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The 2015 FIDE World Chess Cup is finished! The massive 128 player KO gathers some of the top players in the World, as well as qualifiers from every region and every continent. The winner taken home a massive USD$120,000 (minus the usual 20% FIDE tax). Both the winner and the runner-up directly qualify to next year’s Candidates Tournament.

The format was rather simple. The player’s  was played two games against each other, one with white and one with black. In case of a tie, a third day will be used for tiebreaks: colors will be drawn and the day will start with two rapid games (25+10). If still tied, colors will be redrawn and two quick games (10+10) will be played. If still tied, colors will be redrawn and two blitz games will be played (5+3).
If this is still drawn the the players shall play a single decisive sudden death game. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the opponent with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds for each move from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces was declared the winner.

Round One

The tournament started followed the normal patterns of a KO: The top seeds cruised through their first round, while most of the tough matches came in the middle, where players of similar rating faced each other. That being said, we did have 64 games of action packed chess!

Wesley So finished the two games vs Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran in round 1. Both in an English openings, the first one in 43 moves of English Symmetrical variation while the second was a 40 moves. It marks as a good start for Wesley on this tournament.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.11
Round: 1
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Maghsoodloo, Parham – 2447
Result: 1-0
ECO: A30 – English, Symmetrical

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qb3 Nxc3 9. Bc4 Nd5 10. Bxd5 e6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. O-O f6 13. Be3 Qd5 14. Rfc1 Bd6 15. Nd2 Bd7 16. Nc4 Be7 17. Bf4 O-O 18. Qg3 Be8 19. Bd6 Bxd6 20. Nxd6 Qxd4 21. Qa3 Rb8 22. Rd1 Qxb2 23. Qxa7 Bf7 24. Qe7 f5 25. h4 e5 26. h5 e4 27. h6 e3 28. Qxe3 Bd5 29. Rab1 Qf6 30. Rxb8 Rxb8 31. Ne8 Qf8 32. Re1 Be4 33. Nc7 Qf7 34. Na6 Ra8 35. Nc5 Rxa2 36. f3 Bd5 37. Qg5 Qc7 38. Qf6 Ra8 39. Nd7 Qxd7 40. Re7 Qxe7 41. Qxe7 Bf7 42. Qf6 Kf8 43. Qh8+ 1-0

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.13
Round: 1.5
White: Maghsoodloo, Parham – 2447
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 0-1
ECO: A22 – English

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nf3 e4 6. Nd4 Nc6 7. Nc2 Bxc3 8.
dxc3 h6 9. O-O Re8 10. Ne3 d6 11. f3 Ne5 12. b3 Bd7 13. Qc2 exf3 14. exf3 Qc8 15. Bd2 Bh3 16. Rad1 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Qd7 18. Bc1 Re6 19. Nf5 Ng6 20. Rf2 Rae8 21. Nd4 Re5 22. h3 b6 23. a4 d5 24. cxd5 Rh5 25. h4 Rxd5 26. Rdd2 Ne5 27. b4 c5 28. bxc5 bxc5 29. Nb3 c4 30. Nd4 Nd3 31. Rxd3 cxd3 32. Qxd3 Qxa4 33. Bb2 Rc5 34. Nf5 Qd7 35. Qxd7 Nxd7 36. Nd6 Re6 37. Rd2 Nb6 38. Ne4 Rd5 39. Kf2 Rxd2+ 40. Nxd2 Rc6 0-1

The round 1 had many tiebreaks with the rapid format. Only one 2700 has been eliminated so far (Ni Hua) and several have not secured their spot in the next round just yet. Wesley is one excemption to that. Classical chess eliminations saw few surprises, with two of the highest rated players knocked out being from America: Ray Robson and former World Cup winner Gata Kamsky.

Round 2

Fights Continue!

Wesley So’s patience paid off facing Csaba Balogh of Hungary. Two back-to-back wins again for Wesley and a 4-0 straingt wins!

