In the 11th round Veselin Topalov needed a draw to secure his sole victory in the tournament. At the same time Sergey Karjakin showed the will to fight and the former world champion took the challenge.
Veselin showed fantastic performance and increased his live Elo to 2793. All other games were drawn. The games Radjabov-Mamedyarov and Ponomariov-Morozevich were finished relatively quickly. Hikaru Nakamura finished on the sole second place. Ruslan Ponomariov and Fabiano Caruana shared the third place.
Sergey Karjakin chose a Benoni structure with Black and it became obvious that both players will fight till the end. “It was a brave decision of Sergey to play for win today despite his yesterday’s result,” said Veselin Topalov during the press-conference. Russian player got a comfortable position with Black but went for dubious plan with Qh8. Later on Karjakin decided to sacrifice a pawn but didn’t play accurately and failed to get enough counter play. It was hard to defend the position under time pressure and after the first time control Black’s position was already lost.
Once again Peter Leko got a very pleasant position out of the opening but his opponent Rustam Kasimdzhanov tried to keep the balance and was defending very well. At one point the former world champion started to play quicker than his opponent and managed to get time advantage. The knight sacrifice of Rustam proved to be good enough for a draw,
Hikaru Nakamura had white pieces against Fabiano Caruana and was the only one who could try to catch the leader Veselin Topalov. Hovewer, American player didn’t get much in the Exchange variation of the Slav Defense but tried to keep the pressure. It was hard to break Fabiano Caruana’s defense and the last game in the tournament finished in a draw.
The awarding ceremony took place after the last game was finished. The ceremony was attended by Alexey Moskov, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Renova Group, FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov, FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, President of Swiss Chess Fedration Prof. Dr. Adrian Siegel, other officials, guests and players.
It was raining hard during the second free day and most of players preferred to stay in the hotel and relax before the final part of the tournament. Three decisive games were played in the ninth round. Two more could have finished in favour of Peter Leko and Rustam Kasimdzhanov as both players were close to win against Sergey Karjakin and Anish Giri respectively. The leader of the tournament Veselin Topalov drew against Shakhriyar Mamdeyarov and keeps half a point distance from Fabiano Caruana, who won against Gata Kamsky and placed second. Ruslan Ponomariov moved from the second to the third place after his lose against Teimur Rajabov and shares the third place with Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin. Alexander Morozevich lost the third game in a row despite he got a huge advantage against Hikaru Nakamura.
Anish Giri - Rustam Kasimdzhanov 1/2-1/2
Another symmetrical English and once again Anish Giri’s enterprising play led to a dynamic position with lots of complex variations on the board. 11…Be6 was the new move on the board instead of 11..e6 and White decided to spice life up with 18.Ne5!? but Black missed 18…Qa6 and instead allowed the exchange sacrifice and subsequent attack by White. However White then pursued this attack a bit too aggressively and after 25.Rc1 Black simply took the rook off the board and after a forced continuation Black could have played the strong 31…Rd8 or not human move 32...e6 leaving White with some activity but without material. Black decided to go for the endgame with an exchange up but 36...e5 instead of Ra8 would have put more problems for White to decide. After 59 move the peace was signed.
Peter Leko - Sergey Karjakin 1/2-1/2
The players transposed quite quickly to a main line of the Queen’s Indian defence. Leko was very well prepared and got a positional advantage shortly after the opening. His 13.Bf4 was the new move on the board but White is relatively safe and comfortable then. Sergey started to get into a bit of trouble in the early middle game and lost a few tempi with his minor pieces. 18…Ne4?! Allowed 19.cxd5! and White had a big advantage from that point on despite the initial complications. But as is the norm with Karjakin you have to keep the pressure constantly and one slight slip with 29.Ra3 allowed Black to get some counter play. After 40 th move Ra7 Peter Leko pointed out it was hard to find any edge for White.
Gata Kamsky - Fabiano Caruana 0-1
It’s always amazing how in such well played lines such as the Ruy Lopez, one can still get new moves early in the opening. Kamsky tried to catch Black out with the rare 9.Be3 instead of the main line 9.c3. This did not seem to pose too much problems for Fabiano and he equalised and kept the balance throughout the game. The players spent a great deal of time on the ensuing moves and after 25 moves white had 5 minutes left against Black’s 17 minutes. Black got a slight edge after 18. Ng4 but inaccurate 33. Qe3 allowed the Black’s queen to enter the first rank. The position of White’s king became dangerous. Fabiano Caruana played precisely and managed to win the game on the 40th move.
Veselin Topalov - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 1/2-1/2
Black was well prepared after the free day and Mamedyarov did not repeat his game against Karjakin earlier in the tournament. After 14.Nf5 the moves came fast this time and the first new move was by Black with 19…Qd7. The position was dynamically equal as the two knights in the center compensated for the space advantage that White had. After the multiple exchange of rooks and minor pieces we had an endgame with Queen+Bishop versus Queen+Knight and White had to go for the perpetual due to the advancing h-pawn.
Hikaru Nakamura - Alexander Morozevich 1-0
Both players wanted to win to move up in the tournament. A King’s Indian quickly transposed into a Benoni and 13.a4 did not seem to stop Morozevich’s exuberance as he went 13…b5 in gambit form anyway. Nakamura tried to refuse the pawn offer with 15.b4 but this allowed Black the immediate tactical initiative with 15…Ng4! According to Nakamura, he didn’t like his position after 22...Na3. Black obtained a winning position and might have netted the full point if instead of 25…Ra6 he went 25…Bg7 immediately. The delay in this allowed Nakamura to consolidate and equalise. The game was unexpectedly decided after the blunder of Black 31... Re4.
