2022 FIDE Grand Prix Belgrade R2: Giri and Vidit Charge, Grischuk Crashes
The round-two games in action. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2022 FIDE Grand Prix Belgrade R2: Giri and Vidit Charge, Grischuk Crashes

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

The second round of the group stage in the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix in Belgrade featured intense battles and some notable high points. In Group A, GM Sam Shankland won to join GM Dmitry Andreikin in the lead. In Groups B and C, GM Anish Giri and GM Vidit Gujrathi both won their second games as well to take comfortable leads into the next round, whereas in Group D, the players keep fighting but keep drawing all their games, to jointly take a shared lead.  

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Group A

After yesterday's win against GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Dmitry Andreikin played with the black piece once more, this time against French GM Etienne Bacrot. Rather than a Sicilian like yesterday, he went for the Deferred Steinitz Variation in the Ruy Lopez, something he has played before. Just as Bacrot seemed to slide into a worse position, he struck with the unexpected and possibly reckless 24.Bg5, which forced the players into an endgame with two rooks and seven pawns vs. rook, knight, bishop, and six pawns. It looked better for Black, but Andreikin did not find a way through.

Dmitry Andreikin in his game against Bacrot. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Having misplayed a good position in round one, Grischuk seemed highly motivated to stage a comeback with the black pieces in today's game against Shankland. In a well-known position in a 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian, Grischuk sacrificed a pawn, which Shankland was not ready to accept. This allowed Black a great position with lots of play against White's uncastled king, but after letting the initiative slip, Black blundered his way into a terrible endgame. However, less than accurate play by Shankland allowed Black one final chance that was missed, and White won.

Grischuk waits for the move by Shankland. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Group B

Both Giri and GM Nikita Vitiugov had put convincing victories on the board in round one and, therefore, all eyes were on them in their encounter to decide who would take the early lead in the group. Both players repeated their round colors, Giri with White and Vitiugov with Black, and, like yesterday, Giri played the Italian and chose a somewhat unusual line with 10.b3 followed by 13.Qd2. Black seemed to have equalized, but Giri kept pushing, and with 23.h4!?, he committed himself to sacrifice a piece, which, after inaccurate defense by Black, worked like an absolute dream. Another great game by Giri, who is now one point ahead in the group. gotd 2022

Giri, the man of the hour. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the battle between the players who lost round one, GM Amin Tabatabaei was surprised by GM Pentala Harikrishna's Caro-Kann with 4...Nf6, something that Harikrishna had only played once or twice before. After poor play by White in the transition from opening to middlegame, Harikrishna took complete control of the game and should have won after chasing White's king out in the open.  But in the lead-up to the time control, Black did not find the strongest moves and let the resourceful Tabatabaei off the hook and, eventually, a draw by repetition was reached.

A narrow escape for Tabatabaei. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Group C

The first game of the day to finish was the game between GM Alexei Shirov and GM Richard Rapport. In a Petroff, Rapport went for the somewhat unusual 4...Nc6!?, which surprisingly was also essayed in a game in Group D (more about that below). The players found a way to a sterile opposite-colored bishop endgame and coasted rapidly to move 30. 

Surprises in chess can still come as early as move four. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The group leader, GM Vidit Gujrathi, took on GM Vladimir Fedoseev in a 4.Qc2 Nimzo-Indian, possibly inspired by Fedoseev's somewhat wild play against Rapport in round one. In today's game, Fedoseev chose a different set-up with an early ...d7-d5 and seemed to have equalized after the opening. However, a couple of minor mistakes let White back in control of the game, and aside from a slip-up in the last move before the time control, he converted nicely.

A tense game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Group D

As mentioned above, the combatants continued their drawing ways, but it was not for a lack of trying. 

The game GM Alexandr Predke vs. GM Yu Yangyi varied from today's aforementioned game between Shirov and Rapport when Predke played 6.dxe5 in a Petroff with 4...Nc6. This rare line is something Predke had played against before, but Yu had prepared a novelty on the 10th move. Despite this, White still found a path to some initiative, but eventually, all the pieces got exchanged into a drawn rook ending.

Predke (left) against Yu. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The two highest-rated players of the group, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, were facing each other in today's round. Vachier-Lagrave, like yesterday, played the Ruy Lopez with the white pieces and Mamedyarov used one of his favorite defenses, the Open Variation (5...Nxe4). Despite quickly veering down a relatively unexplored path, Mamedyarov played really fast and sacrificed a piece for a massive lead in development and a strong initiative. Just as the engines were telling the viewers that Mamedyarov had the upper hand, Black went for a line that allowed a perpetual check. An exciting game to conclude today's round-up.

How much did Mamedyarov (right) really prepare? Photo: Maria Emelianova/


All Games - Round 2

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