Jakovenko Joins Leaders, Dominguez Stumbles in Penultimate Round

Jakovenko Joins Leaders, Dominguez Stumbles in Penultimate Round

| 11 | Chess Event Coverage

The tension is indeed rising in Khanty-Mansiysk, as just one round remains in the 2014-2015 FIDE Grand Prix Cycle. The highly-anticipated matchup between two of the leaders, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura was drawn despite Hikaru's daring choice of the Sicilian Dragon.The other leader, Leinier Dominguez went down to Baduur Jobava (who scored his first win), while Dmitry Jakovenko managed to defeat Sergey Karjakin to tie the leaders with 6.0/10 and keep his qualification hopes very much alive.

After letting Gelfand escape miraculously yesterday, Jakovenko was relentless against Karjakin. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Fabiano Caruana - Hikaru Nakamura 1/2-/1/2
Despite not needing to risk anything, Nakamura chose the Sicilian Dragon against Caruana, and the two engaged in the theoretical variation 9.0-0-0 d5. "I haven't faced the Dragon in a long time", mentioned Caruana, who got a slight edge in the middlegame in the form of a better pawn structure:

While Black's position was a bit unpleasant to play, Nakamura forced a few to reach a double-rook endgame that offered excellent chances of holding, and the game was drawn on the 41st move.
Yeah sure...I'll play a Dragon. Why not. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Dmitry Jakovenko - Sergey Karjakin 1-0
Both players desperately needed to win today in order to retain any chances of finishing in the top two places of the Grand Prix, and so they engaged in the always sharp Semi-Slav Defense. Black had some piece activity in the middlegame, but after the strong 24.Bb4! White seized the initiative and Karjakin was forced to sacrifice his queen. In a long and complex endgame Jakovenko needed a few hours to break down Sergey's fortress, but eventually managed to break through.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov: 

Sergey Karjakin went all out to win today but ended up risking too much. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Baduur Jobava - Leinier Dominguez 1-0
Baduur repeated his pet line of the Scotch Gambit and was surprised by the move 13...Bb7, and after 14.Nd2 c5! the game saw some interesting complications which seemed to have given Black full equality. Dominguez soon drifted, however, first with 19...Qh5?! (where the queen was out of play according to Jobava), and then with 22...Ba5?, which left White with an overwhelming positional advantage. Leinier's original intention was to play 24...Rfc8, but he admitted that he overlooked 25.Rc6!, after which Black cannot defend both the bishop on d5 and pawn on c7.

With a large advantage Jobava progessed slowly, but was able to convert with some nice technique in a rook endgame:

Dominguez got into trouble quickly against the "wildcard" of the event, Jobava. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Alexander Grischuk - Anish Giri 1/2-1/2
Another Semi-Slav, against which Grischuk chose the rare 6.Be2, followed by advancing his a-pawn. The game quickly turned unusual, with the structure resembling a 'Stonewall Dutch'. Giri advanced on the kingside while Grischuk made way on the queen's flank and eventually in the center with 20.d5!, opening things up. In time-trouble Grischuk offered a draw in a complicated position where he probably had the better chances, but the reader can assess for themselves:

A fascinating struggle that definitely ended too early. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.

Boris Gelfand - Evgeny Tomashevsky 1/2-1/2
A very interesting opening, where Gelfand tried 5.Qc2 against the Chebanenko Slav and sacrificed a pawn. Tomashevsky accepted the gambit but soon returned his extra pawn (and then another) in order to complete his development and equalize. The players soon repeated moves in an equal middlegame: 

Maxime-Vachier Lagrave - Peter Svidler 1/2-1/2
The two players who are struggling with their form the most played it safe today in a classical Ruy Lopez, exchanging lots of pieces until they reached a drawish rook and bishop endgame:

Both Svidler and MVL have seen better days.. | Photo Kirill Merkurev.


Round 10 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf Pts SB GP Points
1 Jakovenko,Dmitry 2738 2823 6.0/10 28.50 140
2 Caruana,Fabiano 2803 2818 6.0/10 27.75 140
3 Nakamura,Hikaru 2799 2823 6.0/10 27.50 140
4 Dominguez,Leinier 2734 2789 5.5/10 28.00 85
5 Gelfand,Boris 2744 2791 5.5/10 27.00 85
6 Grischuk,Alexander 2780 2755 5.0/10 24.25 60
7 Giri,Anish 2776 2749 5.0/10 23.50 60
8 Karjakin,Sergey 2753 2756 5.0/10 23.00 60
9 Svidler,Peter 2734 2729 4.5/10 23.50 35
10 Tomashevsky,Evgeny 2749 2722 4.5/10 22.50 35
11 Jobava,Baadur 2699 2693 4.0/10   20
12 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2754 2609 3.0/10   10


Virtual GP standings

Rank Name Rtg Baku Tashkent Tbilisi Ka-Ma Total Virtual
1 Fabiano Caruana 2811 155 75   140 230 370
2 Hikaru Nakamura 2776 82 125   140 207 347
7 Dmitry Jakovenko 2733   30 140 140 170 310
4 Evgeny Tomashevsky  2716 82   170 35 252 287
6 Boris Gelfand 2747 155 15   85 170 255
5 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2759 35 125 75   235 235
3 Sergey Karjakin 2760 82 75   60 157 217
8 Teimour Radjabov 2731 50 50 110   210 210
10 Dmitry Andreikin 2737 20 170 10   200 200
12 Alexander Grischuk 2810 82   40 60 122 182
13 Anish Giri 2797   40 75 60 115 175
9 Leinier Dominguez 2726 10   75 85 85 170
11 Peter Svidler 2739 82   20 35 102 137
14 Baadur Jobava 2696   75 40 20 115 135
15 Rustam Kasimdzhanov 2706 35 15 75   125 125
16 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2775   75 40 10 115 125


The final round takes place May 26, with the key game Nakamura-Jakovenko that will potentially determine not only the winner of the tournament, but also the overall Grand Prix. 

The situation before the last round is well described on the blog Chess by the numbers by Tai Pruce-Zimmerman from North Bend, Oregon — “an accountant and chess enthusiast (and major patzer!)” as he describes himself.

According to Pruce-Zimmerman the odds are as follows: 

Fabiano Caruana: 92.6% chance of qualifying.
Hikaru Nakamura: 87.6% chance of qualifying.
Dmitry Jakovenko: 19.5% chance of qualifying.
Evgeny Tomashevsky: 0.3% chance of qualifying.

The tournament is a round robin of 11 rounds, played from May 14-26. The venue is the Ugra Chess Center in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

You can watch this tournament every day on with commentary by GMs Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Viorel Iordachescu.

IM Kostya Kavutskiy

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IM Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess author, journalist, coach, commentator, and player. As a part of's content team since 2009, Kostya has recorded many video lectures, covered elite tournaments, written instructive articles & blogs, and has done many live commentary shows for Chess TV. Kostya has also written a number of articles for Chess Life magazine and Chess Life Online, and is currently an instructor for Chess University. In 2015, Modernized: The Open Sicilian was released, which Kostya co-authored with IM Zhanibek Amanov. Kostya's tournament accomplishments include winning the 2014 Southern California Closed Championship, as well as achieving his IM title in November 2016. In April 2017, he placed 6th in the star-studded 2017 Reykjavik Open. He currently resides in Mountain View, CA, and his plans are to pursue the GM title while working actively as a coach.



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