Baku GP 2014 – Round 5

Very peculiar pairings today, I realised it only upon seeing them. Take a look:

Gelfand-Tomashevsky: Tomashevsky worked for Gelfand during his match with Anand; Radjabov-Caruana: in the last several months they share the same coach, GM Chuchelov; Karjakin-Kasimdzhanov: Kasimdzhanov was Karjakin’s second at the Candidates in Khanty in March this year. I’m always a bit wary when people who have worked together have to play in a tournament. Only Gelfand-Tomashevsky was a more interesting draw, the other two were pretty uneventful.

From the remaining games, Grischuk showed fantastic preparation by blitzing out all his moves until the end against Mamedyarov – at the press conference he even admitted he knew everything. The surprise was his choice of the Dutch as black, but he further explained that he actually looked at the line from white’s perspective, only to find out it was a draw by force. In 30 moves.

Another player who appeared well-prepared was Dominguez. Against Nakamura’s English Opening he blitzed out his first 21 moves and even though he was a pawn down, it appeared that he would win it back by force and draw. But appearances proved to be deceitful – most probably he forgot or mixed up his preparation and after a 33-minute think he made a bad move, 23…Bd4, which left him a clear pawn down. But he fought on and mounted a stiff defence and eventually it brought him the draw – a missed chance by Nakamura as he could have made it harder for his opponent, especially on move 30.

Svidler deviated from a recent Adams game against Andreikin’s French and the queens were exchanged as early as move 13. The endgame was OK for black and the draw was agreed on move 31 (a reminder that no draws can be agreed before move 30).

So all 6 games were drawn today, but these GP events have always been tight affairs with a relatively small number of decisive games and this one is no exception. But I think part of the reason for today’s draws is the meeting of players who have worked before together (or still are) as this usually leads to draws. But it’s not a big deal anyway as the tournaments moves on.

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