San Sebastián: Nakamura on 3.5/4, Van Wely on 4/4

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
NakamuraWith 3.5/4 Hikaru Nakamura is still the proud leader in the top group of the Donostia Chess Festival in San Sebastián. In the second group Dutch GM Loek van Wely is doing even better, with a perfect 4/4 score.

The Donostia Chess Festival takes place July 6-16 in San Sebastián, Spain. It consists of four different, 10-player round-robins: the "San Sebastian European Cultural City 2016", the "Kutxa Tournament", the "Euskal Xake Eskola Tournament" and the women tournament ‚ÄúDiputaci??n Foral de Gipuzkoa‚Äù. For all details see our first, big pictorial report.

Rounds 3-4

In the third round Hikaru Nakamura passed a big test when he drew comfortably with Black against top seed Peter Svidler. In an Advance Caro-Kann the American even missed some chances for an advantage with 17..Qb3.

Similar to the game Caruana-Perez, Zafra 2009 which was analysed in ChessVibes Openings #25, Ponomariov beat Granda with a nice kingside attack in an opening where you wouldn't expect it: the Catalan! Vallejo-Kasimdzhanov and San Segundo-Movsesian were two very short draws while Karpov lost his second Black game in a Petroff, against Vachier-Lagrave. Quite impressive play by the young Frenchman in that one.

After a rest day on Friday the 4th round was played yesterday. Nakamura played, and won, his third White game, against Vallejo, who tried the 3...Qd6 Scandinavian. They quickly reached a BBRR-BBRR ending in which Nakamura managed to keep a slight plus, pushing his queenside pawns supported by an active king. Especially nice was 32.Bc5! with the pointe 32..Rec8? 33.Rxe5! fxe5 34.Bd6+ Rxd6 35.Rxd6. Another power move was 33.Re3! after which it was soon over.

Vachier-Lagrave was totally slaughtered by Svidler; in a Marshall the Frenchman used the Bc2-d1 idea one move later than in Motylev-Beliavsky, Corus B 2006 and it's indeed the computer's first choice at move 19, followed by Almasi's 19.Ne4 on second place (with which the Hungarian beat Gyimesi in 2006).

However, Vachier-Lagrave might have made the same mistake as Svidler once did as a second of Kramnik in the 2004 World Championship match against Leko, also in a Marshall: not letting run the computer long enough! In the position after 22.Bd2, in less than ten seconds it finds Svidler's killing sequence of moves.

Movsesian-Ponomariov was a completely crazy game which you shouldn't miss either; in a Sicilian White sacrificed two minor pieces for a rook and got a devastating attack, but then with 39.Qe6? he allowed Black a devilish counterattack with 40...Ba3+! where the patient choice 39.Rd1 (or even 39.a3!) would have been winning.

Anatoly Karpov is the tailender after four rounds, with two draws with White and two losses with Black. Yesterday he had a nice edge in an ending against Granda, but couldn't convert it into a point.


Anatoly Karpov vs Julio Granda Zuniga | Photo © David Llada

In the second group, top seed Loek van Wely won all of his games so far. The Dutch grandmaster is the big rating favourite but you still have to do it! He still has to meet the strongest players, but so far it's going pretty smoothly. In the early 90s KingLoek worked himself up to world class strength in many tough open tournaments, and perhaps it helped that recently he played a few of those in the U.S., before heading to Spain.

All games of all groups can be replayed below!

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