Tashkent GP 2014 – Round 9

Sooner or later a good thing pushed too far will become too much of a good thing. We’ve all been having fun with Jobava’s exuberant display, but today he did that one step too far that made it look out of place.

Jobava went for the Veresov, a favourite of his and of Rapport’s, but Andreikin wasn’t fazed and reacted in the sensible manner when playing wild players – he played in the most solid way. Jobava’s 5th move (5 g4) was in his trademark style, his 6h allowed doubling of his pawns, while his 10th was that one step too far. After his 13th move, he was simply a pawn down and lost. Creativity is more than welcomed, but when taken to the extreme it becomes absurd.

The other player to win today was Mamedyarov. He used the Dutch against Jakovenko, but it only brought him problems. But instead of going the Tomashevsky way and reach +1, Jakovenko lost control over the position and sank to -1. He’ll be hating himself tonight.

The other games were drawn. While Radjabov-Caruana (a Berlin) and Vachier-Giri (Spanish with 4 d3, with the idea to avoid the Berlin) were tame affairs, the Karjakin-Nakamura game was interesting because Karjakin chose the h3-system against the KID (Makagonov System), a system in which Nakamura seems to have some problems. He always changes the lines he plays against it, which suggest he’s not really sure which one is best. He’s also had some really bad losses in the past in this line (against Andreikin in 2012, against Kasimdzhanov in 2013 (coming from a Benoni)) and suspicious positions (the latest one, the third game from the recent Navara match). But let’s not forget their last KID game, at the Gashimov Memorial, where Karjakin made the atrocious move 13 f3 (for more detailed notes see here http://www.alexcolovic.com/2014/04/gashimov-memorial-rounds-8-14-f3.html). This time Nakamura chose yet another line and more or less kept the equilibrium. Generally speaking, this line with h3 is difficult to master for both sides as there are many transpositional possibilities and many positions that need to be felt in order to know whether they are good or not.

The duel of the tail-enders saw Fischer’s favourite 6 Bc4 against the Najdorf. This is out of fashion for quite some time because it’s considered that all 3 systems that black has at his disposal: Nc6, Nd7-c5 or b5, give him good play. Kasimdzhanov probably tried to force Gelfand spend masses of time remembering the theory, but as I’ve said earlier, trying to catch Gelfand in a Najdorf is not a good idea. Black achieved good play and the game was generally balanced, with a few scattered inaccuracies. I’m just curious about Kasimdzhanov’s impracticality on move 40, but luckily for him it was still a draw after that.

Two round to go and there’s a clear leader in Andreikin with 6/9, or +3. A sole first here will definitely make up for his bad result in Baku, but it’s still to be seen whether it will be enough.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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