The seventh round of the Grand Prix in Tashkent demonstrated that famous “all rook endgames are drawn” doesn’t always work even on such a high level. The leader of the tournament Alexander Morozevich unexpectedly lost in the equal rook ending against his compatriot Sergey Karjakin. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was luckier as he managed to make a draw in a slightly worse rook endgame against Kamsky. The game could have ended on favor of American player but he missed his winning chance in the critical moment. Fabiano Caruana defeated Lenier Dominguez to take the lead together with Sergey Karjakin. Both leaders will face each other tomorrow in the eighth round.
Alexander Morozevich surprised his opponent in the opening as he chose the rare line in Scheveningen Sicilian. Sergey Karjakin could not remember his analysis and after 14.Bf3 Bc6 Black managed to equalize the position. In the rook endgame White continued to play in objectively drawish endgame and after six hours of play Morozevich blundered rook sacrifice 53.Rc6. After the following forced line Black ended up in the lost position.
Slav Defence with 4.e3 g6 happened in the game and after 15.f4 Black preferred to play immediatly15…dc4, avoiding Whites possible c5. The force line transformed the game into to the ending, which objectively should be about equal. Gata Kamsky decided to continue playing the rook ending without any risk and Shahriyar had to defend precisely. Both players missed the winning chance for Black after inaccurate 58.Rg6. After 58…Re4 and following f4-f3 Black could simply win the game.
Fabiano Caruana decided to surprise his opponent right on the first move and played 1…d5, which he has never used in his practice before. Leinier repeated the line from his game against Judit Polgar but Black didn’t have problems to equalize the position and got a comfortable play. As Italian player pointed out during the press-conference the idea behind his move 12…c5 is to play 13…Nbd7 after Whites logical move 13.Ne5.
The endgame turned to be more pleasant for Black but Fabiano believes White had “enough solid position to keep the balance”. After inaccurate 31.c4 Black got an extra pawn and started to increase their advantage. Leiner didn’t defend in the most precise way and passed a-pawn became unstoppable.
Wang Hao-Peter Svidler 1/2-1/2
Anti-Gruenfeld happened in the game. Peter Svidler was not sure about his 10…c6, as after 11.Ng5 Bg4 Whites 12.Be2 improves the game Gelfand –Svidler, where Boris Gelfand played 12.f3. Nevertheless, Wang Hao didn’t manage to create difficulties for Black and after 32 moves the game was drawn.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov expected Spanish Defence today but Peter Leko managed to surprise him with 9…d6, as nowadays 9…d5 seems to be a more popular move. Whites 20.c4!? prevented Black’s idea to play direct d5 and after 23.c5 former world champion received the position with long-playing advantage. Under the time trouble Black arranged some counter play and opponents finished the game after the three-time repetition. “Maybe it was not the best decision to force a draw in the final position but I’ve lost enough games under the time trouble blundering something on 40th move”, explained his choice Rustam.
Ruslan Ponomariov was repeating the game Caruana-Gelfand till 7th move but preferred 7.c3 to Fabiano’s 7. d3. One of the critical moments appeared after 15.Bc3. As Boris Gelfand put it during the press-conference he wanted to play 15…e5 and d6 but unfortunately White has a tactical reply 16.Be5 Ne5 17.d4, so he went for 15…d5 instead. After a few exchanges Black equalized the position. However, opponents played so solidly that it’s not easy to find any improvement for both sides.