Reports | October 03, 2012 17:30

Gelfand, Mamedyarov and Topalov share win at London Grand Prix

Gelfand, Topalov and Mamedyarov

The FIDE Grand Prix ended in a three-way tie for first between Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Veselin Topalov. In the last round Mamedyarov drew his game against Leko quickly. Gelfand was the first to join the Azerbaijani in first place by beating Kasimdzhanov and later Topalov did the same, winning against Giri. The regulations state that no individual winner will be announced: "All prizes and Grand Prix ranking points are shared equally, in cases of any tied positions. No tie break system will be utilised for the individual Grand Prix tournaments."

Gelfand, Topalov and Mamedyarov | Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Event 1st 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

At the start of the last round, the main question was whether Shakhriyar Mamedyarov would take risks and play for a win, or whether he would be happy with a draw. The leader of the tournament was lucky enough to have the white pieces in the last round, but still it's never easy to get anything against Peter Leko, one of the best theoreticians around. As it turned out, the Azerbaijani decided to avoid risks and after twenty moves the players had already reached a pretty equal Nimzo-Indian ending. The number of moves were doubled in no time and the players were the first two finish their tournament.

PGN string

Videos by Macauley Peterson

This meant that three players still had a chance to finish shared first with Mamedyarov: Alexander Grischuk, Boris Gelfand and Veselin Topalov. Of these three, only the former didn't manage. Grischuk was caught in Nakamura's preparation and couldn't get an advantage in a Sicilian Dragon. When he saw his rivals win their games one by one, the Russian was quite disappointed, as you can see in the video.

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Amazingly, Gelfand played his first ever tournament in London. Despite a mistake in the opening he finished with a win against Kasimdzhanov, and with it a shared first place.

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Topalov then joined the winners as well, beating Giri with Black in an ending that should have ended in a draw. It's not easy to point out what was White's decisive mistake.

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Adams was not happy with his preparation and felt that Black was slightly better at some point. Still his game with Dominguez never really left the drawing zone.

PGN string

Ivanchuk and Wang Hao played very old theory in a Sozin Sicilian. The Ukrainian built up a nice advantage but got into terrible timetrouble. At some point he had five seconds left and still needed to make three moves, but at that point it was in fact a forced perpetual check. Ivanchuk offered a draw (but quite a while after making his last move), and after some thinking Wang Hao decide to make one more king move. Ivanchuk then quickly gave another check and pushed his clock hard - so hard, that his own clock started running again. Oviously his last seconds were quickly gone, but then both players started laughing at each other, and after the arbiters came to the boards, they decided to shake hands and agree to a draw anyway.

PGN string

And so Gelfand, Mamedyarov and Topalov shared first place. All three were awarded small silver cups, but because the Bulgarian had the best tiebreak (SB) he was the one who received the specially designed medal with the Agon logo on it.

With that the first of six Grand Prix events has come to an end. Five more will follow in Tashkent, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Berlin. Each tournament has a 240,000 Euro total prize fund - 170,000 for the tournament and another 70,000 Euro accumulated prize fund for the overall standings. Here's the prize distribution for each individual tournament:

Place Euros GP points
1st 25,000 120 points + 50 bonus
2nd 22,000 110 points + 30 bonus
3rd 20,000 100 points + 10 bonus
4th 17,500 90 points
5th 15,000 80 points
6th 13,000 70 points
7th 12,000 60 points
8th 11,000 50 points
9th 10,000 40 points
10th 9,000 30 points
11th 8,000 20 points
12th 7,000 10 points

