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Grand Prix in Berlin

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Livepartien, Tabellen (chess24)

Grand Prix in Berlin: der Ticker

Die FIDE zur ersten Runde:

The third leg of the FIDE World Chess Grand Prix got off to a promising start, with four players securing victories and four games ending in a draw

The first round of the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix saw Levon AronianLeinier Dominguez, Alexandr Predke and  Nikita Vitiugov score victories and grab the lead in their pools. The four other games all ended in a draw.


Pool A:

Andrey Esipenko didn't manage to give himself a birthday present in his game against Grigoriy Oparin as the two split a point. Nevertheless, the present was “delivered” a few days earlier when Esipenko joined the tournament becoming the last-moment replacement of Dmitry Andreikin. Esipenko turned 20 today and as a real professional player spent the whole day at the board. The opponents tested a popular line of the Catalan in which Black solved all his opening problems, reached equality and confidently made a draw in a slightly inferior endgame. 

Hikaru Nakamura challenged Levon Aronian with Black in a sharp line of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted that the latter had played against Leinier Dominguez just a month ago at the first FIDE Grand Prix leg. Levon expected anything but this line today but still had “a couple of ideas” in his pocket. He deviated with 14.Qd2 (one of the possible moves in this position) and probably threw Hikaru off his preparation as just five moves down the road, he committed a serious inaccuracy 19…Bf5. Still, the position remained quite unbalanced but another grave mistake by Nakamura 23…Nf4? became the last straw. Aronian immediately transposed to a won endgame and smoothly scored a full point. 

According to Hikaru, the critical moment came on move 20 when he spent most of his time contemplating g5. He didn’t go for it and ended up in a worse position. “If Levon would have played 25.Qa5 instead of 25.Qa7 I would probably just resign the game, I was just ready to go home,” said Nakamura with a smile on his face, admitting that the game went off the track for him either way.


Pool B:

Vincent Keymer obtained a slightly better position in a quiet line of the Queen’s Gambit against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, but after massive exchanges the Azerbaijani GM had no problems holding a draw in a bishop ending. 

Leinier Dominguez defeated Daniil Dubov in a topsy-turvy game that could have ended in a draw. The American gradually outplayed his opponent in a fresh position with two knights vs. two bishops that emerged from a classical line of the Nimzo-Indian but let his advantage slip away in a mutual time scramble. 

During the post-game interview, the American grandmaster noted he missed the queen’s manoeuvre Qe4-Qh4 and thought his position looked very dubious at that point. He exchanged his Bishop for the Knight on f3, opening g-file for his opponent, but managed to survive the toughest times of the game by moving his knights to h5 and f6 squares. 

Surprisingly, right after passing the time control, Dubov dropped the ball with 43.Rf3?? and after 43…Rc2! he had no other option but a hopeless rook endgame in which he capitulated just a few moves later. 

Pool C:

Sam Shankland and Wesley So played a trendy line of the Nimzo-Indian tested on a very high level recently. Once again Shankland impressed everyone with his home preparation as he introduced a novelty 12.Ne2 and had analysed everything at home until move 23, albeit with a different move order. “The whole position looks symmetrical but it’s not so easy for Black as White gets first on d5 square with the knight and Black’s knight on f6 is passive,” noted Sam after the game. Wesley managed to equalize with a series of precise moves. The opponents ended up in a rook endgame in which White had some practical chances. Shankland even managed to win a pawn, but it was not enough with four-vs-three on one side. So demonstrated necessary accuracy and reached a draw on the move 50. 

The game Alexandr Predke - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave saw a very sharp line of the English Opening in which the former demonstrated much better preparation. On the move fourteen, the Frenchman quite optimistically castled short, apparently missing quite a strong pawn sacrifice 15.g4! White opened the lines on the kingside and arranged his pieces for an attack which became unnecessary after Maxime blundered with 19…Nxe4? and threw in the towel facing the loss of a piece. 

Despite the result, the French grandmaster doesn’t lose hope: “I know I just need to win this tournament and obviously it’s not a good start for me but there are a few more games to go and I will be ready to fight.”

