Five decisive games at the fifth round! Topalov and Morozevich take the lead
During the free day players charged their batteries to show the tough fights on all boards. Five decisive results at the fifth round as Topalov, Caruana, Karjakin, Morozevich and Kamsky defeated their opponents. The only draw happened in the game Leko-Ponomariov. After five rounds Topalov and Morozevich are leading with 3,5 points. Caruana, Ponomariov and Karjakin share third place half a point behind.
Sergey Karjakin - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 1-0
The Russian GM showed why he is amongst the world’s top 10 as he cruised to a strong victory over the creative player from Azerbaijan, Shakriyar Mamedyarov. Karjakin blitzed out his opening moves including the positional sacrifice 16.Nxh6+! which was prepared by GM Alexander Motylev and other members of Karjakin’s team. According to Peter Leko, he also prepared this move Nh6 with the Hungarian team three years ago, so he was distressed to see it today. After 24 moves Black was already one hour behind on the clock and blundered with 24…Qc7. Sergey recovered his piece with a winning position after 27.Qg3. At the press-conference Shakhriyar said he knew he would lose this game after c3 as it was obvious for him his opponent had prepared everything at home and it would be hard to find the exact defending moves over the board.
Anish Giri - Alexander Morozevich 0-1
Giri has been playing solid chess so far and today was no exception. He went for the exchange variation in the King’s Indian g3 but as is to be expected, Morozevich decided to go for some early complications with 9…Nd4. The exchange on d4 left Giri with a worse position already out of the opening and after 11..Qa5 Morozevich got the type of position which normally he feels very well. The key question was whether Black could convert his better position into the victory. Before the first time control the game became very sharp and White decided to change the queens which turned to be an unfortunate decision. According to Anish Giri, it was not really clear for him how to estimate the position before that exchange. He had feeling that White should have a good position. After f5 the advantage of Black became decisive and Russian player didn’t give any chance for his opponent.
Peter Leko - Ruslan Ponomariov ½ - ½
Peter Leko decided to switch for 1.d4 after the rest day but Ruslan was ready for the changes as his opponent almost never chose 1.e4 against him. Ukrainian player opted for a Bogo Indian variation against Leko’s 3.Nf3 and White devoted sometime early in the opening to choose which variation he would play. The line in the game has been played in Aronian-Carlsen recently and Ruslan Ponomariov decided that Black’s position should be safe if number 1 in the chess world chooses it. Nevertheless, he preferred to play 9...dc, instead of Carlsen’s 9...a6, and Peter Leko tried but could not create any problems for Black.
Fabiano Caruana - Rustam Kasimdzhanov 1-0
Caruana needed to win although in the Grand Prix it is definitely a very tough task to say which opponent one can try and win against. Despite Rustam having the lowest rating he has proved that he is still one of the top players in the world and whilst Fabiano chose a side variation of the Queen’s Gambit Exchange, he found the way to equalize the position with Black and was keeping dynamic possibilities on the board. Just before the end of the first time control the former world champion decided to give a queen for rook and knight as Rustam was sure the position was drawish. His estimation was precise because Black had a few opportunities to save the game. However, Black put his king on f5 and gave the playing options for White. The last chance to make a draw was on the 67th move as Black could have played 67...f5 instead of Rb3 in order to build a fortress. During the press-conference Fabiano Caruana was surprised to see a draw after f5, as he was sure the position was winning for White.
Gata Kamsky – Teimour Radjabov 1-0
The black series continues for Teimur Rajabov after the candidates’ tournament. Both players have met each other on the board quite a few times and whilst Radjabov has a good score overall against Kamsky, he has never managed to beat him with black. In today’s game, Kamsky chose a delayed exchange in the Rossolimo variation. Teimour surprised his opponent after a reasonably long think with 6…bxc6 but as GM Fontaine pointed out this is a well-studied line and Radjabov presumably preferred to go into lines he has analysed before. According to Kamsky, he was not familiar with the position after the opening and was not sure if his plan with c3-d4 was good. Black managed to equalize after the opening and it looked like the game would finish in a draw quite soon but Teimur didn’t play accurately and Gata Kamsky got an extra pawn in the rook ending.
Veselin Topalov - Hikaru Nakamura 1-0
Both Topalov and Nakamura are well known for fighting play and Topalov surprised his American opponent with 1.e4 and then choosing a Closed Ruy Lopez. Hikaru then went for a line frequently played by GM Michael Adams but then selected the interesting 10…b5 whereas Black normally goes 10...h6 to try and exchange black squared bishops. “I was satisfied to get the position where I had bishop and knight against two knights. Eventually a4 is a good move and here I think I have slightly better position,” pointed out Veselin Topalov. Later on, White managed to increase their advantage in the endgame playing on the Queen’s side. It was hard for Black to defend the weakness on c5 and create some counter play on the King’s side at the same time. In the rook endgame White queened his pawn one tempo faster and got decisive mating attack.