Teimour Radjabov - Ruslan Ponomariov 1-0
Teimour Radjabov managed to win his first game in the tournament. In an earlier round Leko remarked that one of Ponomariov’s favourite lines was the Queens Gambit Accepted and today he went for it. Radjabov seemed to get a very strong position and the position looked aesthetically very difficult for Black. 11..f5 was the new move on the board but after 12.a5!? White seemed to be doing fine. Till move 22 the players followed the computer suggested first or second moves and kept a very delicate equality but 22..c6 was the first weaker option by Black allowing White to increase his advantage. Both sides left themselves with very little time however by move 28 and started to play faster. As it happens in many games, Ponomariov made a mistake on the last 40th move of the first time control. This exchange was fatal for Black and after 10 moves he has to resign. 40...g5, 40...Ka2, 40...Kb3 would lead to a draw.
Monday, April 29th at 2 p.m. the ninth round will be played and the leader Veselin Topalov will play against Fabiano Caruana who is on the second place.
Whilst the weather in Switzerland is still relatively cold, things were heating up over the chess boards in Zug! After 8 rounds of play former world champion Veselin Topalov became the sole leader in the tournament. He defeated Russian player Alexander Morozevich, who lost today the second game in a row after so good start of the tournament. All other games finished in draws. Ruslan Ponomariov managed to defend the worse endgame against Hikaru Nakamura and is on the second place half a point behind of Topalov. Tomorrow is a free day and the ninth round is scheduled on 28th of April.
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Rustam Kasimdzhanov - Teimour Radjabov ½ - ½
The two tail enders seemed peacefully inclined before the next rest day and after Kasimdzhanov chose the Bf4 line against the Queen’s Gambit Declined, Radjabov did not wish to get involved in any of the long theoretical lines with and immediate c5 and opted instead for the Nbd7 line. White preferred the quieter 11.Be2 to the main line with 11.Be5 and the first “new” move cane with 20…Rac8 in a position which was already quite equal and the final result was never in doubt for either player. Clock Times 1:33 - 1:11
Ruslan Ponomariov - Hikaru Nakamura ½-½
Nakamura returned to his favourite Najdorf variation in the Sicilian. Previously they had played a Najdorf but that time Ponomariov was Black ! Both players know the theory in this variation extremely well and Ruslan was the first to try and deviate from the main path with 12.Qd2 in lieu of the main lines 12.h3 or 12.Be2. First new move on the board came with 17.f4 but this seemed to allow black to take the initiative and after 20..a4! Black was controlling the game. During the press-conference American player pointed out that he could have tried to play 27...Qh5 instead of 27...d5 and this was a critical moment in the game. But even after the move in the game the position looked difficult for White but Ruslan defended very well.
Alexander Morozevich - Veselin Topalov 0-1
The most critical game today was obviously Morozevich – Topalov and it was clear that Morozevich had to make up for the lost ground of the previous day. The players went for a symmetrical English and White immediately sprung a novelty on the 9th move with c5 instead of the normal 9.Qe2. Topalov side stepped but Morozevich was determined to get a complicated position on the board and there were immeasurable of thrusts and parries in the game. Topalov never seemed in any great difficulties however and kept good control over the position. White was in time trouble when he could have tried to create more problems for Black by playing 41. Be5 or 52.c4.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Gata Kamsky ½ - ½
Kamsky got his favourite Chebanenko-Grunfeld setup with c6-a6-g6 and the players trotted out the theory relatively fast. Mamedyarov adopted a lesser played line with 10.b3 instead of the main line 10.c5 but Black was prepared and he chose 15…Qd5 instead of the previously played 15…Qd7 which also ended in a draw. During the press-conference it became obvious how good was the preparation of Azeri player. After the exchange of queens Shakhriyar got a slight edge but Gata seemed comfortable with the position and there was very little play and pieces were exchanged at a steady pace. The point was shared on move 42.
Fabiano Caruana - Peter Leko ½ - ½
Again we had another delayed Ruy Lopez in Zug. Maybe Peter wanted to go for the Marshall’s Gambit but hardly any players at this level allow it today since it offers too many drawing lines for Black. Fabiano continued his quiet approach in the opening with the rare 9.a3 whereas the main line is 9.c3. Black’s 12…Nd4 was the first new move on the board but according to Peter Leko he’s seen the similar idea before with h3 Be6 on the board. Fabiano could not prove he has any edge and It was enough to keep equality fro Black. White really had nothing much in the game with Houdini floating from a maximum of +0.22 to -0.23 throughout the game!
Sergey Karjakin - Anish Giri ½ - ½
Giri threw off the positional style with which he had been playing in the first part of the event and a wild position soon arose from a King’s Indian Saemisch variation. Anish preferred to play 12…Bd7 instead of the more commonly played 12..h5 and this surprised Sergey who replied with 13.h3?! rather than 13.Be2. The resulting fray saw a new idea with 16…Nh5 and it was already clear that bBlack was looking to sacrifice this knight as after 17.g4 he played the complicated 17…Qh4! However 17..Ng3 was also worth considering but Anish Giri had doubts during the press-conference. White seemed a bit unsettled by Black’s aggressive play and opted for 23.f5 when 23.e5 may have posed Giri some serious problems given the poor position of the black queen. After the game move, Black equalised immediately and the exposed position of the white king allowed Black to obtain a relatively straightforward perpetual check.
