This morning almost all clouds had disappeared and so the 11th round was played on another nice and sunny day in Baku. However, ain't no sunshine for Etienne Bacrot, who today played probably the worst move ever in his entire career, against Ernesto Inarkiev. The only other decisive result was Wang Yue-Svidler (1-0) and so the Chinese GM has joined Alexander Grischuk once more in the tournament standings.
Adams-Mamedyarov, a Rubinstein French, quickly turned into an equal endgame after the unusual 10...cxd4 followed by the excellent move 15...Qd6!. Later, thanks to some strong moves (26…g5!, 29…g4!, 30…h4! and 32…e5!) Mamedyarov was even a bit better. "I played for a an advantage but then got worse at some moment," Adams said, "and then my 35.Rh5+ was of course a big blunder." It was Mamedyarov who had blundered before, with 34...f4??, a moment of mutual chess blindness. "I thought 35.Rxh4 f3 36.gxf3 gxf3 37.Rh5+ Ke4 38.Rxd5 Kxd5 was winning but after 39.Kd3 White is winning. It could have spoilt my whole tournament," Mamedyarov said.
Grischuk-Carlsen was a Slav Defence in which Magnus came up with the interesting novelty 12…Nbd5. Grischuk thought he was better during the game, but afterwards he was told by Shipov (and the computer) that Black had been OK all the time. "But Black's position looked very suspicious," Grischuk thought. Carlsen also had the feeling he was worse: "My 14...c5 was probably premature. I had to find some kind of emergency solution and it surprised me that White didn't win; I was lucky." Grischuk especially liked 22...Rfd8: "A great move." According to Shipov, the critical moment in the game took place on the 23rd move. White could have saved some chances for victory with the following moves: 23.Rfd1 Rxb2 24.d5! Bd7 25.Rdc1!. Instead, Grischuk missed the simplifications that followed and couldn’t keep the tension.
Today we saw what tiredness can do to a man. "The blunder of the tournament," Bacrot described his 23.Qe7+?? that sadly ended the most exciting game of the round, Bacrot-Inarkiev, much too early. "This is the result of the Sofia rule," Inarkiev said afterwards, "he has used all his energy and in that position he had already spent a lot of time." It was a pity, because from an Exchange Ruy Lopez (normally with high drawing tendencies) the fight had turned into a real thriller. Bacrot had been searching for a forced win but couldn't find it, and in the final position he was already down to his last five minutes. "10...h6 is not so good; after 10...0-0-0 I would play for a draw," he said. To this, Inarkiev added the moves 11.Ng5 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Bxg5 13.Bxg5 Re8 and also assessed it as equal. Later White missed a big chance with 17.Nxc7! Rc8 18.Ne6 Bd6 19.Nc5 fxe5 20.Nxd7 Kg7 21.Ndxe5 Qe6 22.b3! and White keeps on attacking, having two pawns for an exchange and a great advantage in the centre (Shipov).
The game Karjakin-Radjabov was an interesting theoretical duel; in an important line of the Sveshnikov, Karjakin played 21.Rad1 and afterwards he said: "I thought it was new but apparently it had already been played before." Radjabov also didn't know the move; he thought for about 45 minutes and then played the inaccurate 21...a3. Shipov prefers 21…Bc6!? with the idea 22.Qg3 0-0! 23.Qxe5 Bd6!. In the press room, Radjabov's second Igor Nataf showed the line 22.Nxe7 Qxe7 23.Qd5! which is unpleasant for Black. After Karjakin's continuation, the game almost by force led to a dull, totally drawn rook ending.
A similar path was followed in Cheparinov-Kamsky: lots of theory quickly led to an almost equal position, and after many exchanges the resulting rook ending was dead drawn. Cheparinov felt he had some advantage: "But he played well and then I didn't find the best moves to keep the pressure." Kamsky called it "kind of a forced line" [they had followed the recent game Sargissian-Hou Yifan, Mérida 2008 until 21.Rac1 – PD] and after 21…a5 it wasn't so easy for White to get an advantage." Shipov liked this pawn move, a novelty, which solved Black's opening problems immediately. "By advancing the pawn the American GM destroyed the queenside and got excellent counterplay. I couldn't find any improvements for White afterwards."
Svidler is having trouble calculating (concentrating!?) here in Baku, and today it cost him the game against Wang Yue. The Chinese player thought White should have a plus out of the opening, but Svidler wasn't so sure: "If Black just makes his moves and manages to survive, his position is fine." And this is what he did, for a while, until he missed 15...Bxe5! (with the idea 16.Bxe5 Nc6), "with a comfortable game for Black (Shipov). After White's strong move 18.e4! it went wrong for Black: "After 18...Bxe5 19.Bxe5 Qd7 I had taken 20.Qxd7 Rxd7 21.Bg4 into account, but somehow I failed to consider 18...Bxe5 19.Bxe5 Qxc6 20.Qxc6 Nxc6 21.Bg4." Moving the rook from d8 to f8 on move 22 also leads to a terrible position, so Svidler decided to sacrifice an exchange, but afterwards he considered this endgame "objectively lost". In short, it was clearly a game below Svidler's normal level, but nonetheless a good one by the Chinese GM.
Navara-Gashimov was a tough fight that kept the audience in complete tension from the beginning till the end. An Accelerated Dragon (Maroczy-system) had started calmly, but the players transformed it into a fierce struggle with the aggressive moves 15.f4 and 15…f5. According to Shipov, White missed the strong move 20.Nc3!. "After the opening I had a very slight advantage," Navara said, "but I failed to prove it and just before the time control my position looked very suspicious." Gashimov thought the same: "After 26...e4 my position was very good but in timetrouble I made some mistakes." It certainly looked menacing, with Black's knight on d3 and his heave pieces on the g-file, but Navara showed once more how good a defender he is with moves such as 36.Qa1! and 40.g4!. At the press conference Navara showed some attractive variations which he had managed to avoid, for example 35.Rdxd3? (intending 35...exd3 36.Re6+ Rg6 37.Ne7! +-) 35...Rxg2! 36.Rd1 Qb2! -+.