Kasimdzhanov again only winner in Elista
Even quicker than yesterday the score in Elista saw six draws, and again Kasimdzhanov was the only winner, this time against Cheparinov. Jakovenko, Grischuk and Radjabov still lead going into the final, decisive round.
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); live games here.
Results Round 12, December 27
Mamedyarov-Wang Yue ¬?-¬?
Where many favourable endings weren't converted into a win yesterday, today most of the draws were no real fights at all, but mere signs of fatigue among the players. We have the feeling that by now they just... wanna go home.
What to think of Bacrot and Grischuk, who didn't even play, but just used a well-known move repetition in the Queen's Gambit Accepted to get it over with? Or Jakovenko-Eljanov, who bashed out a few typical Ruy Lopez moves and then started repeating too? Apparenty everyone in the top of the standings was looking at each other, because Radjabov also called it a day after just 19 moves in a dull Scotch game, against Akopian. Inarkiev and Gashimov played a bit longer, but after the Russian didn't repeat Leko's (winning) approach against the Petroff, a very quiet middlegame inevitably ended peacefully as well.
Inarkiev-Gashimov, another quiet Petroff
In Mamedyarov-Wang Yue, a hypermodern Semi-Slav, White gained the bishop pair but his structure was worse and it wasn't too difficult to hold it for the Chinese. Every now and then players turn back to the old way of treating the Berlin Wall: with 9...Ke8. Bologan had done it to quickly draw with Inarkiev at this year's Poikovsky tournament, and it was what Alekseev used to hold Leko comfortably to a draw today.
Leko couldn't get an advantage against Alekseev's Berlin Wall
Cheparinov had to pay the price for his fighting spirit yet again; he bumped into a rapidly improving Kasimdzhanov, who was still last in the standings just three rounds ago (9th after today). The players followed the game Wang Yue-Radjabov from yesterday for a while but Kasimdzhanov chose 12.0-0 instead of 12.Nd2, after which Cheparinov's 14...g4 was the novelty. Black then waited with taking back on f5 and made it a sacrifice; his rook swing Ra8-a6 (threatening to go to the kingside) looked like a nice answer to White's logical g2-g4 which was less dangerous than it seemed. By giving back the f5 pawn with 26.Rad1! and 27.Nb5! White clearly got the upper hand and then 31...Bxb2 only made matters worse. The bishop was suddenly trapped; perhaps Cheparinov had missed that it couldn't go back to d4.
Kasimdzhanov in a strong game against Cheparinov, winning again
So tomorrow we'll have Grischuk-Radjabov. Can they afford to draw quickly again? The answer is yes if Alekseev shakes hands with Jakoveko at an early stage. But who knows, maybe for that last round, and their last big game of 2008, they will go for it. Let's hope so.
Pairings last round, December 28
Wang Yue- Leko
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