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Round 8 review
Friday, 24 April 2009
kamsky-eljanov.jpgFormer outsiders rebelling! Akopian is already in the middle of the pack and tries to move forward. Eljanov won the second game in a row as Black – against Kamsky, who clearly lost the punch. Gelfand finally put up a solid performance, beating Kasimdzhanov brilliantly.
Talking about the leaders, Grischuk saved half a point in a heroic effort against Karjakin. Aronian still leads the race.

Another unsuccessful game by Kamsky. He is either too tired or just did not recover after the previous round loss.
In a quiet and maneuvering game Gata applied serious pressure on the opponent’s position, but chose the wrong time to start the attack. He certainly saw the simple 31.Rab1, which kept the advantage, however, instead of it the American forced the issues by 31.Bxc5?!, missing the unexpected 35…Nd4! The idea with a fork on e2 apparently surprised him, and the situation quickly changed in Black’s favor. Clearly disappointed, Kamsky was unable to defend tenaciously.
Eljanov proved that he is an experienced hunter – patient and lethal when the time is right.

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"It is always interesting to hear a new opinion"
Thursday, 23 April 2009
220409_aronian.jpgTop grandmasters speaking about seconds

Levon Aronian (his second at the tournament: Gabriel Sargissian).
I prefer to have a second at tournaments; a good second is of great use.
I like to work with people. It is always interesting to hear a new opinion. In fact I work with people whom I find interesting.

Alexander Grischuk
I don`t have a second at this tournament. I feel comfortable without. First, it is not so easy to find a proper person. Moreover, now there are so many tournaments and almost everybody is busy. But if there is an opportunity to take a good second I do it with pleasure. I don`t like the system of taking a second just to have one.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
I came here with my father. The peculiarity of such contests is that you must prepare yourself before the tournament starts. But it seems to me that one doesn’t need any special help during the tournament. And my farther helps me physically and psychologically.

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Round 7 review
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
kariakin-kamsky.jpgThe 7th round brought only minor changes to the overall picture. The leader remained the same. The main drama of the round occurred in Kamsky’s game – the American missed an easy win against Karjakin and did not manage to make the first time control.


Chess is brutal. It punishes you for every slight mistake you make. You can play most of the game brilliantly, and then lose concentration for a move or two – and it’s over. You are knocked out, like in boxing.
I feel sorry for Kamsky. As a chess player, I understand very well how hard a blow it was for him.
Gata excellently handled the Winawer Variation of the French, employed an interesting scheme with the knight on d5 (earlier Black always put the knight to f5). Probably this is one of the lines prepared for the match against Topalov. After White captured the f7-pawn, Black’s pieces occupied excellent squares and began to bother the White king.
Karjakin’s counterplay started with 21.a4 was probably the best practical chance in a difficult situation. The only thing he could do was to put the pressure on the opponent and force him to calculate a lot.
I will not list here all the winning moves for Black. It is enough to point out the simple 27…Qxc2!, which could decide the game in a few moves. In the mutual time trouble Sergey acted quicker and more accurate – and Gata miscalculated, ended up in a lost position, and lost on time.
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Round 6 review
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
aronian-ivanchuk.jpgIn the Round 6 the leader was changed. Grischuk, who looked very confident at the start, did not survive Mamedyarov’s pressure. The first spot was taken by Aronian, who defeated the falling Ivanchuk with surprising ease. The Ukrainian grandmaster was considered to be one of the favorites prior to the tournament, but now he can only fight to his prestige and rating.
Akopian’s winning streak calls for respect. The Armenian considerably improved his position and got rid of the outsider status. He defeated Karjakin, questioning Sergey’s ambitious plans in this tournament.
Svidler skillfully used Eljanov’s carelessness to return to the struggle for the main prizes.
Kamsky can blame the fate, as he missed a huge advantage against Gelfand. On the other hand, this was only his own fault.
Other games logically ended in draws.
Vassily, looking for winning chances, called fire upon him, and perished. The game was very one-sided. Black made a mistake, allowing Nc3-d5 by 12…Bxc6?! Of course, he should have taken with the queen, securing an equal game. Maybe Ivanchuk thought that he can pick up the h2-pawn, but later discovered that it is impossible. Consequently, he had to defend a slightly worse position. The opposite-colored bishops did not guarantee a draw. With the queens on the board, pawn weaknesses on b6 and f7 as well as poor king’s safety played an important role. 
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