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.14
Round: 2
White: Balogh, Csaba – 2659
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 0-1
ECO: C65 – Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Ne7 8. Ba4 a6 9. Nbd2 Ba7 10. d4 Ng6 11. Re1 c5 12. d5 c4 13. Bc2 b5 14. Nf1 Bd7 15. Be3 Qc7 16. N3h2 a5 17. Ng4 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 f5 19. Bc2 fxg4 20. hxg4 a4 21. a3 Ne7 22. Bxa7 Qxa7 23. Ne3 Rf6 24. f3 Raf8 25. Be4 h6 26. g3 Be8 27. Kg2 Bg6 28. Qe2 Qd7 29. Rf1 Qe8 30. Qc2 Bxe4 31. Qxe4 Qg6 32. Qxg6 Nxg6 33. Rf2 Ne7 34. Raf1 g5 35. Rd2 Kf7 36. Rdd1 Ke8 37. Rd2 Kd7 38. Rff2 Kc7 39. Rf1 Kb6 40. Rdd1 Kc5 41. Rd2 R6f7 42. Rdd1 Ng8 43. Rd2 Nf6 44. Rh1 Rh7 45. Rdd1 Rfh8 46. Rh2 h5 47. gxh5 Rxh5 48. Rxh5 Rxh5 49. Rd2 Rh8 50. Rd1 Rg8 51. Rd2 e4 52. fxe4 Nxe4 53. Rd4 Nf6 54. Ng4 Nxg4 55. Rxg4 Re8 56. Kf3 Re5 57. Re4 Rf5+ 58. Kg4 Rf2 59. Kxg5 Rxb2 60. g4 Rb3 61. Re3 Rxa3 62. Kf6 Ra1 63. Rf3 a3 64. g5 Rg1 65. Rf2 b4 66. cxb4+ Kxb4 67. Ke6 Kb3 0-1

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.15
Round: 2.5
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Balogh, Csaba – 2659
Result: 1-0
ECO: A21 – English

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 g6 5. a3 Nge7 6. Ne4 Nf5 7. d3 Be7 8. e3 h5 9. Ne2 Kf8 10. N2c3 Kg7 11. Nd5 a5 12. O-O d6 13. d4 cxd4 14. exd4 Ncxd4 15. Nxe7 Nxe7 16. Bg5 f5 17. Bf6+ Kf7 18. f4 fxe4 19. fxe5 Nf3+ 20. Bxf3 exf3 21. Bxh8 Qb6+ 22. Rf2 Bg4 23. exd6 Rd8 24. c5 Qxc5 25. Qb3+ Nd5 26. Be5 a4 27. Qxa4 Re8 28. Qd4 Qxd4 29. Bxd4 Re4 30. Bc5 Ke6 31. Rd1 b6 32. Bb4 Nxb4 33. axb4 Kd7 34. h3 1-0

Round 3

Down to the round of 32, there are some fascinating duels despite the high number of draws in the third round, there were many hard fights and a couple of lucky saves. Wesley So held by Le Quang Liem in two games and goes to the tie-breaks this time!

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.17
Round: 3
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D31 – Queens Gambit Declined

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. c5 Ne4 8. Nxe4 dxe4 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. Bxe5 Bd7 11. Bc4 Bf6 12. Bg3 Bc6 13. b4 b5 14. cxb6 cxb6 15. Qe2 Be7 16. O-O Bd5 17. a3 a5 18. bxa5 Rxa5 19. a4 Bxc4 20. Qxc4 Qa8 21. Qc7 Bd8 22. Qc2 Bf6 23. Qb2 Rxa4 24. Rxa4 Qxa4 25. Qxb6 Rc8 26. Rb1 h6 27. h4 h5 28. Kh2 Qc6 29. Qa5 g6 30. Rb6 Ra8 31. Qc5 Qxc5 32. dxc5 Kf8 33. c6 Ke8 34. Kh3 Rc8 35. Bd6 Be7 36. Be5 f6 37. Bc3 e5 38. Ra6 Bd6 39. Ba5 Ke7 40. Ra7+ Ke6 41. Rg7 Rxc6 42. Rxg6 Rc2 43. Kg3 Kf7 44. Rh6 Bf8 45. Rxh5 Kg6 46. Rh8 Kg7 47. Rh5 Kg6 48. Rh8 Kg7 49. Rh5 1/2-1/2

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.18
Round: 3.5
White: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: A37 – English Symmetrical

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 e6 6. O-O Nge7 7. e3 O-O 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 d5 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Qb3 Nxd4 13. exd4 Be6 14. Be3 Qd7 15. Rac1 Rac8 16. Rfd1 Rfe8 17. Bf1 Bg4 18. Re1 Bf3 19. Qb5 Bg4 20. Qa5 b6 21. Qb5 Qxb5 22. Bxb5 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Rc8 24. Rxc8+ Bxc8 25. Bc6 Be6 26. Kf1 Bf6 27. f3 Kg7 28. Ke2 g5 29. g4 Be7 30. Bf2 Bd6 31. Bg3 Bxg3 32. hxg3 Kf6 33. Ke3 Ke7 34. Bb5 a5 35. a3 1/2-1/2

