Radjabov Jumps Ahead In Geneva
With two rounds to go, Teimour Radjabov is yet again the sole leader at the FIDE Grand Prix in Geneva, Switzerland. On Thursday he defeated Peter Svidler, who played inaccurately early on and quickly found himself in a strategically difficult endgame.
Radjabov is back in the lead. | Photo: Valera Belobeev for WorldChess.
Radjabov's win brought him in a most luxurious position, since finishing with two draws will almost certainly make him joint, or even sole winner in Geneva. The round saw a small upset as Riazantsev won again, this time vs Li Chao. On board eight Eljanov bounced back with an excellent win over Salem.
Geneva Grand Prix | Round 7 Results
|1||8||Harikrishna||2737||4||½ - ½||4||Grischuk||2761||4|
|2||12||Radjabov||2724||4||1 - 0||3½||Svidler||2749||5|
|3||2||Mamedyarov||2800||3½||½ - ½||3½||Nepomniachtchi||2742||6|
|4||17||Riazantsev||2654||3||1 - 0||3½||Li Chao||2735||10|
|5||3||Giri||2775||3||½ - ½||3||Aronian||2809||1|
|6||9||Adams||2736||3||½ - ½||3||Jakovenko||2703||14|
|7||16||Hou Yifan||2666||2||½ - ½||3||Gelfand||2728||11|
|8||7||Eljanov||2739||2½||1 - 0||1½||Salem||2638||18|
|9||13||Inarkiev||2707||2½||½ - ½||1½||Rapport||2694||15|
In his post-game interview, Teimour Radjabov revealed that he has been working a lot on his time management in recent months. ("At the top level every little detail matters.") He was getting into time trouble too often, and that needed to change.
It seems to be helping. Radjabov is putting his opponents under pressure both on the board and on the clock, in Geneva.
Radjabov scored his third win in the tournament vs Svidler. | Photo: Valera Belobeev for WorldChess.
His win over Peter Svidler was also a psychological success. "My opening choice was quite clever, even though it looks strange," Radjabov said. "I was just hoping to get some kind of slight press, with the positions that Peter doesn't really like to play. I think when I played 6.dxc3 his mood was already very much down."
It was an endgame that looks harmless indeed, but more importantly, there are almost no chances for Black to create dynamics. Maybe that's why both Ulf Andersson and Anthony Miles tried it more than once, as White.
Today, Radjabov showed what happens when Black isn't careful.
FIDE Press Officer Goran Urosevic spoke with Teimour Radjabov after the game.
After two consecutive losses. Pavel Eljanov is back in business. He defeated Salem Saleh, whose Benoni failed in a standard way: the typical e4-e5 break came at a moment when it was more or less decisive.
"17...h5 was a mistake," Eljanov said, after analysing for quite a while with his opponent. "After 18.h4 I have a very clear plan and also, Black's king is weak."
The alternative for Salem was a plan with both ...g5 and ...f5. "I liked my position but I wasn't totally sure what's going on," said Eljanov.
Eljanov and Salem analysing their game. | Photo: Valera Belobeev for WorldChess.
Eljanov was of course feeling good after this game. "I was quite dissatisfied with the quality of my play in the previous rounds. I just tried to play a normal game. Today I played OK at least."
WGM Anna Burtasova spoke with Pavel Eljanov after the game.
In the previous round Alexander Riazantsev scored his first win in the whole Grand Prix series, and the very next day he won again. Well prepared for Li Chao's Schlechter System, Riazantsev got both the bishop pair and pressure on an isolated queen's pawn. What more to wish for?
Li Chao managed to limit the damage as he reached an endgame with rooks and opposite-colored bishops, but White was still better thanks to the pressure on f7. Riazantsev traded the bishops, but the rook endgame and even the queen endgame was drawn—theoretically.
In this game, Riazantsev's perseverance paid off.
Riazantsev won his second game in a row. | Photo: Valera Belobeev for WorldChess.
The other games ended in draws. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Ian Nepomniachtchi split the point after a spectacular queen sacrifice that led to a perpetual check. Nepomniachtchi: "I thought: if I lose after 26.Qxd5 at least it's not some boring game!"
FIDE Press Officer Goran Urosevic spoke with the players after the game.
Geneva Grand Prix | Round 7 Standings
Round eight, on Friday, has these pairings: Radjabov-Riazantsev, Grischuk-Mamedyarov, Li Chao-Harikrishna, Nepomniachtchi-Aronian, Gelfand-Eljanov, Jakovenko-Inarkiev, Hou Yifan-Giri, Rapport-Adams, and Salem-Svidler.
The Geneva Grand Prix takes place July 6-15 in the Hotel Le Richemond in Geneva. The prize fund is €130,000 / $148,520. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.