Round 3: all games ended in draws
The standings remained the same after the third round of the Renova Group Grand Prix as all games ended in draws. One of the leaders Veselin Topalov could take the sole lead in the tournament but missed his winning chances in the time trouble. Peter Leko also got an opportunity to fight for a big advantage in French Defence against Hikaru Nakamura but failed to find the critical move and the game finished peacefully. Rustam Kasimdzhanov managed to defend worse endgame against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Ruslan Ponomariov hold the position in a Scottish Defence against Sergey Karjakin. Fabiano Caruana didn’t manage to create real threats against Alexander Morozevich. Less than one hour has passed when Anish Giri and Teimur Radjabov started to repeat moves and agreed for a draw in the Anti-Nimzo-Indian.
Kamsky – Topalov 1/2-1/2
The Sicilian Defence with 3.Bb5 happened in the game and the first key moment appeared on the move 15th. Gata Kamsky spent a lot of time trying to choose between 15. Bg5 and 15.Bf4 but couldn’t estimate the position after possible 15…d5. Veselin Topalov played creatively, sacrificed the exchange, activate his pieces and got winning position. The White position was about to collapse but unexpectedly Bulgarian player failed to find the winning continuations. After the worst problems were left behind Gata Kamsky started to play precisely and made a draw in the endgame.
Alexander Morozevich spent only 20 minutes for 26 moves at the start of the game and got quite comfortable position with Black in the Ruy Lopez. Fabiano Caruana was not so familiar with the line in the game but tried to play logically and got a slight edge. According to Caruana, Black had a good move 28…a5 but Alexander didn’t want to have a weak pawn on b5 and preferred to protect his King’s side with 28…g6 and 29…h5. There were no real chances to play for more than a draw for both sides.
Sergey Karjakin chose to play the Scotch against his former compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov. According to Karjakin, 10.g3 is a very rare move as normal continuation is f3. “ I thought this position is slightly better for White and easier for me to play”, explained Sergey. Karjakin tried to increase his advantage little by little but then made a mistake on 27th move. “ I’m not really happy with 27.Qd2 because I blundered that after 27..Qh5 28. Rd6 Black has Qd1. I was lucky I had 28.Bf3 after Qh5! I should have played 27.Bf3 instead and then Qd2,” said Russian player. White was still trying to play for initiative but Ruslan was defending precisely.
Hikaru Nakamura repeated Boleslavskiy variation in French, which happened in his game against Sergey Karjakin at the first round but chose another continuation on 15th move. Peter Leko didn’t devote all his attention to prepare for this line after yesterday’s game but was familiar with the main ideas and plans in this variation. Hungarian player managed to get small but stable edge. It was not obvious for both players at which moment Black could have improved their play but on the 35th move White got the real chance to fight for a win after 35.e6. After that key moment American player was not in danger anymore and confidently drew the game.
On the press-conferences Rustam Kasimdzhanov said he could have avoided the problems at the opening by playing 10…Qd5 instead of 10…Bd5. After the opening the position became quite sharp and the critical moment happened on 19th move. Azeri player could have tried to play 19.Nd6 instead of Bd6 and grab the pawn on c5. Former World Champion was ready to defend the endgame with pawn down but analysis showed it was not that easy. Rustam Kasimdzhanov found an accurate maneuver Rb5-Rd5 and didn’t leave any illusions for White.
During the press-conference Rustam Kasimdzhanov commented on his decision not to participate in the next match as second of Vishwanathan Anand. “I think three World championship matches are enough for me. There were all very tough – one tougher than the other. At the end I think I deserved some rest (smiles). I’m a bit worry if the match is going to take place because it was announced to be held in India and Magnus is seriously opposed the idea to play there. If they push it and Magnus gets nervous we can have the situation when Norwegian will just refuse to play, as he had done with previous candidates tournament. It’s a great match and it would be a pity if something happens. I will be happy if they find some neutral ground. On the other hand India deserves to host the World Championship match because Anand has been holding the title for many years. So the situation is difficult”, said former world champion.