Round 3 – Tie-Break

Baku third round Tie-break was a nail biters! Sample of the game between Le Quang Liem and Wesley So and Le was unfortunate enough to mate himself against So.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.18
Round: 3.5.1
White: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 0-1
ECO: E53 – Nimzo-Indian, with 4.e3
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. dxc5 Nbd7 9. Bd2 Nxc5 10. Be2 Ba5 11. O-O Nce4 12. Nxe4 dxe4 13. Nd4 Bxd2 14. Qxd2 Bg4 15. h3 Bxe2 16. Qxe2 Rc8 17. Rac1 a6 18. Rc2 Qd7 19. Rfc1 g6 20. Rc4 Nd5 21. Qg4 Qxg4 22. hxg4 Rxc4 23. Rxc4 Re8 24. Kh2 Re5 25. Kg3 Kg7 26. Nb3 b6 27. Nd2 Nf6 28. Rc6 Rd5 29. Nb3 Rb5   White has been pressing slightly, but the endgame is close to a draw.
30. Kf4?  Step one to suicide. 30…h5 31. Rc2?
  [31. gxh5 Rf5+ 32. Kg3 Nxh5+ 33. Kh4 Rxf2]
  [31. f3 exf3 32. gxf3 hxg4 33.fxg4 Rb4+ 34. Nd4 Rxb2 is unpleasant but White has chances.]
31… h4 Suddenly White is getting mated. 32. Nc5  Otherwise g5 is mate.
  [32. g5 Rf5#]
32… Rxc5  A clean extra piece is more than enough for Wesley So. 33. Rxc5 bxc5 34. g5 Nh7 35. Kg4 f5+ 36. gxf6+ Kxf6 37. Kxh4 Kf5 0-1

Here, Wesley just needed a draw to move to the next round!

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.19
Round: 3.5.2
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Le, Quang Liem – 2697
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: C67 – Ruy Lopez

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 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Bf4 Be7 12. Rad1 Bd7 13. Ne2 Rd8 14. Bg5 Bc8 15. Rxd8+ Bxd8 16. Rd1 Be7 17. b3 f6 18. Bf4 Bd8 19. Bh2 Kf7 20. Kf1 Re8 21. Nf4 h4 22. Nd3 b6 23. c4 c5 24. exf6 gxf6 25. Nf4 c6 26. Nd3 a5 27. Nb2 b5 28. a4 Be6 29. Rd3 Bb6 30. Bf4 Rd8 31. Rxd8 Bxd8 32. Ke2 Nd4+ 33. Nxd4 cxd4 34. Kd3 Bb6 35. Kc2 Bf5+ 36. Kd2 Be6 37. f3 Ke7 38. Kc2 Bf5+ 39. Kd2 Be6 40. Bh2 Bc5 41. Kc2 Bf5+ 42. Nd3 bxc4 43. bxc4 Bd6 44. Bg1 c5 45. Bf2 Bg3 46. Bxg3 hxg3 47. h4 Kf7 48. Kd2 Bxd3 49. Kxd3 Kg6 50. Kd2 Kh5 51. Kd3 Kxh4 52. Kd2 Kg5 53. Kd3 Kf4 54. Kd2 Ke5 55. Kd3 f5 56. Kd2 Kf4 57. Kd3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Round 4

Here Wesley So survive his game one with a 41 moves Ruy Lopez game.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.20
Round: 4
White: Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – 2744
Black: So, Wesley – 2773
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: C67 – Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. Nc3 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. Nd5 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 b6 13. d3 Bb7 14. Nxf6+ Qxf6 15. Qb4 Nf5 16. c3 Re8 17. Bd2 c5 18. Qf4 h6 19. Re1 Rxe1 20. Bxe1 d6 21. h4 g6 22. Bd2 h5 23. Qa4 a6 24. Qd7 Qe7 25. Qxe7 Nxe7 26. Bf4 Nf5 27. f3 f6 28. Kf2 Kf7 29. g4 Nxh4 30. Bxd6 Nxf3 31. gxh5 Ng5 32. hxg6+ Kxg6 33. Ke3 Ne6 34. d4 cxd4+ 35. cxd4 b5 36. Bd3+ f5 37. Bc2 Kg5 38. Bb3 f4+ 39. Kd3 Kf5 40. d5 Ng5 41. Kd4 1/2-1/2

Game 2 was lost in a 68 moves of an English opening. A rare loss for Wesley and he is eliminated in the World Cup.

