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