Rd 2 of Grand Prix: the good, the bad and the ugly
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
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The 2nd round of the FIDE Grand-Prix tournament in Astrakhan was a very colourful affair, with lots of blunders, surprises and other types of embarrassments! I give some of these moments below. I recommend the readers to visit the official tournament site (it is in english) as it has lots of information, photos, games and what not. It is infact one of the best tournament sites that I have seen for a while…
Svidler made a horrible blunder on move 24 and resigned in disgust a move later!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 23rd MOVE
The position is roughly equal. Black threatens absolutely nothing. Svidler moved is Rook to d2 (24.Rd2), which allows Black a shot after which White’s position collapses. Can you see it?
Alekseev fell on time at move 40 in a dead drawn ending! He said it was the first time that he had lost on time in his life…which may very well be true. But probably irrelevant: it is better to say that this is the last time he will ever fall on time!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 40th MOVE
Infact, Black is a pawn up, but White can capture c3 immediately, resulting in a dead draw. But Black moved a bit too slow and his flag fell….
Eljanov had nothing at all against Akopian for the first uninspiring 39 moves. Then he gave the Armenian a check…and Akopian moved his King to the wrong square, soon losing a pawn and with it the game!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 39th MOVE
WHERE SHOULD BLACK MOVE HIS KING?
Akopian should play his King to g7 and then he would not be in any risk of losing. Instead, he moved his King to e8–which seems natural enough, after all it is an ending and the center is a great place for the King in the ending–and he soon lost a pawn because of some trick based on Nd6ch.
Boris showed today that he still has that angel sitting on his shoulder! In a really unusual struggle–where Gelfand had to be worse, if not much worse at one point–his opponent plays for broke in time-trouble and manages to lose!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 25th MOVE
Black is a pawn up, but White is fighting. The simplest way to proceed is to play 25…Bb4!, sink the Bishop on c3 (forcing the Rook to a2, which is really awkward) and then leisurely play either c6 or a6 followed by b5 at some point. The only question is whether Gelfand can make a draw….
At the post game press conference neither Mamedyarov nor Gelfand seem very impressed with themselves!
While all of this madness was going on around Ivanchuk’s game with Wang, the Ukranian wisely decided to force a draw with a clever Rook sacrifice, probably for fear that what was happening to his colleagues might be contagious!
Typical Ivanchuk: at the press conference he is reading a book!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 21’st MOVE
The position is about level, but Black has no problems at all and might even try for the advantage with a later …c5 , or …Nf4, or even …Ne7 and …f5. Ivanchuk, coming off of a terrible defeat yesterday, decides not to take chances and finds a clever way to force a draw. Do you see it?
Here the Ukranian superstar played the surprising 22.Ra3!?, after which the Chinese grandmaster played the correct 22…c5! To which Ivanchuk played the even more surprising 23 dxc5!!, sacrificing an entire Rook!
Ofcourse the Chinese grandmaster must take the Rook on d1
Ivanchuk then calmly took on b6, threatening to escort this pawn down to a8!:
Black must play 24…axb6 after which White has a perpetual checkwith his Rook on a8 and a7
The 3rd round takes place tomorrow after noon. It seems like a very lively tournament!
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS