Here's the game from yesterday which led to Nepomnichtchi leap-frogging Jobava into the lead.
Ian Nepomniachtchi (2656) - Baadur Jobava
Rijeka (European Men's Championship 9th round) 15.03.2010
Caro-Kann, Fantasy Variation (B12)
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3!?
White lends support to his centre, but at the risk of weakening himself along the a7-g1 diagonal.
An interesting sideline which Jobava employed in his win over Timofeev in round 6.
The afore-mentioned game continued with 4.♘c3 dxe4 5.♘xe4 ♗f5 6.c3 ♘d7 7.♗d3 e5 8.♘e2 exd4 9.cxd4 ♗b4+ 10.♗d2 ♘e7 11.0-0 0-0 Timofeev,A-Jobava,B Rijeka (round 6) 2010 when Black's superior pawn structure gave him an edge.
We are already out of known theory after move four!
Jobava aims to destabilize White's centre and seeks rapid development. An understandable approach as White has relied uniquely on pawn moves up to now.
Two rounds earlier, in the game Caspi,I-Ruck,R Rijeka (round 8) 2010, after the moves 4...dxe4 5.a5 ♕c7 6.fxe4 e5 7.♘f3 ♗g4 8.♗c4 ♘f6 9.0-0 ♗d6 White missed a big chance: 10.dxe5 ♗xe5 11.♗xf7+! ♕xf7 (if 11...♔xf7 then 12.♘xe5+ ♕xe5 13.♕xg4) 12.♘xe5 ♗xd1 13.♘xf7 ♔xf7 14.♖xd1 with a clear advantage for White as Black will have difficulties to recuperate the pawn and complete development at the same time.
Inconsistent in my opinion.
Here 5...♗c5! (directly attacking down the a7-g1 diagonal) is the way for Black to continue. Then in order to avoid a disadvantage White's moves are forced: 6.a5 ♗f2+ 7.♔e2 ♕c5 8.b4 ♕d4 9.c3 ♕xd1+ 10.♔xd1 dxe4 and Black regains his pawn with reasonable prospects.
6.a5 ♕c7 7.f4!
Consolidating and leaving the black e4-pawn exposed.
7...♘h6 8.♘c3 ♗b4 9.♗d2
The e4-pawn is likely to fall (♘xe4 is threatened, and ...♗xc3 would badly weaken Black's dark-squares) so Jobava aims to at least gain some time.
This doesn't really mix matters as intended. So perhaps 9...♗g4 10.♗e2 ♗f5! should have been tried, as White then wouldn't have such an easy time to develop harmoniously.
10.♗xe3 0-0 11.♘f3 ♖d8 12.♗d3
White has more space and his development proves to be easier.
12...♘a6 13.♕e2 ♗xa5
Re-establishing material equality. However White's central majority will probably give him a pull in the middlegame (see later for the damage these pawns actually cause!), so Black has to be careful where he places his pieces. Blockading the f5 and e6 squares is essential to stop White rolling forwards.
14.0-0 ♘b4 15.♗e4 ♗f5
If instead 15...♘g4 16.♗d4 f5 (16...c5 is ugly and weakens various squares, for example 17.♘b5! ♕b6 18.♗c3 with a clear advantage) 17.exf6 ♘xf6 Black's kingside could prove to be in even greater danger.
16.♔h1 ♗b6 17.♗xb6 ♕xb6 18.♘g5!
Black's knights are ineffective and White's grip on the right-hand side is starting to tell.
Nepomniachtchi is fully mobilized and threatening to expand. In contrast, Jobava's forces are somewhat discoordinated and he lacks counterplay, so he now provokes complications to at least distract his opponent.
A sharpening of the struggle should suit White who overall has the better pieces.
With nasty threats.
21...♖xd5 22.♗xd5 ♗d3 23.♕f3 ♖e8 24.e6
A strong move, but not the only way as the alternative line 24.♘xf7! ♘xf7 25.f5 also looks crushing.
24...♘xe1 25.♖xe1 fxe6 26.♖xe6 ♔h8
A back rank trick that only delays the inevitable.
27.h3 ♖xe6 28.♗xe6 ♗b5 29.f5
The f-pawn now readies itself for the decisive blow.
29...♕e8 30.f6 ♕f8 31.f7
Completely paralysing the black position and Jobava now resigned as there is no defence against 32.♕-e4 e.g.31...a6 32.♕e4 g6 33.♕e5+ ♕g7 34.f8♕+.
In today's round on board two Rauf Mamedov pushed Jobava all the way, but the Georgian managed to draw the queen ending two pawns down.
As to any thoughts of finishing in the top 22, several early draws suggest that a number of players already have their qualification for the World Cup in mind.
