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Games Commentary

Alekseev lost on time against Leko
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
110510_alekseev-web.jpgIn the second round of the Astrakhan stage of the FIDE Grand Prix the Russian grandmaster Evgeny Alekseev lost his game on time for the first time in his career. According to the regulations, each player receives 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes plus 30 second per move until the end of the game.

Peter Leko, Alekseev’s opponent in this game, played very peacefully in a well-known line of the Benoni Defense. The game transposed to an ending with a slight advantage to White. Alekseev was forced to defend, and he started to consume too much time, which eventually led to a time loss on the 40th move in an approximately even position.

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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...

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Gashimov is beating Ivanchuk!
Monday, 10 May 2010
100510_gashimov-ivanchuk-web.jpgThe games of the opening round were played on the next day by the opening ceremony which was held on May 9th at the Astrakhan State Drama Theater.

The stakes at this tournament are extremely high, and not only due to high prestige of winning the event, but also because one can win here a ticket to the candidates matches. Perhaps this was the reason for a rather peaceful starting round: there was just one decisive game, in which Vugar Gashimov, playing White, defeated Vassily Ivanchuk.

In this game the Azeri grandmaster selected a quiet variation of the Ruy Lopez. Ivanchuk tried to create active counterplay in the center, but he was unable to seize the initiative, and Gashimov got a notable advantage after opening the f-file. White pieces were ready to attack the enemy king. Ivanchuk simplified his opponent’s task, missing simple tactics and losing the queen. Gashimov won the game on the 36th move.

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The final stage of the FIDE Grand Prix in Astrakhan opened on May 9th, Victory Day!
Monday, 10 May 2010
100510_opening.jpgIt was a holiday for the whole of Russia on 9 May but in the Astrakhan State Drama Theatre we witnessed the grand opening of the sixth stage of the FIDE Grand Prix. The ceremony was attended by President of the International Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the Governor of Astrakhan Region Alexander Zhilkin.

The Governor warmly welcomed the participants to the competition. “This tournament is very important to us”, said Zhilkin. “Looking at you, people have such high achievement in chess, our people have elected me as Governor, to contribute to part of the new theater, and the construction will soon end with a new chess school. We, in Astrakhan, will try to do everything possible to make the Grandmasters’ stay very comfortable” the governor continued.

The President of the International Chess Federation, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, thanked the Governor of the Astrakhan Oblast region for the decision to open a new chess center in the beautiful building of the Musical Theatre.
“FIDE its part will provide support, in particular, it will help to equip the center”, said Ilyumzhinov.  “A new chess center, and we will have not only one international chess competition here. Chess popularity varies in many parts of the chess world. And for us it was a great honor to receive the proposal to hold a Grand Prix in Astrakhan. I hope that in this hospitable land of Astrakhan we will have new champions and world champions”, summed up the president of FIDE.

By tradition, during the opening ceremony the draws for the tournament pairings were organised. The chief arbiter,  IA Faik Gasanov, helped by two charming girls, spun the drum and the tournament players selected balls with their numbers. The number one in the pairings went to Ukrainian GM and world number 9, Pavel Eljanov.
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