Round 7: Morozevich loses to Kamsky, Ponomariov and Topalov continue leading
At the seventh round of the third stage Grand Prix in Zug only one game was decisive while all others finished in draws. Gata Kamsky defeated one of the leaders Alexander Morozevich. The central game of the round between two other leaders Veselin Topalov (White) and Ruslan Ponomariov (Black) finished peacefully after long and precise defence of White in a worse endgame. After 7 rounds Ruslan Ponomariov and Veselin Topalov share the first place with 4, 5 points. Two Russian players Alexander Morozevich, Sergey Karjakin and Italian Fabiano Caruana are half a point behind.
Kamsky – Morozevich 1-0
Gata Kamsky got the position with a small space advantage out of the opening but was not sure how to fight for more, as he estimated the position as equal. The help suddenly came from his opponent, who chose the wrong plan with 19…Nf6 – 20…Nh5. During the press-conference Alexander Morozevich pointed out that the game was completely lost for Black after Nf6. American player could have got advantage after an accurate 22.Bh4 but played Rae1 instead, allowing Black to protect h4 square by playing Qd8. However, Black continued making mistakes and Gata Kamsky, despite the fact he was in time trouble, found the exact way to win.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov chose to play quite rare line in Ruy Lopez with 4...Nge7. Peter Leko was expecting Caro-Kann. He mentioned during the press-conference that his preparation started relatively late because he could not miss the football match Real-Borussia. Hungarian player tried to find the way to get an edge with White but it seems Shakhriyar had better preparation and was following his analyzes at least till the 15th move. Azeri player managed to equalize and after the nice blow Rf2 it was White who had to find the exact moves to make a draw.
Giri – Caruana 1/2-1/2
Gruenfeld appeared in the game Giri-Caruana and Dutch player spent only 5 minutes for 30 moves! The players ended up in the sharp endgame and suddenly Anish Giri spent next 70 minutes on his 31st move. According to Giri, he was trying to find the disadvantages of the opponent’s move h6 and thought he had winning chances at the beginning, Afterwards he realized that there is no victory and it’s time to look for the exact way to make a draw. Black sacrificed a rook for two pass pawns and after 42 moves the opponents signed a peace.
Topalov – Ponomariov 1/2-1/2
The longest game of the round was finished in a draw, so both players lost the chance to become the sole leader. In Nimzo-Indian Ruslan Ponomariov got better pawn structure after c4. Black increased his edge by choosing the correct plan with Nc7, a6, Nb5. Veselin Topalov decided to change the queens to fight for a draw in a worse endgame. Ponomariov managed to grab a pawn in the knights’ endgame but it was not enough to win a full point.
Karjakin – Kasimdzhanov 1/2-1/2
Rustam Kasimdzhanov was ready for the Scotch as Karjakin had already played this opening few rounds earlier. Sergey chose to play quiet opening after yesterday’s game against Caruana. Former World Champion repeated the line from his game against Wang Hao (which he won in Tashkent) and was ready for the endgame which happened today. 28…Bc8 was a strong move which doesn’t leave illusions for White and few moves later the game finished in a draw.
Nakamura – Radjabov 1/2-1/2
Teimur Radjabov got a comfortable position against Hikaru Nakamura in Chelyabinsk Variation. American player was hoping to get some play on the King’s side but didn’t manage to do it during the game. Both players played very solidly and after 54 moves only opposite color bishops were left on the board and the game was drawn.
Round 7 Photo Gallery
ROUND 6: Ponomariov, Topalov and Morozevich share the lead
Both leaders Veselin Topalov and Alexander Morozevich finished their games in draws while Ruslan Ponomariov outplayed Gata Kamsky to join two other leaders on the top. Hikaru Nakamura won the first game in the tournament against Rustam Kasimdzhanov The craziest game of the sixth round between Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin ended in a draw, but not before either player had had a winning position.
Teimour Radjabov - Veselin Topalov ½ - ½
Following yesterday’s game, Radjabov wanted to come back to the event and he selected the Alekhine variation against the Nimzo Indian. The line they followed was quite extensively played before and the new move was 17.0-0-0 but this did not change much. However, White decided to check Black’s preparation and Veselin Topalov had to play precisely in order to equalize. It seems both opponents were familiar with many different lines in this opening as the players used around 1 hour each for the 30 odd moves played today.
Fabiano Caruana - Sergey Karjakin 1/2-1/2
6 of the GMs in this event became a Grandmaster before the age of 15! The record holder Karjakin (GM at 12 years and 7 months but now a ripe 23 years old!) was Black against Caruana who also achieved his title at a very young age. They chose the positional variation of the Ruy Lopez Berlin with 4.d3 and while Black maintained equality till move 19, Karjakin then chose the dubious 20…Ne5?! which gave Caruana the opportunity to get a winning advantage with 21.f4! However, Caruana missed the easy 35.Rxe7+ Bxe7 36.Qe6+ Kf8 37.d6 Bd8 38.d7 Be7 39.Qd6 winning immediately. After 37…a4 Black was back in the game as the pawn had to be blockaded before it became a runner. Fabiano Caruana started to make mistakes and it was hard for Italian player to defend his position after 42.d6. Computer was showing -6 in Black’s favor when suddenly Sergey “helped” his opponent to survive. 48…Bd4?? 49. Bd4 Rd4 50.Rf6! and it’s a draw on the board! During the press-conference Sergey pointed out that probably he just didn’t deserve to win this game. His opponent replied with a smile that most likely both of them deserved to lose it.
