15 May

The Final Lap

The fourth and final lap of the FIDE Grand Prix series 2014-2015 is now underway in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.  There’s a lot at stake, as the winner and second placed player overall in the Grand Prix series of four tournaments will qualify through to the 2016 Candidates Tournament - a golden opportunity, as the winner of the Candidates' gets to become World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s next official title challenger.


But there’s a surprise dark horse leader in the overall GP standings after three events, with the 27-year-old Russian, Evgeny Yurievich Tomashevsky - who dominated the previous GP in Tbilisi, Georgia, to win with an impressive 8/11, a point and a half clear of the field - leading on 252 points, ahead of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (235), Fabiano Caruana (230), Teimour Radjabov (210) and Hikaru Nakamura (207).

However Mamedyarov and Radjabov have already finished their participation after selecting to play in the first three events - Baku and Tashkent last year and Tblisi this February. So Tomashevsky finds himself in pole position for one of the two qualifying spots, and the real race in Khanty-Mansiysk could well be for who can accrue enough points to get the second spot.

But Tomashevsky wasn’t resting on his laurels - he almost started as he finished the previous GP, and nearly took the early sole lead on 2/2, had he not squandered what was a sure-fire win against the top-rated Russian, Alexander Grischuk. A golden chance he will hope doesn’t come back to haunt him.

Standings: 1-2. Leinier Dominguez (Cuba), Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia), 1.5/2; 3-10. Fabiano Caruana (Italy/USA), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Peter Svidler (Russia), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia), 1; 11-12. Anish Giri (Netherlands), Baadur Jobava (Georgia), 0.5.

Evgeny Tomashevsky - Alexander Grischuk
Khanty-Mansiysk FIDE Grand Prix, (2)
King’s Indian Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 The Classical King's Indian with h3 has gained a wide following, mostly because of its flexibility. It is commonly called the Makagonov System when White plays 5.h3 and the Krasenkow System when White plays 5.Nf3 followed by 6.h3 (though that was actually Vladimir Makagonov's preferred move order!). 6...e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.g3 The knight has to be stopped from getting to f4. 8...Qe7 9.Nh2 Na6 10.Be3 Nc5 11.h4 a5 12.Be2 Nf6 13.Qc2 c6 14.g4 Na6 15.g5 Ne8 16.h5 Forcing open the h-file. In such positions in the King's Indian, if Black doesn't respond by playing actively, he will easily be rolled over. 16...Nb4 17.Qd2 cxd5 18.cxd5 Bd7 19.0-0-0 f5 20.Kb1 b5 21.hxg6 hxg6 22.f3 Not only shoring up the defence of e4, but also potential threats of the queen linking up with the rook on h2 with mating threats down the h-file. 22...Nc7 23.Rc1 Nba6 24.Bd3 b4 25.Ne2 Nb5 26.Rc6! Nicely timed! Black can't take the rook as there will be a big threat of a Bc4+ winning. 26...Rfb8 27.Rhc1 f4! Black's best option - taking on c6 left a big white-square weakness in the Black camp: 27...Bxc6 28.dxc6 d5!? (28...Nac7?! looks dangerous: 29.exf5 gxf5 30.Bxf5 d5 31.Bc5 Qe8 32.Ng4 Qxc6 33.Nd4! is easily winning.) 29.exd5 28.Bf2 Bf8 29.Ng4 Qxg5 30.Rh1?! Missing the sure-fire win with 30.Bxb5! Rxb5 31.Qd3 30...Qe7 31.Bxb5 Rxb5 32.Nxf4 Bxg4? Black would still be worse after 32...exf4 33.Qxf4 - but it was the only option here. 33.Nxg6 Qf6 34.Nxf8 It's always much better sitting back in the comfort of your own home with a playing engine doing all the work! White missed the clinical win with 34.Rh8+ Kf7 35.Rxa6! Kxg6 36.Bh4! Qxh8 37.Qg5+ Kh7 38.Rxa8 Qg7 39.Qxg4 34...Rxf8 35.Rg1 Qxf3 36.Qg5+ Kf7 37.Rxg4 Ke8 38.Qg6+ Qf7 39.Qxf7+ Both players were in a mad dash to reach the time control, hence the missing of several wins for Tomashevsky - but Grischuk would surely have resigned after 39.Qxd6! 39...Rxf7 40.Be3? With the digital clock metaphorically ticking down and his flag hanging, Tomashevsky misses another resignation moment for his opponent with 40.Rg8+ Kd7 41.Rxa6 and Black can't take the bishop on f2 as 42.Ra7+ wins a rook. Now he has to win the game all over again. 40...Nc5 41.Rg8+ Kd7 42.Ra8 Rb7 (See Diagram) 43.Bxc5? Stronger - and perhaps the final chance to win - was the big mating threat with 43.Bg5! Rf1+ 44.Kc2 Rf2+ 45.Kd1 Ne6 46.dxe6+ Kxc6 47.e7 Rxe7 48.Bxe7 Rf4 49.Rd8 Kc7 50.Rxd6 Rf7 51.Re6 Kd7 52.Rxe5 Rxe7 53.Rxe7+ Kxe7 54.Kc2 and a won king and pawn ending. Instead, Tomashevsky errs by believing he can get to a technically won rook and pawn ending - he would do well to remember that well known maxim that all rook and pawn endings are drawn! 43...dxc5 44.Rxc5? His last chance of a attempting to win was with 44.Rxa5. It's only further down the line of what he plays that he realizes - too late - that Grischuk has a saving resource. 44...Rf1+ 45.Rc1 Rxc1+ 46.Kxc1 b3! Without this, Black's lost. 47.a3 Rc7+ 48.Kd2 Rc2+ 49.Kd3 Rxb2 50.Rxa5 Rh2 51.Rb5 There's a good golden rule in rook and pawn endings: the rook is best placed behind a passed pawn, even if you are trying to stop one or indeed attempting to pass one. 51...Rh3+ 52.Kd2 Kd6 53.a4 Rh2+ 54.Kc3 Rh3+ 55.Kd2 Rh2+ 56.Kc3 Rh3+ It would have been around here, with the repeating of the moves, that Tomashevsky must seen it was a draw and not the win. 57.Kc4 Re3 58.Rb6+ Kc7 59.Rxb3 A better try to win was 59.Kc5! Rc3+ (59...Rxe4 60.d6+ Kd7 61.Kd5 is an easy win.) 60.Kb5 b2 61.Ka6 Rc4 62.a5 Rxe4 63.d6+ Kc8 (63...Kd7 64.Kb7 is winning.) 64.Rxb2 - but after 64...Rd4 65.Rc2+ Kd7 66.Kb5 Kxd6 67.a6 Rd1 again, you are going to get a position where Black sacrifices the rook for the a-pawn and the White king being too far away to prevent the draw. 59...Rxe4+ 60.Kc5 Rxa4 61.d6+ Kd7 62.Rb7+ Ke6! The king allows itself to be chased up the board and away from White's passed pawn - but in doing so, it helps secure the promotion of his own pawn to save the draw. 63.Re7+ Kf5 64.d7 Rd4 65.Kc6 e4 66.Re8 Kf4 67.d8Q Rxd8 68.Rxd8 e3 White is just one tempo out from the win. 69.Kd5 e2 70.Re8 Kf3 71.Kd4 Kf2 72.Kd3 e1Q 73.Rxe1 Kxe1 ½-½

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