By Grandmaster Robert Fontaine
Today was heavy rain in London, but as Ivanchuk said, it’s a great weather to play chess! Very fighting games today with no short draws and the players were happy slogging it out after three hours of play.
One of the leaders of the tournament, Peter Leko, decided to play a close Spanish opening against Michael Adams, who is well known to be the specialist of the Marshall gambit. Avoiding the main weapon of the English player, Peter went for a peaceful line, very technical and positional. Adams equalized, took the control of the only open file of the position and was already aiming to be better. Not enough however to break down Peter’s defence and the draw was signed.
The Azeri player chose today a very unusual move order in the Spanish opening. Grischuk, his opponent of the day, decided not to go for the sharp lines and went for a closed Spanish opening. White decided to take some space, chasing the white colour bishop by h3-g4. Grischuk kept on pressuring his opponent. After 24 moves, all the black pieces were on the 8th and 7th ranks! That was the moment chosen by Grischuk to sacrifice a knight for 3 pawns and activity. Mamedyarov was obliged to give back his knight but it was clearly not enough and his position remained completely lost. First victory of the tournament for Grischuk!
Vasily was playing against Giri who had a terrible defeat yesterday. The Ukrainian player decided to opt for the Gruenfeld defence. Giri took a small edge due to the passed pawn on “d5”, but was taking too much time for the first moves. After 20 moves, Ivanchuk had already 40 minutes more than his opponent. Black’s position was safe and looked even slightly better. Giri and Ivanchuk decided finally to repeat moves right before the time control.
Boris Gelfand played a Catalan opening against Wang Hao. The Israeli player decided to play on the “c” file, exchanging the Queens and getting a better position with the pair of bishops. All the pawns were exchanged on the queenside, but still Boris could put some pressure on black. Boris managed to win a pawn in the endgame, and had to play 5 against 4 on the same side. Boris pushed until a he managed to get a winning rook endgame and finally succeeded to convert the point! Boris is now taking the sole lead in the first leg!
Leinier Dominguez amazingly spent 10 minutes to play his first move 1…e5. The Cuban player decided to prepare the Berlin defence, like Peter Leko did during the first round against Rustam. Leinier preferred 10…Nf5 instead of 10…Re8. Step by step, Rustam took the control of the “e” file and took more space. Leinier managed to exchange few pieces and arrived in a slightly worse bishop endgame. Not enough and finally the game finished in a draw in 59 moves.
The last game of the day is between two fighters and tactical players: Nakamura against Topalov. The American player surprised his opponent by playing Alapin Sicilian. But after 2…e6, Hikaru sat back on his chair, looking in the air, and probably thinking on which line to play. The position, which arose after the opening, looked comfortable for white, Topalov decided than to unbalance the position by taking with the “f” pawn on “g6”. The position was balanced even if white’s pawn structure looked better. Draw.
The massive media coverage continues, and today we picked a selection from the Russian language: