Grand Prix: Nakamura Leads After Round 8

Grand Prix: Nakamura Leads After Round 8

24 | Chess Event Coverage

After a few quiet days, the Grand Prix in Élancourt heated up again on Monday with four decisive games. Hikaru Nakamura was worse throughout his game, but defended well and even won as Vassily Ivanchuk lost on time in a drawn position. The American grandmaster is the sole leader now as Boris Gelfand lost to Fabiano Caruana. Alexander Grischuk won his white game against Anish Giri, and Etienne Bacrot won with Black against Ruslan Ponomariov. Tuesday is a rest day.

The top of the standings at the Grand Prix was shaken up considerably on Monday as tournament leader Boris Gelfand lost for the first time, against the number three in the leaderboard, Fabiano Caruana. Hikaru Nakamura, who was half a point behind Gelfand, took over the lead as he got one half point thanks to good defense, and another half point because Vassily Ivanchuk handled the clock badly and lost on time in a drawn ending. Going into the second and final rest day, the American is now half a point ahead of Caruana & Gelfand. Behind them, Etienne Bacrot is on "plus one".

As so often, Ivanchuk was involved in a dramatic game. The Ukrainian got a slight advantage in a 5.d3 Ruy Lopez due to an inaccuracy by Nakamura on move 17. But then, after reaching the time control, Ivanchuk spent almost an hour (!) on his 41st move, trying to calculate a forced win. In the end he went for 41.Kg2 (a move he could have made "after a minute", as he said himself) and Nakamura held everything together while sacrificing his f-pawn. In huge time trouble Ivanchuk allowed some complications and his flag fell five moves before the second time control.


It took about ten minutes before press officer Alina l'Ami managed to convince Ivanchuk to join the press conference, while Nakamura had already started analyzing with Sergey Tiviakov. When he finally arrived, Chucky, still upset, immediately grabbed the mouse and started explaining what he had been looking at on move 40. It eventually became clear that Nakamura had looked at the positions more objectively. He said:

“My opponent was always a bit better but I never saw a clear win for him.”


Fabiano Caruana bounced back from his first loss with a smooth win over Boris Gelfand. His rare move 5.d4 in the 3.Bb5 e6 Sicilian worked like a charm mostly due to one big mistake from Black: 12...e5. Gelfand called it a "horrible move" and after 13.g3! he must have realized what he had done.

“Now the knight on g6 is really terrible and Black probably has a really bad position,”

said Caruana, who had a few easy moves to make but then faced some stiff resistance. However, the Italian calculated very accurately and fearlessly took all the material that was thrown at him.


Alexander Grischuk kept pace with Caruana as he beat tail-ender Anish Giri in the first game of the round to finish.

“I was lucky because usually Anish knows everything but today he didn't know the theory,”

said Grischuk, who reached an ending that's known to be better for White.


When Giri also missed 16...c6, he had to suffer till the end.

“ completely underestimated the danger,”

said Giri about the ending.


Ruslan Ponomariov started with seven draws in the tournament, and during his game with Etienne Bacrot he was determined to avoid another one. Well, he succeeded! Quite cheerfully, at the press conference he said:

“The good news is that I did not play another draw. The bad news is that I lost!”

Neither player really expected to reach one of the absolute main lines of the Benoni, but Bacrot knew the theory more than his opponent. He got excellent compensation for a sacrificed pawn, as the ending was a good version of the Volga/Benko Gambit. Only one small mistake by Ponomariov was enough to get into serious trouble. Commentator Tiviakov praised Bacrot for finishing the game so efficiently.


Wang Hao-Dominguez was an Open Catalan where the Cuban chose a solid but slightly passive variation. In a future game White could perhaps try a knight manoeuvre to b6, where it keeps the black queen away from play at least for a while and prevents Black from doubling rooks. In the game Dominguez solved all his problems and even got a slight advantage, and so the Chinese was probably happy to be able to repeat moves.


Fressinet-Tomashevsky, the longest game of the round, was another quiet, Closed Ruy Lopez. The Frenchman managed to get a slight opening advantage but should have continued his plan of doubling rooks with 26.Rha1. But, he got another chance much later in the game: according to Tomashevsky 46.Kd3! would have been winning. The Russian's pawn sac 46...d3! was a fantastic practical decision.


