Alekseev and Grischuk win in 6th round Grand Prix
After the restday, play resumed in Elista today. In a complicated middlegame Akopian lost an exchange to Alekseev who then showed no mercy. In yet another Berlin Wall Eljanov tried an interesting pawn sacrifice with Black against Grischuk. It didn't really work out but the Ukrainian managed to reach a drawn a+c rook ending, which then proved too difficult to defend.
The 3rd Grand Prix takes place December 13-29 in Elista, Kalmykia. Radjabov, Leko, Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Mamedyarov, Eljanov, Grischuk, Alekseev, Bacrot, Gashimov, Cheparinov, Akopian, Kasimdzhanov and Inarkiev play daily at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET; 07:00 EST); 2nd rest day Dec. 24; live games here.
Results Round 6, December 20
Kasimdzhanov-Wang Yue ?Ç¬?-?Ç¬?
Radjabov and Jakovenko were the first to finish this round: the majority of their moves in a Petroff Defence were played before (Tischbierek-Jussupow, Germany 1992 but also Ivanchuk-Kramnik, Nice blindfold 2008) and here too the verdict was: an easy draw for Black.
Radjabov-Jakovenko, a Petroff, a draw
The other Azeri leader, Gashimov, was also looking at a Petroff but from the black side. It was mainly because his opponent Cheparinov (like Topalov always in for a fight) went a bit too far trying to win the game that Gashimov got serious winning chances. Luckily for the Bulgarian the ending that was reached at move 46 was, despite being a pawn down, quite easy to draw.
Kasimdzhanov-Wang Yue was also drawn and there's not much more to say about the game. Barely better was Bacrot-Inarkiev. OK, we can't complain about the opening phase since the Frenchman rarely avoids the Marshall, and this time he went for the old main line and then tried 19.Bxd5. But the game ended as we've seen so many times before: all heavy pieces were exchanged and then Black's bishop pair meant more than enough compensation for White's pawn.
Bacrot-Inarkiev, another version of the same Marshall story
Akopian lost in a topical line of the Breyer Ruy Lopez, the choice of Alekseev. Games like Karjakin-Harikrishna and Leko-Kamsky from this year were followed, but the new move (19.Tb1) was a deviation from an 11-year-old game: Krakops-Gabriel, Pula 1997. Akopian's 31.a3?! was an ingenious find, but Alekseev proved it to be incorrect. White had to give an exchange and althought he fought well, Armenia's number two had to throw in the towel at move 61.
Alekseev: a tough opponent with the Breyer as part of his repertoire
Eljanov's new try in a topical variation of the Berlin Wall was no success. Wang Yue played it twice with 15...Be6 (the last time in this Grand Prix, losing to Jakovenko) but the Ukrainian took on g4 followed by ...f5, only played once, in Konguvel-Ravi, Chennai 2008, where White went for the less critical 18.Be3. Grischuk showed no fear and simply went for pawn c7, which meant he had to allow several checks on his king.
24...Rc8 25.Be5 Ke7 would have given Black more play than in the game; there Grischuk was just a pawn up. However, the Russian couldn't get more out of it than the famous (drawn) a+c rook ending, which Eljanov defended flawlessly until move 67. There only Rh2, Rh3 or Rg1 hold the draw according to the tablebases. After that, Grischuk didn't let go.
Grischuk: rewarded for his persistence
The longest game of the round was Mamedyarov-Leko: no less than 110 moves! In a well-known position from the Queen's/Nimzo hybrid White's early knight manoeuvre to e3 was new and after that for a long time not much happened except for one pair of rooks being exchanged. Around the time control Leko repeated moves but Mamedyarov decided to play on. Soon a (bad) bishop versus knight ending was reached and after many more (undoubtedly very subtle) moves the draw was finally agreed.
Mamedyarov-Leko, the longest but not the most comprehensible game of the round
Pairings round 7, December 21
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