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Tight Field in Sochi GP

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After five rounds of the second edition of the new FIDE Grand Prix series, a +1 score will get you a share of first. Radjabov, Grischuk, and Cheparinov are there now. Radja and Chepa are the only players in the event to have won multiple games. So yes, there have been a lot of draws (71%), though the quality has been good and most of the games interesting. Still, having four players with +0 -0 =5 is a little shocking. Nine of the 14 players are on an even score. David Navara, who looked hopeless in the last GP until he won his last two games, is the only player on -2. My Brooklyn neighbor Gata Kamsky beat Ivanchuk nicely and was on his way to beating Cheparinov before getting a nasty mix of an open king and time trouble and losing instead. Cheparinov's over-speculative attacking has been getting him spanked at this level, but it paid off at the bitter end in that one. There's still a lot of chess to be played and with such a tight field anyone can win.

Five Sicilians from 35 games. Three wins for white and two draws, both by Grischuk, once on each side. Round six Wednesday. Live games here.


The lack of Sicilians is partly a matter of the field; there are a lot of lifetime 1. d4 players in Sochi. Still, only five from 35 games is pretty serious. I haven't kept up to the minute on the theoretical status of the Najdorf mainlines, which is probably what drives the popularity of the entire opening, but I know there isn't anything wrong with the Taimanov and Paulsen complex right now.

It would be interesting to see what the opening tree looks like for gm tourney's year to year.

There were a lot of Paulsen games in the Ordix open this year. This means that GM's see it as a reliable weapon to play for a win with black.

Anyone else here rooting for Al-Modiahki?

Thanks, I'll take a look at the games from Ordix. I miss the days when Anand played the Taimanov proper. He's been so successful with the Najdorf lately though he seems unlikely to use anything else unless he's looking for a draw.

Radjabov, Aronian, and Cheparinov won today, Aronian in an offbeat line that White used to avoid the Berlin. I do not understand the popularity of the Berlin in tournament play where a draw isn't always a good result, although Aronian has never been too averse to drawing with black.

Radjabov's win over Gelfand looked too easy, which makes me think that Gelfand's idea of playing Nc3-d5 despite the pawn on c6 just didn't work. Still, White's idea of trading a knight for the Bg7 didn't look smart.

Cheparinov-Grischuk just looked like bad play from Grischuk; White wins a kingside pawn after which it's hard to defend.

Hi Mig - What's the latest Kasparov news? Looking forward to Modern Chess Part Two.

"Radjabov's win over Gelfand looked too easy, which makes me think that Gelfand's idea of playing Nc3-d5 despite the pawn on c6 just didn't work."

In fact, Gelfand played one of the best games so far in the tournament, in which Radjabov was the one to play inaccurately with both 31...bxc6 and 40...Ng7. 41.Nd5 was a great move and if Boris had found 43.Qc6!, he would have been a happy man today.

Three cheers for the anvil-fisted hulkamaniac who clobbered Mig's weblog back into shape!

The poisoned pawn variation in the Najdorf is temporarily out of order thanks to a revival of the e5 line. So black is resorting to Nbd7 and Qc7 ideas against Bg5. Still Karjakin is still using it as a mainstay. Note that Kamsky played the h3 - perhaps saving something for his Topalov match?

What’s going on with Chucky ? he aint giving much of a fight, all his games have been lukewarm (apart that brilliancy vrs Aronian; don’t know anybody else who can win a game with a d4,e3,f2 pawn chain and bishops on e2 and e1)

Interesting that the draw ratio is so high, even with the "Sofia" rule at work.

Ivanchuk finally won another game- this time with black against Svidler.
Kamsky won against Al-Modiahki (the name reminds me of Mordechai- maybe it originates from the same name?), who is finally losing games again after a surprisingly solid start.
So Kamsky and Ivanchuk are on +1 after 8 rounds- within striking distance of the lead.
Kamsky would be outright first on +3 if he had clinched his game against Cheparinov- he is in good form.

Ivanchuk can reddem himself like Carlsen did in Baku with a strong finish.

cant wait for cheparinov al modiahki, think (hope) the bulgarian is going to lose

What was going on in the Svidler-Ivanchuk game?!

Wang Yue is playing great chess and may repeat his success from Baku. His win with black against Gelfand today was excellent. He combines great positional understanding with good preperation. Cheparinovs performance is a good reply to Migs over the top sniping

Wang Yue rocks on with another win. A smooth karpovian performance over Radjabovs. He is joint leader with Cheparinov but achieved in very different way - not appearing in trouble in any of his games so far.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 6, 2008 12:53 AM.

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