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    Entries in Dmitry Jakovenko (5)

    Wednesday
    May272015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, The End: Caruana, Nakamura and Jakovenko Tie For First, and the First Two Are Now Candidates

    Five of the six games were drawn today, with only Peter Svidler managing a win (against Baadur Jobava). As a result, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Dmitry Jakovenko tied for first in the Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix tournament. More importantly, Caruana and Nakamura finished 1-2 in the overall Grand Prix standings, and thereby qualified for next year's Candidates' event.

    (Viswanathan Anand had already qualified by virtue of his loss in the last world championship match, while the other five candidates have yet to be determined. Two will qualify from the World Cup [starting September 10], two will qualify by rating, and one will qualify on whatever basis the organizers see fit. Hopefully it will go to the person who was closest overall to qualifying in one of the other ways, but there's a non-trivial chance that it will go to the strongest available representative of the host country.)

    As for the final round action, two games were crucial: Anish Giri vs. Caruana and Nakamura vs. Jakovenko. Caruana had a small disadvantage in the middlegame, but it disappeared when Giri went for the ebullient plan of g4-g5. Caruana was soon better, and it was only the sufficiency of taking a draw that prevented him from making Giri suffer for several hours. Meanwhile, Jakovenko needed a win to take sole first and to qualify for the Candidates' rather than his opponent. He managed to get a very small advantage, but it never became anything tangible. Whatever small chances he had departed with the last set of rooks, as 26...Rxf2 led to a queen ending where both sides' pawns started disappearing in a hurry. With the draw Jakovenko concluded an outstanding result, but it wasn't quite good enough.

    Tuesday
    May262015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 10: Four Players Still Fighting For Two Candidates' Slots

    After drawing their game - a real game, too - Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura are still heavy favorites to go 1-2 in the overall Grand Prix standings and thereby qualify for next year's Candidates' event. Caruana probably would have sewed up his qualification had he won, and he was better, but even now his odds are allegedly 92.6%. Not bad, and Nakamura supposedly has an 87.6% chance to qualify.

    So who might upset the apple cart? The prime candidate (no pun intended) is Dmitry Jakovenko, whose victory over Sergey Karjakin put him into a tie for first. Jakovenko will have Black against Nakamura in the last round, and he has two ways to get in. The simplest is by beating Nakamura, but if he draws and Caruana loses he has a 2/3 chance of making it. All Caruana needs is a draw (with Black) against Anish Giri to qualify, and Nakamura will qualify with a draw unless Caruana beats Giri, Boris Gelfand beats Karjakin, Leinier Dominguez beats Alexander Grischuk and Evgeny Tomashevsky beats Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. If all that happens, Tomashevsky will qualify.

    So that's what we have to look forward to. The only other thing I'll mention about round 10 is that Baadur Jobava beat Leinier Dominguez, which was a big blow to the Cuban as he had been tied for first and still had his own hopes of qualifying for the Candidates'. The other games were drawn, and here are the full last round pairings, with player scores in parentheses:

    • Karjakin (5) - Gelfand (5.5)
    • Nakamura (6) - Jakovenko (6)
    • Giri (5) - Caruana (6)
    • Dominguez (5.5) - Grischuk (5)
    • Svidler (4.5) - Jobava (4)
    • Tomashevsky (4.5) - Vachier-Lagrave (3)

    Tournament site here.

    Tuesday
    May192015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 5: Karjakin & Jakovenko Win; Caruana Still Leads

    After five of 11 rounds at the Grand Prix tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, Fabiano Caruana continues to lead with a +2 score. On paper he had a good chance to move to +3 with the white pieces against the tournament's lowest-rated player, Baadur Jobava, but on the board he didn't come particularly close. Jobava played provocatively in an Advance Caro-Kann, but when Caruana didn't manage to achieve anything more than to go for a meaningless extra pawn in a rook ending the game finished in a draw.

    The shortest draw of the round was between Alexander Grischuk and Boris Gelfand. Grischuk remarked after the game that after his 8.h3 the game was basically a draw, and it seems that this was at most a slight exaggeration. (Few of us would have drawn the game, so we can say that there is some exaggeration in his remark.) Gelfand's idea with 17...a6 18.Qb6 d5 was a nice way of getting the job done, and the game finished in a draw by repetition ten moves later.

    Hikaru Nakamura vs. Peter Svidler was also a short draw in terms of moves - just 31 of them - but this was a roller coaster ride. Nakamura had a serious advantage out of the opening, and it seems that Svidler may have been in some trouble after 24.Qd2 rather than 24.Rh4. After that inaccuracy, Svidler was okay and by the end was even better, though it wasn't clear to him how to make progress. So, a draw.

    The final draw of the day was between Anish Giri and Leinier Dominguez. Giri eschewed the super-sharp system with h4 against Dominguez's Bogo-Indian, and wound up with a worse position for his troubles. Dominguez was better throughout, just not better enough to turn it into a win.