Event: FIDE World Cup 2015
Site: Baku AZE
Date: 2015.09.21
Round: 4.5
White: So, Wesley – 2773
Black: Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime – 2744
Result: 0-1
ECO: A33 – English, Symmetrical
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Bf4 d5 7. e3 Bb4 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 Re8 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Qb3 Rd8 15. Bf3 Na5 16. Qb5 Qb6 17. Qxb6 axb6 18. Rfb1 Nc4 19. Rb4 Ra3 20. Nb5 Ra5 21. h3 Bd7   So has a bit of a bind in the position. His structure is slightly better and generally he has good pieces. However, here he underestimates Black’s activity.
22. Bxd5
   [22. a4! Would have seen the American press for a while.]
22… Ne5  Perhaps So missed this, only expecting
   [22… Nxe3 23. fxe3 Bxb5 24. Bxb7  The weird thing about the position is that White couldn’t save the piece…]
23. Re4
   [23. Nc7 Rc8]
   [23. Nd4 Rxd5]
   [23. c4 Bxb5]
23… Ng6 24. Bxf7+  This is the best try 24…Kxf7 25. Nd6+ Kg8 26. Nxb7 Bc6! An important resource, otherwise White is better. 27. Rd4 Rxd4 28. Nxa5 Rd6 29. Nxc6 Rxc6  Unforuntately for So he is down a piece here. His three pawns don’t compensate and this will be quite a bit of suffering, though with perfect play I suspect this position is a draw. 30. a4 Rxc3 31. a5 bxa5
32. Rxa5 Rc1+ 33. Kh2 Rc2 34. Kg3 Nf8 35. h4 Nd7 36. Kf3 Kh7 37. Rf5 Nc5 38. g4 Nd3 39. Kg3 g6 40. Rf7+ Kg8 41. Rf6 Kg7 42. g5
It is hard to say where the American went wrong. I have a hunch that this move should be looked at more closely, as I believe it is a mistake to lock the structure like this. Karsten Muller will definitely take a look at this endgame for ChessBase Magazine with the truth of the position.
   [42. Ra6! Rc7 (42… Nxf2! 43. Ra7+ Kf6 44. Ra6+ Ke5 45. Rxg6 Ne4+ 46. Kh3 Re2 47. Rxh6 Rxe3+ 48. Kg2 Kf4 49. Rh7 Re2+ 50. Kh3  And I don’t yet see how Black wins, though it looks very scary. 43. Rd6]
42… h5 43. f3 Ne1 44. e4 Rc3 45. Kf2 Nd3+ 46. Kg3 Ne5 47. Kg2 Rc6 48. Rxc6 Nxc6 49. f4 Kf7 50. Kf3 Ke6 51. Ke3 Kd6 52. Kd2 Kc5 53. Kd3 Kb4 54. Kd2 Kc4 55. Ke3 Kc5 56. Kd3 Nd8 57. Ke3 Nf7 58. Kd3 Nd6 59. Ke3 Kc4 60. f5 Ne8 61. fxg6 Ng7 62. e5 Kd5 63. Kf4 Kd4 64. e6 Kd5 65. e7 Ke6 66. Ke4 Kxe7 67. Ke5 Ke8 68. Kd5 Kd7 0-1

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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.

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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

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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

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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

BPI Chess Club Team becomes the back-to-back champion after defending its title on the 2nd Interbank/Commercial Chess Team tournament held on August 29, 2015 at BPI Head Office canteen. BPI fielded 2 teams this year. Led by National Master Nick Nisperos on board 1, with an ELO rating of 2139, Jovert Valenzuela on board 2 and with ELO rating of 2189, Roland Roselada on board 3 and ELO rating of 1943, unrated player Ziegfred Borja on board 4 and Michael Enriquez on board 5 with an ELO rating of 1866 composed the BPI Team A.

Team A sweeps all games assignments beating BPI Team B, Deutsche Bank, Energy Development Corp., Makati Medical Center and SGS Gulf Ltd. consecutively accumulating a total 18 points to emerge the champion while Deutsche Bank placed 2nd with a slim margin of 11 1/2 points from third place EDC with 10 points.

image

BPI Chess Club celebrates after defending the 2nd Interbank/Commercial Chess Team tournament

BPI Team B, composed of unrated players Raymund Diaz, Moises Nogot, Fabian Panelo III, Eddie Tomboc, and Christian Ian Lim finished fourth place with 9 1/2 total points. BPI Team B lost to BPI Team A on the opening round, while drawing games between MMC on round 2 and EDC on round 5, lost to Deutsche Bank on 3rd before winning 4th round assignment versus SGS Gulf.

image

With our very own President Bong Consing surprisingly visits the tournament

The excitement filled during round 1 when surprisingly, our very own President Cezar “Bong” Consing visited the venue. The players took the opportunity to have a group photo with the BPI Chess teams.

The tournament was officiated by FIDE National Arbiter Gatz V. Luz and is sanctioned by NCFP.

image

BPI Chess Club Team A poses during awarding ceremony; from left Mike Enriquez, NM Nick Nisperos, Jovert Valenzuela, Ziegfred Borja and Roland Roselada

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Featured game 1 was a Sicilian opening masterfully played by NM Nick Nisperos vs Francisco Chung Jr. of Makati Medical Center on their board 1 penultimate encounter.

