Senaste schacknyheterna från omvärlden

The Week in Chess

  • Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura and Andreikin start with wins in the Tashkent FIDE Grand Prix – 1
    The first round of the FIDE Grand Prix started with three decisive games and much enterprising play. Favourite Fabiano Caruana was defeated by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in what is now becoming a mini-slump. Caruana has lost almost 19 rating points in the last six games, surely as a result of finally running out of energy following an intensive programme of events going back to June.

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played a sharp Najdorf Sicilian as black against Fabiano Caruana. Perhaps Caruana expected 15…g6 (Svidler-Sjugirov this year) or 15…Nf4 (a number of recent games) but was instead faced with 15…Qc7. Caruana gave up a pawn with 16.Nd5 and a second one after 26…Qxh2. Maybe 22.cxb4 was a mistake (22.h4) but Caruana couldn’t find compensation and Vachier-Lagrave eventually stabilised his position and converted his material advantage.

    Hikaru Nakamura beat Baadur Jobava in a very enterprising game. Jobava was a last minute addition as the news came through that Tehran had been replaced as a Grand Prix venue by Tbilisi. Jobava played his usual exciting sharp chess but was soon having to justify the play. 28…Qxc1 was the decisive error with 28…Qe5 keeping things going at least for a while.

    Dmitry Andreikin was another player who tried to take the initiative as black and he too looked set for defeat. 19…Qd6 (19…Qf6) 20.f4! left Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in control and eventually winning on the run up to first time control but missed chances 37.Rd6! and 40.Rb6! through all of the advantage away. White needed to bail out with 45.Ra8 but instead after 47.Kh4? it was Andreikin who brought home the full point.

    Anish Giri seemed to run into some classic Boris Gelfand preparation and 10…Nh5 followed up with 12…Qh4+ black seemed to have almost no problems. Giri sacrificed a pawn which left him with a completely safe position where black definitely couldn’t undertake anything active but it seems white can’t either and the game was agreed drawn.

    Teimour Radjabov went for an interesting attack against Sergey Karjakin but black defended precisely and was perhaps slightly better at one point. Then pieces were traded and a drawn ending was reached.

    Rustam Kasimdzhanov obtained the two bishops out of the opening in a Berlin Defence but black never seemed in any real trouble and the game was drawn in 61 moves.

    Round 1 Standings: 1-3 Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, Andreikin 1pt 4-9 Karjakin, Giri, Gelfand, Jakovenko, Radjabov, Kasimdzhanov 0.5pts 10-12 Caruana, Mamedyarov, Jobava 0pts

    Round 2 Pairings Wed 22nd Oct 10am BST: Gelfand-Karjakin, Jakovenko-Radjabov, Vachier-Lagrave-Kasimdzhanov, Jobava-Caruana, Andreikin-Nakamura, Giri-Mamedyarov.

  • Tashkent FIDE Grand Prix 2014 – Games and Results
    The 2nd tournament in the FIDE Grand Prix series 2014-15 takes place in the Gallery of Fine Art in Tashkent Monday 20th October (opening ceremony) to 3rd November 2014. This follows hard on the heels of last week’s event in Baku. Remaining tournaments are in Tbilsi, Georgia 14th–28th February 2015 and Moscow, Russia 13th–27th May 2015. The prize fund is €120,000 with the winner getting €20,000.

    Round 1 Tuesday 21st October at 10am BST. The rounds seem to be scheduled an hour earlier than in Baku.

    Players: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Boris Gelfand, Dmitri Jakovenko, Dmitry Andreikin, Teimour Radjabov, Baadur Jobava and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Page for games and results.

    FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent Round 1 Tue 21st Oct 10am BST: Giri-Gelfand, Mamedyarov-Andreikin, Nakamura-Jobava, Caruana-Vachier-Lagrave, Kasimdzhanov-Jakovenko, Radjabov-Karjakin

