October 03, 2012 17:30

Gelfand, Mamedyarov and Topalov share win at London Grand Prix

Gelfand, Topalov and Mamedyarov

The FIDE Grand Prix ended in a three-way tie for first between Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Veselin Topalov. In the last round Mamedyarov drew his game against Leko quickly. Gelfand was the first to join the Azerbaijani in first place by beating Kasimdzhanov and later Topalov did the same, winning against Giri. The regulations state that no individual winner will be announced: "All prizes and Grand Prix ranking points are shared equally, in cases of any tied positions. No tie break system will be utilised for the individual Grand Prix tournaments."

Gelfand, Topalov and Mamedyarov | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Event 1st Grand Prix | PGN via TWIC
Dates September 20-October 4, 2012
Location London, UK
System 12-player round robin
Players Hikaru Nakamura, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Wang Hao, Boris Gelfand, Peter Leko, Shakriyar Mamedyarov, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Anish Giri, Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Rate of play

120 minutes for the Ô¨Årst 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards

Extra Players will not be allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents; players will continue to play if the arbiter does not authorise the draw

At the start of the last round, the main question was whether Shakhriyar Mamedyarov would take risks and play for a win, or whether he would be happy with a draw. The leader of the tournament was lucky enough to have the white pieces in the last round, but still it's never easy to get anything against Peter Leko, one of the best theoreticians around. As it turned out, the Azerbaijani decided to avoid risks and after twenty moves the players had already reached a pretty equal Nimzo-Indian ending. The number of moves were doubled in no time and the players were the first two finish their tournament.

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Videos by Macauley Peterson

This meant that three players still had a chance to finish shared first with Mamedyarov: Alexander Grischuk, Boris Gelfand and Veselin Topalov. Of these three, only the former didn't manage. Grischuk was caught in Nakamura's preparation and couldn't get an advantage in a Sicilian Dragon. When he saw his rivals win their games one by one, the Russian was quite disappointed, as you can see in the video.

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Amazingly, Gelfand played his first ever tournament in London. Despite a mistake in the opening he finished with a win against Kasimdzhanov, and with it a shared first place.

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Topalov then joined the winners as well, beating Giri with Black in an ending that should have ended in a draw. It's not easy to point out what was White's decisive mistake.

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Adams was not happy with his preparation and felt that Black was slightly better at some point. Still his game with Dominguez never really left the drawing zone.

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Ivanchuk and Wang Hao played very old theory in a Sozin Sicilian. The Ukrainian built up a nice advantage but got into terrible timetrouble. At some point he had five seconds left and still needed to make three moves, but at that point it was in fact a forced perpetual check. Ivanchuk offered a draw (but quite a while after making his last move), and after some thinking Wang Hao decide to make one more king move. Ivanchuk then quickly gave another check and pushed his clock hard - so hard, that his own clock started running again. Oviously his last seconds were quickly gone, but then both players started laughing at each other, and after the arbiters came to the boards, they decided to shake hands and agree to a draw anyway.

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And so Gelfand, Mamedyarov and Topalov shared first place. All three were awarded small silver cups, but because the Bulgarian had the best tiebreak (SB) he was the one who received the specially designed medal with the Agon logo on it.

With that the first of six Grand Prix events has come to an end. Five more will follow in Tashkent, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Berlin. Each tournament has a 240,000 Euro total prize fund - 170,000 for the tournament and another 70,000 Euro accumulated prize fund for the overall standings. Here's the prize distribution for each individual tournament:

Place Euros GP points
1st 25,000 120 points + 50 bonus
2nd 22,000 110 points + 30 bonus
3rd 20,000 100 points + 10 bonus
4th 17,500 90 points
5th 15,000 80 points
6th 13,000 70 points
7th 12,000 60 points
8th 11,000 50 points
9th 10,000 40 points
10th 9,000 30 points
11th 8,000 20 points
12th 7,000 10 points

The next Grand Prix is scheduled for 21 November - 5 December in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Schedule & pairings

