawn up in a rook endgame but it was not enough to win. Draw.

The Cuban player Dominguez faced the solid Petroff defence of the young Dutch star Anish Giri. White got a slightly more comfortable position after the opening. Anish played very accurately in the middlegame and fully equalized. The Dutch player had 3 pawns on the « c » line but got a pawn up during the middlegame. Not enough to win the rook endgame however. Draw.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov declined to go into the main line of the Berlin defence played by Peter Leko. 16…Qf6 ! was a very accurate move from the Hungarian player which eventually equalized the position. Players went into a Bishop versus Knight endgame, which ended in a draw in 34 moves.


Ivanchuk has chosen today the Nimzo-Indian, which apparently didn’t surprise Mamedyarov who picked up a rare line based on 9.Bg5. The Azeri player had some difficulties to castle and was able to do it only after 22 moves. Black got a very slightly better position in the Rook+knight endgame. In time trouble, Vasily managed to win a pawn and arrived in a Knight+3 pawns against Knight+2 pawns endgame. However despite several attempts at trying black could get no more than a draw.

Focal Length

Focal Length

For the first game of this event, Boris Gelfand, the former challenger for the World championship match, decided to surprise his opponent by playing a Sicilian Sveshnikov. The American player went for a sideline with 9.a4. Gelfand took slowly the advantage, blocking the queen-side on black squares. Boris played his 40th move with only 7 seconds on the clock, maintaining the pressure! Black slowly squeezed white’s position until finally white collapsed definitively.

Focal Length

The English opening played by the Bulgarian player Veselin Topalov was an interesting choice to avoid the main weapon of Alexander Grischuk: the King’s Indian. Pieces were exchanged quickly and white got a slight edge. The game started to get sharp while the players began to be short on time, Grischuk got forced to sac a piece for 4 pawns.


Position of the Russian player was very solid, and both players agreed for a draw after 43 moves.

Report by GM Robert Fontaine

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Opening Ceremony


The first stage of the new FIDE Grand Prix is being held in London on 20 September - 4 October 2012. Twelve top Grandmasters are taking part in the event: Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR), Alexander Grischuk (RUS), Veselin Topalov (BUL), Wang Hao (CHN), Boris Gelfand (ISR), Peter Leko (HUN), Anish Giri (NED), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE), Leinier Dominguez Perez (CUB), Michael Adams (ENG), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB).

The Chief Arbiter for the London event is the International Arbiter Ms. Carol Jarecki who will be assisted by International Arbiter Mr. Stewart Reuben. Chairman of Appeals Committee is Mr Lakhdar Mazouz, who is also President of African Chess Union. FIDE Press officer and Representative is Mr Geoffrey Borg, FIDE Chief Executive Officer.

The Opening Ceremony was held on 20th September at the Somerset House, on the south side of the Strand in central London, England. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov participated in the ceremony and delivered a welcome speech. Then Chief Arbiter performed the drawing of lots. The players had to pick a Monopoly card which had a lot number at the back.

Such well-known personalities as Gillian Anderson (English American actress), Isaac Ferry (English photographer, video producer and graphic designer), Sophie Ellis Bextor (English singer, songwriter and model), Janet Ellis (British television presenter and actress), Griff Rhys Jones (Welsh comedian, writer, actor and television presenter), Ed (literary agent) & Carol Victor, Noelle Reno (designer) & Scott Young, Detmar Blow, Aita Ighodaro (model), Lisa Appignanesi & John Forrester - Author, Natalie Coyle (Irish singer, songwriter, actress and model) & Zafar Rushdie, Arielle Free (actress), Lily Cole (model) were also present at the event.

A blitz session was also organised during the party.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Andrew Paulson (AGON)with participants

Michael Adams

Peter Leko

Leinier Dominguez Perez

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Boris Gelfand

Anish Giri

Alexander Grischuk

Hikaru Nakamura

Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Veselin Topalov

Wang Hao

Andrew Paulson

Geoffrey Borg

Actress Gillian Anderson and Andrew Paulson
Actress Gillian Anderson and Andrew Paulson

Gillian Anderson at launch party at Somerset House
Gillian Anderson





Drawing of lots. Boris Gelfand

Michael Adams

Blitz session

Model Lily Cole takes on Veselin Topalov
Model Lily Cole vs. Veselin Topalov

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov vs. Peter Leko

Kirsan Ilyumzhinovvs. Ali Nihat Yazici

Wang Hao of China playing Boris Gelfang of Israel- both Chess Grand Masters
Hikaru Nakamura vs. Boris Gelfand

Alexander Grischuk vs. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Wang Hao vs. Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Michael Adams vs. Anish Giri


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