  • 18th Corsican Circuit 2014 – Games and Results
    The 18th Corsican Circuit takes place 18th-22nd Oct 2014. A rapid open qualified for a knockout event with Viswanathan Anand and Hou Yifan. Anand was knocked out by Sergey Fedorchuk 1.5-0.5 in the Semi-final after having won all his previous games. Hou Yifan survived an armageddon tie-break to beat Robert Ruck and reach the final All the games were in Bastia. Howver the final takes place in Ajaccio on the 22nd 1pm BST. Games and results below.
  • World Juniors 2014 – Games and Results
    The World Junior Chess Championships took place in Pune, India 6th to 19th October 2014. Top seeds in the open: Vladimir Fedoseev, Robin Van Kampen, Wei Yi, Vidit Gujrathi. Jorge Cori, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Benjamin Bok, Karen H. Grigoryan etc. In the Girls event Aleksandra Goryachkina and Meri Arabidze are the top seeds. Games and results. Lu Shanglei of China took the title with 10/13 half a point clear of his compatriot Wei Yi who edged out top seed Vladimir Fedoseev who took bronze on tie-break from Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia dominated the Girls event winning with 11/13 one and half points clear of Sarasadat Khademalsharieh of Iran and Ann Chumpitaz of Peru.
  • Chigorin Memoral 2014 – Games and Results
    The Chigorin Memoral takes place Fri 17th Oct to Mon 27th Oct 2014,. Denis Khismatullin won the blitz event on the first day. The top seeds in the open are: Maxim Matlakov, Evgeny Alekseev, Denis Khismatullin, Maxim Rodshtein, Boris Grachev, Sanan Sjugirov, Ilia Smirin, Ildar Khairullin, Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Dmitry Kokarev, Ivan Ivanisevic, Zaven Andriasian etc
  • Schachbundesliga 2014-15 – Games and Results
    The very strong German Schachbundesliga takes place Sat 18th Oct 2014 to Sun 12th Apr 2015. Games and standings on this page.
  • American Continental 2014 – Games and Results
    The American Continental Championship takes place in Praia da Pipa in Brazil. Games and results daily at and reports from Luis Rodi at: Top seeds: Lazaro Bruzon Batista, Jukio Granda Zuniga, Axel Bachmann, Rafael Leitao, Sam Shankland, Emilio Cordova, Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez etc
  • 18th Unive Chess 2014 – Games and Results
    The 18th Unive Chess tournament takes place 11th to 18th October 2014. The main events are 6 game matches Anish Giri vs Alexei Shirov and Baadur Jobava vs Jan Timman. These start Sunday. Alongside is the traditional open. Play starts 2pm local time 1pm UK time.
  • Baku FIDE Grand Prix 2014 – Games and Results
    The Baku FIDE Grand Prix took place 2nd (Round 1) to 14th October 2014. This is the first of four in the series where Candidates places are at stake. Players: Caruana, Grischuk, Nakamura, Karjakin, Mamedyarov, Dominguez Perez, Gelfand, Svidler, Andreikin, Radjabov, Kasimdzhanov and Tomashevsky. Games and results page. Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand shared first place.
  • Gelfand and Caruana share first in Baku Grand Prix – 11
    Boris Gelfand and Fabiano Caruana shared first place in the FIDE Grand Prix in Baku. Gelfand was satisfied with this result but pointed out he will have to follow it with two more good results in the series, Caruana said ”I can’t say it’s bad to tie for first.” but was really disatisfied with the level of his play.

    Peter Svidler tried to surprise Boris Gelfand in a sideline of the Najdorf Sicilian ”The moment I realised Boris is not surprised by this my hopes of getting anything diminished greatly” and indeed Svidler thought he had to be careful to steer the game to a draw.

    Fabiano Caruana had a sharp struggle in a Ruy Lopez against Evgeny Tomashevsky where towards the end it seemed he might stand slightly worse. Tomashevsky himself pointed out that +1 against a field where he was the lowest rated player was a good result and in the final position where he accepted a draw he couldn’t think of any ideas. Caruana’s full assessment below and game annotated in the PGN.

    The only winner today was Alexander Grischuk who took advantage of Leinier Dominguez’ collapse in form to eventually score a victory but only after the position was not very good for him. Grischuk scored 3/4 in the final rounds, it was a turn around that occurred when he ”moved to the hotel with windows”. Detailed quote below and game annotated in the PGN.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was faced with a very sharp Queen’s Gambit Accepted from Rustam Kasimdzhanov. This led to a very interesting struggle and a draw. I compiled a detailed set of notes in the PGN from their comments.

    Teimour Radjabov tried to follow in Mamedyarov’s footsteps with his choice of anti-King’s Indian weapon against Hikaru Nakamura but he didn’t quite get it right and the game quickly traded to a draw. According to Mamedyarov he should have tried 15.f4 not 15.b4.

