Round 1: Alexander Morozevich and Fabiano Caruano draw first blood.
The first round of the third stage of Grand Prix tournament in Zug got under way on the 18th of April 2013, after the representative of Renova Group, Mr. Rolf Schatzmann and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the first symbolic move in the game Caruana-Radjabov.
The first round was a pretty tough one for the start of the tournament - Fabiano Caruana and Alexander Morozevich started with victories while the other four games were drawn.
Leko-Kamsky 1/2: 1/2
Gata Kamsky was surprised that his opponent remembered that Gata had played the same line in the Ruy Lopez during the match against Vishy Anand in Las-Palmas 1995. Therefore, Peter Leko decided to avoid playing some dubious side-lines and went for the main variation. The preparation of the Hungarian player finished with the move 15.Ne2, which was played by Bobby Fischer a long time ago. “I thought if Fischer had played this move, it cannot be bad and it actually makes sense. Nowadays all players go for 15. Ne6 but I don’t think White has something there.”
After 15.Ne2 Gata Kamsky chose the plan with c4 and g5, which Leko defined as “a desperate attempt” but the American player was short of time, and was looking for some counter play. After 20…f4 Gata Kamsky sacrificed a pawn and managed to activate his pieces. A forced line led to the endgame where White got 2 rooks for his queen and in a few moves the game logicaly finished after three-times repetition. “It seems my opponent defended so well in the time trouble or it was just too hot in the playing hall and computer will show that I’ve missed something, but I didn’t see how I could win, even there were some promising continuations. Out of nowhere it’s a draw,” said Peter Leko on the press-conference.
Dutch Grandmaster and the youngest participant in this Grand Prix, Anish Giri said he was preparing a lot and was looking forward for this GP to start. His opponent Veselin Topalov, who had played his last classical game in November 2012, confessed he felt a bit strange to play a long game, and tried to make not too risky moves and just to be solid. A few months ago, the same opponents met in the last round of London Grand Prix. Anish Giri had lost against Vesilin Topalov and as a result his opponent was one of the joint winners of the first stage of the GP.
“The problem was that there was also bishop and knight endgame in that game. At the end I was really panicking and trying to hold this slightly better position. It was very painful to see the same guy, the same tournament and almost the same position there (laughing). It’s good that at least the result is different!” said Anish Giri during the press-conference. Veselin Topalov had to defend a bit of an unpleasant endgame but after the inaccurate 23. Bf4 Black's position proved to be quite safe.
Alexander Morozevich started the game with 1.g3 and was more or less expecting the line which happened in the game. According to Morozevich, Black could have played 14…dxe instead of 14…d4. “The position looked about equal but maybe it’s more pleasant to play it with White”, explained the Russian player. Rustam Kasimdzhanov was defending 14…d4 and said the horrible mistake happened later, when he played 19…Ra8.
“ I had to play 19…ab 20. ab and than Ra8. I think White is probably still better but this advantage has reasonable limits.” After 20.b4 White started to increase his positional advantage and after the first time control Alexander could be happy with the position on the board. “The Black position was so hopeless”, said Rustam Kasimdzhanov, nevertheless, Alexander Morozevich had to show good technique to convert his advantage into a full point.
The longest game of the first round (7 hours, 107 moves) started with the well-known position for both opponents, which has already appeared in their games before. Sergey Karjakin explained that 15…Qd8 was a new move for him and he should have played 16. 0-0 or 16.Bb6 instead of 16.f5, but blundered 17…Qc4. ”Here I’m slightly worse. I was already upset and had to defend till the end of the game,” said the Russian player.
“I felt that my position was much better. I don’t know if it’s winning but there were so many ideas and it was not easy to choose which one was worth a try,” said Hikaru Nakamura. White chose a slightly passive defense but managed to hold the position. At the final point, Black had two extra pawns but cannot improve his position. “Black can also put a few more white-square bishops on the board and still it will be a draw”, said Sergey Karjakin after the game.
Teimour Radjabov chose to play Janisch Gambit in the Spanish against Fabiano Caruana; however, Caruana looked prepared and surprised his opponent with 10.Na4. The Azeri player chose a position with tripled pawns but was hoping to get some activity on the King’s side.
The Italian player made a few accurate moves and was left with a pleasant advantage. Step by step White exchanged some pieces and outplayed his opponent in the opposite colored bishops endgame.
“ I’m glad to make a draw with Black against such a good opponent as Shakhriyar”, said Ruslan Ponomariov at the press-conference.
In the Queen's Gambit Declined, the Ukrainian player successfully defended a slightly passive position. Mamedyarov didn’t manage to use the inactive position of the opponent’s pieces and after all pieces were exchanged, two lonely kings were left on the board.