Round 2: Alexander Morozevich, Veseiln Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov share early lead.
At the second round of Renova Group Grand Prix in Zug Alexander Morozevich, Veseiln Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov are in shared first place. Veselin Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov outplayed Peter Leko and Fabiano Caruana respectively, while Alexander Morozevich shared a point with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. After unpleasant start Rustam Kasimdzanov managed to defeat Gata Kamsky. Two other games Radjabov-Karjakin and Nakamura-Giri finished in a draw.
Alexander Morozevich chose to play early h4-h5 against Gruenfeld. This line, was successfully played by Russian against Anish Giri in China and happened in the game Grischuk-Carlsen recently. Even there is no clear theory in this line, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov seemed to be ready for this variation, chose to play quite sharp and more rare continuation with 5…c5 but forgot his analysis after 9.Bh6. According to Morozevich, he was hoping to play for some advantage but chose inaccurate 15.e3. “White has to play 15.e4 and after 15…Ne6 there were many choices. White could have tried to play for something real here,” said Alexander during the press-conference. However many pieces were exchanged, the position became absolutely equal and the game finished after three-time repetition.
Sergey Karjakin decided to surprise his opponent with Grunfeld, which was absent in his opening repertoire after he had lost the game against Viktorija Cmilyte 10 year ago. “It took me 10 years to recover after that game and finally I did it,” said Sergey with smile. Both players agreed that one of the critical moments was after 23…Rac8. White could have tried to play more principal 24.Rc8 and fight for advantage after Rc8 25. Qe7 Rc2 26. Rb1! However Teymur preferred to grab all pawns on the Queen’s side and after few exchanges the position became completely drawn.
Peter Leko got quite promising position out of the opening after dubious maneuver of White’s dark square bishop. Black managed to advance his pawns on the Queen’s side while White tried to find some counter play by pushing e4. The game was very sharp and according to Topalov Black had much better position at some point. At the time trouble Peter Leko spoiled his position with two last moves before the first time control. With 20 seconds on his clock Hungarian player first missed an opportunity to play 39…Kf7 and immediately made the second mistake 40…Qg6. After the time control Peter Leko tried to defend worse endgame and lost his last opportunity to fight for draw on 49th move. After 49…Ra8 instead of 49…f5 Black had good chances to resist.
“This opening is very complicated and I lost a threat in one moment. I had a very little time left on my clock and didn’t feel optimistic at all,” said Rustam Kasimdzanov at the start of the press-conference. Black got quite comfortable play out of the opening and decided to complicate the position after 19…f6. Rustam Kasimdzhanov was thinking to go for Bg6 but not only was short on time but also didn’t have feeling it was a right decision. Later on Kamsky showed his ambitions to play for a win by avoiding the repetition of moves. “I was hoping that Gata would repeat the moves but he had definitely more time at that moment”, pointed out Rustam Kasimdzhanov. In the time trouble Black started to make mistakes, missed Qa4 and tactics 39. Ng7 afterwards. The former world champion got the technically winning endgame with two extra pawns and didn’t leave any chance to his opponent.
Ruslan Ponomariov didn’t get anything special out of the opening playing with white against Fabiano Caruana. Italian player missed 29.Nc6 and let his opponent to activate the rooks and to get bishop against knight in the endgame. It was not easy for Black to defend all the time and according to Caruana 39…c4 was one of the inaccurate moves he had made. Later on, Fabiano decided to sacrifice a pawn in order to activate his rook but Ruslan calmly took “the gift” and later on converted his advantage into a full point.
Hikaru Nakamura got a slight advantage after the opening. Anish Giri was defending very well and managed not to fall into all possible traps created by American. Both players pointed out they would have agreed for a draw earlier but according to the rules it was impossible. “These rules teach us how to play against Magnus because Norwegian never agrees for a draw”, pointed out Anish Giri.