The fourth and last FIDE Grand Prix will tell us who are the two super GMs to qualify for the Candidates tournament to be held in March 2016.
Play starts May the 14th, at 6AM Eastern TIme (New York).
The two americans Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura get the ticket for the Candidates tournament, which will be held in 2016 to decide who will be Carlsen's challenger.
In the last round both the super-strong young players drew, securing the final result.
At the beginning, with Tomashevsky leading the overall Grand Prix standings, the situation was not clear, but of course the two American guys were the favorite, and it was predicted that they would win.
Nakamura drew the first 6 games, playing solid and mature chess, to then strike at the right moment, to take the lead jointly with Caruana.
Jakovenko susprised everyone, finishing first with the two overall winners.
Caruana had a bit of an up-and-down tournament, but he was decisive when needed.
Here is the FIDE Grand Prix overall standings:
Congratulations to Hikaru and Fabiano!
And here is their joy expressed via Twitter:
For those of you who don't know Italian, here is a rough translation: "Thank you everyone for the compliments and the support! For all the rest, thanks to my 'Partenopea', Maria!".
Partenopea is someone who comes from the region of Naples, Italy.
Evgeny Tomashevsky, the strong Russian GM who won the Tbilisi GP and leads the general standings of the series, started this last GP with a win, confirming his being the favorite for a spot in the candidates. He didn't even need to reach Time Control to beat Baadur Jobava, winning the QGD Semi-Slav game in 39 moves. Jakovenko won his game against the much higher rated Anish Giri, setting himself as an early leader with Tomashevsky. All the other games were drawn. This is a long tournament - 11 rounds - therefore it's impossible to make any prevision or wild guess after the first round, but today we saw some quite fighting chess, and that's what the fans want to see. ICC will cover the whole tournament with a video recap for each round.
Only a decisive game today in Khanty, but what a game! Dominguez played excellent chess, avoiding all the traps set up by Jakovenko, and going full steam ahead into an irresistible attack. Nakamura drew his second Black in a row, playing a good game, especially in the opening. Tomashevsky, the early leader, went into an apparently won rook ending against Grischuk, but we all know how strong is Alexander when it comes to defend a position, and the game ended in a draw. After two rounds Tomashevsky and Dominguez lead with 1.5. Half a point behind the howling pack with Caruana, Grischuk, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, Karjakin, Gelfand, Jakovenko and Svidler. at the bottom with 0.5 points Giri and Jobava.
The news of the day is for sure that of Caruana beating Tomashevsky, in an interesting and entertaining game. Svidler won his game against Jakovenko, and Domingues drew, so now we have three leaders at 2 points: Caruana, Svidler and Domingues. Nakamura drew his third game in a row, this time with the young Dutch GM Anish Giri. They liquidated all the pieces rather quickly, to draw in 30 moves. The tournament is at an early stage with 8 rounds to go, and Nakamura is only half a point behind the leaders, together with a bunch of strong guys: Grischuk, Vachier-Lagrave, Karjakin, Gelfand and Tomashevsky. Things are spicing up though, and it will be extremely interesting to follow the next rounds.
Caruana wins again today, with a convincing game against the strong French GM MVL. And now the just-again USA player pushes himself for the final win, earning a spot in the 2016 candidates tournament. Nakamura drew the 4th game in a row, and now is a full point behind the leader. There are still 7 rounds to go, so nothing is compromised for the strong American, but he'd better start winning some games, if he wants to catch the top of the list. Grischuk, in his draw against Jobava, played an unexpected and interesting double bishop combination, which is worht a look. After 4 rounds, and going into the first rest day, Caruana leads solo with 3 points, followed half a point behind by Dominguez and Svidler. With 2 points Nakamura, Grischuk, Karjakin, Gelfand and Tomashevsky. MVL, Giri, Jakovenko and Jobava close the standings with 1.5 points.
As usual, the Grand Prix Tournaments are joyous draw festivals, and this 4th is not going to break the tradition. Today 4 uneventful draws have characterized a rather tedious round, but at least one game has drawn the interest of the fans. Karjakin of Russia, in a 99-move long struggle won his battle against fellow countryman Tomashevsky. This puts Karjakin in second place, together with Dominguez and Svidler, half a point behind the leader, Caruana of US. Nakamura went for his 5th draw, and now sails in the middle of the standings, with 2.5 points. After 5 rounds, the situation is still very fluid though, and everything can happen. The first 8 players are within 1 point, and a win can change dramatically the standings. The other decisive game today was Jakovenko's win over MVL; sadly, MVL blundered badly at an early stage of the game, and from there on it was only a matter of technique for Jako to get the full point. A rarely seen blunder at this level, especially for the French GM was not in time trouble. Now MVL is last - solo - with 1.5 points. We all hope he will be able to bounce back, and keep fighting during the tournament.
Caruana wins again, and rebuffs Svidler's and Karjakin's attack to his leadership. The numer two in the world played an intense game with Grischuk; not a perfect game - he missed twice an easy win, whereas Grischuk missed a simple way to draw - yet riveting and interesting. Dominguez, who was half a point behind Caruana after round 5, drew today's battle with Gelfand, and now is a full point behind the leader. At 50% we find Nakamura - 6th draw for the USA hero - Gelfand and Jakovenko. All in all this has been an interesting round, and now the probable winners are being outlined, though with 5 rounds to go and the first 4 players grouped in just one point, everything is still possible.