Event : 2nd BPI Interbank/Commercial Chess Team Tournament
Site  : BPI Head Office Canteen, Makati City
Date  : August 29, 2015
Round : 4
Board : 1
White : NM Nick Nisperos (2139) – BPI Chess Club Team A
Black : Francisco Chung Jr. (1773) – Makati Medical Center
Result: 1-0
ECO   : B43 – Sicilian, Kann variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. g3 Nc6 7. Bg2 Nf6 8. 0-0 Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Bc5 10. Qd3 Ng4 11. Bf4 Ne5 12. Qe2   

(Better try is 12. Bxe5 as per Stockfish, 12. Qe2 gives a -0.32 advantage for Black, at this point Nick is down by a min; 18mins vs 19mins of his opponent. Starting time is 22mins. Maybe NM Nick ponders the option to takes Ne5    {If 12. Bxe5 Qxe5 13. Kh1 0-0 14. f4 Qd4 15. Qxd4 Bxd4 etc. simplified the position and a slight square advantage for white..} )

12…d6 13. Be3 Bd7  (At this point Nick is 15mins down vs 17mins)

14. Bxc5 Qxc5  (Nick thinks hard on this position, 11mins vs 17mins of opponent, Stockfish suggest Black has slight advantage)

15. Rad1 Rc8 16. Qd2 Nc4 17. Qc1 Nxb2 (Chung can try here instead  17… Qb4 18. b3 Qxc3 19. bxc4 Qxc4 20. Qb2 0-0 21. Rd6 Bb5 and Black is slightly better..)

18. Qxb2 Qxc3 19. Qxb7 Bb5 20. Rfe1

(In this position i saw 20. Rxd3 that Nick didn’t move. Per Stockfish, Nick can try here 20. Rxd6 0-0 21. Rfd1 Be2 22. Rb1 Bb5 23. Rbd1 Be2 etc.)

20… 0-0 21. a4 Rc7 22. Qb6 Rc6 (Now White is taking the slight advantage, Nick is 5mins vs 8mins of his opponent)

image

After 22...Rc6 move

23. Qd4 Qxd4 24. Rxd4 Rc4 25. Rxc4 Bxc4 26. Rd1 Rb8 27. h4 Rb6  (At this point, my engine suggest that the position is even, Nick’s opponent time got even both on 5mins)

28. Rd4 (Suboptimal move per my engine, and initiatives shifts with Black)

28…Rc6 29. Bf3 Kf8 30. Kg2 Ke7 31. e5

(31. Rd1 was worth trying…If 31…dxe5 32. Rd8 Rc7 33. Rb8 Bd5 34. Rb2 e4 35. Be2 Bc4 36. Kf1 a5 etc and Black is better…)
(Other option is, 31…d5 32. Bd1 a5 33. h5 Rb6 34. Kf3 Rb2 35. Ke3 Ra2 36. c3 Ra3 37. Kd2 Ra2 and Black can still hold on the game)

31…d5 32. h5 Ba2 (Black reply here should be 32…a5 33. h6 g6 34. Bd1 f6 35. exf6+ Kxf6 36. Rd2 still playable)

33. Rb4 Kd7 34. Rb7+ Rc7 35. Rb6 Rc6 36. Rb2 Bc4 (Now my engine suggests that the position is even..)

37. Rb8 Rc8 38. Rxc8 Kxc8 39. h6! g6 40. Kh3 Ba2 41. Kg4 Kd7 42. Kg5 Ke7 43. a5 Bc4 44. c3 Bb5 45. Bd1 Bc4 46. Ba4 Bd3 47. Kf4

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Move after 39. h6!

(Better is 47. g4 as per Stockfish, at this point Nick’s opponent is asking for a Draw but he declined)

47…Bc4 48. Ke3 f6 49. f4 f5?? (A 2.2mins of Nick vs 1.8mins of Chung, time pressured!)

(A blunder according to my chess engine!, simple was Bf1, makes it easy for Nick, fxe5 is more playable. {49…Bf1} {49…fxe5} )

50. Kd4 Kd8?! (Bf1 might have given some fight)

51. Kc5 Kc7?! (Now Black is lost, 51…Ke7 should have tried..)

52. Be8 (h7 will eventually captured)  1-0 

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52. Bf8! and Black resigns...

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

This second game featuring a smashing victory of my teammate Roland Roselada over an unrated player of team SGS on the last round. Here everything is in control for Black and each move is almost forced.

Event  : 2nd BPI Interbank/Commercial Chess Team Tournament
Site  : BPI Head Office Canteen, Makati City
Date : 2015.08.29
Round : 5
Board : 3
White : Jamael Romero – 0 – SGS Gulf Ltd.
Black : Roland Roselada – 1943 – BPI Chess Club Team A
Result : 0-1
ECO : D00 – Queen Pawn Game

1. d4 d5 2. e3 c5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bd3 dxc4 6. Bxc4 a6 7. Bb3 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nce2 Bb7 10. f3 Nbd7 11. Ng3 Bd6 12. N1e2 h5 13. Bc2 Qc7 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. f4 ?? ( A mistake! Simple was Nd4 )

image

move 15. f4?? a blunder! Eventhough Black has very active position

15… h4 16. Nf1 Bxg2 17. Rg1 h3 18. Nfg3 Ng4 19. Nd4 Nxh2 20. Qe2 Rd8 21. Rxg2 hxg2 22. Qxg2
f5 23. Ngxf5 ?!  (Better try is Bd2 but everything is in Black’s control… )

