Reports | September 27, 2012 21:02

Three winners in sixth round London GP, Gelfand still leads

A different playing hall for round 6 in London's Simpson's-in-the-Strand

After six rounds Boris Gelfand is stil leading the Grand Prix in London. On Thursday the Israeli drew with Vassily Ivanchuk, but Peter Leko and Alexander Grischuk, both half a point behind, drew their games too. Veselin Topalov beat Leinier Dominguez in a Chebanenko Slav, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated Rustam Kasimdzhanov with Black in a Meran and Wang Hao won, also with Black, against Hikaru Nakamura, who played a double fianchetto.

A different playing hall for round 6 in London's Simpson's-in-the-Strand | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Event 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

After the first rest day play resumed in London on Thursday with three draws and wins for Wang Hao, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Veselin Topalov. The latter two players moved up to a shared second place, with Peter Leko and Alexander Grischuk. This group of four is half a point behind Boris Gelfand, who scored 4/6 or "plus two".

While preparing this full report we noticed that especially Topalov was praised in the comments. And why not? The Bulgarian indeed has an attractive playing still and good fighting spirit, and the ending in his game against Leinier Dominguez was fun to watch. The Bulgarian felt it was an important win.

PGN string

Videos by Macauley Peterson

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won his game against Rustam Kasimdzhanov with a kingside attack. Objectively speaking White was probably better after the opening, but it was not easy to come up with the best set-up against Black's aggression.

PGN string

The middlegame in Nakamura-Wang Hao was kind of a trench warfare with both sides manoeuvring on their own territory. The American felt he was a bit better, but at some point he chose the wrong plan by putting his bishop and knight on b1 and c1 and weakening his kingside with g3-g4. It was not easy to foresee how this would be refuted, though. With two positional pawn sacrifices the Chinese got a winning attack.

PGN string

Perhaps because of the extra day to prepare, Anish Giri felt confident enough to play the Najdorf instead of his usual Petroff. Against Leko's English Attack he played the line with an early ...h5 that prevents g2-g4, and at move 15 Leko deviated from a game Dominguez-Carlsen from 2009 with a piece of preparation from August 2009. White's positional pawn sacrifice looked dangerous, but Giri's plan with a7-a5-a4 seems to be a good reaction.

PGN string

We've seen quite a lot of positional pawn sacrifices in this tournament already, and the game Grischuk-Adams was another nice example. With the bishop pair and play against White's IQP it was probably always roughly equal or only "marginally better" for White (Adams).

PGN string

Last but not least, the game between Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk was the shortest draw, but quite rich in ideas. At almost every move there were alternatives, according to Gelfand, but we've limited ourselves to checking the final position with an engine.

PGN string

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 - Leko   Leko - Grischuk
Wang Hao - Topalov   Gelfand - Giri
Mamedyarov - Nakamura   Kasimdzhanov - Adams
Ivanchuk - Kasimdzhanov   Nakamura - Ivanchuk
Adams - Gelfand   Topalov - Mamedyarov
Giri - Grischuk   Dominguez - Wang Hao
Round 9 15:00 CET 01.10.12   Round 10 15:00 CET 02.10.12
Wang Hao - Leko   Leko - Gelfand
Mamedyarov - Dominguez   Kasimdzhanov - Grischuk
Ivanchuk - Topalov   Nakamura - Giri
Adams - Nakamura   Topalov - Adams
Giri - Kasimdzhanov   Dominguez - Ivanchuk
Grischuk - Gelfand   Wang Hao - Mamedyarov
Round 11 12:00 CET 03.10.12        
Mamedyarov - Leko        
Ivanchuk - Wang Hao        
Adams - Dominguez        
Giri - Topalov        
Grischuk - Nakamura        
Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov        

London GP 2012 | Round 6 standings


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.


columbo's picture

Naka has a serious problem playing Wang Hoe, it's been a while.

Topalov vs topalov ! What a game ... brought me back to paradise

arkan's picture

Go Topalov! Must be a nice feeling to just be able to push that stormfront forwards

RG13's picture

I hope Topalov returns to his full playing strength which is above 2800. He has such an exciting style of play.

Abbas's picture

Naka is 11th after 6 rounds!

hansie's picture

He deserves that!

jussu's picture

He is 8th-11th, in the good company of Ivanchuk and Giri, 1.5 points behind the leader with five rounds to go.