Pool D:

Anish Giri didn’t follow the recommendations of his own Chessable course in the Petroff Defence and instead surprised his opponent Yu Yangyi with an interesting novelty 9.Be3, achieving a good compensation for the sacrificed pawn. The Dutchman quickly restored material equality and got the upper hand. Anish built up pressure with precise moves, but just one mistake 26.h5? was enough to change the evaluation from “White is winning” to “not so clear”. “Probably I played well until very far but it took me a lot of time. To be honest I can’t say I regret taking the time as I could not see all those ideas in the game at first.” The Chinese player got some dangerous activity on the queenside and even emerged slightly better, but after going through a very tough position earlier, he accepted a draw. 

Nikita Vitiugov probably caught Amin Tabatabaei on the back foot by introducing a novelty 13.Qxd2 (the first line of Stockfish) in the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Indeed, the GM from St-Petersburg quickly won a pawn and although his conversion was not ideal, he eventually put away the Iranian in a rook endgame.

“I believe that after 14…f6 White is significantly better, but later on Black definitely had some drawing chances,” said Nikita after the game. Amin agreed that the biggest chance to equalize the game came on move 30 after White played 30.Ra5. “I should have played 30…Re1+ and then continue Rd8,” explained the Iranian grandmaster, who was in time trouble at this moment and missed this last opportunity.

The second round of the group stage will be played on Wednesday, March 23, at 3 PM local (CET) time.

The pairings for the second round are as follows:

Pool A:

Levon Aronian (USA), 2785 – Grigoriy Oparin (FIDE), 2674  
 Hikaru Nakamura (USA), 2750 – Andrey Esipenko (FIDE), 2723

Pool B:

Leinier Dominguez (USA), 2756 – Vincent Keymer (Germany), 2655  
Daniil Dubov (FIDE), 2711 – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), 2776  

Pool C:

Alexandr Predke (FIDE), 2682 – Wesley So (USA), 2778  
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), 2761 – Sam Shankland (USA), 2704  

Pool D:

Amin Tabatabaei (Iran), 2623 – Anish Giri (Netherlands), 2771  
Nikita Vitiugov (FIDE), 2726 – Yu Yangyi (China), 2713

FIDE-Bericht zur zweiten Runde:

It was a peaceful, but by no means uneventful day at FIDE Grand Prix Berlin although all eight games in Round 2 were drawn.

"Let's talk about how dramatically the situation changed in every group after today's round" joked the tournament commentator GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko and certainly, the standings have not changed at all as we have the same leaders as after Round 1 in each pool, namely Levon Aronian, Leinier Dominguez, Alexandr Predke, and Nikita Vitiugov. Round 2 results still don't tell the entire story, as, despite peaceful outcomes, the games were hard-fought and enthralling.

Pool A

In the Giuoco Piano Levon Aronian, playing with White against Grigoriy Oparin, essayed the idea 12.Ra3, introduced by Nils Grandelius in the match against David Howell. After the game the American player added that he learnt from the best. He could not regret his choice as the game turned out to be very eventful. By lifting his rook White offered a pawn sacrifice, hoping to get some long-term initiative instead. Grigoriy spent a lot of time trying to remember his notes but eventually had to figure everything over the board.

"At that point, I had to take the pawn. With the whole concept of Black's play, it doesn't make any sense otherwise," Oparin explained after the game. Aronian managed to regain the pawn in the ensuing complications, but he is not sure if 21.g4 was the best option. According to Levon, he could have played 21.Nc8 trading the knight for the bishop, followed by g3, which he thinks is more unpleasant for Black. On the other hand, it looks like after 21…g5, Black is OK. Grigoriy defended with precision, and the peace was signed right after the first time control. 

Hikaru Nakamura obtained a promising position in Nimzo-Indian against Andrey Esipenko with a strong knight on e5. American Grandmaster played creatively in the opening, trying to get something interesting but then allowed the opponent to grab initiative by planting his knight on c4. "The game was basically around two squares e4 and e5. At some point, I just needed to trade the knights on c6 and make a draw, but I didn't want to and just kept playing," said Hikaru after the game. He called his plan with b4 and Na4 "insane" as after those moves, Black emerged clearly better, and for the rest of the game Andrey pressured Hikaru.

Being in a time trouble Andrey didn't find the a precise way to keep the tension, and after the massive exchanges, the game stirred into the ending with a visible edge for Black due to the pair of Bishops and better pawn structure. Nevertheless, it was hard to break through the position of White, and the American escaped with a draw thanks to the resilient defence.

