Nalchik Set For High-Stakes Finish

Nalchik Set For High-Stakes Finish

| 12 | Chess Event Coverage

Round-robin events rarely produce final round head-to-heads between the leading players, but going into the 13th and final round of the Nalchik Grand Prix, Lev Aronian and Peter Leko (pictured) are joint leaders on 7.5/12 and by sheer chance they clash head on in the final round.

Leko caught Aronian by virtue of his second consecutive victory against the dreaded Petroff defence.  Bravo Peter!

The Armenian has the advantage of the white pieces, but will he push for a win and a clear overall victory, or will the lure of a guaranteed share of first place be too much for both players?

I predict a few polite moves for the press and public, before a draw is agreed.  I hope I'm proved wrong and a real battle is fought...

The full draw for the final round is:

Aronian, Levon Leko, Peter  
Ivanchuk, Vassily Kamsky, Gata 
Bacrot, Etienne Alekseev, Evgeny 
Svidler, Peter Grischuk, Alexander 
Gelfand, Boris Karjakin, Sergey 
Eljanov, Pavel Akopian, Vladimir 
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam   Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 

It's been an excellent tournament with lots of high-quality games and tremendous fighting chess, and rounds 11 and 12 were no exception.  Results and decisive games below.  All the games and more information can be found at the official website.

The results in round 11:

Alekseev, Evgeny   Kamsky, Gata   ½-½   44 Sicilian Paulsen
Bacrot, Etienne  Karjakin, Sergey 1-0  38 Sicilian Najdorf
Svidler, Peter  Akopian, Vladimir ½-½  22 Ruy Lopez
Eljanov, Pavel  Leko, Peter ½-½  44 Queens Gambit Meran
Gelfand, Boris  Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 1-0  56 Blumenfeld Counter Gambit
Ivanchuk, Vassily  Grischuk, Alexander 1-0  37 King's Indian Classical
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam  Aronian, Levon ½-½  67 Anti-Meran

The results in round 12:

Leko, Peter   Kasimdzhanov, Rustam   1-0   30 Petroff Defence
Grischuk, Alexander  Bacrot, Etienne 1-0  56 Benoni
Alekseev, Evgeny  Ivanchuk, Vassily ½-½  37 Sicilian Rauzer
Akopian, Vladimir  Gelfand, Boris ½-½  31 Petroff Defence
Karjakin, Sergey  Svidler, Peter 1-0  52 Ruy Lopez Chigorin
Kamsky, Gata  Aronian, Levon ½-½  40 Barcza System
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  Eljanov, Pavel ½-½  50 QGD 5.Bf4

The standings before the final round:

Leko, Peter   HUN     
Aronian, Levon  ARM   
Grischuk, Alexander  RUS   
Alekseev, Evgeny  RUS   
Akopian, Vladimir  ARM   
Karjakin, Sergey  UKR  6
Bacrot, Etienne  FRA  6
Kamsky, Gata  USA   
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  AZE   
Svidler, Peter  RUS   
Eljanov, Pavel  UKR   
Gelfand, Boris  ISR   
Ivanchuk, Vassily  UKR  5
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam  UZB  5

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