Ruslan Ponomariov - Gata Kamsky 1 - 0
Interestingly, Ponomariov tested his opponent with 1.c4. Kamsky spent some time on his first move choice and then replied 1…c6 which soon transposed into a Caro Kann - Panov Botvinnik with Bb4. Kamsky avoided the main line with 10…Bb7 and instead chose 10…Bxc3 which allowed white to resolve the traditional isolated pawn structure. “I tried to trick my opponent with this move order today. We had English, then Slav, Panov and even ended up in some Nimzo”, explained Ruslan Ponomariov The new move came on with 15…Rfd8 but Kamsky was spending a lot of time on the position and around move 25 had only 4 minutes left for 15 moves in a very difficult position. Both players agreed that Black could have tried to play f6 earlier in order not to let White to get so strong initiative. 29.d5! was a nice touch and White dominated from that point on. “The tournament is very strong and it’s hard to win at least one game here. I have +2 which I believe is a good result, taking into consideration my previous results in Grand Prix events”, said former world champion during the press-conference.
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Leko ½ - ½
Morozevich played a positional line against Leko and they chose the Symmetrical English. Black chose a minor line with 6…Bc5 instead of the main line 6…Qb6 or 6…Bb4 transposing to the Nimzo Indian. The idea of Black was just to avoid repeating the line with Qb6 played between same opponents in Tashkent. Hungarian player lost that important game and it was psychologically hard to repeat the same line. White in turn, chose a rarely played line with 10.Nd5!? instead of 10.Bf4. “If I would have been ready for Nd5 I would have reacted immediately”, said Peter Leko at the press-conference. Leko’s 12…d5 was a new move compared to the previous 12..b5. There was very little movement in the equality line however as both players played extremely accurate and gave no chance to the other side to take any realistic advantage. “Today I feel very happy because it’s a first game when I equalized with White and I’m pretty happy that I’m improving. I was not so sure after the opening if I would be able to do it today but once I played Qe4 I thought it should be ok. Maybe I had some advantage but not enough to put some real pressure. So, I plan to keep on playing game by game and equalizing”, commented Alexander Morozevich on his play.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Anish Giri ½ - ½
After yesterday’s game the Azeri player decided not to spend much time for preparation and just play some fighting chess. Anish Giri cleverly chose a line with little complications and one which they had both played before, as white! Mamedyarov tried to tempt Giri to take on c4 after 4.Bg5 but black went for a Ragozin setup with a slight improvement of 13…Bd7. In the post game analysis the players spent some time on 19.Nh5 and although White may have been better, he could not convert the position into a concrete advantage. Once queens came off there was a steadfast exchange of pieces in very short time and a draw was agreed on move 46. However, after inaccurate move 29.Rb1 Black could have tried to play for more with 29…a5. “I’ve already said to myself it is a draw and in such case it’s not a good idea to change my mind. Maybe I have slight pressure in this position”, explained Anish Giri.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov - Hikaru Nakamura 0-1
Nakamura was obviously in a mood for complications as he first went for 1…Nc6 and then chose 3…Nge7 in the Ruy Lopez. Kasimdzhanov played very well and got a solid advantage up until the dubious sacrifice 26.Rxd6?! which Black reacted very well to and took the upper hand defending against the immediate threats to emerge with a piece extra for three pawns. This might not have been enough to win but Rustam was in time trouble and made a few mistakes. According to Rustam, the last mistake was 37.Be2. He should have played 37.Be4, changing the pieces and keeping good chances to make a draw. After the move Be2 Black pieces came close to the White’s king and there was no defence against checkmate.
Round 6 Photo Gallery
During the free day players charged their batteries to show the tough fights on all boards. Five decisive results at the fifth round as Topalov, Caruana, Karjakin, Morozevich and Kamsky defeated their opponents. The only draw happened in the game Leko-Ponomariov. After five rounds Topalov and Morozevich are leading with 3,5 points. Caruana, Ponomariov and Karjakin share third place half a point behind.
Sergey Karjakin - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 1-0
The Russian GM showed why he is amongst the world’s top 10 as he cruised to a strong victory over the creative player from Azerbaijan, Shakriyar Mamedyarov. Karjakin blitzed out his opening moves including the positional sacrifice 16.Nxh6+! which was prepared by GM Alexander Motylev and other members of Karjakin’s team. According to Peter Leko, he also prepared this move Nh6 with the Hungarian team three years ago, so he was distressed to see it today. After 24 moves Black was already one hour behind on the clock and blundered with 24…Qc7. Sergey recovered his piece with a winning position after 27.Qg3. At the press-conference Shakhriyar said he knew he would lose this game after c3 as it was obvious for him his opponent had prepared everything at home and it would be hard to find the exact defending moves over the board.
Anish Giri - Alexander Morozevich 0-1
Giri has been playing solid chess so far and today was no exception. He went for the exchange variation in the King’s Indian g3 but as is to be expected, Morozevich decided to go for some early complications with 9…Nd4. The exchange on d4 left Giri with a worse position already out of the opening and after 11..Qa5 Morozevich got the type of position which normally he feels very well. The key question was whether Black could convert his better position into the victory. Before the first time control the game became very sharp and White decided to change the queens which turned to be an unfortunate decision. According to Anish Giri, it was not really clear for him how to estimate the position before that exchange. He had feeling that White should have a good position. After f5 the advantage of Black became decisive and Russian player didn’t give any chance for his opponent.
Peter Leko - Ruslan Ponomariov ½ - ½
Peter Leko decided to switch for 1.d4 after the rest day but Ruslan was ready for the changes as his opponent almost never chose 1.e4 against him. Ukrainian player opted for a Bogo Indian variation against Leko’s 3.Nf3 and White devoted sometime early in the opening to choose which variation he would play. The line in the game has been played in Aronian-Carlsen recently and Ruslan Ponomariov decided that Black’s position should be safe if number 1 in the chess world chooses it. Nevertheless, he preferred to play 9...dc, instead of Carlsen’s 9...a6, and Peter Leko tried but could not create any problems for Black.
