Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 7: Alexander Morozevich – Fabiano Caruana 0-1

An English opening with White with the reversed Hedgehog structure. Already after 8.b3 Caruana was unhappy with this opening and that is why he decided to exchange the light-squared Bishops. Morozevich might have felt Black’s discomfort as he immediately replied with aggressive-looking 11.h4. But Caruana kept his cool and calmly exchanged another pair of pieces to reduce the attacking potential. White gave up on the aggression as he castled Kingside and the play became slower and more positional. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 7: Hikaru Nakamura – Veselin Topalov 1-0

The game started with Naidorf Sicilian, which Hikaru Nakamura himself played earlier against Morozevich. But instead of the English Attack, this time white opted for the good old positional 6.Be2. White obtained the Bishops’ pair and Topalov tried to restrict the light-squared piece with g6-h5 formation. This turned to be a bit too slow because white quickly summoned the pawns on e5 and c5. Black gave up the e5-pawn to set the blockade on d6. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 7: Rustam Kasimdzhanov – Gata Kamsky 0-1

Gata Kamsky spent 7-8 minutes for the first move before opting for the Dutch defence. He took up this opening because he “wanted to play something interesting”. After 12…Nc5 “I thought I was slightly worse but at least I am not losing so it is okay”. 13…Nfe4 had white contemplating about the future course of the game. Kamsky believes that White had to exchange all Knights and play with the heavy pieces. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 6: Gata Kamsky – Peter Svidler 1-0

Gata Kamsky avoided theoretical discussion and started calmly with the English opening. In reply, Svidler set the reversed Sicilian Dragon. The play developed slowly with lots of maneuvering, but White attained better pawn structure. Black decided not to wait too long and started operating on the kingside. However, the position opened to white’s benefit. The game still remained very complicated and Kamsky was not sure by how much he was better until he played 42.Rh2. Already after the next move Svidler resigned. Read a report on the round at Chess Blog. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 6: Ruslan Ponomariov – Vassily Ivanchuk 1-0

The sixth round at the Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 witnessed Vassily Ivanchuk self-destructing yet again before Ruslan Ponomariov. The match started as French defence and the commentators were hoping that this was a signal of Ivanchuk’s desire to play for a win. White responded with a Tarrasch setup. Ponomariov kept his options open, with possibility to play on either of the flanks. Ivanchuk underestimated white’s flexibility and carelessly castled long. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 6: Fabiano Caruana – Etienne Bacrot 1-0

The sixth round at the Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 saw Italian Grandmaster Fabiana Caruana go for the Scotch opening with which he has beaten Vladimir Kramnik in the past. Caruana said his preparation ended after 21.f3, but he went all out to convert to a R+B vs R+N endgame with an extra pawn. Bacrot was hoping to take advantage of the pin along the a-file. Caruana saw some counterplay after 36.bxc4 Ne4, when the Knight starts jumping around, and “decided to go with 36.b4 which is winning”. Read a full report on the round at Chess Blog. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 5: Rustam Kasimdzhanov – Leinier Dominguez Perez 0-1

The only decisive game of the fifth round was between former World Chess Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Leinier Dominguez. The Bogo Indian was an interesting position with the Carlsbad pawn structure, and the resulting double Rooks endgame seemed headed for a draw. “Of course, with correct play it should be a draw,” Dominguez explained. However, he found 28…Kf8, which was a clever way to eliminate the problems with the 7th rank. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 4: Veselin Topalov – Vassily Ivanchuk 1-0

The Rosolimo Sicilian with Ivanchuk having prepared 8…Bh5 (instead of 8…Bf3 being the main line). 9.g4 was supposed to be better for white, according to GM Ioannis Papaioannou, but he quickly added “of course Topalov knows better”. The Bulgarian spent a lot of time in the opening, but it looks like he found a good way to put the black setup to test. White was slightly better until Ivanchuk decided not to recapture the pawn on e6. Immediately on the next move Topalov pushed e6-e7 and Black’s position collapsed. Read a report on the complete round at Chess Blog. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 4: Leinier Dominguez Perez – Peter Svidler 1-0

The game started as Ruy Lopez and white chose the quiet but popular 6.d3. Later on, both went for an attack on opposing flanks. Dominguez managed to “trick” his opponent into giving up the a-file. Dominguez said that 23…d5 was a mistake, he expected 23…Rxc2. After this the black position was already difficult. Dominguez said in the press conference that he made a good opening choice, because he managed to create some pressure thanks to the pawn structure. You can read a report on the complete round at Chess Blog. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 2: Alexander Grischuk – Hikaru Nakamura 1-0

Black played the Neo-Arkhangelsk variation of the Ruy Lopez, which was broadly analysed after the inspiring games of Shirov and Ivanchuk. Nakamura repeated 15…Re8, the move that he introduced in the game with Leko in Wijk an Zee. Grischuk deviated from that game with the direct 18.Ba4 and 19.Bc6, which is exactly the place where the Bishop wants to land. White gained some tempi in the process as black Rook retreated to f8 (18…Re6!? was interesting). Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 2: Fabiano Caruana – Vassily Ivanchuk 1-0

Ivanchuk decided to defend with the deferred Ruy Lopez Steinitz to which Caruana responded by trading the pawns on e5 to clarify the structure in the center. 8.d5 instead of 8.h3 would lead to a totally different setup, reminiscent of the King’s Indian defence. Caruana exchanged the dark-squared Bishop for opponent’s Knight and after 19.Qa4 obtained a slight advantage. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 2: Alexander Morozevich – Peter Svidler 1-0

The match started as a Four Knights Game and Svidler opted for the active Rubinstein variation. Black sacrifices a pawn but gets good compensation as white pieces are a little bit clumsy. Black challenged white’s foremost pawn on e5, but Morozevich didn’t want to dig in with 13.Bc2 and 14.f4, but instead went for the inspiring b4-b5 advance. Later, we learned from Morozevich that this was his attempt to activate the pieces on the Queenside. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 1: Rustam Kasimdzhanov – Hikaru Nakamura 1-0

A game full of fireworks even though the Benoni flowed into several odd moves by black allowing White to obtain a small but lasting advantage. White passed d-pawn was a strong trump for the endgame, while its counterpart on f4 was a constant source of worry. Rustam Kasimdzhanov exchanged the pieces down to B+N endgame and finally picked up the f4-pawn. He proceeded to convert the material advantage into full point. Read more…

Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 1: Peter Svidler – Etienne Bacrot 1-0

Peter Svidler was the first to score a victory in Thessaloniki. His game with Etienne Bacrot started as Semi-Tarrasch and for awhile it looked like black is doing fine. But later he started to err and Svidler used the opportunity to invade the seventh rank with the rooks. Bacrot admitted that he “lost control some time around 19…h6.”. Svidler pointed that 21…Ba3 was unnecessary and that 21…Rc8 was to be preferred. He also criticized the retreat on 22nd move and suggested 22…Qa5 as possible improvement. Read more…