    Dmitry Andreikin finished the event with a rather disappointing draw against Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin traded into an ending that could have been nasty for him but 29.Kf3? (29.f4!) lost the advantage as he missed the 29…Ra8 30…Rd8 regrouping that relieved the pressure.

    Final standings: 1-2 Gelfand, Caruana 6.5pts (155 Grand Prix points) 3-7 Tomashevsky, Nakamura, Grischuk, Karjakin, Svidler 6pts (82 Grand Prix points) 8 Radjabov 5.5pts (50 Grand Prix points) 9-10 Mamedyarov, Kasimdzhanov 5pts (35 Grand Prix points) 11 Andreikin 4.5pts (20 Grand Prix points) 12 Dominguez 3pts (10 Grand Prix points)

    Next Grand Prix starts in exactly 1 week’s time in Tashkent. Round times likely to be the same as in Baku, same time zone.

    Below quotes and link to the PGN file with three games annotated with the player comments in quite a lot of detail.

  • Millionaire Chess 2014 – Games and Results
    The Millionaire Chess tournament took place in Las Vegas 9th to 13th October 2014. American razzmatazz and a million dollar prize fund. Leading players Wesley So, Bu Xiangxi, Le Quang Liem, Yu Yangyi, Rauf Mamedov, Aleksey Dreev were at the top of the draw. Wesley So won the title beating Zhou,Jianchao 3-1 in the semi-finals and Ray Robson 1.5-0.5 in the final.
  • Caruana and Gelfand lead going into Baku Grand Prix final round – 10
    The FIDE Grand Prix goes into Tuesday’s final round with Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand back in the joint lead following the most decisive round of the event yet.

    Caruana defeated a clearly struggling Leinier Dominguez-Perez with a calm performance. ”Considering my tournament situation I decided to experiment a little bit. After move 15 Iwas already seriously worse. 9.Nb5 was probably too ambitious.” (9.Nf3 was probably better). Caruana brought home the point easily enough.

    Boris Gelfand also had a relatively straightforward day when he won a Catalan straight out of the opening ”I just blundered the transposition in the opening” Radjabov after which [white's knight ended up on d2 rather than c3 accelerating his play down the c-file] black’s position is extremely unpleasant.

    Peter Svidler took most of the interest early on when he first thought for 40 minutes over 14.. Nh5 after 14.Qe2. Karjakin said he was banking on 16.Ne3 and this turned out not to work after which Svidler was winning. However finding the kill was certainly not easy. Svidler thought he was just winning after 17…Nxg2 although 17…Nd4 was perhaps the better way. 23.Qf4+ Kg2 24.Qe4+ was the computer preference but both 23…Rad8 and 23…Ne6 were also very dangerous. After a long think 23…Bd6 24.c3! Svidler took the draw. Obviously very cross with himself and Karjakin had an extremely lucky escape.

    Alexander Grischuk played the fairly outrageous 5…Nh6 in the Semi-Slav the kind of move Boris Gelfand would take as a ”personal insult” was how he described it. But it did at least force one of the world’s great theoreticians Rustam Kasimdzhanov onto his own resources. Grischuk thought 20.Rhe1 careless as he then generated huge play on the kingside and he broke through there to win in only 13 more moves.

    Hikaru Nakamura said he was seeing very little clearly in his game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and was fairly lucky that the game ended in such a quick draw.

    Evgeny Tomashevsky finally won a game in an extremely sharp struggle against Dmitry Andreikin, not his usual preference but he did have the better of it throughout and was finally winning after a time scramble to reach first time control.

    Round 10 Standings: 1-2 Caruana, Gelfand 6pts 3-6 Karjakin, Nakamura, Tomashevsky, Svidler 5.5pts 7-8 Grischuk, Radjabov 5pts 9-10 Mamedyarov, Kasimdzhanov 4.5pts 11 Andreikin 4pts 12 Dominguez 3pts

    Round 11 Pairings. Tuesday 14th Oct. 2hrs earlier than other rounds 9am UK time: Mamedyarov-Kasimdzhanov, Radjabov-Nakamura, Svidler-Gelfand, Andreikin-Karjakin, Caruana-Tomashevsky, Grischuk-Dominguez

