image

GM Wesley So © photo courtesy of en.chessbase.com and Sinquefield Cup 2015

GM Wesley So’s doppelgänger haunted him at Sinquefield 2015 which also happens at US soil where many of his followers did not forget all the brouhaha especially the game forfeiture between GM Akobian. His performance noticeably deteriorating. Although no news was reported of strange behaviour(like writing irrelevant letters in his scoresheet, or any distracting items that affects his games) but it seems that the mark left after the US Chess Championship last April this year. Uncharacteristic games was played by Wesley on his previous tournaments, I myself, who follows his games believe that his performance is not the Wesley i admire before. Lets set the example of his games at Turkish Isbank Super League last month in Turkey. I compile his games on that tournament and for me, Wesley’s game is drowning game after game. He can’t find ways to win after his lowly rated opponents.

Do you think its time for Wesley to rejuvinate himself? Find a good coach for the betterment of his dwindling chess career!

Below are games of Wesley So that, afer the single-round-robin format tournament at Sinquefield Cup, finished at the bottom of the standings. After the 9 games, his live rating performance was decreased by -12.9 and out of the top 10 at Live Chess Ratings website.

All games came from en.chessbase.com. With the annotation of an author and chess player and of course Grand Master himself, GM Alejandro Ramirez.

GM Magnus Carlsen games at Sinquefield Cup 2015 is also not in the good form.

Aronian bags the title with 6 points on 3 wins 6 draws and no loss.

Next to Wesley’s games below are games of GM Magnus Carlsen at Sinquefield Cup 2015. All games came from en.chessbase.com. With the annotation of an author and chess player and of course Grand Master himself, GM Alejandro Ramirez.

image

Sinquefield Cup 2015 final standings

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Sinquefield Cup 2015

The third edition was held from August 22 to September 3, at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis as the second leg in the 2015 Grand Chess Tour. The tournament featured the seven top players in the world, a feat only surpassed by the AVRO 1938 chess tournament. The Sinquefield Cup is also the strongest tournament featured in the 2015 Grand Chess Tour with an average FIDE Rating of 2795.

The 2015 Sinquefield Cup was a nine game, single round-robin tournament. The time control for each round was of 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by the rest of the game in 1 hour with a 30-second increment from move 41. Wesley So was selected as the tournament invite and joined the nine other players already participating in the Grand Chess Tour. – wikipedia.org

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Round 1

So vs Lagrave

MVL won his game against Wesley So. So’s greedy approach in the opening was severely punished. Despite having an extra pawn, his position was simply terrible. Black’s pieces were too active and controlled the board. After White had to give up his light-squared bishop for the opponent’s knight it was clear that So was just trying to survive. He was unable to do so, and MVL took his extra exchange to victory.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.23
Round : 1
White : So, Wesley – 2779
Black : Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – 2731
Result : 0-1
ECO : A34
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 c5 7. Qa4+ Nc6 8. Ng5 An unusual move, though the maneuver is well know. White wants to put his knight on e4 to target c5.
8…e6 9. Nge4 Nb6 10. Qb5?! Going for the pawn, this is too dangerous.
10…c4 11. Na4? White is too greedy. He will win a pawn, but his position will be awful.
[11. O-O was a better move.]
11…O-O 12. Nxb6 axb6 13. Qxc4 e5 White is up a pawn, but Black has a huge initiative. Be6 is coming soon, Nd4 is up in the air, and White is not close to finishing his development. So will soon be punished.
14. Qc2 Be6 Around this time So went in the confessional booth, claiming that he would have to work hard to not simply lose – he was aware that something went wrong.
15. Nc3 b5! A very nice move. White cannot really take on b5: 16. Bxc6
[16. Nxb5 Nb4 17. Qd1 Bd5 18. f3 Qb6 Black’s position is so active and White can’t even castle.]
16… bxc6 17. b3 Bf5 18. d3
[18. Qb2 b4 is just over.]
18… e4! The bishops are way too powerful. So must give back material.19. dxe4 Bxe4 20. Nxe4
[20. Qxe4 Bxc3+-+]
20… Bxa1 21. O-O Re8 22. f3 Bd4+ 23. e3 Bg7 24. Rd1 Qc7 25. Rd6 c5 26. Rd5 Re5 27. Rd1 c4 28. a3 Re7 29. bxc4 Qxc4 White’s position is no good, and he is down material. MVL cleans up from here.
30. Qd2 Qb3 31. Qd6 Rc8 32. Nf2 Rec7 33. Bd2 Bf8 34. Qd4 Bxa3 35. Kg2 Bb2 0-1

Round 2

Giri vs So

A very blocked position arose from the English opening in Anish Giri vs. Wesley So. Perhaps the Dutch player had a very small advantage from the opening with the superior pawn structure, but it wasn’t much. Eventually So was able to position his pieces well and advance the queenside pawns, while Giri did not create any real threats. The game was drawn in an opposite colored bishop endgame.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.24
Round : 2
White : Giri, Anish – 2793
Black : So, Wesley – 2779
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : A35
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. e3 f5 5. d4 e4 6. d5 exf3 7. dxc6 dxc6 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. gxf3 Nf6 10. b3 Bd6 11. Bb2 Ke7 12. O-O-O
[ 12. Bd3 was Timman-Edouard, 2011.]
12… Be6 13. Bd3 Rhd8 14. Kc2 Rd7 Technically the novelty of the game. 14…g6 was played in Zvjaginsev-Bukavshin back in 2011, a game that White won. 15. Ne2
[ 15. e4!? ]
15…g6 16. h3
[ 16. Nf4 Bxf4 17. exf4 looks drawish, as pointed out by Giri.]
16… Rad8 17. f4 Bc7 18. Ba3 b6 19. Ng3 Kf7 20. Bb2 It doesn’t seem that White has made any progress. None of his last few moves created any real threats and now that Black has completed his development he is very close to being simply equal, perhaps by moving his pawns on the queenside.
20…a6 21. Be5 b5 22. Bxf5 The tactics work out, but this doesn’t give White any advantage.22…gxf5
[22… Bxf5+ 23. Nxf5 Bxe5 24. fxe5 gxf5 25. exf6 Kxf6 26. Rxd7 Rxd7 is slightly better for White, but very close to a draw.]
23. Bxc7 Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Rxd1 25. Kxd1 bxc4 The game at this point is extremely drawish. 26. bxc4 Ne4 27. Nxe4 fxe4 28. h4 Bxc4 29. a3 Ke6 30. f5+ Kxf5 With opposite colored bishops the game is basically dead. 1/2-1/2

