Tashkent GP 2014 – Round 4

All drawn today in Tashkent in a generally calm round.

Andreikin and Kasimdzhanov played a QGD Tartakower in which white went for the rare system with 8 Be2 and 9 0-0 (usually 9 Bf6 is played). Black didn’t experience problems and the game was quickly drawn.

Giri-Caruana also started as a QGD but transposed to some sort of a Catalan after 5 g3. Caruana tried to move-order white by postponing castling and when the queens were exchanged the endgame was roughy equal. In such endgames only a big blunder is required for a win and that didn’t happen today. A bit of a letdown, at least for me, but I should have remembered that Giri is the epitomy of solidity, especially when playing white and opening with 1 d4.

Jobava went for the rarely played nowadays 4 Bg5 against Radjabov’s Grunfeld and found an interesting pawn sacrifice in order to keep the initiative with his two strong knights against black’s bishops. He did have the initiative until the end, but the position was too simple for Radjabov to go wrong.

Gelfand and Jakovenko played the popular 4 Bf4 line against the QGD and they followed theory until move 15 when Jakovenko played the new move 15…Ra7 instead of the previously played 15…Ra6 in Grischuk-Nakamura. Since the idea was to double on the a-file, this didn’t change much, but Jakovenko demonstrated an improvement over Nakamura’s play by postponing the capture on c5. A good example of a subtle improvement on an elite level and a glimpse of how deep their home preparation goes.

Finally a good opening preparation by Mamedyarov! After criticising him for so long, today he came up with a very interesting idea against Nakamura’s QGD. In fact the idea (13 Be5) was suggested by Kasparov and I had already analysed it some time ago. The game was lively, but it seems Mamedyarov missed his best (and perhaps only) chance on move 19.

Unfortunately it turned out I was right yesterday when I predicted a dull draw in Vachier-Karjakin. In fact the game should have been drawn on move 19, when white took a pawn, but his queenside pawns were safely blocked on black squares in a position with opposite-coloured bishops. White played on until move 51 but without any illusions.

A pawn up, but a dead draw

The tournament follows the slow tempo as expected, meaning that a lot of fighting lies ahead. The action resumes after the free day tomorrow.

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