23… exf5 24. Bxf5 Bxf4 25. Qg6+  Kf8 26. Be6 Rh6 27. Qf5+ Rf6 28. Qh3 Bg3+ 29. Kd1 Rxd4+ ! 30. exd4 Nxe6 31. Qh8+ Kf7 32. Qh5+ Ke7 33. Bg5 Nxg5 34. Qxg5 Kf7 35. Qh5+ Kg8 36. Rc1 Rf1+    0-1

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Complete Results and Final Standings:

Bank of the Philippine Islands – Team A  – 18 pts. Champion
Deutsche Bank Manila Chess Club – 11 1/2 pts 2nd Place
Energy Development Corporation – 10 pts 3rd Place
Bank of the Philippine Islands – Team B – 9 1/2 pts
Makati Medical Center – 7 pts
SGS Gulf Ltd., ROQH – 4 pts

The
Turkish Isbank Chess Super League 2015 
took place 4-15 August in Kocaeli, Turkey. A total of 14 teams participate, composed of eight main payers and additional reserves.

Among the top players of the event include GM Wesley So, GM Esen Baris, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, GM Eltaj Safarli, GM Dragan Solak, GM Pentala Harikrishna, GM Vladislav Artemiev, GM Alexander Ipatov, GM Ivan Cheparinov, GM Ivan Salgado Lopez, GM Ferenc Berkes, GM Anna Ushenina, GM Boris Grachev.

Below are games of GM Wesley So which I think in a sub-par performance. The tournament serve as his preparation for Sinquefield Cup 2015 starting this August 24, 2015 which includes current World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen and rest of the Top 10 in the rating list.

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.04
Round:  1.6
Board:  1
White: Berkes, Ferenc – 2659
Black:  So, Wesley – 2779
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D43 – QGD semi-Slav

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. cxd5 exd5 11. b4 Be6 12. Na4 Qe7 13. Rb1 b6 14. Qc2 Rc8 15. Rfc1 Nd7 16. h3 h5 17. Rb3 g5 18. Nd2 Bf8 19. Bf5 Qf6 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. Nf1 b5 22. Nc5 Bxc5 23. bxc5 Rf8 24. e4 dxe4 25. Ng3 Qg6 26. Qxe4 Qxe4 27. Nxe4 g4 28. hxg4 hxg4 29. Rg3 Rf4 30. f3 Raf8 31. Ng5 R8f6 32. Re1 Rxd4 33. Nxe6 Rc4 34. f4 Kf7 35. Nd8+ Kf8 36. Ne6+ Kf7 37. Nd8+ Kf8 38. Ne6+ Kf7 39. Nd8+   1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.05
Round:  2.1
Board:  1
White: So, Wesley – 2779
Black:  Volkov, Sergey – 2589
Result: 1-0
ECO: C11 – French, Steinitz, Boleslavsky variation

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. Bd3 Qb6 11. Bf2 Bb7 12. O-O Rc8 13. Rae1 g6 14. f5 gxf5 15. Bxf5 Bxf2+ 16. Rxf2 Na5 17. Qh6 d4 18. Ne4 exf5 19. Nd6+ Kd8 20. Nxf7+ Kc7 21. e6 Bxf3 22. Qf4+ Kb7 23. exd7      1-0

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.06
Round:  3.7
Board:  1
White: Yilmaz, Mustafa – 2582
Black:  So, Wesley – 2779
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D45 – QGD semi-Slav, Stoltz variation