Round 1 15:00 CET 21.09.12   Round 2 15:00 CET 22.09.12
Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Leko   Leko 1-0 Ivanchuk
Nakamura 0-1 Gelfand   Adams ½-½ Mamedyarov
Topalov ½-½ Grischuk   Giri ½-½ Wang Hao
Dominguez ½-½ Giri   Grischuk ½-½ Dominguez
Wang Hao ½-½ Adams   Gelfand ½-½ Topalov
Mamedyarov ½-½ Ivanchuk   Kasimdzhanov 0-1 Nakamura
Round 3 15:00 CET 23.09.12   Round 4 15:00 CET 24.09.12
Nakamura ½-½ Leko   Leko ½-½ Adams
Topalov ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Giri ½-½ Ivanchuk
Dominguez ½-½ Gelfand   Grischuk 1-0 Mamedyarov
Wang Hao ½-½ Grischuk   Gelfand 1-0 Wang Hao
Mamedyarov 1-0 Giri   Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Dominguez
Ivanchuk ½-½ Adams   Nakamura ½-½ Topalov
Round 5 15:00 CET 25.09.12   Round 6 15:00 CET 27.09.12
Topalov ½-½ Leko   Leko ½-½ Giri
Dominguez ½-½ Nakamura   Grischuk ½-½ Adams
Wang Hao ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Gelfand ½-½ Ivanchuk
Mamedyarov ½-½ Gelfand   Kasimdzhanov 0-1 Mamedyarov
Ivanchuk ½-½ Grischuk   Nakamura 0-1 Wang Hao
Adams ½-½ Giri   Topalov 1-0 Dominguez
Round 7 15:00 CET 28.09.12   Round 8 15:00 CET 29.09.12
Dominguez ½-½ Leko   Leko ½-½ Grischuk
Wang Hao ½-½ Topalov   Gelfand ½-½ Giri
Mamedyarov 1-0 Nakamura   Kasimdzhanov 1-0 Adams
Ivanchuk ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Nakamura 0-1 Ivanchuk
Adams 0-1 Gelfand   Topalov ½-½ Mamedyarov
Giri ½-½ Grischuk   Dominguez ½-½ Wang Hao
Round 9 15:00 CET 01.10.12   Round 10 15:00 CET 02.10.12
Wang Hao ½-½ Leko   Leko ½-½ Gelfand
Mamedyarov 1-0 Dominguez   Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Grischuk
Ivanchuk 0-1 Topalov   Nakamura 1-0 Giri
Adams 1-0 Nakamura   Topalov ½-½ Adams
Giri ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Dominguez ½-½ Ivanchuk
Grischuk 1-0 Gelfand   Wang Hao ½-½ Mamedyarov
Round 11 13:00 CET 03.10.12        
Mamedyarov  ½-½ Leko        
Ivanchuk ½-½ Wang Hao        
Adams ½-½ Dominguez        
Giri 0-1 Topalov        
Grischuk ½-½ Nakamura        
Gelfand 1-0 Kasimdzhanov        

London GP 2012 | Final standings


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Jan's picture

The great Vesko is back!

Chris's picture

Topa has won on tie-break.

Peter Doggers's picture

Topalov is the "moral winner". Among the three finishing on top, he's the only one who remained undefeated, and he has the highest SB. However, the regulations state that no individual winner will be announced: "All prizes and Grand Prix ranking points are shared equally, in cases of any tied positions. No tie break system will be utilised for the individual Grand Prix tournaments."

Coco Loco's picture

I think most players would argue that # of blacks should be the first tiebreaker. Unless I counted wrong, Gelfand had 6 blacks, whereas Topa and Mame had 5. I wonder if anyone has computed the "white advantage" coefficient for 2700+ players. E.g., if Elo(player A) = Elo(player B) > 2700, what is the expected number of points for white? I suspect it's close to 0.6 - anyone have any info on this kind of thing?

Bronkenstein's picture

IIRC (from one of countless discussions about Sonas and chessmetrics on CG.com) whites are giving something like 40-50 Elo advantage (statistically, in terms of expected result).

PS in Gelfy´s case - his black repertoire is very agressive - blacks are actually an advantage, since he, esp. recently, goes for counterpunchers rather than equalisers.

Thomas's picture

Hmmm, being undefeated means little nowadays - quite many tournaments have most wins as a tiebreaker, if not football scoring. And SB tends to be random, for example it would favor Gelfand if Adams-Dominguez had ended 1-0.

If a "moral winner" is needed, mine would be Gelfand because he was the only one taking risks to win in the final round (Topalov sort of got a present from Giri, Mamedyarov seemed to be happy with a draw against Leko). But I agree with jussu below that tiebreaks wouldn't make sense, and all three are deserved co-winners (same holds true for many other round-robin events which do use tiebreaks to determine one sole official winner).

redivivo's picture

"If a "moral winner" is needed, mine would be Gelfand because he was the only one taking risks to win in the final round"

But then he had white against Kasim.

RG13's picture

Notwithstanding the stated regulations, what system did they use to determine that TOPALOV would wear that fancy medallion around his neck? Are they also going to make identical ones for Gelfand and Mamedyarov?

Chris's picture


columbo's picture

Why the one with more victories could not be the " moral winner " peter ?

redivivo's picture

Ivanchuk destroyed Leko's perfect all draws score by blundering away the draw in their game. Nakamura managed to score -5 against the top 8 and that was surprising to say the least, but such things happen now and then with players like him and Ivanchuk and I don't doubt that the rating favourite here will score a more "normal" result next time.

The biggest positive surprise to me was Gelfand. I never imagined he would be able to finish equal with Topalov and Mamedyarov in the top, and it's the first time in 7.5 years he shares first in a round robin. The last times that happened was in events without opponents in the 2700s, so this was the first time in more than ten years that he shared first in a round robin where there is opposition in the 2700s.

Grischuk was undefeated and won against two of the three shared winners but failed to score a single win against the bottom half while Mamedyarov won against all players in the bottom four. Wang Hao played OK but not Biel level, and played the worst move of the tournament when he walked into a trivial mate in two in a quite simple and very drawn endgame against Gelfand. Ivanchuk was a disappointment with a minus score, and the only winless players Dominguez and Giri didn't impress this time, but at least the latter stays a very exciting prospect for the future.

AljechinsCat's picture

Nakamura has scored -3 not minus 5, Mr. ChessReporter.

Latro's picture

redivido is right. Look more closely at the crosstable: Nakamura lost against Gelfand (number 2), Mamedyarov (number 3), Wang (number 6), Adams (number 7) and Ivanchuk (number 8), and drew against Topalov (number 1), Grischuk (number 4) and Leko (number 5), giving him a score of minus 5 against the top 8, exactly as redivido claimed.

AljechinsCat's picture

Im sorry, I just read "-5" and this is wrong.
What does it matter what score one player has against the "first 8"? Why not the "first 5" or the "first 10"?

redivivo's picture

"Im sorry, I just read "-5" and this is wrong"

That's why it's usually a good idea to read the whole sentence.

AljechinsCat's picture

No one expects such a senseless distinction.

AljechinsCat's picture

Thats why such heavy, heavy mistakes happen.

Septimus's picture

Why is Leko being invited? Such a boring player.

chill's picture

for the same reason Anand is invited.

DMiA's picture

He did not qualify for the Fide Grand Prix, but was invited (along with Morozevich, Hao, Dominguez, Giri and Kasimdzhanov) by AGON.
I agree with you, he should only be invited to play in Dortmund, the most boring player for the most boring tournament.

AljechinsCat's picture

What does "boring" mean exactly to you?

Thomas's picture

It might just mean "I don't like Leko" or "I believe the crap one reads about Leko on the Internet". Drawn games can be interesting, in Leko's case at least the four consecutive ones (round 5-8) against Topalov, Giri, Dominguez and Grischuk (where he missed a win); other games may have more hidden subtleties. But it's easy and quick to write "Leko is boring", why bother checking if it really makes sense to say so?

Septimus's picture

It could also mean that one can draw conclusions based on what is seen OTB, and not rely on the opinion of some jackass, know-it-all, internet bum?

Niima's picture

There is one Jack a.. on this forum, and it's definitely not Thomas.

Abbas's picture

Congratulation to the winners.
Giri and Nakamura are -3!!
Hope they will recover soon

RealityCheck's picture

What Hospital have the youngsters been taken to? Carlsen, Caruana, Radjabov Nepo, etc are lucky they didn't have to compete here.

Greco's picture

Is S3 your brother or sth?

KingTal's picture

Nice tournament, lots of interesting games played and old players rock. Looking forward for the next Grand Prix.

Nakamura sucked, but he still has a chance if he performs good in his remaining 3 events, altough there will be probably players like Karjakin, Radjabov and Caruana around, so it will be even harder for him than this.

