Gelfand in Sole Lead as FIDE GP Heats Up
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A spectacular third round at the Grand Prix in Élancourt (near Paris) saw four decisive games, and two that lasted more than six hours. Fabiano Caruana beat Laurent Fressinet in a double rook ending on move 39, Hikaru Nakamura needed 35 moves to win against Etienne Bacrot in a QGD Exchange, Vassily Ivanchuk profited from Wang Hao's mistakes in the ending and won on move 60 while Boris Gelfand decided his game against Leinier Dominguez in a Q vs R ending on move 97, after seven hours of play!
Although he stated that the tournament will probably be decided in the last three rounds, Fabiano Caruana must be satisfied with the start of the Grand Prix. With his win over Laurent Fressinet, in their first ever mutual game, the Italian is in the group of players with a plus one score, and a point ahead of his main rival Alexander Grischuk.
Caruana followed the trend set at the Sinquefield Cup, and played the Anti-Marshall with an early exchange on e5. The queens stayed on the board a bit longer, but after 14...Bg4?! White reached a slightly better ending, mostly based on the weakened black queenside. How Caruana played the second half of the game was just wonderful (and praised by his opponent); Fischer or Karpov wouldn't have done it better!
Vassily Ivanchuk defeated Wang Hao, but was worse in the endgame. Not much; Black had the bishop pair but the Chinese was never close to a clear advantage. But he should never have lost this game. After he lost his b-pawn, he could still have drawn the game on move 46.
Hikaru Nakamura, who had fought fiercely to try and win his first two games, finally succeeded in the third round. Etienne Bacrot copied Aronian's play against the same opponent for a while, but on move twelve the Frenchman played an active move that failed tactically. He was forced to give a piece, but it was never enough.
Anish Giri and Evgeny Tomashevsky was another Anti-Marshall, but the Dutchman chose a different option on move 8: the move h2-h3. Tomashevsky saw no reason to change his play from his game against Kamsky in Tromsø, but Giri did something else on move 11. After the players also deviated from a Topalov-Svidler game, it became clear that Black was fine and soon the moves were repeated.
Gelfand-Dominguez was a long and tough game, which should have ended just before the time control. In that case it would have been one of Gelfand's masterpieces, and perhaps it should still be called that way. The way the Israeli treated this IQP position, with the black bishop standings slightly worse on d6 than on normal squares like b4 and e7, was impressive. With targeted and forceful moves, tactically motivated in the style of Kasparov, Gelfand reached a winning position. Because it took him a lot of time on the clock, he missed the decisive blow and then had to start all over again. But the World Championship Challenger then showed that his technique is still there!
Grischuk-Ponomariov was another very long game that started with exactly the same opening variation! Where Gelfand had played 8.Bxd6 in an earlier game, and 8.Bh4 against Dominguez, Grischuk decided on the third option 8.Bg3. This game quickly became a standard good knight vs. bad bishop fight, and it seemed logical that Grischuk went for an ending with those minor pieces and queens, as Q&N is usually a strong combination. But Ponomariov avoided big trouble till the end, and saved the draw.
For the rest of this report we'll quote Alina l'Ami, who added a funny story in her report:
“The most original story comes from the off-board area and requires some preliminary explanation. Chairs are personalized for each player, according to height and other physical parameters. Each chair wears a label with the corresponding player’s name; after every round, the arbiters have to shuffle the chairs and not the label with their names, as in the vast majority of the tournaments!”
“In the beginning of the third round Grischuk showed himself unhappy with his personal president-like chair and changed it for a simple wooden one. When asked during the press conference why he decided to do so, Grischuk's reply was very clear: "It is too comfortable, I would probably fall asleep!" Indeed, he didn't allow himself the luxury of relaxation and tortured Ponomariov for 86 moves, but could not break the defence of the former World Champion.”
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 | Round 3 standings