Fabiano Caruana - Rustam Kasimdzhanov 1-0
Caruana needed to win although in the Grand Prix it is definitely a very tough task to say which opponent one can try and win against. Despite Rustam having the lowest rating he has proved that he is still one of the top players in the world and whilst Fabiano chose a side variation of the Queen’s Gambit Exchange, he found the way to equalize the position with Black and was keeping dynamic possibilities on the board. Just before the end of the first time control the former world champion decided to give a queen for rook and knight as Rustam was sure the position was drawish. His estimation was precise because Black had a few opportunities to save the game. However, Black put his king on f5 and gave the playing options for White. The last chance to make a draw was on the 67th move as Black could have played 67...f5 instead of Rb7 in order to build a fortress. During the press-conference Fabiano Caruana was surprised to see a draw after f5, as he was sure the position was winning for White.
Gata Kamsky – Teimour Radjabov 1-0
The black series continues for Teimur Rajabov after the candidates’ tournament. Both players have met each other on the board quite a few times and whilst Radjabov has a good score overall against Kamsky, he has never managed to beat him with black. In today’s game, Kamsky chose a delayed exchange in the Rossolimo variation. Teimour surprised his opponent after a reasonably long think with 6…bxc6 but as GM Fontaine pointed out this is a well-studied line and Radjabov presumably preferred to go into lines he has analysed before. According to Kamsky, he was not familiar with the position after the opening and was not sure if his plan with c3-d4 was good. Black managed to equalize after the opening and it looked like the game would finish in a draw quite soon but Teimur didn’t play accurately and Gata Kamsky got an extra pawn in the rook ending.
Veselin Topalov - Hikaru Nakamura 1-0
Both Topalov and Nakamura are well known for fighting play and Topalov surprised his American opponent with 1.e4 and then choosing a Closed Ruy Lopez. Hikaru then went for a line frequently played by GM Michael Adams but then selected the interesting 10…b5 whereas Black normally goes 10...h6 to try and exchange black squared bishops. “I was satisfied to get the position where I had bishop and knight against two knights. Eventually a4 is a good move and here I think I have slightly better position,” pointed out Veselin Topalov. Later on, White managed to increase their advantage in the endgame playing on the Queen’s side. It was hard for Black to defend the weakness on c5 and create some counter play on the King’s side at the same time. In the rook endgame White queened his pawn one tempo faster and got decisive mating attack.
Round 5 Photo Gallery
Morozevich, Topalov and Ponomariov remain as leaders in the standings
For the second day in a row all games finished in draws at the fourth round of Renova Group Grand Prix in Zug and Alexander Morozevich, Veselin Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov are still on the top with 2,5 points.
Sergey Karjakin went for the worse bishop endgame but manage to hold it against Alexander Morozevich. Teymur Radjabov had good winning chances against Peter Leko but Hungarian player managed to defend. Hikaru Nakamura tried to convert his extra pawn in the rook endgame into a full point but Gata Kamsky was also not in the mood to lose today.
Except Ruslan Ponomoriov, who didn’t get any edge against Anish Giri, all other players, who had white pieces, managed to create problems for their opponents. Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Veselin Topalov played a thrilling game, which started with a piece sacrifice by Rustam Kasimdzhanov on the 13th move. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov managed to get a very dynamic position and was hoping to use the activity of his pieces but Fabiano Caruana defended precisely.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov - Veselin Topalov ½:½
The two former FIDE World Champions played a very interesting line of the King’s Indian Classical, which Topalov had previously played, with White! Undoubtedly, Kasimdzhanov had analyzed this line as it has been played by a number of tops Grandmasters including Boris Gelfand. According to Rustam, he knew the idea as it has been played already before in Aeroflot Open. “Unfortunately I didn’t check this idea with computer and it was a pity to play 13.Nf5 without the real preparation”, said Rustam during the press-conference. Topalov gave back the piece and then played the very daring 20…Kh7. However, Kasimdzhanov’s sacrifice paid off as he recovered the exchange but Topalov had very active pieces. His defence was quite impressive despite the position looking very difficult for him.
Hikaru Nakamura - Gata Kamsky ½:½
The American derby saw White (Nakamura) adopting a line which gave Kamsky little problems. After Kamsky adopted his favorite opening structure, we got an e3 variation of the Grunfeld. Black had no problem in equalizing with 10…c5 and White remained saddled with a backward b-pawn. “ I forgot what I’ve prepared against 10…c5. I checked the line with e4 but I think I confused the order. Today it was the day when I could not remember anything or calculate clearly at all. Almost every move Gata played took me by surprise”, said Hikaru Nakamura with smile. Eventually White unraveled his pieces and Black made an error with 23…Rxc5. Once again Kamsky got into time trouble and eventually decided to enter an endgame a pawn down in a rook endgame, which he managed to save.
Teimour Radjabov - Peter Leko ½:½
Radjabov has not had a great start in this event and today chose a solid, rarely played line the QG Declined, Ragozin variation. It seems Azeri player was more familiar with the position after the opening than Peter Leko, who played a new opening and “didn’t check the rare line deep enough”. Peter Leko said he decided to play quickly today but still spent a huge amount of time in the middle game and around move 17 he left himself with 18 minutes for 23 moves. Teimur Radjabov found a very strong move 17.Rb1 with many threats and it was not easy for Black to find the right way. Hungarian player went for Rc7 and after more or less force line White got better endgame. Peter Leko was defending very well but could have finished the game earlier with stalemate 58…Rg1 – 59…Rg5.
