Grischuk wins again, now clear first
Alexander Grischuk beat Wang Yue today to score his third victory in a row in Elista. The Russian leads the 3rd Grand Prix with 5.5/8. Cheparinov sacrificed his queen to force Alekseev's resignation and Kasimdzhanov got his first win, against Akopian.
The 3rd Grand Prix takes place December 13-29 in Elista, Kalmykia. Radjabov, Leko, Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Mamedyarov, Eljanov, Grischuk, Alekseev, Bacrot, Gashimov, Cheparinov, Akopian, Kasimdzhanov and Inarkiev play daily at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET; 07:00 EST); 2nd rest day Dec. 24; live games here.
Results Round 8, December 22
Grischuk-Wang Yue 1-0
Let's first wrap up the draws of the day. In a Chebanenko Slav, Mamedyarov got an edge against Inarkiev, but Black's counterplay on the kingside was right in time.
Azeri derbies tend to finish peacefully rapidly, and despite its remarkable opening phase, Radjabov-Gashimov was no exception. 10.bxc3 was new (by the way, 9...Na4 is answered by 10.a3 Be7 11.Nb5! threatening 12.Bd2, which is very good for White) but Gashimov just reacted accurately and in no time all music was gone.
Also against the Sveshnikov, Bacrot is one of the last Mohicans to go for main lines and his new move 15.a4 eventually led to a plus pawn, but with three against two with rooks and opposite-coloured bishops it was not possible to win.
But much more disappointing was Leko's draw against Jakovenko; the Hungarian is not himself in Elista. Look at the position after move 28 and you'll see what I mean; two pawns up with no compensation at all for Black - well, perhaps the fact that due to his extra pawns, White couldn't prevent Black's queen and rook entering the 8th rank. Which is annoying enough in timetrouble. Going for the f7 pawn wasn't very handy (just start running with 35.b5) and with 38.Rf4? White lost all winning chances because of 40...Qe3!, the last, saving move before the time control after which White cannot get out of the "perpetual net".
Alexander Grischuk is showing great form and after Eljanov and Alekseev, he also beat Wang Yue today - it was the second loss for the Chinese after staying undefeated for many months. The game went remarkably easy for the Russian, although appearances are deceptive - it's always more difficult to create a smooth win than you'd think. Well, Wang Yue did chose a line in the Slav that gives White both the bishop pair and a nice pawn center, and all that Grischuk did was playing extremely healthy moves...
Alexander Grischuk: now in sole lead in Elista
Cheparinov outplayed Alekseev surprisingly quickly after they left Breyer Ruy Lopez theory at move 22 (Ponomariov-Sasikiran, Biel 2004 went 22...c5). Just four moves later, in an already difficult position, 26...Nfd7? was the losing move (better was 26...Qc7) because Black will always drop his f7-pawn. And then Cheparinov found a most spectacular way to finish the game (not to be missed!) - Black resigned because giving back material by 35...Re7 or 35...Be7 won't help because in the end White has the deadly threat Bxe5+.
Cheparinov recovered from yesterday's loss with blitz victory against Alekseev
Rustam Kasimdzhanov scored his first win in Elista: he beat Akopian in the Shirov (7.g4) line of the Semi-Slav. Black followed a suggestion by Christopher Lutz, who analysed the game Aronian-Stefansson, EU-ch (Analya) 2004 and mentioned 15...Bb7 to castle queenside. Kasimdzhanov prevented that, and so Black went castling kingside - seldomly seen in this line and indeed it looked very dangerous. White's 22.Qh1 was a great move and after slowly increasing the pressure, another nice queen move (32.Qe1!) was decisive.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov: the former FIDE World Champion finally won a game
Pairings round 9, December 23
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