FIDE Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk: Dominguez beats Jakovenko in the round 2

FIDE Grand Prix in Khanty-Mansiysk: Dominguez beats Jakovenko in the round 2

The second round of the FIDE Grand Prix event was played in Khanty-Mansiysk and produced a single decisive result and five draws.

Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez stunned the local star Dmitry Jakovenko by opening the game with 1.d4 instead of his usual 1.e4. White launched an enterprising attack, but black parried well until he missed the strong 26.Kf2, after which his position just collapsed.

The remaining five games were drawn but the winner of Tbilisi Grand Prix Evgeny Tomashevsky will certainly be unhappy about the missed chances in the game against Alexander Grischuk.

Results and pairings are online, visit also the photo gallery and replay the games.

Giri-Karjakin draw


White selected an unimpressive opening scheme, striving for complicated middlegame struggle. Anish Giri: “White can only equalize in this opening, nothing more. Black’s position is quite comfortable.”

The Dutch grandmaster tried to develop a kingside attack, however, played imprecisely and overlooked a strong idea of his opponent, who traded pawns on e4, transferred his knight to c4, and placed his bishop to c6.

Sergey Karjakin: “Alas, these moves took me too much time – about 20 minutes. This was poor time management.” Later in the game Black ended up under severe time pressure, which affected his decisions significantly.

Objectively the position was about even, but White was forced to defend passively, which is always an unpleasant task. Instead, Giri decided to make use of his opponent’s time trouble and opted for risky counterplay. According to the Dutch grandmaster, he was confident his opponent would choose 30…Qc7, trading queens with an easy draw, instead of the much stronger 30…Qxa2! with good winning chances.

“I saw this move, but did not dare playing it with only three minutes left on the clock”, concluded Sergey Karjakin.


Svidler-Caruana draw


The Russian grandmaster had a fine game, clearly outplaying his opponent, but then committed a surprising blunder and lost his carefully created advantage at once.

Peter Svidler: “I actually hoped my opponent plays the Gruenfeld, however, I managed to get some advantage against the Lasker as well. I was surprised to get such an attractive position, and I should have definitely handled it with greater care.”

The Russian said he was surprised by 18…Rc8, as he expected 18…Qg5 with a complicated game instead. Fabiano Caruana responded in a bit mysterious way: “Oh, there were many interesting options in the position…”

White stabilized the game and fixed Black’s pawn weaknesses on the queenside. However, instead of continuing to improve his position, the Russian went for a hasty pawn break in the center, which basically forced a draw. According to Svidler, he thought 33…Rd8 loses to 34.d5, “and 34…cxd5 is not a move, as 35.Rxd5 picks up a rook on d8”. However, he completely missed a simple interposition – 35…Rd6.




Lenier Dominguez’s d2-d4 came as a surprise for his opponent: for many years the Cuban grandmaster was a 1.e4 player, and only recently added 1.d4 to his repertoire. In a hybrid of the Slav and the Catalan White carried out an interesting exchange sacrifice, getting a powerful passed on d6 as compensation.

The Russian grandmaster spent a lot of time trying to dodge home preparation of the opponent, and it looks like he succeeded with 18…Nd4, as Dominguez began to think after this move. “I felt White is better after 18…Nd4, but I did not see concrete lines”, said Dmitry Jakovenko.

Black seized the open c-file and invaded the enemy camp with his queen, getting good counterchances. However, on the very next move Jakovenko made a serious error: “I missed 26.Kf2 and could not find how to proceed after it.”

White secured his king and continued the central attack. Black’s forces were poorly coordinated, and soon White got a decisive advantage.


Gelfand-Nakamura draw


Boris Gelfand responded to the King’s Indian with the so-called Bayonet system, which he employed recently a few times. White transferred a knight via g5 to e6, offering a standard pawn sacrifice, which occurred in the famous Fischer-Taimanov match. “White has sufficient compensation for a pawn, but Black has a relatively easy game”, said Gelfand at the press-conference.

White tried to create pressure on the light squares in the center and on the queenside, utilizing his strong bishop on g2, which had no black counterpart. However, later Gelfand miscalculated the most principled line, and was forced to defend an endgame without a pawn. Nakamura inventively searched for winning chances, but the opposite-colored bishops and limited material allowed White to achieve the desired draw without much trouble.


Vachier-Lagrave-Jobava draw


This was a real thriller, one of the most exciting games of the day! Both grandmasters went all out and looked for tactical ideas resourcefully.

In the Caro-Kann with 3.е5 Baadur Jobava went for his favorite f7-f6 break followed by trading on е5. The French grandmaster bravely pushed pawns on the kingside and prepared for the final assault. However, Black’s bishop pendulum g6-e8-c6-e8-g6 allowed Jobava to hold his position.

In order to continue the attack, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave sacrificed a pawn, obtaining a strong passed pawn on e6 in return. At the press-conference the players disagreed about the evaluation of the resulting position: Maxime thought White was nearly winning, but Baadur kept showing him outstanding defensive resources.

It goes without saying that Black’s position was very dangerous, but Vachier-Lagrave did not find the way to create greater problems for the opponent, and the game was drawn on the move 43.


Tomashevsky-Grischuk draw


This was the longest the most dramatic game of the day. The players continued a theoretical discussion started at the previous Grand Prix tournament in Tbilisi (Tomashevsky won a nice game there). Today Evgeny also achieved a serious opening advantage, depriving Black of almost any counterplay.

White carried out an inspired attack, not shying away from sacrifices – first he offered an exchange sacrifice on c6, then sacrificed a piece on f4. It looked like Black was about to collapse, however, on the 39th move, already having an irresistible attack, Tomashevsky suddenly traded queens, allowing Black to take a breath.

The resulting ending was also unpleasant for Black, but Alexander Grischuk defended stubbornly and saved half a point.

Evgeny Tomashevsky: “Yesterday I got lucky and picked up a whole point, but today… I have no rational explanation why I did not win this game. Basically any other 39th move was winning for me. However, I decided to calculate some lines, then suddenly noticed I have only four seconds left, and played a random move. And it is probably a draw without the queens.”

Alexander Grischuk: “Some people have no talent for poetry, and I have no talent for the King’s Indian. Actually, I have no talent for poetry either.”