Caruana, Svidler Victorious In Khanty-Mansiysk

Caruana, Svidler Victorious In Khanty-Mansiysk

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

In round three of the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix GM Evgeny Tomshevsky lost his first ever game in the GP series. He faced a strong novelty by GM Fabiano Caruana and was gradually outplayed.

Later GM Peter Svidler joined the leaders with a good win over his compatriot GM Dmitry Jakovenko.

Photo Kirill Merkurev.

It was an amazing streak by GM Evgeny Tomashevsy, who managed to stay two full Grand Prix tournaments undefeated. We know that he won the last leg in Tbilisi, but also in Baku he was extremely solid, with ten draws and one win.

What does it take to bring down “The Professor,” as Tomashevsly is sometimes called? Well, a strong novelty followed by lots of strong moves perhaps? That's how GM Fabiano Caruana did it today.

Caruana's 8.g4!? determined the course of the whole game. “Such an aggressive idea was quite a surprise for me,” said Tomashevsky, who could hardly find a plan after just 14 moves.

Tomashevsky could hardly find a plan after the opening. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Ten moves later White's advantage was clear, and with some strong moves Caruna could trade all knights and create a decisive passed pawn. An excellent win that got him back to second place in the live ratings.

8.g4N on the board! | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

The other leader, GM Leinier Dominguez, played a pretty good game as Black and held a draw without any problems against GM Sergey Karjakin. If anyone was better in the final position it was Black.

The Cuban number one played a rather unusual setup in what was the mainline of the King's Indian Attack. It cost Karjakin a lot of time on the clock. Both players were proud of move they played in the early middlegame: 15.c4!? (Karjakin) and 15...Ne7! (Dominguez).

The King's Indian Attack in full swing. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

At that point Caruana and Dominguez were sharing the lead. At the end of the day one more player reached 2.0/3: GM Peter Svidler. He won an excellent game as Black against GM Dmitry Jakovenko, whose Exchange Ruy Lopez wasn't very successful.

Svidler quickly grabbed the initiative and won a pawn. That extra pawn was the typical four vs three on the queenside with Black's doubled c-pawn. It seemed that Jakovenko had some drawing chances in the rook ending, but with 50...f5! Svidler found a nice way to win. 

Here's the game annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov, who points out thart Jakovenko was actually doing well after the opening:

Peter Svidler wins a fine game as Black. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

GM Baadur Jobava is hardly capable of playing a dull game. In a Grünfeld, against GM Boris Gelfand, he had prepared a novelty on move six (!) and, because Gelfand went for the most pricipled reply, the Georgian's preparation came on the board.

At the press conference Jobava showed some lines and revealed that the computer actually likes Black in the final position of what he looked at. It takes gut and creativity to ignore that. “It's not so easy to play for Black,” was Jobava's simple comment. 

In his preparation Jobava didn't believe all computer evaluations. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Just when he was about to get checkmated on the kingside Gelfand found a very interesting piece sacrifice to keep he game going. The ending was complicated but about equal, and when Jobava had survived the time trouble (“I did almost everything to lose this game!”) Gelfand offered a draw.

In the game between GM Alexander Grischuk and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, especially the opening phase was nice. It was a Sicilian with 5.f3, and as early as move nine there was no theory left.

Grischuk called it “the most interesting position of the game,” when MVL wondered if that wasn't the starting position. Laughing

In what followed it was Vachier-Lagrave who had the better chances; Grischuk showed some lines where he got in trouble. He wasn't happy with his opening play, but when he got 18.Nc5! in, he was doing alright.

Grischuk playing the rare 5.f3 Sicilian. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

The round actually started with one very quick draw. GM Hikaru Nakamura tried a sideline in the Giuoco Piano which he had looked at while preparing for one of his games at the U.S. Championship. “I thought it's maybe not so easy to find the right moves over the board but OK, Anish played very correctly.”

GM Anish Giri said there were three reasons why he knew this line so well. “One reason is I saw some article by I think [GM David] Smerdon. Usually his articles are funny so I read them. This one was not funny but at least I learnt something.

“Another reason is I had this line once in an online blitz game. The third reason is that a friend of mine, Erwin l'Ami, recently record a video series on all these sidelines of the Italian and all these gambits. So I was up to date in all these lines.”

Nakamura: “It's clear that I should try this against a weaker player, obviously!”

Giri wasn't caught off guard at all. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

This story prompted the Russian journalist Vladimir Barsky to ask “what percentage” of opening theory the players constantly have in their minds, and how much they need to memorize frequently.

Nakamura: “I don't know it in terms of percentage but I think in general, probably normal, position lines, it's easier to remember because in sharp, tactical positions you need to be a hundred percent sure. You play one wrong move, you basically lose the game. Probably every couple of weeks you have to review something like that.

“In general, I can probably remember the end of the line and the basic idea but it's more a matter of trying to remember how to get to that point. I think for the most part modern day chess is all about preparation. So it's a very high percentage.”

Giri: “You remember probably all the evaluations; which variations are good for Black, which are good for White. But there are so many details and analysis...

“If you ask me the percentage of moves that I remember it will be extremely low, it will probably be below ten percent but it's hard to speak in those terms because some moves are irrelevant, some moves you can find over the board. But overall, if you work constantly, I think top players keep quite a lot in their memory.”

Nakamura and Giri at the press conference. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Barsky then asked if the players keep track of all the chess information that appears in books, magazines and on the internet.

Nakamura: “I think some people can do it. I am not one of them. I will read articles here and there in magazines but for the most part, the games I see... you go to Mega Database and you look there. There are so many chess sites, so many articles...

“Maybe if I was a bit crazier about chess, a bit more like Ivanchuk, then I would probably know every single game. OK, it's not who I am. So it doesn't happen.”

Giri: “I read all more or less what I think are important publications, just to make sure I'm not behind, and I'm always not behind, so that's fine.”

2015 Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB
1 Caruana,F 2803 2859 2.0/3 3.50
2 Svidler,P 2734 2894 2.0/3 2.75
3 Dominguez Perez,L 2734 2885 2.0/3 2.75
4 Grischuk,A 2780 2746 1.5/3 2.50
5 Karjakin,S 2753 2769 1.5/3 2.25
6 Nakamura,H 2799 2758 1.5/3 2.00
7 Vachier Lagrave,M 2754 2741 1.5/3 2.00
8 Gelfand,B 2744 2750 1.5/3 2.00
9 Tomashevsky,E 2749 2760 1.5/3 1.75
10 Giri,A 2776 2643 1.0/3 1.50
11 Jobava,B 2699 2629 1.0/3 1.50
12 Jakovenko,D 2738 2628 1.0/3 1.00

The tournament is a round robin of 11 rounds, played May 14 to 26 with rest days on the 18th and 23rd. The venue is the Ugra Chess Center in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

You can watch this tournament every day on with commentary by GMs Evgeny Miroshnichenko & Viorel Iordachescu.

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