Morley's picture

I think this was definitely a fluke event for Nakamura. Since joining the 2700 crowd 3 years ago, he has not had an event this bad. We have seen the same in the past from Morozevich, Ivanchuk, and Shirov. Nakamura has a winning record against Karjakin, and an even record against both Caruana and Radjabov; I think that once he rests and gets his confidence back, he will go right back to being one of the favorites in the rest of the Grand Prix tournaments and will climb back into the top 5.

redivivo's picture

Nakamura has a winning record against not only Karjakin, but against both Anand and Kramnik, and that's something no other player can boast about.

foo's picture

yeah. Naka has +1 against Anand. I am not sure it means much since they have played (classical control) very few games..maybe 3 or 4 ?

Thomas's picture

Nakamura's classical score against Anand is +1=6; against Kramnik it's +3=7-2 - in both cases it's just a symbolic plus that can disappear next time they meet ... .
And Nakamura's plus score against Karjakin is due to a match they played in 2004 (when Karjakin was 14 and Naka 16) - people would surely and correctly complain if similar dated statistics ar used to make a point about or against Carlsen ... .

redivivo's picture

"Nakamura's classical score against Anand is +1=6; against Kramnik it's +3=7-2 - in both cases it's just a symbolic plus that can disappear next time they meet"

Well it's a plus in both cases, after 19 games this far, and if he would lose the next game against both an even score against both would also be good, so it's good enough.

Chris's picture

many top players can dream only about such a result

Anonymous's picture

According to the GP rules, only the 3 best events (out of 4) per player count in the overall standings. So this unfortunate London event will just be Naka's void result - I bet these painful losses still serve him as a good lesson. I think we can expect him to be back stronger than ever and reclimb the top 5 ranking spots soon. He still is one of the huge favorites to win the GP series overall, and I hope he will.

Harry_Flashman's picture

Morley, i can remember , on the fly , at least one tournament , Tal Memorial 2011 , where Mr Nakamura performed the same horrible way, finishing at the bottom place ( +0 =6 -3 ) .

hansie's picture

Little mouth spouts:
" Top seed 'Big Mouth" finishes at bottom.

Harry_Flashman's picture

He even complains in his tweets that it's tiring to play chess 6-7 hours a day... C'mon big baby..It's supposed to be your job.

Anonymous's picture

He did not complain, just shared his impressions.
People like yourself who jump on every single occasion to discredit him for being open minded, show the worst imaginable character, very poor indeed. Worthless. Shame on you.

Anonymous's picture

Well.. At least you could puke your insults with at least a nickname..

Anonymous's picture

please just tell me how that would make any difference. aren't those posting here with a nickname (sometimes one of several by the same person) exactly as anonymous as those posting without any? there are regulars though who like to be recognized, fair enough.

Harrry_Flashman's picture

True.. Maybe it was the same whining Big Boy himself .Hehehehe..

Anonymous's picture

He he he

Anonymous's picture

To say it with Paul Simon's words in his famous song "The Boxer":

All lies and jest. Still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Lie-la-lie ...
But the fighter still remains.

Chris's picture

tra la la :)

The Sea Lettuce's picture

An ominous return to form by Topalov.

Bronkenstein's picture

Gratz Gelfy,Topa & Shak!

PS Topalov played the tournament in ´safe mode´, at least I was surprised by his new technical style. All 3 wins came from endgames, not exactly characteristic for old Vesko.

Thomas's picture

Topalov's win against Dominguez was achieved in the middlegame when a piece sacrifice (for a couple of pawns) led straight to a won endgame. In a few other games he did play in 'risk mode': exchange sacrifice against Leko, multiple pawn sacrifices against Wang Hao (though both seemed home preparation). It wasn't enough for full points because the opponents defended well - on the other hand he got endgame presents from Ivanchuk and Giri. Altogether I see little evidence that Topa changed his style.

Bronkenstein's picture

My own evaluation(s) & Fritzy analysis aside, Neither GM Robert Fontaine in his CB report( http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8510 ), neither GM Dany King in his post-mortem (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKga3gaUChM&feature=player_embedded) nor Topalov himself (!) (http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/three-winners-in-sixth-round-london-gp...) agree with you that ´...win against Dominguez was achieved in the middlegame´ and especially that ´a piece sacrifice ... led straight to a won endgame´. Daniel King mentioned that BLACK could even have winning chances if he opted for 33...Qxc6 instead of 33...Bxe5?! (Topalov himself on that line : ´It looked like better for me...but OFC I am not sure´ - check the link). DK is also mentioning all 3 results possible in that case and ´I don´t think that black would lose´. Therefore, you are simply wrong on ´Topalov's win against Dominguez was achieved in the middlegame´ + ´...A won endgame...´ . Now, let´s go on `risk mode` and ´multiple pawn sacrifices´.

