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The Week in Chess

  • Tbilisi FIDE Grand Prix 2015 – Games and Results
    The Tbilisi FIDE Grand Prix took place 15th February (Round 1) to 27th February 2015. Players: Alexander Grischuk, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Andreikin, Dmitry Jakovenko, Teimour Radjabov, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Baadur Jobava. The favourites Anish Giri and Alexander Grischuk both had disappointing results. The event was dominated by Evgeny Tomashevsky scoring 8/11 a point and a half clear of Dmitry Jakovenko. Tomashevsky goes to the top of the Grand Prix standings and will also play the final event in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 13th to 27th May 2015. It seems likely Tomashevsky, Caruana, Nakamura and maybe Gelfand and Jakovenko will fight it out for the two Candidates places. Karjakin, Grischuk and Giri will no doubt have to win the event to have any chance at all of qualifying by this route. Mamedyarov currently stands second but he will inevitably be overtaken in the final tournament. FIDE Grand Prix Wiki page.
  • 16th European Individual Championship 2015 – Games and Results
    The 16th European Individual Championship takes place in Jerusalem 23rd February to 8th March 2015. Leading players: David Navara, Nikita Vitiugov, Pavel Eljanov, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Etienne Bacrot, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Maxim Matlakov, Alexander Moiseenko, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Alexander Riazantsev, Anton Korobov etc
  • 7th Batavia Chess Tournament 2015 – Games and Results
    The 7th Batavia Chess Tournament takes place 20th February to 1st March 2015. The event started with a blitz. 10 player 9 round all-play-all. Players: Dimitri Reinderman, Andreas Heimann, Roland Schmaltz, Jorden van Foreest, Daniel Gormally, Stef Soors, Lars Ootes, Nico Zwirs, Etienne Goudriaan and Robby Kevlishvili.
  • Bunratty Chess Festival 2015 – Games and Results
    The Bunratty Chess Festival consists of a 9 round GM norm tournament and the main Masters which takes place 20th to 22nd February 2015 with Wesley So, Gawain Jones, Nigel Short etc. Games and results.
  • Zurich Chess Challenge 2015 – Games and Results
    The Zurich Chess Challenge took place 13th to 19th February 2015. Six top players played blitz, classical then finally rapid chess. Players: Kramnik, Nakamura, Anand, Caruana, Aronian and Karjakin. Chess legend Korchnoi plays Uhlmann in a four game rapid match too.

    Viswanathan Anand edged out Hikaru Nakamura on tie-break after the latter caught him after a successful rapid on the final day but a final single Armageddon game was played and Anand lost badly as white. Thus Nakamura won the event.

  • Anand wins the Classical section of the Zurich Chess Classic – 5
    Three draws meant that Viswanathan Anand won the Classical section of the Zurich Chess Challenge. However the winner of the event will be decided by a combination of these results and the rapid event tomorrow. The classical scores are worth double the rapid ones.

    Anand better than equalised against Sergey Karjakin and eventually used this to liquidate into a drawn endgame.

    Fabiano Caruana’s treatment of the Giuoco Piano presented Vladimir Kramnik with some novel problems but it didn’t prove enough to get a serious advantage.

    Final Round 5 Classical Standings (2pts for a win 1pt for a draw added to normal scoring for the rapid): Anand 7pts, Nakamura 6pts, Kramnik 5pts, Karjakin, Caruana, Aronian 4pts.

    Thursday 19th 12pm GMT Rapid. 5 rounds with reversed colours to the Classical section.

  • Anand takes the lead in Zurich after beating Nakamura in Round 4 – 4
    Viswanathan Anand won a theoretical battle in a Bf4 Queen’s Gambit. 15.Kg2 was a new move but the whole structure is well understood. When black gets it right it looks like a forced draw but the endgame can be miserable for black. Nakamura was highly critical of his 18…g6, it seemed he got annoyed with himself for playing it and he gradually subsided to a loss. This allowed Anand to take the lead from Nakamura with one round of classical and then 5 more rounds of rapid to go.

    Levon Aronian had a nice edge against Fabiano Caruana in a Lasker Queen’s Gambit but at some point he wasn’t quite precise enough and the game finished in a draw.

    Kramnik – Karjakin was a reversed King’s Indian. Karjakin got a serious advantage at one point but just couldn’t find a way to convert and the game was drawn.

    Round 4 Standings (2 points for a win): Anand 6pts, Nakamura 5pts, Kramnik 4pts, Caruana, Karjakin, Aronian 3pts

    Round 5 pairings Wednesday 18th Feb: Nakamura-Aronian, Caruana-Kramnik, Karjakin-Anand

  • Nakamura beats Karjakin to pass the 2800 mark and lead in Zurich – 3
    Hikaru Nakaura caught Sergey Karjakin out in a theoretical variation that is apparently known to most leading Grandmaster (Jan Gustafsson demonstrated a draw with 15…Qd2+ long before the key position, the line is shown as equal by all strong computers). But Karjakin couldn’t remember and quickly he was just lost. Nakamura followed Anish Giri the day before in going over the 2800 mark in the live rating list. Nakamura also leads the Zurich Chess Challenge.

    Levon Aronian had a strong position against Vladimir Kramnik but couldn’t quite find a way to convert against strong defence. Fabiano Caruana had a better position against Viswanathan Anand until he played the bad 24.Nc2 after which he had to struggle to a draw. The post-mortem was worth seeing as it showed just how much pure calculation was involved for both players.

    Round 3 Standings (2 points for a win 1 for a draw): Nakamura 5pts, Anand 4pts, Kramnik 3pts, Caruana, Aronian, Karjakin 2pts.

    Round 4 Tuesday 17th February 2pm GMT: Kramnik-Karjakin, Anand-Nakamura, Aronian-Caruana.

  • Anand beats Aronian to join Nakamura in Zurich lead after two rounds – 2
    Viswanthan Anand inflicted the most painful of losses on Levon Aronian in the second round of the Zurich Chess Challenge. In a Gruenfeld Russian System Anand played 19.d7 which is what every modern computer recommends even after a few seconds and Aronian presumably had seen this too but is 19…Be4 may be wrong (19…Nc7 maybe?) but 20…Bc6 loses very directly after 21.Rd6 and there was nothing to fix this.

    Vladimir Kramnik tried to test Hikaru Nakamura in a slightly older Catalan line but didn’t find any serious advantage, especially after Nakamura gave up his Queen for Rook and Bishop. Neither player seemed to think black had serious problems.

    The last game to finish was a draw between Sergey Karjakin and Fabiano Caruana in a 4.d3 Berlin where Caruana pushed his kingside pawns early. Both players thought white had an edge but play was very hard to judge and at move 41 they agreed a draw in a more or less balanced endgame.

    Standings Round 2 (2pts for a win 1 for a draw this will then be combined with the rapid standings which has the normal scoring.): 1 Anand, Nakamura 3pts 3 Kramnik, Karjakin 2pts 5 Aronian, Caruana 1pt.

    Round 3 Pairings Monday 16th February 2015 2pm GMT: Aronian-Kramnik, Caruana-Anand, Nakamura-Karjakin

    Uhlmann and Korchnoi traded wins on day one of their four game rapid match.

  • Nakamura leads Zurich Classic after round 1 – 1
    Hikaru Nakamura defeated Fabiano Caruana with black in a sharp Sicilian Najdorf which turned around in the final few moves before first time control. Nakamura gave up a pawn after which he thought he had freed his position and equalised. However he realised that things were a bit trickier than he first thought. Caruana decided to avoid a techincal ending and instead started to attack and in time trouble his position first became uncoordinated and finally he allowed Nakamura a decisive attack. A rather sudden turn around.

    Levon Aronian came close to defeating Sergey Karjakin in an interesting Queens Gambit Meran. 14…Be7 was an interesting novelty 18…Ba6 was probably a bad move leaving white with a strong attack. 23…f5 left Aronian with two attacking tries 24.exf6 which is interesting and 24.Ng3 which the computers suggest is close to winning. Sadly for Aronian he spent a lot of time on the former and short of time he decided to agree a draw by perpetual check.

    Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik drew a heavyweight Queen’s Gambit struggle full of subtleties. There were small changes of assessment but they traded into a simplified ending when they agreed a draw.

    Round 1 Standings (2 points for a win 1 for a draw): Nakamura 2pts, Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Karjakin 1pt, Caruana 0pts.

