The third round of the FIDE World Chess Sharjah Grand Prix was played today at the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club.
The top two finishers in the four-tournament series, which will also include competitions in Moscow, Geneva and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, will qualify for the Candidates tournament next year to select a challenger for the World Championship. There are 24 players in the competitions, with each playing three of the four tournaments.
With a new exciting format each GP stage is a 9-round Swiss competition with 18 participants. However, as several players noted in the interviews, there are no easy pairings in the first couple of rounds, and everyone gets a world-class opposition right from the start.
The only win in the third round was achieved by Hikaru Nakamura who defeated Richard Rapport in an exciting game full of beautiful tactical motifs.
The American Grandmaster participated in the previous Candidates Tournament in Moscow. Rapport, true to his reputation, has not made any draws so far.
The tournament leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was held to a draw by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Passing through the doors of the press center, Mamedyarov immediately asked where he had missed the victorious continuation. Vachier-Lagrave admitted that he had been lucky to escape with a draw.
Round 3 results:
GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796 – GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766 ½ – ½
GM Adams Michael 2751 – GM Eljanov Pavel 2759 ½ – ½
GM Grischuk Alexander 2742 – GM Aronian Levon 2785 ½ – ½
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785 – GM Rapport Richard 2692 1 – 0
GM Ding Liren 2760 – GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2628 ½ – ½
GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2709 – GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2749 ½ – ½
GM Hou Yifan 2651 – GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2709 ½ – ½
GM Riazantsev Alexander 2671 – GM Li Chao B 2720 ½ – ½
GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2711 – GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2656 ½ – ½
Vachier-Lagrave is leading with 2,5 points, followed by Mamedyarov, Nakamura and Adams on 2 points each.
Round 4 pairings:
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785 – GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766 – GM Adams Michael 2751
GM Aronian Levon 2785 – GM Riazantsev Alexander 2671
GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2709 – GM Ding Liren 2760
GM Eljanov Pavel 2759 – GM Hou Yifan 2651
GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2749 – GM Grischuk Alexander 2742
GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2628 – GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2709
GM Li Chao B 2720 – GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2711
GM Rapport Richard 2692 – GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2656
Each Grand Prix has a prize fund of 130,000 euros, with 20,000 euros for first place. The series is being organized by Agon, the company that holds the commercial rights to the World Championship, under the auspices of the World Chess Federation.