The first leg of the current FIDE Grand Prix has come to an end, with three players sharing first (no tiebreaks) in the inaugural leg in London. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov came into the round in clear first, but whether due to a lack of ambition or simply good prep from Peter Leko he got nothing with the white pieces and finished quickly (in terms of time) with a 41-move draw.
That gave Boris Gelfand, Veselin Topalov and Alexander Grischuk the chance to catch him in a tie for first, if they could win in the last round, and two of them did. Grischuk had White against Hikaru Nakamura, but despite that and the latter's generally poor form in the tournament he held a draw without much trouble. Nakamura repeated a relatively minor line of the Dragon he used as a surprise weapon against Anish Giri in Wijk aan Zee earlier this year. Grischuk was probably prepared and varied first, but may have been surprised anew by Nakamura's 18...Rab8 (18...b4 is usual). Grischuk didn't get much, and after 24.Bxg7 (the engine claims that 24.axb4 may offer White a very small edge...maybe) it was equal and the players were satisfied with an unforced (but reasonable) draw by repetition.
Veselin Topalov won a Carlsen-like game. Anish Giri had a very small pull with White in a Queen's Gambit Declined sideline, but it looked for all the world like it was heading for a quick draw. It was an even ending, but Giri started to drift. His 30th and 31st moves weren't so bad, but they sowed the seeds of his later troubles. The bishop remained shut out on a5 for a long time, while 31.h4 allowed Topalov to break up the kingside and eventually create a pair of central passers. For whatever reason, Giri was badly outplayed in the endgame, and Topalov won (or at least tied for first) in a major event for the first time in some years.
Another player who had gone quite some time without winning a round-robin event was Boris Gelfand, but with an impressive win over Rustam Kasimdzhanov, he did it. Generally speaking, it was a convincing victory, but as he admitted after the game he "blundered" 14...Bc6. (Linguistic note: there's a strange trend I've only noticed over the past year or so, but it seems to be everywhere now, and that's using the word "blundered" as a synonym for "overlooked". That isn't what the word means!) Fortunately for him, Kasimdzhanov "blundered" it too, and Gelfand went on to win in style. Kasimdzhanov blundered (correct usage!) into a forced mate at the end, but even without the helpmate White's win was routine.
1-3. Topalov, Gelfand, Mamedyarov 7
4. Grischuk 6.5
5. Leko 6
6. Wang Hao 5.5
7-8. Ivanchuk, Adams 5
9-10. Kasimdzhanov, Dominguez 4.5
11-12. Giri, Nakamura 4