June 03, 2013 19:04

Dominguez wins Thessaloniki Grand Prix outright

Dominguez wins Thessaloniki Grand Prix outright

Leinier Dominguez Perez scored his career's best result on Monday, winning the Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece outright. The Cuban grandmaster showed his skill in rook endings once again and defeated Veselin Topalov in 71 moves, while co-leader Gata Kamsky lost to Fabiano Caruana after a horrible blunder. Peter Svidler avoided a draw but also blundered and lost to Hikaru Nakamura, while Vassily Ivanchuk finished with his only win in the tournament, against Etienne Bacrot.

All photos by Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

The last round started with a really quick draw (about 35 minutes) between Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Alexander Grischuk. Apparently both players were quite happy with a draw, because they bashed out 20 theoretical moves in a Sicilian, English Attack and then started repeating moves.

It's been a very tough tournament and very long so I was not very ambitious,

said Kasimzdhanov.

That's the problem of complicated lines for Black: there are usually quite a bit of forced draws for White. If I avoid it I'm just much worse,

said Grischuk.

PGN string

At the press conference Grischuk added a few more funny remarks:

Peter Leko as the King of Draws, that's the past. People say "Drawnik" sometimes, but it's now "Drawchuk!" I've scored 10/11 draws here, 11/14 at the London Candidates, 9/11 at the London Grand Prix and 13/14 in Kazan!

Soon things started heating up as tournament leaders Leinier Dominguez and Gata Kamsky were both in slightly worse positions, and so there was potentially a tie between many players.

Kamsky played against Fabiano Caruana, who had to try to win to be able to catch up with the leaders. The Italian chose a modest Anti-Marshall, and afterwards the players agreed that Black's 13...g6 weakened the kingside too much. Caruana found an nice way to play on both wings, kept an edge and then... Kamsky blundered away the game and his tournament victory in one move. (Seeing him join the press conference after such a disappointing finish was quite nice.)

PGN string

Vassily Ivanchuk was the next to arrive in the press room, and he was in a very cheerful mood. There was good reason for that: the erratic Ukrainian had won his first game in the tournament, against Etienne Bacrot. The Frenchman was actually outplaying Ivanchuk in the opening ("My opening was completely bad, it looks terrible for Black!" – Ivanchuk) but from move 18 onwards he started playing moves his opponent didn't understand.

PGN string

Alexander Morozevich, who had lost four games in a row, finished his tournament with an interesting draw against Ruslan Ponomariov. The Russian's handling of the Trompowsky might look a bit funny, until you realize that Morozevich was simply playing a Chigorin Defence with reversed colours – an opening he has written a book about! However, an inaccuracy on move 15 led to a big advantage for Ponomariov, who then didn't find the critical way to continue. The ending was always a draw.

PGN string

The game between Hikaru Nakamura and Peter Svidler showed how tough this tournament has been, and especially Svidler's long streak of tournaments. The grandmaster from St Petersburg more or less outplayed his opponent in the opening and was close to winning, but Nakamura was being the tough defender he always is, and then, avoiding a move repetition, Svidler blundered away the half point.

PGN string

And then there was one game left, between Leinier Dominguez and Veselin Topalov, and it was nice to have this one decide the whole tournament! From a French kind of ending that resulted from a Taimanov Sicilian, Topalov seemed to have a slight edge with Black out of the opening. However, Dominguez found a good setup for his pieces and managed to reach a slightly better rook ending. That probably should have been a draw, but the Cuban once again showed a combination of fine endgame technique and sharp calculation.

PGN string

Afterwards three participants tweeted about the event:

And there was also a nice tweet from another colleague of Dominguez:

Dominguez: "I was just concentrating at doing my best in every game. At the previous
Grand Prix tournaments went quite badly so I wanted to show some good play."

At the closing ceremony FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that the next Grand Prix, scheduled for 3-17 July in Berlin, has been moved to Beijing, China. Veselin Topalov kept his first place in the overall GP standings (see below).

Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013 | Schedule & results

Round 1 13:00 CET 22.05.13   Round 2 13:00 CET 23.05.13
Topalov ½-½ Grischuk   Grischuk 1-0 Nakamura
Kamsky 1-0 Dominguez   Bacrot ½-½ Kasimdzhanov
Ponomariov ½-½ Caruana   Morozevich 1-0 Svidler
Ivanchuk ½-½ Morozevich   Caruana 1-0 Ivanchuk
Svidler 1-0 Bacrot   Dominguez ½-½ Ponomariov
Kasimdzhanov 1-0 Nakamura   Topalov ½-½ Kamsky
Round 3 13:00 CET 24.05.13   Round 4 13:00 CET 25.05.13
Kamsky ½-½ Grischuk   Grischuk ½-½ Bacrot
Ponomariov ½-½ Topalov   Morozevich ½-½ Nakamura
Ivanchuk 0-1 Dominguez   Caruana ½-½ Kasimdzhanov
Svidler ½-½ Caruana   Dominguez 1-0 Svidler
Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Morozevich   Topalov 1-0 Ivanchuk
Nakamura ½-½ Bacrot   Kamsky ½-½ Ponomariov
Round 5 13:00 CET 27.05.13   Round 6 13:00 CET 28.05.13
Ponomariov ½-½ Grischuk   Grischuk ½-½ Morozevich
Ivanchuk ½-½ Kamsky   Caruana 1-0 Bacrot
Svidler ½-½ Topalov   Dominguez ½-½ Nakamura
Kasimdzhanov 0-1 Dominguez   Topalov ½-½ Kasimdzhanov
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana   Kamsky 1-0 Svidler
Bacrot ½-½ Morozevich   Ponomariov 1-0 Ivanchuk
Round 7 13:00 CET 29.05.13   Round 8 13:00 CET 30.05.13
Ivanchuk ½-½ Grischuk   Grischuk ½-½ Caruana
Svidler ½-½ Ponomariov   Dominguez 1-0 Morozevich
Kasimdzhanov 0-1 Kamsky   Topalov 0-1 Bacrot
Nakamura 1-0 Topalov   Kamsky 1-0 Nakamura
Bacrot ½-½ Dominguez   Ponomariov 0-1 Kasimdzhanov
Morozevich 0-1 Caruana   Ivanchuk 0-1 Svidler
Round 9 13:00 CET 01.06.13   Round 10 13:00 CET 02.06.13
Svidler ½-½ Grischuk   Grischuk ½-½ Dominguez
Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Ivanchuk   Topalov 0-1 Caruana
Nakamura ½-½ Ponomariov   Kamsky 1-0 Morozevich
Bacrot ½-½ Kamsky   Ponomariov 1-0 Bacrot
Morozevich 0-1 Topalov   Ivanchuk ½-½ Nakamura
Caruana 0-1 Dominguez   Svidler ½-½ Kasimdzhanov
Round 11 11:00 CET 03.06.13        
Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Grischuk        
Nakamura 1-0 Svidler        
Bacrot 0-1 Ivanchuk        
Morozevich ½-½ Ponomariov        
Caruana 1-0 Kamsky        
Dominguez 1-0 Topalov        

FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki 2013 | Final standings



Here's the new overall Grand Prix standings according to or calculations (so not official yet):

Name Fed Critria London 2012 Tashkent 2012 Zug 2013 Thess. 2013 Beijing 2013 (Paris 2013) Best 3 total
Topalov BUL Rating 140   170 45 x   355
Caruana ITA FIDE Pres.   80 100 125   x 305
Mamedyarov AZE Rating 140 80 20   x   240
Morozevich RUS AGON   140 75 25 x   240
Ponomariov UKR World Cup   50 100 85   x 235
Dominguez CUB AGON 35 20   170   x 225
Nakamura USA Rating 15   140 60   x 215
Wang Hao CHN AGON 70 140     x x 210
Kamsky USA Replacement   10 75 125 x   210
Karjakin RUS Rating   140 50   x x 190
Kasimdzhanov UZB AGON 35 80 20 70     185
Leko HUN AGON 80 50 50   x   180
Grischuk RUS World Cup 90     85 x x 175
Gelfand ISR Match 140 30     x x 170
Svidler RUS World Cup   50   45   x 95
Giri NED AGON 15   50   x x 65
Ivanchuk UKR World Cup 55     10 x x 65
Adams ENG Replacement 55           55
Bacrot FRA Replacement       25     25
Radjabov AZE AGON     20 x x x 20


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Stephen's picture

A tough tournament. Well done Dominguez ! Good result for Kasimdzhanov too.

Anonymous's picture

topalov found a good set up not to let Caruana finishing tie-first in the tournament ...

Chris's picture


S3's picture

Brilliant performance of Dominguez, scoring 8/10 after his first round loss.
And quite a few "favorites" no longer in contention for the GP ticket now...

popeye's picture

the japanese player has zero chance of being a candidate at best, makes the letter written to AGON look so foolish now.

Anonymous's picture

He is not Japanese.

RG13's picture

"Nakamura was born in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, to Shuichi Nakamura, from Japan" - wikipedia

Did Japan strip him of his citizenship after he went to live in the U.S.?

Catfishcore's picture

Naka moved to the USA in his first year of life. He grew up in the US and learned to play chess here too. Naka is an American.

