In the fourth round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Tashkent, three games were decisive. In each round there has been great fighting chess and once again the elite of the chess world spared no prisoners !
The rating favorite of the tournament Fabiano Caruana managed to win his second game in a row whilst Wang Hao outplayed Gata Kamsky in the deep endgame and Peter Svidler won his first game in the tournament against former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov.
The central game of the fourth round was clearly between the sole leader of the tournament Alexander Morozevich and the in-form Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who was in second place, and ultimately finished in a draw.
As a result, Morozevich still keeps leading with half a point ahead of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Wang Hao and Fabiano Caruana.
Kamsky-Wang Hao 0-1
Gata Kamsky seemed to be not prepared for the opening chosen by Wang Hao. After six moves he spent almost an hour but didn’t decide then to play the most principled move Nc3. After 7.Bd2?! White was trying to prove throughout the game that he has got enough compensation for the pawn. The play of both opponents might be improved but the situation on the board was more or less balanced and both players kept finding precise moves even under time trouble.
The endgame with bishop versus knight after 46…b4 reminded us of a study and Kamsky went for the line which seemed to be drawish, but however, the Chinese player showed nice refutation. Although, as Wang Hao admitted during the press-conference there was still a draw after 47. Kd5.
Peter Svidler chose the line with 5.Nb3 after 4…Bc5 in a Scotch Game. In the theoretical position after 11 moves he decided to play 12.Bf4 instead of the better known 12.Be3. As Peter Svidler pointed out at the press-conference the move Bf4 doesn’t give White an advantage but at the same time the position on the board seems to be complex and fresh.
Later on, Peter Svidler decided to exchange the queens and converted the position into an endgame, which seemed to be more promising for white. Ruslan Ponomariov spent a lot of time in the opening and it might be the reason he could not make all the precise moves required, playing with only few minutes on his clock. Peter Svidler managed to convert his advantage in a very convincing way.
Once again, a Rossolimo Sicilian appeared in the game of Boris Gelfand. Caruana got quite a promising position and after a few inaccurate moves of Boris Gelfand, the Italian player missed a real chance to finish the fight immediately in the middle game. After 21.Qg3 0-0 22.Bh6 Rf7 23.e5 Black would hardly habe able to withstand White’s pressure.
Later on, the game converted into an endgame with an extra pawn for White. Fabiano didn’t play the endgame in the most precise way, and Black almost achieved a draw but failed to find the variation starting with 56...Kd6!
Sergey Karjakin decided to surprise his opponent already on the second move. The Queens Gambit Accepted didn’t appear in his games for the last four years. Rustam Kasimdzhanov was not in a mood to go for the principled but sharp main lines against a seemingly well prepared opponent, so he chose instead one of the quietest continuations. Therefore, White didn’t get anything out of the opening, so draw seemed to be the logical outcome of the game.
Both players made a confession they are following the Women World Championship. “I watched many games. Women don’t play so bad!” pointed out Sergey Karjakin. Rustam Kasimdzanov followed online the match of Kosintseva sisters.
“I cannot imagine what did they feel during that match and I feel sorry for both of them. It’s hard to imagine that such situation will not influence the relations and I wish all the best for them!”
After Sergey learnt that Anna Ushenina is going to play in the final he said he is going to root for Ushenina because they played for the same team. Rustam Kasimdzhanov is hoping that Antoaneta Stefanova would be the winner, not only because she is his good friend, but because both of them became world champions at the same year in 2004. “If she wins the championship I will take it as a good omen”, said Rustam.
Once again Black’s second move came as a big surprise. Peter Leko expected the Gruenfeld but Leiner Dominguez changed for a Nimzo. Peter explained that he used to play this defence as Black, so he spent some time trying to choose which line to play and finally went for 4.Qc2, as this move has never been played in his games with White.
The Hungarian player tried to lure his opponent into an unknown position and as he said during the press-conference “there were so many options for Black to play wrongly but my opponent found the best directions! I think it was quite logical what happened in the game if we can call it logical.”
Right in the opening the position became very sharp, both opponents played quite precisely and ended up in an endgame where White kept on hoping to get an advantage. Leiner Dominguez found the exact moves and the game finished in a draw.
Despite the opening choice (Exchanged Slav) the game between two of the leaders was sharp and complex. Shakh was happy with his position after 13…Bd6 but underestimated 14.Rb3. A forced line followed which led to the position where Black had 4 pawns for the knight but superb coordination of the white pieces gave Morozevich better chances.
At the same time, the position was so unbalanced that both players were not entirely sure where to look for improvements even after the game had finished. Perhaps 39.Ne7 Kh8 40.Qd6 would offer White better chances to win the game.