The elite tournament has a new co-leader, but the game of the day was turned in by the tournament’s 10-time champion.
There was a change in leadership of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, after Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba beat Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine. Dominguez is now a co-leader with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.
Dominguez’s win was not the most interesting game of the round, nor was the win by Fabiano Caruana of the United States over Evgeny Najer of Russia. Instead, it was the draw between Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Rainer Buhmann of Germany.
Kramnik, a 10-time champion of Dortmund, opened with 1. e4, which he almost never does. He made an exception because Buhmann is known to play the French Defense and Kramnik came well prepared.
I was surprised that Buhmann did not try to deviate from playing the Steinitz Variation after he chose it against Najer in Round 1. It’s well-known that Kramnik has a less versatile repertoire as White when playing 1. e4, so I would have suggested deviating into another variation that Kramnik might not have prepared against or know very well. Still, Buhmann’s lack of flexibility led to a very interesting game — one that Kramnik really should have won.
Fabiano Caruana, left, and Evgeny Najer at the beginning of Round 3.
Caruana’s victory over Najer was significant as he managed to rebound after a really lousy start to the tournament (0.5 point out of 2).
Caruana had Black and chose the Caro-Kann Defense against 1. e4. Najer played the most principled line response — the advance 3. e5 — but without having a great sense of the nuances of how to conduct the middlegame. He kept moving his pieces back and forth, and ultimately his fate was sealed after a couple of mistakes in a time scramble.
Nb4White's play this game had been very uninspired, but he
could still resist 34. Qb1
( 34. Qd1!aiming toward the kingside was better, then White could keep fighting )
34... Rcd835. Kg2Qd536. Rcc4Qd337. Qa1?another move in the wrong direction
( 37. Qc1This targets some weaknesses and leaves White with adequate counterplay. )
37... Rd538. Rg4Kh839. Qc1Na240. Qe1?
( 40. Qa1Nb441. Qc1Repeats the position )
40... Rb8The last move before time control seals the deal. White loses his stuff on the queenside and is unable to produce meaningful counterplay. The rest was not hard. 41. Bxg5hxg542. Nxg5Rd743. Rxa4Nb444. Qc1Nc245. Kh2Nce346. Ne4Qe2
The other two games were not as interesting, despite Dominguez’s decisive result against Ponomariov, who had been tied for the lead after Round 2. A more stubborn defense would surely have saved Ponomariov, but after a series of blunders in a relatively rudimentary endgame, by both players, Ponomariov was dead lost.
The game between Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Germany and Vachier-Lagrave featured some 25 moves of well-known theory in the Grunfeld Defense. Vachier-Lagrave sacrificed an exchange, but gained a pawn in the process and the game was never really out of balance after that. In ended in a draw after 56 moves.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 7 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players