Tashkent GP 2014 – Round 3

It’s easier to play when you have your queen on the board. Probably that’s what Jobava thought after yesterday’s draw against Caruana and today’s victory over Kasimdzhanov. A strange opening by Kasimdzhanov, who followed the game Karjakin-Jobava played at the Russian team championship in April this year and then played a weaker move than the one chosen by Karjakin! A well-known theoretician who came up with the famous line in the Meran which helped Anand beat Kramnik in 2008, this time he looked as if he didn’t know what a computer was. Very strange indeed. As it was, Jobava untangled and his extra pawn decided the game.

Mamedyarov beat Gelfand with yet another odd opening choice. He repeated the Nf3, e3 idea to avoid the Grunfeld, just like in Baku, and they again transposed to a Benoni, but this time with the typical Benoni structure, not the symmetrical one that gave white an edge in Baku. This has been played before, but what Mamedyarov did was incredible – he simply moved the pawn from e3 to e4, entering a well-known position a tempo down! I cannot understand players of this calibre to behave nonchalantly like this in the opening, to me it looks like complete lack of preparation, something I also mentioned yesterday. Obviously black was more than OK, but he became hesitant at one point and then was worse. The game should have ended in a draw, but Gelfand blundered badly and lost. So Mamedyarov managed to beat Gelfand twice in a span of two weeks, after failing to do so for 4 years. Strange stuff happening.

Caruana established himself as one of the main Berlin-busters, beating even Carlsen in it, but today he didn’t achieve anything against Andreikin. The draw was the natural outcome.

Nakamura put huge pressure on Giri in the Nimzo-Indian and I thought he was going to win, but Giri has developed into a tough player – worse throughout the game he didn’t allow any clear winning chances and held the draw after 79 moves. The game ended in a stalemate and in spite of what Short would like to have, this is still a draw (about this stalemate discussion, I’ll refer you to an earlier post of mine https://www.alexcolovic.com/2014/02/on-short-stalemates-and-sofia.html).

Karjakin scored his first win against Jakovenko. Well-known for his extensive theoretical knowledge and deep opening repertoire, I find it hard to understand why occasionally Karjakin shies away from theoretical battles (the latest example was the game against Dominguez in Baku which went 1 Nf3, 2 g3, 3 Bg2, 4 d4, 5 0-0 and 6 c3!) or gets nowhere in the opening (the games with Gelfand and Svidler from Baku). World-class theoretician Motylev and Kasparov’s former coach Dokhoian are working for him on a constant basis so this gets me thinking what are they actually working on? As for Jakovenko, he was quick to prove me right when I said yesterday that I didn’t expect him to repeat Tomashevsky’s feat from Baku.

The leading Frenchman called Vachier Lagrave repeated the forced line in the Najdorf he used against Caruana in round 1 against Radjabov. Radjabov went for the most forcing 12 g5 and they followed theory until move 29 (not a typo), but in fact it seems that the Frenchman mixed up his lines – on move 27 there was a better move and black would have been OK. After his inaccuracy he ran into some trouble, but luckily for him white missed his best chance on move 30.

Tomorrow we have the derby Frenchman against Karjakin – it’s unclear what to expect there, but most probably a boring draw (I’m always hoping I’m wrong when I make this sort of predictions). Another interesting game is Giri-Caruana, not so long ago they shared the same coach, GM Chuchelov, so there will be some fishing in the opening.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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  • Oct 24,2014 at 11:48 am

    Thanks Stephen! 🙂

  • Stephen
    Oct 24,2014 at 3:56 am

    Nice blog! I always enjoy reading titled player's annotations, and getting to see a GM's thoughts about the top players and their opening choices is a treat.

    I'll be reading future posts 🙂

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