  • PokerStars IoM Masters 2014 – Games and Results
    The PokerStars IoM Masters took place 4th to 12th October 2014. Leading players: Michael Adams, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Laurent Fressinet, Gabriel Sargissian, Julio E Granda Zuniga, Sergei Tiviakov, Gawain C B Jones, David W L Howell, Nigel D Short, Abhijeet Gupta, Daniel Fridman, Mihail Marin, Tiger Hillarp Persson, Alon Greenfeld, Mark L Hebden, Jonathan Hawkins, Anatoly Vaisser, etc. Games and results. Nigel Short fell out of the top 100 in September but made a quick return with an impressive victory with 7.5/9 a point clear of the field. On Short’s twitter account he commented ”Nice to be back in the top 100 (85th) after briefly exiting for the 1st time in 30 years. I am ecstatic. So pleased with my result. Actually I would have contented just to stop the rot. But I know I can play well when not distracted.”
  • Six way tie for first after leaders Gelfand and Caruana beaten in Baku Round 9 – 9
    The result of the Baku FIDE Grand Prix was thrown wide open with the leaders Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand both being defeated in round 9 of 11 of the FIDE Grand Prix in Baku. Caruana, Nakamura, Karjakin, Gelfand, Radjabov and Svidler are tied on 5/9 with Kasimdzhanov and Tomashevsky just half a point back. All to play for almost everyone but Dominguez after this round.

    Fabiano Caruana has been playing almost continuously since June and in fact flies almost directly from Baku to Tashkent for the next Grand Prix. Today he looked very weary. He admitted his loss to Grischuk was coming. ”Most of my games have been pretty bad.”

    Alexander Grischuk played a suggestion of Anish Giri 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 c5 4.dxc5 e6! and immediately Caruana went into a half hour think, far too long as he admitted. Caruana was on top in a very sharp struggle but he let the advantage go and with both players down to about 4 minutes for 8 moves Caruana blundered decisively with 32.Kg1 (32.Kf1=) allowing Grischuk to execute an idea he’d seen a few moves before with 32… Rd2 33.Ra2 Nxg2! after which it was all over.

    Boris Gelfand had already gone down to a bad loss against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Mamedyarov’s preparation left him with a pleasant advantage almost for the first time in the tournament. Gelfand played a Benoni structure a tempo up but it didn’t make it easy to handle and after allowing 23.b5 Gelfand seemed to not believe in his chances anymore and his position quickly collapsed.

    Hikaru Nakamura admitted he achieved absolutely nothing against Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s Berlin Defence. Nakamura thought for a long time over his 22.Bg3 before spotting that 22…Rxe4 couldn’t be played. He turned out to be right in thinking that the refutation 23.Rd8 Bd7 24.Re1 with the win of material maybe wasn’t that easy to see and he won this way. Instead 22…Ne6 and the game should be drawn.

    Dmitry Andreikin and Leinier Dominguez have been horribly out of form in this tournament and they demonstrated this again with a strange game together. Andreikin sacrificed a piece with 18.Nxd5 but after 20…Nb8! he had nowhere near enough compensation. However Dominguez started missing things, a lot of things, he listed them after the game, but he was still winning until 32…Qd3 which allows white near equality. ”After move 40 I was just so depressed I just couldn’t think anymore.” Dominguez who went on to lose.

    Peter Svidler pointed to 12.c3 as a poor move against Evgeny Tomashevsky after which he had no advantage. In the end black probably didn’t have enough of an edge to justify continuing so he allowed a repetition on move 22.

    Teimour Radjabov isn’t yet a natural player of the English Opening and allowed a quick trade into a drawn endgame. Probably neither was all that unhappy.

    Round 9 Standings: 1-6 Caruana, Nakamura, Karjakin, Gelfand, Radjabov, Svidler 5pts 7-8 Kasimdzhanov, Tomashevsky 4.5pts 9-11 Grischuk, Mamedyarov, Andreikin 4pts 12 Dominguez 3pts

    Round 10 pairings Monday 11am BST: Kasimdzhanov-Grischuk, Dominguez-Caruana, Tomashevsky-Andreikin, Karjakin-Svidler, Gelfand-Radjabov, Nakamura-Mamedyarov

  • Caruana and Gelfand continue to lead after Baku Grand Prix Round 8 – 8
    Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand lead on 5/8 going into the final rest day of the FIDE Grand Prix in Baku.

