Reports | September 25, 2012 22:01

London GP R5: all games drawn, Gelfand maintains lead

Lots of media attention so far for the London Grand Prix

Boris Gelfand maintained his half point lead over Peter Leko and Alexander Grischuk in London as all games in round 5 ended in draws. Wednesday is the first rest day; the sixth round will be played on Thursday. 

Lots of media attention so far for the London Grand Prix | All photos © 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

Before the start of the tournament it was announced that the first rest day had been switched from Tuesday to Wednesday, and Boris Gelfand would start his 5th round game one hour earlier. The reason was Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for Jews. It began Tuesday evening and ends Wednesday evening and is marked by a 25-hour period of fasting, intense reflection and prayers, and involves a number of traditional ceremonies.

This year Gelfand will spend his Yom Kippur as the leader of the London Grand Prix. The standings didn't change as all games in round 5 ended in draws.

Gelfand started his game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov at 1 pm local time in Simpson's-in-the-Strand. Like in his match against Anand the Israeli played the Grünfeld, and against 5.e3 he came up with a remarkable pawn sacrifice. Even Vassily Ivanchuk, who had come early to the playing hall to watch the game, was surprised. However, as the game progressed, Black's compensation became clear.

PGN string

All videos by Macauley Peterson

Peter Leko, who is half a point behind Gelfand together with Alexander Grischuk, got under pressure against Veselin Topalov. The Bulgarian started a dangerous attack and felt he was winning during the game, but afterwards he wasn't sure. Leko said he had prepared this line for White against Ruslan Ponomariov, in Dortmund this year, but got something else on the board then.

PGN string

Ivanchuk and Grischuk played a short but interesting draw. In a Grünfeld, the Ukrainian pushed his h-pawn at an early stage and then started chasing the black queen. Grischuk was surprised sbout the move 18.d5 which gives Black many options.

PGN string

Wang Hao-Kasimdzhanov was similar to Mamedyarov-Gelfand, with Black sacrificing a pawn for long-term compensation. This started after an unusual concept (Ne5 + f4) against the Moscow Variation, which Wang Hao had prepared for a long time. Kasimdzhanov thought up the pawn sac behind the board and was happy with how it worked out.

PGN string

Adams vs Giri wasn't much; it almost suffices to say that it was a Petroff. :-) Adams came up with a new plan, but Giri's plan with Rae8 and Bd8 was a good response. 

PGN string

Hikaru Nakamura, one of the biggest fighters among the top players, was again involved in the longest game. He surprised his opponent, Leinier Dominguez, with 3...Nge7 in the Ruy Lopez, and got the advantage in the middlegame. However, around the first time control Dominguez got back in the game, and then Nakamura surprisingly "buried" his queen's bishop on a2 with the move 41...b3.

By putting his own bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal (thereby always preventing Ba2-b1) the Cuban was more or less playing with an extra piece, but when the time was right to harvest, he missed a winning shot twice. As the video below with Dominguez makes clear, both players missed it but engines point out the winning idea instantly...

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 - Giri
Dominguez ½-½ Nakamura   Grischuk - Adams
Wang Hao ½-½ Kasimdzhanov   Gelfand - Ivanchuk
Mamedyarov ½-½ Gelfand   Kasimdzhanov - Mamedyarov
Ivanchuk ½-½ Grischuk   Nakamura - Wang Hao
Adams ½-½ Giri   Topalov - 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 5 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.


Thomas's picture

Everyone seems to focus on Sao Paulo, some may consider this round of the London GP boring as all six games were drawn? But what a round:
- two positional pawn sacrifices
- one exchange sacrifice (not surprising that it came from Topalov, maybe more surprising that it was anticipated by Leko because he wanted to play it himself)
- an Aronian-style early novelty by Ivanchuk (even if an early h4 is common in other lines of the Grunfeld)
- let's forget about Giri's Petroff (just like Aronian's Berlin "wasn't much")
- finally a crazy game between Dominguez and Nakamura. Most odd was that _both_ players (also Nakamura who came up with a surprise) spent lots of time in the opening.

S3's picture

The only problem is there are too many cool games to check out and it's hard to make a choice.

columbo's picture

Problem was that most European had to stick to Sau Paulo games until 3.30 A.M ... So, to come back into the London Tournament and THEN AGAIN come back to Sau Paulo, it's a lot of efforts, especially if you try to study the positions, but i agree, London had a good start, draw or not

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