The next Grand Prix is scheduled for 21 November - 5 December in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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 ½-½ Leko   Leko ½-½ Grischuk
Wang Hao ½-½ Topalov   Gelfand ½-½ Giri
Mamedyarov 1-0 Nakamura   Kasimdzhanov 1-0 Adams
Ivanchuk ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Nakamura 0-1 Ivanchuk
Adams 0-1 Gelfand   Topalov ½-½ Mamedyarov
Giri ½-½ Grischuk   Dominguez ½-½ Wang Hao
Round 9 15:00 CET 01.10.12   Round 10 15:00 CET 02.10.12
Wang Hao ½-½ Leko   Leko ½-½ Gelfand
Mamedyarov 1-0 Dominguez   Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Grischuk
Ivanchuk 0-1 Topalov   Nakamura 1-0 Giri
Adams 1-0 Nakamura   Topalov ½-½ Adams
Giri ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Dominguez ½-½ Ivanchuk
Grischuk 1-0 Gelfand   Wang Hao ½-½ Mamedyarov
Round 11 13:00 CET 03.10.12        
Mamedyarov  ½-½ Leko        
Ivanchuk ½-½ Wang Hao        
Adams ½-½ Dominguez        
Giri 0-1 Topalov        
Grischuk ½-½ Nakamura        
Gelfand 1-0 Kasimdzhanov        

London GP 2012 | Final 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.


Bronkenstein's picture

´I don't feel at all refuted´ - I would like to see how you imagine total dismantling/refutation of one´s arguments =)
You gave me lots of new, lessay, material in this post, but I guess I´ll save my ink this time. You at least bothered to reply, which is OFC appreciated.

sulutas's picture

Everybody praises Topalov for his great tournament performance (not that surprising as he was an indomitable player in the mid-2000s) but I guess, as it happened in the past, again and again, Mamedyarov's equally creditable performance is ignored - I think, he is the biggest surprise of the tournament.

AljechinsCat's picture

Thanks to the organizers for the tournament and especiall for the very good coverage with the live streams.
From the chessy point of view a lot of new moves were uncovered, for example the Rh4 in Leko-Grishuk, -c5 (Kasim vs. Topalov), the-Bd5 from Wang Hao (vs. the Sozin) and others. We see that almost all -e5 Top players have the Berlin now on their sleeves and that the Berlin is now constantly avoided, either by an early d3 or by Re1.
I think no player was too dominant this time, but the three winners and Grischuk played a little more constant than others. All of them had hardly difficult positions (except the 2 losses against Sacha Grishuk that very classy).

Aditya's picture

Nice event! Kg6?? from Kasimdzhanov seemed very odd although he was already losing at that time. It was a very evident mating pattern. Surprisingly, in the poll results before the tourney, the combined votes for Mamedyarov, Topalov and Gelfand are less than those for Nakamura. Quite underestimated winners :)

Will be rooting for Svidler in the next event!! And it will be nice to see Gashimov in a top tourney; that has'nt happened in a while.

uschess's picture

topa completely outclassed giri, at the end the moves f3 and Ra3 where so damn sexy, giri didn't see the mate threat coming forcing the loss of his bishop. brilliant stuff, def fast forward on the vid to see this point in the game. giri kept playing quickly before and after while topa took his time. brilliant, giri really needs to slow his endgame play down

AljechinsCat's picture

Giri lost simply because he overpressed it. That is what Mr. Topalov stated. Be objective.

uschess's picture

how does giri's over pressing and subsequent losing negate anything I said or render my comments un-objective?! topa clearly played superior in the endgame and the move sequence f3 followed by Ra3 where a thing of beauty. perhaps if giri spent as much time at the board as ves he would've evaluated the game properly and saved the loss

uschess's picture

how does giri's over pressing and subsequent losing negate anything I said or render my comments un-objective?! topa clearly played superior in the endgame and the move sequence f3 followed by Ra3 where a thing of beauty. perhaps if giri spent as much time at the board as ves he would've evaluated the game properly and saved the loss

Chris's picture

Giri overpressed? Against ex-world champion! It is funny.
Have you forgotten that Topalov was long time leading elo-list and was ranked over 2800. The class of Topalov has worked out not Giri overpushed. Topalov has been polite.

VB's picture

After watching the game again this Ra3 really rocks!

jussu's picture

Nice to see that one tournament where no triebreaks are used - in a round robin, they are all entirely arbitrary anyway.

RG13's picture

Tiebreaks WERE used - to determine who goes home with the gold medallion.

redivivo's picture

It was fun to hear the discussion just after the game between Giri and Topalov, at the end it sounded as if the latter was trying to comfort Giri: "I've lost dozens of games from drawn positions! Dozens of games!"

