Reports | July 16, 2013 11:38

Mamedyarov first in Beijing, Topalov wins Grand Prix overall

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the FIDE Grand Prix in Beijing on Tuesday with a score of 7/11. The Azerbaijani drew quickly with Boris Gelfand, and so did Alexander Grischuk in his game with Peter Leko. In the last round Wang Hao beat Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov won an important game against Alexander Morozevich. The Bulgarian finished shared third in Beijing, and ends his Grand Prix series with 410 Grand Prix points. Because nobody can beat that in the last event, Topalov has won the Grand Prix series 2013-2014!

Photos © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE

The final round in Beijing was a bit of an anti-climax, but it was also understandable considering the situation the players were in. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov wanted to play a bit but would never risk much, of course, and for Alexander Grischuk it only made sense to take risks in case Mamedyarov would get into trouble. When the tournament leader even got a slight endgame advantage against Boris Gelfand, it was time for Grischuk to start repeating moves with Peter Leko.

I was in a fighting mood but I didn't get a chance,

said Grischuk, who then told a strange story about his preparation. Apparently the Russian hadn't looked at 13...Bxc3 and 14...Ne4, moves which are both logical and... known! Leko said that it's easy to miss 13...Bxc3 because "it's not among the top lines suggested by the computer".

PGN string

When this game was over, Mamedyarov obviously saw no reason to continue playing and he forced a draw.

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And so Mamedyarov can look back at quite a successful summer, in which he won the World Rapid Championship, the Geneva Masters and now the FIDE Grand Prix. It was also a very busy period for him, in which we counted no less than 105 games in 100 days! This includes the Russian Team Championship (starting on April 7th), the Zug Grand Prix, the World Rapid & Blitz Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, the Tal Memorial blitz, the Tal Memorial, the Geneva Masters and the Beijing Grand Prix!

Quit amazingly, the old line that was played in Mamedyarov-Gelfand also came on the board in the game Wang Yue-Anish Giri. The Dutchman explained at the press conference that he always thought it was very drawish, but that he now feels it leads to interesting play. White's novelty on move 21 was unfortunate, and from that point Black was better in the ending. Perhaps he could have brought his king over more quickly, because in the game White got some kind of fortress.

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Veselin Topalov then won a very important game, one that eventually got him to clear first in the overall Grand Prix standings. The Bulgarian defeated Alexander Morozevich for the third time in one year and this time it went rather easily. The Russian played the Philidor with ...Nb6 and ...Nfd7, and Topalov's aggressive plan on the kingside was just devastating.

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The players didn't give a press conference together, but separately. Topalov explained why he declined to participate in the World Cup next month:

I decided that if I don't qualify from here, I will have very little chances to reach the final. It's a lottery, especially in these tiebreaks, so I decided not to play.

Morozevich was remarkably positive afterwards. He said:

I am really thankful for the organizers to invite me; I think it's a really nice idea to have this Grand Prix.

Five years ago Morozevich declined to participate in the first GP series. It's interesting to quote what he said back then, in an interview with Sport-Express:

It doesn't seem attractive to me. You can judge for yourself, but this cycle will take about four years! In 2008, we begin with the qualification for a world championship match that takes place in 2011. This was not even in the times of Smyslov and Botvinnik. Only after the winners of the Grand Prix and the World Cup are determinded, one can play for the title of world champion, a year and a half later. It takes this long before the "subordination" in the chess world may change.

Secondly, the complexity. To reach the final match, the contenders must participate in four (!) tournament in a periode of two years. For leading players, this is a serious infraction of of their individual tournament schedule.

But my decision was definitely influenced by the fact that Global Chess has not yet been able to cope with the organization of the Grand Prix. Grandmasters have to sign a contract to take part in four tournaments of which it's unclear where and when they will exactly be held. In such a situation, agreeing in advance to play, would be a wrong decision, I would say.

Gata Kamsky finished a horrible tournament with another loss, against Wang Hao. This Nimzo with 4...b6 led to quite an interesting middlegame position where Black could and perhaps should have tried to break open the centre and sacrifice his a5 bishop along the way. As it went, White was better, won a pawn and then the game.

