Grand Prix: Gelfand Smashes Nakamura, Caruana Can Still Win
The FIDE Grand Prix in Élancourt (Paris) will see an exciting last round as Fabiano Caruana can still win the tournament outright, and thus qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. On Thursday tournament leader Hikaru Nakamura lost a spectacular game to Boris Gelfand, while Caruana himself defeated Evgeny Tomashevsky. The all-French encounter Fressinet-Bacrot was won quickly by Black.
The last leg of the 2012-2013 Grand Prix series has been as unpredictable as London weather. A very quiet Wednesday was followed by a thunderstorm on Thursday, with three decisive games and a big change at the top of the leaderboard.
Hikaru Nakamura, who grabbed the lead in round 8, lost in spectacular fashion to Boris Gelfand. The Israeli grandmaster seems to be in top form again. As ChessVibes editor Arne Moll said last night:
“Gelfand is the real deal. Back in '89 Kasparov called him one of the most talented player of his generation and he's still there.”
The game started as a 6...Ng4 Najdorf, and after the players repeated once (who's fooling whom?), they went for one of the main lines. The first twenty moves came on the board quickly, and 20...Rc6 was the novelty. Nakamura could have expected it, because Gelfand chose this logical plan also in a similar position against Karjakin, at Wijk aan Zee 2012.
The logical push 21.f4 was answered by 21...Rfc8! and the knight on e5 was poisoned. Right there, Nakamura made a big mistake already: the straightforward 22.f5! would have been good, with roughly equal chances, while in the game Gelfand got a strong attack. He might have missed a quicker win, but he never let go of the initiative and in time trouble Nakamura eventually succumbed under the pressure.
This was excellent news for Fabiano Caruana, especially because he had managed to beat the super-solid Russian grandmaster Evgeny Tomashevsky, who had drawn his first nine games! In an Advance Caro-Kann, White got a nice space advantage. Tomashevsky's pawn sac wasn't a bad practical decision and on move 27 Black might still be able to hold it. However, there the Russian made a mistake which was refuted nicely by Caruana.
Etienne Bacrot reached his highest ever rating with a surprisingly quick win over his compatriot Laurent Fressinet, who truly mishandled a Bayonet King's Indian. Before he knew it, he was two healthy pawns down, and decided to call it a day. His comment:
“A disaster, what can I say?”
Leinier Dominguez chose the Petroff against Alexander Grischuk, who decided on 5.d3 instead of 5.d4, transposing into an Exchange French. Normally Black should have nothing to fear there, but Grischuk did manage to get a middlegame with some play. Still, after some exchanges the players started repeating moves quickly.
Ivanchuk-Giri was a "real" Petroff; the Ukrainian went for the main line and then chose 16.Qc1, the move Ray Robson also used to beat Andrey Volokitin at the 2013 World Cup. Surprisingly, Giri's 16...Qd7 was virtually a novelty and the Dutchman equalized rather easily. Perhaps White shouldn't take on d6.
Ponomariov-Wang Hao was another Advance Caro-Kann (everyone is playing 3.e5 these days!) where Black was fine out of the opening. Just when Ponomariov seemed to get a slight initiative on the queenside, Wang Hao moved his queen and knight to the other side of the board and it was Black who was in control. He could have tried for more with 35...f6.
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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 10 standings