Reports May 16, 2015 | 11:04 AMby Colin McGourty

Khanty GP, Round 2: Unpredictable!

Midway through Round 2 of the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix all six games looked as though they might produce a decisive result, though it was far from clear for which players. In the end, though, only Leinier Dominguez could win a spectacular game that brought Dmitry Jakovenko back to 50%. The miss of the day saw leader Evgeny Tomashevsky squander mate-in-10 against Alexander Grischuk, in a great battle analysed by Jan Gustafsson.

Alexander Grischuk - neither a KID player nor a sonneteer... | photo: Kirill Merkurev, official website

Khanty-Mansiysk GP Round 2 (click a result to replay the game with computer analysis)

Gelfand Boris2744½ – ½Nakamura Hikaru2799
Giri Anish2776½ – ½Karjakin Sergey2753
Dominguez Perez Leinier27341 – 0Jakovenko Dmitry2738
Svidler Peter2734½ – ½Caruana Fabiano2803
Tomashevsky Evgeny2749½ – ½Grischuk Alexander2780
Vachier-Lagrave Maxime2754½ – ½Jobava Baadur2699

There’s surely money to be made by betting against the predictions of our very own Jan Gustafsson, who pulled off the impressive feat of getting 0/6 results correct midway through the round:

Fortunately he’s much better at explaining games of chess, and he tackled the most memorable - and by far the longest - game of the day, Tomashevsky-Grischuk:

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That game also featured the shortest but perhaps most enjoyable press conference:

Highlights included:

Tomashevsky: Yesterday I got really lucky by a full point. Today it was an interesting game but difficult to rationally explain why I didn’t win such a position… The problem was that I started to calculate variations and then I saw I had only four seconds left and I simply made the first move I could.

Grischuk: What can I say? Different things are granted to different people. It’s not granted to some people to write sonnets, while it’s not granted to me to play the King’s Indian! True, I can’t write sonnets either…

Tomashevsky: Yesterday I played terribly but went home with a win, while today I played perhaps one of my best games but I didn’t manage to win such a position. It happens in sport.

Grischuk: Dialectics!

Hikaru Nakamura did a much better job of showing how the King’s Indian Defence is played, with Boris Gelfand admitting, “I miscalculated something and now I’m in trouble” about the ending he went for.

Hikaru Nakamura couldn't quite figure it out | photo: Kirill Merkurev, official website

The Israeli found some sharp tricks to liquidate to a drawn ending, though, including:

32.e4! d4 33.e5! with the neat point that 33…Bxe5? runs into the 34.Nd3! knight fork.

The press conference included both players talking about chess in Russia and Khanty-Mansiysk as well as Nakamura explaining that the addition of Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana doesn't yet mean the US can match Russia:

The first game of the day to finish was Giri-Karjakin, with Sergey Karjakin lamenting the half an hour he spent on 17…fxe4, since he ended up in this position on move 30 with under four minutes remaining on his clock:

He saw he could play 30…Qxa2! here, since 31.Qd8+ Rf8 32.f7+ can simply be met by 32…Qxf7, but he described it as “a bit dangerous” to play with so little time. After 30…Qc7 a draw was agreed the moment White accepted the queen exchange.

At least the Russian trio of Grischuk, Svidler and Karjakin had a lot to talk about! | photo: Kirill Merkurev, official website

Peter Svidler couldn’t blame the clock and settled on “a complete mental breakdown” as an explanation for his failure to keep pressing in a position his opponent Fabiano Caruana felt was “nearly lost”. 

Caruana and Svidler taking different approaches to thinking about their moves | photo: Kirill Merkurev, official website

It turned out Jan Gustafsson was spot on when he commented:

Svidler admitted he thought that after 34.d5 it was “kind of illegal” to play 34…cxd5 due to 35.Rxd5. He added:

I did see 35…Rd6, but somehow I felt that after 35…Rd6 Black still loses a rook, which I honestly cannot explain.

Watch the instructive and entertaining press conference below:

That leaves two games. 

One, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Baadur Jobava, was hard to fathom, with first Maxime then Baadur having good winning chances. It’s almost impossible to summarise, so the best option is either to check out the computer analysis on our broadcast (remember you can make your own moves on the board as well) or watch the press conference, in which the players argue about the evaluation and are surprised by the computer verdict:

The other game was the one win of the day, which while far from flawless was a very attractive achievement for Leinier Dominguez against Dmitry Jakovenko

Jakovenko and Dominguez saved us from an unlikely day of all draws | photo: Kirill Merkurev, official website

IM David Martínez takes us through the game:

1. d4 Leinier is usually an e4-player, but on occasion he's also opened with the queen's pawn. We'll see in the coming rounds if this is a one-off or a wholescale migration of his opening repertoire in order, like so many before him, to avoid the Berlin. Anand is the best example of a player who did that for his World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. Years later Vishy is totally unpredictable and freely alternates between e4 and d4.

