Aronian And Alekseev Share Lead In Nalchik

| 2 | Chess Event Coverage

The FIDE Grand Prix in Nalchik continues to serve up some mouthwatering games in a very hard fought competition.

In round 7, Kamsky tried out the French defence again; a new choice which he had prepared previously for his match with Topalov. Topalov had played safe with 3.Nd2, but Karjakin chose the sharper 3.Nc3 and a fierce tactical battle ensued.

Kamksy eventually lost on time, but his position was likely beyond repair anyway. At least it was a shorter game for the marathon man!

The other decisive game in round 7 occurred when Eljanov beat Gelfand in a nice game with the black pieces.  Eljanov made it two wins in as many games, when he won again with the black pieces in round 8 against...Kamsky!

Eljanov is definitely something of a bogey player for Kamsky, with their five serious games together all ending in defeat for the American.

However, the game of the 8th round was unquestionably Gelfand's win with black against Kasimdzhanov in the super-sharp Anti-Meran Gambit. Gelfand uncorked an amazing novelty as early as move 9, with Nbd7!?, giving the gambit pawn back to speed his development.

Kasim bravely accepted the pawn, but used a lot of time trying to find the best moves against his opponent's home preparation.  Gelfand eventually won in just 28 moves, most of which he had anticipated and studied before the game!

Round 9 brings us up to date as the players are now enjoying their second well-earned rest day of the tournament.  Alekseev (pictured above) slowly squeezed the life from Karjakin using his powerful bishop pair to win and earn a share of the lead with Aronian on 5.5/9.

France's Etienne Bacrot had drawn all his games going into the 9th round, but achieved his first victory of the tournament by demolishing Mamedyarov to move into the top half of the standings.

Finally, after 3 losses from the previous 4 rounds, that man Kamsky bounced back to win against former leader Grischuk.  Grischuk pressed hard for a win with the white pieces, but Kamsky held firm and eventually turned the tables to grind out a victory in 101 moves!

Selected games are below.  All games are available at the official tournament website.

The standings after round 9:

Alekseev, Evgeny   RUS   2716   
Aronian, Levon  ARM  2754  
Leko, Peter  HUN  2751 5
Svidler, Peter  RUS  2726 5
Bacrot, Etienne  FRA  2728 5
Karjakin, Sergey  UKR  2721  
Grischuk, Alexander  RUS  2748  
Akopian, Vladimir  ARM  2696  
Eljanov, Pavel  UKR  2693  
Kamsky, Gata  USA  2720 4
Gelfand, Boris  ISR  2733 4
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  AZE  2725 4
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam  UZB  2695 4
Ivanchuk, Vassily  UKR  2746 3


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