Reports | September 24, 2013 22:13

Four winners in spectacular third round FIDE Grand Prix

Four winners in spectacular third round FIDE Grand Prix

A spectacular third round at the Grand Prix in Élancourt (near Paris) saw four decisive games, and two that lasted more than six hours. Fabiano Caruana beat Laurent Fressinet in a double rook ending on move 39, Hikaru Nakamura needed 35 moves to win against Etienne Bacrot in a QGD Exchange, Vassily Ivanchuk profited from Wang Hao's mistakes in the ending and won on move 60 while Boris Gelfand decided his game against Leinier Dominguez in a Q vs R ending on move 97, after seven hours of play!

Photos by Alina l'Ami courtesy of FIDE

Although he stated that the tournament will probably be decided in the last three rounds, Fabiano Caruana must be satisfied with the start of the Grand Prix. With his win over Laurent Fressinet, in their first ever mutual game, the Italian is in the group of players with a plus one score, and a point ahead of his main rival Alexander Grischuk.

Caruana followed the trend set at the Sinquefield Cup, and played the Anti-Marshall with an early exchange on e5. The queens stayed on the board a bit longer, but after 14...Bg4?! White reached a slightly better ending, mostly based on the weakened black queenside. How Caruana played the second half of the game was just wonderful (and praised by his opponent); Fischer or Karpov wouldn't have done it better! 

PGN string

Vassily Ivanchuk defeated Wang Hao, but was worse in the endgame. Not much; Black had the bishop pair but the Chinese was never close to a clear advantage. But he should never have lost this game. After he lost his b-pawn, he could still have drawn the game on move 46. 

PGN string

Hikaru Nakamura, who had fought fiercely to try and win his first two games, finally succeeded in the third round. Etienne Bacrot copied Aronian's play against the same opponent for a while, but on move twelve the Frenchman played an active move that failed tactically. He was forced to give a piece, but it was never enough.

PGN string

Anish Giri and Evgeny Tomashevsky was another Anti-Marshall, but the Dutchman chose a different option on move 8: the move h2-h3. Tomashevsky saw no reason to change his play from his game against Kamsky in Tromsø, but Giri did something else on move 11. After the players also deviated from a Topalov-Svidler game, it became clear that Black was fine and soon the moves were repeated.

PGN string

Gelfand-Dominguez was a long and tough game, which should have ended just before the time control. In that case it would have been one of Gelfand's masterpieces, and perhaps it should still be called that way. The way the Israeli treated this IQP position, with the black bishop standings slightly worse on d6 than on normal squares like b4 and e7, was impressive. With targeted and forceful moves, tactically motivated in the style of Kasparov, Gelfand reached a winning position. Because it took him a lot of time on the clock, he missed the decisive blow and then had to start all over again. But the World Championship Challenger then showed that his technique is still there! 

PGN string

Grischuk-Ponomariov was another very long game that started with exactly the same opening variation! Where Gelfand had played 8.Bxd6 in an earlier game, and 8.Bh4 against Dominguez, Grischuk decided on the third option 8.Bg3. This game quickly became a standard good knight vs. bad bishop fight, and it seemed logical that Grischuk went for an ending with those minor pieces and queens, as Q&N is usually a strong combination. But Ponomariov avoided big trouble till the end, and saved the draw.

PGN string

For the rest of this report we'll quote Alina l'Ami, who added a funny story in her report:

The most original story comes from the off-board area and requires some preliminary explanation. Chairs are personalized for each player, according to height and other physical parameters. Each chair wears a label with the corresponding player’s name; after every round, the arbiters have to shuffle the chairs and not the label with their names, as in the vast majority of the tournaments!

In the beginning of the third round Grischuk showed himself unhappy with his personal president-like chair and changed it for a simple wooden one. When asked during the press conference why he decided to do so, Grischuk's reply was very clear: "It is too comfortable, I would probably fall asleep!" Indeed, he didn't allow himself the luxury of relaxation and tortured Ponomariov for 86 moves, but could not break the defence of the former World Champion.



