Zug 2013 FIDE Grand Prix Round 9
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It was raining hard during the second free day and most of the 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 winning 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 is placed second. Ruslan Ponomariov fell from second to the third place after his loss against Teimour Rajabov and shares third place with Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin. Alexander Morozevich lost a third game in a row despite having a huge advantage against Hikaru Nakamura.
On Monday, April 29th at 2 p.m. the ninth round will be played and the leader Veselin Topalov will face Fabiano Caruana who is in second place.
Leko and Karjakin 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 a 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 the 40th move Ra7 Peter Leko pointed out it was hard to find any edge for White.
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 a "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 created more problems for White. After 59 move the peace was signed.
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 many 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 the 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.
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.
Both Morozevich and Nakamura wanted to win to move up in the standings. 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 from Black 31... Re4.
Hikaru Nakamura (right) defeated Alexander Morozevich
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. Until 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 had to resign. Any of 40...g5, 40...Ka2, 40...Kb3 would lead to a draw.
Teimour Radjabov (right) defeated Ruslan Ponomariov
The Zug Grand Prix standings after 9 rounds
The Zug Grand Prix runs from 17 April - 1 May, and the overall winner and runner-up of the 2012/13 Grand Prix series will qualify for the next Candidates Tournament, expected to be held in March 2014. The current standings are here.
Each tournament is a single round-robin featuring 12 out of the 18 players in the Grand Prix, and each player competes in four of the six events. The best 3 scores of each player count towards their overall score. The official regulations for the 2012/13 FIDE Grand Prix can be found here.
The schedule for the 2013 Zug Grand Prix
|17th April 2013||Arrival & Opening Ceremony|
|18th April 2013||Round 1|
|19th April 2013||Round 2|
|20th April 2013||Round 3|
|21st April 2013||Round 4|
|22nd April 2013||Free Day|
|23rd April 2013||Round 5|
|24th April 2013||Round 6|
|25th April 2013||Round 7|
|26th April 2013||Round 8|
|27th April 2013||Free Day|
|28th April 2013||Round 9|
|29th April 2013||Round 10|
|30th April 2013||Round 11 & Closing Ceremony|
|1st May 2013||Departure|
All rounds start at 14:00 local time (12:00 UTC) except the final round which starts 2 hours earlier. The time control used is 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 20 moves in 1 hour, then 15 minutes plus a 30 second increment after move 60.