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Games Commentary

8th round press conferences
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
190510-mamedyarov.jpgAfter 8th round games grandmasters came to the press centre and answered to the journalist’s questions.

Evgeny Alekseev - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov: The game was very tense. I played very risky, because I saw no difference between losing and making a draw. At some point my position was very dangerous, although I didn’t see a forced win for Black. I would never play like this under different tournament circumstances, but here I had to take risks. Finally I found the winning idea – White defended all the pawns and trapped the enemy knight.
I played against a very good player, but I was not afraid to take risks, and we produced a very interesting game.
Alekseev: I didn’t expect the Catalan, and did not remember the theory well. Generally this line is considered acceptable for Black. I tried to make natural moves, but did not dare to play Nxf2 on the 20th move despite lengthy consideration. I decided to play 20…Qf6, overlooking White’s 22nd move. After that my position quickly became hopeless...  
190510_svidler-ivanchuk.jpgPeter Svidler vs. Vassily Ivanchuk

- I played another solid opening, and once again nearly killed myself. Black was obviously okay, but I wanted to create some play for my pieces. Maybe 13.h4 was not the best move, but at least it gave White additional opportunities. However, after 13…b6 I thought for about half an hour, and realized that I have no idea how to proceed. Black just ignores the h-pawn and invites it to h6, however, I couldn’t see any benefits of this advance. 16…f5 was a very responsible move in my opinion, but Black was well-prepared for that, and obtained a better game. I think I made many only moves to make a draw. I was first to give checks, but my pieces were misplaced, so I had to find 44.Rf7, transposing to the queen ending without a pawn, but with compensation in form of a strong passed a-pawn. In accordance to the Sofia rules, Vassily made a draw by perpetual.
- Generally it was fun, but my head didn’t quite function – I calculated many variations that were simply impossible. I wanted to move my night to c4 square that's why I played 13...b6.

190510_eljanov-ponomarev.jpgPavel Eljanov vs. Ruslan Ponomariov


- This game is difficult to assess. After the loss against Jakovenko I decided to play in a more solid style, so I played 5...Bd6 – I tested this move against Gelfand a couple of times. This variation isn’t popular, but is quite sound. Pavel seemed unprepared for it. His position was solid, but he handled it inaccurately. Possibly а4 wasn’t good, as it created a weakness. Then I suddenly discovered that I have counterplay – after b5 White has a weakness on b2. The resulting position was very unpleasant to defend for White, and Black’s play was very natural. Pavel’s only chance was to mate me, so I had to play carefully in the end.
- I had a good position and then spoiled it in one move. I don’t know how I could forget about 23…b5, but I played 23.Ne1 at the least appropriate moment. White immediately got a difficult position. I thought I could survive in a rook ending, but it didn’t work out.

190510_gelfand.jpgBoris Gelfand - Teimour Radjabov

Radjabov: I’d say the game was dynamically balanced the whole way. Black had a lone pawn on a7, so White could create some pressure against it by a4, b5, a5. However, I equalized with a key move 32...Rd2. White had an advantage on the queenside, but Black’s pieces were sufficiently active. Then I found a forced simplifying operation that started with 34…Bd5 – a motif similar to Wang Yue-Jakovenko.
Gelfand: We played the King’s Indian many times before. I had to choose whether to play closed or open game. Closed game is more natural for me, however, this time I decided to open the position. Black reacted with the principled с5. White had some advantage, but Black handled the position correctly. I think we both played quite well.
190510_wang.jpgVugar Gashimov - Wang Yue

Today I decided to avoid theoretical lines and play something new. We ended up in a position where White creates threats and Black can only parry them. In my opinion, Wang Yue played very strong and didn’t make a single mistake. I tried to fight until the end, searched for remote chances, but generally the result of this game is fair.
Wang Yue: I found several strong moves – 18...Be7 and 19...Nе8, transferring the bishop to f6 and the knight – to d6. Despite White was better all the way, the outcome of the game is logical and fair.
Peter Leko - Dmitry Jakovenko

190510_yakovenko-leko.jpgJakovenko: We played the first 16 moves very quickly, so it was clear for me that Peter is ready for this line, while I never analyzed it seriously. Therefore I decided to avoid the most principled 17.g4 in favor of 17.f3. I figured that White should draw without much trouble. Black had a nominal advantage in the opening, but there were no real winning chances.
Leko: I analyzed this line indeed. Dima employs it as Black sometimes, so it was an interesting duel from psychological point of view. According to my analysis, 17.g4 is the most critical move. I studied it a lot, and the conclusion was that Black is fine. However, I didn’t remember the concrete lines, just the conclusion, so I had to calculate a lot at the board... The ending was drawn, of course, I never had any winning chances.

190510_inarkiev-akopian.jpgVladimir Akopian vs. Ernesto Inarkiev
Akopian: Black had potentially strong pieces, but he needed to arrange them properly. I assessed White’s position as more pleasant, but Black’s position was quite solid. Then Ernesto made a couple of small mistakes, and I got a real advantage. After that our play was far from perfect, to be honest, and at some point I could force a draw, however, I decided to keep looking for chances, and was right – I eventually won the g-pawn and the game.
Inarkiev: I think White had a decent advantage after the opening, but I managed to defend and nearly equalized. At that point I thought my position is okay, however, after we passed the time control, Vladimir created more problems for me. Objectively е6 was just terrible – I voluntarily blocked my bishop. I tried to complicate things, but was always one tempo short.
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