Pool B:

The game Leinier Dominguez - Vincent Keymer saw a topical line of the Ruy Lopez in which the American introduced a novelty (the first line of Stockfish) on the move 14. After a tactical battle in the centre, Leinier won a pawn for which Black did not have sufficient compensation. After trading the queens, a very interesting ending with opposite-colour bishops and extra pawn for White appeared at the board. According to Lenier, he thought Black could not allow g6 move and had to take on g5 on 49th move. It seemed White had good winning chances, but the endgame requires a detailed analysis to make the final conclusions. To Vincent's credit, he defended exceptionally well and saved a half-point in the game.  

Daniil Dubov surprised Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with a rare 4.Nc3 in the Italian Game, but did not achieve much. Daniil pointed out that c5 was a strategically risky move for White as if White doesn't manage to push d4, he can be worse. The Azerbaijani GM played solid, logical moves and got some play against the d3-pawn that outweighed White's pressure in the center. The opponents started repeating the moves in a very complex balanced position in which draw seemed like a logical outcome.

"I think both sides could actually play in the final position, I don't think I was better or worse; in general, it all felt very logical, and I think it was just a decent game. The reason why we repeated the moves is that if my opponent will play Nh7 when I don't have d4 I'm much worse. That's why I needed his rook to go away from d8," explained Daniil after the game.

Pool C

Alexandr Predke, playing with White, managed to pose some serious problems for Wesley So in Giuoco Piano, which he called "very playable". As the American confessed in a post-game interview, he missed the move 23.Ne3, which gave White a dangerous activity in the center. Alexandr thought that he had good winning chances, but it seems that Black's position was not that bad, as Wesley reached a draw with several precise moves.

"This is the first time I play against Alexandr... He is a very good player; yesterday, he won a very good game against Maxime," said Wesley at the post-game interview.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Sam Shankland played the Berlin Defense, which is known as the Berlin Wall. Many great players have struggled to breach this solid barricade, and the French GM could not complete the task. Sam went for a strategically risky line, allowing White to play f5 as he was looking for a more dynamic fighting position. In a critical moment of the game Sam correctly sacrificed an exchange and got good compensation in the form of two pawns and active pieces. After trading a pair of rooks, none of the sides had winning chances and the game finished in a draw.

It turned out that both players had visited the Berlin Wall and surprisingly didn't think about chess while walking next to it. Sam Shankland was actually thinking about his close relative who lived in Germany many years ago. "My dad grew up in Germany, my grandparents are from the US; after WWII was over, my grandfather, a soldier, stayed around to try to rebuild Germany. So my dad always told me that he could never cross the Wall because it was still around when he was growing up," said Sam Shankland.

Pool D

Nikita Vitiugov didn't expect Sicilian from Yu Yangyi, who normally chooses Petroff as in the previous game against Anish Giri. Nikita opted for a somewhat harmless line with Bb5 where White got a comfortable position. "I had some possibilities to play more actively but I was not able to find a proper way to create some problems”. The game ended in a draw after 22 moves.

Amin Tabatabaei and Anish Giri fought hard but did not manage to outplay each other. Anish Giri chose the only opening he has never played before - Chebanenko Slav. Amin thought he had checked all possible variations before the game, but Anish still managed to surprise him. "For the next time I'll just take a rest and not prepare at all; in any case he will surprise me", said Amin after the game with a smile.

Nevertheless, the Iranian GM managed to get a position with a small but clear edge after the queens left the board, and Anish had to work hard to maintain the balance. He came out with an interesting but provocative move e5. "I had a vision to play this move e5, and I missed everything, every single thing! I had to recalculate from the start while he started thinking, then I saw everything once it was not my move any longer. I think I missed Nb6 first, and I think I was worse after", commented Giri on his critical decision. After half an hour of thinking, Amin took the pawn on e5 and was surprised by his own play later in the game as he turned his pleasant position into the worse one. However, he held it into a draw and yet it was another draw today, one which left Nikita Vitiugov in the lead of pool D.

Round 3 of the group stage will be played on Thursday, March 24, at 3 PM local (CET) time.