Round 3

So vs Grischuk

Wesley So beat Alexander Grischuk, or more accurately, Grischuk beat himself in a position that was perhaps slightly uncomfortable but defensible. Alas, Grischuk went nuts and committed suicide by breaking through on f5, allowing So to win a pawn and the game.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.25
Round : 3
White : So, Wesley – 2779
Black : Grischuk, Alexander – 2771
Result : 1-0
ECO : E60
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Bg7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. b3
[9. Nc2 is another possibility. Trying to avoid the exchange of pieces.]
9… Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Bc6 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. cxd5 The symmetrical pawn structure favors White very slightly. At some point he will install a bishop on h3 and take control over the c-file. However, things are not that bad for Black yet.13…Qa5 14. Bc3 Qa6 15. Qd2 Rfc8 16.Rfc1 Qb5 17. Rab1 a5 18. e4 This move is a little commital. Some of the lightsquares suffer because of this.18…Nd7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qd4+ Kg8 21. Bf1 Rxc1 22. Rxc1 Qb4 23. Rc4!
[23. Qxb4 axb4 24. Rc2 should be an endgame in which neither side can realistically make progress.]
23…Qe1 24. Rc7 Ne5 25. Kg2 Qb4! Seeking counterplay – a very smart practical decision. 26. Qxb4 axb4 27. Rc2 Kg7 28. f4 Nd7 29. Kf3 As usual, Grischuk was already in time troubule by this point. 29…f5? It’s hard to understand this decision.
[29… Nc5 first seemed natural. Black can always play f5 later.]
30. exf5 gxf5 31. Rc7 Nc5 32. Rxe7+ Kf6 33. Re2 White simply took a pawn. 33…h5 34. Ke3 h4 35. Kd4 hxg3 36. hxg3 White’s bishop is bad, but a pawn is a pawn. Black will have trouble defending this position. His b4 pawn also feels uncomfortable.36…Rg8 37. Re3 Ra8 38. Kc4 Rxa2 39. Kxb4 Rf2 40. Bc4 Ne4 41. Kb5 Apparently, the b4 pawn was not the only b-pawn that was fealing the heat! White is winning in this position, Black can’t do anything about the plan Kb6 and b4 when the knight defends c5. Even so, it seems a little premature to resign.
[41. Kb5 Rh2 42. Kb6 Nc5 43. b4 Rb2 44. b5 Rh2 and at least Black could make So find a winning plan.] 1-0

Round 4

So vs Aronian

The game of the day was without a doubt the beautiful destruction of Wesley So. Levon Aronian’s spectacular knight sacrifice was very well founded, and with White’s lack of development he was simply torn apart.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.26
Round : 4
White : So, Wesley – 2779
Black : Aronian, Levon – 2765
Result : 0-1
ECO : E20
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 O-O 6. e4 d6 7. Nge2 a6!? An interestig idea. The sacrifice 7…b5 was played in Grischuk-Topalov earlier this year, with a great result for the Bulgarian. Aronian changes his approach and prepares b5, and interesting idea. 8. a4 Ba5!? Nice understanding from the Armenian. This threatsn b5 again! 9. Bd2
[9.Ng3 b5 10. axb5 axb5 and Black is better.]
9… exd5 10. cxd5 Nh5! A very uncomfortable move for So. Now it is unclear how to develop his pieces.11. g3 Nd7 12. Bg2 b5 Black has good play all around the board.13. g4? So tries to push back Aronian, but the Armenian does not give back any ground!
[13. O-O b4 14. Nb1 is ok for Black but White isn’t doing that badly.]
13… b4 14. Nb1
[14. gxh5 bxc3 15. bxc3 Qh4+ is not pleasant.]
14… Qh4+ 15. Kf1 Ne5! The start of a very strong attack. There is nothing White can do but accept the piece.16. Be1?!
[16. Qe1 Qf6 17. gxh5 Nxf3-+]
[16. gxh5 f5 is too strong. Black is tooa active, White has no plan and it is uncomfortable to defend. And yet, this was the best continuation.]
16…Qf6! 17. gxh5 Nxf3 18. Bf2 Bg4! Keeping the initiative seems much stronger to me than to go for material with Qxb2.19. Qc1
[19. Bxf3 Qxf3 20. Rg1 Qh3+ 21. Ke1 f5-+]
19… Nd4! 20. Nxd4 cxd4 Black’s attack is way too strong. The king is weak, So has no development… how to defend this position?21. e5 trying to get some squares.21…dxe5 22. Nd2 Rac8 23. Qb1 b3! 24. Nxb3 Bb6 25. a5 Ba7
[25… Rc2!! is brilliant, but everything wins.]
26. Kg1 Bf5! 27. Be4 Qg5+ 28. Kf1 Qf4 d3 comes next, White’s position clearly collapses. 0-1

Round 5

Carlsen vs So

Magnus Carlsen was able to obtain some pressure from the opening. Despite being down a pawn, his dominant knight on d5 was too strong. The combination of the strong knight and the pawn expansion on the kingside made the Black king very uncomfortable. Wesley So committed a mistake even though it was hard to make moves. Carlsen missed several winning moves, but it didn’t matter; his position was good enough.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.27
Round : 5
White : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Black : So, Wesley – 2779
Result : 1-0
ECO : B90
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Nbd7 9. Qd2 b5 10. O-O-O Be7 11. g4 b4 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5 Nb6 14. Na5 Nbxd5 15. Nc4 Rare but possible. Dominguez used it many years ago to win a game against Predojevic. The idea is that White will seek compensation for his pawn by using the opposite colored bishops to restrain the d-pawn and create an initiative on the light squares. 15…Nxe3 16. Nxe3 O-O 17. Bc4 Nd7! After a long thing, this makes sense. The idea is that the knight will remaneuver to a more useful spot, like b6, and make the bishop on c4 uncomfortable.18. h4 a5
[18… Nb6 made more sense, but perhaps So didn’t want to allow Qxb4 19. Qxb4 d5 20. Qa5 unclear] 19. g5 Rc8 20. Bd5 Nb6 21. Kb1 Qc7 22. Rhf1 Nxd5 23. Nxd5 Qb7 24. f4 f5 White retains compensation for the pawn. His strong knight on d5 is untouchable, but a pawn is a pawn. 25. Qe3 e4 26. h5! White’s advance of this pawn is key. He will make Black’s position very uncomfortable as So cannot afford to open up the kingside. 26…Rc5 27. h6 g6 28. Qb3 So is in trouble, despite what the engines say. It is unpleasant to find moves and the king is always suffering. 28… Rf7 29. a4! Bd8 30. Rd4 putting on the squeeze. 30…Kf8 31. Rfd1 Rc6 32. Ne3 Bb6 what else? 33. Nc4
[33. Rxd6! was a big move, even if White retains the advantage in the game continuation. Rxd6 34. Rxd6 Bc7 35. Re6! The point is as follows: Bxf4 36. Nd5 Bxg5 37. Qc4! and the attack becomes too strong.]
33… Bxd4
[33… Rxc4 34. Qxc4 Qc7 is no fun for So.]
34. Nxa5 Qb6 35. Nxc6 Bc5
[35… Qxc6 36. Rxd4 and all of Black’s pawns are falling and the king feels unsafe.]
36. Qd5 e3 37. a5! Qb5
[37… Qc7 was better resistance]
38. Nd8! Ra7 39. Ne6+ Ke8 40. Nd4?
[40. Nxc5! was much stronger Qxc5 41. Qg8+ Kd7 42. Qxh7+ Kc6 43. Qxg6 and since e2 is not possible due to Qe8+ and Qxa5 isnt possible due to Qxd5+, Black is just lost.]
40… Qxa5 41. Qg8+ Kd7 42. Qxh7+ Kc8 43. Qg8+ Kb7 44. c3 bxc3 45. Qb3+! Qb6 46. Qxb6+
[46. Qxc3! was very strong, though the move in the game should be better for white, Qxc3 seems winning. Black has too many problems to solve and his king is very weak.]
46… Kxb6 47. bxc3 Bxd4 48. Rxd4 Kc6 49. Kc2 Ra2+ 50. Kd1 Rf2 51. Ke1 The pawn on h6 is just too strong. Black has no hope to hold. 51…Kd7 52. Ra4 Ke6 53. Ra8 Rh2 54. c4 Kf7 55. Rb8 Ke6 56. Rg8 1-0