Live video with press conferences

Video feed courtesy of FIDE

Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Results & pairings

Round 1 15:00 CET 22.09.13   Round 2 15:00 CET 23.09.13
Fressinet ½-½ Ponomariov   Ponomariov ½-½ Giri
Grischuk ½-½ Wang Hao   Tomashevsky ½-½ Gelfand
Caruana ½-½ Bacrot   Dominguez ½-½ Nakamura
Ivanchuk ½-½ Dominguez   Bacrot ½-½ Ivanchuk
Nakamura ½-½ Tomashevsky   Wang Hao ½-½ Caruana
Gelfand 1-0 Giri   Fressinet 1-0 Grischuk
Round 3 15:00 CET 24.09.13   Round 4 15:00 CET 25.09.13
Grischuk ½-½ Ponomariov   Ponomariov - Tomashevsky
Caruana 1-0 Fressinet   Dominguez - Giri
Ivanchuk 1-0 Wang Hao   Bacrot - Gelfand
Nakamura 1-0 Bacrot   Wang Hao - Nakamura
Gelfand 1-0 Dominguez   Fressinet - Ivanchuk
Giri ½-½ Tomashevsky   Grischuk - Caruana
Round 5 15:00 CET 27.09.13   Round 6 15:00 CET 28.09.13
Caruana - Ponomariov   Ponomariov - Dominguez
Ivanchuk - Grischuk   Bacrot - Tomashevsky
Nakamura - Fressinet   Wang Hao - Giri
Gelfand - Wang Hao   Fressinet - Gelfand
Giri - Bacrot   Grischuk - Nakamura
Tomashevsky - Dominguez   Caruana - Ivanchuk
Round 7 15:00 CET 29.09.13   Round 8 15:00 CET 30.09.13
Ivanchuk - Ponomariov   Ponomariov - Bacrot
Nakamura - Caruana   Wang Hao - Dominguez
Gelfand - Grischuk   Fressinet - Tomashevsky
Giri - Fressinet   Grischuk - Giri
Tomashevsky - Wang Hao   Caruana - Gelfand
Dominguez - Bacrot   Ivanchuk - Nakamura
Round 9 15:00 CET 02.10.13   Round 10 15:00 CET 03.10.13
Nakamura - Ponomariov   Ponomariov - Wang Hao
Gelfand - Ivanchuk   Fressinet - Bacrot
Giri - Caruana   Grischuk - Dominguez
Tomashevsky - Grischuk   Caruana - Tomashevsky
Dominguez - Fressinet   Ivanchuk - Giri
Bacrot - Wang Hao   Nakamura - Gelfand
Round 11 14:00 CET 04.10.13        
Gelfand - Ponomariov        
Giri - Nakamura        
Tomashevsky - Ivanchuk        
Dominguez - Caruana        
Bacrot - Grischuk        
Wang Hao - Fressinet        

Paris Grand Prix 2013 | Round 3 standings


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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.


S3's picture

Spectacular commentary.

paul's picture

a cynic i guess..this was just need to comment any further. Tiviakov is not a great player but above all dull and a lousy Englisch speaker besides that he can't get a discussion going while Lámi cant be listened to because of bas language skills and a soft voice. This Video;s are just a parody on what we used to get....On a scale from 1 to 10 i can't give it a god this is bad!

paul's picture

Tiviakov accidentally is funny when he mentions pieces (pisses) and 40 moves (farty) sounds like Crabtree from AlloAllo. I do think the players are not at all happy with this fact it's a disgrace.

Remco G's picture

I haven't seen the press conferences, but during the games I thought his commentary was awesome. He's very good at going to a position and immediately stating what it is about and where each sides chances lie, complete with moves. He comes across as very strong and very to the point.

English Breakfast's picture

Gotta love how Tiviakov insisted on Bacrot admitting that 12...c5 was an outright blunder overlooking 14.d5. Visibly disappointed Bacrot just kept repeating that he played bad. Later on, Tiviakov enraged Gelfand by continuously pointing out faster winning ways suggested by the comp.

baladala's picture

Lots of principled views und harsh judgements during commentary are OK. But his attitude towards the players in the press conference is not really acceptable in his role. Also he has ignored the press officer on some occasions and started a private conversation with a player while the other was answering Alina's questions.

Anonymous's picture

Strange, since Tiviakov and L'Ami are good friends afaik.

