3 Winners In Moscow; Rolex For Nakamura
The top of the standings didn't change much despite three decisive games in round six of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow. The winners were Hikaru Nakamura, Boris Gelfand, who both moved to plus-one, and Michael Adams, who recovered after three consecutive losses.
Nakamura receiving his Rolex (see text). | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Ding Liren and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov are still leading the Moscow Grand Prix, but the group chasing them has become bigger. Besides Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov, after today also Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gelfand are only half a point behind.
At the end of round four, when he had played four draws, Nakamura said that by itself the score wasn't too bad, except that two of the winners in Sharjah were ahead of him. He made a fifth draw, but after the rest day he finally scored a full win, well in time to start playing for the top prize.
Speaking of time, on the rest day Nakamura made an appearance at the Central Chess Club on Gogolevsky Boulevard, where he was given a very nice watch by Natalia Shevando, the wife of Oleg Skvortsov. For winning the Zurich Chess Challenge (sponsored by Skvortsov) three times in a row, the American player received a Rolex Sea-Dweller.
@chesscom_ru) May 18, 2017
The watch has a special engraving: "ZCC hat trick 2015-16-17." | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Nakamura wasn't alone in the club; he visited the chess museum, in the same building, together with Hou Yifan. The two players got a special tour by museum director Dimitry Oleynikov, who helped the players by reciting moves from memory when they were trying to remember the final Karpov-Kasparov game from the 1984-1985 match!
Nakamura and Hou Yifan sitting at the famous match table. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Perhaps it inspired Hikaru Nakamura for today's game against Ian Nepomniachtchi. It was a good matchup, not only because the two players are known to be chessboard street fighters, but also because the two have a history: the incident at the 2015 World Cup in Baku.
The game didn't disappoint. Nakamura won, and it only took him about three hours.
He declined entering the theoretical waters of the Poisoned Pawn and went 8.a3 instead. "Ian surprised me with 7...Qb6, said Nakamura, "so I decided to just play chess."
The players reached a Sicilian with opposite castling that looked more like a Rauzer. With a pawn sacrifice in the center White got a strong attack, but with correct play Black could have reached an endgame with lots of counterplay.
Nakamura with his second Kris Littlejohn. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Boris Gelfand, at 48 the oldest participant and one who didn't play in Sharjah, is now on plus-one as well. He won a good game against Pentala Harikrishna that started as an Open Catalan.
Black was fairly solid, but with the impatient 23...c5 Hari got himself into trouble. Gelfand grabbed the initiative and got a big advantage with a knight sac on f7 that wasn't even a sacrifice. Here's the game, with notes from the players.
Hari resigns the game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
The third winner was Michael Adams. He was suffering terribly, with three losses in a row, but the rest day must have done him well. At the same time, Ernesto Inarkiev wasn't playing the opening accurately, and was quickly looking at a bad position. With Adams making no mistakes this time, it was kind of a walkover.
Adams also scored his first win today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
All other games ended in draws. That was very good news for Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who was in big trouble vs Ding Liren today. It was an amazingly complicated game, and just when White seemed to have decided matters, the great move 30...Rxf4! saved Black. Great stuff.
A narrow escape for MVL and, considering the overall Grand Prix standings, an important one. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
2017 Moscow Grand Prix | Round 6 Standings
|18||GM||Hammer Jon Ludvig||2621||3||9,3|
|14||GM||Vallejo Pons Francisco||2710||2,5||-3,5|
|17||GM||Salem A.R. Saleh||2633||2,5||4,2|
Did the photographer mix up the exposure settings for this picture ? No, actually today there was a power outage in the building of about 15 seconds. The same happened in Sharjah, in fact, but today only one game was under way: Gelfand-Harikrishna. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Friday's pairings are Nakamura-Ding, Mamedyarov-Grischuk, MVL-Radjabov, Svidler-Gelfand, Giri-Salem, Harikrishna-Tomashevsky, Hou-Hammer, Vallejo-Adams, and Inarkiev-Nepomniachtchi.
The tournament, a nine-round Swiss with a prize fund of 130,000 euros ($142,000), runs until May 21, with a rest day on May 17. After Moscow there will be two more Grands Prix: in July in Geneva, and in November in Palma de Mallorca. The top two overall finishers will qualify for the 2018 Candidates' Tournament.
Games from TWIC.