2022 FIDE Grand Prix Belgrade R3: Rapport And Fedoseev Win, Many Draws
Rapport broke into the lead in Group C with his win. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2022 FIDE Grand Prix Belgrade R3: Rapport And Fedoseev Win, Many Draws

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Two wins and six draws—those were the results of today's efforts in the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix leg two in Belgrade. In Group A, B, and D, all of the games ended in draws, which means that GM Dmitry Andreikin and GM Sam Shankland continue to share the lead. In Group B, GM Anish Giri holds on to his one-point lead, In Group C, GM Richard Rapport won the game against leader GM Vidit Gujrathi, leaving them tied for first place; GM Vladimir Fedoseev, who also won against GM Alexey Shirov, is just half a point behind. Finally, the buddies in Group D continue to all have a share of the lead. 

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Group A

Ahead of today's round, Andreikin and Shankland shared the lead, and with them facing each other today, there was an opportunity for one of them to open a solid lead on the rest of the group. Shankland may have surprised his opponent with the choice of the Grunfeld instead of his usual Slav Defense. Nevertheless, his home preparation was very thorough in a topical line and the game never really looked like anything other than a draw.

Shankland (left) showed great preparation in the Grunfeld. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

GM Alexander Grischuk has had a terrible start and undoubtedly wanted to make up for it with a full point against GM Etienne Bacrot. Bacrot opted for the Petroff and play developed along a line that has been popular for more than 30 years and thus is thoroughly analyzed. As a neutral observer, it never seemed like the evaluation bar veered away from equality. This was not what either of the players needed for their overall tournament prospects.

No breakthrough in Grischuk-Bacrot. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Group B

Giri, the leader of Group B, had to play Black for the first time against Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna. As is his custom, Giri showed up exceedingly well-prepared in an Open Ruy Lopez, blitzing the first twenty moves, possibly having the entire game prepared at home. This takes Giri into the second half of the tournament a full point ahead.

Giri consolidates his lead. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the group's second game, the two players who had lost to Giri in the first two rounds, GM Nikita Vitiugov and GM Amin Tabatabaei, were facing each other. Tabatabaei opted for an ultra-solid line in a Queen's Gambit Declined, possibly based on Vitiugov's poor score against this particular set-up, though it should be said that Tabatabaei had previously played the line last year.

Although White seemed to have slightly better chances, that changed when he played 20.a4?! and Tabatabaei's inventive ...Ra8-a6-b6 resolved all of Black's problems. For the remainder of the game, the players did not seem intent on hurting each other and a draw was agreed upon after both players had reached move 40.

Vitiugov is the closest behind Giri, but still a point behind. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Group C

Vidit started with two wins and was a point ahead before this round, in which he faced Rapport with the black pieces. Like in the first round against Fedoseev, Rapport allowed Black to play the Nimzo-Indian, but rather than 4.Qc2, which both he and Vidit had used against Fedoseev, he went for Rubinstein's 4.e3, which I wrote a thick volume about twenty years ago.  Rapport did not exactly choose the most ambitious setup and already around move 10, the players departed known theory. Despite the chances being fairly even, White's position seemed easier to play and Rapport clearly seemed at ease, pushing Black backward, eventually winning a good game. gotd 2022

The players discuss their game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Both Fedoseev and Shirov needed a win. Fedoseev opted for the reasonably rare 5.Qd3, which he had never played before. Shirov reacted with a rather unusual set-up that took the play in the direction of an Exchange Slav where Black had weakened his queenside with an early ...b7-b6. The weaknesses left behind this advance as well as the later ...b6-b5 caused Black to fight against the wall, at one point having to sacrifice the exchange. However, it was not until his 23...Rb8 that he definitely was lost.  A very nice game by Fedoseev, who is now only half a point behind the leaders.

Group D

With all the games drawn thus far, all the players were sharing first and last place. Today's action, despite plenty of effort, did not change that.

In the game between GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and GM Aleksandr Predke, The players opted for a somewhat rare line in the Queen's Gambit Declined, where Black was the first to deviate from known theory with his 12...Nd7. White seemed to have a possibility for an edge on move 21, but otherwise, the game was never truly out of balance despite White playing with an extra pawn for most of the game.

Another day of draws for Group D. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the other game of Group D, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had his first game with Black after having been in trouble in both of his first two games. He ventured out with his beloved Grünfeld Indian against GM Yu Yangyi and opted for the 10...b6 line that he has used on multiple occasions, including in the 2020-21 Candidates tournament. The game was never truly out of balance, despite White entering a rook ending with an extra pawn.

The players embark on a Grunfeld. Photo: Maria Emelianova/


All Games - Round 3

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