Hamburg Grand Prix: Nepomniachtchi Out, Clashes With Organizer
Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Hamburg Grand Prix: Nepomniachtchi Out, Clashes With Organizer

| 72 | Chess Event Coverage

Pentala Harikrishna, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Wei Yi were all eliminated in the first round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg. These players lost their first game and then failed to win on demand. Nepomniachtchi later had a clash on Twitter with the organizer.

Nepomniachtchi won the first Grand Prix in Moscow. He didn't play in Riga, and before Hamburg he was in third place in the overall standings with nine GP points, behind Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk, who both have 10.

Vachier-Lagrave is virtually on 10 points as well now, after reaching round two in Hamburg. Nepomniachtchi, however, got eliminated by Jan-Krzysztof Duda and so the Russian grandmaster needs to do well in Jerusalem next month to keep hopes of qualifying for the world championship candidates.

Nepomniachtchi Hamburg Grand Prix
Nepomniachtchi has to set his hopes on Jerusalem. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

After blundering that important central pawn in the first game, the next day Nepomniachtchi tried for 132 moves before he had to stop his winning attempts. Not for the first time, Duda chose a surprising opening (the Accelerated Dragon) in a situation where he only needed a draw, but this time he defended a worse endgame successfully.

Duda Nepomniachtchi 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Hamburg
Duda vs. Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

If Nepomniachtchi's disappointment didn't speak from the many moves in the rook endgame, it surely did from his tweet after the game.

Asked if he wanted to explain what was wrong with the playing hall, Nepomniachtchi declined to comment.

Organizer Ilya Merenzon of World Chess responded in a way that only added fuel to Nepomniachtchi's fire:

Vachier-Lagrave reached the second round as he held Wei to a draw with the black pieces, in the second Najdorf of their mini-match. As expected, Wei tried a much sharper approach but MVL countered well.

"So far the preparation before the tournament pays off," said Vachier-Lagrave.

Vachier-Lagrave 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Hamburg
Vachier-Lagrave is through to round two. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

In what is not a great year for Nakamura, the American GM couldn't follow up on his good tournament in Isle of Man. In a must-win situation, he tried the Queen's Gambit Accepted, but had to agree to a draw in a position where he was a pawn down:

Nakamura 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Hamburg
Nakamura leaves another Grand Prix after the first round, and again it was Topalov who kicked him out. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Dmitry Jakovenko dodged a bullet against Yu Yangyi, who reached a tablebase win in a knight endgame but failed to convert.

"It was a miracle, and it took several mistakes from my opponent to save the game," said Jakovenko.

Yu Yangyi Wei Yi Hamburg Grand Prix
Yu Yangyi and Wei Yi on their way to the playing hall. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

The other games can be found in the game viewer below. Svidler holding Harikrishna to a draw meant that the Russian GM is through to the next round as well.

On Thursday we'll see tiebreaks for the matches Vitiugov-Navara, Grischuk-Wojtaszek, Dubov-Radjabov and Yu-Jakovenko.

The Hamburg Grand Prix games start each day at 15:00 CET, which is 9 a.m. Eastern and 6 a.m. Pacific. You can follow them here as part of our live portal.

All games from day 2

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