Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 7: Caruana, Kamsky Win Again, Share Lead
Fabiano Caruana and Gata Kamsky continued the winning streak to remain joint leaders after the 7th round of Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013. Kamsky outplayed Rustam Kasimdzhanov with black pieces, while Caruana took advantage of Alexander Morozevich's blunder to keep up the pace. In one of the longer games of the day Hikaru Nakamura defeated Veselin Topalov.
Tournament sponsor Ivan Savvidis visited the playing hall and watched the games before heading to the football match of his club PAOK. Results, pairings, standings and photo gallery are updated.
Ivanchuk - Grischuk
Just as the Tournament Director Τheodoros Tsorbatzoglou was presenting FIDE Press Officer Anastasya Karlovich with a birthday cake, the game finished in a draw and the players entered the press room!
Ivanchuk also shared an interesting story about his opponent. Vassily said that the Russian is a difficult opponent because he is rarely accepting draws, even if he doesn't have better position or better time on the clock. Ivanchuk believes that this attitude brought Grischuk good results recently: "Maybe he is using some poker tricks that I am not familiar with :)"
Svidler - Ponomariov
Svidler remained consistent and opened with 1.d4 while Ponomariov replied with the Queen's Gambit Accepted. The Russian said he expected something else in the opening.
11.a3 took black by surprise and he spent almost one hour for the next move. Svidler believed that after 11.Be3 black is just comfortable and he wanted to give him a choice to possibly make a mistake.
11...Bd6 was a decent choice, but after spending so much time Ponomariov "wanted to play a simpler game". Svidler thought he could exercise some pressure after 15.b5, but black's 15...f5 is a very precise answer. Svidler mentioned that 18.b6!? would have been an interesting try, but "...as the tournament goes for me, it was best to keep things under control." The game soon fizzled out to a draw.
On the question about the time control in the tournament, Ponomariov said: "I think the discussions about which time control is better are pointless, it is like people have nothing better to do. I would prefer to have one, any time control, to be used throughout the whole WCC cycle, but without changing."Kasimdzhanov - Kamsky
Gata Kamsky spent 7-8 minutes for the first move before opting for the Dutch defence. He took up this opening because he "wanted to play something interesting". The game was an interesting battle that you can replay with Chess King.
Morozevich - Caruana
This was another English opening and white angled to set the reversed Hedgehog structure. Already after 8.b3 Caruana was unhappy with this opening and that is why he decided to exchange the light-squared Bishops. Morozevich might have felt black's discomfort as he immediately replied with aggressive-looking 11.h4. But Caruana kept his cool and calmly exchanged another pair of pieces to reduce the attacking potential. Black came up with a nice win which you can replay with Chess King.
Nakamura - Topalov
The game started with Naidorf Sicilian, which Hikaru Nakamura himself played earlier against Morozevich. But instead of the English Attack, this time white opted for the good old positional 6.Be2. White obtained the Bishops' pair and Topalov tried to restrict the light-squared piece with g6-h5 formation. This turned to be a bit too slow because white quickly summoned the pawns on e5 and c5. Replay the full game with Chess King.
On question about Thessaloniki, Nakamura said that he likes the city and that he enjoys the weather "which is better than in previous tournaments he played in."
Bacrot - Dominguez
Leinier Dominguez repeated the Bogo Indian, which he successfully used against Kasimdzhanov in the 5th round, but Bacrot was prepared and answered with the principled 8.cxd5 heading for the Carlsbad pawn structure.
One of the advantages was that the Rook was on b1 (Kasimdzhanov had the Rook on d1), allowing white to organise a quick advance on the queenside.
Dominguez said that he wanted to repeat the solid line and be safe, but then he committed some mistakes and had to suffer for a long time.
Bacrot refused the repetition on two occasions, then conveniently exchanged the pieces and passed the time control with a better pawn structure.
The backward c6-pawn was a constant source or worry for black. White's advantage was moderate but lasting.
Bacrot kept on pressing for another 40 moves, but Dominguez finally escaped with a draw in the Knights endgame.
GM Papaioannou and FM Logothetis believed that white's best try was to play with three pawns versus lone Knight, as in 71.f5 Kg5 72.Kxg3 Kf6 73.Nxd5 Nxd5 74.e4 etc. It is still unclear however whether this would be sufficient for a win. (Report by Goran Urosevic/official website)
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