Reports | May 13, 2010 3:35

Many draws so far at Astrakhan FIDE GP

Gashimov beats Ivanchuk in first round Astrakhan FIDE Grand PrixAfter three rounds a group of five players leads the FIDE Grand Prix in Astrakhan with 2/3: Gashimov, Leko, Ponomariov, Gelfand and Eljanov. In today's third round all games ended in a draw.

The sixth and final FIDE Grand Prix takes place May 10-24 in Astrakhan, Russia. Akopian (2694), Alekseev (2700), Gashimov (2734), Gelfand (2741), Eljanov (2751), Inarkiev (2669), Ivanchuk (2741), Jakovenko (2725), Leko (2735), Mamedyarov (2763), Ponomariov (2733), Rajabov (2740), Svidler (2735) and Wang Yue (2752) play. More details can be found in our first report.

Rounds 2-3

Now that the World Championship match in Sofia has ended, many people wonder what the next cycle looks like. Well, the next big thing is the FIDE Candidates matches, which will provide a new opponent for Anand in 2012. Currently it is scheduled for April 2011, for which the following players have qualified:

  • Topalov, as the loser of the last match;
  • Kamsky, as the loser of the challenger's match;
  • Aronian, as the winner of the Grand Prix Series;
  • Gelfand, as the winner of the World Cup;
  • Carlsen and Kramnik on rating.
  • Two more players will be added to this list: the number two of the FIDE Grand Prix Series, and a wild card from Azerbaijan, because the Candidates will be held in Baku. Which will complicate matters, since Aronian cannot play there.

    So an important part of the new cycle is the FIDE Grand Prix Series, and as you know these days the sixth and last is taking place in Astrakhan, Russia, where after three rounds the drawing percentage is already as high as 77%. The third round, played today, saw draws only.

    But first round 2, which was more eventful. Against Leko, Alekseev lost on time for the first time in his life, as he said himself at the press conference. Svidler blundered at an early stage against Ponomariov. In a Berlin Defence, the Russian grandmaster lost an important pawn due to a nasty trick, and resigned immediately.

    After achieving not much in the opening, Eljanov managed to win a pawn against Akopian around the first time control, and then finished it off with exemplary technique.

    Of the seven draws of today, some were quite interesting. Especially Gashimov-Gelfand and Inarkiev-Leko are games recommended for replay.

    Games rounds 2-3

    Game viewer by ChessTempo

    Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 | Round 3 Standings

    Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010

    Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 | Schedule & results

    Photo courtesy of FIDE, more here


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


midi's picture

How well Radjabov needs to do to guaratee he is placed above Grischuk?

Does anyone knows how Azerbajan is going to decide? Anyone from Radjabov Mamedyarov and Gashimov can be considered.

pete's picture

why can't Aronian play in Azerbaijan?

VladimirOo's picture

Can you devellop why Aronian cannot play in Azer.? I know about the political and historical tensions between Azer and Armenia, but more precisely, has Aronian been forbidden to play in Azer by either of the two countries? Does he refuse to play? Or else?

Pierre's picture

Aronian can't play in Azerbaijan because he had a fight there 4 years ago with Kamsky and it reminds him bad memories. He had to go to the hospital, and because he's armenian, doctors tried to kill him. He went to justice, but then realized that the holl court corrupted. You never know what can happen in these countries...For a yes, or for a no, you can go to jell. So Aronian is very unhappy.

ebutaljib's picture

Aronian doesn't want to play there, and Azeris don't want him there.
Is it clear enough?

Grischuk (who already finished Grand Prix campaign) only has theoretical chances. Radjabov would have to finish below place 10 and none of the other players should overtake him. Grischuk is simply out of the equation.

VladimirOo's picture

Sorry ebutaljib, but i am not satisfied. Why? Because i am not satisfied...

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Radjabov is anyway going to be a nominee since the event is going to take place there. So he will not be the qualifier from the grand prix. Some one else will.

Or I am not sure of the order of precedence. What if Gelfand qualifies, but he has already qualified from world cup. So do we take the third qualifier of grand prix or Ponomariov from world cup finalist.

pete's picture

"Aronian doesn’t want to play there, and Azeris don’t want him there.
Is it clear enough?"

no, it is not clear enough. Surely there must be a more serious reason for that.

ChessGirl's picture

@Harish Sirinivasan, maybe Radjabov will qualify as number two of the Grand Prix and Mamedyarov/Gashimov with the Azeri wild card? That makes sense to me, don´t know if I´m missing something.

bondegnasker's picture

Paraphrasing the FIDE handbook:

The players of the Candidates Matches in order of priority are:
1. Loser of the Challengers Match (Kamsky)
2. Winner of the World Cup (Gelfand)
3. Loser of the WC Match (Topalov)
4. Top-2 of the FIDE Grand Prix (Aronian + ???)
5. Two players by rating, average of July 2009 and January 2010 (Carlsen + Kramnik)
6. One nominated by the organizer (???)
7. Replacements - Any replacements necessary will be fulfilled from the final standings of the FIDE Grand-Prix 2008/2009.

If these rules are to be trusted (you never know with FIDE), this means that if Gelfand is No. 2 in the GP, No. 3 qualifies. And it means that the Azeris will only make their nomination after the GP is finished.

