“So far so good” were the words of Boris Gelfand leaving the venue of the London FIDE Grand Prix yesterday evening. Today, his opponent Anish Giri chose a sharp King’s Indian. Boris had to think for a while and opted for the bayonet attack.
First moves were played very fast and after 22 moves, Gelfand decided to sacrifice a piece! The two white bishops were very dangerous and Anish gave up an exchange with 25…dxc5?!. Boris took a good advantage but 30.Rf1 was an inaccurate move and Anish took the opportunity to come back in the game and eventually equalize. A disappointing draw for Boris who could have increased the lead.
The first game to end today was between Topalov and Mamedyarov. In a well-known line of Caro Khan, Mamedyarov equalized right after the opening. “Shak” didn’t know about 18.Be1 but it was not a big danger for Black and after one hour of play, both players repeated the moves.
Hikaru Nakamura finally opened with 1.e4 instead of 1.Nf3. The American chose the exchange line of the Ruy Lopez. Vassily Ivanchuk played for the endgame with 5…f6. After exchanging some pieces, both players doubled the rooks on the “d” file. The endgame knight+bishop looked drawn but Vassily kept on pushing on the queen’s side and Nakamura started to make mistakes in time trouble. Ivanchuk jumped on that occasion to win the endgame.
Leko and Grischuk were in fighting mood today, starting with the very sharp Sicilian Najdorf. White attacked on the centre, forcing Black to react by giving an exchange and counter-attacking with the knights on the White’s king.
The Hungarian had the possibility to take a big advantage by playing the computer move 22.g6! but preferred the more human and safer 22.c3. Grischuk took his chance, played very accurate moves and drew the game.
The game between Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Michael Adams was much more peaceful with the English opening. Rustam had a pleasant position to play, pressuring without any big risks. The Black pawns on “b4” and “c5” looked slightly weak in the middlegame.
Adams managed to exchange his weak pawns, and everyone expected a draw to follow. 37…h5? was a mistake and Michael had to fight in a queen endgame with a clear pawn down. The position got worse and black was unable to defend it.
Wang Hao surprised Leinier Dominguez by playing a Bd7 Richter-Rauzer Sicilian variation. The position looked more like the Najdorf, White attacking on the king’s side and Black on the queen’s side. The Chinese player went for a typical exchange sacrifice with 15…Rxc3?!, complicating the position.
Dominguez reacted calmly, exchanging queens, putting his bishop on “d5” and taking a big advantage. The rest of the game was a matter of technique for Leinier but the 37th move was a mistake and the Cuban player had to finally draw his game. A small miracle for Wang Hao!
Round 8 results:
GM Leko Peter 2737 ½ – ½ GM Grischuk Alexander 2754
GM Gelfand Boris 2738 ½ – ½ GM Giri Anish 2730
GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 1 – 0 GM Adams Michael 2722
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 0 – 1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769
GM Topalov Veselin 2752 ½ – ½ GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729
GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 ½ – ½ GM Wang Hao 2742
Round 8 standings:
1. GM Gelfand Boris 2738 ISR – 5½
2. GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 AZE – 5
3-5. GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 RUS, GM Topalov Veselin 2752 BUL and GM Leko Peter 2737 HUN – 4½
6-7. GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 UKR and GM Wang Hao 2742 CHN – 4
8-10. GM Giri Anish 2730 NED, GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 CUB and GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 UZB – 3½
11. GM Adams Michael 2722 ENG – 3
12. Nakamura Hikaru 2783 USA – 2½
Round 9 pairings (on 2012/10/01):
GM Wang Hao 2742 – GM Leko Peter 2737
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 – GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 – GM Topalov Veselin 2752
GM Adams Michael 2722 – GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783
GM Giri Anish 2730 – GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684
GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 – GM Gelfand Boris 2738