1... ♘f6 2. c4 e6 3. ♘f3 d5 4. ♘c3 c6 5. g3 Very much a sideline, and one with similarities to the Catalan. It's much less popular, though, mainly because taking the pawn on c4 is for real - White can't easily recover it. However, Anish Giri has put in some work to revitalise the line, and Leinier follows his lead. After all, Anish is someone you can trust, or at least so her future wife Sopiko Guramishvili tells us! 

5... dxc4 6. ♗g2 ♘bd7 The eternal discussion over whether you should defend the pawn with b5 or not seems to be being won by the latter option, at least for now.

7. a4 ♗b4 8. O-O O-O 9. ♕c2 The move with which Giri revitalised and gave a new flavour to this variation. The idea is to play Na2 and capture the c4-pawn with the queen.

9... ♕e7 In Wijk aan Zee 2013, Fabiano Caruana preferred

9... ♕a5 with the aim of keeping a material advantage. After 10. ♘a2 ♗d6 11. ♕xc4 ♘b6 12. ♕c2 ♕xa4 Black does indeed have an extra pawn, but Giri convincingly demonstrated that his compensation was more than enough. 13. b3 ♕a5 14. ♘e5 ♘bd7 15. ♘c4 ♕c7 16. ♘xd6 ♕xd6 17. ♖d1 e5 18. ♘c3 exd4 19. ♗a3 c5 20. e3 d3 21. ♖xd3 ♕b8 22. ♘d5 ♘xd5 23. ♖xd5 b6 24. ♗b2 a5 25. ♖a4 ♖e8 26. ♖g5 g6 27. ♗d5 ♔f8 28. ♖f4 1-0 Giri,A (2720)-Caruana,F ( 2781) Wijk aan Zee 2013

10. a5 An idea Giri employed this year against Ivanchuk. White is in no rush to capture the c4-pawn and tries to apply immediate pressure on the queenside.

10. ♘a2 ♗d6 11. ♕xc4 e5 seems to be doing well for White.

10... e5 Leinier paused for 17 minutes here before playing

11. ♖d1 In the game mentioned above Ivanchuk had played 10...a6 instead of 10...e5, so Dominguez no doubt wondered about:

11. a6 b5 12. dxe5 ♘xe5 13. ♘xe5 ♕xe5 14. ♗xc6 but probably rightly evaluated that after 14... ♗f5 Black has no problems.

11... a6 Now the game returns to familiar ground, where Leinier has deep analysis prepared.

12. d5 ♘c5 13. ♗e3! A big improvement on 13. Bg5, which failed to give Giri an advantage. White is threatening d6 followed by Na2, winning a pawn, since the c5-knight will be hanging. Black's next move is forced.

13... ♘b3 14. ♖a4 c5 15. d6! The start of a profound idea, which demonstrates brilliant preparation by the Cuban!

15... ♕e8 16. ♖xb4! This exchange sacrifice is far from clear, but the bishop pair and the d-pawn give White a very attractive position.

16... cxb4 17. ♘d5 ♘xd5 18. ♖xd5 White is now both an exchange and a pawn down, but it's clear that one of the black pawns is going to fall soon. Of course work done at home with a computer also came in handy for Leinier here, since he'll have seen that although Black initially seems to be better that's not the case.

18... ♘d4 A move that surprised Leinier and caused him to spend 43 minutes locked in thought. His analysis might have continued

18... e4 , which is the machine's first idea. However, after some time it finds the following line: 19. ♘e5! Threatening d7. 19... ♗e6 20. ♗xe4 A brilliant second exchange sacrifice, which has to be accepted: 20... ♗xd5 (20... h6 21. ♘xc4 ♗xd5 22. ♗xd5 followed by Qf5 and Be4. ; 20... g6 21. d7 ♕e7 22. ♕xc4 ♗xd5 23. ♕xd5 and the black rooks definitely can't be considered better than White's bishops.) 21. ♗xh7+ ♔h8 22. ♕f5 and Black can't prevent the queen getting to the h-file.

18... ♕a4 also isn't an option due to 19. ♘g5 g6 20. ♕xc4 and Qh4.