The pairings for the third round are as follows:

Pool A:

Grigoriy Oparin (FIDE), 2674 – Hikaru Nakamura, (USA), 2750
Andrey Esipenko (FIDE), 2723 – Levon Aronian (USA), 2785

Pool B:

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), 2776 – Leinier Dominguez (USA), 2756 
Vincent Keymer (Germany), 2655 – Daniil Dubov (FIDE), 2711 

Pool C:

Sam Shankland (USA), 2704 – Alexandr Predke (FIDE), 2682 
Wesley So (USA), 2778 – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), 2761 

Pool D:

Yu Yangyi (China), 2713 – Amin Tabatabaei (Iran), 2623 
Anish Giri (Netherlands), 2771 – Nikita Vitiugov (FIDE), 2726

FIDE-Bericht zur fünften Runde:

Five games out of eight ended with decisive results in Round 4 of the final stage of the Fide Grand Prix Series. In a crucial game for the overall Grand Prix standings, Hikaru Nakamura defeated Levon Aronian and caught up with him. Grigoriy Oparin outplayed Andrey Esipenko and took the lead in Pool A, leaving Levon and Hikaru half a point behind. The game between Leinier Dominguez and Daniil Dubov ended in a draw; Leinier thus remained in the lead of pool B, now shared with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who outplayed Vincent Keymer. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave also took revenge on Alexandr Predke, and before the free day, the pool C ended up with all players tied on 2/4. Amin Tabatabaei avenged his first-round loss to Nikita Vitiugov, bringing all players of the pool D tied on 50% too.

Pool A

The game between Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian was following the line in Ruy Lopez from the game Esipenko-Aronian in Round 3, but Hikaru chose to play 12.a4 instead of 12.Ne4. After numerous exchanges, White managed to get a promising position in the following endgame with rooks and minor pieces left on the board. "I think Levon got careless and thought there was no risk at all and went for Rg5-Rh5, but after I found 29.Ne7 I believe it's very difficult for Black practically," commented Hikaru after the game. It turned out to be one of the critical moments of the game and Hikaru assumed it was still possible to hold this position for Black with an accurate play. Aronian thought the mistake came even earlier on the 27th move, where he had to choose c6 instead of b6 played in the game. Hikaru managed to get a very strong passed pawn on d-file and placed his rooks on the seventh rank, forcing his opponent to defend against numerous threats and eventually converting his advantage.

"It's funny. It's probably very bad for both of us because Grigoriy will probably win this game," commented Nakamura on the Pool A situation after winning against Aronian.

One inaccurate move 10…c5 by Andrey Esipenko in a well-known position that emerged from Nimzo-Indian gave his opponent  Grigoriy Oparin a chance to get a very comfortable position with the stable edge due to the weak and isolated d-pawn in the Black's camp. The game was a good example of how to handle this type of position: Grigoriy blocked the d-pawn, exchanged a few minor pieces and got prepared to win the pawn in a couple of moves. Andrey Esipenko's desperate attempt to complicate the issue by playing 30...d4 and 31…a5 only postponed the catastrophe for Black, and even though the game finished the last today, the outcome was never in doubt.

Pool B               

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov tested an original idea 8.Nh4 in the four knights English Opening against Vincent Keymer. He read about this move in an old book and remembered that g5 should not be good as White gets quite a strong attack on the kingside. Vincent decided to check if the sacrifice was a correct one and got into trouble after an unexpected 13.Qd2, missing that White's pieces would get to Black's King very quickly if he trades his knight for the Bishop on h6. After making a few precise moves, White transposed into a winning ending with a rook and four pawns vs two knights and a pawn and handily converted his advantage. 

Daniil Dubov played Two Knights defence today, but Leinier Dominguez didn't show any intention to check a Fried Liver Attack and chose a solid line with 4.d3. Daniil was playing very fast today and had a huge time advantage by move 20. Black found the way to sharpen things after move 20 – Dubov thought he had some chances to get an advantage at this stage. However, Leinier found an excellent recourse 23.f4 followed by 24.Re1 thwarting Black's attempts to get a strong initiative. After trading major pieces, a drawish bishop vs. knight ending appeared on the board, and the peace was signed after 52 moves of play.

Pool C

Two American GMs played a very solid game. Sam Shankland forgot to check the line with Bf4 and Qb3, which happened in the game and got a slightly worse ending due to the double pawns on b file. He decided to play more actively and put his rooks on a-file. "At some point, I really didn't like my position but the move 16.Bf3 by Wesley was careless as I had g5, and Black is fine after that." By playing g5, Sam Shankland offered a temporary pawn sacrifice, and following exchanges, the game ended in a draw.

