After some exciting games in round one, more fireworks were witnessed in the second round of the Geneva Grand Prix.
The Azeri star, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won in merely 20 moves against Ernesto Inarkiev. In a game that opened with the Queen’s Gambit, Mamedyarov allowed his opponent to solidly defend the gambit pawn Shakh had sacrificed early in the game.
As play proceeded, the Azeri GM started attacking Inarkiev’s queen which was slightly exposed on the queen side. The game got complicated in no time after this and pieces were en prise all around. By move 19, although Mamedyarov had decent pressure, the position looked a lot calmer. This is where the Russian Grandmaster made a fatal error by castling queen side, missing that his queen could be trapped in just one move. As soon as Mamedyarov played the right move over the board, Inarkiev resigned in no time.
India’s Pentala Harikrishna had the white pieces against the British number one, Michael Adams. Adams has been one of the best players in the world since quite a while and Hari seemed to appreciate this.
After the game, he said, “It is easy to prepare against Adams but difficult to play against him”. At this point, Mickey pointed out that Hari has won all of the last three games that the two aces played before this encounter. In this round, however, both players seemed to have wanted a calmer game and followed the well-trodden paths of the Italian opening.
Post the opening, Hari said he was happy with his position and felt that his twentieth move, 20. Qe2, wasn’t quite precise as Adams got the opportunity to exchange light squared bishops immediately. Adams also agreed that his pieces were a bit awkward and Hari had decent pressure in the position. But being the great defender that he is, Adams was able to co-ordinate his pieces and neutralize the position. In fact, towards the end, it was Hari who was fighting to hold the position. Eventually the players reached a position where Adams still had a slightly better position but since a lot of pieces were about to be exchanged, the players agreed a draw after 38 moves.
Another nerve-wracking game was the one between Teimur Radjabov and Pavel Eljanov. Radjabov chose a sharp line in the Queen’s Indian Defence which he later said is harmless if black makes a few accurate moves. But his Ukrainian opponent didn’t seem to be fully prepared for the line and after a few inaccuracies on his part, Radjabov had a better position. Radjabov was better throughout the game but the exciting part of the game was the very end when he was attacking Eljanov’s king. The Azeri GM was terribly low on time and at one point he was down to one second before he pressed his clock. But in the end Radjabov was able to find a winning rook sacrifice that led to checkmate and force his opponent to resign. This is his second win in the tournament and with it he is leading by half a point over the rest of the field.
Levon Aronian also went all guns blazing at Dmitry Jakovenko in his second round game. Although the game started off with the relatively calm Italian Opening, he realized that Jakovenko was too solid a player to beat without taking risk. As the middle game commenced, the Armenian number one quickly changed gears sacrificing a pawn and started an attack on his opponent’s king. This strategy paid off as Jakovenko erred under time pressure and Aronian got his first win of the event.
In the other games of the round, Salem Saleh also tried the Italian against the Dutch number one, Anish Giri and suffered the same fate as Jakovenko. In a long maneuvering game, Giri outplayed the Sharjah-based Grandmaster and finished off cleanly in a rook and knight endgame. Alexander Grischuk also won his game against the Hungarian GM Richard Rapport in the Chigorin Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Former world championship challenger, Boris Gelfand, was able to hold GM Ian Nepomniachtchi to a draw fairly in a Sicilian Rossolimo. The latter was caught in the opening preparation of his opponent and after a mass exchange of pieces as early as by move 18, the players agreed a draw. You can find the full results in the table below.
Having won both his rounds, Teimur Radjabov is leading the tournament with 2.0/2. Harikrishna is sharing the second spot along with Adams, Mamedyarov, Grischuk, and Aronian with a score of 1.5. Giri, Svidler, Nepomniachtchi, Eljanov, Li Chao and Boris Gelfand are on the third spot with 1.0/2. Half-a-point behind them are Inarkiev, Jakovenko, Rapport, Riazantsev and Hou Yifan who have scored 0.5/2. The Sharjah based Grandmaster, Salem Saleh, is at the bottom of the table with 0.0/2.
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Updated Date: Jul 10, 2017 16:39:38 IST