AljechinsCat's picture

Yes, I also recognized it with a smile. And he said "pushing" - because Giri overpushed this endgame, which was not worse for white.

Anonymous's picture


Chris's picture


redivivo's picture

I thought Grischuk was quite impressive. On some other occasion he won't miss the winning continuations he had at his disposal with black against both Wang Hao and Kasimdzhanov. He could easily have been sole winner with +4 but now ended up as fourth instead.

Septimus's picture

Always exciting to see him manage the clock. Probably the best player in a time crunch.

jmason's picture

Congratulations to the winners, all three : Topalov , finally a comeback , Mamedyarov for a nice combination of solid and wild games and Gelfand - he managed to overcome the age gap by top preparation and strong will.

ack's picture

Congrats Toppy ! A job well done !

fernando's picture

Great tournament ! Great games ! Congratulations Mr Topalov !

S3's picture

Congrats to MyamedarovFan and Agon and Paulson!

Someone said it before but now it came true: 1-4 are the guys who qualified for candidates the last time..Coincidence ?? Giri was a bit of a surprise for me, I hope this dissapointing result won't stop him from chosing for chess. Just a year ago he was equal to Caruana and I'm sure he can do a lot better.

redivivo's picture

"1-4 are the guys who qualified for candidates the last time"

That depends on how "qualified" is defined. Mamedyarov's sponsors bought him a spot after he failed in the qualifications, also Grischuk failed in the qualifications but got a spot when Carlsen refused to participate, and Topalov, well, I don't think anyone knows how he "qualified". Ivanchuk qualified for the Candidates after Kazan but still had a bad result here.

Thomas's picture

"qualified" may be the wrong word, in any case they participated. Grischuk initially 'failed to qualify' but third place in the last GP Series was hardly a failure - he wasn't simply given a spot in the candidates but earned it as first runner-up. Moreover he did qualify for the next candidates event.
Ivanchuk is a special case: he can do well in single events, e.g. the last World Cup (but his overall World Cup record isn't exactly brilliant) or one GP tournament from the previous series - he won in Jermuk but scored 50% or less in his three other events.

Longyearbyen's picture

Quite a preposterous result. Such a big tournament and basically no result. Chess needs real tie breaks by playing rapid games on the last day. This would be a highlight for the audience and much more fair for all players. All sports produce a winner. Why can't chess do that properly? Or is there too much money in chess that no one needs to care about such an insignificant detail?

S3's picture

I think you are trolling. But you're not as good at it as redivivo.

hansie's picture


Thomas's picture

In case you didn't know, the tournament is part of a series. Only after all six events have taken place, there is a need to define the two best players (who qualify for the candidates event). For this, tiebreak rules are established - Article 7.4 in the link given by Harish Srinivasan. First tiebreaker is the fourth (worst) result, which could BTW still hurt Nakamura or Ivanchuk at the very end. Fifth tiebreaker is drawing of lots - rapid games would be preferable, but it's possible that not all "candidate candidates" play the sixth out of six events.

Anonymous's picture

+1 Thomas, I was about to give a similar response.

valg321's picture

congrats to the winners

Harish Srinivasan's picture has the GP bonus as 50, 30 and 10. Did it change?

So what are the GP points fit the 3 winners now

Peter Doggers's picture

No, it was just a mistake - corrected now. It seems to me that the three winners all got (120+50 + 110+30 + 100+10) / 3 = 140 points.

S3's picture

Can someone remind me: how many people will have qualified for what if this GP is concluded ? Matches or (I suppose) one final tournament to select the final candidate?

Manu's picture

U can freeze Leko today ,burn down his house, insult all his relatives and marry his girlfriend , then wake him up for a game of chess , he will still accept our draw offer in move ten.
Congrats Topa!!!!!

valg321's picture

yes but he is a brilliant theoritician...and will do everything in his power to prove it to you

Dude's picture

Leko doesn't have a girlfriend.

Thomas's picture

Noone accepted early draw offers in this tournament (as it was against the rules); the only game that was drawn in ten, well eleven moves was between the great fighter Ivanchuk and the pretty good theoretician Kasimdzhanov.

