Baku GP 2014 – Round 8

The first game to finish was Kasimdzhanov-Caruana. As I predicted yesterday, Caruana didn’t dare experiment again and went for his trusted Grunfeld. They followed theory for 22 moves and then Kasimdzhanov’s 23rdwas the comp’s suggestion and they followed his prep until move 25. But the position was very safe for black and Caruana didn’t have problems drawing, the game lasted 6 more moves.
Gelfand faced the Dutch against Nakamura and he found a nice tactical idea 14 Ne5.  He got an advantage, but at the critical moment he decided not to risk and play a position with great compensation.

Tomashevsky showed great preparation in the Grunfeld against Radjabov, sacrificing on f7 on move 15. The comp gave big advantage to white, but white missed his chance on move 19.

Radjabov started playing the Grunfeld only recently and he also added the Berlin, it’s obvious he’s done some serious work on revitalising his repertoire. But when playing a new opening, no matter how hard and deeply you’ve analysed it, unpleasant surprises are always to be expected. Luckily for Radjabov, he didn’t have to pay a heavy price for falling into his opponent’s preparation.
Karjakin surprised Mamedyarov with 1 d4 and the Azeri went for the Slav with a6 and e6 (the Meran/Chebanenko as I call it). It got him a typical IQP position but since white had good development black had nothing better but to play for exchanges and a worse endgame. The biggest surprise was Karjakin’s decision to repeat the position and draw in a position when he could have played ad infinitum and without a risk.

Why draw? White’s last was 39 Qa2-c2, repeating, he could have continued with 39 Qa1

Again a questionable decision by Karjakin, perhaps he’s so used to things coming to him without trying hard, so he expects it to happen again in this tournament?
Grischuk faced the Berlin endgame against Andreikin and he had an advantage from the start. He managed to win a pawn, but there were opposite-coloured bishops on the board. After trying for 76 moves, he agreed to a draw.

Dominguez went for 6 d3 against Svidler’s Spanish, getting a position to play with. The comp points out several interesting opportunities for both sides before Svidler won a pawn, which he then converted to a win in a long double-rook endgame (the endgame was exceptionally difficult to play for both sides).

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