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Games Commentary

1st round press conference
Tuesday, 11 May 2010

110510_pc-web-wan.jpgAfter each game of the FIDE Grand Pix in Astrakhan all the participants visit the press conferences. There are the most interesting replies.

Wang Yue (China) vs. Peter Leko (Hungary)


Wang Yue:

– This was a short game, only 18 move, but I think it was extremely interesting. I made a relatively rare move, which, on the other hand, already occurred in my games, so Peter could prepare for it, and he reacted properly. On the 11th move I made a novelty, but my opponent found the best reply as well. In the end we started repeating moves, as neither player could claim anything more than a draw. 

Peter Leko:

– This game was indeed spectacular and theoretically important. My opponent won two games in this variation, but his opponents hesitated to play the most principled reply. I knew the position quite well, as I discussed it with my trainer Arshak Petrosian, and made the move that occurred in practice of Hungary’s famous grandmaster Lajos Portisch.

11.Nc3 is an interesting novelty. Its idea is that if Black takes on e3, he lags in development and may end up in an unpleasant position. Therefore it was important to keep the initiative and attack White’s weak pawn immediately. There were many nuances in that position; for instance, if I selected a different 14th move, I could face a lengthy home analysis of my opponent and end up in a risky position...


– Are you satisfied with the result?


Wang Yue:

 I am satisfied, despite making a draw as White. I had a strong opponent and the result could be worse.



 I try to be objective. It was an interesting and sound game, so the final result is fair.



– What are your impressions from Astrakhan?

Wang Yue:

 It is a very nice city. I hope to see more of it on a free day.



– I always like coming to Russia, where I can practice my Russian. Astrakhan as we saw it from the car makes a good impression. I like the fact that our playing venue is located in the center – this means I can have a good walk if the game ends early. However, the weather is kind of hot, and I have to acclimatize yet.


Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan) vs. Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine)


Vugar Gashimov:

– I think I got a better position out of the opening. The opponent misplayed the scheme with Re8 and Bf8, and after I played f4, Black’s position was already unpromising. Vassily Mikhailovich could defend better, but in any case White had a very comfortable game. I am very glad about starting the tournament with a victory against such a strong player as Ivanchuk.


Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia) vs. Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine)

Ernesto Inarkiev:

– Ruslan surprised me with his opening choice. I decided to play safely, “for two results”, as the saying goes. However, Ruslan reacted very accurately, and I realized that my position is by no means better. In the second part of the game I had to play carefully to maintain the balance. Perhaps Ruslan could play more energetically and create more problems for me. However, objectively the game remained equal or almost equal. I hoped for a large-scale battle in this game, but half a point is also a positive result – at least you’ve got something to bring home...


Ruslan Ponomariov:

 It was an easy game. All I needed to do is to place my pieces on comfortable squares. Maybe I could play for more, but objectively White’s position was quite solid and didn’t contain any pawn weaknesses. My 20th move was possibly second-best, but I wanted to clarify the situation, and I couldn’t offer a draw according to the rules. It is not easy to point out any key moments, as the game was very balanced. To sum it up: we had a nice warm up with Ernesto!


Vladimir Akopian (Armenia) vs. Boris Gelfand (Israel)


110510_pc-gelfand-akopian.jpgVladimir Akopian:

 This was a standard Petroff game. I thought White obtained an advantage at some point, but it wasn’t big enough to claim for something more. The critical moment occurred when Boris played 28...Kf8. I wasn’t satisfied about my reply, as I had a feeling I could play better, but how? And after my move White had to play accurately to maintain the equality. In addition, I was rather short on time, so it was difficult for me to show any serious ambition.


Boris Gelfand:

– As usual at the start, you have to warm up, turn your mind into a tournament mode... Thus I selected a very solid and well-known opening line. Black stands slightly worse, but White doesn’t have anything real. I played quite accurately and gradually neutralized the opponent’s pressure.



– What are your impressions from Astrakhan?



– This is my first time in Astrakhan and I didn’t have time to walk in the city center yet. Generally Astrakhan makes a good impression.



– I never been to Astrakhan as well. However, my father traveled on a ship from Moscow to Astrakhan, and I remember his stories. I know that a famous painter Kustodiev born here and Astrakhan is considered to be fish and water-melon capital of Russia. I hope I’ll have time to see the city, so the next time you ask this question, I could give a more detailed reply.


Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine) vs. Peter Svidler (Russia)


110510_pc-svidler-elianov.jpgPavel Eljanov:

– After the opening I had a slight plus. Peter thinks that his 15...с5 is a mistake, and I tend to agree. White managed to get to an endgame with good winning chances. In the endgame we both played logically until the 30th move, where I have to choose between 30.Ng5 and 30. Be7. The latter was apparently better, but I decided that 30.Ng5 is sufficient, too. However, Peter’s reply showed that Black’s counterplay allows him to make a draw.


Peter Svidler:

 It was a strange game for me. I made a new move – 12...Bd3. Can’t call it sensational, but somehow nobody played it before. However, later I made several mysterious moves, which made my position very difficult. Surprisingly, the only White’s inaccuracy was enough for me to equalize. I agree with Pavel: he could win with 30.Be7. I just got lucky.


– Are you satisfied with the result?



– There could be only two outcomes today, and a draw is not the one I prefer.



– I am satisfied with the result, but not my play.



– What are your impressions from Astrakhan?



– Generally I had a pleasant experience, but we didn’t see much of a city. As for the tournament organization, everything is perfect.



– In Astrakhan I only saw two theaters, which I quite liked.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) vs. Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia) 

Dmitry Jakovenko:
– We repeated a well-known game from the Kramnik-Anand match until the move 21, when I made a novelty – 21...Bd3. It created small-scale complications, and the position was simplified soon. Generally
 I am satisfied about the result.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov:
– 21...d3 is a strong novelty. Of course, I wanted to play a sharper game as White, but this move basically closes the variation.



– What are your impressions from Astrakhan?




– I have very positive impressions. Speaking of organization, this Grand Prix stage reminds me of the Dortmund supertournament, where the participants also play of the theatrical stage. Also the players live in a hotel that is far from the city center. I hope getting to the playing venue will not become problematic on workdays due to traffic.



– Astrakhan is a nice and attractive city, although I didn’t have a chance to get acquainted with it properly. I like the playing venue – it is a pleasure to play on the stage of such a nice theater. My only request is that I’d like to see more spectators in the hall. Perhaps the attendance was low because the tournament just started, and we’ll see a lot more people as the event goes on.


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