Duda, Dubov, Grischuk, MVL In Hamburg Grand Prix Semis
Day 2 of round 2 in action. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Duda, Dubov, Grischuk, MVL In Hamburg Grand Prix Semis

| 10 | Chess Event Coverage

Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Daniil Dubov, Alexander Grischuk and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave advanced to the semifinals of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg. The first three names decided matters in the classical games whereas Dubov eliminated Peter Svidler on Sunday in the tiebreak.

Vachier-Lagrave was the only player to start his quarterfinal with a win, against Veselin Topalov with the black pieces. In a must-win situation, the Bulgarian GM chose 1...e6, so the question for the Frenchman was: What to do against the French?

As if MVL wanted to demonstrate that the famous Gurevich vs. Short game (where the first player failed to make the necessary draw that would guarantee a spot in the 1990 world championship candidates) was just an anomaly in chess history, he duly played the Exchange French variation as well.

Unlike Mikhail Gurevich, he did get a rather comfortable draw. In fact, if anyone could play on at the end, it was Vachier-Lagrave, who said about this: "Why would I?"

Vachier-Lagrave Topalov 2019 Hamburg Grand Prix
Vachier-Lagrave and Topalov after their game. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Two players who had started with a draw on Friday won their games the next day. Grischuk did so with the black pieces against David Navara, who was, in fact, following one of his own games for 15 moves in a Ragozin and kept a slight edge.

Only after that, the Czech Republic GM allowed his opponent to equalize, and soon he missed a tactic that more or less decided the game:

Navara Grischuk 2019 Hamburg Grand Prix
Navara vs. Grischuk. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Duda and Yu Yangyi seemed to be heading to tiebreaks after the players had played an exciting game that reached an equal ending. Yu decided to take a walk with his king, which was not bad in itself, but putting it on h3 was. This allowed a crushing tactic and meant the elimination of the Chinese player.

As commentator GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko put it: "It's one of those moves which are easy to calculate but hard to consider."

Yu Yangyi 2019 Hamburg Grand Prix
One oversight and it was over for Yu Yangyi. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Dubov and Svidler drew their second game as well, so they were the only two players to return to the playing hall on Sunday for their tiebreak match. They started with two draws in the rapid.

In the second game at one moment Svidler was winning, but an engine was probably needed to convert:

Svidler Dubov 2019 Hamburg Grand Prix
Svidler vs. Dubov. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

One of the laws in football is relevant: If one fails to score, the opponent often does in the counter. In the first 10+10 game, it was Dubov who took the full point, after which he held the draw as White. An opening experiment by Svidler completely backfired:

Svidler Dubov 2019 Hamburg Grand Prix
Only one tiebreak game today. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

In the semifinals we'll see MVL vs. Grischuk (the one that is very important for the overall final standings in the Grand Prix) and Dubov vs. Duda. Because the rest day is only after the semis (about which Grischuk pointed out the lack of logic already during the first leg in Moscow), we'll see more chess from Hamburg on Monday.

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 Saturday and Sunday:

Previous reports:

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