The players arrived for the 2nd round of the FIDE Grand Prix in London in high spirits, chatting together and joking, probably thanks to the beautiful weather we have here in London.
Gelfand, the only winner in yesterday’s round and current leader of the tournament, faced today the former FIDE World Champion (2005), Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria. Queens were very quickly exchanged and white found a comfortable position. The black’s bishop was controlled by the strong pawn chain g2-f3-e4. Pressure on Black was not enough and the game eventually was drawn.
Vassily Ivanchuk started his tournament with the black pieces twice in a row. The Ukrainian GM decided to go for the “French defence”. It’s well known that Vasily can play any opening against anyone! By taking the control of the “d4” square, it appeared that Leko had the situation under control. Peter mentioned after the game that the decisive mistakes of Ivanchuk were 32…Kf7 and 33…hxg5. The position was hopeless for Ivanchuk who resigned after 42 moves.
Hikaru Nakamura, who tweeted yesterday “Losing is fun when you decide to fall asleep and blunder right before the time control”, felt the need to recover quickly from his loss against the Uzbek player Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Anyhow, the American player was clearly in a fighting mood using the King’s Indian. 18…bxc5 seemed to be a novelty. The jumping knights of Hikaru started to create problems for white. On move 59, Rustam made a mistake but the next move was worse with a terrible blunder allowing black to mate in 2!
Hikaru is coming back with 50%. Today Hikaru adjusted yesterday’s Tweet with “Winning is fun, losing is fun. Playing interesting games of chess with both colours is what makes it all worthwhile.
Adams against Mamedyarov fell into a very interesting fight of style. Mickey has a very positional style of play while “Shak” is known to be an active and aggressive player. “Shak” surprised his opponent by choosing the Caro Kann defence, avoiding any home preparation from his opponent. The Azeri player decided to stick to his reputation and made a crazy move with 20…Rd3!? giving away a full piece for the attack. The combination ended in a drawn endgame with an exchange up for white.
The young Dutch talent Anish Giri was playing the Chinese player Wang Hao today, who said that he was still suffering from jet lag. The youngest players of the tournament went for a solid Slav opening. Position was very close and eventually equal very quickly. The only open file “c” got blocked by the black Knight on “c4”. It turned out that both players agreed for a repetition of moves on move 30.
Alexander Grischuk decided to go today for the English opening and had his white rook on the “c5” square only after 20 moves. The Russian player managed to create a passed pawn on the “d” file, increasing slowly the pressure on black side. Grischuk tried to bring his king into the action but Dominguez found a great way to cut the action with 53…Qc5! The game finished in a rook endgame with a pawn up for white, which was not enough to win. Draw.
Round 3 pairings:
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 – GM Leko Peter 2737
GM Topalov Veselin 2752 – GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684
GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 – GM Gelfand Boris 2738
GM Wang Hao 2742 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2754
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 – GM Giri Anish 2730
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 – GM Adams Michael 2722