Live video with press conferences

Video feed courtesy of FIDE


Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Results & pairings

Round 1 15:00 CET 22.09.13   Round 2 15:00 CET 23.09.13
Fressinet ½-½ Ponomariov   Ponomariov ½-½ Giri
Grischuk ½-½ Wang Hao   Tomashevsky ½-½ Gelfand
Caruana ½-½ Bacrot   Dominguez ½-½ Nakamura
Ivanchuk ½-½ Dominguez   Bacrot ½-½ Ivanchuk
Nakamura ½-½ Tomashevsky   Wang Hao ½-½ Caruana
Gelfand 1-0 Giri   Fressinet 1-0 Grischuk
Round 3 15:00 CET 24.09.13   Round 4 15:00 CET 25.09.13
Grischuk ½-½ Ponomariov   Ponomariov ½-½ Tomashevsky
Caruana 1-0 Fressinet   Dominguez 1-0 Giri
Ivanchuk 1-0 Wang Hao   Bacrot ½-½ Gelfand
Nakamura 1-0 Bacrot   Wang Hao ½-½ Nakamura
Gelfand 1-0 Dominguez   Fressinet 0-1 Ivanchuk
Giri ½-½ Tomashevsky   Grischuk ½-½ Caruana
Round 5 15:00 CET 27.09.13   Round 6 15:00 CET 28.09.13
Caruana ½-½ Ponomariov   Ponomariov


Ivanchuk 0-1 Grischuk   Bacrot ½-½ Tomashevsky
Nakamura ½-½ Fressinet   Wang Hao ½-½ Giri
Gelfand ½-½ Wang Hao   Fressinet ½-½ Gelfand
Giri 0-1 Bacrot   Grischuk ½-½ Nakamura
Tomashevsky ½-½ Dominguez   Caruana 1-0 Ivanchuk
Round 7 15:00 CET 29.09.13   Round 8 15:00 CET 30.09.13
Ivanchuk ½-½ Ponomariov   Ponomariov 0-1 Bacrot
Nakamura 1-0 Caruana   Wang Hao ½-½ Dominguez
Gelfand 1-0 Grischuk   Fressinet ½-½ Tomashevsky
Giri ½-½ Fressinet   Grischuk 1-0 Giri
Tomashevsky ½-½ Wang Hao   Caruana 1-0 Gelfand
Dominguez ½-½ Bacrot   Ivanchuk 0-1 Nakamura
Round 9 15:00 CET 02.10.13   Round 10 15:00 CET 03.10.13
Nakamura - Ponomariov   Ponomariov - Wang Hao
Gelfand - Ivanchuk   Fressinet - Bacrot
Giri - Caruana   Grischuk - Dominguez
Tomashevsky - Grischuk   Caruana - Tomashevsky
Dominguez - Fressinet   Ivanchuk - Giri
Bacrot - Wang Hao   Nakamura - Gelfand
Round 11 14:00 CET 04.10.13        
Gelfand - Ponomariov        
Giri - Nakamura        
Tomashevsky - Ivanchuk        
Dominguez - Caruana        
Bacrot - Grischuk        
Wang Hao - Fressinet        


Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Round 8 standings

# Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Score SB
1 Nakamura,N 2772 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5/8
2 Caruana,F 2779 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5.0/8 19.75
3 Gelfand,B 2764 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 5.0/8 17.75
4 Bacrot,E 2723 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 4.5/8
5 Tomashevsky,E 2703 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.0/8 15.75
6 Grischuk,A 2785 ½ ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ 1 1 4.0/8 14.25
7 Dominguez,L 2757 ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 1 4.0/8 14.25
8 Wang Hao 2736 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0 ½ 3.5/8 14.75
9 Fressinet,L 2708 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 ½ 3.5/8 14.00
10 Ponomariov,R 2756 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 3.5/8 13.00
11 Ivanchuk,V 2731 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 3.5/8 13.00
12 Giri,A 2737 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/8


This report was cross-posted from ChessVibes with permission. Photos by Alina l'Ami courtesy of FIDE. You can follow the games live here.

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