Jakovenko, Grischuk and Radjabov share first prize in Elista
All would be decided in the final round, but in the top of the standings nothing changed: Jakovenko (who drew with Alekseev) and Grischuk & Radjabov (who drew with each other) finished shared first at the 3rd Grand Prix in Elista. In the last round Eljanov scored the only win, against Inarkiev.
The 3rd Grand Prix took place December 13-28 in Elista, Kalmykia. Radjabov, Leko, Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Mamedyarov, Eljanov, Grischuk, Alekseev, Bacrot, Gashimov, Cheparinov, Akopian, Kasimdzhanov and Inarkiev played.
Results Final Round, December 28
Wang Yue-Leko ¬?-¬?
The final round of the 3rd Grand Prix was not the best round we've seen, but luckily it contained more interesting chess than yesterday. Still, the start was pretty disappointing.
Akopian and Mamedyarov went for a quick draw in the Petroff but nobody really cared, no, there was another quick draw that did affect the tournament. Didn't the Grand Prix regulations make this impossible? No, they didn't, as we've known for a while now.
Alekseev played one of the leaders, Jakovenko, and they found their way to finish their "game" quickly: by simply copying Tiviakov-Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee 2007 until 26...Rdd2 and then adding a few meaningless moves. In such situations the player with the black pieces can be blamed a bit less perhaps, and especially when a draw means you're staying undefeated for a whole tournament - we're talking about Jakovenko of course.
Dmitry Jakovenko: the only player to stay undefeated for 13 rounds
The top game Grischuk-Radjabov was better: it lasted 97 moves! But alas, most of them were played in an opposite-coloured bishop ending that might have had some tricky, hidden ideas, but not much seemed to be going on there.
Grischuk had tried Van Wely's idea, the immediate 13.Ne6, in the Bayonet Attack of the King's Indian. Radjabov had a new idea himself: 14...Re8!? (instead of the usual 14...Nh5) which looks like a useful waiting move. Grischuk chose the logical plan of keeping the pawn on e6, but the middlegame with opposite-coloured bishops was already a bit better for Black and so Grischuk decided to allow the bishop ending with a pawn down, because it had to be a draw - and it was.
Radjabov tried it for a long time, and why not? That half point he was fighting for, was worth almost six thousand euros. Clear first means a first prize of ‚Ç¨ 30,000 while a shared first prize comes down to ( ‚Ç¨ 30,000 + ‚Ç¨ 22,500 + ‚Ç¨ 20,000 ) / 3 = ‚Ç¨ 24.167.
Grischuk-Radjabov: a long game but an inevitable draw, and therefore a shared first prize
The only player who still had a chance to join the three winners was Gashimov, who had previously topped the standings for several rounds. However, Azerbaijan's 3rd grandmaster drew with Kasimdzhanov to stay at 4th - still an excellent result for the overall Grand Prix standings, of course.
Cheparinov had prepared a very interesting idea in the Chebanenko Slav (12.Qb3 followed by 13.e4) and a few moves later White was suddenly threatening mate! It forced the Black king to stay in the center and White got a very strong attack indeed. However, Bacrot defended well and could reach a queen ending with a pawn down, which he then managed to draw as well.
Cheparinov versus Bacrot: a great idea in the Slav, but not enough to win
Wang Yue's 17.Re1 was a new move in the topical gambit line of the Queen's Indian. At the Tal Memorial this year Leko had played 10...Qc8 against Kramnik, but this time the Hungarian went for 10...Nc6 and in the game he proved that he has an almost waterproof Black repertoire. Some accurate calculation was needed but then the position was an instant draw.
And so the only decisive game of the round was Eljanov-Inarkiev. During this tournament Inakiev has had some bad luck with "normal rook moves"; his 32...Rde8 seemed to be the losing move this time where 32...g5 is quite unclear. In the game White's attack played by itself.
And so the 3rd Grand Prix tournament has come to an end. 25 games were won by White, 7 by Black and 59 ended in a draw - that's 66%. In the last three rounds only three games were decisive, from which we may conclude that the players find it tough to play a 13-round tournament these days.
Besides, it was a strong field where everybody was of almost equal strength. Gashimov keeps on doing well, Leko disappointed a bit and Jakovenko was, like in Sochi, very solid. Radjabov however is the one currently leading the overall standings and we cannot deny that we're happy to see that one can still be this successfull with openings like the Dragon and the King's Indian on your repertoire.
The winners: Grischuk, Radjabov and Jakovenko, with FIDE President Ilyumzhinov
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