Exchange sacrifice against Leko happened only 2 moves after a novelty 18...Rfd8! - which both of players were most likely very well aware of : ´After 18 moves Topalov had just spent five minutes of his time´, says ChessBase report (the report + in it - the interview with players --> http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8506). Leko also prepared the line (for white) against Pono in Dortmund bit earlier - check the interview. . It is very unlikely that both of their preparations stopped only 2 moves after 18th, when the exchange sacrifice has happened, so it seems that Topa was ´risking´ (´...I had the feeling that white is not risking...´ - Leko) in his own preparation - even players such as Karpov were ´risking´ that way. You seem to be aware of it, and especially because of that your conclusion(s) and the whole argument seems strange, at least this game is a pretty bad example in that regard.

Few words on ´multiple pawn sacrifices´. In your example - Topalov-Wang Hao - 4...Bg7 is the 1st pawn sac, approximately 400 games in my database. Position before second sacrifice ( after white´s 6.cxd5 that is) was reached in 164 games, one of which was played this year by Topa´s second Cheparinov. We can make a brief parallel with 2.c4 ´sac´ in Queen´s Gambit/Slav (in fact Topa dared to play it few times @ this very GP) which can also be considered one of ´multiple pawn sacrifices´. Already Topa´s 8.Qc7 is a novelty which improves on Moiseenko - Gopal (Ningbo 2011), and chances that it was unprepared are , OFC, quite slim (BTW My Fritzie, unsurprisingly, spits it out as a stable first line after few minutes of hesitating) - another word on ´risk mode´. Wang Hao´s comments on the game - ´...my opponent came with some novelty...´ and especially ´...my position was kind of worse...´ ( http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/gelfand-maintains-lead-in-london-with-... - you have vid in the CV article) gives us additional insight about pretty prepared & controlled ´risk´ in this rather one-sided game.

On ´his opponents defended well´ - what happened to Topa´s opponents in, say, San Louis 2005 (and numerous other events...), did they somehow forget how to defend? They all changed, just for the sake of Topalov remaining the same? Or was it the other way around maybe? =)

Finally, on your ´on the other hand he got endgame presents from Ivanchuk and Giri´ - I won´t go into detail about these games (no matter that their content questions the word ´present´ quite a lot), but what is that argument supposed to prove? You can´t win a game of chess by force from the opening, OFC, and such argumentation would reduce titans such as Rubinstein or Capablanca to mere ´presents´, and it´s exactly their style Topa´s London performance reminds me of.

Thomas's picture

I appreciate your effort :) which made me have another look at Topalov-Dominguez but I don't feel at all refuted. Game by game:

Topa-Dominguez: "decided in the middlegame" and "piece sacrifice leading to a won endgame" still describes what actually happened in the game. If Topalov's continuation was more risky than it seems, it justs confirms that he was in risk mode!? (Slightly odd that Daniel King contradicts himself with "three possible results" and "black won't lose", but that's just a detail).

Games against Leko and Wang Hao: Yes it was home analysis, so maybe he didn't risk anything over the board. But you analyze such continuations only if you like the ideas and the resulting positions. One "risk" might be wasting your time trying to make an idea work when it doesn't work. Another risk of pawn sacrifices is that, even if you have sufficient compensation, you might later lose the compensation without regaining the pawn. In any case, it shows that Topalov didn't (deliberately) change his style!?
Opponents defending well: could it be that they have gotten used to Topalov's style (Leko actually anticipated the exchange sacrifice)? In that case, indeed Topalov remained the same while his opponents improved ... .

Endgame presents: At least on Topa's game against Giri, Grischuk said "it's unbelievable how Giri lost the endgame". Grischuk was biased (the game affected his final standing and number of GP points), I think he still has a point.

Bottom line: at least in several games Topalov played in his 'old' style. Like most top players he can also play differently (for example, Shirov is a tactical wizard AND a great endgame player). BTW Topalov is still a bit vulnerable in relatively simple positions where his tactical abilities don't matter - recently at the Olympiad he was crushed by Kasimdzhanov in a queenless middlegame. This might be the reason why Gelfand, Giri (maybe also Nakamura) tried similar approaches against him in London. This time it didn't work - because Topalov was alert, not because Kasim is better than the three other players.


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