    Round 2 Pairings: Kramnik-Nakamura, Karjakin-Caruana and Anand-Aronian.

  • Moscow Open 2015 – Games and Results
    The Moscow Open took place 31st January to 8th February 2015. Top seeds Ian Nepomniachtchi and Francisco Vallejo Pons. Ernesto Inarkiev won with 8/9. Games and results.
  • Carlsen wins GRENKE Classic after armageddon tie-break – 7 and Tie-break
    Magnus Carlsen won the 3rd GRENKE Classic after winning a final decisive tie-break game against Arkadij Naiditsch. They had exchanged wins in the rapid tie-break games, two draws in blitz before Carlsen had white and had to win the final game. Both players had winning chances earlier in the day during the final round 7 which would have given first place outright. Fabiano Caruana missed a chance to join them in a final tie-break when he missed a sharp chance against David Baramidze. Michael Adams defeated Viswanathan Anand after his grinding away in a rook ending was rewarded with a serious error.

    Final Standings: Carlsen (1st after TB) and Naiditsch 4.5/7, Caruana, Adams 4pts, Bacrot, Aronian 3.5pts, Anand 2.5pts, Baramidze 1.5pts.

    Next major tournaments Zurich 13th Feb and Tbilisi Grand Prix 14th Feb.

  • Leaders Carlsen and Naiditsch draw in GRENKE Round 6 – 6
    Magnus Carlsen and Arkadij Naiditsch both drew their round 6 games and share the lead on 4/6 going into the final round of the GRENK Masters in Baden Baden. There will be a blitz tie-break if there is a tie for first place after the final round 7.

    Carlsen drew fairly comfortably against Fabiano Caruana when he had slightly the better of the theoretical duel in a Berlin Defence.

    Arkadij Naiditsch eventually had an edge against Etienne Bacrot due to better placed minor pieces but didn’t manange to make anything of it. Micheal Adams got a significant edge against Levon Aronian’s English and seemed disappointed not to do better with the postiion. Finally Viswanathan Anand managed to beat David Baramidze after winning material due to black’s error with 22…c3. Whilst the position remained winning it took five and a half hours play to convert.

    Round 6 Standings: Carlsen, Naiditsch 4pts, Caruana 3.5pts, Adams, Bacrot, Aronian 3pts, Anand 2.5pts, Baramidze 1 pt.

    Final Round 7 Pairings 2pm GMT Monday: Adams-Anand, Naiditsch-Aronian, Carlsen-Bacrot and Baramidze-Caruana.

  • Carlsen joins Naiditsch in the lead of the GRENKE Classic after 5 rounds – 5
    Magnus Carlsen beat the tail-ender David Baramidze in a Breyer Ruy Lopez to catch Arkadij Naiditsch in the lead of the GRENKE Classic with two rounds to go. Carlsen had the slightly more pleasant position but nothing so very much until coming up to the first time control and after winning his opponent’s b-pawn on move 37 Carlsen only had be precise to make his queenside pawns count.

    Arkadij Naiditsch had somewhat the better of a Ruy Lopez Marshall as white against Fabiano Caruana but the endgame finished in a draw.

    Viswanathan Anand made a second miscalculation in a row which turned a promising position against Levon Aronian into a bad one and after that he did not really resist as well as he might have.

    Etienne Bacrot had an edge throughout his game against Michael Adams and at one point seemed to have a decisive advantage but Adams escaped with a draw in the final game to finish.

    Round 5 Standings: Naiditsch, Carlsen 3.5pts, Caruana 3pts, Adams, Bacrot, Aronian 2.5pts, Anand 1.5pts, Baramidze 1pt

    Round 6 pairings: Anand-Baramidze, Caruana-Carlsen, Bacrot-Naiditsch, Aronian-Adams.

  • Naiditsch leads, Carlsen beats Anand, in GRENKE Round 4 – 4
    Arkadij Naiditsch has a good record against David Baramidze and played aggressively and riskily against him with black. A sharp struggle saw Baramidze give up material to open up his opponent’s king and seemed to have good compensation but giving up a piece with 23.Ng6 was too much and he had to resign. This left Naiditsch in the lead on 3/4 alone at the end of the round.

