Aronian, Radjabov Join Leaders At Palma GP

Aronian, Radjabov Join Leaders At Palma GP

| 22 | Chess Event Coverage

Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov won their games in round two of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The two are tied for first place with Anish Giri and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Ernesto Inarkiev was one of the winners yesterday, but he lost to Aronian and dropped back to 50 percent. After two rounds, nobody is left with a 100 percent score, and nobody started with two losses.

Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix | Round 2 Results

Bo. No. Fed Title Name Rtg Pt. Result Pt. Fed Title Name Rtg No.
1 6 GM Giri 2762 1 ½ - ½ 1 GM Vachier-Lagrave 2796 2
2 1 GM Aronian 2801 ½ 1 - 0 1 GM Inarkiev 2683 16
3 3 GM Nakamura 2780 ½ ½ - ½ ½ GM Jakovenko 2721 10
4 17 GM Riazantsev 2651 ½ ½ - ½ ½ GM Ding Liren 2774 4
5 5 GM Svidler 2763 ½ ½ - ½ ½ GM Eljanov 2707 12
6 13 GM Vallejo 2705 ½ 0 - 1 ½ GM Radjabov 2741 8
7 9 GM Harikrishna 2738 ½ ½ - ½ ½ GM Tomashevsky 2702 14
8 7 GM Li Chao 2741 0 ½ - ½ ½ GM Hammer 2629 18
9 11 GM Gelfand 2719 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Rapport 2692 15

Candidates Update: What If This Were The Final Round?

Radjabov and Vachier-Lagrave are trying to qualify for the 2018 Candidates' Tournament. For this, they need to finish among the top two in the overall Grand Prix standings.

Each round we update the situation with the question: What if the tournament ended here?

Today, Radjabov (who needs 96 points) and MVL (who needs 126 points) would get points for a tie for first place with four players: 170+140+110+90=510 / 4 = 127.5 each. That would be enough for both to surpass Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk.

For more information see our first report.

After "spoiling" a White game yesterday (drawing in 12 moves with Alexander Riazantsev!) Teimour Radjabov got the most out of his first black game. Returning to his old love, the King's Indian, the Azerbaijani got to play the super-thematic e5-e4 pawn sacrifice to bring his fianchetto bishop to life. 

KID connaisseurs will immediately sing in harmony Kotov-Gligoric! Kotov-Gligoric! and our annotator, who is a trainer and an author of a book on this opening, knows his classics too obviously.


The World Cup winner Levon Aronian joined the leaders as well. He won a highly theoretical battle vs. Ernsto Inarkiev in a sharp line of the 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined that was seen at this year's Isle of Man tournament. You might remember Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura drawing very quickly in the last round there—that's the variation we're talking about.

These adventures all started with a game between Viktor Kortchnoi and Anatoly Karpov in their 1978 world championship match in Baguio. At the time, Korchnoi found his way through the complications and won the game. It took another 30 years before someone else tried it as Black!

Since the game Tarjan-Zumsande from 2015, also played in Isle of Man, the line was playable again. This might still be the case after Aronian's novelty on move 16, but today Inarkiev failed to hold. His piece sacrifice on move 22 was very intersting, but not correct. A splendid game by Aronian.


Aronian vs Inarkiev. | Photo: FIDE.

Speaking of theoretical battles, what about Anish Giri vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave? They continued a discussion that took place during the 2016 Norway Chess tournament, when the Dutchman had his opponent on the ropes in the opening but let him get away and then lost.

To some extent it went a bit similar today, with Giri getting the upper hand after an interesting exchange sacrifice. It looks like White was still better on move 26.


Paula Guinard, the tourism manager of Palma de Mallorca, making the first move for Giri. | Photo: FIDE.


Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix | Standings After Round 2

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts.
1 1 GM Aronian Levon 2801 1,5
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796 1,5
6 GM Giri Anish 2762 1,5
8 GM Radjabov Teimour 2741 1,5
5 3 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2780 1
4 GM Ding Liren 2774 1
5 GM Svidler Peter 2763 1
9 GM Harikrishna P. 2738 1
10 GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2721 1
12 GM Eljanov Pavel 2707 1
14 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2702 1
16 GM Inarkiev Ernesto 2683 1
17 GM Riazantsev Alexander 2651 1
18 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2629 1
15 7 GM Li Chao B 2741 0,5
11 GM Gelfand Boris 2719 0,5
13 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2705 0,5
15 GM Rapport Richard 2692 0,5

The Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix takes place November 16-25 (with a rest day on Nov. 21) in the Iberostar Cristina hotel in Palma de Mallorca. It is a nine-round Swiss with 18 players. The prize fund is €130,000 / $152,892. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

Correction: An earlier version of this report wrongly stated that the game Giri-MVL from Norway Chess 2016 ended in a draw.

Previous report:

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