Karjakin draws first blood

Updated: Dec 04, 2009, 12:26 PM IST

Khanty Mansiysk: World`s youngest ever Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine gave yet another wonderful display of fighting chess and took lead against twice world junior champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the first game of the quarterfinal of World
Chess Cup.

Vladimir Malakhov of Russia cruised past compatriot and higher ranked Peter Svidler in the other engrossing encounter of the day while the other games ended in draws.

Mamedyarov was not only unbeaten but also had an impeccable record in this World Cup. The Azerbaijani had not been stretched in any of his matches thus far and his score of seven points out of a total eight games he had played prior to the quarters spoke volumes.

Playing white, Karjakin faced the Open Ruy Lopez from the man in form and just maintained a tight grip on the position in the ensuing middle game. Black had few weaknesses on the queen side and the Ukrainian exploited them in a copy book fashion to win a pawn in the ensuing rook and pawns endgame.

Things were still far from clear but Karjakin came up with an extra ordinary plan that caught the black king on the base rank and created irresistible threats. The game lasted 52 moves.

Malakhov made the most of his opportunities with black pieces against Svidler and is likely to go thorough to the semis. It was a Slav defense wherein things did not go Svidler`s way and when he sacrificed a couple of pawns, his chances turned out to be only optical.

Malakhov calculated precisely and launched his counter well, the final position was a picturesque site, both players had worked out threats but Malakhov got there just in time vide a pawn promotion to a knight with a check.

Top seeded Boris Gelfand of Israel and his opponent Russian Dmitry Jakovenko played out an 18-moves draw. Gelfand pressed till Jakovenko neutralised the advantage and traded the queens. Both players were also evidently tired of a long haul of games in the tiebreak games of previous round.

In the other game, former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine had a promising position that turned out to be extremely complicated against Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan.

After wild play by both players, Ponomariov reached a piece plus position with just oen remaining pawn for him. The Ukrainian decided against any undue risk and drew vide repetition.

Results: Quarterfinal game 1: Boris Delfand (Isr) drew with Dmitry Jakovenko (Rus); Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr) drew with Vugar Gashimov (Aze); Sergey Karjakin (Ukr) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze); Peter Svidler (Rus) lost to Vladimir Malakhov (Rus).