Round 6

So vs Nakamura

Wesley So played a very strange game. He confidently blitzed out twenty moves of theory, clearly prepared. Unfortunately, after that every move he played lasted at least fifteen minutes and were rather unconvincing. At one point it was clear that he had violated a couple of positional rules, or maybe twenty, and he was punished with a brilliancy. Nakamura sacrificed everything, including the kitchen sink, and mated So on g6 in a must-see game.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.29
Round : 6
White : So, Wesley – 2779
Black : Nakamura, Hikaru – 2814
Result : 0-1
ECO : E99
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. f3 f5 11. Be3 f4 12. Bf2 g5 13. Nd3 Ng6 14. c5 Nf6 15. Rc1 Rf7 16. Kh1 h5 17. cxd6 cxd6 18. Nb5 a6 19. Na3 b5 20. Rc6 Up to this point So had played instantly. This is surprising as he has achieved nothing on the queenside. Nakamura continues his kingside attack.20…g4 21.Qc2 Qf8 22. Rc1 Bd7 23. Rc7? I don’t like this move at all. Releasing the tension on d6 and a6 is too lenient on Black’s position. Asked after the game what they thought of Wesley’s play, most of the players agreed that it looked completely wrong and anti-positional. “If it was White to move, I would consider playing Rc6 here” – Anish Giri.
[23. Nb4! Bxc6 (23… Bh6)
]
23… Bh6 24. Be1 removing the bishop from potential g3 moves with tempo.24…h4 here the pawn on g4 is clearly poisoned to an experience KID player.25. fxg4 picking up the gauntlet, this is not good. That being said, I don’t know what else he could have done.25…f3 26. gxf3 Nxe4 27. Rd1? This makes things esay for Nakamura to calculate as almost every line wins.
[27. Rxd7 was a much better try. Rxf3! works anyway
(27… Rxd7 28. fxe4)
28. Bxf3 Qxf3+ 29. Qg2 Qxd3 30. Rd1 Bd2!! is the key move. Nakamura did not see this, but he would have found that h3 instead of Bd2 was favorable for Black, and upon reaching this position probably would have found Bd2. 31. Bxd2 Nf4 and White is getting mated.]
[27. Nf2 Nxf2+ 28. Bxf2 Bxc1 29. Qxg6+ Rg7]
[27. Nc5! dxc5 28. Rxd7 Rxd7 29. Qxe4 Bxc1 30. Qxg6+ Rg7-+]
27…Rxf3 28. Rxd7
[28. Bxf3 Qxf3+ 29. Qg2 Bxg4 is completely winning.]
28… Rf1+! 29. Kg2 Be3! A very nice resource. There were other winning moves, but this is fantastic.
[29… h3+ 30. Kxh3 Rf2 was even more fantastic, and just as winning.31. Bxf2 Qxf2 32. Nxf2 Nf4+ 33. Kh4 Bg5#]
30. Bg3
[30. h3 Nf4+ 31. Kh2 Nxd3 and with the elimination of the knight on d3 White’s dark squares fall apart.]
30… hxg3 31. Rxf1 Nh4+ 32. Kh3 Qh6 White is up a rook, but his position is hopeless. He is simply getting mated. 33. g5 Nxg5+ The rest is a forced mating sequence.34. Kg4 every move wins here.34…Nhf3 35. Nf2 Qh4+ 36. Kf5 Rf8+ 37. Kg6 Rf6+! pretty but not the only way. 38. Kxf6 Ne4+ 39. Kg6 Qg5# 0-1

Round 7

Anand vs So

Anand saw himself in problems early in the opening against So. The Indian player mentioned that he must have done “something stupid” in the opening to get such a position, but was unable to pinpoint exactly what went awry. He was rather resourceful later on though, sacrificing a queen for a rook and a bishop after he had lost a pawn to obtain a situation in which Black’s king was somewhat uncomfortable, So’s pawns were weak and unable to advance. Anand took advantage of this to create a nice fortress, securing a draw.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.30
Round : 7
White : Anand, Viswanathan – 2816
Black : So, Wesley – 2779
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : C65
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. O-O Re8 8. Nc4 Nd7 9. b3 a5 10. a4 f6 This typical exchange Ruy Lopez type of structure has become more common as people are trying to avoid the endgame. However, it’s hard to say what White has in this position. He has no real pressure and Black has the pair of bishops. The awkward pawn structure is too vague to be exploited.11. Be3 Bb4 12. Rc1 b5 13. c3 Bf8 14. Nb2 Somehow I’m not convinced about putting a knight on b2.14…Nc5 15. Qc2 Bg4 16. d4 exd4 17. Nxd4 bxa4 18. Nxa4 Nxe4 Anand figured he had compensation at this point, but the position went south quickly. 19. f3 Nd6 20. Bf2
[20. fxg4 Rxe3 21. g5!? looks like some kind of aggressive try, but I don’t believe in it completely.]
20… Bd7 21. c4 Qc8 22. Qc3 Nf5 23. Nc2 Nd6 24. Nd4 Nb7
[24… Re5!? 25. Bg3 Rh5 26. c5 Nb5 27. Qc4+ Kh8 28. Rfe1 Nxd4 29. Qxd4 was a suggestion by Anand. Still difficult for Black to win since the bishop on f8 is so bad.]
25. c5! An important move, killing the bishop on f8 and making it hard for the knight on b7 to rejoin the game.25…Nd8 26. Nb2 Ne6 27. Nc4 Bxc5
[27… a4!? 28. bxa4 Rxa4 29. Nb2 Nxd4 30. Bxd4 is hard to make progress, but White just needs to defend and hope his fortress holds.]
28. Nxe6 A queen sacrifice.28…Bb4 29. Nxg7 Bxc3 30. Nxe8 Bxe8 [30… Qxe8 31. Rxc3 Be6 32. Nd2 Bd5 33. Ne4 Bxe4 34. Re1 is still unclear, though the engines prefer Black.]
31. Rxc3 The computers like Black a lot, but White is surprisingly close to a full fortress. Actually, if he gets his knight to c5, he will even be able to play for an advantage.31…Bf7 32. Nd2 f5 33. Rxc6 Anand didn’t want to play this, but he figured every pawn he took was a good thing.
[33. Nc4 Bxc4 34. Rxc4 Qb7 35. Rc3 is also close to a fortress.]
33… Qd7 34. Rc2 Re8 35. Nc4 Bxc4 36. Rxc4 Re2 37. h3 Rd2 38. Re1 Rd1 39. Kh2 c6 your engine might say that this is better for Black, but the position is a dead draw after
[39… c6 40. Rxd1 Qxd1 41. Rc5! Qxb3 42. Rxa5 and there is no way the pawn on c6 ever makes it to c5.] 1/2-1/2

Round 8

Despite the fact that So-Topalov played over 50 moves, it didn’t last long in regards to playing time. Wesley So obtained a slight advantage somehow after Topalov made inaccurate form during the opening. Unfortunately, the position was so locked up that an incredible amount of precision was required in order to create even minor problems. So kept lashing out his moves, and was even above two hours on the clock (more than he started with, due to the extra hour at move 40) at some point. Topalov held comfortably in the endgame.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.31
Round : 8
White : So, Wesley – 2779
Black : Topalov, Veselin – 2816
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : E46
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 d5 6. a3 Bd6 7. c5 Be7 8. b4 b6 9. Bb2 a5 10. Nf4 axb4 11. axb4 Rxa1 12. Qxa1 Nc6 13. Nd3 bxc5 14. bxc5 Ne4?! Topalov mentioned that this move was not good.
[14… Bb7 followed by 15. Be2 Qd7 16. O-O Ra8 17. Qc1 Ba6 close to equal.]
15. Be2 Bd7 16. f3 Nxc3 17. Bxc3 Black is suffering here slightly.17…Qa8 18. Kd2 Rb8 19. Qxa8
[19. Rb1! keeping some pressure.]
19… Rxa8 20. Ra1 Rxa1 21. Bxa1 Kf8 22. Bc3 Ke8 23. g4 g6 24. f4 h6 25. h3 Bf6 26. Bf3 Bc8 White is still better thanks to his space advantage but it is difficult to create any kind of play. Wesley tried to maneuver around for a long time, but was unable to create something.27. Bd1 Bd7 28. Ne1 Na7 29. Ba5 Bd8 30. Nf3 The position is so locked up. The players actually blitzed out many moves, as there is not much going on. So needs to create some pawn break to do anything but it seems almost impossible to find.30…Bb5 31. Bc3 Nc6 32. Ke1 Nb8 33. Bc2 Nd7 34. Ba5 Nf6 35. g5 hxg5 36. fxg5 Nd7 37. h4 Nb8 38. Ne5 Nc6 39. Nxc6 Bxc6 40. Kf2 Kd7 41. Kg3 Be7 42. Kf4 Bb5 43. Ke5 c6 44. Bd1 Bd3 45. Bb6 Bf1 46. Ba7 Bd3 47. Bb8 Bb1 48. Bd6 Bd8 49. Bb8 Bd3 50. Bd6 Bb1 There is simply nothing to do here in this position. 1/2-1/2

Round 9

Caruana vs So

Caruana had a crushing position against So basically from the opening. The engines were screaming that Black was basically lost, but Caruana kept giving So opportunities to get back into the game. At the end of the day, enough mistakes allowed So to solidify his position and hold onto a draw.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.09.01
Round : 9
White : Caruana, Fabiano – 2808
Black : So, Wesley – 2779
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : A30
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O g6 6. d4 cxd4 7. Qxd4 Bg7 8. Nc3 d6 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. Rac1 Rc8 11. b3 a6 12. Rfd1 O-O 13. Qh4 Re8 This position is without a doubt Karjakin’s specialty. He has proven that it is very solid and difficult for White to do anything.
[13… Rc7 is another possibility.]
14. Bh3 Rc7
[14… Ba8 is what Karjakin has been playing lately, aiming for a quick b5.]
15. g4 Qa8 These players also took a long, long time to get to this position, despite being played in several high profile games. Topalov mentioned that he thought this idea of Qa8 was “basically losing”.
16. Bd4 h6 17. g5 hxg5 18. Nxg5 e6 19. Be3 Clearly something is wrong for Black. For starters, d6 is very hard to defend, and h7 being weak is annoying.19…Qb8 20. Bf4 Bf8
[20… e5 offered more resistance if Caruana found the right way, but it looks positionally disastrous.]
21. Rxd6?
[21. Bxd6! was already almost decisive. For example: Bxd6 22. Rxd6 White’s up a pawn, but the tactics don’t work for Black Rxc4 23. bxc4 Qxd6 24. Qh8+! The point. Kxh8 25. Nxf7+ Kg7 26. Nxd6+-]
21… e5 Now the game is rather complicated 22. Rxd7 exf4 23. Rcd1 Bg7?! 24. R7d3
[24. R7d6! advantage for White]
24… Rce7 25. Bg2 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 Nh5 27. Nd5 Rxe2 28. Qg4 Qd6 The position nis completely unclear. Black has some activity, but his knight on h5 isn’t great and White has a powerful one on d5.
29. Qf3 Qc5 30. R3d2 R2e5 31. h4 b5 32. Rc2 b4 I don’t know what So gained from closing down the queenside like this. 33. Rcd2 a5 34. Qg4 Bh6 35. Kf1 Rf5 36. Nf3 Bg7 By this point the players were in serious time pressure. 37. Qg2 a4 38. Rd3 Qa5 39. Ng5 axb3 40. axb3 Bf8 The last move of time pressure, but it lands Black in a little bit of trouble 41. Qf3 Bc5 42. Ne4 Kg7 43. Nxc5 Qxc5 44. Rd4 Kh6 45. Qd3 Kh7 46. Qf3 Re6 47. Kg1 The computers prefer White, but neither side saw a good way of improving their position.47… Qa5 48. Kg2 Kh6 49. R1d3 Qd8 50. Qg4 1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Magnus Carlsen games at Sinquefield Cup 2015 is also not in the good form.

Below are games of GM Magnus Carlsen at Sinquefield Cup 2015. All games came from en.chessbase.com. With the annotation of an author and chess player and of course Grand Master himself, GM Alejandro Ramirez.

image

GM Magnus Carlsen not in good shape at Sinquefield Cup 2015. Photo courtesy of en.chessbase.com and Sinquefield Cup 2015

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Round 1

Carlsen vs Topalov

A spectacular series of fireworks in the Carlsen-Topalov game. Topalov opened with a crazy novelty: 7…g5!? which apparently had been analyzed in an article recently. Carlsen sacrificed a piece for two pawns as an initiative, but the Bulgarian was unfazed. He defended well, Carlsen continued to be aggressive, but it was to no avail. The attack never crashed through, and the pawns were not enough compensation for the extra piece. In a big time scramble Topalov won with his extra material.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.23
Round : 1
White : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Black : Topalov, Veselin – 2816
Result : 0-1
ECO : B51
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. O-O Ngf6 5. Re1 a6 6. Bd3 b5 7. c4 g5!? An improvement over Carlsen-Nakamura from Zurich 2014 (rapid). The move is bold, but objectively it does look strange. 8. Nxg5 Picking up the gauntlet! This is the most principled continuation. If Black doesn’t play Ne5 and recapture on c4, he is basically down a pawn, but if he does do that c4 will be a weakness.8…Ne5 9. Be2 bxc4 10. Na3? Played after a substantial think, White does not choose the correct continuation.
[10. Nf3! Nd3
(10… Nfd7 11. Na3 is now slightly better for White: Nxf3+ 12. Bxf3 Ne5 13. Be2 and Rg8 doesn’t attack anything.)
11. Bxd3 cxd3 12. e5! dxe5 13. Nxe5 and White has a dangerous initiative since Bb7 loses instantly. Bb7? 14. Qa4+ Nd7 15. Nxf7! Kxf7 16. Qb3+ Kg7 17. Qxb7+-]
10… Rg8 11. Nxc4!? A piece sacrifice! Black has no choice but to accept it, after which Carlsen will get two pawns for a piece but some interesting initiative.
[11. f4 Nd3 12. Bxd3 cxd3 with position unclear]
(11. Nf3 Nd3 12. Bxd3 cxd3 13. Nc4 unclear
(13. e5 dxe5 14. Nxe5 Qd5 is not the same at all.)]
11… Nxc4 12. d4 Nb6 13. Bh5
[13. dxc5 dxc5 14. Qxd8+ Kxd8 15. Nxf7+ Ke8 is not something anyone wants to go for Black will have difficulties converting, but he has all the chances.]
13… Nxh5 14. Qxh5 Rg7
[14… Rg6 was stronger. The rook is much more active, and after 15. Qxh7 Rg7 16. Qh8 cxd4 17. Nh7 Rxh7 18. Qxh7 e5 Black is nearly winning.]
15. Nxh7 Qd7?! A strange move. Black wants to develop, but it was about time to get rid of this knight on h7.
[15… Rxh7 16. Qxh7 cxd4 17. Qh8 e5 18. h4 Kd7!]
16. dxc5 dxc5 17. e5?!
[17. Nxf8 Qh3
(17… Qg4 18. Qxg4 Rxg4 19. Nh7 f6 20. Ng5!)
18. Qxh3 Bxh3 19. g3 Kxf8
(19… Rg8 20. Nh7 f6 unclear White is up two pawns, but that knight isn’t going anywhere.)
20. Bh6 might even favor White as Black’s pieces are not well coordinated. ]
17… Qc6! 18. f3 Qg6! A very good move! 19. Nf6+ Kd8! Very precise. The Black king simply slides over to safety. 20. Qxg6 Rxg6 21. Ne4 Black is basically up a piece for no compensation. Two pawns are not enough. 21…Bb7 22. h4 Rc8 23. h5 Rg8 24. Bd2 Nc4 White’s position has not improved much. 25. Bc3 Bh6 26. Rad1+ Ke8 27. Rd3 Bf4 28. Nf2 Bc6 29. Nh3 Bg3 30. Re2 Bb5 31. Rd1 Bc6 32. Nf2 Bxe5! A beautiful shot in time scramble. White’s position is now hopeless. 33. Ng4 Bxc3 34. bxc3 Kf8 35. Kf2 Rh8 36. Ne5 Nxe5 37. Rxe5 Be8 38. g4 f6 39. Re6 Bb5 40. Rde1 Rc7 Magnus resigned with time pressure reached. 0-1

Round 2

Caruana vs Carlsen

Fabiano Caruana against Magnus Carlsen was a heartstopper. In a position that was very interesting, both players simply let their clock run out way too low. An unbelievable time scramble occurred, with both players falling to mere seconds to make their final moves. The engine evaluations kept changing wildly as the game became a bullet battle. On move 40, Caruana made a horrific blunder with only seconds left on his clock. He resigned as soon as he made time control.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.24
Round : 2
White : Caruana, Fabiano – 2808
Black : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Result : 0-1
ECO : C84
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 No Berlin this time, Carlsen goes back to the more traditional Spanish channels. 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. d3 Be7 An Archangel with Be7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. a3 d6 10. Re1 Qd7 11. Ne2 Nd8 12. Ng3 Ne6 13. Ba2 Strangely played after a 30 minute think, and a novelty. The position has been reached a few times, and most grandmasters preferred 13.c3. 13…Rfe8 14. Ng5 d5!? The d5 break always has some drawbacks in the Spanish. Usually, it is the e5 pawn that suffers. It lacks protection and the e1-rook is now attacking it. On the other hand, Carlsen gets more space and the bishop on a2 loses some of its influence on f7.15. Nxe6 Qxe6 16. Bg5 h6 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. Qf3 taking advantage of the pin on the d5 pawn. However Black is solid. 18…c6 keeping the tension
[18…dxe4 19. dxe4 simply activates the bishop on a2. Qb6 20. Nf5]
19. c4 Rad8 20. cxd5 cxd5 21. Nf5 White’s knight is annoying on f5, but Black’s position is holding together. 21…Bg5! 22. h4 Bd2 [22…Bf4 is also possible. 23. g3 dxe4 24. Qg4
(24. dxe4? Qxf5 )
24… Qf6 25. gxf4 exd3 gets crazy, but computers like Black a bit.
26. fxe5? d2-+ was something Carlsen missed.]
23. Re2 dxe4 24. dxe4 Qf6 25. g3 Kf8 Magnus was critical of this move, but maybe it was not so bad. 26. h5 Bg5 27. a4 Played with under 5 minutes on the clock. 27…b4
[27… bxa4!]
28. a5 After this Caruana was down to only seconds. 28…Kg8 29. Bc4 Rd7?!
[29… Kh8 !]
30. Ra4! Kh8 31. Rxb4 g6 What a crazy position! Specially since they were on bullet mode now: both players under three minutes. 32. hxg6 fxg6 33. Qb3 Forced, but Caruana took way too long on making this move… 41 seconds! 33…Bc6 34. Ne3 Bxe4 35. Bd5 Bxd5
[35…Qf3 36. Rxe4!
(36. Bxe4 Qxe2 37. Rb8 Carlsen thought this was “at least a draw” but actually Black is winning after 37…Rxb8 38. Qxb8+ Kh7! 39. Bd5 Rg7!+-)
36… Qxe2 37. Nc4 Qh5 38. g4! Qh4 39. Nxe5! with a strong initiative.)]
36. Nxd5 Qc6 37. Nc3 Qf3 38. Qc2 Red8 39. Rbe4
[39. Qe4! Rd1+? 40. Nxd1 Rxd1+ 41. Re1 doesn’t work.]
39… Rd2
[39… Bf4! but who would see this with seconds left?]
40. Rxd2?? Horrible! But Caruana only had a couple of seconds to play.
[40. Qb3 Rd1+! 41. Qxd1 Rxd1+ 42. Nxd1 h5 gives Black enough compensation.]
40… Rxd2 Now it is clear that Black is winning. f2 is hanging as well as the queen. 0-1

Round 3

Carlsen vs Lagrave

Next, Magnus Carlsen converted a slow position against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman came out worse from the opening, but he had some chances to defend properly. He missed them, and Carlsen’s advantage started to grow. Eventually very precise play was required from MVL, but he was not up to the task. He lost a pawn, then another, and ultimately the game.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.25
Round : 3
White : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Black : Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – 2731
Result : 1-0
ECO : E60
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 c5 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 O-O 7. Nc3 Qc7 8. Nd5 A position that has been played many times. Wang Hao has had it more than three times with white. 8…Qxc4!? Perhaps surprised by the opening, MVL goes for a strategically dubious move.
[8… Nxd5 9. cxd5 Qa5+ 10. Bd2 Qb6 11. Bc3 e5!? Wang Hao – Grischuk, 2014. Grischuk eventually won that game.]
9. Nxe7+ Kh8 10. Nxc8 Rxc8 11. O-O pair of bishops and a problem with the isolated pawn on d7. White has a slight edge, no doubt about it. 11…Nc6 12. Be3 Ng4 13. Nc2 Of course, White retains his advantages. 13…Nxe3 14. Nxe3 Qe6 15. Nd5 Bxb2 releasing some tension. Black’s best bet is to reach some kind of opposite colored bishop endgame. His position is uncomfortable, but very far from lost. 16. Rb1 Be5 17. Rxb7 Rab8 18. Rxb8 Rxb8 19. e3 Rb2 20. a4 Ne7?!
[20… Qd6! with close to equality.]
21. Nf4 Bxf4!? Resourceful! Black gives up his bishop to try to create weaknesses in the opponent’s position. Taking with the g-pawn weakens the kingside, taking with the e-pawn exposes f2. 22. exf4 Qb6 23. a5! Qc5
[23… Qxa5 24. Qd4+ is no bueno.]
24. Qxd7
[24. a6 d6]
24… Ra2 25. Qd3 surprisingly, it isn’t easy to take on a5.
[25. Qb7 Kg7 26. a6 h5 ]
25… Kg7
[25… Qxa5 26. Qd6! Ng8 27. Qd4+ is very uncomfortable.]
(25… Rxa5 26. Qd2 Rb5 Carlsen thought that this was the best way for Black. White will eventually take on a7, but the 4v3 on the kingside is not necessarily won.)]
26. a6 h5 also somewhat surprisingly, Black doesn’t have to take the a-pawn! With the weakness on f2 it isn’t easy to make progress. 27. Bb7 Nf5 28. Qe4 Nd6 29. Qb1 Rd2 30. Qa1+ Kg8 31. Bg2 Nf5 32. Qe5! Black really doesn’t want to trade queens, but on the other hand the remaining pieces would be more active than White’s… a tough choice in practical play. 32…Qxe5 33. fxe5 Re2 34. Rb1! The a7 pawn is now very weak. This variation is the reason I don’t believe Black should have traded queens. 34…Rxe5 35. Rb7 Re1+ 36. Bf1 h4 37. Rxa7 h3 Black tries to create random complications, but there is nothing here. 38. Rd7! Ra1 39. g4
[39. a7! Kg7 40. g4 Nh4 41. f4 Ng2 42. Kf2 Nxf4 43. g5 finishes the game. Black is basically in zugzwang: Ra2+ 44. Kg3 Ne6 45. Bc4 with a winning position.]39…Nh4 40. Rd3 Ng2 Time trouble is over and White is up two pawns for no compensation. 41. Rxh3 Nf4 42. Rf3 g5 43. Rb3 after some thought, MVL decided that two pawns was too much. Two victories in a row for the World Champion. 1-0

Round 4

Giri vs Carlsen

Next was Giri-Carlsen. The World Champion used the Sveshnikov Sicilian, not the most fashionable but strong enough in many circumstances. Giri was unable to put any real pressure on his opponent and again the opposite colored bishops reared their ugly head.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.26
Round : 4
White : Giri, Anish – 2793
Black : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : B33
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 The Sveshnikov Sicilian. It goes in and out of fashion, and Carlsen playing it might bring some attention back to a defense that is largely overlooked, despite the fact that there is no definite refutation of it. 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Ne7 One of several possibilities Black has at his disposal. Krasenkow likes to play this move. 12. Nc2 Nxd5 13. Qxd5 Rb8 14. Nb4 Bb7 15. Qd3 O-O 16. Be2 a5 17. Nd5 b4 Giri took some time to get to this position, but Carlsen reached it relatively quickly. Black shouldn’t have any real problems in this position. This vriation has been played a couple of times. White might be able to pressure slightly on the light squares but it won’t big a big deal. 18. O-O bxc3 19. bxc3 Bg5 20. Rab1 Qd7 21. Rb3 Bc6 22. Rfb1 Rxb3 23. Rxb3 g6 24. Rb6 Rc8 25. h3 Bxd5 Even this move was maybe unnecessary.
[25… h5 26. Ra6 Bxd5 is safer: 27. Qxd5 Rc5! a nice intermezzo. 28. Qxd6 Qxd6 29. Rxd6 Rxc3=]
26. Qxd5 Rxc3 27. Rxd6 Qe7 28. Bd1 Rc7 29. g3 Kg7 White has a very minor amount of pressure, but this is way closer to a draw. Black’s bishop isn’t the greatest but White can’t create threats, so it will eventually remaneuver. 30. Ba4 Bc1 31. Rc6 1/2-1/2

Round 5

See Wesley vs Carlsen

Round 6

Aronian – Carlsen

The first couple of results of round six were far from interesting. Many predicted that while Aronian would push slightly against Carlsen, he would try to do so with minimal risk and minimal chance of succeeding. In effect, the World Champion was able to equalize without difficulties and the game was drawn.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.29
Round : 6
White : Aronian, Levon – 2765
Black : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : A29
Annotator : Ramirez alvarez,Alejandro

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. a3 Re8 10. b4 Bf8 11. Nd2 Be6 12. Bb2 A normal version of a reversed Dragon, though there are no games in the database with this exact position! 12…Qd7 13.Nce4 Bh3 Trading off the dragon bishop is very normal. Black wastes some time on this operation, but it is more than acceptable. 14. Bxh3
[14. b5 Nd4 15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. a4 was not to Aronian’s liking.]
14… Qxh3 15. Qb3 Qd7 16. Nf3 a5 17. b5 Nd4 18. Nxd4
[18. Bxd4 exd4 gives Black the ability to pressure a3 after a4 from Black and e2, which should give him enough counterplay.]
18… exd4 19. a4 Qd5 Carlsen mentioned he didn’t know what else to do, this leads to a draw after many trades. 20. Qxd5 Nxd5 21. Bxd4 f5 22. Nc3 Nxc3 23. Bxc3 Rxe2 so far forced. White has to take care of the active rook. 24. Rfe1 no Rae8 because a5 is hanging 24…Rxe1+ 25. Rxe1 Bb4 more trades26. Rc1 forced
[26. Bxb4 axb4 gives Black an obvious edge in an endgame.]
26… c6 27. bxc6 bxc6 28. Bxb4 axb4 29. Rxc6 Rxa4 the game is very obviously drawn. 30. Rb6 Ra1+ 31. Kg2 Rd1 32. Rxb4 Rxd3 1/2-1/2

Round 7

Carlsen vs Grischuk

Carlsen’s game was rather strange. He didn’t like his position from the opening, but at some point it seemed clear that the game would end in a draw. An endgame with equal pawns and opposite colored bishops seemed to seal the deal. However, the World Champion was rather careless and lost a pawn. Grischuk tortured Carlsen for a long time, until eventually Carlsen, in the bitter end, blundered.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.30
Round : 7
White : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Black : Grischuk, Alexander – 2771
Result : 0-1
ECO : B92
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Be3 Be6 9. Qd3 repeating the line that Anand played against MVL earlier in the tournament.9…Nbd7 Grischuk was having none of that endgame, instead he decided to allow a knight to d5, changing the pawn structure.10. Nd5 O-O 11. O-O Bxd5 12. exd5 Rc8 As is typical in the Najdorf, White exchanged a piece on d5 and now his structure has a majority on the queenside. However Black has good dark-square control and the b3 knight is very bad, it will take some time to regroup it. 13. c4 Ne8 14. Qd2 b6 Around here Carlsen mentioned that he didn’t like his position, but to be fair there is nothing immediately wrong with it. In the long-term, however, Black’s plan seems more obvious than White’s.15. Rac1 a5 16. Na1 No one wants to play this move, but it has a sneaky idea. Also it causes Grischuk to start thinking heavily.16…g6 17. b4!? Ng7
[17… axb4 18. Nc2 is the point, as the knight quickly heads to c6. Grischuk declines from taking in order to keep control of b4.]
18. bxa5 bxa5 19. Bd3 Nc5 20. Bc2 a4 21. Rb1 White’s knight on a1 is awful, but he has control of the b-file, pressure on a4 and the pair of bishops. It is hard to say who is better.21…e4!? Changing the position. White is happy to trade his c4 pawn for the e5 one though. 22. Bxc5 Rxc5 23. Bxa4
[23. Qe2!? is a little more ambitious Qc7
(23… f5!?)
24. Bxa4 Rxc4 25. Bc6 slight advantage to white]
[23. Bxe4 Rxc4 24. Qd3=]
23… Rxc4 24. Bc6 Nf5 25. Qe2 Rc3 26. Qxe4 Ra3 White wins the pawn on e4, but thanks to this strong rook the a2 pawn is doomed. The position looks rather drawish.27. Qe2 Bf6 28. Nb3 Qe7 29. Qxe7 Nxe7 30. Nd2 Rxa2 31. Nc4 Rd8 I was expecting the players to sign the scoresheets around here, but Carlsen started playing very strange moves.32. g4?
[32. Rbd1=]
32… Bd4 33. Rbd1 Bc5 Suddenly White is just worse. He has problems with his d5 pawn and the pressure on f2.34. Rd2 Rxd2 35. Nxd2 Nxc6 36. dxc6 Rc8 37. Ne4 Rxc6 38. Rd1 The extra pawn is hard to convert, but from here on out Grischuk will torture the World Champion.38…h6 39. h4 Kf8 40. Kg2 Ke7 41. Rc1 The endgame is unpleasant, though surely a computer would hold it.41…Rc8 42. Kf3 Ke6 43. Rc2 Rc7 44. h5!? Commital. Some grandmasters analyzing the game didn’t like this move.44…gxh5 45. gxh5 Bb6 46. Re2 Bd4 47. Kg3 d5 48. Nd2+ Kf5 49. Kg2 Be5 50. Nf3 Bf6 51. Ra2 Rd7 52. Ne1 Rc7 53. Kf3 Bg5 54. Ra5 Ke5 White is suffering, but it’s not so easy to make progress. The blockade on d3 will hold on strong. 55. Ke2 Ke4 56. Ra4+ d4 57. f3+ Kd5 58. Ra5+ Kc4 59. Nd3 Re7+ 60. Re5 Re6
[60… Kc3 was winning, according to Komodo, but the truth of the position is still not clear to me.]
61. f4 Bf6 62. Rxe6 fxe6 63. Nf2??
[63. Kd2! was the only way to hold the position. There seems to be no way to break down the position.]
63… Be7! White will soon be zugzwanged.64. Ng4 Kc3 65. f5
[65. Kd1 Bf8 66. Nf2 d3 is winning.]
[65. Nf2 Kc2 66. Nd3 Ba3 67. Nf2 Bd6 68. Nd3 Kc3 with a zugzwang.] 65… exf5! Only move. 66. Nxh6 Kc2! The pawn is unstoppable. 0-1

Round 8

Carlsen vs Nakamura

The American player very clearly was in trouble straight from the opening. Kasparov came around to talk about the game with me and he was saying how it was a position that Carlsen and he had analyzed a few years ago, and that Black wasn’t lost, but it was very very bad. Slowly the World Champion pushed Nakamura around, got a winning position and then made mistake after mistake. Somehow Nakamura was able to create counterchances in what should have been a straightforward win. Eventually, after a long torture, he survived.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.08.31
Round : 8
White : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Black : Nakamura, Hikaru – 2814
Result : 1/2-1/2
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. e3 O-O 6. a3 c5
[6… b6! Is better, according to Kasparov.]
7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. Qc2 Qa5 10. Rd1 Be7 11. Be2 Ne4?!
[11… dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nh5 13. O-O Nxf4 14. exf4 gives White some pressure, and Kramnik used to win against Carlsen in 2009. Kasparov and Carlsen worked on the position and concluded that White has pressure, but Black’s position is “somewhat playable”.]
12. cxd5 Nxc3 13. Qxc3 Qxc3+ 14. bxc3 exd5 15. Rxd5 Bxa3 16. Nd4 Kasparov mentioned that this position was already bad for Black. It was based on a 2009 game by Sokolov (against Meier). Black isn’t lost, but it is not fun to play this, especially against Carlsen.16…Nxd4 17. exd4 b6 18. Kd2 Be6
[18… Bb7 19. Rd7 Bxg2 20. Ra1 susprisingly traps the bishop.]
19. Rb5 Bd7 20. Rb3 Be7 21. Bf3 Ba4 22. Rb2 Rad8 23. Ra1 b5 24. Bc6 a6 25. Bb7 Bd6 26. Be3 a5 Black somehow is retaining his material parity, but it is clear that his pawns are weak, the bishop on a4 is awkward and the king on d2 is far more useful than the one no g8. 27. Bc6 Rb8 28. d5 Rfd8 29. Kd3
[29. Ba7 was possible but not fully necessary yet. Carlsen slowly improves his position.]
29… Bf8 30. Bd4 f6 31. Ke4 why not?31…Bd6 32. c4 Bb4 33. Ba7?! This seems to forcing, and not in a good way
[33. g4! was worth considering, simply paralyzing black.]
33… f5+ 34. Kf3 Rbc81 The best practical chance, forcing the two bishops vs. rook endgame.35. cxb5 Bxb5 36. Bxb5 Bc3 37. Rab1
[37. Rba2 Bxa1 38. Rxa1 Rxd5 39. Rxa5 Kf8 40. Bb6 at least takes the pawn on a5 immediately, but it isn’t 100% clear whether the endgame is winning or holdable.]
37… Bxb2 38. Rxb2 Rxd5 39. Be3? A move that is almost impossible to understand. Basic chess understanding tells us that White should retain his rook, not allow it to be exchanged.
[39. Ba4 should lead to a technically won game. The rook and bishops will tear apart Black’s pawns.]
39…Rb8 40. Bc4 Rxb2 41. Bxd5+ Kh8 Now this is not even close to easy. 42. Bd4 Rb1 43. Ke2 a4 44. g3 a3 45. Kd2 h5 46. h4 Kh7 47. Bc4 g6 48. Kc2 Re1
[48… Rb8 is probably the easier way to draw in this position, simply keeping the king cut off on the b-file and there is no way to make progress with the bishops.]
49. Be3 simplifying a couple of pawns. The a-pawn is doomed, but not the game.49…f4! 50. Bxf4 a2 51. Bxa2 Re2+ 52. Kb3 Rxf2 53. Bb1 Re2 54. Kc4 Kg7 55. Kd5 The king comes in, but this is as far as he goes. He will not cross into f6, where he needs to be.55…Re1 56. Bc2 Re2 57. Bd3 Re1 58. Be4 Rd1+ 59. Ke5 Black’s defense is tedious, but not particularly demanding.59… Re1 60. Bd2 Re2 61. Bc3 Kh6 62. Bb4 Rf2 63. Bc5 Rf1 64. Bb4 Rf2 65. Be7 Rf1 66. Bf6 Rg1 67. Bg5+ Kg7 68. Bf4 Re1 69. Kd5 Rd1+ 70. Ke6 Re1 71. Ke5 Re2 72. Kd5 Re1 73. Bd3 Kh7 74. Kd4 Kg7 75. Be3 Ra1 76. Ke4 Ra4+ 77. Kf3 Ra3 78. Bb5 Rb3 79. Be8 Rb1 80. Bc6 Rb4 81. Bd2 Rb6 82. Bc3+ Kh6 83. Bd5 Rb1 84. Kf4 Rf1+ 85. Ke5 Rg1 86. Bd2+ Kg7 87. Bf4 Re1+ 88. Kd6 Kf6 89. Bf3 Kf5 90. Kd5 Rf1 91. Be4+ Kg4 92. Bxg6 Rxf4 93. gxf4 Kxf4 94. Bxh5 Kg3 95. Bd1 Kxh4 1/2-1/2

Round 9

Anand vs Carlsen

In the game between Anand and Carlsen, and much like their World Championship matches, the Norwegian decided to stick to his Berlin defense. Both players played rather slowly, perhaps unfamiliar with the variation. Anand mentioned looking at this variation in the past but could not recall the specifics. Carlsen was able to trade into an opposite-colored bishop position and draw the game.

Event : 3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015
Site : Saint Louis
Date : 2015.09.01
Round : 9
White : Anand, Viswanathan – 2816
Black : Carlsen, Magnus – 2853
Result : 1/2-1/2
ECO : C67
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 h5 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Rd1+ Ke8 12. Ne2 Nh4 13. Nxh4 Bxh4 Both players took a long time to get to this position, but it had all been played before.14. f3 Bf5 15. Nd4
[15. c3 Bc2 16. Rd2 Bf5 17. g4 Be6 was fine for Black in Leko-Radjabov, 2014. The Azeri won that game in the long run. ]
15… Bg6 16. Bf4 Be7 17. g4 Anand mentioned that he had looked at this idea with f3 and g4, but must have botched it up at some point.17…Rd8 18. Kg2 hxg4 19. hxg4 Bc5 20. c3 Bxd4 21. Rxd4 Rxd4 22. cxd4 Ke7 White retains some chances of creating an advantage if he can push f4-f5, but it looks difficult to achieve… and when it does, still the advantage is not that clear.23. Rc1 Ke6 24. Be3 f6 Now the draw is obvious. The structural advantage is meaningless with the opposite colored bishops on the board.25. exf6 gxf6 26. Bd2 Rd8 27. Bc3 Kf7 28. Kg3 Re8 29. Rh1 Bd3 30. Re1 Rxe1 31. Bxe1 Bc4 32. a3 b6 33. Kf4 a5 34. Ke3 a4 35. Bg3 b5 36. Bxc7 1/2-1/2

Advertisements