Tashkent GP 2014 – Round 7

It feels good to be right. As it turned out, I was right about both Caruana and Karjakin yesterday.

After a short castle (two losses in a row) Karjakin was probably very upset with himself and, to his credit, managed to channel this anger into his game. He won a very good game against Giri, who proved the old adage that a long series of draws ends in a loss.

Caruana didn’t get anything in the opening against Gelfand, probably because he was surprised by the Nimzo (expecting a Grunfeld), but as the game progressed it was Gelfand’s fatigue that played the decisive role. Even though the players are not forced to travel every single day and play in different cities, this must feel like the famous AVRO tournament to Gelfand – the oldest participant, like Capablanca in the AVRO, he has a really tough time after playing almost non-stop for a bit less than a whole month. Another reason is Gelfand’s style, a dynamic and active style that depends a lot on precise calculation and when fatigue sets in the ability to calculate precisely is the first to suffer.

The other games were drawn. And while Mamedyarov-Radjabov and Jakovenko-Andreikin were friendly affairs, the other two were very interesting.

Nakamura’s choice of the Dutch against Kasimdzhanov announced his aggressive intentions, but the problem with the Dutch is that if white wishes, he can obtain a really safe position. Which is what Kasimdzhanov did and in spite of all black’s efforts he couldn’t get the fist-fight he would have liked to. The final position is of some interest, as instead of accepting the draw white could have continued – the reason was probably time-trouble and tournament situation (Kasimdzhanov is lingering in last place).

The Frenchman with a complicated name (Vachier Lagrave) played a complicated game against Jobava. Usually people play the Caro Kann in order to have a calm game, but not so when you have a complicated and chaotic player playing each other! Jobava sacrificed a piece to create a mess and probably missed some better chances, while the Frenchman missed his best chance in this position:

Will the tired veteran manage to deal with Jobava’s chaotic style tomorrow? And will Caruana follow up with another win against the tail-ender Kasimdzhanov?

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