Anonymous's picture

You may have read in wiki that his mother is American. But regardless of his origin. He learned to play chess by hustling blitz games in the streets of Brooklyn, much like Bobby Fischer. So his chess is American style chess. That's the chess culture he brings to the table.

jsy's picture

The Japanese-American still has realistic chances to become a candidate (look at the Grand Prix points total please)

BillyBob's picture

Interesting how insecure people feel the need to put others down to try to build themselves up. Revealing...

alfonso's picture

mmmm....¿the best result for a Cuban chess player since Capablanca?

Anonymous's picture

Just so you know, only one question mark is used when writing English. :-)

Peter Doggers's picture

Update: At the closing ceremony FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that the next Grand Prix, scheduled for 3-17 July in Berlin, has been moved to Beijing, China. Veselin Topalov kept his first place in the overall GP standings (now given at the end of the article).

vlad's picture

I would like to know if Svidler feels like a complete idiot after that game :)

pyotr svidler's picture

No, I don't.

elio's picture


KillBill's picture

Topalov is back to where he actually belongs...no.9 in the world..his brief stint at the top was not his real talent

Chris's picture

Topalov is in top 4. He is leading GP that is important. Rating what it is...is any prize for leading. Anand is 5th but is WCh and will consume 2 milion $ match.

RG13's picture

Rating matters since Carlsen's team admits to making over 1.5 million annually. He gets so many endorsements because he is rated # 1.

S3's picture

Unlikely..he already had sponsors way earlier. Some players are less interested in rating and/ or are not suitable for that kind of thing anyway.

Casey Abell's picture

Congrats to Dominguez on the result of his life. But the real winner is Caruana. With a decent performance in Berlin, er, Beijing, er, wherever, he should wrap up an invite to the next Candidates. Where he might be a real threat. Already he's knocking on the 2800 door and currenlty ranks fourth in the world.

popeye's picture

Tootsie cannot be taken seriously as a WC threat to Carlsen when it happens, only 3 or 4 players capable, which I wont name but 3 or them are now all russian and one is armenian

Chris's picture

3 russian? only 1! i would add american.

Casey Abell's picture

First, you're assuming Carlsen will defeat Anand. Second, Caruana just happens to be higher ranked now than ANY Russian player except one. Third, Caruana is 20 years old and is knocking on the 2800 door. Where will he be in a few more years? Fourth, what's a tootsie? Is that like a Tootsie Roll?

redivivo's picture

"the real winner is Caruana. With a decent performance in Berlin, er, Beijing, er, wherever, he should wrap up an invite to the next Candidates"

He will only be invited if the sponsor picks him, and the sponsor will pick player depending on which country the player represents.

To qualify without being invited a decent or even good result will be no guarantee. Let's say he scores exactly the same result in his final GP event as he did here, shared second. That means he will still be behind Topalov even if the latter finishes last in his final event. If Caruana is shared second behind Karjakin the latter will already have finished ahead of Caruana even with a last place finish in his final GP event. If Wang Hao wins any of his remaining GP event he too will finish far ahead of Caruana.

So Caruana must not only do quite well in his last event but also hope that a bunch of other players don't do too well in their last GP events.

Casey Abell's picture

Bascially, what you're saying is exactly what I said: Caruana has a very good chance of qualifying out of the Grand Prix cycle. This is not surprising for the world number four. (Which, by the way, makes him higher-ranked than any of the other players you mention).

redivivo's picture

"Bascially, what you're saying is exactly what I said: Caruana has a very good chance of qualifying out of the Grand Prix cycle. This is not surprising for the world number four. (Which, by the way, makes him higher-ranked than any of the other players you mention)"

You say a "decent" result in his last event will wrap up a spot in the Candidates for Caruana, but I think he must score a much better result than in his first three to have a good chance to qualify. That he is higher ranked than Karjakin and Wang Hao at the moment is another question, the latter two both have two tournaments left and already a better top result than Caruana's.

If Mamedyarov, Wang Hao or Karjakin win their next tournament it isn't even certain that sole first in his last tournament will be enough for Caruana to qualify. My guess is that Topalov and Karjakin will take the two spots.

redivivo's picture

That should be Grischuk and not Mamedyarov in the last paragraph.

Win for Grischuk in the next GP = he has 260 points in his two best events. Second in his last would then give him 400 points.

Win for Wang Hao = he has 310 points in his two best events. Fourth in his last would then give him 400 points.

Win for Karjakin = he has 310 points in his two best events. Fourth in his last event would then give him 400 points.

Topalov has 310 in his two best events. Fourth in his last would give him 400 points.

Caruana with only one event to go would get 395 points if he is sole winner of it. Might be enough to reach top two, but less than sole first will probably not be enough.

eric's picture

Grischuk scored +1, and came 4th (out of 12). That is amazing! First 3 scored really good, and the rest had a really poor performance.