Anonymous's picture

Tiviakov is a very strong grandmaster, he was 2700+ some years ago.

guest's picture

Awesome round

Merlinovich's picture

I think Gelfand could have cut off 8 moves with 86.Qd8+! Kb7 87.Qd4! Kb8 88.Kb6 Rb7+ 89.Ka6 to get the final position of the game. I am surprised he didn't know or didn't remember this maneuver. Still it wasn't exactly a race to the 50 moves rule, Q vs. R usually wins quite comfortably, with Peter Svidler as one of the few "sinners" allowing a draw against - Boris Gelfand in 2001 :)

Aditya's picture

When they build an automated voice in the chess engines explaining the lines it is calculating, it will sound exactly like Tiviakov :) On a different note, I cannot help predicting that one of these days, one of the players is going to get real mad at Tiviakov's line of interrogation :)

Gowez's picture

Welcome back, Peter!!!

Evgeny's picture

Masterful game played by Nakamura!

Merlinovich's picture

The avenge of the White game. 6 wins for white, none for black in these first 3 rounds. Great round today!

Bronkenstein's picture

Someone should quickly tell Gandalf that he isn´t exactly supposed to win this, before it´s too late =)

Thomas Oliver's picture

Maybe someone, a certain Shak Mamedyarov, told Gelfand (or Nakamura or Ivanchuk) that he IS supposed to win this event, even if shared first place (with anyone including Caruana and Grischuk) is already good enough. In any case Shak may well think "I like it" - like Karjakin liked the result (not his own, but someone else's result) of the World Cup.

Of course it's too early to make predictions or draw conclusions after three rounds. But I am already a bit reminded of the Astrakhan GP, last one of the previous series: a rather nervous event, someone with no chances in the overall competition winning (IIRC Eljanov replaced Aronian who didn't need to play the final tournament as he was already qualified for the candidates). Back then, shared 2nd to 6th place (!?) was good enough for Radjabov.

Erik Tam's picture

Enjoyed Tiviakov's commentary!

giri's picture

now i'm hell sure that all the chess prodigies need a chess teacher in some (starting) stages of their career. anish giri also needs to take assistance from experts to sharpen the skills which he already has.

Anonymous's picture

Gelfand is amazing! Look at him... again at the top of the crosstable!

Anonymous's picture

Gelfand gonna win!

Anonymous's picture

Gelfand proves that Kasparov retired way too soon!

Anonymous's picture

It was Gelfand retired Kasparov!

pawnmayhem's picture

the difference with Karyakin , is that Shak played a fantastic Grand Prix and will be qualified by his own merit !!!!!!

Also wanted to add that criticizing commentators like Tiviakov who speak about chess for a change, just shows on the current state of chess amateurs who rather hear ''White is winning'' then ''concrete explanations about the position.''
Zero effort, maximum lazyness

Thomas Oliver's picture

I do not deny that Mamedyarov is currently second in the GP standings, and that he played some great tournaments in the series (but also a rather bad one in Zug which doesn't count). But - not sure if this is your intention - it would be wrong to suggest that he is unfairly robbed of something if Caruana or Grischuk overtakes him in the final GP standings. It's also wrong to suggest that he merits qualification, but Karjakin doesn't.

Discussing the players one at a time:
Mamedyarov benefitted from 'features' of the GP regulations that favor somewhat unstable players like him over more stable ones as Caruana and in the given case also Grischuk: bonus points for top finishers and "best three out of four". If all four results were included, current standings (behind Topalov) would be Mamedyarov 410, Grischuk 315, Caruana 305 - Grischuk would need only 100 points (shared 3rd to 4th place), Caruana 110 points (clear third place) to overtake Mamedyarov. Of course this was known to all players, also irrelevant but IMO nonetheless worthwhile mentioning: The Beijing GP was a close race between Mamedyarov and ... Grischuk that could have gone either way in the end - not that Mamedyarov was "lucky", but he couldn't have complained about a different outcome. Such details matter.

Karjakin: He got his rating spot ("best of the rest" behind Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik) for a reason - some great tournament results, just not in the GP Series: shared first in Dortmund 2012, 8/13 in Wijk aan Zee (TPR 2816) this year was by no means bad, clear first in Norway Chess. Unless one dislikes rating spots altogether, Karjakin merits his one?

Their situation past and current is some sort of mirror image: Karjakin had to hope that third by rating would turn into second, Mamedyarov has to hope that second in the GP Series won't turn into third. In both cases, it was/is beyond what they can control themselves.

Greco's picture

Carlsen is a cheater blah blah blah...oh wait he isnt in this tourney is he??? Doesnt matter Carlsen cheater blah blah blah.......

