Sharjah Grand Prix 2017 – Round 3

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QUICK DRAWS, MISSED CHANCES AND RAPPORT LOSING AGAIN

If you ever wondered whether I try my luck in sports betting, this post might give you a concrete answer.

Because during the round one report I predicted more fighting chess and less draws during this Swiss event.

It goes without saying that my prediction was way of the mark so far, since round three of the Sharjah Grand Prix 2017 resulted in only one decisive game.

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I somehow always manage to miss only one pair..

However, it could have been a completely different story if we purely judge the positions that appeared on the board during round three.

Because if we disregard all the quick draws, at least in the two games players managed to spoil completely winning positions and throw away what should have otherwise been an almost certain win.

For example, Michael Adams will certainly have some trouble sleeping tonight. In his game against Eljanov, the following position was reached:

Adams has already missed some more precise ways of finishing the game. Here instead of 38 Qxf7+, with a pawn up in the endgame, he went for:

38 Qh4? 

and after

38 … Qf3 39 Nf2 Qe2

He had to go for a draw with:

40 Kc1 Qe1+ 41 Nd1 Qxh4

The other miss is perhaps even more amazing and potentially even more significant for the tournament, since it happened on board one.

MVL, the hero of round two, played far from his best against ever so dangerous Shakhriyah Mamedyarov and landed in a losing endgame.

However, in the following position, the tricky Frenchman devised  a cunning piece sacrifice:

Here MVL played

38 Nxg6!

After which Black is still winning, although it is not entirely clear. Alas, Mamedyarov didn’t find the best way of converting, and MVL saved the draw.

GAME ANALYSIS: HIKARU NAKAMURA – RICHARD RAPPORT

Hikaru Nakamura almost completed the hat – trick of misses in this round, as he managed to turn a completely winning position in an equal one. However, in time scramble Rapport was last to make a mistake, and Hikaru managed to win the game in the end.

Judging by the course of the game, that result is fair in the end.

The analysis is available below. Hint: Click on any move, and the pop-up board will appear:

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