Before the start of the 7th round of the FIDE Grand Prix in London, Boris Gelfand (4/6) held the lead by half a point ahead of the chasing pack of Grischuk, Topalov, Mamedyarov and Leko.
But the pairings for the day didn’t see any of the leaders facing off against each other.
Leinier avoided the main line of the Berlin defence and went for the closed Ruy Lopez. Right after the opening exchanges, Peter decided to destroy the pawn centre with 15…c6 and 16…d5!?. The endgame, which arose from these exchanges, was a bit better for White due to the pawn structure. However, it wasn’t enough to break Leko’s defence and the draw was agreed.
Topalov played a very daring Gruenfeld and was two pawns down after just eight moves, albeit in a position that he had already envisaged in his preparation. As compensation he had the better development. After 13 moves, White didn’t develop the king’s side at all with the bishop still on f1 and pawns on “e2” and “g2”! All the black squares were weakened and Topalov logically took the advantage step by step.
Approaching the time trouble, Hao managed to survive his opponent’s attack and eventually equalized. A tough draw for the young Chinese player and a disappointment for Topalov.
The spectators smelled blood for this game – such is the attacking nature of both players. Nakamura was disappointed by his results in the tournament so far. Without any big surprise, Nakamura opted for his favoured King’s Indian and Shakhriyar chose a quiet line based on fianchetto g3, Bg2. White took the space and Hikaru decided to change the course of the game by playing 17…c5?!.
It appeared that White suddenly took the advantage with 18.e5!. White kept on pressuring his opponent until the time trouble, where Black couldn’t find the best defence and Mamedyarov scored his second victory in a row.
After few moves, Vassily stopped writing down his moves. Carol Jarecki, the chief arbiter, asked the Ukrainian player what he was doing. It turned out that Ivanchuk had simply forgotten to record the progress of the game.
On the board, Kasimdzhanov took the c4-pawn and tried to keep it as long as possible with 10…Qd4. A draw was agreed after only 11 moves!
These two players know each other very well and are from the same generation (Boris is born in 1968 and Michael in 1971). Adams went for the Rossolimo line of the Sicilian, choosing the b3-Bb2 plan. Gelfand developed his pieces in an original fashion with f6, Kf7. The position looked pretty equal but black had compensation with the two bishops.
Boris even went for the a2-pawn, which seemed risky. Black kept his two pawn advantage until the rook endgame and managed to win. An important victory for Gelfand who is now in pole position to pick up the first prize.
Giri played the solid Maroczy Bind against Grischuk’s 6…Ba7 Paulsen Sicilian. The young Dutch player went for his usual plan with a4-a5 in order to take space on the queen side. Grischuk’s position remained solid, exchanging all the pawns on the queen’s side and equalizing comfortably. The draw was agreed after a long tussle!
Report by GM Robert Fontaine
Round 7 results:
GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 ½ – ½ GM Leko Peter 2737
GM Wang Hao 2742 ½ – ½ GM Topalov Veselin 2752
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 1 – 0 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 ½ – ½ GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684
GM Adams Michael 2722 0 – 1 GM Gelfand Boris 2738
GM Giri Anish 2730 ½ – ½ GM Grischuk Alexander 2754
Round 7 standings:
1. GM Gelfand Boris 2738 ISR – 5
2. GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 AZE – 4½
3-5. GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 RUS, GM Topalov Veselin 2752 BUL and GM Leko Peter 2737 HUN – 4
6. GM Wang Hao 2742 CHN – 3½
7-10. GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 UKR, GM Adams Michael 2722 ENG, GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 CUB and GM Giri Anish 2730 NED – 3
11-12. GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 UZB and GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 USA – 2½
Round 8 pairings (on 2012/09/29):
GM Leko Peter 2737 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2754
GM Gelfand Boris 2738 – GM Giri Anish 2730
GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 – GM Adams Michael 2722
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 – GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769
GM Topalov Veselin 2752 – GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729
GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 – GM Wang Hao 2742