Leinier Dominguez grinded down Veselin Topalov in the longest game of the day to overtake Gata Kamsky and claim a clear first place in the Thessaloniki Grand Prix. The Cuban finished the tournament with 8/11 points.
In the other key encounter Fabiano Caruana made a good favour for Dominguez by defeating the overnight leader Kamsky to finally catch him on the shared second place.
Hikaru Nakamura won against Peter Svidler to finish the tournament in good mood, while Vassily Ivanchuk scored his first victory in the game against Etienne Bacrot.
White employed the English Attack in the Naidorf Sicilian and the play followed an earlier encounter between Leko and Grischuk in London Grand Prix.
At one point Kasimdzhanov deviated from Leko’s game with the more ambitious 18.Rh8. However, two moves later he refrained from the consistent 20.fxe4 and played the safer 20.Qxe4. Kasimdzhanov said that this has been a very difficult tournament and he was not very ambitious today.
Grischuk added that he had to go down the forced line after 10…b4 because otherwise he would simply be worse.
Kasimdzhanov concluded that the tournament was very nice, his result is okay, but he wasn’t happy about the two games with white pieces that he lost (to Dominguez and Kamsky).
Grischuk declared that “Leko is history, we officially have a new king of draws – Drawschuk.” He provided statistics to back the claim (London Grand Prix and Candidates, Thessaloniki, Kazan). It is not that he wasn’t trying, but he couldn’t convert many winning positions and he also saved some difficult games.
Bacrot – Ivanchuk
Ivanchuk defended with the Gruenfeld Indian defence but he wasn’t entirely happy with his play, actually he said that “the position looks terrible for black”.
White rushed to push d5, but Ivanchuk feels that this gave him a chance to come back into the game. The Ukrainian said that with 18.Rec1 Rc8 19.Rxc8 Qxc8 20.Rc1 Qd8 21.Qa3 white retains big advantage.
Another mistake followed, according to Ivanchuk, as white played 19.Ne5, after which “…at least black is not losing by force”. Black used the chance to attack the center with 19…e6.
Better was to prepare the Ne5 jump with 19.Red1 first, and then if 19…f5 20.Ng5 fxe4 21.Ne6 Nxe6 22.dxe6 wins the Queen.
Ivanchuk said that 22.Bg5 was a strange decision, but maybe white wanted to repeat the moves with 22…Bf6 23.Bh6 Bg7 etc. He thought for awhile and found 22…f6 as a best way to fight on.
White didn’t expect 29.Rbd1, better was to continue 29.Qxb6 Bxf2+ 30.Bxf2 Qxf2+ 31.Kh1, or 29.Qa2 Ne4 30.Bd3 Bxf2+ 31.Bxf2 Qxf2+ 32.Qxf2 Nxf2 33.Bf1.
After this error black assumed clear advantage and proceeded to win the game with a nice tactical combination.
Ivanchuk also showed the improvements for the yesterday’s game with Nakamura. He came up with the winning moves while swimming in the pool.
In conclusion, Ivanchuk said – “The hotel and organization were very nice, but my play…(facepalms)”
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