Jermuk R6: Aronian and Kasimdzhanov join Leko & Ivanchuk in the lead

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Jermuk GPAfter the rest day the Jermuk Grand Prix resumed Saturday with the sixth round, in which Aronian struck back with a win against Gelfand. He joined Leko and Ivanchuk (who was about to lose against Kamsky when he claimed the draw due to the 50-move rule) back in the lead and Kasimdzhanov, who beat Inarkiev, is suddenly on shared first as well. Full report.

The 5th tournament in the FIDE Grand Prix Series takes place in Jermuk, Armenia. It's a 14-player round-robin with Aronian, Jakovenko, Leko, Gelfand, Bacrot, Kamsky, Karjakin, Eljanov, Alekseev, Akopian, Ivanchuk, Cheparinov, Inarkiev and Kasimdzhanov. More info on the GP and Jermuk in our preview.

Round 6

From the pictures on the tournament website and my experience at three Grand Prix events it looks like the tournament in Jermuk is the best so far, as far as playing conditions are concerned. The playing hall with the view ouside looks absolutely beautiful, and perhaps this is inspiring for the players since the chess has been great so far as well.

Jermuk GP

The hotel's brand new pool, enjoyed by the participants in off-hours



Did it happen before in a GP that all seven games lasted longer than 50 moves? Or ever, in a tournament? The sixth round had three decisive games, a NB vs king alone, a Rp vs R ending and a game that finished in a draw despite the fact that Black delivers mate in twelve in the final position!

Ivanchuk had played an amazing queen sacrifice for just two minor pieces against Kamsky, and with his active minor pieces he did manage to eat up almost all black pawns. After giving another two pieces for a rook, eventually the interesting ending of rook, bishop, f2 and e3 vs queen and bishop arose on move 64. Is it a win or is it a draw? In any case, Kamsky reached a winning position at move 114 when Ivanchuk had to give his rook to prevent immediate mate.

Then, for a while the live transmission showed this position, and after about twenty minutes '1/2' appeared! As it turned out Ivanchuk had claimed a draw because the last capture or pawn move had been fifty, exactly fifty moves before!

9.3 of the FIDE Laws of Chess says

9.3 The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, if: a. he writes his move on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, which shall result in thelast50 moves having been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture, or b. the last 50 consecutive moves have been made by each playerwithout the movement of any pawn and without any capture.


From this we understand that Ivanchuk could either write down the move first and claim by telling the arbiter his intention, or simply play the move Rd4 and then claim, like he probably did. (The first option seems a bit strange these days since normally one is not allowed to write down the move before playing it.)

Update 19:22: the observations of Dutch international arbiter Aart Strik: "I noticed that during the game, at some point the clock times disappeared (showing 'nha' instead) and they later returned again, before the end of the game. Then the 114th move of both players came on the board, and then the one of Kamsky disappeared again. It's possible that the claim had been issued and mentally accepted at that point, and that the gentlemen (one with a sigh of relief, the other terribly disappointed) then played a number of forced moves on the board before the arbiter set the result. The commentary on the tournament website isn't clear either: 'the arbiters were alerted' can also mean that they acted themselves. But I don't think that is what happened. It's difficult to find out what really happened from such a distance but in any case, formally a player does need to claim before executing the move. It's useful to cite article 8.1:
8.1 In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibily as possible, in the algebraic notation (See Appendix C), on the scoresheet prescribed for the competition. It is forbidden to write the moves in advance, unless the player is claiming a draw according to Article 9.2, or 9.3 or adjourning a game according to the Guidelines of Adjourned Games point 1.a.


To conclude, my impresson is that Ivanchuk's last move is shown to demonstrate that indeed the 50 moves were reached."

Jermuk GP

A narrow escape for Ivanchuk against Kamsky



With 89 moves Alekseev-Cheparinov could easily have been the longest game of the round too. In a Classical Scheveningen Alekseev had made the surprising decision to exchange queens, where it's believed that White's chances lie in a kingside attack. However, after some inaccuracies by Cheparinov White quickly got a clear advantage, won material, won more material and then Cheparinov let Alekseev prove what we all know: for 2700 players mating with bishop and knight is child's play.

Jermuk GP

Alekseev passes the test: mating with B&N, against Cheparinov



So we know that tournament leader Ivanchuk drew - so did co-leader Leko, against Bacrot. Two players joined them in the lead: Aronian struck back from his loss by grinding down Gelfand in a rook ending that should have been a draw after e.g. 53...Kf6, while Kasimdzhanov won his second game in a row, this time against Inarkiev, for whom things get worse and worse.

Jermuk GP

Aronian repaired the damage after the rest day against Gelfand



Jermuk GP

Inarkiev can still smile; Kasimdzhanov shared first now



Both Jakovenko-Karjakin and Akopian-Eljanov were highly interesting draws but I'm lacking the time to go into those games more deeply. All in all, another great round in what so far is a very good tournament!

Round 6 games



Game viewer by ChessTempo


Jermuk Grand Prix 2009 | Round 6 Standings

Jermuk Grand Prix 2009


Jermuk Grand Prix 2009 | Schedule & results



All photos © Arman Kharakhanyan

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