In round 2 of the London Grand Prix, it was again the case that a majority of the games were drawn, though - again - most of the games were hard fought. There were two decisive results: Peter Leko outplayed Vassily Ivanchuk in a French Defense (Steinitz Variation), and Hikaru Nakamura managed to swindle Rustam Kasimdzhanov at the end of the second time control to get back to 50%.
In Leko-Ivanchuk, White had a token pull for a while, but nothing really until 29...Ke7. Ivanchuk either missed or underestimated the strength of the g4-g5 idea; had he realized it, he'd have played 29...Kf7 and met 30.g4 with 30...g5!, equalizing. From that point on he played quite badly, and rather than forcing Leko to grind out the point, Ivanchuk quickly self-destructed.
Kasimdzhanov-Nakamura was a tough battle in a Classical King's Indian. Kasimdzhanov seemed very well prepared, cracking out the moves up through 25.Nc5. Only after 25...Kh8 did White start using time, and soon both his lead and his advantage on the board had dissipated. (Or at least what the engine takes to be his advantage - in the Classical King's Indian, one must be very careful about trusting the engine. Black's threats take time to materialize, but once they do White's situation is as dire as the coyote's in a Road Runner cartoon.) From late in the first time control until late in the second one, the position fluctuated from equality to a very slight pull for Nakamura, but a more useful way to describe the situation is that Nakamura fought like crazy to keep his initiative and attacking hopes alive, even with the queens off, while Kasimdzhanov hoped to consolidate, when his bishops and outside passed a-pawn might give him some chances for the full point.
On move 59, with two moves left to the second time control, Kasimdzhanov's best move would have been 59.Ba5, when the bishop keeps the important d2 and e1 squares under control. Instead he played 59.a5, which left him in a precarious situation after 59...Rc6, threatening an immediate win with 60...Rh1+. Here 60.Bf3 was imperative, when after 60...Nf2+ 61.Kd2! he may be able to hold. It's complicated, which cannot be said of the move Kasimdzhanov played immediately: 60.Bd3?? Nakamura played 60...Rd2+, and that was that: White resigned as 61.Ke1 Rc1 is mate.
Of the draws, I'll note only Adams-Mamedyarov, because of the unusual repetition sequence that ended the game: 41.Rc3-g3 Kb8-c8 42.Rd7-d1 Rf8-g8 43.Rg3-c3+ (the rook goes back where it started) Kc8-b8 (likewise the king) 44.Rd1-d7 (likewise the second rook) Rg8-f8 (and ditto for Black's rook) and then White started it all over again with 45.Rc3-g3.
After two rounds, Boris Gelfand (who drew fairly quickly with White against Veselin Topalov) and Leko are tied for first with 1.5 points. Nakamura lost to Gelfand in round 1, so today's win put him back to 50%. Here are the round three pairings:
- Nakamura - Leko
- Topalov - Kasimdzhanov
- Dominguez - Gelfand
- Wang Hao - Grischuk
- Mamedyarov - Giri
- Ivanchuk - Adams