PGN string

The last game of the tournament was Vassily Ivanchuk versus Sergey Karjakin, a Tartakower QGD that started as an English. Karjakin's 12...c6 was rare and his 13...b5 even more. It was clear that White had a small advantage but it was not easy to find the right plan. Ivanchuk demonstrated a nice, long variation at the press conference that reminded the fans once again how deep these top guys are calculating!

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Grand Prix Beijing 2013 | Pairings & results

Round 1 09:00 CET 04.07.13   Round 2 09:00 CET 05.07.13
Giri 0-1 Karjakin   Karjakin 1-0 Wang Hao
Morozevich ½-½ Wang Yue   Grischuk ½-½ Ivanchuk
Gelfand 0-1 Topalov   Mamedyarov ½-½ Kamsky
Leko ½-½ Mamedyarov   Topalov ½-½ Leko
Kamsky 0-1 Grischuk   Wang Yue ½-½ Gelfand
Ivanchuk ½-½ Wang Hao   Giri ½-½ Morozevich
Round 3 09:00 CET 06.07.13   Round 4 09:00 CET 07.07.13
Morozevich 0-1 Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Grischuk
Gelfand 0-1 Giri   Mamedyarov 1-0 Wang Hao
Leko ½-½ Wang Yue   Topalov ½-½ Ivanchuk
Kamsky ½-½ Topalov   Wang Yue 1-0 Kamsky
Ivanchuk 0-1 Mamedyarov   Giri ½-½ Leko
Wang Hao  ½-½ Grischuk   Morozevich 1-0 Gelfand
Round 5 09:00 CET 09.07.13   Round 6 09:00 CET 10.07.13
Gelfand ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin 0-1 Mamedyarov
Leko ½-½ Morozevich   Topalov ½-½ Grischuk
Kamsky 0-1 Giri   Wang Yue 1-0 Wang Hao
Ivanchuk 1-0 Wang Yue   Giri ½-½ Ivanchuk
Wang Hao ½-½ Topalov   Morozevich 1-0 Kamsky
Grischuk 1-0 Mamedyarov   Gelfand ½-½ Leko
Round 7 09:00 CET 11.07.13   Round 8 09:00 CET 12.07.13
Leko 1-0 Karjakin   Karjakin 0-1 Topalov
Kamsky ½-½ Gelfand   Wang Yue ½-½ Mamedyarov
Ivanchuk 1-0 Morozevich   Giri ½-½ Grischuk
Wang Hao 1-0 Giri   Morozevich ½-½ Wang Hao
Grischuk 1-0 Wang Yue   Gelfand 1-0 Ivanchuk
Mamedyarov 1-0 Topalov   Leko ½-½ Kamsky
Round 9 09:00 CET 14.07.13   Round 10 09:00 CET 15.07.13
Kamsky ½-½ Karjakin   Karjakin ½-½ Wang Yue
Ivanchuk ½-½ Leko   Giri 1-0 Topalov
Wang Hao ½-½ Gelfand   Morozevich 1-0 Mamedyarov
Grischuk ½-½ Morozevich   Gelfand 1-0 Grischuk
Mamedyarov 1-0 Giri   Leko ½-½ Wang Hao
Topalov ½-½ Wang Yue   Kamsky 1-0 Ivanchuk
Round 11 07:00 CET 16.07.13        
Ivanchuk ½-½ Karjakin        
Wang Hao 1-0 Kamsky        
Grischuk ½-½ Leko        
Mamedyarov ½-½ Gelfand        
Topalov 1-0 Morozevich        
Wang Yue ½-½ Giri        

Grand Prix Beijing 2013 | Round 11 standings


According to our calculations (so not yet official! now confirmed by FIDE) these are the current standings in the overall Grand Prix:

FIDE Grand Prix 2012-2013 | Leg 5 standings

Name Fed Criteria London 2012 Tashkent 2012 Zug 2013 Thess. 2013 Beijing 2013 (Paris 2013) Best 3 total
Topalov BUL Rating 140   170 45 100   410
Mamedyarov AZE Rating 140 80 20   170   390
Grischuk RUS World Cup 90     85 140 x 315
Caruana ITA FIDE President   80 100 125   x 305
Morozevich RUS AGON   140 75 25 65   280
Karjakin RUS Rating   140 50   65 x 255
Wang Hao CHN AGON 70 140     30 x 240
Ponomariov UKR World Cup   50 100 85   x 235
Leko HUN AGON 80 50 50   100   230
Dominguez CUB AGON 35 20   170   x 225
Nakamura USA Rating 15   140 60   x 215
Kamsky USA Replacement   10 75 125 10   210
Gelfand ISR Match 140 30     30 x 200
Kasimdzhanov UZB AGON 35 80 20 70     185
Giri NED AGON 15   50   65 x 130
Svidler RUS World Cup   50   45   x 95
Ivanchuk UKR World Cup 55     10 30 x 95
Wang Yue CHN Replacement         65   65
Adams ENG Replacement 55           55
Bacrot FRA Replacement       25     25
Radjabov AZE AGON     20     x 20

Veselin Topalov has secured overall victory in the Grand Prix. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is not certain of his second place yet; Alexander Grischuk can reach 400 points with clear first in the last event and Fabiano Caruana can reach 395 points with clear first. Both need clear first to surpass Mamedyarov. The first two places in the Grand Prix qualify directly for the 2014 Candidates Tournament.

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.


NN's picture

I think Caruana and Grischuk are the only ones that can surpass Mamedyarov and become second in the GP. And they have to be clear first in Paris to do so.

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed; I've added the current GP standings. Mamedyarov is not certain of his second place yet; Grischuk can reach 400 points with clear first in the last event and Caruana can reach 395 points with clear first. Both need clear first to surpass Mamedyarov. Morozevich can reach 385 max and Karjakin can reach 375 max, so they are out.

Pelle's picture

I think that Moro has played his last tournament in this GP series, so there should be no more points for him.

Helmer's picture

And Hao can reach 380, more than Karjakin.
Also Domingues (can reach 375) can edge Karjakin on tiebreaks.

filiusdextris's picture

Would be funny, then, if they share first place (especially after a last-round pairing), thereby knocking each other out.

David Korn's picture

Brilliant. Thank you. As statistically improbable as it is, you are exactly right. They would combine for 170+140= 310 @ 155 each. Grischuk's 85 points in Thessaloniki would fall off, then accrete an additional 70 points taking him to 385, five short of Mamedyarov's 390. Similarly, Caruanas 80 points in Tashkent would fall off, then accree an additional 75 to 380, with him ten short. Thats the good news.

I do not wish to be critical of this series, in the end, it produced much fierce and worthy chess competition, surprisingly effective in generating a worthy handful of demonstrably qualified candidates, suitable to contest the next WCC cycle. At the same time, and sure well informed others here can say it far better, it does not incentivize those performing very poorly mid to late cycle to stay in, cum Radjabov, Svidler, not sure how you account for Bacrot, Adams.

What this does, is make the last round contest different than the first five or so, where the top fighters are facing less motivated participants. Not sure what Nakamaura does or how he views this. Suppose the motivation must be his rating preservation or fight for an increase, further assisting him in getting into this same candidates tournament. Similarly Karjakin. for rating, not position in this series. Both of them, that I can tell, are set to be in the sixth, and final of the Grand Prix series.

What is good in all this, is that Caruana is known for hard work, determination, talent, competitiveness, and gives him a shot.

What is also good, is that Grishuk who can lack motivation at times, yet a gigantic gift, helpings him to continue to be motivated, there is no question--for me at least--that he belongs here.