    Magnus Carlsen came for a battle today against Viswanathan Anand when he played the Stonewall Dutch. Carlsen’s position was a little bit worse out of the opening perhaps but the game was very tense. Carlsen wasn’t at all sure about his 13…a3 when he played it and also thought that about his 18…h5. 16…Nxd7 from Anand was also a small surprise. 24.e4 was logical and 25…Bb2 looked very risky and Carlsen prepared to grab a pawn on a2 in return for which Anand would destroy Carlsen’s Kingside. Carlsen was perhaps a little better after 29…Ng4 and the pressure was well and truely on Anand. On move 32 Anand had to find 32.Re6 (only move) when the game would have continued. Instead after not very long (he had 10 minutes plus increment remaining) he played 32.Rd7 giving up a rook with the idea of 33.f6 but this idea just didn’t work and Carlsen gave up his queen, took Anand’s other rook after which he was just winning. A rather sudden finish. I’ve put some of Carlsen’s comments in the PGN file.

    The other two games were drawn. Aronian had to be careful against Etienne Bacrot as black but as it was played the game simplified to a draw. Fabiano Caruana had a very promising advantage against Michael Adams and even an extra pawn but the position remained difficult and after 32.Bc4 (heavily criticised by Caruana himself) Adams drew quite comfortable.

    Scores Naiditsch 3/4, Carlsen, Caruana 2.5, Adams, Bacrot 2, Anand, Aronian 1.5, Baramidze 1.

    Round 5 Saturday 2pm GMT: Aronian-Anand, Adams-Bacrot, Naiditsch-Caruana, Carlsen-Baramidze.

  • Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2015 – Games and Results
    The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival took place in Caleta 27th January to 5th February 2015. There was again a very strong field. Leading players: Veselin Topalov, Hikaru Nakamura, Peter Svidler, Nikita Vitiugov, Dmitry Jakovenko, Yu Yangyi, Pentala Harikrishna, Richard Rapport, Maxim Matlakov, Ivan Cheparinov, Maxim Rodshtein, Wei Yi, Hou Yifan, Gawain Jones, David Howell, Alexander Motylev, Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli, Romain Edouard, Emil Sutovsky, Mateusz Bartel, B Adhiban, Axel Bachmann, Ivan Salgado Lopez, Simen Agdestein, SP Sethuraman, Daniel Naroditsky, David Anton Guijarro, Aleksandr Lenderman, Viktor Bologan, Saleh Salem, Nils Grandelius etc. Other interesting names include Eric Hansen, Kayden Troff, Pia Cramling, Antoaneta Stefanova, Axel Smith, Irina Krush, John Watson,

    Hikaru Nakamura won the event with an undefeated 8.5/11. Half a point behind was David Howell after he hung on for a draw against Hou Yifan (who took the women’s prize and a share of 3rd) in the final round.

  • Naiditsch and Caruana lead GRENKE Classic after Carlsen loses to Naiditsch in thrilling round 3 – 3
    Magnus Carlsen’s decision to take huge risks by sacrificing a piece against Arkadij Naiditsch didn’t pay off in the end as he lost a complicated endgame where it seemed at one point he had equalised. Carlsen played the Modern Defence and Naidtisch believed the 10… Bxg4 sacrifice was already a sign of desperation by Carlsen. Naiditsch missed several chances in a complex game (he was especially cross with himself for not playing 31.Nxe5 dxe5 32.Rb4 which he felt was just over). The position was assessed as close to equal by the computers as time trouble intervened coming up to first time control but Naiditsch was still a piece up and once he reorganised Carlsen was again lost, this time for the final time. Carlsen looked fed up with himself at the end and didn’t attend the press conference.

    Fabiano Caruana took advantage of several serious errors by Levon Aronian to win a rather poor game. Aronian pointed out that he could and should have forced a repetition at one stage.

    Michael Adams took advantage of a tactical blunder by his opponent David Baramidze and although he let some of this advantage go he then refuted a second incorrect sacrifice for the point.

    Etienne Bacrot played a theoretical Berlin against Viswanathan Anand. There were sharp variations that Anand stayed on top of and Bacrot felt he had then to concentrate on forcing the draw.