"If Maxime wins, then all of us are at 50%, and we will have a four-player tiebreak at the end," said Sam after the game, while the MVL-Predke game was still in progress.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Alexandr Predke played a hard-fought game in a Ruy Lopez. After a long manoeuvring play, Maxime was hoping to get some attacking chances on the King's side, but his opponent was finding interesting resources and even sacrificed a pawn to sharpen the game. Hoping to get a complex position with some winning chances, Maxime went for an unclear queen's sacrifice. In time trouble Alexandr Predke didn't find the best way to stop White's threats, and after inaccurate 37... Rb2, Maxime gained the upper hand.

"Objectively, I was worse or maybe even losing at some point... scary, but at the same time, I knew I had chances—that's all I could hope for in this situation," commented Maxime Vachier-Lagrave after the game.

Pool D

Yu Yangyi and Anish Giri waged a tense and very complicated battle in the Hungarian variation of the Gruenfeld Defense. The opponents followed a well-known theoretical path for awhile, but as Anish said in the post-game interview, he mixed something up and by move 14 they stepped into uncharted territory. With his 16th move, the Dutchman started chipping away in the center by f6 but it seems that White had an edge, although, in a very sharp position. In ensuing complications, Giri sacrificed an exchange and get sufficient compensation as White’s king got stuck in the center.

Yu managed to gradually consolidate his position and preserved some extra material, but a natural but hasty 34.Qd5? derailed all his efforts. Anish wisely avoided the exchange of the queens, created some dangerous threats along the dark squares and set up a nice trap (Qxf4! with the idea of Kxf4 Be5#). However, the Chinese GM wisely avoided it and forced a draw by perpetual.

“I was just fighting for survival. And in the end, I was hoping he would play for a win, blundering this Qxf4!" said Anish Giri with a smile after the game. "But of course, Yu Yangyi is too strong for such cheap tricks."

Nikita Vitiugov, playing with Black, surprised Amin Tabatabaei with his opening choice of the Slav Defense and was first to introduce a novelty 12…a5. As Tabatabaei mentioned after the game, he started to play intuitively and it worked very well for him. The Iranian completely outmaneuvered his opponent tied up all Black’s pieces and smoothly scored a full point. Vitiugov gave full credit to his opponent but was slightly upset about going down so meekly.

Bericht der FIDE zur 5. Runde:

Half of the games ended with decisive results in Round 5 of the final stage of the Fide Grand Prix.

It was a very good day for the American players as three of them, namely Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, defeated their opponents. All three are leading in their groups before the final round of the group stage. Hikaru Nakamura's persistence was rewarded, as he won a difficult ending against Grigoriy Oparin and caught his main rival Levon Aronian, who outplayed Andrey Espenko. Both are in the lead in Pool A. Vincent Keymer earned a draw in his game against Daniil Dubov with precise defense. Leinier Dominguez and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew their game and stayed in the shared lead of pool B.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave sees his Candidates hopes evaporate after losing a hectic game to Wesley So, who now shares the lead in pool C with his compatriot Sam Shankland.

Nikita Vitiugov and Anish Giri played out an uneventful draw, while Amin Tabatabaei saved a lost endgame against Yu Yangyi. All four players of pool D enter the last round in a tie, postponing the big fight for pool D victory for tomorrow. 

Pool A

Andrey Esipenko was expecting to play against Hikaru Nakamura today and was shocked to learn he had to play against Levon Aronian 5 minutes before the start of the clock. He didn't check the pairings carefully and gave a big advantage to Levon by playing with Black without any preparation. According to Levon, he had analysed this line in Nimzo-Indian Defense some time ago, knew the idea with h4-h5 and remembered that Black is losing after inaccurate 12…c5. Andrey explained that his move c5 was an attempt to create counterplay in the center.

However, it failed as White's attack was way too strong. After the best defensive move for Black 12...Bg7 White would have continued with 13.h5 Nh5 14.Nh7! with a powerful attack. After 13...h6? Aronian didn't give his opponent any chance, got to Black's king and forced his resignation on 23rd move.