Coco Loco's picture

How does Topa win after 35...Bc6?

jussu's picture

I guess it's 36. Kg3, going to g5 and running the e-pawn if black king blocks. I got to admit that this still looks like a better try to my patzer eyes than allowing 36. d5.

choufleur's picture

Naka 2800 + by the end of the year ?

Anonymous's picture

What a pleasure to see Topalov scoring again with his attractive style just when it mattered for him personally. Hope to see many more of these great victories of him.

Naka definitely had a terrible start to the London tournament, even losing a fifth time to the objectively stronger player Wang Hao today., with the whites even. Terrible loss for him. We'd only have to worry though if Naka wasn't his strong ambitious self! No doubt, he will recollect and bounce back very soon. - Elo 2800 + by the end of the year? That requires five to six wins, no losses and very few draws in all his upcoming London games, probably just a tad too much as things stand for now. I personally wish him the best of success and every bit of luck required to reach this ambitious goal as soon as possible.
Goooo Naka!

Thomas's picture

Nakamura: "Chess is such a ridiculously silly game sometimes" - hold on, that was yesterday after his escape against Dominguez, time for a retweet??

BTW he may well be lucky that Svidler dropped out for family reasons (his score against him is =2-6).

Anonymous's picture

Dang, true ;-) Probably no tweet today in this case?

Yes indeed, Svidler has an amazing score against him. Didn't redivivo show that after round two?

RG13's picture

Both Wang Hao and Svidler are really incredible tacticians. Nakamura's style doesn't seem to match up well with theirs.

A.CK's picture

Go Topalov ! Now your really playing chess. Aim 1st spot !

Roberto Stelling's picture

Too bad spectators are not allowed on the playroom. I've been to Simpson's-in-the-Strand today and had to content myself with the restaurant premisses. Of course the place is full with chess history but that didn't do the trick for me. :(

Septimus's picture

Looks like Nakamura is not comfortable in closed positions where everything is blocked for the first twenty five moves.

Anonymous's picture

Chessbase are writing about the "big blunder 41. Nxa4??" but Nak's troubles really started with 36. g4 because he missed the idea with f4 - f3 - Be5. In the post-game interview he said the position was lost by this point. Houdini agrees, favoring black after the best defensive moves. So I don't know why to put the big emphasis on a "losing move" when the game was already lost.

In the live feed it's almost as if Nak had given up by move 45 - after Wang moved, 44...Ng4, Nak walked back to the table and blitzed 45. Nxa4, then got back up and started walking around again.

Samuel's picture

Chessbase just copied the round report from the official website even though it wasn't exactly what you could expect from Grandmaster Robert Fontaine. Obviously White was already lost there.

Bert de Bruut's picture

A beautiful win by Topalov indeed, and it is good to see he is still the creative fighter we all esteem. Yet, I see no win for White after 41... g4 (instead of the obviously very bad 41... Kd8?) 42 hxg4 (certainly nog 42 Kd3?? gxh3 43 gxh3 Bg4! and not White but Black wins) 42... Bxg4 and now 43 Kc3 (what else?) 43... Bf3! (this is the obvious counterplay Black aims for of course) and I see no win for White: 44 gxf3 (44 c6 Kd6 doesn't change anything) 44...exf3 45 c6 (one of a serie of only moves for both sides) 45... Kd6 46 e4 h3 47 e5+ Kxd5 48 e7 and in this ending two pawns down Black still keeps chances with 48... f2! (but Black loses after 48... h2? 49 e8Q h1Q 50 Qe7+ Kxe5 51 c7 f2 52 Qe7+! and White queens his second pawn with check) 49 Ke2 (the only winning try, White gets a Queens ending a pawn up) 49... h2 50 e8Q h1Q 51 Kxf2 but the remaining ending after 51... Qh4+ 52 Kf3 Qxb4 is a draw after 53 c7 Qc3+ 54 Kf4 Qxc7 55 Qxb5+ and despite being still a pawn up, White should not win this after 55... Ke6 56 Qe8+ Qe7 and the pawn ending is a trivial draw.

Bert de Bruut's picture

except that of course 43 Kc3 (what else?) should read 43 Kd3 (what else?)

Bert de Bruut's picture

Ahem, writing lines without faults is very hard, even one ply deep: "except that of course 43 Kc3 (what else?) should read 43 Kd3 (what else?)" should actually read 43 Kd2 (a very hard move to find, with a Black pawn on e4...) xD

Niima's picture

Several players have impressed with their composure after a loss, willing to discuss the game and their mistakes. Examples are Nakamura and Kasimdzhanov after this round.

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