An unrecognizable MVL loses his 4th game in a row, and launches Nakamura toward the top of the standings, now only a point behind Caruana, who today drew an interesting game with Gelfand. Dominguez beats Svidler, and operates a switch-over in the standings. Now the strong cuban GM is in second place with Karjakin, half a point behind the leader, and Svidler joins Nakamura in 4th-5th at +1. Jobava keeps playing interesting openings, and it's always worth it checking his games, even when they end in a draw, like today. Giri, in an extremely tactical game, wins over Tomashevsky, who is now 11th in the standings, with a most likely compromised chance to qualify. With 4 rounds to go, Caruana and Nakamura are still favorite to take the two available spots for the 2016 Candidates Tournament.
Misteries of Caissa. The original chess theoretician Baadur Jobava - who can take everyone off-guard with his amazing opening repertoire - plays a rather rare variation of an unusual opening, then struggles holding his own soul by the teeth, only to voluntarily enter a theoretical lost endgame. Nakamura, who seemed to have blown away a won game earlier, didn't miss the chance, and won his second game in a row. Caruana had a bad day playing rather badly and lost to Jakovenko. So did Karjakin, losing to Grischuk. Tiredness and pressure are playing a role after 7 rounds, as a number of blunders and bad moves were played today. Gelfand won with Svidler in the "old guys" match of the day. Dominguez managed to draw his game against Tomashevsky, and now the Cuban shares first with the two Americans, Nakamura and Caruana. Entering the second rest day, and with three rounds to go, 8 players are grouped in just one point, making the final stage of the FIDE Grand Prix extremely interesting. Standings after 7 rounds: 1-3 with 5 points: Nakamura, Domingues and Caruana; 4-6 with 4.5 Gelfand, Jakovenko and Karjakin; 7-8 with 4 points Svidler and Grischuk.
Story of the day: TWO stalemates in a round, at this level! Probably this round will be remembered more for this almost incredible occurrence than for the results it brought. Gelfand, the oldest - but still so fresh and in a good fighting mode - player of the lot, created a little masterpiece over the board today. He took advantage of a blunder, of course, but the stalemate he got Jakovenko caught into was a piece of cake. Caruana and Karjakin went into a same-color bishop ending. Caruana saw the splendid deflection move 71 Bb4+! and seemed to be on the verge of a relatively easy win, which would have given him the ticket for the Candidates with two rounds to go. But whereas the computer (tablebase) gave mate in 50-something moves, Fabiano showed his being human, and played a totally natural move, which led to the second stalemate of the day. Nakamura and Grischuk drew in 30 moves; Giri beat Jobava in a game that does not count for the tournament nor for the overall GP standings, and Tomashevsky kept alive his hope by beating Svilder, who with this loss gets pushed back in the standings. After 9 rounds, and with two rounds to go, the standings are: 1-3 with 5.5 points Nakamura, Caruana and Dominguez; 4-6 with 5 points: Gelfand, Jakovenko and Karjakin; 7-8 with 4.5 points Grischuk and Giri; 9-10 with 4 points Svidler and Tomashevsky; 11 with 3 points Jobava and 12 with 2.5 Vachier-Lagrave.
J&J! Jakovenko and Jobava are the stars today, winning the two decisive games. Jobava beat Dominguez, helping the other "J" to join the lead, since the top game between Caruana and Nakamura ended in a draw. The two leaders did not go for an easy draw, with Nakamura playing the Dragon; they entered a complicated double rook endgame, and Caruana seemed to have a slight advantage, but wasn't able to convert. Now Jakovenko could even think about a ticket for the Candidates, but he'd need an unlikely win tomorrow, with black against Nakamura. Gelfand and Dominguez follow the three leaders half a point behind, which makes the last round extremely exticing to follow. Tomorrow's pairings: Karjakin vs. Gelfand - Nakamura vs. Jakovenko - Giri vs. Caruana - Dominguez vs. Grischuk - Svidler vs. Jobava - Tomashevsky vs. Vachier-Lagrave.
The two americans Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura get the ticket for the Candidates tournament, which will be held in 2016 to decide who will be Carlsen's challenger. In the last round both the super-strong young players drew, securing the final result. At the beginning, with Tomashevsky leading the overall Grand Prix standings, the situation was not clear, but of course the two American guys were the favorite, and it was predicted that they would win. Nakamura drew the first 6 games, playing solid and mature chess, to then strike at the right moment, to take the lead jointly with Caruana. Jakovenko susprised everyone, finishing first with the two overall winners. Caruana had a bit of an up-and-down tournament, but he was decisive when needed. Congratulations to Hikaru and Fabiano!
The Candidfates tournament's players list is thus composed:
The current standings after 3 Grand Prix Tournaments:
The last GP announces to be a war, as several GMs can still qualify. In fact, with 170 Grand Prix points for first place, 140 for second place, 110 for third place, and then 90 down to 10 points by steps of 10 (In case of a tie in points the Grand Prix points are shared evenly by the tied players), the first 6 are still - at least mathematically - in the run.
Radjabov and Andreikin won't play in Khanty-Mansiysk, therefore they are the "weaker" candidates to qualify.
ICC will relay all the games and offer its members a Video Recap service for each of the 11 rounds.