Nalchik R3: Karjakin beats Aronian, Grischuk takes over lead

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
After a marvellous start of 2/2 Levon Aronian was held by Sergey Karjakin, who announced earlier this week that he will play for Russia in the near future. Main reason is the less reward for the big results the Ukrainian team achieved in last few years, for example winning the 2004 Olympiad. (Video added!)

By IM Robert Ris

It doesn‚Äôt look like this big news affects Karjakin‚Äôs play, outplaying Armenian‚Äôs number one in an Anti-Marshall after the latter made a few inaccuracies. Grischuk managed to defeat Rustam Kasimdzhanov and is currently the sole leader with 2¬?/3. The third round showed a lot of exciting chess. One doesn‚Äôt see four decisive results so much anymore these days, while we shouldn‚Äôt forget to mention that the other three games were also interesting to follow for the audience.

In line with his solid chess style, Etienne Bacrot reacted with the solid 12.d5 after Peter Svidler went for the Chigorin Variation of the Ruy Lopez. According to current theory, this riskless approach doesn’t promise White anything special, which was proved once more by Svidler. On move 36 the players agreed to a draw in a position where both couldn’t hope for anything more.

The f3-Gr?ºnfeld is still one of Shakh Mamedyarov's favourite pet lines. During the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, the Azeri was shocked by a 21-move loss against Igor Kurnosov and accused the Russian of cheating during the game. This time, his opponent Gata Kamsky decided not to fall into his preparation, and deviated with 7‚ĶNc6 from the aforementioned game, accepting a rather passive position. With 15.Qe5! Shakh went for a pleasant ending thanks to his space advantage. Nevertheless, the ever-tough American defended accurately and so the game ended peacefully.


Grischuk: the new leader after three rounds

So far it is not the tournament of Vassily Ivanchuk. Yesterday he lost quite unfortunately in a spectacular game against Svidler, while in the first round he got nothing with White against Bacrot. Also in this third round the Ukrainian genius couldn’t pose Boris Gelfand any serious problems in a Slav with 4.e3 Bf5. In this kind of positions White’s main trump lies in the advantage of the bishop pair. After opening the centre with the standard 11…c5 and 13…e5, Ivanchuk moved his pawn majority forwards, but Gelfand was perfectly in time to counter with 21…Be3! In the game the players went for a repetition of moves, but it seems that Ivanchuk could have continued with the surprising 29.h3!, creating some nasty tricks against Black’s king, leading to a slightly inferior rook ending.

Well, time to have a look at the decisive results. Tournament leader Levon Aronian faced with Black a harmless looking Anti-Marshall. The Armenian was the first one to deviate from his rapid game one month ago against Carlsen in Nice, but again found himself soon in a worse position. Both players didn’t show their best play, but it mostly affected Aronian who mishandled a drawish rook endgame to finish it off with a huge blunder.

As Svidler drew already, only Alexander Grischuk could overtake the lead from Aronian. These last few months, Grischuk seems to be in an extremely good shape. After sharing the first place in the third GP in Elista, the Moscovite last February won his first elite tournament in Linares. In a Queen's Gambit Accepted, Rustam Kasimdzhanov tried to copy an old game he played himself against Dutch GM Harmen Jonkman with White. Grischuk improved on Kasim’s play with 12.Rc1, intending to weaken Black’s position with the standard Na4 before starting a pawn storm on Black’s king. Kasim achieved much too late sufficient counterplay in the centre, so that Grischuk could easily convert his second win of the tournament.

The game between Evgeny Alekseev and Pavel Eljanov brought an interesting Ragozin, which recently came back into the spotlights. Black’s ambitions were very quickly revealed when he played the most aggressive possibility 9…c4. Typically for this opening, Black is trying to create counterplay on the queenside, while White is doing his job on the other flank. Optically it looked very promising for Black, but things turned out the other way. Black had to choose allowing White blocking the c3 square or force matters with 21…c3 himself. Eljanov went for the latter, but found himself in big trouble when it became clear that he couldn’t keep his b2-pawn. After picking it up, Alekseev had an easy task bringing the full point back home.


Commentator GM Sergey Shipov, who celebrated his 42nd birthday on Friday

The last game of the round was between Vladimir Akopian and Peter Leko. The Hungarian showed excellent home preparation in a Meran Slav. With the thematical pawn sacrifice (14…c5! similar to Eljanov-Grischuk from the previous round) Black yielded a nasty initiative. The only way to get rid of this, was to give back the pawn and allowing Leko to pick up another one. The Hungarian remained very calm (keep in mind he spoiled a completely winning position against Kamsky in round 1!) and converted his extra passed pawn with a high-class technique. With this loss, Akopian still occupies the last place.



Update Peter Doggers, 14:08 (or rather 16:08 here in Nalchik):

Here’s the list of seconds:

Karjakin - Dokhoian (!) first time they work together Leko - Gustafsson Alekseev - Sakaev Eljanov - Efimenko Aronian - Sargissian Kasimdzhanov - D.Fridman Gelfand - Huzman Akopian - Galdunts Bacrot - Pelletier (ironically the nominated player of Montreux, where originally this 4th would have been held).
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