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Round 12: Gashimov & Wang Yue share lead before the last round
Sunday, 04 May 2008
Video report round 12

And then, after a few less interesting days, the penultimate round was suddenly full of excitement, with great openings, great fights and great… results!? Well, at least for the local organizers and fans, who saw Azerbaijan's third player Vugar Gashimov crushing tournament leader Alexander Grischuk, and also for the Czech chess fans, who saw Navara clinching his first victory. Gashimov & Wang Yue in the lead, with one more round to go!

gashimov-grischuk.jpgMany handshakes and smiles awaited Gashimov, who defeated Grischuk in great style – the first game to end in this 12th round! At the press conference Gashimov revealed that it was all home preparation until 16.f4: "I was hoping for the same line as he played against Svidler. I did some work on it [12.Qd3 was a strong novelty – PD], and before the game I thought White is much better, maybe even winning, after f4." Shipov isn't so sure by the way - he gives 16…Bxg5 17.fxg5 c6! followed by 18...Ne7. Later, 20…Re8 gave more chances instead of 20…Kc8? but there Grischuk was already in severe timetrouble. He admitted that his opening preparation had turned out to be very bad: "I didn't think he would expect this line, and didn't expect him to analyse it so deeply. I just got into a too deep level of thinking." He added a variation: "The main problem was 18...0–0 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Ra7 Bh4 21.Rxc7 Rxf3 22.Rxd7 Rxf1+ 23.Kxf1 Rf8+ 24.Kg1."

kamsky-svidler.jpgIn the second game that finished, Svidler recovered a bit by beating Kamsky with Black. "I decided I should play something new today. What we got is a topical line in the Najdorf, and Gata's choice at move nine led to a complex endgame, in which Black is somewhat cramped, but he has the bishop pair and no weaknesses. Still, it was about equal all the time and the game was mainly decided by my time advantage on the clock." Kamsky: "I didn't realize how unpleasant it was and then I couldn't find a plan." In timetrouble he started making mistakes and after 29.c4, with a nice central break (32…Nd4!, 34…e5!, 36…f5!) Svidler's bishops were released and then decided the game.

radjabov-navara.jpg For the first time in the tournament, Navara won, against Radjabov. The Czech was the first to admit he had been lucky: "After the opening my position looked suspicious; I somehow managed to forget how to play this line. Later I missed the move 28.Qg5 and I was lucky to have a decent reply that was sufficient for a draw. White was very close to winning around move 25 and later on he spoilt it in timetrouble." Radjabov: "I'm playing terrible these days. Instead of 27.Bd3, 27.Kh1 or 27.Rf2 should be winning. I just forgot about 28...Qxg2+. Everything is going wrong." A tragic loss for the Azeri GM, who had refuted Navara's play with some energetic moves (17.f5!, 20.Nef6+) and got a winning attack: 23.Ng4 f6 24.Qh3! would have won according to Shipov, as "there's no defence against the strike on h6". After Radjabov's choice, Black could have survived beautifully with 23…Nd4! 24.Nxe8 e2 25.Rf6 Nf3+!!. For White there was also a nice line: 26.Rxg7! Kxg7 27.Qe5!!. The critical moment was at move 28, where White missed a decisive advantage with 28.Qe5! Qxd3 29.Rxe3 Qc2 30.Rg3!. The endgame should have ended in a draw but 38.Rh5+? (instead of 38.Rb3! Bc6 39.Rg3!) was the last mistake.

carlsen-adams.jpgCarlsen-Adams was won by the Norwegian, who demonstrated a modern attitude to the game: he had delved deeply into the mysteries of this Nimzo-Indian line [his 19.Nd4 was new – PD] and throughout the game he overcame the natural fear for material losses. Carlsen: "For the exchange White had good positional compensation, but for a while it was about equal. But then he should have taken on d5 [instead of 30...Kf8 – PD]. I got some advantage and then I was lucky I had this trick with 42.Rb8." Adams: "It was an interesting opening position. Today I didn't really like it, but probably it's all right for Black. I looked for ways to give back the exchange but the way I did it was ridiculous." Shipov recommends 26…Ne5! with the idea 27.Rd1 a5! 28.bxa5 Rxa5 29.Bxd5 Ke8! 30.e4 Rxc5 31.Bxb7 "with absolute equality" He considered Black's last chance to be 40...Rxe4.

cheparinov-karjakin.jpg The first game that ended in a draw was Cheparinov-Karjakin, after no less than 92 moves. Early in the game White had gotten into trouble: "My opening play was bad, I didn't see 24...Qe8 and I was lucky I didn't lose by force. I made several only moves, like 25.Ba3," Cheparinov said. Karjakin: "He wasn't prepared very well, because I played this line against Van Wely [Wijk aan Zee 2007 – PD] and Loek played 22.Bxc5 but that is another story. During the game I didn't see how I could win." Only through a long series of only moves, Cheparinov was able to lead the game into a slightly worse ending which he managed to save.

inarkiev-wangyue.jpgAnother draw was agreed in Inarkiev-Wang Yue and by holding this game, the Chinese GM kept his first place in the tournament standings. "I had a promising position out of the opening," Inarkiev said. According to Shipov, this was because of weak opening play by Wang Yue (11…Qa5?!, 13…c5?). But then Inarkiev missed 20.Qd4 (instead of 20.Qa4): "But I just forgot that after 20...Qxd4 21.exd4 g5 22.Be3, the pawn on g5 is hanging. After that I was still slightly better but it wasn't enough." For Wang Yue it was a "difficult game" and like many players today, he felt "he was lucky". Asked about his strategy for his last round game, he simply said: "I'll just play."

mamedyarov-bacrot.jpgThe longest game was Mamedyarov-Bacrot, and a very complicated one. Mamedyarov: "In the opening I played the not very popular 7.Qd2 and I think I was better somewhere, but then he just played very well, for example with 16...Bd4!. Around 27.Re4 maybe it's a draw but I thought: I must play, I'm only on plus one!" Bacrot said it was difficult for him to perform after yesterday's blunder: "Still I think I played quite well but I missed his 57.Ne6+ and 58.Ng5. Too many blunders." Shipov showed where Black could have saved himself: 66…Rg8! 67.Nf7+ Kd4 68.b7 f4 69.Nd6 f3 70.Nxc4 Kxc4 71.a6 f2 72.a7 f1Q 73.Bb5+ Kxb5 74.b8Q+ Rxb8 75.axb8Q+ Kd5 with a drawn queen ending. It must be noted that Mamedyarov played the final phase very strongly.
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