Tournament report

Grischuk pushes but Duda holds

Once again, the spectators at the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg, Germany – and of course around the world – will be treated to one final day full of nailbiting rapid and blitz chess. Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Alexander Grischuk put up an intense fight in the second round of the mini-match today, with the Russian player pushing for a win with the black pieces, but Duda defending like a lion and finally saving the half point.

The Consul General of the Russian Federation in Hamburg, Andrei Sharashkin, ceremonially opened the second game of the final between Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Alexander Grischuk.

Duda started the fight with 1.d4 but was obviously not prepared for the line of the Queen´s Gambit Declined which appeared on the board. Already after Grischuk’s 6th move, he had spent 18 minutes. And despite the long think, he only managed to slide into a position which is considered to be harmless for Black.

Ten moves later, the players had reached a position with an isolated pawn on d5. As for white, he was still to develop his kingside and bring his king to safety by castling. Grischuk used about 30 minutes to find the critical continuation and lashed out with a pawn sacrifice at the end of it. Soon, he had planted his light-squared bishop on d7, with the idea of exploiting White’s weak light squares on the queenside.

Duda realized that he was in trouble and sank into deep thought. He took the pawn on d5 and, one move later, found the only defence to stay in the game. And then it was Grischuk’s turn to go into the think tank. He spent as many as 30 minutes in order to find the best continuation to keep the initiative going. As the game heated up, both players were down to 20 minutes after 13 moves. It was clear that time trouble might be a decisive factor.

In a highly tactical position, Grischuk continued the attack with a piece sacrifice. Duda stood on the edge of the precipice but showed amazing defensive skills, despite being short on time. Finally, Grischuk was unable to find anything better than getting his piece back and transposing into a slightly better endgame. Both grandmasters played on with a queen and a rook. Grischuk had a passed pawn on the ‘b’-file to boast of. But in the end, this proved to be only a symbolical advantage. Duda fought his way out and drew the game without too many complications.

Even after the game, both players were still absorbed by this dramatic battle. Grischuk gave his impression of it in his trademark style: “Maybe a better calculator like Maxime Vachier-Lagrave would have found something, but he would not get this position because he doesn’t play the Queen’s Gambit, which is the most aggressive opening”.

Final, game 2 result:
Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Alexander Grischuk 1/2-1/2

The tiebreak of the final will start on Sunday at 15:00 (CET) with Duda having the white pieces in the first rapid game.

Modus for the tiebreak:

Two 25+10 rapid games are played. If still tied, there are two 10+10 games, then two 5+3. Finally, a single Armageddon game is played, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4 (with a 2-second increment from move 61), but Black wins the match with a draw.