Gelfand, Mamedyarov and Topalov share win at London Grand Prix
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
|1st||25,000||120 points + 50 bonus|
|2nd||22,000||110 points + 30 bonus|
|3rd||20,000||100 points + 10 bonus|
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|
|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||13:00 CET||03.10.12|
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