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T. Petrosian 80

Round 5 report
A day full of surprises as the players pushed hard for victories in round 5, the last one before the 1st of two rest days in the Grand Prix tournament in Jermuk, Armenia.

Aronian who has been coasting along with what often feels like little effort at all, ran into problems today against the enterprising Kasimdzhanov.  When the Uzbek #1 uncorked the interesting novelty 19. e6 in a complex middlegame, Aronian reacted dynamically, soon sacrificing the exchange for a pawn.  However, instead of some counterattacking possibilities with the bishop pair plus the two passed pawns, Aronian fell under a continuous white assault in which material was traded until black was left trying to cling to his remaining pieces and his king exposed.  The end came only a few moves later as once the players reached time control, Aronian resigned.

Cheparinov-Ivanchuk.jpgIvanchuk is on a roll.  After some fortunate escapes in the first few rounds, he has demonstrated strong chess.  Today he defeated Cheparinov on the black side of a Nimzovich opening.  With an active queen and bishops eyeing many key squares, black infiltrated white’s position, winning the c pawn on move 30.  White rallied his remaining forces to attempt a direct onslaught against the black king, but Ivanchuk, in firm control of the only open file, coolly played 40 Qxe1+, forcing trades on white’s back rank and forced resignation on move 41.  White’s pawns continue to fall in the final position.  A nice game by the Ukrainian. Gelfand-Akopian.jpg
Gelfand registered his first win, at the expense of local star Akopian.  Black emerged from the opening with an even position, but erred with 20…Bb4, possibly trying for more when the simple knight trade on c3 would have been sufficient.  Instead, after a series of exchanges, white ended up with an extra and passed a pawn, but black may have done better w e5 instead of g5.  and was able to nurse the advantage to victory with the Q+B vs black’s Q+N defense.  In the final position, black chooses between mate or losing the knight, and understandably resigned.



Karjakin was another winner of round five, against Bacrot. Black chose a Spanish setup which achieved some activity at the cost of certain positional weaknesses.  Heavy piece trades then transpired as black attempted to simplify the position and relieve some pressure.  Eventually, white’s a-pawn emerged as the difference-maker as Karjakin won a technical victory against his French opponent.



Kamsky –Inarkiev was the last game to finish.  The players entered the middlegame with a mostly even struggle and despite some typically small opening advantage, black could be content with a stable position.  It is possible that black’s 20…f5 was unnecessary, and the subsequent  21…f4 was probably worse than fxg, especially with his knight far from the action on a5.  It is conceivable that black might have been able to defend the resulting endgame, but Kamsky was able to follow through and register his first victory against the bad-luck Inarkiev.



In the game Eljanov-Jakovenko, white chose a very dynamic setup against black’s Queen’s Gambit Accepted, sacrificing a pawn for activity and an attack against the black king.  In this rare continuation, black was able to defend well, finding the right moves to hold the position.  The game ended in a draw, but not for the lack of effort by the hopeful Eljanov.



In Alekseev – Leko white disclosed more modest plans, content to come out of the opening with a small advantage.  However, against the experienced Leko, this strategic choice is rarely sufficient for victory, and the Hungarian once again demonstrated his renowned defensive skills to neutralize white’s ideas and steer the game into calm bishop-of-opposite-color waters.


Friday is a rest day as the players will see the local historical sites and recharge their batteries.  With 8 rounds to go, it is Leko and Ivanchuk in the lead with 3.5 out of 5, just a half point ahead of Kasimdzhanov, Gelfand, and Aronian.
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