Tournament report

Four winners in the first round of the Grand Prix in Hamburg

The third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix Series organized by World Chess started on Tuesday in the Theater Kehrwieder in Hamburg.

The first day of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg attracted many spectators until the organisers announced: “sold out”. The German chess fans didn’t regret coming as they witnessed many dramatic fights and four decisive results.

The president of the German Chess Federation, Ulrich Krause, symbolically opened the 1st round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg by playing 1. e2-e4 on the board of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Wei Yi. “It was a pleasure,” he said afterwards, and added: “it is an honour for me to be the chairman of the appeals committee during the next two weeks. At the same time, I expect not to be active in this role.”


Superb technique by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

One of the favourites of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg got off to a great start. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave outplayed his opponent Wei Yi from the very beginning until the end. The Chinese grandmaster boldly chose the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense with the black pieces against the world’s leading expert of this opening. Vachier-Lagrave reacted with a rare idea on move seven. After the exchange of queens on move 19, he got the better ending and improved his position step by step. Vachier-Lagrave won the crucial a-pawn, and his pawn on this file proved to be decisive.


A blunder by Ian Nepomniachtchi

One of the favourites of the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg got off to a great start. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave outplayed his opponent Wei Yi from the very beginning until the end. The Chinese grandmaster boldly chose the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense with the black pieces against the world’s leading expert of this opening. Vachier-Lagrave reacted with a rare idea on move seven. After the exchange of queens on move 19, he got the better ending and improved his position step by step. Vachier-Lagrave won the crucial a-pawn, and his pawn on this file proved to be decisive.

Peter Svidler thanked his colleague Kirill Alekseenko for showing him the line he used today to beat Pentala Harikrishna. In the second Italian Game of the day, Black seemed to have some initiative on the kingside, but Svidler parried all threats with precise counters and reached a favourable ending. White’s advantage increased when the Russian grandmaster entered the 7th rank with one of his rooks on move 29. Harikrishna sacrificed an exchange and tried to create counterplay with his passed pawn on the a-file, but Svidler was always in charge of the situation and converted without any problems.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Alexander Grischuk shared the point after an intense and open battle in a variation of the Catalan Opening. “We are both happy and unhappy”, said Grischuk, meaning that both players missed their chances. In a highly complex middlegame, Black got the upper hand around move 30 when the white pieces were clumsily gathered on the kingside. The Polish grandmaster nevertheless was able to turn the tables by giving some material for the black queen and forcing Grischuk’s majesty to leave the safety of the corner. He chased the king over half of the board, but there was not more than a perpetual check, which he delivered after the first time control.

In a battle lasting nearly five hours, Hikaru Nakamura and Veselin Topalov played the longest game of the day, which ended in favour of the Bulgarian grandmaster. “I used a line, which Anand played against me once”, Topalov explained. His decision was justified as he started a vicious attack against the white king right after the opening. Even if Topalov missed a straight win, the position on the board never raised serious doubts about who would be the final winner of day one at the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg.

David Navara and Nikita Vitiugov tested their theoretical knowledge in a deeply analyzed line of the Marshall Attack. The Czech grandmaster followed in the footsteps of Teimour Radjabov, who beat Ding Liren in the finals of the World Cup with the same opening. Vitiugov deviated on move 17 by putting the bishop on f5 instead of the queen. He sacrificed a pawn, but soon afterwards Navara gave the pawn back and forced the draw after 25 moves. “This is modern chess”, said Vitiugov later and added that Black has typical compensation in this position, which often leads to the same result.

The first game to end was the one between Teimour Radjabov and Daniil Dubov. It was only twelve moves long and it concluded in less than an hour. In an Italian Game, the Russian grandmaster gave up castling short and started an attack on the kingside. Just when the battle began to heat up, Radjabov offered a draw, which Dubov accepted.

Dmitry Jakovenko and Yu Yangyi shared the point shortly afterwards. In a line of the rock-solid Petroff, Jakovenko decided to call it a day after 17 moves in a symmetrical and balanced position.

Results of the 1st round:

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Wei Yi 1-0
Hikaru Nakamura – Veselin Topalov 0-1
David Navara – Nikita Vitiugov 1/2-1/2
Radoslaw Wojtaszek – Alexander Grischuk 1/2-1/2
Teimour Radjabov – Daniil Dubov 1/2-1/2
Peter Svidler – Pentala Harikrishna 1-0
Dmitry Jakovenko – Yu Yangyi 1/2-1/2

Leading partners supporting the FIDE World Chess Grand Prix Series 2019 include:

Algorand as the Exclusive Blockchain Partner
PhosAgro as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky as the Official Cybersecurity Partner
Pella Sietas Shipyard as the Official Partner
PRYTEK as the Technology Transfer Partner

For further questions, please contact: media@worldchess.com.

For press: https://worldchess.com/news/guide-to-hamburg-grand-prix-2019

Official Photo FIDE World Chess Grand Prix Hamburg Press kit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lwnfmxa5ikchijx/AAAlVzPKnkuXXZHfUpc5LXQ9a?dl=0

You can watch the full broadcast of the round at World Chess Youtube Channel. Click the bell sign to be notified of new videos and broadcasts.