19. ♗xd4 It was better to play a move that Dominguez pointed out after the game:

19. ♘xd4 exd4 20. ♖xd4 , when White gets excellent compensation. He couldn't see anything concrete after 20... ♗e6 since capturing on b7 isn't so clear. Once again, in such a complex position the computers come to our rescue and rapidly spot solutions that even the world's best players are likely to miss at the board: 21. ♖h4! g6 (21... h6 22. ♗xh6! and the bishop can't be captured: 22... gxh6 23. ♖xh6 f5 24. ♕d2 , with the queen coming to g5.) 22. ♕d2 Attacking b4 and threatening to move to h6, or simply (22. ♗h6 regaining the exchange.)

19... exd4 20. ♖xd4 b3! Displacing the queen before playing Be6, since if that move is played immediately it runs into serious trouble:

20... ♗e6 21. ♘g5! Attacking h7, b7, e6... just too much!

21. ♕xc4 ♗e6 22. ♕d3 ♕c6! Jakovenko finds the only possible counterplay, the c-file. Although Leinier has a pawn for the exchange and his pieces are well-placed it's difficult for him to improve his position.

23. ♕d2 Covering the entry square on c1.

23... ♖ac8

23... ♕c2 was an option, trying to limit White's options. It still remains hard to see how either side can make progress. A move like 24. h4 makes sense, giving the king the h2-square and trying to create some problems on the kingside in case Black rejects an exchange of queens.

24. ♘e1 Very ambitious.

24. d7 would almost force the following ending: 24... ♖cd8 25. ♘g5 ♕c2 26. ♘xe6 fxe6 27. ♗xb7 ♕xd2 28. ♖xd2 ♖f5 29. ♗xa6 ♖xa5 It doesn't, however, seem as though this offers more than a draw for White.

24... ♕c1 25. f4 ♕b1? Threatening Rc2, but this is the decisive mistake, since Dominguez will now go on to outcalculate his opponent.

25... ♕xd2 26. ♖xd2 ♖c5 was the correct approach. After 27. ♗xb7 ♖xa5 28. e4 we'd get a fierce battle in which White would try to advance his pawns while Black tries to contain them. It seems as though Black would have the upper hand, since the white knight doesn't have a good square from which it can support the pawn advances. The importance of so-called outposts is often underestimated when assessing the value of knights in the endgame, but the lack of one here would prevent the knight demonstrating its full potential.

26. ♔f2! ♖c2 27. ♕b4 ♖e8 Black's activity looks daunting, since Bg4 is coming and the counterplay against e2 will be lethal, but Leinier refutes the line with surgical precision.

28. ♗e4 ♗g4 29. ♘xc2 bxc2 30. ♕a4! The key. White wins an important tempo by hitting e8.

30... ♔f8

30... ♖c8 is refuted by 31. ♖c4 c1Q 32. ♖xc8+ ♕xc8 33. ♗xb1 and White is two healthy pawns up.

31. d7! ♗xd7 32. ♖xd7 c1Q Black seems to be surviving, since 33. Bxb1 would be met by Qe3+ and perpetual check, but there's a zwischenzug!

33. ♕a3+! ♔g8 34. ♗xb1 And White wins. I don't know when Leinier saw this long forced sequence beginning with 26. Kf2, but in any case, it's very impressive. It may not seem so difficult when you see it, but I assure you it's something else to find it at the board!

34... g6 Desperately giving the king some luft.

34... ♕xb1 is impossible due to 35. ♕e7 ♖f8 36. ♖d8

35. ♕b3 ♕c5+ 36. e3 A fascinating game that both had great theoretical importance and a thrilling exchange of blows.


Dominguez takes the lead, though to qualify for the Candidates from the Grand Prix he needs something very close to a miracle! | photo: Kirill Merkurev, official website

So Jakovenko’s hopes of finishing in the top two Grand Prix places suffered a blow, and though Tomashevsky failed to win he’s still on course to make the Candidates Tournament:

1Dominguez Perez Leinier27341,50
2Tomashevsky Evgeny27491,00
3Grischuk Alexander278011,25
Caruana Fabiano280311,25
5Nakamura Hikaru279911,00
Gelfand Boris274411,00
7Svidler Peter273411,00
8Vachier-Lagrave Maxime275410,75
Karjakin Sergey275310,75
10Jakovenko Dmitry273810,50
11Jobava Baadur2699½0,50
Giri Anish2776½0,50

He faces a real test in Round 3, though, when he has Black against Fabiano Caruana. The action starts at 12:00 CEST on Saturday 16 May and you can of course watch all the games live here on chess24. Alternatively you can watch on our free mobile apps:


See also:

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