Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi Advance in Moscow

Alexander Grischuk and Ian Nepomniachtchi are through to the final round at the 2019 Moscow Grand Prix. Grischuk defeated Hikaru Nakamura 1.5-0.5 to advance to the finals, while Nepomniachtchi had to suffer through rapid and blitz tiebreaks against Radoslaw Wojtaszek, eventually winning their match by a score of 3.5-2.5.

Nakamura may have “gone to the well” one too many times in his loss against Grischuk. He had played the 7. … b5 line against the Open Catalan six times previously, twice here in Moscow, and Grischuk came to the board well-prepared.

Hikaru Nakamura (photo World Chess)

Alexander Grischuk after his win over Nakamura (photo Niki Riga)

Grischuk’s account of his calculations on move 25 is truly remarkable, and one can understand why Grischuk made the universal “steam coming out the ears” face as he gave the lines to illustrate how deeply down the rabbit hole he went.

Nepo-Wojtaszek (photo World Chess)

Grischuk meets Ian Nepomniachtchi in the all-Russian final. Nepomniachtchi’s win over Radoslaw Wojtaszek came after four draws in classical and rapid time controls, and their match was the first in the event that required a blitz (10 minutes plus 10 second increment) round. Their first blitz game was drawn, but after Wojtaszek blundered in the second game, Nepomniachtchi collected the point with ease.

Today (Sunday) is a rest day in Moscow, at least for the finalists.

The finals begin tomorrow (Monday) at 3pm Moscow time, or 8am Eastern. Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi will play two classical games on the 27th and 28th, with tiebreaks on the 29th if necessary. Live coverage is available at the official WorldChess site, or direct via their YouTube channel.

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