RG13's picture

@ Greco, you are correct and Polish Grandmaster Bartek Macieja said, "Beginners often touch or take back pieces due to unawareness. With grandmasters it is usually an obvious/conscious attempt to cheat."

Carlsen did this in two CONSECUTIVE rounds of the same tournament - the 2009 World Blitz Chess Championship in round 3 against Gashimov and in round 4 against Kosteniuk (both incidents on video). However just like Fischer he gets a pass from the arbiters and his fans for all his misbehavior. Fischer and Carlsen are both bigger than chess.

Anonymous's picture

SHAME on Carlsen!!!

Anonymous's picture

A blitz game. Mutual time trouble. Gashimov points out the fault, calls the referee, Carlsen extends his hand in resignation. Where is the problem?

Anonymous's picture

The problem, as RG13 relentlessly has pointed out time and again, is that he considers it likely that Carlsen will take back bad moves at will in his games against Anand and that Anand will accept repeated takebacks. As RG underlined he means that cheating is an art for to Carlsen. GREAT poster!

Thomas Oliver's picture

The main problem, at least now and here, is that Greco brought this up while it has (as he says himself) no relationship whatsoever to this thread, and hasn't been mentioned by anyone else.

Anonymous's picture

@Thomas: I guess RG13 failed to notice that this had indeed no bearing in this thread. Unless he was of course all too happy to provide more details along this line.

Greco's picture

Thomas do read my comment again and ponder about it...please

Thomas's picture

@Greco (in case my reply doesn't appear below your post): I consider it enough to read your initial comment once, and I think your intentions are clear - you wanted RG13 to jump on the bandwagon (S3 apparently resisted the temptation). If this wasn't your intention, please enlighten me/us on what you wanted to achieve.

RG13's picture

Thomas, since you've chosen to weigh in on this, I will ask, Do you or do you not agree with the statement of Grandmaster Bartek Macieja that "Beginners often touch or take back pieces due to unawareness. With grandmasters it is usually an obvious/conscious attempt to cheat."

And if you don't then do you know of any Grandmaster (that doesn't indulge in takebacks) that agrees with you?

Thomas Oliver's picture

Just three points:
1) This doesn't belong in the current thread (that's why I "weighed in")
2) In blitz games, GMs (even very strong ones) sometimes "play like beginners" or at least far below their usual level - so they can also make unusual mistakes such as taking back moves? Macieja talks about beginners and grandmasters, not about players between these levels - and even for GMs he said "usually", not "always". Regarding Carlsen's "I wasn't entirely sure if I put the Rook down or not", I give him the benefit of doubt: I was in a similar situation in at least one blitz game - and in that respect there's no difference between amateurs like me and world-top players: both/all are, after all, humans!
3) This isn't the most important aspect of cheating problems - even for Macieja, it's only #7 on his list.

RG13's picture

Time trouble explains the blunder, GM Macieja explains what a take back means at the GM level.
Carlsen's repeated offenses are the problem.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for pointing that out, I'm sure many agree with you that Carlsen will take back moves at will in his games against Anand and that no one will say a word about it, and with bonken that Carlsen will blackmail FIDE and demand that Anand is stripped of his title after beating Carlsen.

RG13's picture

@ Anonymous
There is video evidence of FOUR take-back attempts by Carlsen (that I know of) and you conveniently mention only the one in which he resigned without incident.

Stop the video of him playing against Savchenko at a point between 9:13 and 9:14 and observe his body language. Is that a slap or a karate chop that he wants to deliver to his opponent? Of is he just that annoyed that Savchenko would gently remind him of the rules of fair play? Look for yourself as it is the top video at

Against Kosteniuk he stormed off in apparent disgust rather than resign (his position was helpless even without the blunder).

Against Aronian he actually DENIED that he did a take-back and only admitted it when the video clearly showed that he did. This is what Carlsen said: "I just played Ra3 then I realized it was a blunder and uh I wasn't entirely sure if I put the Rook down or not ... but of course the video showed that I put the Rook down and so I had to resign."

So why should ANY player admit that he took back a move? He can say "prove it!" So the video is checked and if it is not conclusive (or there is a technical malfunction) then the player can stick to his story that he didn't do it!

Takebacks have proven their effectiveness in slow chess ... Azmaiparashvili won the European Championship in 2003 by doing just that to win his game against Malakhov. Kasparov used a take-back to win against 17 year old Judit Polgar in 1994.