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O a6 11. Ng5 Qc7 12. e4 Bxh2+ 13. Kh1 c5 14. e5 cxd4 15. exf6 Nxf6 16. f4 Bg3 17. Qd3 dxc3 18. Qxg3 h6 19. Nh3 Ne4 20. Qe3 Bb7 21. Nf2 Nxf2+ 22. Rxf2 Rfc8 23. a3 Qa5 24. Qd4 c2 25. b4 Qd8 26. Qxd8+ Rxd8 27. Be3 a5 28. Rff1 axb4 29. axb4 Ra4 30. Rac1 Ra3 31. Bf2 Rd2 32. Bxb5 Rb3 33. Ba4 Rb2 34. b5 Ra2 35. Bb3 Rb2 36. Ba4 Be4 37. b6 Ra2 38. Bb5 Ra5 39. Be1 Bxg2+ 40. Kg1 Rxb5 41. Bxd2 Bxf1 42. Kxf1 Rxb6 43. Rxc2 Rb5 44. Rc7 g5 45. fxg5 hxg5 46. Be3 Rf5+ 47. Kg2 Kg7 48. Rc5 e5 49. Rc6 f6 50. Rc4 Kg6 51. Ra4 Kh5 52. Ra8 Kg6 53. Ra4 Kf7 54. Ra7+   1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.07
Round:  4
Board:  1
White: Moiseenko, Alexander – 2710
Black:  So, Wesley – 2779
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 a6 4. e3 b5 5. a4 Bb7 6. b3 e6 7. axb5 axb5 8. Rxa8 Bxa8 9. bxc4 bxc4 10. Bxc4 Nf6 11. O-O Be7 12. Qa4+ Nbd7 13. Ne5 O-O 14. Nc6
Bxc6 15. Qxc6 Qa8 16. Qxa8 Rxa8 17. Nd2 c5 18. Bb2 Rb8 19. Rb1 cxd4 20. Bxd4 Rxb1+ 21. Nxb1   1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.08
Round:  6
Board:  2.1
White: Kuzubov, Yuriy – 2638
Black:  So, Wesley – 2779
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Qxc4 Bc6 10. Bf4 Bd6 11. Bg5 Nbd7 12. Nc3 h6 13. Bxf6 Nxf6 14. Nd2 Bxg2 15. Kxg2 a5 16. Nde4 Nxe4 17. Nxe4 Bb4 18. Rac1 c6 19. Nc5 Bxc5 20. Qxc5 Qc7 21. Rfd1    1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.11
Round:  8
Board:  3.1
White: Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  – 2735
Black:  So, Wesley – 2779
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 c5 5. Bxf6 Bxf6 6. Ne4 Bxd4 7. Nxd4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 O-O 9. Qd2 Nc6 10. O-O-O d6 11. h4 Qa5 12. Qxa5 Nxa5 13. h5 Be6 14. b3 Rac8 15. Kb2 d5 16. Ng5 Bf5 17. c3 Rfd8 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. e4 Bxe4 20. f3 Bf5 21. g4 Bd7 22. Rxd5 Nc6 23. Rd2 Ne5 24. Rd5 f6 25. Rxe5 fxe5 26. Bc4+ Rxc4 27. bxc4 Rc8 28. Rh7 Re8 29. Rh6 Kg7 30. Rh7+ Kg8 31. Rh2 Kg7 32. Re2 Kf6 33. Nh7+ Kg7 34. Ng5 Kf6 35. Ne4+ Kg7   1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.12
Round:  9
Board:  5.1
White:  So, Wesley – 2779
Black:  Mamedov, Nidjat – 2597
Result:  1-0

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 O-O 11. Bc4 b6 12. O-O Bb7 13. Rfe1 Nd7 14. a4 Rc8 15. Bd3 Qc7 16. a5 h6 17. Ra3 Qd6 18. Qb2 Rc7 19. axb6 axb6 20. Nd2 Rfc8 21. h3 b5 22. Rb3 e5 23. Nf3 exd4 24. Nxd4 Nc5 25. Nxb5 Qb6 26. Nxc7 Qxb3 27. Qxb3 Nxb3 28. Nb5 Rc1 29. Rxc1 Nxc1 30. Bb1 Ba6 31. Nd6 Kf8 32. Nf5 Ne2+ 33. Kh2 Bc8 34. Ne3 Be6 35. Bd3 Nc3 36. f4 f6 37. Kg3 Ke7 38. Kf3 Kd6 39. h4 Kc5 40. Ba6 Kd4 41. Nc2+ Kc5 42. Ne3 Kd4 43. Bb7 Nb5 44. Bd5 Bxd5 45. Nf5+ Kc5 46. exd5 g6 47. Nxh6 f5 48. Nf7 Nd4+ 49. Ke3 Kxd5 50. Nh8 Ne6 51. Nxg6 Ng7 52. Kf3 Ke6 53. Ne5 Kf6 54. Nc4 Nh5 55. Ne3 Ng7 56. h5 Ne6 57. Kg3 Nf8 58. Kh4 Ne6 59. g3 Nf8 60. Nd5+ Ke6 61. Kg5 Kxd5 62. Kxf5   1-0

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.13
Round:  11
Board:  4.1
White: So, Wesley – 2779
Black: Harikrishna, Pentala – 2740
Result: 1/2-1/2

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 Bd7 10. Rd1 Be7 11. g4 Nh4 12. Nxh4 Bxh4 13. Nd2 Ke8  14. Ne4 Rd8 15. Bf4 Be7 16. b3 Be6 17. c4  h6 18. Kg2 a5 19. Be3 h5 20. f3 hxg4 21. hxg4 f5 22. exf6 gxf6 23. Rxd8+ Bxd8 24. Rd1 Kf7 25. Bd4 Rg8 26. Kf2 f5 27. gxf5 Bxf5 28. Be5 Bxe4 29. fxe4 Ke6 30. Bf4 Rf8 31. Kg3 Rh8 32. Rd2 Bf6 33. Rh2 Rxh2 34. Kxh2 Be5 35. Kg3 Bd6 36. Kf3 c5 37. Bd2 b6 38. Bf4 Kf6 39. Kg4 Ke6 40. Kg5 Be7+ 41. Kh5 Bd6 42. Kg4 Kf6 43. Kf3 Ke6 44. Bd2 Be5 45. Ke3 Kf6 46. Kd3 Ke6 47. Kc2 Kf6 48. Bc3 Bxc3 49. Kxc3 Ke5 50. Kd3 Kf4  51. a3 c6 52. a4 Kg5 53. Ke3 Kg4 54. Ke2 Kf4 55. Kd3 Kg5 56. Ke3     1/2-1/2