    Round 3 standings: Naiditsch, Caruana 2pts/3, Anand, Bacrot, Carlsen, Adams 1.5pts, Aronian, Baramidze 1pt.

    Rest day Thursday

    Round 4 pairings Friday 2pm GMT: Anand-Carlsen, Baramidze-Naiditsch, Caruana-Adams, Bacrot-Aronian

  • Carlsen leads GRENKE Classic after beating Adams in Round 2 – 2
    Magnus Carlsen took the lead in the GRENKE Classic after a win against Michael Adams in round 2. An English led to a fairly novel pawn structure, 15.a4 was a clever move that tested Adams. Carlsen thought he didn’t play the next phase the best (17.Rc1 might have been a better idea than 17.Qb3). Adams seemed to have solved many of his problems after 21…c5 but as Adams put it ”I was running a bit short of time and I just played horribly.” 30.Be1 was tricky to which the correct response was 30…g6 which required detailed calculation. 30…Qe8 was a step in the wrong direction and after 35…Qa8? (35…Bxa5) Carlsen was just winning.

    It looked like Viswanathan Anand would be the first player to win after Arkadij Naiditsch ”misplayed horribly the opening and got a very bad position”. After Anand’s 17.Ne5 commentators already thought he had very good winning chances. 26.Ke5 seems to have been slightly inaccurate (26.f3 seems the right move in hindsight). 26…Rb8 activated Naidtisch’s second rook and just had enough activity to hold the game.

    Etienne Bacrot seemed to get a fantastic King’s Indian after just 14 moves against Fabiano Caruana. Carlsen, Nielsen amongst others suggested shutting down white’s Queenside play with 14…a5 instead of 14…g5 which can’t be bad but was sharper. It seems Bacrot overestimated his position as a whole and soon Caruana was the one with the advantage. Then time trouble intervened and Caruana lost control, was saved on move 40 by Rh8 when he was a pawn up and the game finished in a draw.

    Bottom seed David Baramidze didn’t get anything out of the opening with white against Levon Aronian’s Berlin Defence but the position just became a dull draw. Aronian’s repertoire as black vs 1.e4 is limited (Baramidze doesn’t usually play it but Aronian is such a sitting target he knew what to prepare for) and studied by almost everyone with an interest in 1…e5, he probably needs something else for occasions like this. It seemed to me that Aronian looked thoroughly fed up in the press conference. Aronian lost more rating points in this game and now he’s only in the top 10 by a fraction of a point.

    Round 3 Pairings Wednesday 4th Feb 2015 Bacrot-Anand, Aronian-Caruana, Adams-Baramidze, Naiditsch-Carlsen

    Round 2 Standings: 1st Carlsen 1.5pts, 2nd= Aronian, Caruana, Anand, Bacrot, Baramadze, Naiditsch 1pt 8th Adams 0.5pt

  • Four draws in Round 1 of the GRENKE Classic in Baden Baden – 1
    The first round of the GRENKE Classic in Baden Baden saw all the games drawn. Only Etienne Bacrot had genuine winning chances after David Baramidze blundered with 22…fxg6 rather than play 26…hxg4. Later Bacrot hallucinated a mating variation and once he realised his mistake had to take a draw. Michael Adams played a ”dismal” variation of the French Tarrach vs Arkadij Naiditsch and was even a bit worse after 14.g3?! Fabiano Caruana played the Giuoco Piano against Viswanathan Anand and a tense struggle followed which finished in a draw. Magnus Carlsen held Levon Aronian in tense Queen’s Gambit, I’ve added some of the player comments to the PGN file.

    Round 2 Tuesday 2pm GMT: Anand-Naiditsch, Carlsen-Adams, Baramidze-Aronian, Caruana-Bacrot Round 1 all games drawn so all tied on 0.5 points

  • 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic 2015 – Games and Results
    The 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic takes place 2nd to 9th February 2015. 8 players and 7 rounds. World number one and World Champion Magnus Carlsen is the top seed in a field with Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Michael Adams, Etienne Bacrot, Arkadij Naiditsch and David Baramidze. Games and results here.

    Round 2 Tuesday 2pm GMT: Anand-Naiditsch, Carlsen-Adams, Baramidze-Aronian, Caruana-Bacrot

    Round 1 all games draw so all tied on 0.5 points.