A player (without scruples) who blunders badly may feel that he has nothing to lose and might as well try a take-back. Sometimes the opponent is too shocked, embarassed or polite to call them on it and they will have saved the game and possibly go on to win.

It is not fair for one of the players in a contest to have 'blunder odds'. It would be like Tiger Woods being forced FOUR times to correct his score-card due to video evidence. I think the PGA would sanction him if that happened.

Anonymous's picture

You are definitely right to claim that Carlsen will take back moves at will in his games against Anand, and that no one will protest against this behaviour. It is not fair that Carlsen has blunder odds against Anand, and can take back moves whenever he wants to. SHAME ON HIM!!!

Greco's picture

Oh my Ancient ancestors the world has forgotten of your use of Irony!!!

Anonymous's picture

Irony? As RG13 pointed out many times Carlsen lost a couple of blitz games in a tournament four years ago because of touch move rule. This he sees as the reason that it is likely that Carlsen (who sees cheating as an art, as RG13 has stated) will take back moves in his title match classical games against Anand, and that Anand and arbiters will find this acceptable since arbiters gave him a free pass to cheat in those blitz games.

There is pure logic of an educated mind here. In what way Carlsen was given a free pass to cheat in blitz I missed though since he resigned immediately after the touch move incidents, but one can't possibly argue about the rest.

Greco's picture

Oh my Ancient ancestors the world has forgotten of your use of Logic!!!!

RG13's picture

@Anonymous, FOUR is closer to 'several' than "a couple". In only one of the four incidents did he resign without incident. These are the incidents for which there is verifiable video evidence. 'Carlsen haters' claim that there are more incidents.

re: "In what way Carlsen was given a free pass to cheat in blitz" Because he did it in two consecutive rounds of the same tournament and I have not heard any chess journalists say that he was penalized by the arbiters. That seems to be a free pass.

Anonymous's picture

@RG13: What kind of penalty other than forfeiting the game did you have in mind exactly? Start the next game with a time handicap?

RG13's picture

I assume that FIDE has some kind of sanctions for unsportsmanlike conduct. Even a warning by one of the arbiters would have been better than nothing. The issue is that people want to pretend that nothing happened of any consequence.

Anonymous's picture

"Even a warning by one of the arbiters would have been better than nothing."

Magnus, don't make any more illegal moves, or... you'll know what you'll get!

"The issue is that people want to pretend that nothing happened of any consequence."

Nobody pretends anything of the kind. The consequence was systematically the loss by forfeit of the games in which he stupidly made an illegal move. You and the intelligent S3 are acting like if Carlsen got out of it without forfeiting these games. He didn't, and he won't if it happens again.

Anonymous's picture

"'Carlsen haters' claim that there are more incidents"

No one ever claimed there were more touch move incidents, but if I too hated Carlsen so much that it was all I could think of even when he isn't playing I would also make such things up. Which are those other supposed touch move accusations you just made up?

How do you penalise a player that resigns after a touch move loss in blitz, by the way? By having him hung and quartered? Compare with Marshall, in classical chess, playing a move against Torre in Moscow, to a few minutes later, when Torre hadn't yet returned to the table, changing his mind and making another move instead. The result was that he had to play his first move, but he certainly didn't resign or was penalised in some way. But that was classical chess, as in Kasparov's case against Polgar, and not some blitz event (several years ago) as in Carlsen's case.

Anonymous's picture

Agree with bonkenstein that Carlsen after losing to Anand will blackmail FIDE and demand that they take crown from Anand and give it to Carlsen for rating!

Anonymous's picture

I love Tiviakov ! I love him ! How many players will he insult next ? This guy is priceless.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Whom did Tiviakov insult? I can use some input for a forthcoming own report (crowd sourcing journalism?) where I will call discussions here what they are: opinions by other chess fans.

I hardly followed the live commentary myself: lack of time and I did find the tone of Tiviakov's voice (but not the content he provided) irritating - maybe it's just me and a few others.

Somewhat off-topic but less so than introducing Carlsen in the discussion: True is BTW that Tiviakov seems to be quite a character: There was "Tivigate" at the Dutch championships. At one occasion he dropped out of a blitz tournament at short notice after an Internet joke about him by one of the organizers - not the best joke ever IMO but a relatively innocent one. At another occasion in an open, he used the same forum to accuse an opponent of cheating without much if any evidence.


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