Grand Prix R9: All Games Drawn, Nakamura Maintains Lead
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All games in round 9 of the Grand Prix in Élancourt ended in draws. Hikaru Nakamura is still leading the tournament, with two rounds to go.
With six draws on Wednesday the drawing percentage at the Grand Prix went up to 68.5% again, making it clear that the participants are quite evenly matched, and getting an advantage out of the opening is hard these days. Hikaru Nakamura probably doesn't mind at all, since he's still in the lead with just two rounds to go. Fabiano Caruana, who plays Evgeny Tomashevsky and Leinier Dominguez in the last two rounds, still has some chance to win the event alone and qualify for the Candidates, but he must hope for the American to falter at least once. Alexander Grischuk is virtually out of contention.
Gelfand-Ivanchuk was a nice Chebanenko Slav where the Ukrainian decided that the safest place for his king would be the centre. His wonderful 14...Ke7! was also tactically motivated: it was a based on a line in which he planned to sacrifice a piece. But as so often, the most interesting stuff remains behind the scenes. In the game all minor pieces quickly left the board, and then there was nothing to play for.
Leinier Dominguez missed a good chance for an advantage in his game against Laurent Fressinet — a Berlin Ending. Instead of attacking the a-pawn with 21.Ra4, the simple 21.Rad1 would have been promising. It's not that the Cuban doesn't know about the importance of development; his line was based on a miscalculation. Luckily for him, there was still the emergency break of a move repetition.
In a Bogo/Catalan hybrid, Bacrot's early queenside expansion 10.b4 didn't have the desired effect. Wang Hao's reaction with 10...a5 was excellent and Black equalized quickly. After he missed 29...e5, Bacrot even had to be careful himself.
The tournament leader can't complain about luck in this event. After somewhat dubious opening play, he seemed to be winning a pawn but in reality there was something wrong with his set-up. However, Ruslan Ponomariov spotted too late that 17...Rac8! would have given Black a big advantage, and then it quickly petered out to a draw.
Tomashevsky-Grischuk was a very interesting King's Indian — a logical choice for Grischuk, who desperately needed to win this one. His opening went well, especially after Tomashevsky decided against taking on b5. However, Black probably played ...Nd3 one move too early, and Tomashevsky found an amazing tactical response, giving both his bishops for knights. Thanks to a passed pawn on d6, he got strong central pressure and the position remained equal.
The longest game was Giri-Caruana, two players who work with the same coach: GM Vladimir Chuchelov. This was probably the reason why quite a non-theoretical line came on the board (1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.f3 c5), after which the players were "out of book" early on. After a complicated middlegame, Giri played the aggressive 32.g4 with which White seemed to be launching a strong kingside attack. Caruana found a good way to play against it by giving an Exchange for one pawn (and soon another one). If anyone could play for a win it was Caruana, but Giri never really had to worry.
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Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Results & pairings
|Round 1||15:00 CET||22.09.13||Round 2||15:00 CET||23.09.13|
|Round 3||15:00 CET||24.09.13||Round 4||15:00 CET||25.09.13|
|Round 5||15:00 CET||27.09.13||Round 6||15:00 CET||28.09.13|
|Round 7||15:00 CET||29.09.13||Round 8||15:00 CET||30.09.13|
|Round 9||15:00 CET||02.10.13||Round 10||15:00 CET||03.10.13|
|Round 11||14:00 CET||04.10.13|
Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Round 9 standings