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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave sole leader after two rounds

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave became the sole leader in the tournament after defeating Rustam Kasimdzhanov. It turned out to be the only decisive game in the second round as all other five encounters finished in a draw. Fabiano Caruana was very close to strike back after his unfortunate start but was held to a draw by Baadur Jobava. Dmitry Andreikin and Hikaru Nakamura were first to finish their game after repeating known line from Anand-Shirov. Anish Giri introduced an interesting novelty in the opening but didn't manage to convert his advantage against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.  Boris Gelfand and Dmitry Jakovenko could not break through stubborn defenses of their opponents Sergey Karjakin and Teimour Radjabov.

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Giri, Anish 1/2–1/2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
Once again Shakhriyar made his chess fans nervous by getting into troubles right in the opening. Players repeated the sequence of moves from yesterday's game Mamedyarov-Andreikin but Anish Giri found an improvement on 10th move.


Both players agreed after 10.Nd5!? the best chance for Black was to sacrifice a pawn ( 11. de Qa5 12.Kf1) and look for compensation. Shakhriyar chose 10...Nd5 and ended up in a worse ending with isolated pawn. “ I wanted to resign immediately after we got this endgame”, said Azeri player at the press conference. Nevertheless, Anish Giri didn't find a precise way to convert his advantage and after 36 moves peace has been signed.


"I understood that my strongest piece was my King and decided to bring it to the center", said Shakhriyar after the game.

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Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 1–0 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam

The position after 8 moves has been played before in the game MVL-Sargissian in 2008 and that game finished in a draw after a long fight. Former World Champion preferred another line with 8...h6 and ended up in a worse position after inaccurate 14...Bb5. Trying to bring back his knight from the edge of the board, Rustam sacrificed a pawn after the force line starting with 17....e4.


However, what he missed is that after 20.Re4 he cannot play 20...Rd3 as the endgame after 20...Rd3 21.Qd3 Qa1 is very depressive for Black. Vachier-Lagrave played very precisely and converted his advantage into full point.

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Gelfand, Boris 1/2-1/2 Karjakin, Sergey

Boris Gelfand surprised his opponent at the opening and Sergey Karjakin “accepted” to defend a slightly worse position. However it turned to be not easy to find an improvement for White. “I was dreaming to put my bishop on c3 and knight on e5 but it looks like I was not in time. If I had a chance to play two consecutive moves I would probably get big advantage”, explained Boris Gelfand.

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Jakovenko, Dmitry ½-½ Radjabov, Teimour

Dmitry Jakovenko didn't expect Radjabov to go for the same variation as in the game Fressinet-Radjabov, and had prepared nothing in his home laboratory.
Nevertheless, Dmitry managed to put some problems to his opponent and Teimour had to be very precise in the Rook endgame with a pawn down.

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Andreikin, Dmitry 1/2-1/2 Nakamura, Hikaru

Dmitry Andreikin decided to play 1.e4 against Hikaru Nakamura and stopped his preparation at this point, expecting any possible answer from his opponent. Until 13th move players repeated the game J. Polgar - H. Nakamura (2012) and Dmitry went for known drawish line starting with 14.Ra7 which happened in the game Anand-Shirov in 1997. “ I cannot complain about my tournament situation after 2 games. It's nice to make an easy draw with Black and rest since we are playing non-stop last weeks”, said Hikaru Nakamura after the game.

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Jobava, Baadur ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano

After a very risky play in the opening Baadur Jobava had to give up his queen for rook and bishop and till the end of the game was fighting for a draw.


Baadur thought he could play b5 after castling but after 9...b5! White's queen has problems.

When most of the pieces were traded it seemed Georgian player managed to build up a fortress. However, after inaccurate Rd2 Caruana has got another winning chance but it turned out that both players missed the winning move at the end of the variation starting with 44...Rh1 instead of 44...Ra8


45.Rg5 Qg5 46. Rg5 Kg5 47. Ke3 Re1 48. Kf2 Ra1 49.Ke3 Ra4 50.Be5 Kg4 51. Bd4 (see diagram below)


51...Rd4! 52.Kd4 and 52...Kf4 and White can resign. 

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