Alexander Morozevich - Sergey Karjakin ½ - ½
White chose the Alekhine variation against the Nimzo Indian. Black was well prepared and chose Romanishin’s line with 6…Qf5. Whilst Morozevich tried to keep the position complicated, Black managed to equalize in a straightforward manner with 10…e5. Black may have played for a little bit more with 15 or 16…g6 but after the exchange of queens it was very difficult for either side to create much in the resulting position. Karjakin managed however to get into serious time trouble and gave Morozevich the chances in bishop endgame. It’s hard to make the final conclusion if it was winning for White or not, as the ending should be analyzed quite deeply, but both players said on the press-conference that they didn’t see chances for White to improve their position.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Fabiano Caruana ½ - ½
White played out a main line of the Be2 variation in the Exchange Grunfeld. As is the norm for Mamedyarov he played his first 22 moves very quickly but maybe should have paused to consider 19.d6!? as an option. During the Press conference Fabiano indicated he might have played 19.d6 Nxd6 20.Qd5 Be6?? which would have been answered by 21.Qxe6 fxe6 22.Bxe6+ Kh8 23. Ng5 winning! The position was unclear after 19.Rxf7 and Fabiano Caruana consumed a lot of time in the opening and middlegame. Black then decided to facilitate his defence with the counter exchange sacrifice 28..Rxe3!? and created enough counter play. An inaccuracy 33.Bc8?! by Mamedyarov gave Caruana the opportunity to equalize and despite the tough time control Black maintained equality.
Ruslan Ponomariov - Anish Giri ½ - ½
Anish Giri played confidently against former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. He chose the Archangel variation in the Ruy Lopez with Black and his moves were coming fast and thick. White spent a lot of time on 13.Qb1 but this posed no problems to Giris’s preparation as he continued to play fast and was always quite well ahead of Ponomariov on time. Maybe 16.e5 could have posed some more difficulties for Black but Anish showed in the press conference he was well prepared.
All games ended in draws
The standings remained the same after the third round of the Renova Group Grand Prix as all games ended in draws. One of the leaders Veselin Topalov could take the sole lead in the tournament but missed his winning chances in the time trouble. Peter Leko also got an opportunity to fight for a big advantage in French Defence against Hikaru Nakamura but failed to find the critical move and the game finished peacefully. Rustam Kasimdzhanov managed to defend worse endgame against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Ruslan Ponomariov hold the position in a Scottish Defence against Sergey Karjakin. Fabiano Caruana didn’t manage to create real threats against Alexander Morozevich. Less than one hour has passed when Anish Giri and Teimur Radjabov started to repeat moves and agreed for a draw in the Anti-Nimzo-Indian.
Kamsky – Topalov 1/2-1/2
The Sicilian Defence with 3.Bb5 happened in the game and the first key moment appeared on the move 15th. Gata Kamsky spent a lot of time trying to choose between 15. Bg5 and 15.Bf4 but couldn’t estimate the position after possible 15…d5. Veselin Topalov played creatively, sacrificed the exchange, activate his pieces and got winning position. The White position was about to collapse but unexpectedly Bulgarian player failed to find the winning continuations. After the worst problems were left behind Gata Kamsky started to play precisely and made a draw in the endgame.
Alexander Morozevich spent only 20 minutes for 26 moves at the start of the game and got quite comfortable position with Black in the Ruy Lopez. Fabiano Caruana was not so familiar with the line in the game but tried to play logically and got a slight edge. According to Caruana, Black had a good move 28…a5 but Alexander didn’t want to have a weak pawn on b5 and preferred to protect his King’s side with 28…g6 and 29…h5. There were no real chances to play for more than a draw for both sides.
Sergey Karjakin chose to play the Scotch against his former compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov. According to Karjakin, 10.g3 is a very rare move as normal continuation is f3. “ I thought this position is slightly better for White and easier for me to play”, explained Sergey. Karjakin tried to increase his advantage little by little but then made a mistake on 27th move. “ I’m not really happy with 27.Qd2 because I blundered that after 27..Qh5 28. Rd6 Black has Qd1. I was lucky I had 28.Bf3 after Qh5! I should have played 27.Bf3 instead and then Qd2,” said Russian player. White was still trying to play for initiative but Ruslan was defending precisely.
Hikaru Nakamura repeated Boleslavskiy variation in French, which happened in his game against Sergey Karjakin at the first round but chose another continuation on 15th move. Peter Leko didn’t devote all his attention to prepare for this line after yesterday’s game but was familiar with the main ideas and plans in this variation. Hungarian player managed to get small but stable edge. It was not obvious for both players at which moment Black could have improved their play but on the 35th move White got the real chance to fight for a win after 35.e6. After that key moment American player was not in danger anymore and confidently drew the game.
On the press-conferences Rustam Kasimdzhanov said he could have avoided the problems at the opening by playing 10…Qd5 instead of 10…Bd5. After the opening the position became quite sharp and the critical moment happened on 19th move. Azeri player could have tried to play 19.Nd6 instead of Bd6 and grab the pawn on c5. Former World Champion was ready to defend the endgame with pawn down but analysis showed it was not that easy. Rustam Kasimdzhanov found an accurate maneuver Rb5-Rd5 and didn’t leave any illusions for White. During the press-conference Rustam Kasimdzhanov commented his decision not to participate in the next match as second of Vishwanathan Anand. “I think three World championship matches are enough for me. There were all very tough – one tougher than the other. At the end I think I deserved some rest (smiles). I’m a bit worry if the match is going to take place because it was announced to be held in India and Magnus is seriously opposed the idea to play there. If they push it and Magnus gets nervous we can have the situation when Norwegian will just refuse to play, as he had done with previous candidates tournament. It’s a great match and it would be a pity if something happens. I will be happy if they find some neutral ground. On the other hand India deserves to host the World Championship match because Anand has been holding the title for many years. So the situation is difficult”, said former world champion.