Glad to see GM Mamedyarov win here. Brilliant, inventive, creative, can only be good for chess.

filiusdextris's picture

This does suggest some future tweaking. If these two do tie for first at 7.5 points each, Caruana would finish 4th, but score a full-point ahead of Mamedyarov in game points from the top 3 events and 2.5 points ahead of him using all 4 events. I guess that is akin to in tennis where you can mathematically lose far more games but still win the match, but is this the ideal?

filiusdextris's picture

For the next cycle, for example, the rules could weight placement standings (currently used) as 50%, weight combined game points placement as 50%, and where for example, if Caruana and Mamedyarov tied could go to first tie-breaker as head-to-head results in series (Caruana wins 1.5/2), second tie-breaker as perhaps all 4 event game results standings.

joker's picture

I think the most important improvement would be to count scored points rather than tournament placements. This way it would be a lot less likely to be benficial to throw a game (e.g. to let someone who is far behind in the overall standings win the tournament rather than your main GP competitor). Of course, this would perhaps make things slightly less exciting for the fans.

Anonymous's picture

Remember this is called the Grand Prix! Formula 1 works in exactly the same way - you get points for your position, not for how far ahead you are of the player below you. It is interesting to see this system in chess. I also like the Olympiads, which are like a football league table, in addition to almost every other tournament which is decided by pts. It's nice variety & less complicated than a weighted system.

Anonymous's picture

Congrats to Topalov ! He comes back from far

Thomas Oliver's picture

Third place in the GP Series, within reach for a number of players if Caruana and Grischuk have a bad final event, could matter if Mamedyarov 'decides' to reach the World Cup final to be on the safe side (Topalov took the gamble to not play the World Cup).

Caruana and to a lesser extent Grischuk suffer from the "Best three out of four" GP regulations where the worst event doesn't count in the end (Topalov and Mamedyarov both had one bad event). If Caruana had scored just half a point more in Tashkent, Zug and/or Thessaloniki his situation would improve considerably.

If Caruana doesn't qualify via the World Cup and narrowly misses qualification via the GP Series (e.g. sharing first place with one other player in the final event) - and in general - he would be a logical wildcard for the candidates event. But I am afraid for him that - unlike some other players - he doesn't have "rich friends" who can help him out.

joker's picture

While if the World Cup has Grischuk-Caruana in the final, the last leg of the GP will be no more than an ordinary tournament.

joker's picture

Although I did forget that first reserve is from the GP (second and so on by rating though).

filiusdextris's picture

Caruana qualifed for this GP series by the FIDE President's selection. He may have some sway yet.

Anonymous's picture

The spam filter rejected my message. :(

Anonymous's picture

Why does Grischuk need only clear first if he is just 75 point behind!?

Remco G's picture

Because only his best three events count. His 3rd best so far was 85 points, so if he gets more than that in the last round, that 85 points doesn't count.

KingTal's picture

Congrats Topalov, glad to see him in one tournament with Kramnik, haha.

Looks like last chance to get to the Candidates for Nakamura is to get to the finals in the World Cup.

pravardhan's picture

Question to all of you: If Karjakin,Grischuk and Caruana fail to quailfy for candidates tournament either through GP of WC. Then if u are given the power to choose the wildcard, who would you choose??

NN's picture

That is a very difficult question, and a bad position to be in.

Bronkenstein's picture

Morozevich, OFC.

NN's picture

That would be plain and simply unfair.

Bronkenstein's picture

Fair? I thought we are talking about wildcards ;)

redivivo's picture


Anonymous's picture

It depends WHEN you have to take a decision. If the " when " is today i would feel really bad because all 3 wild players deserve an invitation

Thomas Oliver's picture

I would choose Caruana, which is a bit unfair to Karjakin. But if I was Rex Sinquefield, I would choose Nakamura. If I was in charge at SOCAR (the Azeri oil company sponsoring the last candidates event) I would choose Radjabov. Money makes the world go around ... which, as I already wrote, is probably bad news for Caruana.

Fide-president's picture

Which one to choose? The one who pays me the most of course

Coco Loco's picture

A draw or win for Kamsky in this last round would have made a pretty Gaussian of the results:
4 players on =0, 2 players on +/- 1 each, 1 player on +/- 2 each, 1 player on +/- 3 each.
These tournaments are tough!