    Rustam Kasimdzhanov played a highly theoretical variation of the Gruenfeld against Caruana and both players knew a lot about the position. The endgame was perhaps a tiny bit better for white but Caruana held the draw easily and was clearly content to hold after his bad game the day before.

    Boris Gelfand built up a threatening position against Hikaru Nakamura in a Dutch but the position was still very sharp and Gelfand could only find a way to equality. Gelfand’s suggested improvement of 15.Bb7 was complicated but looks like the best way for winning chances, he missed 17…Rb8 in the line played in the game after which he simplified quickly to a draw.

    The only decisive game of the day was Peter Svidler’s long endgame win against Leinier Domginguez Peres. Svidler played the same variation of the closed Ruy Lopez he did against Nakamura but Dominguez departed with 9.d4 and 10…exd4 broke new ground 14. Re1 was probably wrong and 14…h5 left black at least equal. 17.Qf5 was a mistake but Svidler didn’t find 19…Nd3. 23.Bg5! was white’s last chance to equalise after this Svidler had the advantage which eventually turned out to be a pawn in a double rook ending. Svidler eventually brought home the full point but only after a great deal of difficulty.

    Evgeny Tomashevsky played a very sharp sacrifice with a prepared 15.Nxf7 sacrifice against Teimour Radjabov who doesn’t normally play the Gruenfeld Defence. Tomashevsky had a huge advantage (19.Qc2) but this really wasn’t his kind of position and the game quickly ended in simplification and a draw.

    Sergey Karjakin got a big positional advantage against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov but also some very bad time trouble. Just as he was about to make first time control and with at least some of his advantage left, he agreed a draw.

    The final game to finish was Berlin Defence between Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Andreikin (who rarely if ever plays this). Grischuk got a small but stable advantage right into an ending of a rook each and bishops of opposite colours but the result was a draw.

    Round 8 Standings: 1-2 Caruana, Gelfand 5pts, 3-6 Kasimdzhanov, Karjakin, Radjabov, Svidler 4.5pts 7-8 Tomashevsky, Nakamura 4pts, 9-12 Dominguez Perez, Andreikin, Grischuk, Mamedyarov 3pts

    Round 9 Sunday 12th Oct 11am: Nakamura-Kasimdzhanov, Mamedyarov-Gelfand, Radjabov-Karjakin, Svidler-Tomashevsky, Andreikin-Dominguez, Caruana-Grischuk

  • Caruana loses error strewn game against Andreikin in Baku Round 7 – 7
    Fabiano Caruana’s long hot streak came to and end with a loss to Dmitry Andreikin where he just played very badly. He was asked about it afterwards. ”More or less all my moves were bad from the first to the last one. So that’s what went wrong. I made so many mistakes and missed so many things. I think I had a decent position after the opening and I just slowly ruined it.”

    Caruana was almost equal out of the opening after surprising Andreikin with the Scandinavian Defence but his 17…Qe6 (17…Nxc4=) was bad, Andreikin’s 18.Bf1 (18.Re1!) wasn’t the best follow up but 23…c4? (23…h6) 27…Qe7? (27…Qc6) and finally in desperate time trouble 34…Qa7? (34…Qe8) were all significant mistakes. Caruana just didn’t seem to be at the races today. He was lost at move 40 after which Andreikin’s technique was enough. More in the PGN section with notes to the game and all the others in this round based on the press conferences.

    Boris Gelfand pressed hard deep into a very difficult rook and pawn ending but just couldn’t manage to beat Rustam Kasimdzhanov but the draw was enough to take him back into the joint lead.

    Hikaru Nakamura had an appalling position after just 5 moves with white against Sergey Karjakin. I find it hard to believe 4.Qd3 will be seen again at the top level and in fact the refutation may have been known since pre-computer times. 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5 Nbd7 4. Qd3 c5! (strangely modern praxis has preferred in order of popularity 4..h6, 4..c6, 4..e6 before 4..c5) and this is set to become the main line as computers like this and the white’s position starts immediately to creek. 5.O-O-O Nakamura looked at this line beforehand but not 5…c4 claiming it wouldn’t be the computer’s top choice, but in fact it is. White is worse and as Nakamura found out it’s even hard to find good suggestions for him. Karjakin didn’t play the most incisively and after 16.gxf3 Nakamura would have been back in the game, 19…h5 would have won on the spot but Karjakin eventually just won by playing solidly.

