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Round 1: Grischuk and Kamsky win with Black
Monday, 21 April 2008
Video Report of Round 1

Today a brand new tournament series started in a most unusal manner. In the first round of Baku 2008, the first of six tournaments in the FIDE Grand Prix Series, there were two decisive games and in both it was Black who won.

The first game to end today was Mamedyarov-Svidler. It was a short but tense battle in which the players kept on throwing small surprises to each other. Svidler first chose the King's Indian instead of his regular Gruenfeld, Mamedyarov then went for the Four Pawns Attack, then the Russian answered with the ancient move 6...e5 and then Mamedyarov didn't opt for the continuation suggested by theory, but instead chose to keep his extra pawn, which gave Black very active play, just enough to give perpetual in the end.

A very balanced encounter was Radjabov-Adams, a Ruy Lopez Exchange in which 12...Ng6 was a the first new move. By quickly routing his knight to e5, Adams neutralized White's initiative and then gained some pressure himself on the kingside. Sensing the danger in time, Radjabov delicately simplified the game and eliminated all of his opponent's threats.

inarkiev_kamsky.jpgToday's best game, according to GM Sergey Shipov, was Inarkiev-Kamsky. In a Breyer Ruy Lopez more than twenty theoretical moves were played, and after some manoeuvring, Kamsky played the slightly risky 26...f5. This complicated the game and he then sacrificed a pawn and launched an attack across the center. At first Inarkiev reacted very well, giving a piece in return for three pawns, and was winning at some point. He erred with the move 40.Qg1? where 40.g4! is very good for White, a move which should have been played also one move later. Realizing the mistake made by his opponent, Gata immediately launched a strong attack. A second mistake by Inarkiev then determined the fate of the game: he should have chosen 43.Qf1! instead of 43.Rb6?.

Also very interesting was Karjakin-Navara, in which the fun started already with the novelty 12...d5. Black improved his control in the centre, but had to weaken his position as well. Benefitting from this, Karjakin took over the initiative, challenging his opponent from both sides. He came very close to a win, but didn't have enough time to calculate the crucial move 28.Ne4. He decided to not take risks and this allowed the nice 31...Nxf3+! which forces a perpetual.

cheparinov_grischuk.jpgIn Cheparinov-Grischuk a rare thing happened: the young Bulgarian theoretician confused his own moves and made a mistake in the opening phase. In a sharp Winawer Qg4 French, Ivan forgot about the strong move 21.Ba3! and chose 21.Qc3?, which left him facing a very difficult position. Grischuk reacted strongly, with some very accurate and energetic moves. Despite some desperate sacrifices, White couldn't save his position and with series of powerful moves (26...d3!, 32...Ra1+!) Grischuk ended the game with a well-deserved victory.

Gashimov-Bacrot started cautiously, in a quiet line of the Ruy Lopez, but became very interesting after the excellent move 15.Bxf6!, which gains total control over the white central squares. White kept on improving his position and although Bacrot stubbornly resisted, he was unable to answer all the threats. Then both players completely missed the move 34.Qxf7+!, which wins on the spot. But despite this, Gashimov reached a winning advantage in the endgame. However, he couldn't deliver the decisive blow - instead of 52.f6, winning would have been 52.Ke5!. White is still better, but Bacrot managed to save himself.

wangyue_carlsen.jpgIn Carlsen-Wang Yue, White avoided the main line of the Ruy Lopez Berlin Wall, but preferred a lengthy battle with suble middlegame manoeuvres. There followd a fierce tactical battle in the center which eventually resulted in an equal position. Perhaps still holding a very slight edge in the endgame, first seed Carlsen tried for a while, but Wang Yue defended very well and managed to draw in the end.
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