Ding Beats Gelfand, Wins Moscow Grand Prix

Ding Beats Gelfand, Wins Moscow Grand Prix

| 72 | Chess Event Coverage

Ding Liren became the sole winner of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow. Boris Gelfand went for a "very optimistic sacrifice" (as described by Hikaru Nakamura) which turned out to be incorrect. With strong play Ding won the game and also the tournament as co-leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew his game in just 13 minutes with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Nakamura wasn't impressed by Gelfand's sacrificial play. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

In line with the overall Grand Prix "intrigue," board one finished in a draw after just 13 minutes and 26 moves today. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov saw no reason to risk anything and basically went straight for the draw vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

"These days if you want to play safe but knowing that a draw is always a good result it's always a bit tricky," said MVL.


Quite a few media had shown up today but, as it turned out, they focused on the wrong board. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.


A shorter encounter than the average rapid game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Incidentally, Mamedyarov's live rating after this tournament reached a perfect 2800.0. Asked about the secret behind his recent successes, at first the Azerbaijani was reluctant to answer but then he said: "I have changed my daily regime." A less dangerous Shakh in Baku nightlife, a more dangerous Shakh on the chess board? 


The live ratings after the final round today. Now we know that the Altibox Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger, which starts 6 June, will have eight of the top 10 players.

Vachier-Lagrave on his tournament: "I can reflect only quite poorly on my play, especially in the first part. It's not a great result, but not catastrophic. If I win in Mallorca I have good chances to qualify."

With a usually solid Boris Gelfand behind the white pieces, co-leader Ding Liren was expected to draw his game with Black as well. However, today the Israeli grandmaster was inspired and first sacrificed a piece, and then an exchange. If you add that up, the sum is a full rook, and Gelfand only got two pawns. Instead of the brilliancy prize, he got a zero day. Ding, who countered all the tactics professionally, clinched the sole first prize.


Ding was all smiles. "It's a glorious moment for me; I feel very happy. Last night I felt a little anxious, nervous and was a little stressed out about today's game but today I played very well I think." 


Ding Liren, a very happy winner in Moscow. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

"I played much better than I imagined and I also had many promising positions although I couldn't win them. But the quality of the games was very good."

It turns out that the Chinese had a secret weapon in Moscow. "My mother accompanied me here. She cooked my meals for me so I could spend more time studying chess!"

Soon after, Hikaru Nakamura and Peter Svidler finished on board three. It was a draw, after Nakamura had been slightly better for most of the game.

"I didn't see anything concrete; probably Peter just defended very well and it was a balanced game," the American player said.

Asked about whether he was thinking about the tournament situation, Nakamura replied: "Everything seemed OK and then somehow Boris just lost his mind. I thought all the games were pretty normal but I saw of course the crucial one and I think Ding played well after Boris went for this very optimistic sacrifice."


Nakamura: "Everything seemed OK and then somehow Boris just lost his mind." | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Hou Yifan finished her first Grand Prix on minus one, with eight straight draws and a loss in the final round. She finished the Moscow Grand Prix on plus one after beating Ernesto Inarkiev as Black in the last round.

The game became interesting when Hou decided to give two minor pieces for a rook and a pawn. It seems that it was dynamically balanced, but suddenly the game was decided by a big mistake (a "huge blunder" - Inarkiev).

"Generally I'm satisfied with my performance this time," said Hou. "The progress was not very solid because there were some up and down moments."


Steady progress by Hou Yifan since she finished her university studies last year. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

The last game to finish was Anish Giri vs Alexander Grischuk, one that started with an interesting line of the English Opening recently played a few times by Vishy Anand. "It was important to keep chances for a win," Grischuk said. "The difference between draw and winning was bigger than the difference between draw and losing."

Giri was having difficulties remembering his preparation, and described his 10.g4 as a "horrible move." He ended up with a pawn down, but then fought like a lion.


A pawn down, Giri defended well and kept his unbeaten status. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

Moscow Grand Prix | Final Standings

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts. rtg+/- GP pts. Prize (€)
1 4 GM Ding Liren 2773 6 11,6 170 20,000
2 5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2772 5,5 5,1 140 15,000
3 1 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2795 5 -4,5 71,4 9,000
2 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2786 5 -1,4 71,4 9,000
3 GM Giri Anish 2785 5 -3,4 71,4 9,000
6 GM Svidler Peter 2755 5 2,2 71,4 9,000
8 GM Grischuk Alexander 2750 5 2,7 71,4 9,000
13 GM Radjabov Teimour 2710 5 11 71,4 9,000
16 GM Hou Yifan 2652 5 14,1 71,4 9,000
10 9 GM Harikrishna P. 2750 4,5 -4,3 20 4,417
12 GM Gelfand Boris 2724 4,5 3,8 20 4,417
15 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2696 4,5 6,3 20 4,417
13 14 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2710 4 -3,2 7 3,625
18 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2621 4 6,6 7 3,625
15 7 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2751 3,5 -15,7 3 3,.000
10 GM Adams Michael 2747 3,5 -11,6 3 3,000
17 GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2633 3,5 2,3 3 3,000
18 11 GM Inarkiev Ernesto 2727 2,5 -21,6 1 2,500


The silver and gold medals and winner's trophy for the Moscow Grand Prix. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.

The tournament, a nine-round Swiss with a prize fund of 130,000 euros ($142,000), was held 12-21 May in the Central Telegraph building in Moscow. 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.

Below are the current Grand Prix standings (according to our calculations, so unofficial).

2017 FIDE Grand Prix | Standings After Two Legs

Rk. Fed Name Sharjah Moscow Total
1 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 140 140 280
2 Ding Liren 70 170 240
3 Grischuk Alexander 140 71,4 211,4
4 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 140 71,4 211,4
5 Nakamura Hikaru 70 71,4 141,4
6 Hou Yifan 7 71,4 78,4
7 Adams Michael 70 3 73
8 Nepomniachtchi Ian 70 3 73
9 Giri, Anish 71,4 71,4
10 Svidler,Peter 71,4 71,4
11 Radjabov,Teimour 71,4 71,4
12 Jakovenko Dmitry 70 70
13 Vallejo Pons Francisco 25 7 32
14 Rapport Richard 25 25
15 Eljanov Pavel 25 25
16 Li Chao 25 25
17 Tomashevsky Evgeny 3 20 23
18 Harikrishna,Pentala 20 20
19 Gelfand,Boris 20 20
20 Hammer Jon Ludvig 3 7 10
21 Aronian Levon 7 7
22 Salem A.R. Saleh 3 3 6
23 Riazantsev Alexander 1 1
24 Inarkiev,Ernesto 1 1

Games from TWIC.

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