    Teimour Radjabov vs Leinier Dominguez was a theoretical struggle in a line the Cuban specialises in and Radjabov eventually had to bail out to a draw.

    Both sides had opportunities in the draw between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Evgeny Tomashevsky. Tomashevsky chose a risky line of the Slav and wasn’t surprised by 4.g3 as his opponent had hoped. He was prepared up to 14…Bd6. 25.Bxc7+ would have left white with an advantage, 28…c5 may have been very good for Tomashevsky but the game was drawn a few moves later.

    Peter Svidler tried to surprise Alexander Grischuk in a sideline of the Bb5+ Sicilian but instead was hit by many accurate moves which forced him to take a draw by perpetual before he stood worse.

    All the games have notes in the PGN section with comments from the press conferences. There was also an excellent hour on the English broadcast with Alexander Grischuk talking chess and about the games.

    Round 7 Standings: 1-2 Caruana, Gelfand 4.5pts 3-5 Karjakin, Kasimdzhanov, Radjabov 4pts 6-8 Tomashevsky, Nakamura, Svidler 3.5pts 9 Dominguez 3pts 10-12 Andreikin, Grischuk, Mamedyarov 2.5pts

    Round 8 Pairings Friday 10th Oct 11am: Kasimdzhanov-Caruana, Grischuk-Andreikin, Dominguez-Svidler Tomashevsky-Radjabov, Karjakin-Mamedyarov, Gelfand-Nakamura

  • Caruana beats Svidler to lead Baku Grand Prix after 6 rounds – 6
    Fabiano Caruana won a sharp Gruenfeld against Peter Svidler to lead the Baku Grand Prix alone on 4.5/6. Svidler decided to surprise Caruana with a newish idea of 10… a6. Svidler’s 13…h5 was a bad move with 14.Bc5 Qf6 15.Bd4 Qd6 leaving Svidler in a poor position. Caruana questioned whether 16.g4 was the right move, the computers said it led to a huge advantage but neither player pointed to 18.e5 as being inaccurate (18.Nge2!) Svidler sacrificed a piece for good compensation but was steadily out-calculated in the following complications and after 27…Rh8? Caruana brought home the full point quickly.

    Alexander Grischuk has mixed poor form with ambition, not a good mix, and today he just went too far against Teimour Radjabov who played an excellent game. After 17.Bg2 or 17.Bb2 the position would have finished in a draw. 19.b4 was just bad 19.g4 might have even given Grischuk the advantage. Grischuk got into terrible time trouble but still thought he was in the game until 27…Qe8! after which his position quickly disintegrated.

    Dmitry Andreikin decided to surprise Rustam Kasimdzhanov with the Philidor Defence which worked but it was Kasimdzhanov who seemed to have a better handle on things and by move 18 at the expense of time he’d given black a miserable position. Andreikin launched a desperate king-side counterattack in response to his queen-side disintegrating. 30.Rxf4! broke black’s counter attack and simplified the position so Kasimdzhanov could find an easy win.

    Sergey Karjakin hoped to surprise Boris Gelfand but didn’t after 8.f4 Gelfand replied with the novelty 8…g6 ”I was hoping you didn’t know about this move.” Karjakin. Gelfand summed up the following play as black is positionally fine and only has to make sure he doesn’t lose any material. Gelfand was then better (the computer suggests 26…Bxg4) but Gelfand was happy with the draw.

    Neither Leinier Dominguez Perez or Shakhriyar Mamedyarov are anywhere near their best in this event. Mamedyarov looked to be a tempo down on one variation the Ruy Lopez but as played it didn’t seem to matter much and the game was more or less balanced. Dominguez again admitted to a bad error in his calculations intending 29.Qxd3 which loses to 29…Rxf3! He said he was pretty lucky he had an acceptable alternative. Game drawn.

    Evgeny Tomashevsky was a bit better after playing a rare sideline to the Lasker Queen’s Gambit after being surprised by Hikaru Nakamura. The position remained drawish, maybe Nakamura wasn’t the most accurate at one stage but Tomashevsky was never close to a winning advantage.

