Tournament report

Jerusalem Game 2. Record Tie-breaks Coming

The fourth leg of the FIDE Grand Prix Series organized by World Chess is currently ongoing at the Notre Dame Center Jerusalem. Yossi Gilad, Head of Engineering at Algorand, opened the round with the first symbolic move.


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Text by Anastatia Karlovich

All the return games of the first round at Jerusalem Grand Prix were drawn, except for Wesley So winning against Yu Yangyi. The American becomes the first player to advance to the next stage of the event and was very happy to win his first match in the Grand Prix Series 2019 without playing tie-break.

Yu Yangyi got into unpleasant situation after sticking the bishop on e4. In order to relieve the pressure, Black temporarily sacrificed the central pawn, but then the White’s pair of bishops got into prominence. According to Yu Yangyi, the crucial mistake in the game was 31…Qc4. He missed 35.e6, when he was choosing this line. Wesley managed to break through and the victory in the game guaranteed his place in the second round.

Ian Nepomniachtchi was on a verge of losing against Boris Gelfand, but the Israeli player did not find the precise way to convert his advantage in the middle game. Black’s 10…Bd7 was inaccurate, taking away the retreat square for the knight, which eventually landed on g8. The correct was 10…a5, as played long ago by former world champion Khalifman. Playing under the time pressure Boris Glefand missed the last chance to play for a win after 34.c6. Ian Nepomniachtchi was clearly relieved after the game, admitting he had to defend a really bad position today.

Wang Hao was also in a very dubious situation against David Navara in the endgame but managed to hold it. This game went on for more than 80 moves and finished last. Wang Hao said afterwards he could not concentrate well and simply blundered a pawn. The Chinese Grandmaster was thinking even to resign in the endgame but after Navara`s king left the safe corner, he got some hopes to save the game.

Dmitry Andreikin and Radek Wojtaszek took quite some time to complete the opening despite all the moves being well-known theory. 15…c5 was the key move to equalize for Black, nevertheless Andreikin believed White can still try to play for a win. A few inaccurate moves by Wojtaszek, allowed the Russian player to play for a win, but he could not convert his advantage into a full point. Ironically, the second game of their match ended up with the same drawish endgame – two kings and a pawn.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov could also feel fortunate to have avoided the elimination. The Sicilian Four Knights, something of an Azeri speciality, developed into a normal position until Mamedyarov lashed to grab the g2-pawn. White missed a great opportunity to play 23.Rh2!, holding onto the h4-pawn, with Rg1 coming in next. 24…g5 also seemed as a bit too much, but Jakovenko did not hold the advantage and the game ended with repetition.

Anish Giri and Wei Yi drew after only 10 moves and delayed the decision until the tiebreak. Their first game was the longest of the first day though. “My biggest chess hero is Magnus Carlsen and I’m slowly learning his tricks. This time I started to borrow his tricks from the world championship match and just decided to go for tie-break”, Anish Giri commented after the game.

The line in the Italian game, that was always favoured by Sveshnikov and also came into fashion since last year, happened in the game between Sergey Karjakin and Pentala Harikrishna. After many exchanges, the position became pretty equal and Karjakin didn`t find a clear way to get any advantage. The game ended in a draw by repetition.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave did not find a way to break Veselin Topalov’s Berlin Ruy Lopez. The exchange sacrifice by Black created some sort of fortress and a draw was agreed shortly afterwards.

That means there will be a record amount of 7 tiebreaks on December 13:
Topalov vs Vachier-Lagrave
Wojtaszek vs Andreikin
Nepomniachtchi vs Gelfand
Wei vs Giri
Harikrishna vs Karjakin
Navara vs Wang
Mamedyarov vs Jakovenko

Official website and LIVE broadcast: https://worldchess.com

FIDE Press officer for the event: Anastasiya Karlovich

Official Photographer: Niki Riga

World Chess contact: media@worldchess.com

Photos are available for the press from the following link to Dropbox.

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
Usetech as the partner of the Jerusalem Grand Prix
Prytek as the Technology Transfer Partner