Grand Prix: Bacrot & Grischuk Score in Round 5
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On Friday Alexander Grischuk and Etienne Bacrot both won their black games at the Grand Prix in Élancourt (near Paris). In this fifth round, Grischuk beat Vassily Ivanchuk in a Grünfeld. Anish Giri's loss to Bacrot was his third in the tournament; the Dutchman went down in an ending that started as a Symmetrical English. Boris Gelfand kept his half point lead.
*** Update: here's Jason Stoneking's interview with Hikaru Nakamura after round 4! ***
On the rest day a number of players joined a trip to the Palace of Versailles, which is located literally around the corner.
The Palace of Versailles, which was as the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution (source: Wikipedia).
The players had the luxury of a private tour guide
The famous Hall of Mirrors
A group photo on a "giant chess board"
Whereas the tournament started with a few victories for White only in the first three rounds, the black pieces are seriously catching up! In the fifth round, four games ended in draws and two were won by black.
The young Dutch GM Anish Giri is not having a great tournament so far. It's not that he's playing that badly, actually, but somehow Caissa is clearly not on his side. In the fifth round, Giri got a slight endgame advantage (Bacrot felt that he was "under serious pressure"), but his 24.Nb2?! wasn't great and then he must have miscalculated the tactical phase that followed. The French GM could give a piece on f6 because he had an overwhelming advantage on the queenside.
It was a good round for Alexander Grischuk, who got half a point closer to Fabiano Caruana and the others at the top thanks to beating Vassily Ivanchuk. The Ukrainian didn't handle the opening well, and was clearly worse as early as move 13 (look at that poor bishop on h2). Chuky seemed to doing reasonably well, but Black's last two moves suddenly made it clear how big his advantage was.
Nakamura-Fressinet was a 4.d3 Berlin and in this line, an early Bxc6 is quite trendy these days. Following some top games for a while, Fressinet's 8...f6 was the novelty and after he castled queenside, Black looked very solid. Just when White seemed to get a slight space advantage, the Frenchman found the liberating 22...d5! which solved all his problems tactically.
Another topical opening is the Semi-Tarrasch, and Wang Hao successfuly employed it against the tournament leader, Boris Gelfand. The Israeli GM suggested a slight improvement on move 21, but in general White never came close to a clear advantage.
Evgeny Tomahsveky and Leinier Dominguez played a Nimzo-Indian where White got the bishop pair and Black the better structure, as so often in this opening. Also in this game, the position was always about equal.
Fabiano Caruana and Ruslan Ponomariov played a Berlin Ending and also here White didn't manage to get an advantage. On the contrary, it was Black who had an edge at some point, but his extra pawn in the rook ending wasn't worth much.
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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 5 standings