'Naka' and 'Chuky' in the final

Vassily Ivanchuk beat Xianghzi Bu comfortably to make his way to tomorrow's showdown against Hikaru Nakamura who was almost eliminated in a tense Semi-Final against Le Quang Liem.

Le Quang LiemVIE26941-0Hikaru Nakamura2733USACatalan/BogoindianBlack obtained a big advantage, but Nakamura was frustrated by Le Quang's resistance and the American over-pressed with time running low
Hikaru Nakamura2733USA1-0Le Quang LiemVIE2694Slav/GrünfeldLe Quang obtained a pleasant advantage but Nakamura cleverly confused matters, whereupon the Vietnamese player lost a drawn endgame when in time pressure
It could have gone either way (chessanytime)

The American again demonstrated that he can beat just about anyone at Blitz.

NameCountryRatingBlitz 1Blitz 2
Le Quang LiemVIE26940B0W
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27331W1B
Hiakru Nakamura: Nobody Blitzes like Naka (chessanytime)
Le Quang Liem: Technically very good, but vulnerable when short of time (chessanytime)

In the other match Ivanchuk won both games:

Vassily IvanchukUKR27541-0Xiangzhi Bu2695CHNSlav/GrünfeldBlack's early counterplay was met by a strong two pieces for rook and pawns combination. Ivanchuk ground out a win in the endgame
Xiangzhi Bu2695CHN0-1Vassily IvanchukUKR2754Semi-Slav MoscowWhite's attempted activity on the kingside rebounded on him as Ivanchuk seized the initiative on the dark squares
Vassily Ivanchuk: No difficulties so far this year (chessanytime)
Bu was second best against Ivanchuk (chessanytime)

Here are our selection of videos from Cap d'Agde:

As a reminder, here are the preliminary round tables:

1Hikaru NakamuraUSA27336.5
2Bu XiangzhiCHN26955.5
3Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE26334
4Judit PolgarHUN26823.5
5Romain EdouardFRA26363
6=Anatoly KarpovRUS26192.5
6=Nadezhda KosintsevaRUS25652.5
8Sophie MillietFRA23880.5

Pool B:

1=Vassily IvanchukUKR27545.5
1=Le Quang LiemVIE26945.5
3=Jon Ludvig HammerNOR26334
3=Yannick PelletierSUI25924
5=Tigran GharamianFRA26583
5=Kateryna LahnoUKR25393
7Zhu ChenQAT24802
8Tatiana KosintsevaRUS25731

A summary of the Quarter-Finals:

Jon Ludvig HammerNOR26330-1Hikaru NakamuraUSA2733Sicilian b3Bad blunder from Hammer in the rook and knight pseudo-endgame
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27331-0Jon Ludvig HammerNOR2633Spanish Delayed ExchangeHammer was forced to take risks to try and win and Nakamura refuted Hammer's activity with a strong exchange sacrifice
Yannick PelletierSUI25920-1Xiangzhi BuCHN2695CatalanWhite ran out of things to do and Bu broke through on the queenside.
Xiangzhi BuCHN26950.5-0.5Yannick PelletierSUI2592English/HedgehogPelletier tried (with ...f5 and ...b5) to mix things but White was never rattled by this show of force.
Le Quang LiemVIE26940-1Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE2633Slav DefenceLe Quang had an advantageous endgame but, short of time, he lost control and his centralized king was suddenly in trouble.
Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE26330-1Le Quang LiemVIE2694Trompovsky OpeningFrom an equal position Le Quang managed to generate some play on both wings.

Blitz play-off:

NameCountryRatingBlitz 1Blitz 2Blitz 3Blitz 4
Le Quang LiemVIE2694=B=W1B1W
Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE2633=W=B0W0B
Vassily IvanchukUKR27541-0Judit PolgarHUN2682Sicilian RossolimoJudit lost her way in the opening and had to sacrifice her queen for two pieces. She resisted for a long time but the result was not really in doubt
Judit PolgarHUN26820-1Vassily IvanchukUKR2754Reti OpeningWhite made no progress whatsoever on the kingside whereas Ivanchuk carved up Polgar's queenside and won a couple of pawns.

The final can be seen live tomorrow at 17.30 local time Live Games

The English-language commentators will be Javier Moreno and myself for one last time!

Moscow 19.30am

Paris, Madrid 17.30am

London 16.30

New York 11.30am

Los Angeles 08.30am

For more information go to the Official site

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