Elista GP: Jakovenko and Gashimov start with victories

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Elista Grand PrixIn the first round of the Elista Grand Prix Dmitry Jakovenko defeated the "unbeatable" Wang Yue and Vugar Gashimov was too strong for Grand Prix debutant Pavel Eljanov. Full report. Update: Candidates Tournament in doubt?

The 3rd Grand Prix tournament is held from Saturday, December 13 to Monday, December 29 in Elista, Kalmykia. The 14 participants are Teimour Radjabov, Peter Leko, Dmitry Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Pavel Eljanov, Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Alekseev, Etienne Bacrot, Vugar Gashimov, Ivan Cheparinov, Vladimir Akopian, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Ernesto Inarkiev. Rounds start daily at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET; 07:00 EST); live here.

Magnus Carlsen and Michael Adams withdrew from the Series; nominated players Al Modiahki and Pelletier had to leave - these four players have been subsituted by Akopian, Alekseev, Eljanov and Kasimdzhanov.

Wang Yue, who was leading the overall standings after two Grand Prix events, was beaten by Jakovenko. It was a model game for White players who are still having trouble against the Berlin Wall; exchange all pieces, create a passed pawn and use it to deflect the opponent's forces. Winning streak? Several media are mentioning that with this game an amazing winning streak of 82 undefeated games by the Chinese came to an end, as his last loss that can be found in most databases (generated by TWIC's games) was his game against FM Bjorn Thorfinnsson at the Reykjavik Open in March this year.

However, we're not completely sure since this Chinese Team Championship page quotes a game Zhang Yang - Wang Yue 1-0 from the Nankai University vs Tianjin Zhejiang team match, played at the end of October. Has this game been published somewhere? (Or is it his game versus Zhang Ziyang?) Hopefully we're just lost in Google translation - perhaps one of our readers can give us more details. (According to Jens in the comments we're wrong on this one.) Gashimov Vugar Gashimov, co-winner of the first Grand Prix, started well again with a win against Eljanov, grinding the debutant down to move 96. Bacrot and Kasimdzhanov preferred an extra day to get acclimatized and repeated moves right after the opening. Leko and Akopian did more or less the same, though that opening contained some more moves because it was a Closed Ruy Lopez.

Inarkiev-Alekseev was a good fight in a Breyer but the two "draws of the day" were Radjabov-Cheparinov (a sharp Caro-Kann) and Mamedyarov-Grischuk, although that one was mostly theory. White's novelty at move 18 didn't change the verdict of a Gruenfeld line that was very popular a decade ago.

Results round 1

Bacrot-Kasimdzhanov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Jakovenko-Wang Yue 1-0 Leko-Akopian ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Inarkiev-Alekseev ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Mamedyarov-Grischuk ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? Gashimov-Eljanov 1-0 Radjabov-Cheparinov ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

Games first round

Pairings round 2

Kasimdzhanov-Eljanov Alekseev-Gashimov Wang Yue-Inarkiev Akopian-Jakovenko Grischuk-Leko Cheparinov-Mamedyarov Bacrot-Radjabov

Update 12:04 CET: As Olaf mentions in the comments, some unclear statements from a press conference by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov have been published at the tournament website:

[The winner of the Grand Prix Series] will have a right to play an official match against the winner of the FIDE World Cup 2009. And the winner of this match will meet the winner of the match Viswanathan Anand-Veselin Topalov to further fight for the World Chess Champion crown.

Apparently Ilyumzhinov is sure about the winner in the Topalov-Kamsky match. He's not sure though whether the planned Candidates Tournament will take place:

The FIDE General Assembly in Dresden opened a bid to organize the Candidates tournament started the discussions if this tournament should be organized or not. But the final decision on this issue will be made at the FIDE Presidential Board, which will take place in March next year. Now, we are collecting the bids. Just to add, the World Champion Vishy Anand, the leading Grandmasters Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlslen are against the inclusion of the Candidates tournament in the cycle. Proposing to organize this tournament, we proceed from the fact that the losers of the World Chess Championship matches would still have an opportunity to fight further for the World crown, and will not be out of the boat at all.
To be continued...

Opening Ceremony

Below the five Olympic rings...

Opening Ceremony

...the Kalmykians welcome the participants...

Opening Ceremony traditional style


The participants with the countries they're representing

Drawing of lots

The drawing of lots by Elista ladies in their famous chess outfits


Number one goes to... Etienne Bacrot


Teimour Radjabov gets number two


Six Eight is for Eljanov


The stage in Elista where thirteen times seven top games will be played

Round 1

Round 1: the 3rd Grand Prix takes off

Jakovenko vs Wang Yue

Wang Yue loses his first game in nine months, to Jakovenko, or... does he?


Ex-FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov, back in the race


Radjabov vs Cheparinov with the FIDE President on stage

Press conference

The press conference with Vladimir Akopian, Geoffrey Borg and Peter Leko


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