Caruana & Gelfand Share Grand Prix Victory, Mamedyarov Reaches Candidates [UPDATE: VIDEO!]
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The FIDE Grand Prix in Élancourt was won by Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand, as all games in the final round ended in draws. This means that Shakhriyar Mamedyarov keeps his second place in the overall GP standings, and with it his ticket to the 2014 Candidates tournament (together with Veselin Topalov, who won the Grand Prix).
Photos by Leslie McAllister © Chess.com
*** Update: below is Jason Stoneking's video report on the last round! ***
A scenario like this is not unique, but still it feels like a big anti-climax: a potentially very exciting round, one that sponsors bring their money for (and chess fans their chips and drinks), petered out quickly with three short draws, deciding the whole tournament. Imagine what 21st century chess would look like without the existence of the draw!
Especially Caruana's game seemed a bit odd. Against Dominguez, in a game where it was most important to keep some play (it might be necessary to play for a win later on), the Italian picked the Taimanov Sicilian. Then, at move 14, the Cuban played Bxb5 (a novelty) and right after the moves were repeated. In her final report, Alina l'Ami writes:
“Caruana evaluated that the risk involved by avoiding the repetion would be higher than any reasonable limits. If he would lose and Gelfand would do the same, Caruana 'could never forgive himself for such a suicide'.”
This strongly reminds of the final round of the 2013 Candidates Tournament where, in a similar situation, Kramnik chose the Pirc against Ivanchuk. There was nothing wrong with Caruana's choice of the Sicilian, as he could never have expected Dominguez to play like this.
And so the game between Boris Gelfand and Ruslan Ponomariov was going to decide the tournament. The start was promising: a Leningrad Dutch, against which Gelfand had suffered defeats against Kamsky and Nakamura recently.
“I tried to play not just some Queen's Gambit, but some sharp line.”
said Ponomariov, who felt he was some kind of "arbiter" deciding who would go to the Candidates!
Gelfand made a lot of healthy moves, but...
“...it led to nowhere unfortunately.”
And so these two players went for a move repetition quickly, securing Mamedyarov's ticket to the 2014 Candidates. According to the players. in the final position for both sides it's very difficult to make useful moves.
Evgeny Tomahevsky was determined to win his game against Vassily Ivanchuk and thus finish on a 50% score. The Russian GM got quite close, as he reached a big advantage out of the opening. With many good moves in a number of positions, it wasn't easy to choose the best and eventually he ended up with an extra pawn in a queen ending that was impossible to win.
Bacrot-Grischuk was hardly a game. In a Grünfeld, as early as move 13 the players repeated moves. What to say?
Giri-Nakamura, however, was a great game in one of the most topical lines of the Berlin Ending. 16.c4 was the novelty and a tactical sequence followed after which White remained slightly better. After Giri chose the wrong square for his king on move 30, Nakamura could fully equalize.
Not particularly thrilled with the quality of my chess in Paris, but I still finished on +2!— Hikaru Nakamura ( @GMHikaru) October 4, 2013
The last game of the round, and the tournament, was Wang Hao-Fressinet. The Frenchman had to suffer quite a bit after a miscalculation which resulted in the loss of a pawn. However, in time trouble the Chinese GM didn't find the strongest plan and allowed counterplay.
And so a long series of tournaments, which started with the London Grand Prix in September 2012 (organized by Agon!), has come to an end. On the final day, many players expressed their satisfaction about the events, the organization and the cities they had visited.
Fabiano Caruana, Ruslan Ponomariov and Wang Hao will immediately be travelling to Bucharest, to play in the Kings Tournament which starts on Sunday. And if you were wondering, Alexander Grischuk and Evgeny Tomashevsky are not playing in the Russian Championship which starts on Saturday.
Live video with press conferences
Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Results & pairings
|Round 1||15:00 CET||22.09.13||Round 2||15:00 CET||23.09.13|
|Round 3||15:00 CET||24.09.13||Round 4||15:00 CET||25.09.13|
|Round 5||15:00 CET||27.09.13||Round 6||15:00 CET||28.09.13|
|Round 7||15:00 CET||29.09.13||Round 8||15:00 CET||30.09.13|
|Round 9||15:00 CET||02.10.13||Round 10||15:00 CET||03.10.13|
|Round 11||14:00 CET||04.10.13|
Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Final standings