The Aeroflot Rapid Tournament has come to the semifinals phase. Gata Kamsky, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, and Sergey Karjakin survived the 1/8 and 1/4 finals of the knockout finals at Aeroflot.
Alexander Grischuk easily defeated Aleksandr Shimanov in the round-of-16 with a perfect 2-0. However, his next rival was much harder to overcome. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov stirred the game into complexity, but Grischuk swiftly used his queenside pawn majority to eventually take the lead. In the second game, Alexander surprisingly advanced his kingside pawns early in the game. This proved to be the best strategy, instead of trying to get a draw with passive play. Grischuk got a better position, but preferred to simplify to a completely drawn opposite-colored bishop endgame, which was enough to get the ticket to the next round.
Ian Nepomniachtchi seems to be in very good shape. After winning the Blitz Tournament, he achieved another great result. In the 1/8 finals he beat living legend Anatoly Karpov with a perfect score 2-0. Then, Caissa chose to pair Nepomniachtchi against his direct rival of the Blitz Tournament, Peter Svidler. This was the perfect opportunity for Svidler to take revenge for his loss yesterday. In a sharp first game the result was decided when Svidler blundered on move 41. Svidler, faithful to his fighting spirit, managed to beat his young opponent in a very tense second game. The match had to be decided with an Armageddon finale. Svidler only needed a draw with the black pieces, and seemed to be well on his way to get precisely that, but once again luck was not on his side; he blundered on move 36 and Nepomniachtchi advanced to the semifinals.
Gata Kamsky did not have much trouble to overcome Sanan Sjugirov with a 1.5-0.5 score at the 1/8 finals. In the next round he had to face Ukrainian Pavel Eljanov and the match finished with the same score as against the young Russian.
Sergey Karjakin had the lowest rated opponent in the 1/8 finals, Dmitry Frolyanov. Karjkin started with a draw with white and had to put in extra effort to win the second game and close the match 1,5-0,5.
The Russian was paired against the representative of China, Wang Hao. The first game was a 45-move draw where none of the players really seemed to be ever in much trouble. A typical high-level game between two super-GMs.
In the second game, things got sharper. Both players chose to castle queenside and the battle took place in an open board. Leaving the complications, Karjakin finished a pawn up in a rook and knight endgame. Sergey demonstrated why he has been at the top of the charts the last few years and converted his advantage without much trouble.
Tomorrow is the final day of Aeroflot, watch the games live with computer analysis here.