Giri, Hou Score In Moscow Grand Prix Round 7
Anish Giri scored his first win at the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow today. The Dutch GM defeated Salem Saleh. Beating Jon Ludvig Hammer, Hou Yifan scored her second win of the tournament.
Nepomniachtchi gives autographs to children (see text). | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
After some real excitement in rounds three and four, the draw fever is kind of back at this Moscow Grand Prix, at least at the top boards. In the last couple of days we've seen some short draws again, although today's board-one encounter between Hikaru Nakamura and Ding Liren doesn't belong to that category.
Ding chose the Semi-Tarrasch, an opening that's not really on his repertoire but so topical that Nakamura wasn't caught off guard. It's also a solid choice, and Ding himself was solid too today.
"Some small advantage for White but nothing special," Nakamura described his chances today. "My opponent played quite well."
Nakamura: "Some small advantage for White but nothing special." | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Board two was a quick draw; the second in a row for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. He had his usual non-game with Teimour Radjabov yesterday (it's a "public secret" that these two friends always draw quickly with each other), and today he only played 14 moves to draw with Alexander Grischuk. With nobody from the chasing group winning, again it was enough for Mamedyarov to retain shared first place with Ding.
That chasing group again became bigger; now it consists of seven people who are just half a point behind the leader. Anish Giri joined this group as he scored his first win of the tournament. In fact, it was also Giri's first decisive game in the Central Telegraph building, after 20 draws—the 2016 Candidates' Tournament was held here as well!
Giri outplayed Salem from the opening, but missed a quicker win. In fact it's quite possible that the rook ending is a draw; the players weren't sure, and our commentator wasn't either.
Giri and Salem discussing their game on stage. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Hou Yifan scored her second win, at the expense of Jon Ludvig Hammer. The way it went was a bit odd; at first Hou got a winning position after Hammer's exchange sacrifice didn't work, then she allowed her opponent to come back but won anyway when Hammer decided to play for a win.
"I thought it looked interesting but the more I calculated it, the more I kind of realized it was just bad," said Hammer about that exchange sac. "Unfortunately I only realised that when I thought it was too late to turn around."
The endgame around move 50 was "very equal," according to Hou, and at some point Hammer got optimistic. His 65...f4 was a winning attempt that completely backfired.
Hammer realizes what he has done. | Photos Maria Emelianova.
2017 Moscow Grand Prix | Round 7 Standings
|14||GM||Vallejo Pons Francisco||2710||3||-3|
|18||GM||Hammer Jon Ludvig||2621||3||4,7|
|17||GM||Salem A.R. Saleh||2633||2,5||1,2|
Before today's seventh round, there was a simul at the venue for children with different kinds of disabilities.
Organized by the FIDE Commission Chess for the Disabled, the simul was given by FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov(!), who started, and GM Alexander Motylev, who took over after about 40 minutes.
But what's most important is that the children had a great afternoon. Some of them stayed a bit to watch the start of the round.
Motylev playing against one of several visually impaired kids. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Polina Torochkova, in the middle holding papers, was mainly responsible for the event. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
A group photo afterward. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Staying around a bit longer to see the top GMs in action. | Photo: Maria Emelianova.
Saturday's pairings are Ding-Giri, Svidler-Mamedyarov, Grischuk-Nakamura, Radjabov-Gelfand, Tomashevsky-MVL, Hou Yifan-Vallejo, Nepomniachtchi-Harikrishna, Hammer-Adams, and Salem-Inarkiev.
The tournament, a nine-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 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.
Games from TWIC.
Update 20 May 2017, 03:10 Pacific: A previous version of this article wrongly stated that Agon had nothing to do with with the simul. Agon provided the venue and gifts.