One, IMO the main difference between Leko's and Topalov's tournaments: two of Topalov's opponents completely misplayed even endgames, else Topalov's final score would also be +1=10. Yes, Ivanchuk also made a mistake against Leko - but in that game Leko had a plan which worked because it was missed by the opponent. In other games, both Leko and Topalov (and the other players) also had plans, but many games were drawn because the other guy played well enough.

Congrats Gelfand!

redivivo's picture

"Topalov's opponents completely misplayed even endgames, else Topalov's final score would also be +1=10. Yes, Ivanchuk also made a mistake against Leko - but in that game Leko had a plan"

That seems a bit too simple, and I don't think the difference is too big between the three wins or how much the endgames were misplayed. The Chessbase descriptions:

"After Ivanchuk seemingly transposes into an equal endgame, he commits a series of imprecisions that allow Leko to put on pressure. A blunder soon follows, the Hungarian pounces, and it is all over"

"Topalov's position looked even better, because of pressure on the d3 pawn. The following exchanges were in favour of Black and it was difficult for White to defend the bishop endgame with the passed a-pawn"

"Everyone expected a quick draw, but Topalov started to play for the win. The 41st move by Anish was a mistake, but his position was already difficult"

Thomas's picture

"I don't think the difference is too big ..." - I do, so does apparently Peter Doggers, the respective quotes from the Chessvibes reports are

"The Hungarian grandmaster outplayed Vassily Ivanchuk in a French Defence ... Leko never gave his opponent a chance to equalize."

"You'd say that White should be able to hold this ending." [after move 33 of Ivanchuk-Topalov]

"Topalov then joined the winners as well, beating Giri with Black in an ending that should have ended in a draw." Topalov was better, maybe already winning right after the time control - Giri's inaccuracies started earlier, e.g. what was the point of 31.h4 ?

My first point was that Topalov could have finished with 1=10, just like Leko. My second point is that one can "prove" anything but also the opposite with 'random' (or "carefully selected") quotes from the Internet.

redivivo's picture

""I don't think the difference is too big ..." - I do"

I more agree with Monokroussos who meant that Leko had "nothing really" until Ivanchuk missed that he would have equalized with 29. ... Kf7 30. g4 g5 and "played quite badly" after that. Monokroussos also called Topalov's win against Giri "Carlsen-like" after Giri was "badly outplayed in the endgame". On Topalov's win against Ivanchuk he writes that "a minor piece ending arose where Black stood better thanks to an outside passer - again an a-pawn! - and while it probably should have been drawn it wasn't automatic".

Thomas's picture

It's up to you with whom you rather agree (you disagree with Monokroussos when he criticizes Carlsen even mildly!?). Leko had a plan against Ivanchuk, which worked with a little help from Chucky, else it would have been a draw (a legitimate result for a game of chess!). Mono wrote "For whatever reason [sic], Giri was badly outplayed in the endgame" - the reason might lie with Giri rather than Topalov. The strongest commentator was Grischuk who called Giri's loss "unbelievable", and that sure wasn't meant as a compliment for Topalov ... .

"Carlsen-like" may be considered THE ultimate compliment, but basically it means benefitting from mistakes by the opponent? So "Topalov-like", "Nakamura-like", "Aronian-like" or "Kramnik-like" would be at least as much of a compliment?

redivivo's picture

"you disagree with Monokroussos when he criticizes Carlsen even mildly!?"

I disagree with him when he calls it a real shame that Carlsen won a tournament, and writes stuff like that. He dislikes Carlsen and doesn't try to hide that, but in general I find it interesting to read his assessments. However, on the whole I don't think there are as many reasons to criticize Carlsen's chess as Monokroussos and for example Whychess think.

"basically it means benefitting from mistakes by the opponent?"

In Monokroussos' case I agree that playing like Carlsen probably at least partly means "benefitting from mistakes by the opponent". To me it rather was Carlsen-like in the sense that Topalov was so much stronger in the endgame that the smallest imbalance was enough to eventually make it impossible to hold an endgame that originally "should" have been drawn.


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