Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi, Nakamura Advance In FIDE Grand Prix
The round two tiebreaks. | Photo: WorldChess.

Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi, Nakamura Advance In FIDE Grand Prix

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

Alexander Grischuk, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Hikaru Nakamura won their tiebreaks today and qualified for the third round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow.

Tomorrow, Nepomniachtchi will play a match against Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and Grischuk will face Nakamura.

Wednesday was the second tiebreak day in Moscow, with three rapid matches on the program. Like in the first round, everything was already decided after the two rapid games, in playoffs that theoretically could have gone seven games including the Armageddon.

The first to go through was Nakamura, who won his first game with Daniil Dubov after finding an amazing tactical trick. To convert was harder than he expected.

"Daniil I think defended incredibly well once he blundered," said Nakamura. "Practically speaking, I thought I would win quite easily, but Daniil found very good resources."

Nakamura FIDE Grand Prix Moscow 2019
A devilish trick by Nakamura in game one. | Photo: WorldChess.

Nakamura played another good second game. He was better prepared in the English Four Knights, and won an exchange. When it became tactical he found a couple of important moves: 17.Rf2 and 23.Qe1. In the end, he was technically winning but offered a draw because it didn't matter anymore.

"I think in general Hikaru simply played better today," said Dubov. "Obviously there are some unlucky moments for me in the first game. First of all there were some incredibly stupid cameramen who decided to run next to me when I was down to 10 seconds or something but in general, he was pressing in the first game and he was pressing in the second game."

Wei Yi and Nepomniachtchi played a fascinating first rapid game where the Russian player seemed to be playing with his life. In the endgame, Nepo decided to give a piece for three pawns and that's where the fun began.

"Optically it looked very suspicious for Black but I think I was never losing, at least by force,"Nepomniachtchi said.

Nepomniachtchi Wei Yi FIDE Grand Prix Moscow 2019
Wei Yi resigns the first rapid game with Nepomniachtchi. | Photo: Niki Riga/WorldChess.

"In the first game I missed some chances and in the second game I played a bit crazy," Wei Yi said. "I simply made a blunder, 20…f6, and I lost the match."

Nepomniachtchi wasn't impressed by his opponent's opening choice. He got a pleasant position and managed to trap the black queen in the early middlegame. The annotations include some notes (as provided by Yury Solomatin) from Nepo during his session in Russian with commentator Sergey Shipov:

Grischuk drew his first game of the day with Black against Wesley So, but as it turned out he was winning in the final position!

"The first game, I thought it was a good game, but unfortunately between the games I checked Chessbomb and apparently I was almost winning in the end," said Grischuk. "It was just an absolutely terrible game and people in the chat were saying ‘what a chicken, Grischuk, how can he agree [to a draw],’ but I really didn’t see I had an advantage," he said. 

Grischuk didn't seem affected much in the second game, though. He played an excellent, positional game and eventually won in a rook endgame using good technique. His own thoughts were different.

"My technique was, I don’t know, 50 percent of Magnus, which proved to be enough in this position. I mean, it was far from fantastic technique from me, but not terrible either."

Alexander Grischuk FIDE Grand Prix Moscow 2019
Grischuk's "50 percent of Magnus technique" was enough today. | Photo: Niki Riga/WorldChess.

The 2019 FIDE Grand Prix series consists of four knockout tournaments, with 16 players each, who play two classical games per round and if needed a tiebreak on the third day. The other three Grand Prix tournaments are Riga/Jurmala, Latvia (July 11–25), Hamburg, Germany (November 4–18) and Tel Aviv, Israel (December 10–24).

Each of the four tournaments has a prize fund of 130,000 euros ($145,510). Prizes for the overall standings in the series total 280,000 euros ($313,405), making the total prize fund of the series 800,000 euros ($895,444).

The games start each day at 3 p.m. Moscow time, which is 14:00 CEST, 8 a.m. Eastern and 5 a.m. Pacific. You can follow the games here as part of our live portal. The official site is here.

The official WorldChess broadcast with GMs Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Daniil Yuffa.

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