Hikaru Nakamura and Grigoriy Oparin played a very interesting game in the Nimzo-Indian. "At some point, I got very optimistic in the middle game. I thought I should be much better. It was so complex and after 25.g3 Qh1 I was not even sure if White was better," commented Hikaru after the game. It seemed for the American player that Rf6 was an innacuracy that helped White to trade the rooks and win a pawn. Hikaru demonstrated an excellent technique in the ending, even though Grigoriy could put more stubborn resistance. The players analysed a computer line 47…Bc8 followed by Kh5, which could have given Black certain drawish chances but came to the conclusion this line was simply impossible to find for humans.

Pool B

Leinier Dominguez was trying to improve his time management today in his game with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and played faster compared to the previous rounds. However, it seemed to the American it would have helped to think a bit longer in critical moments as he missed the clear advantage, which he got out of the opening. After 19…Bg5 White decided to go for the force line but underestimated Black's counterplay with 21…Raf8 from far. Leinier wisely changed his original plans to capture the pawns of the queenside due to an unpleasant blow Rxf2! After 22.Qc5 played in the game, most of the pieces were traded, and the players ended up in a drawish rook ending.

Daniil Dubov got a promising position in the Moeller Variation in the Ruy Lopez. After 15 moves, he had also 1 hour more on the clock and decided to sacrifice a piece in order to complicate the game, hoping to make it more difficult for Vincent Keymer to solve all problems.

"It was a bit of a contradiction. I could force a draw, and I'm pretty sure I was not better, and I didn't want to play at all. And again, while you are at home you don't want to play, but then you come here, and your opponent is down to 3 minutes. And then I thought, ok we would play three moves he would probably blunder, and then we played two moves and I couldn't repeat the moves any more and again I had to play, and it was a very tricky game somehow," said Daniil, who seemed clearly disappointed with the outcome. The local hero Vincent Keymer showed great defensive skills and stopped White's attempts to create a dangerous attack. He could have hoped for more had he found 25…Qf6 with a chance to gradually convert his extra material. Later on in the ending, Vincent blundered a pawn, giving winning chances to his opponent again but was lucky to hold onto a draw in the end.

Pool C

Wesley So was surprised with the opening choice of Maxim Vachier-Lagrave and could not recall if Maxime had ever played Nimzo-Indian with f3 earlier. Taking into account the tournament situation and the fact that it was the last game with White for MVL, the French Grandmaster decided to go for a sharp variation with g4 and was ready to take some risks.

Maxime decided to break through with f4 in a complex position, the move that was later criticized by both players. Wesley found a very strong continuation 20…Qa4, with an idea c4 and since that moment, Black were clearly better in all variations.

"Of course, with my opening choice today, I knew it involved a very big risk component, so I feel there were things I could have done better, but overall it was a very strong game by Wesley," said Maxime after the game.

Alexandr Predke didn't get much out of the opening and decided to complicate the position by sacrificing a pawn. Sam Shankland grabbed the pawn, and it turned out White didn't get sufficient compensation. Alexandr’s desperate attempts to fish in troubled waters of complications only precipitated his defeat.

Pool D

Anish Giri was fully prepared for Semi-Slav, which appeared on the board after some opening transformations and quite comfortably reached equality. His opponent Nikita Vitiugov took an unambitious path, and after Black carried out a thematic c6-c6, a draw became inevitable. The players quickly traded most of the pieces and split a point in an opposite-coloured bishops endgame. 

When asked to describe the game against Yu Yangyi in one sentence, Amin Tabatabaei said just one word: “A miracle”. Indeed, the Iranian GM miraculously escaped with a draw, facing almost imminent defeat. It all started very well for Amin, who introduced an interesting novelty as White in the Ragozin Defence as early as on move seven (7.a4), sacrificed a pawn and obtained more than sufficient compensation. 

The first critical moment of the game came on move fifteen when Tabatabaei did not go for the most principled line 15.f3. Amin calculated the variation but erroneously evaluated the resulting position in which, despite being two pawns down, White has strong pressure. 

As played, Black quickly equalized and even got a slight initiative but hardly more than that. Things changed drastically after White blundered with 29.Qxd5 and found himself on the verge of defeat. Yu was building up pressure with strong and precise moves and it seemed that nothing could help Amin. However, the Chinese GM fell into the last trap set up by Tabatabaei, and White forced a draw by perpetual. 

Johannes Büchele, Wolfgang Jekel und Patrick Bossinger vom SV Jedesheim haben den Grand Prix besucht. Auf der Clubhomepage ist jetzt ihr Bericht aus Berlin erschienen:


Grand Prix: Berlin ist eine Reise wert