    Round 6 Standings: 1 Caruana 4.5pts 2 Gelfand 4pts 3-5 Radjabov, Nakamura, Kasimdzhanov 3.5pts 6-8 Tomashevsky, Karjakin, Svidler 3pts 9 Dominguez Perez 2.5pts 10-11 Grischuk, Mamedyarov 2pts 12 Andreikin 1.5pts

    Round 7 Thursday 9th Oct 11am BST Pairings: Gelfand-Kasimdzhanov, Nakamura-Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Tomashevsky, Radjabov-Dominguez, Svidler-Grischuk, Andreikin-Caruana

  • All games drawn Baku Grand Prix Round 5 – 5
    Hikaru Nakamura played enterprisingly against Leinier Dominguez Perez but most of the pieces were traded and an ending that at first seemed to be heading for a draw was reached. Dominguez had this prepared an knew a way to draw but forgot the details. 22…Rf7 was probably a better try. But he banked on 23…Ra1 being a draw until he realised 24.Rxg7+ just wins for white. After 23…Bd4 Dominguez into trouble but Nakamura returned the favour with 30.Re1 (30.Rf1! seems to be winning) overlooking 31…Re5. After this Dominguez could mount a defence. Nakamura continued to press but he had to settle for a draw.

    Boris Gelfand drew one of the more interesting struggles of the day against Evgeny Tomashevsky who chose a Stonewall structure as black. Gelfand looked like he must be pressing but in the press conference it was clear black also had tactical defensive resources which forced Gelfand to steer the game to a draw.

    Teimour Radjabov surprised Fabiano Caruana on the white side of a Lasker Variation by playing 13.0-0 which is actually the main line. Radjabov was a little better but couldn’t find a precise way to convert this edge into something tangible.

    Peter Svidler was surprised by the choice of the French Variation by Dmitry Andreikin even though he’d played it against him before. Svidler’s choice of variation could have even led him into trouble and eventually he just decided to allow a sterile position and draw.

    Alexander Grischuk surprised Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with his choice of the Dutch Defence and produced a massively forcing line which just led to a draw.

    Sergey Karjakin is being coached by Rustam Kasimdzhanov and in his attempt to surprise 11.Be3 him he himself was surprised 12…Ne4! and after that he had to be extremely careful not to be worse. With 20.Bd1 the danger was more or less over and the game drifted to a draw.

    This was a round that never really got going. It happens sometimes even in Wijk aan Zee such as round 2 of 2013 or round 13 of 2011 and indeed two rounds of all draws in the last Grand Prix in Paris Sept-Oct 2013. ”I really expect the round tomorrow to be much more exciting because it cannot be less exciting.” Sutovsky.

    Round 5 Standings: 1-2 Caruana, Gelfand 3.5pts 3-4 Nakamura, Svidler 3pts 5-8 Kasimdzhanov, Tomashevsky, Radjabov, Karjakin 2.5pts 9-10 Dominguez Perez, Grischuk 2pts 11-12 Andreikin, Mamedyarov 1.5pts

    Round 6 Pairings Wednesday 8th 11am BST: Kasimdzhanov-Andreikin, Caruana-Svidler, Grischuk-Radjabov, Dominguez-Mamedyarov, Tomashevsky-Nakamura, Karjakin-Gelfand.

  • Caruana joins Gelfand in the lead after Baku Grand Prix Round 4 – 4
    Fabiano Caruana beat off a rather desperate looking attack from Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to join Boris Gelfand in the lead. Mamedyarov found some interesting attacking ideas but against a calculater as good as Caruana this seemed like a mistake. Caruana revealed he prepares for a couple of hours before lunch for his games. Not in the evening before. Mamedyarov had a rather desperate performance in the Gashimov Memorial earlier in the year and needs to be careful this doesn’t happen again here.

    Leinier Dominguez Perez played a very sharp idea of queenside castling against Boris Gelfand but it soon became apparant that it was black who had most of the options. Gelfand couldn’t find anything clear so agreed a draw.

    Dmitry Andreikin drew against Teimour Radjabov after getting the better of a 5.h3 King’s Indian but Andreikin couldn’t make anything of a slightly better position. ”After 15.c5 I didn’t like my position all that much. Hard game, tricky games and I can only be satisfied with the result. ” – Radjabov

    Peter Svidler got into all sorts of trouble against Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s Ruy Lopez Exchange variation. Kasimdzhanov expected a Sicilian so went back to something solid. 5…Qd6 was Svidler’s attempt to avoid the most drawish, miserable lines for black but after 6.Na3 he was on his own as was his opponent but apparently knew that 6…b5 was supposed to be played but nothing much more. 7.d3 asked Svidler to choose a setup and it was here he went very wrong. 7…Bg4 was possible as was following up his 7…Ne7 with 8…Ng6 but 8…c5 9…Nc6 was just too slow. After 14.d4 black was just in desperate trouble. 20…Qxe4 was an attempt to reduce the problems by black and after Kasimdzhanov couldn’t find a kill his advantage gradually went away to nothing in time trouble on the run up to move 40. Draw.