By the way, according to my calculations, if the rest of the games in Astrakhan are drawn Gashimov qualifies.

ebutaljib's picture

Then go on and read something about Azeri-Armenian relationship and you'll understand that they don't mix very well together.

misja's picture

I replayed all 21 games and have just two words for them: SOFIA RULES !

CAL|Daniel's picture

they are playing under sofia rules, even so Leko found a away to draw. Sofia rules really do nothing. If two players are determined to draw, they will.

ebutaljib's picture

P.S.: Of course now we know that Kasimdzhanov was in Anands team, thats why he couldn't participate in the last Grand Prix.

noyb's picture

Yet another sign that FIDE is corrupt. If Baku won't let Aronian play, then Baku shouldn't be allowed to host. So much for "Gens una sumus (We are one people)."

chesster's picture

for those of you who do not know why Aronian does not want to go to Baku and why Baku rather not see him there here is an article you may consult to have a better idea:

Jo's picture

jeez after months of listening to nattering nabobs and gossip mongering regarding the Bulgarians we now got to listen to his sh*te.

We don't even get one day of peace before these Fisher wannabe's start with their hallucinations.

To me the worst thing about chess is the games ability to attract the paranoid and delusional.

The best is shown over and over again in the videos here - that quite convincingly illuminate the idea that the current generations of elite GM players play the game as a sport. They do not wrap there entire existence in the game but at the same time are able to inject incredible feats of focus, memory and gamesmanship over the board - so if rereading you own comments you see signs of nattering Nabbobery please take a couple of days celebrate yesterdays Golden day and STFUp.

Radical Caveman's picture

An article from last October explains the Aronian situation:

The 2010/2011 FIDE Candidates matches will be split into two groups and organized in two locations. One part will be held in Azerbaijan, and the other (in which Aronian will play) in a different country. This was decided at the 80th FIDE Congress in Kallithea, Greece and confirmed to us by FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos. Media reported this week that Azerbaijan insisted that the other organizing country can’t be Armenia, but we’re not sure if that’s true.

Jonas's picture

Do not expect many decisive games when Leko, Svidler, Gelfand, Wang Yue playing in the same tournament...

ebutaljib's picture

How much money are you willing to bet that the Candidates are going to be in Azerbaijan? :)

Candidates were supposed to be held by end of 2010, now I already hear talk about 2011.

ebutaljib's picture

Hell, the official regulations on FIDE's site still say that candidates are going to be played in 2010 and World championship match in 2011 :)

ebutaljib's picture

The initial qualifiers were decided in following way:

After two tournaments Doha and Montreux withdrew so their nominees Al-Modiahki and Pelletier were kicked out. At the same time Carlsen and Adams withdrew because of the changes made to the whole cycle. So the next players from the reserve list were invited to take part. 1st in line (Ponomariov) refused, players after him (Alekseev, Akopian, Kasimdzhanov, Eljanov) accepted. Two of them (Alekseev and Akopian) were then "promoted" to host nominees from Nalchik and Jermuk. Later Karlovy Vary withdrew to, so their nominee (Navara) was kicked out also. Since 3 tournaments were already played, there was no replacement for him (Van Wely would be next in line!)

Even with all this changes the basic system of Grand Prix (that all players participate in 4 tournaments) worked out surprisingly well - only one player would have only 3 tournaments.
After Aronian already won the series and the last tournament was postponed, Aronian opted not to play the last tournament (hence he only played in 3 tournaments, not 4). For reasons unknown he was not replaced by Kasimdzhanov (who would now have a chance to participate in 4 tournaments), but by Ponomariov (who now plays only for money and to hinder plans for other players :))

So you see all this Grand Prix is not really all that difficult to understand :) :) :)

chandler's picture

Anyone knows how players qualify for a Grand Prix tournament?

Peter Doggers's picture

That was explained here. Don't pay attention to the strange code and Dutch language, at some point it starts in English. :-)

chandler's picture

Thanks Peter; not that I understood much (if any) of it :) Guess the language is not that relevant ;). I won't be asking such questions again.

But it's curious how such lowly (!) rated players like Inarkiev and Akopian qualify based on these clauses.

Google coughed out; it links to all the grand prix's (wonder what's the plural...).

bondegnasker's picture

According to Wikipedia, they were nominated by host cities:

Inarkiev was nominated by Elista and Akopian by Jermuk.

Thomas's picture

On Aronian (not) playing in Baku: Be it sufficient to say that Armenia and Azerbaijan are at war with each other ... .

Latest twist in the story:
In an interview with Sports Express, Ilyumzhinov said that Aronian is welcome and willing to play in Baku. Aronian reacted via the Armenian federation clarifying/repeating/confirming "that he has never agreed and won't ever agree to play the World Champion's qualifiers' matches in Baku"
[for some reason this was only published @ German Chessbase]

Hmm, apparently FIDE has trouble finding a co-organizer and thus Ilyumzhinov is spreading false rumors?
In fairness to the Azeri organizers (at least to some extent), they said that Aronian would be invited to Baku. Whether he would actually be welcome and welcomed may be another story - many people may feel obliged to invite someone to their birthday party, hoping and indeed expecting that he/she will not show up in the end??

Thomas's picture

@chandler: At the start of the GP series, Gashimov was also a lowly-rated player (2679 vs. Inarkiev 2684 on the April 2008 rating list) entering via an organizer wildcard ... .

SXL's picture

Why does Leko play chess?

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