Round 2Alexander Morozevich, Veseiln Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov share early lead
At the second round of Renova Group Grand Prix in Zug Alexander Morozevich, Veseiln Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov are in shared first place. Veselin Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov outplayed Peter Leko and Fabiano Caruana respectively, while Alexander Morozevich shared a point with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. After unpleasant start Rustam Kasimdzanov managed to defeat Gata Kamsky. Two other games Radjabov-Karjakin and Nakamura-Giri finished in a draw.
Alexander Morozevich chose to play early h4-h5 against Gruenfeld. This line, was successfully played by Russian against Anish Giri in China and happened in the game Grischuk-Carlsen recently. Even there is no clear theory in this line, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov seemed to be ready for this variation, chose to play quite sharp and more rare continuation with 5…c5 but forgot his analysis after 9.Bh6. According to Morozevich, he was hoping to play for some advantage but chose inaccurate 15.e3. “White has to play 15.e4 and after 15…Ne6 there were many choices. White could have tried to play for something real here,” said Alexander during the press-conference. However many pieces were exchanged, the position became absolutely equal and the game finished after three-time repetition.
Sergey Karjakin decided to surprise his opponent with Grunfeld, which was absent in his opening repertoire after he had lost the game against Viktorija Cmilyte 10 year ago. “It took me 10 years to recover after that game and finally I did it,” said Sergey with smile. Both players agreed that one of the critical moments was after 23…Rac8. White could have tried to play more principal 24.Rc8 and fight for advantage after Rc8 25. Qe7 Rc2 26. Rb1! However Teymur preferred to grab all pawns on the Queen’s side and after few exchanges the position became completely drawn.
Peter Leko got quite promising position out of the opening after dubious maneuver of White’s dark square bishop. Black managed to advance his pawns on the Queen’s side while White tried to find some counter play by pushing e4. The game was very sharp and according to Topalov Black had much better position at some point. At the time trouble Peter Leko spoiled his position with two last moves before the first time control. With 20 seconds on his clock Hungarian player first missed an opportunity to play 39…Kf7 and immediately made the second mistake 40…Qg6. After the time control Peter Leko tried to defend worse endgame and lost his last opportunity to fight for draw on 49th move. After 49…Ra8 instead of 49…f5 Black had good chances to resist.
“This opening is very complicated and I lost a threat in one moment. I had a very little time left on my clock and didn’t feel optimistic at all,” said Rustam Kasimdzanov at the start of the press-conference. Black got quite comfortable play out of the opening and decided to complicate the position after 19…f6. Rustam Kasimdzhanov was thinking to go for Bg6 but not only was short on time but also didn’t have feeling it was a right decision. Later on Kamsky showed his ambitions to play for a win by avoiding the repetition of moves. “I was hoping that Gata would repeat the moves but he had definitely more time at that moment”, pointed out Rustam Kasimdzhanov. In the time trouble Black started to make mistakes, missed Qa4 and tactics 39. Ng7 afterwards. The former world champion got the technically winning endgame with two extra pawns and didn’t leave any chance to his opponent.
Ruslan Ponomariov didn’t get anything special out of the opening playing with white against Fabiano Caruana. Italian player missed 29.Nc6 and let his opponent to activate the rooks and to get bishop against knight in the endgame. It was not easy for Black to defend all the time and according to Caruana 39…c4 was one of the inaccurate moves he had made. Later on, Fabiano decided to sacrifice a pawn in order to activate his rook but Ruslan calmly took “the gift” and later on converted his advantage into a full point.
Hikaru Nakamura got a slight advantage after the opening. Anish Giri was defending very well and managed not to fall into all possible traps created by American. Both players pointed out they would have agreed for a draw earlier but according to the rules it was impossible. “These rules teach us how to play against Magnus because Norwegian never agrees for a draw”, pointed out Anish Giri.
Alexander Morozevich and Fabiano Caruano draw first blood
The first round of the third stage of Grand Prix tournament in Zug got under way on the 18th of April 2013, after FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the first symbolic move in the game Caruana-Radjabov. The first round was a pretty tough one for the start of the tournament - Fabiano Caruana and Alexander Morozevich started with victories while the other four games were drawn.
Leko-Kamsky 1/2: 1/2
Gata Kamsky was surprised that his opponent remembered him playing the same line in Ruy Lopez during the match against Vishy Anand in Las-Palmas 1995. Therefore, Peter Leko decided to avoid playing some dubious side-lines and went for the main variation. The preparation of Hungarian player finished on move 15.Ne2, which was played by Bobby Fisher long time ago. “I thought if Fisher had played this move, it cannot be bad and it actually makes sense. Nowadays all players go for 15. Ne6 but I don’t think White has something there.”
After 15.Ne2 Gata Kamsky chose the plan with c4 and g5, which Leko defined as “a desperate attempt” but American player was short in time and was looking for some counter play. With the 20…f4 Gata Kamsky sacrificed a pawn and managed to activate his pieces. The forced line led to the endgame where White got 2 rooks for his queen and in a few moves the game finished after three-time repetition. “It seems my opponent defended so well in the time trouble or it was just too hot in the playing hall and computer will show that I’ve missed something, but I didn’t see how I could win, even there were some promising continuations. Out of nowhere it’s a draw,” said Peter Leko on the press-conference.