Thomas Oliver's picture

On Morozevich back in 2008 and now: Back in 2008 he was a world-top player (even #2 in July and October that year). Then he went way down - below Elo 2700 and #48 in July 2011. Then he recovered but didn't quite reach his earlier level or ranking, highest ranking #9.

So the idea or concept of the GP series hasn't changed, but Morozevich or his situation - also in terms of other invitations - did change.

Anonymous's picture

Don't fully agree with this - the concept of the GP might not have changed too much, but the situation as a whole has changed considerably.
For starters, there has already been one succesful cycle, which can give the players confidence in the system.
Secondly, Agon have come along and have tried to hold the tournaments in much more high-profile, iconic cities like London, Paris, Beijing etc. (also tried for a few others that didn;t work out, but would have been on the table when the players signed up).

TMM's picture

Leko is again the drawmaster of the tournament, with one fortunate win against an out-of-form Karjakin and 10 draws. It's always such a pleasure to watch his draws.

Fishy's picture

Not losing a single game nets him a nice 3rd place!

redivivo's picture

+1 -1 =28 in his last 30 for Leko, but before that he won TWO IN A ROW, even if that was against van Wely and Sokolov and not some top opponents.

TMM's picture

Wow, two in a row... That must have been the longest winning streak of his career!

But seriously, +1 -1 =28 is terrible, even if that's a 50% score. If I were an organizer of a top chess event, I'd prefer to invite someone who scores +12 -18 =0 over someone who scores +1 -1 =28.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, as per NNs comments below, it basically comes down to your attitude towards risk, which is well known to vary from person to person. Leko seems to have quite a high risk aversion, whereas you perhaps are less risk-averse. Personally, I enjoy the variety and am glad that you are not the organiser of a top chess event! ;)

RealityCheck's picture

Let us not forget-- a DRAW is the next best thing to winning.

NN's picture

What Leko does is not easy. Study his games and you will improve. He teaches you how to play for a win with the minimum possible risk.
Personally I think it is a good strategy because I hate losing. But I usually don't feel so bad after a draw, even against a weaker player.

Niima's picture

Interesting point. Petrosian was reportedly the same, and I always found that his games had a beautiful flow and harmony.

Fishy's picture

So what did Vaselin win now?

Anonymous's picture

Veselin Topalov secured his invitation to the 2014 candidates tournament.

Niima's picture

Not to mention a considerable sum of money as the overall winner.

Unanimous's picture

These events are just a total snooze-fest. FIDE thinks they don't need AGON to make things interesting and they are just wrong. Just holding a tournament is hardly good enough.

RG13's picture

AGON is out of the picture because Paulson talked big but when it came time to put his own money at risk - he balked. That isn't FIDE's fault.

Anonymous's picture

As far as I can tell most people posting seemed to really enjoy this event; I certainly did. Having players of this calibre playing is always a pleasure, IMO.

Lee's picture

Unless I'm mistaken, there wasn't any official streaming commentary for this tournament. An unfortunate step backwards for high level chess.

Chess Fan's picture

Topalov has continued to play good chess, better chess, and behaved well after what I thought was his support for a badly behaving manager during his world championship at Sophia.
He (Topa) is perhaps also a good person. I have started liking him. I have always respected his chess.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"Topalov ... behaved well" - newsworthy because it wasn't always the case? He could always be charming, was well-dressed, talkative to journalists, .... and was on some sort of charme offensive after falling back on the rating lists. Will it last now that he has somewhat re-established himself as a world top player?

The future will tell, I am a bit skeptical because his manager is still Danailov still acting like Danailov, e.g.:
- sueing FIDE because the candidates event wasn't given to Bulgaria with a wildcard for Topalov [the given reason was a different one but this certainly played a role]
- a "timely" tweet about lack of cheating control at the candidates event, moments after Kramnik's tactical win against Radjabov.

Chris's picture

Topalov is OK.
He had not visted the toilette during the WCC while Kramnik did it many times being invisible for the refrees of the match.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

Mamedyarov was a big surprise for me.


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