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Monday, April 22, 2013

Renova Group Chess Grand Prix R4: Morozevich, Topalov, Ponomariov Continue to Lead

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

For the second day in a row all games finished in draws at the fourth round of the Renova Group Chess Grand Prix in Zug, Switzerland. Alexander Morozevich, Veselin Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov continued to lead with 2,5 points each.

Except Ruslan Ponomoriov, who didn’t get any edge against Anish Giri, all other players, who had white pieces, managed to create problems for their opponents. Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Veselin Topalov played a thrilling game, which started with a piece sacrifice by Rustam Kasimdzhanov on the 13th move. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov managed to get a very dynamic position and was hoping to use the activity of his pieces but Fabiano Caruana defended precisely. Sergey Karjakin went for the worse bishop endgame but manage to hold it against Alexander Morozevich. Teymur Radjabov had good winning chances against Peter Leko but Hungarian player managed to defend. Hikaru Nakamura tried to convert his extra pawn in the rook endgame into a full point but Gata Kamsky was also not in the mood to lose.

Rustam Kasimdzhanov - Veselin Topalov 1/2:1/2

The two former FIDE World Champions played a very interesting line of the King’s Indian Classical, which Topalov had previously played, with White! Undoubtedly, Kasimdzhanov had analyzed this line as it has been played by a number of tops Grandmasters including Boris Gelfand. According to Rustam, he knew the idea as it has been played already before in Aeroflot Open. “Unfortunately I didn’t check this idea with computer and it was a pity to play 13.Nf5 without the real preparation,” said Rustam during the press-conference. Topalov gave back the piece and then played the very daring 20…Kh7. However, Kasimdzhanov’s sacrifice paid off as he recovered the exchange but Topalov had very active pieces. His defense was quite impressive despite the position looking very difficult for him.

Hikaru Nakamura - Gata Kamsky 1/2:1/2
The American derby saw White (Nakamura) adopting a line which gave Kamsky little problems. After Kamsky adopted his favorite opening structure, we got an e3 variation of the Grunfeld. Black had no problem in equalizing with 10…c5 and White remained saddled with a backward b-pawn. “I forgot what I’ve prepared against 10…c5. I checked the line with e4 but I think I confused the order. Today it was the day when I could not remember anything or calculate clearly at all. Almost every move Gata played took me by surprise,” said Hikaru Nakamura with smile. Eventually White unraveled his pieces and Black made an error with 23…Rxc5. Once again Kamsky got into time trouble and eventually decided to enter an endgame a pawn down in a rook endgame, which he managed to save.

Teimour Radjabov - Peter Leko 1/2:1/2
Radjabov has not had a great start in this event and today chose a solid, rarely played line the QG Declined, Ragozin variation. It seems Azeri player was more familiar with the position after the opening than Peter Leko, who played a new opening and “didn’t check the rare line deep enough”. Peter Leko said he decided to play quickly today but still spent a huge amount of time in the middle game and around move 17 he left himself with 18 minutes for 23 moves. Teimur Radjabov found a very strong move 17.Rb1 with many threats and it was not easy for Black to find the right way. Hungarian player went for Rc7 and after more or less force line White got better endgame. Peter Leko was defending very well but could have finished the game earlier with stalemate 58…Rg1 – 59…Rg5.

Alexander Morozevich - Sergey Karjakin ½ - ½White chose the Alekhine variation against the Nimzo Indian. Black was well prepared and chose Romanishin’s line with 6…Qf5. Whilst Morozevich tried to keep the position complicated, Black managed to equalize in a straightforward manner with 10…e5. Black may have played for a little bit more with 15 or 16…g6 but after the exchange of queens it was very difficult for either side to create much in the resulting position. Karjakin managed however to get into serious time trouble and gave Morozevich the chances in bishop endgame. It’s hard make the final conclusion if it was winning for White or not, as the ending should be analyzed quite deeply, but both players said on the press-conference that they didn’t see chances for White to improve their position.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Fabiano Caruana ½ - ½ White played out a main line of the Be2 variation in the Exchange Grunfeld. As is the norm for Mamedyarov he played his first 22 moves very quickly but maybe should have paused to consider 19.d6!? as an option. During the Press conference Fabiano indicated he might have played 19.d6 Nxd6 20.Qd5 Be6?? which would have been answered by 21.Qxe6 fxe6 22.Bxe6+ Kh8 23. Ng5 winning! The position was unclear after 19.Rxf7 and Fabiano Caruana consumed a lot of time in the opening and middlegame. Black then decided to facilitate his defence with the counter exchange sacrifice 28..Rxe3!? and created enough counter play. An inaccuracy 33.Bc8?! by Mamedyarov gave Caruana the opportunity to equalize and despite the tough time control Black maintained equality.

Ruslan Ponomariov - Anish Giri ½ - ½
Anish Giri played confidently against former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. He chose the Archangel variation in the Ruy Lopez with Black and his moves were coming fast and thick. White spent a lot of time on 13.Qb1 but this posed no problems to Giri’s preparation as he continued to play fast and was always quite well ahead of Ponomariov on time. Maybe 16.e5 could have posed some more difficulties for Black but Anish showed in the press conference he was well prepared.

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