Dutch player Anish Giri said he was preparing a lot and was looking forward for this GP to start. His opponent Veselin Topalov, who had played his last classical game on November 2012, confessed he felt a bit strange to play a long game, tried to make not too risky moves and to be solid. Few months ago the same opponents met at the last round of London Grand Prix. Anish Giri lost against Vesilin Topalov and let his opponent to win the first stage of GP. “The problem was that there was also bishop and knight endgame in that game. At the end I was really panicking and trying to hold this slightly better position. It was very painful to see the same guy, the same tournament and almost the same position there (laughing). It’s good that at least the result is different!” said Anish Giri during the press-conference. Veselin Topalov had to defend a bit unpleasant endgame but after inaccurate 23. Bf4 Black proved to be quite safe.
Alexander Morozevich started the game with 1.g3 and was more or less expecting the line which happened in the game. According to Morozevich, Black could have played 14…de instead of 14…d4. “The position looked about equal but maybe it’s more pleasant to play it with White”, explained Russian player. Rustam Kasimdzhanov was defending 14…d4 and said the horrible mistake happened later, when he played 19…Ra8. “ I had to play 19…ab 20. ab and than Ra8. I think White is probably still better but this advantage has reasonable limits.” After 20.b4 White started to increase his positional advantage and after the first time control could be happy with the position on the board. “Black position was so hopeless”, said Rustam Kasimdzanove, nevertheless, Alexander Morozevich had to show good technique to convert his advantage into a full point.
The longest game of the first round (7 hours, 107 moves) started with the well-known position for both opponents, which has already appeared in their games before. Sergey Karjakin explained that 15…Qd8 was a new move for him and he should have played 16. 0-0 or 16.Bb6 instead of 16.f5, but blundered 17…Qc4. ”Here I’m slightly worse. I was already upset and had to defend till the end of the game,” said Russian player. “I felt that my position was much better. I don’t know if it’s winning but there were so many ideas and it was not easy to choose which one was worth a try,” said Hikaru Nakamura. White chose a bit passive defense but managed to hold the position. At the final point Black has two extra pawns but cannot improve his position. “Black can also put a few more white-square bishops on the board and still it will be a draw”, said Sergey Karjakin after the game.
Teimour Radjabov chose to play Janisch Gambit in the Spanish against Fabiano Caruana, however Caruana looked prepared and surprised his opponent with 10.Na4. Azeri player chose the position with tripled pawns but was hoping to get some activity on the King’s side. Italian player made a few accurate moves and was left with a pleasant advantage. Step by step White exchanged some pieces and outplayed his opponent in the opposite colored bishops endgame.
“I’m glad to make a draw with Black against such a good opponent as Shakhriyar”, said Ruslan Ponomariov at the press-conference. In the Queen's Gambit Declined Ukrainian player successfully defended slightly passive position. Mamedyarov didn’t manage to use the inactive position of the opponent’s pieces and after all pieces were changed, two lonely kings were left on the board.
Round 1 Photo Gallery
The opening ceremony of the 3rd stage of FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012-2013 the Renova Group Grand Prix took place at the SwissEver Hotel Zug 6 p.m. on 17th of April. The ceremony was attended by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer from Renova Group Rolf Schatzmann, Director of the Sport Office of the Canton of Zug Cordula Ventura, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan Arkam Zeynalli, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ramin Mirzayev, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation Konstantin Ushakov.
At the start of the ceremony Director of the Sport Office of the Canton of Zug Cordula Ventura welcomed all the players and guests on behalf of the government of the Canton of Zug.
On behalf of Renova Group and its chairman of the Board Directors Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, Rolf Schatzmann welcomed all officials, participants and wished the players to use the opportunity to learn more about the history of Switzerland, visit Zug and its suburbs. Rolf Schatzmann also explained why Zug was chosen to host the 3rd stage of Grand Prix: “Mr. “Viktor Vekselberg lives here and he thought it would be nice idea to organize such an interesting chess event in the canton of Zug”.
Before officially opening the event, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov greeted all the participants, guests and expressed his gratitude to Renova Group and its chairman of the Board Directors Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, sponsors, mass media representatives for their support and dedication to chess. “I’m confident that we will all savor the hospitality of the people of Switzerland and will fully appreciate the high organizational level of this sport celebration!” said FIDE President.
The Chief-arbiter of the tournament IA Panagiotis Nikolopoulos conducted the ceremony of drawing of lots. Each participant was proposed to choose one of 12 boxes with famous Swiss chocolates and the numbers inside.
The first round will be played on Thursday, April 18th at 14:00 local time with the games Morozevich-Kasimdzhanov, Mamedyarov-Ponomariov, Caruana-Radjabov, Karjakin-Nakamura, Giri-Topalov, Leko-Kamsky.
Over eleven rounds, twelve of the strongest players in the world will take part in uncompromising chess battles. Among 12 participants there are three former world champions Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Rustam Kasimdzhanov, World Rapid Chess Champion Sergey Karjakin, the top players of the USA, Italy, Azerbajan, Russia. Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), the rating favorite of the 3rd stage, will take part in GP tournaments for the first time. 2007 World Cup Winner Gata Kamsky (USA) replaced Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan) for the rest of the cycle.
Time control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards.
The Grand Prix Series consists of six tournaments to be held over two years (2012-2013). 18 top players participate in 4 of these 6 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.
Report and pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich