Ding Leads After Dramatic Day At Moscow GP
In what was the most spectacular round of the whole 2017 FIDE Grand Prix so far, five games ended decisively. Sunday's winners in Moscow were Ding Liren (now the sole leader), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Peter Svidler, Salem Saleh and Jon Ludvig Hammer.
Ding Liren is the sole leader after beating Hou Yifan today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Agon has a habit of finding peculiar VIPs to join the stage at the start of the rounds, but even for their standards today was rather remarkable. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the head of the Republic of Ingushetia, came to the boards and performed the first move for Ernesto Inarkiev.
There's a relation between the two: the $100,000 sponsor money that Agon demanded for Inarkiev to play, came from Ingushetia, and Inarkiev recently took the job of president of the local chess federation there.
After making the ceremonial first move, Yevkurov (a former soldier and paratrooper) pretended to threaten Inarkiev: "If you lose, you cannot come back to Ingushetia!"
It was a joke, and being the good citizen that he is, Inarkiev pretended he liked it—only to lose to Jon Ludvig Hammer 48 moves later.
Yevkurov shaking hands with the players. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Yevkurov then went to board one, where Ding Liren and Hou Yifan were playing. And despite the fact that the players had started their game, the politician introduced himself and gave flowers to Hou, for no particular reason (besides, it seems, that she's a woman). The players seemed perplexed.
Flowers for Hou Yifan, during her game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Ingushetia's leader was one of many Russian speakers who had free access to the chess today. No only has Agon been providing their Russian-language video stream with GM Sergey Shipov for free so far, but today the Russian Chess Federation also announced that free tickets to the tournament can be picked up at the Central Chess Club on Gogolevsky Boulevard.
Perhaps this will help to fill the empty seats? Well, if today is a sign of more to come, the chess itself should get the fans on their feet.
Hou Yifan suffered her first loss, and this meant that Ding Liren grabbed sole lead today. The latter chose a plan in the Giuoco Piano that has been seen several times in recent top games: pushing the g- and h-pawns. It was remarkable to see the black king on f6 on move 13, but White couldn't really profit.
Hou tried to get some play on the kingside but it only led to the loss of a pawn. She seemed to be hanging on, but with a nice positional exchange sacrifice Ding kept the initiative going.
Hou and Ding starting their game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was the first winner of the day, and he did so in style. Michael Adams felt that 13.Rb1 was "clever" after which he "couldn't really see a very good way to play." The Englishman admitted that he more or less found the quickest way to lose the game.
Mamedyarov is now world #5 in the live ratings and one win away from breaking 2800. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Pentala Harikrishna vs Peter Svidler was fun too. The Indian had prepared 12.d6, but a move later he decided to play something that was not in his prep, but looked interesting: 13.h4!?. Now that's what we like!
Two pawns were sacrificed, but Black's position would have remained dangerous after the critical move 19.Be2. As it went, Svidler won a third, and although that was not the end of the tactics, he was accurate enough in the remainder of the game.
Hari and Svidler on their way to the press conference. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Ian Nepomniachtchi is the only player who hasn't drawn a game yet. After losing to Hou and beating Hammer, today he was defeated by Salem Saleh.
White was better out of the opening, but Salem successfully created complications and eventually profited from a blunder.
Giri discovers that Gelfand is playing the same Accelarated Dragon against MVL as against him in the first round. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
@photochess) May 14, 2017
"A complicated strategic game" was how Jon Ludvig Hammer described his win over Ernesto Inarkiev, which was the Norwegian's first win in the FIDE Grand Prix.
In a Caro-Kann Advance both players got a nice outpost for a knight on the c-file and after about 20 moves it was clear that Black was completely fine. Ten moves later things became really sharp when Hammer pushed his g-pawn, and soon after Inarkiev miscalculated.
A good win for Hammer today. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
2017 Moscow Grand Prix | Round 3 Standings
|17||GM||Salem A.R. Saleh||2633||2||9,9|
|14||GM||Vallejo Pons Francisco||2710||1,5||2,5|
|18||GM||Hammer Jon Ludvig||2621||1,5||4,9|
Gelfand and MVL chatting with Ilya Smirin and Anish Giri. | Photo Maria Emelianova.
Tomorrow's pairings are Ding-Svidler, Salem-Mamedyarov, Grischuk-MVL, Nakamura-Hou, Hammer-Giri, Gelfand-Tomashevsky, Vallejo-Radjabov, Adams-Nepomniachtchi, and Inarkiev-Harikrishna.
The tournament, a 9-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 Grand Prixs: 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.