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.
Khanty-Mansiysk GP Round 2 (click a result to replay the game with computer analysis)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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... 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 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.
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.
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.)
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... ♕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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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