Three winners in the first Grand Prix in London: Topalov, Gelfand and Mamedyarov!
Before the last round the Azeri player was leading with half a point ahead of Topalov, Grischuk and Gelfand but the draw in the last round by Mamedyarov gave a chance to the others to catch him at the top. Veselin Topalov managed to win with black against Anish Giri and Boris Gelfand won with the white pieces against Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Alexander Grischuk faltered at the end and could only draw against Nakamura.
In the 11th round all the eyes were on the leader of the tournament Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Obviously, the Azeri played for the draw to secure at least a tie for first place with a peaceful variation of the Nimzo Indian. Step by step, both players exchanged the pieces and the knight’s endgame was equal from the very beginning.
Many quick exchanges were made in the game between Topalov and Giri. After twenty minutes of play, there was rook+bishop+knight endgame on the board. Everyone could expect a quick draw but Topalov started to play for the win. The 41st move of Anish was a mistake but his position was already difficult. The two black pawns e5-f5 looked unstoppable and Anish Giri could not hold the position.
Michael Adams decided to play safely today, using 3.Bb5+ against the Sicilian of Dominguez, and more exactly a form of Maroczy Bind. Dominguez found a way to equalize by opening the centre with 14…d5! Position was symmetrical without any real perspective for any side. Pieces were exchanged and the draw was agreed.
Nakamura showed again his fighting spirit, playing the Sicilian Dragon against Alexander Grischuk. The Russian player accepted the challenge, entering in the main sharp line. There was never a real danger on the black’s king and the tension was about the “c” file. After exchanging rooks, the position became equal and players repeated the moves. Draw.
Ivanchuk probably surprised his opponent by playing the Sozin attack. Wang Hao got a worse position after the opening and was force to give up his pair of bishops quickly. The a6 pawn became also weak and black couldn’t avoid the space domination. The attack seemed very promising but Wang Hao played few accurate moves, forcing the draw repetition.
Boris Gelfand went for the Moscow variation of the Slav defence against Kasimdzhanov. Boris made a courageous decision with 14.b4 giving up an exchange in purpose. In compensation, white had a very strong pawn’s centre on “b4-c4-c5”. Rustam had to lose some tempi with his bishop from a4 to c2, and meanwhile white was pressuring. 31…Rf-a8? was the decisive mistake, which gave away the b7 pawn. Position became too difficult to defend and Boris, by winning his last game, is finally sharing the first place!
All photos used in this report kindly provided by Ray Morris-Hill Photography ( www.rmhphoto.eu )