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The Week in Chess

  • Levon Aronian wins the 3rd Sinquefield Cup – 9
    Levon Aronian made light work of the task of drawing with black against Veselin Topalov. Topalov spent some time in the morning preparing a sharp line but this was a line Aronian had prepared in detail and had reviewed before the event. He played quickly and forced Topalov into giving perpetual check. This victory brings to end a dry spell lasting since January 2014 when Aronian won the Tata Steel tournament.

    Hikaru Nakamura won the last game to finish beating Alexander Grischuk in the final game of the day to finish. The game saw fluctuating fortunes after a fairly dull opening. Grischuk stood better at a couple of points but it was mostly Nakamura pressing and he emerged with a win in the end and joint second in the event.

    The remaining games were drawn.

    Final standings: Aronian 6pts, Giri, Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura 5pts, Topalov, Grischuk 4.5pts, Anand, Caruana 3.5pts and So 1.5pts

    The Grand Chess Tour with 13 points for the winner, 10 p0ints for second and 8 for third sees all to play for in the final event at the London Chess Classic December 3rd to 13th.

    Tour standings: 1 Topalov 17 3 Nakamura 16 9 Aronian 15 7 Carlsen 14 4 Giri 13 2 Anand 12 6 Vachier-Lagrave 12 5 Caruana 9 8 Grischuk 8 10 Hammer 1 11 So 1.

    The result also strengthens Anish Giri’s chances of qualifying for the Candidates on rating. All the players apart from Carlsen and Grischuk move on to the FIDE World Cup in Baku 10th September to 4th October where two more Candidates places are available.

  • World Juniors 2015 – Games and Results
    The World Juniors takes place in Khanty-Mansiysk 2nd to 15th September 2015. Top seeds Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Jorge Cori (who turned down the World Cup to have one final attempt at capturing the title), Karen Grigoryan, Benjamin Bok, Matthias Bluebaum, Jorden Van Foreest etc. Medina Warda Aulia is the top seed in the Girls event.
  • Aronian leads the Sinquefield Cup by a point going into the final round – 8
    Levon Aronian drew an interesting game against Viswanathan Anand which proved enough to keep a one point lead over the rest of the field going into the final round. Anand allowed Aronian a big centre but had carefully prepared the line and convinced himself it would be OK and this proved to be the case at least in this game.

    Magnus Carlsen quickly built an overwhelming positional advantage against Hikaru Nakamura but in a ”moment of madness” he allowed Nakamura to escape to a drawn endgame. Nakamura claimed a draw by threefold repetition incorrectly but this only postponed the drawn result.

    Fabiano Caruana drew with Anish Giri in a game that was heading for a draw before Giri dropped a pawn. Giri however seemed to know more about the resulting endgame than Caruana and held comfortably.

    Alexander Grischuk was pleased with his new idea against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave but praised his opponents’ accuracy in managing to defuse it in a well played drawn game.

    Wesley So ended up with more time after move 40 than he started with in a theoretical discussion with Veselin Topalov but the game was drawn all the same.

    Round 8 Standings: Aronian 5.5pts/8. Giri, Grischuk, Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave 4.5pts, Topalov, Nakamura 4pts, Caruana, Anand 3pts, So 2.5pts

    Final Round 9 pairings Tuesday 1st Sept: Topalov-Aronian, Anand-Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave-Giri, Nakamura-Grischuk, Caruana-So There will be a playoff on Wednesday if Aronian is caught but this seems unlikely.

  • Aronian leads Sinquefield Cup by a point after beating Nakamura and Carlsen loses to Grischuk – 7
    Levon Aronian beat Hikaru Nakamura by outplaying him in a Queenless middlegame from the Ruy Lopez. Nakamura was not at his best even offering a draw close to the end in a position that was close to lost, presumably thinking he had got over the worst. This result left Aronian a point clear of the field at the end of the day.

    World Champion Magnus Carlsen was frustrated by his own play which led to a loss against Alexander Grischuk after nearly 7 hours of play. Carlsen wasn’t that happy with his position out of the opening but found the nice idea 17.b4 which was praised by Grischuk who felt he had to give up a pawn for counter play. Carlsen underestimated the move 26.Ra3 and after giving up his extra a-pawn found himself under pressure eventually having to shed a pawn in time trouble. The resulting endgame was closer to a draw than a win according to Grischuk but he managed to make some progress. Later Carlsen recovered to bring the game closer to a draw but in a position where he needed study like accuracy he was very short of time and made the final blunder to a loss.

    The remaining three games were drawn. Viswanathan Anand felt he played inaccurately and had to gave up his queen for a kind of fortress against Wesley So. This bold judgement seemed to be correct. So has found the event very tough and described the event as a University where he is paying with his rating points. Fabiano Caruana got a pleasant position against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave but the Frenchman seemed to play accurately after that and to find his way to equality. Anish Giri thought he played slightly inaccurately against Veselin Topalov’s solid opening choice but then found a way to equality.

    Round 7 Standings: Aronian 5pts/7. Giri, Grischuk, Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave 4pts, Topalov, Nakamura 3.5pts, Caruana, Anand 2.5pts, So 2pts.

    Round 8 pairings Monday 31st Auugst 2015: Grischuk-Vachier-Lagrave, Giri-Caruana, So-Topalov, Aronian-Anand, Carlsen-Nakamura.

  • Leaders Aronian and Carlsen draw, Nakamura destroys So – 6
    The sixth round of the Sinquefield Cup saw the leaders Aronian and Carlsen draw to lie on 4/6. Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura are a half point back.

    Hikaru Nakamura played a brilliant attack against Wesley So in the King’s Indian launching a devistating attack against his king and finishing in checkmate. Afterwards he critical of So’s preparation saying that black’s prospects were much better than computers give.

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave surprised Veselin Topalov in a long line of the Petroff which put him in the driving seat after 18.e6. MVL admitted that he didn’t remember the game with the Sicilian being the focus of his preparation but said that it was the obvious move. Topalov praised the way that MVL finished the game off.

    Levon Aronian was disappointed not to put more pressure on fellow leader Magnus Carlsen who traded into a totally drawn endgame.

    Fabiano Caruana’s aggressive play looked very threatening against ALexander Grischuk but good and fast defence from the Russian allowed him to take control on the board and on the clock. Grischuk said he prepared for 10 hours for the game including this line and almost overslept for the start of the game. He said he was finding good ideas quickly at the board and was obviously very happy with his play.

    Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand drew a mildly interesting struggle in 32 moves.

    Round 6 standings: Carlsen, Aronian 4pts, Giri, Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura 3.5pts, Topalov, Grischuk 3pts, Anand, Caruana 2pts, So 1.5pts.

    Round 7 pairings: Carlsen-Grischuk, Nakamura-Aronian, Anand-So, Topalov-Giri, Caruana-Vachier-Lagrave. I will be in commentary with Jon Speelman on ICC for the round. Please join me.

  • Carlsen and Aronian lead the Sinquefield Cup after 5 rounds – 5
    Magnus Carlsen beat Wesley So to join Levon Aronian in the lead after another interesting round of play. Early leader Veselin Topalov said that he wasn’t in the best shape today and he went astray from a good position against Fabiano Caruana. There is a rest day on Friday. The leaders Aronian and Carlsen meet on Saturday.

    Carlsen sacrificed a pawn on the white side of a Najdorf Sicilian against Wesley So. He was a bit concerned early on that So might have some preparation but once on their own resources Carlsen had at least enough compensation for the pawn if not the advantage. Carlsen had a winning position on the run up to first time control but there were a number of tactical complications and there were tactical errors from both players 33.Nc4? (33.Rd6 wins) 33…Bxd4? (33…Rxc4!) and finally 40.Nd4?! made the win much more difficult (40.Nxc5!). Carlsen was worried he might have blown it at first time control but once he saw he could play 44.c3 he was probably just winning again.

    Hikaru Nakamura outprepared his opponent Anish Giri with the novelty 15.Qf2 and the fine idea of 22.a4 when he must have the advantage. Nakamura had prepared 23.Re2 but instead played the wrong rook move 23.Rd3 after which black was probably better but Giri was uncertain about his position. The game ended in a draw by perpetual check.

    Veselin Topalov had a nice opening advantage against Fabiano Caruana but then started to overlook things starting with 21.Bg3 Nb4! and soon was forced to give up material for any chances at all. Caruana was accurate enough to bring home the point.

    Levon Aronian was probably a little too enterprising against Alexander Grischuk and was a pawn down for little or no compensation.

    ”I missed his 19.Qf4 move, which was extremely strong.” Aronian.

    Grischuk was however heading for his normal time pressure and allowed Aronian back in the game and whilst he was still probably somewhat better the game was agreed drawn on move 30.

    Viswanathan Anand looked to have a nice advantage against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave but was forced to settle for a draw after first time control.

    Round 5 standings: Carlsen, Aronian 3.5pts/5 Topalov, Giri 3pts, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave 2.5pts, Caruana, Grischuk 2pts, Anand, So 1.5pts.

    Round 6 Saturdat 30th August 2015. Grischuk-Caruana, Vachier-Lagrave-Topalov, Giri-Anand, So-Nakamura, Aronian-Carlsen.

  • Aronian joins Topalov after Sinquefield Cup Round 4 destruction of So – 4
    Levon Aronian was obviously very happy after destroying Wesley So in a great attacking game with black. Aronian played a novelty shown to him by Peter Leko and then sacrificed a piece for a tremendous initiative. So defended reasonably well but couldn’t defend in the end. After a very long run of poor form lasting back to the end of the Wijk aan Zee tournament of 2014 Aronian finally seems to be back in form. He joins Veselin Topalov in the lead on 3.5.

    The other wild game of the day was between Hikaru Nakamrua and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Nakamura looked to have the advantage early on but the position drifted into a drawn bishops of opposite colours endgame.

    Anish Giri was surprised early on by Magnus Carlsen and played conservatively against his Sicilian. Carlsen admitted to being slightly outplayed and having to knuckle down to calculating some lines to secure the draw.

    Alexander Grischuk seemed reasonably pleased to draw against Veselin Topalov. He admitted that he was playing ”really badly this year” and that his 19.Bxf6 was a mistake (19.Bb3 which he didn’t consider was a better move). The game drifted to a draw. Topalov was surprised by Grischuk’s openign choice so went to an old variation with h5 and was concerned before Bxf6.

    ”It’s better not to know anything than to remember something vaguely.” Grischuk

    Fabiano Caruana and Viswanathan Anand drew an Anti-Meran Gambit where Anand seemed to be doing well but he was concerned wtih inaccuracies creaping into his game again, a problem he’d looked to have solved in the last year.

    Round 4 standings: Topalov, Aronian 3pts, Giri, Carlsen 2.5pts, Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura 2pts, So, Grischuk 1.5pts, Anand, Caruana 1pt.

    Round 5 pairings 27th August 7pm BST: Aronian-Grischuk, Carlsen-So, Nakamura-Giri, Anand-Vachier-Lagrave, Topalov-Caruana.

  • Topalov retains the lead Carlsen and So win in Sinquefield Cup Round 3 – 3
    Veselin Topalov seemed happy with a comfortable draw with black against former World Champion Viswanathan Anand. Topalov was happy to repeat the Sicilian he played against Carlsen in round 1 but Anand played more conservatively and was probably also happy to draw and get off the mark.

    Magnus Carlsen looked very happy after his second win in a row. He defeated Maxime Vachier Lagrave who tried to hold a slightly inferior position but this suited Carlsen well today. Carlsen pushed his a-pawn and said after that MVL should have captured it when he had the chance. Later this became the decisive passed pawn.

    Wesley So took advantage of Alexander Grischuk’s poor form to exploit a small advantage. 29…f5 looked like a poor more from Grischuk whose self-confidence seems extremely low.

    Levon Aronian got a significant edge against Anish Giri, he seemed quite pleased with his creative 16…exf3. Afterwards Aronian criticised his 36.Rc2 which was based on quite a deep miscaculation, by the time he spotted the error most of his advantage had gone.

    Hikaru Nakamura pressed for a long time against Fabiano Caruana but didn’t much believe in his chances after 35…Rc8 which he thought an excellent move. Earlier it was Caruana who won the opening exchanges with a fine pawn sacrifice. Around 17…Nb4 Caruana went a little wrong and went from having good compensation to being in danger of getting in trouble. Caruana doesn’t seem in his best form so far.

    Round 3 Standings: Topalov 2.5pts, Giri, Aronian, Carlsen 2pts, Vachier-Lagrave, So, Nakamura 1.5pts, Grischuk 1pt, Anand, Caruana 0.5pts.

    Round 4 pairings Wednesday 26th August 2015 19:00 BST: Grischuk-Topalov, Caruana-Anand, Vachier-Lagrave-Nakamura, Giri-Carlsen, So-Aronian.

  • Topalov leads alone after two rounds of the Sinquefield Cup – 2
    Veselin Topalov won the final game to finish against Hikaru Nakamura to lead the 3rd Sinquefield Cup on 2/2. Topalov sacrificed a pawn to get the two bishops and Nakamura was soon in trouble. Topalov was very much better for a very long time and finally converted in a rook and pawn ending.

    Alexander Grischuk played the 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 variation he has played extensively in blitz chess including against his opponent Viswanathan Anand and soon got a very large advantage. Grischuk got into serious time pressure but survived to win. This is surprisingly Grischuk’s first win against Anand in 12 years of classical chess. They first met in 2003. A relief for Grischuk and Anand (alongside Caruana) starts with 0/2.

    The main excitement was the huge joint time scramble between Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen. Caruana had the advantage on the board but only seconds on his clock. Carlsen started with much more time but consumed time trying to find tricks. Caruana blundered with about a second on his clock for his final move before time control (he was unsure how many moves there were to make) and both just made the time control with Caruana immediately having to resign.

    Levon Aronian got a comfortable draw with black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Anish Giri had some small pressure against Wesley So but accurate calculation produced liquidation to a draw.

    Round 2 standings: Topalov 2pts, Giri, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian 1.5pts, Nakamura, Carlsen, Grischuk 1pt, So 0.5pts, Anand, Caruana 0pts.

    Round 3 pairings: So-Grischuk, Aronian-Giri, Carlsen-Vachier-Lagrave, Nakamura-Caruana, Anand-Topalov.

  • 3rd Sinquefield Cup starts with 5 decisive games – 1
    The Sinquefield Cup started with all games finishing decisively. Veselin Topalov the leader of the Grand Chess Tour won the final game to finish against World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

    Carlsen seemed to surprised by the move 7…g5 in the Sicilian, a known idea and risked a piece sacrifice that initially paid off and he may have even been better but perhaps in the kind of position he doesn’t enjoy and afterwards he wondered if he shouldn’t have sacrificed the piece. 17.e5 was an error that again gave Topalov the advantage and it was one way traffic after 17..Qc6! Carlsen said that he’s worried that he’s blundering and also criticised his lack of practicality in taking so long to sacrifice the piece as he intended it after Na3 and there was no way back. Topalov thought it was an OK game. He was shocked by Carlsen’s piece sacrifice ”it’s not what white’s supposed to do.” ”In his time trouble he allowed me to do everything more or less.”

    Levon Aronian won an ultra-sharp struggle against Fabiano Caruana where black’s preparation left lots of weaknesees but with ideas of his own. However Caruana wasn’t accurate and after 25.Ne4 giving up a rook Aronian had a crushing attack which he transformed into an endgame win.

    Wesley So grabbed a pawn with white in unfavourable circumstances and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave punished him fully.

    Anish Giri was very convincing against Alexander Grischuk with an advantage from the opening and Grischuk;s habitual extreme time pressure led to a sudden finish.

    Hikarua Nakamura played for a tiny nagging advantage against Viswanathan Anand and was rewarded with a poor move 35…f5 from Anand which led to a win in only 8 more moves.

    Round 1 Standings: Topalov, Nakamura, Giri, Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave 1pt Carlsen, Anand, Caruana, So and Grischuk 0pts.

    Round 2 pairings: Grischuk-Anand, Topalov-Nakamura, Caruana-Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave, Giri-So.

  • 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015 – Games and Results
    The 3rd Sinquefield Cup takes place in Saint Louis Sunday 23rd (Round 1) to 1st September 2015. There is potentially a playoff on 2nd September and ”Ultimate moves” exhibition on the 3rd. Players: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Grischuk, Viswanathan Anand, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian and Wesley So. The event is the second of three in the 2015 Grand Chess Tour. The final one being in London in December. Play starts at 1pm local time, 7pm UK time, 8pm CET.
  • French Chess Championships 2015 – Games and Results
    The French Chess Championships took place in Saint-Quentin 9th to 20th August 2015. Bacrot was the top seed. Christian Bauer beat Tigran Gharamian 1.5-0.5 in a rapid tie-break after they both tied on 7/11.
  • Chinese Team Championship 2015 – Games and Results
    The Chinese Team Championship takes place 10th April to 11th December 2015 over a marathon 22 rounds.
  • 68th Russian Chess Championships Superfinal 2015 – Games and Results
    The 68th Russian Chess Championships Superfinal took place in Chita, Russia 9th to 20th August 2015. Men’s and women’s events both had 12 players and 11 rounds. Players: Igot Lysyj, Dmitry Jakovenko, Denis Khismatullin, Sergey Karjakin, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Peter Svidler, Nikita Vitiugov, Vladislav Artemiev, Alexander Motylev, Ivan Bukavshin, Ildar Khairullin and Daniil Dubov. Evgeny Tomashevsky won the event with 7.5/11 half a point clear of Sergey Karjakin. 16 year old Aleksandra Goryachkina won the women’s event with 8/11.
  • Spanish Team Championships 2015 – Games and Results
    The Spanish Team Championships take place in Linares 8th to 21st August 2015. The first division was followed immediately by the Division Honor.
  • 102nd British Chess Championships 2015 – Games and Results
    The 102nd British Chess Championships took place in Coventry 26th July to 8th August 2015. Joint defending champions David Howell and Jonathan Hawkins were back and fought for the title along with the Pert twins and Danny Gormally. As it was Hawkins was the only winner among the leaders beating Keith Arkell to take the title (the game ended with the blunder 26….Rd4? and resignation). David Howell failed to find a win after first time control against Mark Hebden after being given a chance to take the event into a tie-break following a blunder from Hebden in the run up to the first time control.
  • 48th Biel Chess Festival 2015 – Games and Results
    The 48th Biel Chess Festival took place Monday 20th Jul 2015 – Thursday 30th Jul 2015. Players in the main GM group: Michael Adams, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, David Navara, Pavel Eljanov and Richard Rapport. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave took clear first on 6.5/10 after a nervy final round where he won and Radoslaw Wojtaszek failed to convert a winning position. The event will also probably be remembered for the complete collapse of Richard Rapport who lost all his second half games. There’s always a danger when inviting creative players that they’re out of form that they’ll suffer multiple losses but this was an extreme example but surely better to risk this than invite someone very solid who is all but guaranteed to draw most of their games. In addition there is a master open which finishes on Friday.
  • China-Russia Win and Continue Match Pt1 2015 – Games and Results
    The China and Russia are playing a two part match in Heixiazi 29th July to 1st August. Second part in Harbin City 12th-17th December 2015. Players: Russia: Sergey Karjakin, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Alexander Morozevich, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dmitry Andreikin. China: Wei Yi, Ding Liren, Ni Hua, Yu Yangyi and Wang Yue. The format is unusual. 1 game matches followed by Blitz and Armageddon if necessary. Winner continues on loser is out. A team loses when it runs out of players. Although we haven’t seen the detailed rules anywhere yet. It is probably close to this ””Super Go” ”Win and Continue” event.
  • Politiken Cup 2015 – Games and Results
    The Politiken Cup take place 25th July to 2nd August 2015. Laurent Fressinet, Markus Ragger, Jon Ludvig Hammer, Ilia Smirin, Sam Shankland, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Gawain Jones etc
  • 9th Leiden Chess Tournament 2015 – Games and Results
    The 9th Leiden Chess Tournament took place 18th to 26th July 2015. David Howell dominated and scored a fantastic 8.5/9 taking him well over the 2700 mark in the live ratings. He immediately moves on to play the British Chess Championships starting on Monday.

Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information