Baku GP 2014 – Round 3

At the press conference Caruana said his first three games were of “very low quality” and then I undestood what it means when they say “higher expectations” after his latest results. Caruana and the chess world expect higher quality of moves of him and while he was playing a lot of high-quality moves in these 3 games, the difference were the moves that were letting the wins slip, yesterday against Gelfand and today against Nakamura. Only one move can make a difference between a high-quality and low-quality game. But who said chess was fair?

In yet another QGD (perhaps the new Grunfeld? Caruana switched from Grunfeld to QGD in Saint Louis) Caruana didn’t have problems in the opening as they were following the game Nakamura-Aronian, Tal Memorial 2011. In fact, Caruana castled short instead of Aronian’s long castle.


A missed opportunity for Caruana, but Nakamura also deserves credit, after all he’s playing in a handicapped state.

Yesterday I said that not winning your won games is a bad sign. Bad sign means you’ll lose sooner rather than later and that happened to Dominguez today against Karjakin. I cannot imagine a more pensioner opening than this:

Karjakin-Dominguez, white is only 24 years old, not 104.

Pieces were traded, but white had the bishop pair and was pressing. Nothing grave would have happened if black didn’t take the poisoned pawn on d4. Mostly it feels like a curse, not winning won games.

Another player who was punished for not winning yesterday was Grischuk, who lost on time while making his 60th move, the last one, in his game with Gelfand. This was very cruel and tragic, as Grischuk seemed to be lost in the rook endgame, but managed to escape and in the moment he lost on time the position was dead draw. But Caissa never really liked adrenaline junkies, remember the zeitnot addicts Reshevsky, Korchnoi and now Grischuk – they always seem to be held back because of their addiction. This win made Gelfand the sole leader with 2.5/3.

The other games were drawn – Radjabov was unambitious against Svidler (who used the same line Kramnik used to surprise Kasparov in the 7th game of their match in 2000). Like Kasparov, Radjabov didn’t dare to go along the most critical lines and the game petered out quickly.

Tomashevsky got some typical Grunfeld (OK, so it’s not forgotten, also thanks to Grischuk who played it against Tomashevsky in round 1) pressure against Kasimdzhanov in view of the passed d-pawn. Kasimdzhanov said he wasn’t very comfortable, while in his opinion experienced Grunfeld players like Gelfand would know where to put the pieces, but in practice he did quite well and held the draw.

Andreikin got his first half a point against Mamedyarov. He played the Meran-Chebanenko Slav (this is just my name for the a6,e6 hybrid) and was comfortable throughout, perhaps he could have tried for more at several points. But after 0/2 the first that comes to mind is not to make it 0/3.

So we have a motivated-as-ever-when-it-comes-to-the-World-Championship-cycle Boris Gelfand leading the pack. It’s still early to tell, but if he can keep his level (and this depends on his physical condition) then he’ll be the man to beat.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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2 Comments
  • Oct 5,2014 at 11:46 pm

    Hehe, Gari je ushao u drugu igru iz koje nece moci tako lako da izadje da bi mozda, teoretski, mogao da se vrati u ovu. A gerijatrija je zilava, mada mladi neumoljivo dolaze…

  • Oct 5,2014 at 1:24 am

    od svih penzionera najstariji poveo kolo,gerijatrijski sah indeed ,Gari vrati se sve ti je oproshteno 🙂

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