Karjakin and Smeets in best position to win Monaco invitation

Rising Stars vs Experience – Round 8

Another 2.5-2.5 tie in the 8th round, but possibly the end of Ivan Cheparinov’s hopes to earn the ticket to Monaco after his defeat against Predrag Nikolic. Bosnian Grandmaster is playing sharper than ever and today he opted for another dynamic line in Ruy Lopez. In earlier round he tried various continuations in Zaitsev variation, but today he chose Smyslov setup, probably in order to avoid Cheparinov’s superb preparation. Tense battle emerged after Cheparinov pushed 34.h4 and Nikolic replied with wonderful 37…c4. It still looked like White is better because of his dangerous passed pawn, but once Cheparinov allowed Black’s 43…e4!, his queen ended locked on passive h3. From then on, Nikolic had extra pawn and the initiative, and after some technical problems and White’s strong resistance, managed to convert it into win on move 91.

The score was evened by Jan Smeets, who expected Berlin Ruy Lopez from Ljubomir Ljubojevic (he already played it against Negi) and prepared well. Smeets quickly grabbed the initiative after couple of Black’s passive moves and advanced his kingside majority. Faced with two distant passed pawns, Ljubojevic couldn’t resist too long. Smeets is now 2nd best in the Rising Stars team, half point behind Karjakin.

NH 8 Smeets-Ljubojevic

Jan Smeets – Ljubomir Ljubojevic

Sergey Karjakin-Alexander Khalifman was quickly drawn after Black introduced novelty in Sveshnikov Sicilian. Parimanjan Negi-Arthur Yussupov and Daniel Stellwagen-Aleksander Beliavsky were draws after White didn’t find advantage in the Ruy Lopez.

Round 8 results:

Ivan Cheparinov – Predrag Nikolic 0-1

Jan Smeets – Ljubomir Ljubojevic 1-0

Parimarjan Negi – Artur Yussupov draw

Daniel Stellwagen – Alexander Beliavsky draw

Sergey Karjakin – Alexander Khalifman draw

Round 8 standings:

1. Sergey Karjakin 5.5

2. Jan Smeets 5.0

3-5. Ivan Cheparinov, Artur Yussupov and Predrag Nikolic 4.5

6-7. Alexander Khalifman and Alexander Beliavsky 4.0

8. Daniel Stellwagen 3.5

9. Parimarjan Negi 2.5

10. Ljubomir Ljubojevic 2.0

Team score: Rising Stars – Experience 21-19

NH 8 Negi-Yussupov

Parimarjan Negi – Artur Yussupov

NH 8 Karjakin-Khalifman

Sergey Karjakin – Alexander Khalifman

NH 8 Cheparinov

Ivan Cheparinov

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Photos courtesy of Association Max Euwe