Chess

Sharjah Grand Prix: Alexander Grischuk takes the winner’s trophy

The ninth and final round of the FIDE World Chess Sharjah Grand Prix was played today at the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexander Grischuk played a relatively short draw, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov used the opportunity to defeat Hou Yifan and join them on the shared first place.

The final ranking was decided by the first tie-break criteria – mutual result. Grischuk scored best due to yesterday’s win against Mamedyarov and is awarded the winner’s trophy. Vachier-Lagrave is second and Mamedyarov is third.

Alexander Grischuk

Alexander Grischuk (photo A.Karlovich)

The Azeri Grandmaster employed the sharp 4.f3 variation against the Nimzo-Indian. Black made several inaccuracies, as 13…Bxc3 and 15…e4, after which white launched a crushing attack by 17.Bb1. Hou Yifan tried to refute the threats, but there were too many and white claimed a win on 32nd move.

Ding Liren and Levon Aronian were involved in a typical Catalan Opening, where white claimed only a minimal advantage. But at some point, Aronian became careless and “just started playing some random moves”. White used this time to increase the pressure and put the bishop’s pair to work. The final mistake was 37…Bxd6, after which the Chinese player created the mating net.

Pavel Eljanov and Salem Saleh have agreed that the principled 17…d5 break in the center might have been the cause of all black’s trouble later. It was proposed to continue 17…bxa4 18.Rxa4 Qb6 as an improved line.

Eljanov temporarily sacrificed an exchange and assumed a strong initiative. Black could not steer clear of the storm and in the course of massive exchange white won a pawn. The Ukrainian Grandmaster proceeded to convert the advantage.

Round 9 results:

GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2742 ½ – ½
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785 – GM Adams Michael 2751 ½ – ½
GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2709 – GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2749 ½ – ½
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766 – GM Hou Yifan 2651 1 – 0
GM Ding Liren 2760 – GM Aronian Levon 2785 1 – 0
GM Rapport Richard 2692 – GM Li Chao B 2720 ½ – ½
GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2709 – GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2711 ½ – ½
GM Eljanov Pavel 2759 – GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2656 1 – 0
GM Riazantsev Alexander 2671 – GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2628 ½ – ½

Final standings:

1 GM Grischuk Alexander RUS 2742 – 5.5
2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2796 – 5.5
3 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2766 – 5.5
4 GM Ding Liren CHN 2760 – 5
5 GM Adams Michael ENG 2751 – 5
6 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2709 – 5
7 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2785 – 5
8 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2749 – 5
9 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2692 – 4.5
10 GM Eljanov Pavel UKR 2759 – 4.5
11 GM Li Chao B CHN 2720 – 4.5
12 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2709 – 4.5
13 GM Aronian Levon ARM 2785 – 4
14 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2651 – 4
15 GM Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2656 – 3.5
16 GM Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2628 – 3.5
17 GM Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2711 – 3.5
18 GM Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2671 – 3

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