Anonymous's picture

"....Apparently both players were quite happy with a draw, because they bashed out 20 theoretical moves in a Sicilian, English Attack and then started repeating moves." Imagine any other professional competitive endeavor tolerating this unethical behavior.

RG13's picture

'Theory' only means that a move has been played before. Sometimes a player will actually work out a move themselves otb and not know (until later) that it has been played before. It is never unethical to play according to the rules. Some organizers demand that draw offers go through the arbiter; are the organizers that don't make that demand being unethical?

Anonymous's picture

In boxing a fighter is disqualified if they fail to attempt to engage their opponent. Imagine people paying money to attend a boxing match and the fighters refuse to press forward and attempt to defeat their opponent. Yet in major chess tournaments this happens in also every round.

RG13's picture

You are correct that the rules of BOXING state that the fighters must "press forward and attempt to defeat their opponent". In chess it is perfectly ethical to deliberately play for a draw and if the people paying the prizes (the sponsors) don't like it then they know what to do about it. Some tournaments have the the "Bilbao football scoring system" for that reason.

jussu's picture

Unethical... You are taking the game way too seriously.

Feuertrunken's picture

"Peter Leko as the King of Draws, that's the past." I call blasphemy on that one!

Anonymous's picture

Leko scored 16/17 draws in May. He still remains the most impressive player in that regard, but Grischuk isn't bad either.

RG13's picture

Is Leko so solid as to be nearly unbeatable? Even if he doesn't have enough of a killer instinct with White, why don't the top players win more games against him when he has Black? Maybe he is a really tough opponent; Leko once defeated a computer-checked prepared variation by Vladimir Kramnik OTB and the latter HAD to win the last game of his match with Leko just to DRAW the match!

redivivo's picture

The difference is big between Leko ten years ago and Leko the last years though. Then he was quite stable #5-#10, now it's four years since he was top ten. He is difficult to beat, but in his three Grand Prix tournaments (where the top ranked players are absent) he has scored +2 -2 =29.

Grischuk has been drawing no less in the Grand Prix, but at least he has been undefeated.

Alex's picture

Congratulations to Kamsky for a great tournament! A disappointing event for Morozevich but here's hoping your luck will change in the next Grand Prix event.

Excalibur's picture

Eljanov was right. That 1983 "generation" is "serious". It includes: Grischuk, Ponomariov, Eljanov, Jakovenko, Bacrot, Dominguez as super-GM's.

Congrats to Dominguez. I didn't know he had it in him to win such a strong event. He also did it in style, playing sharp lines.

Jambow's picture

Funny the same folks who always call Nakamura Japanese never call Caruana American?

Nakamura lived almost his entire life here and his mother was American.

Caruana wasn't born in Italy and spent most of his life in the U.S. and actually learned to play chess here also but he is Italian?

Fine performance by Dominguez this should really increase his stock and the same can be said for Gata Kamsky who chose to be an American.

Wow when you think about it the top three have ties to this side of the Atlantic great day for US chess. Hard to believe we would have much influence since chess has little support, yet when you consider Morphy, Fischer and Capalanca maybe we shouldn't be surprised?

RG13's picture

Although Caruana was born in the U.S. he chooses to play under the Italian flag. I don't know if he is now a dual-citizen or if Italy even allows that (someone told me once but I forgot).

Casey Abell's picture

A while back there was a flurry of reports that Caruana might play in the U.S. championship. Didn't happen, but I wonder if he might switch his federation one of these days. Wikipedia (usual caveats) reports that he is a member of the USCF and has dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

kalempir's picture

The more funny thing that almost all ussr champions's nationality were not russian. But russian peaple always proudly talking that they "our" chess players. When it come to Nakamura they always mentioned his nationality.

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Well many chess fans did not realize that Caruana was born and raised in the U.S. I remember reading an interview with the interviewer asked Caruana how he spoke such good English!!

Anonymous's picture

Is really sad to see that many people don't understand at all what chess is.
chess is not football
gens una sumus!
obsession about nationality, race, ethnic appartence is ridicolous
(russian, american, japanese, italian)
who care?
we love the game, fighting spirit, honesty, respect

congratulations to Dominguez
i admit, i underestimate him, really good player
to Caruana for fighting spirit and resilience
to Kamsky for great chess strategy and talent

Stephen's picture

Well said. The top players are professionals which means they play for money not for their country. Nationality, race etc. are not very important these days especially with the internet reducing the importance of national boundaries. Perhaps FIDE should change the meaning of "Country" in the rating list to be country of residence rather than country of origin ?

max fide 2074's picture

Such a pleasant surprise to see Lenier Dominguez performing Ala Capa. A 'new' face on the very top for a change. CONGRATULATIONS!

Anonymous's picture

Dominguez at Tata 2014 ?


Latest articles