I estimate that 7.5 will be necessary to get into a play-off, but 8 may be required to ensure automatic qulaification.
|1||GM||Denis Khismatullin (7)||RUS||2657||0.5-0.5||GM||Ian Nepomniachtchi (7.5)||RUS||2656|
|2||GM||Rauf Mamedov (7)||AZE||2639||0.5-0.5||GM||Baadur Jobava (7)||GEO||2695|
|3||GM||Vladimir Akopian (7)||ARM||2688||0.5-0.5||GM||Ivan Sokolov (7)||BIH||2638|
|4||GM||Zahar Efimenko (7)||UKR||2640||0.5-0.5||GM||Artyom Timofeev (7)||RUS||2655|
|5||GM||Emil Sutovsky (6.5)||ISR||2650||0.5-0.5||GM||Sergei Movsesian (6.5)||SVK||2709|
|6||GM||Evgeny Alekseev (6.5)||RUS||2700||0.5-0.5||GM||Bartlomiej Macieja (6.5)||POL||2625|
|7||GM||Laurent Fressinet (6.5)||FRA||2670||0.5-0.5||GM||Vladimir Potkin (6.5)||RUS||2606|
|8||GM||Ernesto Inarkiev (6.5)||RUS||2667||0-1||GM||Igor Lysyj (6.5)||RUS||2615|
|9||GM||Ivan Salgado Lopez (6.5)||ESP||2592||0.5-0.5||GM||Ferenc Berkes (6.5)||HUN||2659|
|10||GM||David Navara (6)||CZE||2708||1-0||GM||Markus Ragger (6.5)||AUT||2572|
|11||GM||Anish Giri (6)||NED||2624||0-1||GM||Zoltan Almasi (6)||HUN||2720|
|12||GM||Francisco Vallejo Pons (6)||ESP||2708||0.5-0.5||GM||Vladimir Belov (6)||RUS||2619|
|13||GM||Csaba Balogh (6)||HUN||2622||0.5-0.5||GM||Alexander Motylev (6)||RUS||2705|
|14||GM||Ildar Khairullin (6)||RUS||2617||1-0||GM||Michael Adams (6)||ENG||2704|
|15||GM||Romain Edouard (6)||FRA||2617||0-1||GM||Evgeny Tomashevsky (6)||RUS||2701|
In the women's tournament a complicated struggle in Viktorija Cmilyte-Anna Muzychuk went on late into the evening, which the leader eventually won.
Pia Cramling's victory over Stefanova puts the Swede in contention for the title going into the last round, especially as she will play Cmilyte in tomorrow's showdown.
Marie Sebag of France and Monika Socko of Poland both won, giving them sporting chances of finishing on the podium, their meeting tomorrow will be decisive.
In the ladies event 7.5 points should be enough for automatic qualification.
|1||IM||Viktorija Cmilyte (7.5)||LTU||2485||1-0||IM||Anna Muzychuk (7)||SLO||2533|
|2||GM||Pia Cramling (7)||SWE||2523||1-0||GM||Antoaneta Stefanova (7)||BUL||2555|
|3||IM||Anna Ushenina (6.5)||UKR||2452||0.5-0.5||GM||Tatiana Kosintseva (6.5)||RUS||2524|
|4||GM||Marie Sebag (6.5)||FRA||2506||1-0||WGM||Lilit Galojan (6.5)||ARM||2380|
|5||IM||Marina Romanko (6.5)||RUS||2409||0-1||GM||Monika Socko (6.5)||POL||2465|
|6||IM||Yelena Dembo (6.5)||GRE||2457||0.5-0.5||WGM||Jolanta Zawadzka (6.5)||POL||2404|
|7||IM||Eva Moser (6)||AUT||2437||1-0||IM||Lela Javakhishvili (6)||GEO||2500|
|8||WGM||Natalia Zhukova (6)||UKR||2492||1-0||WGM||Baira Kovanova (6)||RUS||2385|
|9||IM||Nino Khurtsidze (6)||GEO||2434||0.5-0.5||GM||Hoang Thanh Trang (6)||HUN||2487|
|10||WGM||Olga Girya (6)||RUS||2362||0.5-0.5||IM||Iweta Rajlich (6)||POL||2459|
|11||WGM||Anastasia Savina (6)||RUS||2391||1-0||WFM||Valentina Gunina (6)||RUS||2457|
|12||IM||Almira Skripchenko (6)||FRA||2456||1-0||IM||Elena Sedina (6)||ITA||2334|
|13||IM||Mariya Muzychuk (6)||UKR||2444||0.5-0.5||WGM||Anastasia Bodnaruk (6)||RUS||2384|
|14||WFM||Nastassia Ziaziulkina (6)||BLR||2188||0.5-0.5||IM||Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (6)||RUS||2438|
More information on the official tournament site