    That leaves the day's two wins. The first was Dmitry Jakovenko's win over tailender Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and was mostly due to a single move: 16...Bxh6, blundering a pawn to the simple zwischenzug 17.Nxe5. Before that White was only slightly better, and after it he was just winning. Vachier-Lagrave put up a game fight, and then at the end committed another blunder and resigned after White's reply. The problem with MVL's 39...Kf5? is that after 40.Ra5! White threatens not only 41.Rxc6 but also 41.b5, and either would be fatal. Black could try 40...Rc2, but that's immediately and obviously handled by 41.Rc5.

    The other win was a monster game going 99 moves and taking seven hours. Sergey Karjakin didn't have much of an advantage against Evgeny Tomashevsky - maybe nothing, really - but he did have the two bishops. After seemingly endless maneuvering Karjakin played the super-delayed King's Gambit: 70.e4 followed by 71.f4. This didn't win on the spot, but it was very dangerous for Black, whose forces weren't ideally coordinated at that moment for the position to open up. Tomashevsky was also somewhat short of time, and Karjakin was winning a few moves later. It was an impressive game, and a reminder of the wisdom behind the adage "the future belongs to the bishops".

    Jakovenko's win brought him back to 50% while Karjakin's win put him in the tie for second at +1, half a point behind Caruana. Tomashevsky has dropped to -1, and he'll need to start picking up the extra half-points rather than giving them away if he hopes to qualify for the Candidates. He can start tomorrow, when the pairings for round 6 are as follows:

    • Gelfand (2.5) - Dominguez (3)
    • Svidler (3) - Giri (2)
    • Tomashevsy (2) - Nakamura (2.5)
    • Vachier-Lagrave (1.5) - Karjakin (3)
    • Jobava (2) - Jakovenko (2.5)
    • Grischuk (2.5) - Caruana (3.5)

    Thursday
    May142015

    Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix, Round 1: Tomashevsky and Jakovenko Win

    It was a cautious start for most of the players on the first day of the final Grand Prix event of the year, with three of the six games finishing in a draw at or just after the 30-move limit and a fourth unnecessarily continuing to move 40 when it too could have been abandoned could have been abandoned with the others. The other two games had more life and indeed, finished with winners and losers.

    Dmitry Jakovenko was well-prepared for Anish Giri's Ragozin, and chose a line in which he quickly seized the bishop pair. Perhaps Giri's position wasn't too bad prior to his mistaken decision to play 19...Nxc4, but after that he was in trouble. Slow, long-lasting trouble, but trouble nonetheless. Jakovenko surrendered his bishops to reach a double-rook ending with a better structure; this in turn transmogrified into a single rook ending with an extra pawn. It took Jakovenko a while to win it, yet the result was never in any real doubt.

    The same cannot (truthfully) be said about Evgeny Tomashevsky's win over Baadur Jobava. Jobava got a big advantage from the opening, thanks in part to Tomashevsky's failure to play ...b6 at an appropriate moment, and it wasn't long before Jobava was winning. The game shifted in a big way when Jobava thought he could cash in with 22.Bxc4 dxc4 23.Rb4. The first move wasn't so good and the second (which was intended as a unit with the first move) was an outright error, thanks to Tomashevsky's strong 23...e5(!). Suddenly Black's pieces came to life, which was a remarkable transformation considering how cramped he had been just a few moments before. By move 30 Black was winning, and in the complications that followed Tomashevsky's advantage grew bigger by the move, and he finished the game in convincing style.

    For the moment, at least, the leader of the overall Grand Prix - Tomashevsky - is also the (co-)leader of this event. Ten rounds to go; here's what round 2's pairings look like:

    • Gelfand - Nakamura
    • Giri - Karjakin
    • Dominguez - Jakovenko
    • Svidler - Caruana
    • Tomashevsky - Grischuk
    • Vachier-Lagrave - Jobava

    Sunday
    Feb222015

    Tbilisi Grand Prix, Round 7: Jakovenko Closes on Tomashevsky

    Evgeny Tomashevsky continues to lead the Tbilisi Grand Prix after his third straight draw, and Dmitry Jakovenko has cut the lead to half a point. Tomashevsky had the white pieces against Peter Svidler and perhaps tried to catch the Gruenfeld specialist by surprise with a sideline. Perhaps he did, as Svidler used about an hour from move 13 to move 16, but it wasn't enough for an advantage. Svidler worked everything out, and soon Tomashevsky headed for a draw by repetition.

    Meanwhile, Jakovenko was building an advantage against Anish Giri's Dutch. Jakovenko's line is conceptually interesting, taking on a weak queenside structure in return for activity and the chance to swap off the right pieces. White was better throughout, though his advantage only grew decisive in the second time control.

    Giri had already joined Hikaru Nakamura as a charter member of the ex-2800s club before this game, but this solidified his membership. Another new member is Alexander Grischuk, whose loss to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is a bit hard to explain. Grischuk seemed to be doing just fine, but 17.Ra5 was a serious error that was soon compounded by 19.Bf4. As a result of these errors Black was up two pawns with a monster passer on d3, and while work remained to be done there was little doubt about the result from then on.

    The third victor of the day was Baadur Jobava, who outplayed Leinier Dominguez in one of the former's pet lines, the reversed Philidor.

    Four rounds remain. Behind Tomashevsky (5 points) and Jakovenko (4.5) there's Teimour Radjabov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov (4 points apiece), followed by Giri, Mamedyarov and Dominguez with 3.5.