Reports | December 17, 2008 4:15

Radjabov grabs lead in Elista

Elista Grand PrixRadjabov reacted well to a new idea tried by Kasimdzhanov in a razor sharp Sicilian Dragon, and won in 35 moves. Eljanov and Leko also won, but it's the Azeri grandmaster who leads the Elista Grand Prix with 2.5/3.

The 3rd Grand Prix takes place December 13-29 in Elista, Kalmykia. The 14 participants are Radjabov, Leko, Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Mamedyarov, Eljanov, Grischuk, Alekseev, Bacrot, Gashimov, Cheparinov, Akopian, Kasimdzhanov and Inarkiev. Rounds start daily at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET; 07:00 EST); rest days December 19 & 24; live games here.

Round 3

It was a brave act by Kasimdzhanov to try the Dragon against first seed Radjabov, who played the line with both colors this year. In tournament play Black's 16...Kh7!? hadn't been done before (16...e6) and it gave Radjabov a chance to show his "feel" for these positions with the excellent 19.Nf5+! (where 19...gxf5 fails to 20.Qxg5+ Ng6 21.exf5 +-). For Dragon fans: later Black should probably try 22...d5!? because already after the accurate 26.Qf2+! Black is in trouble. Impressive queen and bishop manoeuvring by Radjabov, who played the whole game Kasparov-style.

Update: I had missed the game Dominguez-RadjabovKasimdzhanov, Dresden Olympiad 2008, mentioned by Allan in the comments, where 16...Kh7 was tried for the first time. The real novelty was 22.Ne4 (the Cuban played 22.Nd5 and the game ended in a draw.)

Eljanov also won and for the Ukrainian it seemed to go uphill right from the opening with his novelty 12.Bxf6 (Rowson played 12.Bh4 against Drasko in Montpellier earlier this year). Alekseev's king was remarkably safe in the center, until White unleashed his Delroy, to use Rowson's terminology!

Leko recovered from yesterday's loss by beating Cheparinov in a difficult ending, where 44...Nc6 was probably Black's last mistake; 44...Kf5! was still OK because 45.b7 can be answered by 45...Nc6 46.Nc5 Re5! 47.Kc4 Na5+! and Black sacrifices his knight for the pawn, after which his active king and passer will force White to do the same.

As for the draws, Inarkiev-Akopian can be recommended for defence training purposes (kudos to an amazingly stubborn Akopian) and of course Mamedyarov-Bacrot, who went for the famous piece-for-three-pawns line in the Slav.

Results Round 3, December 16

Eljanov-Alekseev 1-0

Radjabov-Kasimdzhanov 1-0

Gashimov-Wang Yue ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

Mamedyarov-Bacrot ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

Jakovenko-Grischuk ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?

Leko-Cheparinov 1-0

Inarkiev-Akopian ?Ǭ?-?Ǭ?


Pairings round 4, December 17

Kasimdzhanov - Alekseev
Wang Yue-Eljanov


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.


ChessGirl's picture

But even if Kramnik dropped out of 10, I mean... we all have better and worse moments in our careers, and chess players are no exception. I mean, if you look at the current rating list, Karjakin is 29, Svidler 27, Adams 24!!! And they were above 15 for most of the year. Of course those who are between first and fifth place don?Ǭ¥t usually change so much (Anand, Topa, Moro, Kramnik, Carlsen, Aronian, Ivanchuk lately...) but I think that on the first 20-25 places positions fluctuate so much, because they are all really good.
What I want to say is that of course ratings are really important and a very good reference for a general approach as to how good a player is, but in my opinion they are overvalued.

ChessGirl's picture

@HJ: How is that possible? I don?Ǭ¥t understand how it could happen, apparently both moves are recorded in Chessbase, but how can the second one just randomly disappear?

Peter Doggers's picture

@Hj Corrected. Btw I presume the 'bug' (is it a bug?) hasn't been corrected yet in Chessbase 10.

Allan Stig Rasmussen's picture

@HJ: Try to delete and recreate your search booster, that might fix it. I've experienced the same problem several times, the search booster is almost a necessary feature for me, but is not completely reliable. Possibly one should always delete and recreate it when adding new games, rather than just updating it!?

HJ's picture

@ Allan. @Chessgirl @Peter

"Possibly one should always delete and recreate it when adding new games, rather than just updating it!?"

I may hope not. That's not really an option. By the way my search booster was new (!). In Chessbase 10 when adding new games automatically the searchbooster gets an "update". I still don't understand how it could happen, chessgirl. Hopefully it's not a bug.
Mabe someone else knows the answer?

Allan Stig Rasmussen's picture

@HJ: Okay, why not? I doubt it's much slower, if at all. Worked on my computer (this once, haven't checked it before) - and I'm also using CB 10 btw., hence the suggestion to delete & recreate instead of updating. Didn't fix the bug in the Find Novelty function though.

HJ's picture

It took 17 minutes to recreate the searchbooster of the megabase, but unfortunately same story.
Thx for your reaction anyway.

Allan Stig Rasmussen's picture

In fact, in the game Radjabov-Kasimdzhanov only 22. Ne4 was the real novelty, and hardly a new move to either of the players, as it's Rybka 3's first choice. The position before Ne4 had occured during the Olympiad this year, where Dominguez - also against Kasim - played Nd5 instead. I was in fact playing right next to them and I think Kasim more or less blitzed out the first 25 moves already back then.

James's picture

Hehe Radjabov has overtaken Kramnik in the Live Arild-Runde Ratings!

Leko and Jakovenko are not far behind Kramnik either, and a strong tournament here by both of them could result in Kramnik placing in a measly 9th place on the next FIDE rating list.

Peter Doggers's picture

@Allen You're completely right. Apparently there's a bug in Chessbase's "Search novelty" function (Shift-F6) as it doesn't handle move transpositions properly. By searching for a novelty in Radjabov-Kasimdzhanov (played with 12.h4 h5 13.Kb1 Rb8) the Olympiad game (which went 12.Kb1 Re8 13.h4 h5) doesn't pop up, but it does (of course) when searching for the position after 16.Bh6. Mr Friedel himself learnt me about the Shift-F6 option in January this year, which I didn't know yet after years of using the program, but apparently I have to get back to my old habit of searching for positions only!

VB's picture

Kramnik will not drop out of top 10 at least not in the next rating list

HJ's picture

@Peter. the game Dominguez Perez,L (2719) - Kasimdzhanov,R (2672) [B78]
38th Olympiad Dresden GER (2), 14.11.2008 was metioned by Allen, where 16?¢‚Ǩ¬¶Kh7 was tried for the first time.

But strange story indeed!
- Searching for games after 15. .. Nxh5 in Radjabov-Kasimdzhanov =
8 games in Chessbase (also the game Dominguez-Kasimdzhanov, Dresden
Olympiad 2008) .

-Searching after 16. Bh6 = only two games (and NOT Dominguez-Kasimdzhanov, Dresden Olympiad 2008)

- Searching after 16. .. Kh7= One game ...... yes......Dominguez-Kasimdzhanov, Dresden Olympiad 2008...........


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