    Sergey Karjakin played 4…Bb4+ for the first time against the Catalan and Evgeny Tomashevsky got a small advantage. Black was doing fine for a while but in overlooking 18.Nb3 he was at least a bit worse. The players agreed that 21.Bd6 was white’s best try for an advantage and quickly the game went to a draw.

    The final game to finish saw Alexander Grischuk try a new line to him against the King’s Indian. In his view it didn’t go well. ”I played the worst possible line against the kings indian because my friend recommended it to me. He said Rc1 was a very strong novelty but after I thought for almost one hour and I just could not find any way for me to play. Black just slowly starts to mate me.” Grischuk who said of a later position ”This is probably the most ugly position in my whole chess career. It’s in fact even worse than it looks.” Grischuk however did manage to make at least some sense of his setup and if there was a win at move 40 Nakamura couldn’t find it so they repeated to draw.

    So five draws and just one decisive game. I think part of the problem is that many of the players aren’t competing enough and look awfully rusty. Either that or players such as Radjabov are getting over career crisis. I don’t think it’s a lack of will so one will hope for better after the first rest day tomorrow now they’ve had four games to get going.

    Round 4 Standings: 1-2 Caruana, Gelfand 3pts 3-4 Nakamura, Svidler 2.5pts 5-8 Kasimdzhanov, Tomashevsky, Karjakin, Radjabov 2pts 9-10 Dominguez Perez, Grischuk 1.5pts 11-12 Mamedyarov, Andreikin 1pt

    Round 5 Pairings Tuesday 7th October 2014: Karjakin-Kasimdzhanov, Gelfand-Tomashevsky, Nakamura-Dominguez Perez, Mamedyarov-Grischuk, Radjabov-Caruana, Svidler-Andreikin.

  • Boris Gelfand leads after beating Grischuk on time in Baku Grand Prix Round 3 – 3
    Boris Gelfand has the sole lead in the FIDE Grand Prix in Baku after three of the eleven rounds with 2.5/3. Gelfand and Grischuk were the last to finish their game which was reduced to a rook ending where neither had enough time to play it accurately. Grischuk blundered with 55.Rg7 with 55 seconds to go to make it move 60, he must have sensed something wrong because 56.Rf7 took him down to 12 seconds, Gelfand, also with very little time missed the winning 57.c5 after which it was a scramble to the time control. Grischuk had two seconds showing for his final move but his flag dropped in an equal position for the loss.

    Fabiano Caruana had a huge advantage against Hikaru Nakamura but he started to go astray and allowed his opponent to escape with a draw.

    Sergey Karjakin was the only other winner of the day when he took advantage of Leinier Dominguez Perez’ time pressure to cause a total collapse of his position just before first time control.

    Peter Svidler surprised Teimour Radjabov taking an English into a Sicilian structure and an unsure Radjabov allowed 6…d5 and after 11 moves it was already obvious the game would be drawn.

    Evgeny Tomashevsky couldn’t land a killer blow against Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s Gruenfeld in spite of having a threatening looking position and the game was drawn.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was somewhat surprised by 6…Nbd7 by Dmitry Andreikin in the Semi-Slav and never seemed fully comfortable after that and the game drifted to a draw.

    Round 3 Standings: 1 Gelfand 2.5pts 2-4 Caruana, Svidler, Nakamura 2pts 5-8 Radjabov, Kasimdzhanov, Tomashevsky, Karjakin 1.5pts 9-11 Grischuk, Dominguez Perez, Mamedyarov 1pt 12 Andreikin 0.5pts

    Round 4 Pairings Sunday 5th Oct 11am BST: Kasimdzhanov-Svidler, Andreikin-Radjabov, Caruana-Mamedyarov, Grischuk-Nakamura, Dominguez-Gelfand, Tomashevsky-Karjakin.