The FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg has reached the home stretch. After starting the event with 16 grandmasters, only Alexander Grischuk and Jan-Krzysztof Duda have remained to determine the winner and runner-up of the third leg of the series.
Grischuk would like to increase his lead in the Grand Prix by as much as possible since this Hamburg leg will be his last one in the series. The 36-year-old grandmaster has collected 17 points so far, but with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (13 points), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (10 points) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (9 points), there are three players left who could theoretically surpass him in the last instalment of the series in Jerusalem.
In the first game of the final round and in their first game with classical time control ever, Grischuk started with the white pieces and chose 1.d4. Duda responded with the Queen’s Indian Defence, which is one of his favourite openings. The rivals followed one of the main lines where Grischuk seemed better prepared. By moving his rook to c2 on move 13, he adopted an idea of Ivan Cheparinov which the Bulgarian grandmaster played three weeks ago at the Chess.com FIDE Grand Swiss in the Isle of Man. This, clearly, came as a surprise for the 21-year-old Polish player who thought for more than 50 minutes for his next two moves.
Grischuk returned the favour and sank into deep thought. He used 47 minutes for his next two moves to find a forced sequence that yielded him a better position. He managed to resolve the situation in the centre and ruin black’s kingside pawn structure. At this point, it was clear that both players would suffer severe clock pressure.
Time trouble became more evident when less than four minutes remained and time control was still 13 moves away. White still held an advantage due to a better pawn structure and a strong knight, but Black had activated all of his heavy pieces on the open e-file. Duda’scounterplay was sufficient to distract Grischuk. Shortly before time control on move 40, Grischuk had the chance to get a clear advantage with a strong knight move. Instead, he exchanged the queens and forced an endgame where Black was a pawn down but had enough counterplay due to his active rooks.
After the time control, Grischuk spent 25 minutes evaluating the situation on the board. As there was no advantage on the horizon, he forced matters by exchanging a rook and simplifying the position. Duda also didn’t see a path leading to an advantage, so the players agreed to a draw after 46 moves in an equal rook endgame.