Radjabov and Jakovenko join Grischuk
On a rare occasion of top level chess on Christmas day there was more fighting spirit than ever which resulted in the best round so far in Elista. Radjabov defeated Alekseev to join Grischuk in the lead. So did Jakovenko, who won against Inarkiev. Gashimov dropped to 4th place after losing to Leko, Cheparinov beat Akopian and Mamedyarov defeated Eljanov.
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 10, December 25
Bacrot-Wang Yue ¬?-¬?
Mamedyarov and Eljanov left Queen's Gambit (Catalan?) theory at an early stage and Black seemed to be doing fine, but 17...cxb3 must have been the critical move. With a forced, but still quite strong piece sacrifice White took over the initiative but his 30.Rxa7? was wrong; however Eljanov didn't profit (35...Rg7! is probably a draw) and then lost anyway.
Mamedyarov-Eljanov: many mistakes, but a great fight
His 10th round game must have been a big relief for Leko, who has been struggling so much in Elista. The Hungarian won a fine game against one of the leaders, Gashimov, whose Petroff couldn't do it this time. White's plan to just get that queenside majority rollin' was logical enough, but combining it with strong pressure on the kingside was too much to handle for Black.
Leko defeated Gashimov, and his Petroff
In a topical line of the Slav that Cheparinov must have looked at together with Topalov already during the 2006 match against Kramnik, White got the typical bishop pair advantage and normally this shouldn't be enough to win, but Black's knight got lost and combined with White's advanced pawns on the queenside it meant a decisive advantage this time. A truly great game by the young Bulgarian!
Radjabov also played quite... brilliantly today. He started his game against Alekseev quietly with a double fianchetto but with 25.Ne5! the fireworks started. 25...Bxe5 doesn't really solve the problems because of 26.dxe5 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 Bxg2 28.Qxg2 and with 28...f5 more or less being forced, 29.Qc6 will start collecting on the queenside. But look how Radjabov played that last phase, leaving g3 with check all the time - amazing stuff.
Teimour Radjabov scores 2.5 out of 3 after his loss, to reclaim the shared first spot
Inarkiev's careless 18...Red8? more or less cost him the game against Jakovenko, where 18...Rdd8 is only slightly better for White. After a forced series of moves, Black had to lose a pawn in the endgame and Jakovenko finished it nicely.
The other leader, Grischuk, drew with Black against the number last, Kasimdzhanov, but what can you do against an Exchance Slav? Bacrot and Wang Yue needed fifteen more moves to arrive at the same result, but mainly due to the closed pawn structure the game wasn't much more interesting.
From looking at today's round, we can only agree with Bianca Ryan: why couldn't it be Christmas every day?
Pairings round 11, December 26
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