Caruana & Grischuk Both Lose in GP Round 7
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Fabiano Caruana and Alexander Grischuk, the two players who have so much to gain in Élancourt, both lost their games in round 7 of the Grand Prix. On Sunday Caruana went down against Hikaru Nakamura in a Grünfeld, where a queen sacrifice didn't work in the end. Boris Gelfand regained sole lead with a win against Grischuk in an irregular 1.d4 opening; the other games ended in draws.
The seventh round of the Grand Prix was a good day for... Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The current number two in the overall GP standings saw both of his main rivals lose on Sunday, which means that it's less likely that either Caruana or Grischuk will finish in clear first place in Élancourt, and claim Mamedyarov's ticket to the Candidates.
Caruana went down against Hikaru Nakamura in a game that was never really a game: a huge opening mistake led to a lost position for Black as early as move 14. In a known position, Caruana must have mixed up something because after 14.hxg4 he took back with the wrong pawn, while the position was still known. The Italian had to give his queen for just one rook, and although he did manage to create some chaos, the result was never in doubt.
And so Caruana dropped back from shared first place to clear third, behind his direct opponent, Hikaru Nakamura. The grandmaster from St. Louis moved up to second place in the tournament, behind Boris Gelfand. The Israeli grandmaster defeated Alexander Grischuk, who over-pressed in time trouble after a successful opening experiment.
It's quite rare that an opening between two 2700 players is hard to label. Are the moves 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Nd2 b6 4.a3 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 Bb7 6.Nf3 f5 a Dutch, or a Keres, or an English defence? In any case, Gelfand admitted that he didn't manage to get an advantage, and Grischuk rightly rejected the "silent draw offer" on move 18. Black got the better chances with 18...f4, but due to time trouble Grischuk misplayed his attack and even lost.
"It was surely not my best game, but the result is still important,"
Evgeny Tomashevsky and Wang Hao played an interesting variation of the Open Catalan and followed theory for twelve moves. The Chinese GM allowed a shattered pawn structure as he trusted his two bishops, and rightly so. The c-pawn dropped, but suddenly Black had lots of threats and indeed two beautiful pieces on b7 and f6. Tomashevsky then decided to go for a forcing line that led to an equal ending.
Ivanchuk-Ponomariov was another Catalan that followed the big game of the Candidates, Kramnik-Carlsen, for 11 moves. After the game, Ivanchuk and Ponomariov agreed that 14...Ba6, a novelty by the way, wasn't great. Simply developing with 15.Nc3 looks nice for White. Also in the game Ivanchuk maintained a tiny edge, but after he took on e4 with the queen Black was out of trouble.
The amount of theory in the Berlin Ending is enormous, and so it's no surprise that even top players like Dominguez and Bacrot have trouble remembering everything, even when they have a lot of time to prepare. Where the Cuban had avoided this jungle and chose the alternative route 4.d3 a week earlier against Bacrot, this time he went for the main line. 18.Re3 was the first new move, but just like a recent rapid game between Karjakin and Grischuk, Black was fine.
A classical Queen's Indian was seen on Giri and Fressinent's board and in this variation two world champions once played a quick draw (Petrosian and Karpov in 1971). Luckily in this case it was a real fight, where the Dutch GM took some risks to try and get his first win of the tournament. Giri's play on the kingside could have become quite dangerous if he had continued aggressively with 32.Nh4; in the game he ended up with an extra pawn but without serious winning chances.
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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 | Round 7 standings