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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

London Chess Grand Prix R10: Mamedyarov Leads, But Last Round to Decide Champion!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The London Chess Grand Prix draws to a close but not without plenty of excitement. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has a half-point lead over the others after the end of Round 10. Anything can happen in the last round which is being played on Wednesday.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov took the lead yesterday for the first time and he keeps on leading after the tenth round as five out of sixth games were drawn. In the tenth round the rating number one in the tournament Hikaru Nakamura managed to win against Anish Giri after four defeats in a row! The last tweet of the American player spoke for itself: “While I do my absolute best to commit harakiri, (chess) at least her calming presence from afar puts it all in perspective. So far, Hikaru was losing 26 rating points and was falling down to the 11th place in the World ranking but improved his situation. One round to go Topalov, Gelfand and Grischuk share the 2nd place with six points each, just half-a-point behind the leader.

Wang Hao – Mamedyarov:

Mamedyarov appeared very relaxed when he arrived at Simpson`s with his manager. Shakhriyar decided to play the Caro Kann defence – his opening of choice for this tournament. Wang Hao prepared a surprise for his opponent 5.Nc5 trying to defuse any preparation. “Shak” paused for thought, and then replied 5…e5!? which caught Wang Hao unprepared, as he had not expected Mamedyarov to know this line deeply. The forced line that followed saw a quick exchange of queens which led to the endgame with a slightly better pawn structure for white. “Hao”-ever it was not enough and a draw was the result.

Leko – Gelfand: 

The main question is how Gelfand will recover from the Round 9 loss. Boris seemed in a good mood and was smiling before the game. Peter Leko went for a quiet line based on Nc3-Bc4 in close Sicilian. Nothing much happened until move 20 after which some pieces were exchanged. White started to take the initiative by opening the “f” file, and putting a strong bishop on d5. White started to control the black squares, and the knight on e3 defended the whole white pawn centre.

Kasimdzhanov – Grischuk:

Almost all the players of the tournament want to avoid the Marshall Gambit. In this game there was no exception, as Rustam chose the exchange variation of the Spanish opening. White decided to open the centre and found a very interesting plan, putting the queen on “b1” in order to push c3-d4. Sasha took a long time to play the first 15 moves and had just 14 minutes left for 22 moves. The two times World Blitz champion is quite used to time trouble…Taking initiative on the king’s side and centre, Grischuk increased his advantage, pressuring on the f2 pawn. 

Kasimdzhanov survived from the attack when Grischuk offered the exchange of queens with 38…Qf3? The rook endgame, which appeared, was finally drawn. A disappointment for Grischuk who could have taken the lead.

Nakamura – Giri:

Giri didn’t change his main weapon against 1.e4 and the Petrov appeared once again on the board. Hikaru exchanged the queens after 5 moves and decided to play a long endgame. White pieces had more space but black pieces found good placing. The bishop on b6 protected by the a5 pawn was controlling the queen side. Hikaru settled his other bishop on a second strong square e6. 

The position of Anish was very solid with the bishops on c6 and d6 but Hikaru managed to break through and finally won the game!

Topalov – Adams: 

The only chance for Veselin to catch the leader was to win today with the white pieces against Michael Adams. We saw one of the first Queen’s Gambit of the tournament, which looked pretty safe for black. Veselin managed to double black’s pawns on the “b” file and took a small advantage in the endgame but it was not enough to implement it into more. 

Dominguez – Ivanchuk: 

Vasily was in a good mood before the start of the game, looking at the pictures of Staunton on the wall of the Simpson’s in the Strand. The famous Immortal Game was played in the same building between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851. The Ukrainian player decided today to play a rare line of the Spanish opening (4…d6). Leinier replied with a safe line, putting all his pieces in the centre and obtained a slight advantage, due to the doubled black pawns on c7 and c6. 

Ivanchuk managed to exchange queens and equalized by putting a strong Bishop on e3. Draw.

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