London FIDE Grand Prix – Round 9

In round 9 of the London FIDE Grand Prix we almost had a forfeit as Sasha Grischuk arrived just before the zero tolerance kicked in.

The Russian player didn’t want to test the depth of Boris Gelfand’s preparation in the Sicilian Sveshnikov and instead opened with a rare closed Sicilian. Gelfand neglected his development while seeking to exchange some pieces, but Grischuk decided to go for a direct attack, sacrificing a piece on e6, and achieving a winning position. The black King came under fire of the heavy pieces and the game ended a few moves later.

Hikaru Nakamura was seeking to recover from three consecutive losses and started the game with a solid Caro-Kann defence. He seemed well prepared as he spent only fourteen minutes for the first twenty moves. Michael Adams managed to install a strong Knight on “e5” with the Bishop “c3” and pawn on “f4” as support. White was increasing the advantage as Nakamura made a huge mistake 26…Rb8? and got absolutely hopeless position. The tournament is a nightmare for Hikaru.

Leinier Dominguez went for a solid Bogo-Indian defence against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Probably the Cuban player wanted to play a safe line, but “Shak” showed his cards with the aggressive 10.g4, 11.g5. Dominguez logically sought to counter attack on the queen-side and in the centre by d6-d5.

Mamedyarov kept control of the position, exchanging pieces to arrive in a very comfortable endgame with two bishops against knights. He went on to convert the advantage into the full point.

Ivanchuk treated the King’s Indian Attack in original fashion, but a lot or seemingly “random” moves led him into some trouble as Veselin Topalov put pressure on the backward d3-pawn. The material was exchanged and the players reached an interesting endgame. It looked like White equalized but Topalov skillfully targeted the weak h4-pawn and Ivanchuk was late to liquidate the pawns. Another error with 51. Bh8? and White was forced to give up.

Anish Giri followed Boris Avrukh’s recommendation and played 4.e3 against Rustam Kasimdzhanov’s Slav defence. White managed to obtain the pair of bishops but the position was totally blocked and the only possibility was to break through by pushing g3-g4. Anish succeeded to make this break on 36th move. Rustam kept the balance by putting his rooks on h7 and h8. Dutch player tried all that he could but black finally found a perpetual check.

Wang Hao decided to quickly proceed to the endgame from one of the main lines of the Nimzo-Indian defence. White looked a bit better thanks to his powerful bishop on “d4”. The Chinese player had to exchange a pair of rooks but couldn’t breach the black position. Peter Leko created an impenetrable blockade with his king on f7 and his rook on d7. After suffering for a long time, Peter managed to draw the endgame!

Replay the games with computer analysis

Round 9 results:
GM Wang Hao 2742 ½ – ½ GM Leko Peter 2737
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 1 – 0 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 0 – 1 GM Topalov Veselin 2752
GM Adams Michael 2722 1 – 0 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783
GM Giri Anish 2730 ½ – ½ GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684
GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 1 – 0 GM Gelfand Boris 2738

Round 9 standings:
1. GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 AZE – 6
2-4. GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 RUS, GM Topalov Veselin 2752 BUL and GM Gelfand Boris 2738 ISR – 5½
5. GM Leko Peter 2737 HUN – 5
6. GM Wang Hao 2742 CHN – 4½
7-10. GM Giri Anish 2730 NED, GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 UZB, GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 UKR, GM Adams Michael 2722 ENG – 4
11. GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 CUB – 3½
12. GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 USA – 2½

Round 10 pairings (on 2012/10/02):
GM Leko Peter 2737 – GM Gelfand Boris 2738
GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2754
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 – GM Giri Anish 2730
GM Topalov Veselin 2752 – GM Adams Michael 2722
GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 – GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769
GM Wang Hao 2742 – GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729

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