The third round in Jermuk was a relatively peaceful affair, with six draws and only one victory, and that coming in the tactical melee between the Russian compatriots with Alekseev coming out on top against the hard-luck Inarkiev. The game was a King’s Indian defense where Black came up with an interesting if unclear piece sacrifice, after which Black achieved an advantageous position. However, giving up the rook pair for the queen may not have been the best continuation, and in time trouble, black allowed the tactical shot 38. Nxe4! with a mating net threat. After this oversight by black, white was able to steer the game to victory. Two interesting Ne4 moves in the same game, one by each player.
In the game between Kasimdzhanov and Jakovenko, the Uzbek was pressing
his opponent and seemed to have a big advantage, but black was able to
find just enough defensive measures to hold the draw. He did so
despite white’s significant space advantage and active queen and knight
pair. A fortunate escape for black.
Gelfand vs. Bacrot saw white create some pressure from the opening, but
with the interesting pawn offers 19…d3 and 20…e5, black equalized.
After the exchange sacrifice, white felt he had nothing better than to
almost immediately return the gift and navigate the game into peaceful
waters. The draw was agreed on move 48.
Joint leaders Cheparinov and Aronian played the fastest game of the
round, belting out moves like a blitz game. Sharp and theoretical,
they followed known lines for the 1st twenty moves, and both agreed in
the press conference, that white didn’t have much of a plus with the 21
Nc7+ idea, but in lieu of seeing anything better, went for it anyway.
A mere six moves later and the peace accord was signed.
In Ivanchuk – Leko, black emerged from the opening with a position that
was easier to play, as the white king remained in the center. Black
had certain chances to increase his advantage, but after some
oversights like 21…h5 and 31…g5?, it was black who was forced to go for
perpetual check as his own king was now vulnerable.
In the game between Kamsky and Akopian, black chose a solid Petroff
setup against Kamsky’s e4. When offered the e5 pawn with white’s 12.
Nd4, Akopian thought for a while before seeing that after 12…Nxd4 13.
Bxd4 Na4, black has no problems and instead chose to not calculate the
many possibilities which arise from taking the e5 pawn. A relatively
quiet middlegame transpired until a bishops-of-opposite-color endgame
confirmed the draw.
Eljanov vs Karjakin saw white play a new move, 14. Bh3 but it is not
clear how much of an advantage this gives white. In any case, black
defended appropriately and was able to play the thematic 25…e5 and
27…c5 moves, after which he had enough to hold the draw in the rook