Round 2: four players take early lead in Baku
Hikaru Nakamura, Peter Svidler, Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand are on shared first place after the second round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Baku. Hikaru Nakamura outplayed Dmitry Andreikin, who suffers a second consecutive loss. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov fell into the trap in the time trouble and lost against Peter Svidler. Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand continued theoretical discussion in a Najdorf and right before the first time control the game ended up in perpetual check. Rustam Kasimdzhanov tried to break though Radjabov's Berlin Defence but was held to a draw by Teimour.
It was also a round of missed opportunities as Alexander Grischuk and Leinier Dominguez managed to get winning positions but in both cases their opponents Sergey Karjakin and Evegeny Tomashevsky escaped with draws.
Grischuk 1/2-1/2 Karjakin
Alexander Grischuk chose a very rare line with 5.Nd2 and made his opponent Sergey Karjakin to play without any preparation from the early stage. Nevertheless Karjakin managed to get comfortable position out of the opening. The game was roughly balanced until both players got into the time trouble and things started to sharpen up. After 30...gf 31. Rf5 it became clear that Black's King is in danger. Grischuk passed by the chance to win on a spot after extravagant tactical blow Bf8! However, the move in the text was good enough to secure an advantage for White. By playing 35.Nb5 Grischuk could have brought the last piece into the attack but in the time trouble he thought the move 35.Nf6 was also good enough. Right after the time trouble it turned out that Black had enough resources to save the game.
Svidler 1-0 Mamedyarov
Black was fine after the opening but then White had a slight advantage, which according to Svidler, probably was still not enough to begin with. There was a period when White was much better but Peter made a couple of inaccurate moves which lead to an equal position. Draw seemed to be the most logical result at this point but as Peter Svidler put it during his visit to commentary room “perhaps Shakhriyar could not readjust himself to a new landscape of the game”. After 31.Bd6, apparently missed by Mamedyarov, Black's position collapsed.
Caruana 1/2-1/2 Gelfand
Theoretical dispute in Najdorf, started in January 2014 in Wijk an Zee between same players, continued today but this time Caruana chose13.Na5 instead of 13.0-0, which brought him success in the previous game. Boris Gelfand was ready for a new line thanks to his second Alexander Huzman, who showed him exchange sacrifice before the game. After that the position became unbalanced and complex and both side had to take responsible decisions on every move. According to Boris, he missed White's move 31.c5 and simply panicked after that. Even though 32...Re8 was not the best choice but it allowed Black to finish the game with the spectacular perpetual check after Caruana's reply 33.h4. After 33.Kh1 Black would have to face serious trouble.
Kasimdzhanov 1/2-1/2 Radjabov
Berlin Defence is a newly added opening in Radjabov's repertoire. Both sides were showing usual plans until the certain point. Absolutely amazing 20.Nd8, demonstrated by Rustam, is not a move one sees every day! “It's a very pleasant move to make but I would be happier if this move would bring the victory”, pointed out former World Champion at the press conference. Even though Teimour was surprised to see Nd8, he found the precise way to equalize the position and made a confident draw in the rook endgame.
Dominguez 1/2-1/2 Tomashevsky
The longest game of the second round which lasted more than 7 hours and finsihed on move 100. Black managed to equalize in the opening but despite weaknesses in pawns structure Black's position remained also solid in the endgame. Accodring to Evgeny, he could have made his life easier today by playing more precisely in the critical moment but after few mistakes had to defend a very unpleasant position instead. Cuban player missed a few good chances to win and the game eventually finished
in a draw.
Andreikin 0-1 Nakamura
Dmitry Andreikin didn't choose the most principle lines against a Dutch Defence but went for quite rare plan with c3 and Qb3. 20 Nf3 was dubious decision after which the tables started to turn in Black's favor. Hikaru concentrated his pieces on the King's side and all of a sudden Black's position became very active. White's position fell apart after crucial mistake 31. Nf4.