London R8: Kasimdzhanov beats Adams, Nakamura loses again
On Saturday Hikaru Nakamura lost his third consecutive game in London. The American grandmaster played the Exchange Ruy Lopez against Vassily Ivanchuk, who won the ending after 58 moves and 6 hours of play. Rustam Kasimdzhanov beat Michael Adams and as all other games were drawn, Boris Gelfand is still leading the pack at the FIDE Grand Prix.
Three losses in a row for top seed Hikaru Nakamura | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill
“So far so good” were the words of Boris Gelfand when he left the playing venue Saturday evening. Even though he couldn't win a slightly better ending against Anish Giri, the Israeli grandmaster had enough reasons to be satisfied. He's still hasn't given up his half point lead, and can regain energy on the second and last rest day to defend it over the last three rounds.
Hikaru Nakamura, the number one grandmaster from the USA, surely won't be satisfied. As the pre-tournament favorite he must have had the intention to win the tournament, but with three rounds to go he is in last place, having lost his last three games. The same happened to him in the last three rounds at the Reggio Emilia tournament in early January this year. As Thomas notes, it seems that the American belongs to the group of players like Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexei Shirov and Alexander Morozevich (no bad company!) whose can have huge form swings, even during a tournament.
Let's start with the leader of the pack, the man who played 6-6 in classical games back in May against the World Champ, and continues to show good form. Gelfand faced Anish Giri, who played a slightly surprising opening: the King's Indian! In New in Chess Magazine 2012/06 the Dutchman wrote:
The KID is sort of back in fashion these days. For some reason, no one bothers to take it seriously and refute it once and for all.
Well, the fact that Giri played it himself against none other than Gelfand proves that this remark was mostly tongue-in-cheek. Besides, most top players these days play a lot of openings, and because Giri faced it quite a few times with White recently, he probably just feels comfortable in these Bayonet structures at the moment. And, as he explains in the video, he already analysed this line when he was 14! (Which, in his case, is only 4 years ago...) Both players felt that Black was lost at some point.
Videos by Macauley Peterson
The round started with a quick draw (though not as quick as Ivanchuk-Kasimdzhanov!) between Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. As the Bulgarian pointed out, everyone is well prepared in this tournament and because his opponent played very accurately, Topalov had to repeat moves at an early stage.
Kasimdzhanov put some pressure on Adams by playing relatively fast, to avoid timetrouble. This strategy worked, because Adams did get in slight timetrouble and couldn't find the accurate moves in a drawn QN vs QN ending.
Leko and Grischuk played a long theoretical line in the Sicilian, English Attack. At move 18 Grischuk couldn't remember the right move which had been played earlier this year by Alexander Khalifman, and Leko got a close to winning advantage. The Hungarian then let it slip away with a "one-move blunder".
Dominguez reached a very good ending against Wang Hao but failed to win it. In the video below both players give comments in their native language, unfortunately without subtitles.
Again Hikaru Nakamura was involved in the longest game and again... he lost it. He played one of Bobby Fischer's favorite lines, the Exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez, but not à l Fischer (who played 7.Nxd4 against Portisch in 1966 and twice against Spassky in the 1992 match). After a series of exchanges Black was slightly more comfortable, especially when he could fix White's queenside pawns on light squares. Somehow things got from bad to worse for Nakamura, who had to throw in the towel at move 58.
Schedule & pairings
|Round 1||15:00 CET||21.09.12||Round 2||15:00 CET||22.09.12|
|Round 3||15:00 CET||23.09.12||Round 4||15:00 CET||24.09.12|
|Wang Hao||½-½||Grischuk||Gelfand||1-0||Wang Hao|
|Round 5||15:00 CET||25.09.12||Round 6||15:00 CET||27.09.12|
|Round 7||15:00 CET||28.09.12||Round 8||15:00 CET||29.09.12|
|Round 9||15:00 CET||01.10.12||Round 10||15:00 CET||02.10.12|
|Round 11||12:00 CET||03.10.12|
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