Heading into the final round of the London FIDE Grand Prix the Azeri player was holding half a point lead ahead of Topalov, Grischuk and Gelfand.
A draw by Mamedyarov allowed Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand, who won against Anish Giri and Rustam Kasimdzhanov respectively, to catch him on the shared first place with 7/11 points each. Alexander Grischuk left half a point behind as he couldn’t achieve more than draw against Hikaru Nakamura.
In the 11th round all the eyes were on the leader of the tournament Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and his game with Peter Leko. Obviously, Shak played safely, with a draw in one hand, to secure at least a tie of the first place. Following the peaceful line of the Nimzo-Indian both players exchanged the pieces and the knight’s endgame remained equal until the scoresheets were signed.
Boris Gelfand went for the Moscow variation of the Slav defence against Kasimdzhanov. Boris made a courageous decision with 14.b4 giving up an exchange on purpose. In compensation, white had a very strong pawn mass of “b4-c4-c5”. Rustam had to lose some tempi with his bishop from a4 to c2, in the meantime white was pressuring. 31…Rfa8? was the decisive mistake, which gave away the b7 pawn. Position became too difficult to defend and Boris, by winning this last game, is finally sharing the first place.
Many quick exchanges were also made in the game between Topalov and Giri. After twenty minutes of play, there was a rook+bishop+knight endgame on the board. Everyone could expect a draw but Topalov started to play for the win. The 41st move of Anish was a mistake but his position was already difficult. The two black pawns e5-f5 looked unstoppable and Anish Giri could not hold the position.
Michael Adams decided to play safely today, using 3.Bb5+ against the Sicilian of Dominguez, and more exactly a form of Maroczy Bind. Dominguez found a way to equalize by opening the centre with 14…d5! Position was symmetrical without any real perspective for either side. Pieces were exchanged and the draw was agreed.
Nakamura showed his fighting spirit again, playing the Sicilian Dragon against Alexander Grischuk. The Russian player accepted the challenge, entering in the main sharp line. There was never a real danger on the black’s king and all the tension was around the “c” file. After swapping the rooks, the position became equal and players repeated the moves. Draw.
Ivanchuk probably surprised his opponent by playing the Sozin attack. Wang Hao got a worse position after the opening and was forced to give up his pair of bishops. The a6 pawn was also weak and black couldn’t prevent the opponent from establishing a space domination. The attack seemed very promising but Wang Hao played a couple of accurate moves, forcing the draw repetition.
Round 11 results:
GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 ½ – ½ GM Leko Peter 2737
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 ½ – ½ GM Wang Hao 2742
GM Adams Michael 2722 ½ – ½ GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725
GM Giri Anish 2730 0 – 1 GM Topalov Veselin 2752
GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 ½ – ½ GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783
GM Gelfand Boris 2738 1 – 0 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684
1-3. GM Topalov Veselin 2752 BUL, GM Gelfand Boris 2738 ISR and GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2729 AZE – 7
4. GM Grischuk Alexander 2754 RUS – 6½
5. GM Leko Peter 2737 HUN – 6
6. GM Wang Hao 2742 CHN – 5½
7-8. GM Adams Michael 2722 ENG and GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2769 UKR – 5
9-10. GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2684 UZB and GM Dominguez Perez Leinier 2725 CUB – 4½
11-12. GM Giri Anish 2730 NED and GM Nakamura Hikaru 2783 USA – 4
Photos by Anastasya Karlovich