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.14
Round:  12
Board:  5.1
White: Cheparinov Ivan – 2690
Black:  So, Wesley – 2779
Result: 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2 b6 9. Rd1 Nbd7 10. Bf4 Bb7 11. Ne5 Nh5 12. Bd2 Nhf6 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Nc6 Bxc6 15. Qxc6 Rc8 16. Qb5 Ne8 17. Qd3 Nd6 18. Nc3 Nc4 19. Bc1 Bb4 20. e4 Bxc3 21. bxc3 dxe4 22. Bxe4 Nf6 23. Bb7 Rc7 24. Ba6 Qd5 25. Rb1 Rd8 26. Bf4 e5 27. Bxe5 Nxe5 28. dxe5 Qxd3 29. Bxd3 Rcd7 30. Bc2 Rxd1+ 31. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 32. Bxd1 Ne4 33. c4 a5 34. Bb3 g5 35. f3 Nc5 36. Bc2 h6 37. Kf2 f6 38. exf6 Kf7 39. Ke3 Kxf6 40. f4 gxf4+ 41. Kxf4 Nd7 42. Ke4 Ke6 43. Bd1 Ne5 44. Be2 Nc6 45. a3 Ne7 46. h4 Kd6 47. g4 Ke6 48. g5 hxg5 49. hxg5 Ng6 50. Bg4+ Kd6 51. Bh5 Nf8 52. g6 Ne6 53. Bg4 Ng7 54. a4 Ke7 55. Kd5    1-0

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Event: Turkey Super League 2015
Site:  Kocaeli TUR
Date: 2015.08.15
Round:  13
Board:  3.1
White:  So, Wesley – 2779
Black: Zhigalko, Sergei – 2654
Result:  1-0

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3 d6 7. b4 e5 8. e3 Re8 9. Bb2 h6 10. Be2 Bf5 11. O-O Nbd7 12. d3 c6 13. a4 a5 14. b5 c5 15. e4 Bg4 16. h3 Bxf3 17. Bxf3 Nf8 18. g3 Ne6 19. Bg2 Nd4 20. Rae1 Kf8 21. f4 Ke7 22. Qd2 b6 23. h4 Kd7 24. Bh3+ Kc7 25. Bxd4 cxd4 26. fxe5 dxe5 27. Rc1 Qd6 28. c5 bxc5 29. Rxc5+ Qxc5 30. Rc1 Nd7 31. Rxc5+ Nxc5 32. Qa2 Kb6 33. Qd5 Rac8 34. Bxc8 Rxc8 35. Qxf7 Nxd3 36. Qe6+ Kb7 37. Qa6+ Kb8 38. Qb6+ Ka8 39. Qxa5+ Kb8 40. Qb6+ Ka8 41. Qa6+ Kb8 42. b6 Rc1+ 43. Kg2 Rc2+ 44. Kf1 Rc1+ 45. Ke2    1-0

Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2015 was held from June 27 to July 5 in the city of Dortmund and the German Chess Federation present the most prestigious grandmaster in the tournament in Germany.  An impressive field incuding former world champion and 10-time Dortmund winner Vladimir Kramnik and returning Dortmund champion Fabiano Caruana  play a single round robin. – chess24.com. This year event includes Wesley So and Hou Yifan.

Round 1

Bad start for the Filipino turned American chess player Wesley So who lost to Nisipeanu in round 1.  How was the draw of colors being done? Two straight black for a player? Though I’ve noticed Wesley always has un-castled games nowadays.  I dont know if this is deliberately a done preparation. Game 1 below was annotated by the chess author, annotator and GM himself Alejandro Ramirez from Chessbase.com

Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter  1-0  So, Wesley

Event: 43rd GM 2015
Site: Dortmund GER
Date:  2015.06.27
Round: 1
White:  Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter – 2654
Black:  So, Wesley – 2778
Result: 1-0
ECO:  B23 – Sicilian closed

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. O-O Nc6 8. d3 e6 9. f5   White’s intentions are not subtle. The position has been seen a few times, but only once at the GM level.

9…Nge7 
    [ 9… exf5 10. exf5 O-O-O   is a better approach, though not the most natural.  ]
10. fxe6 fxe6 11. Ng5!    The start of a very aggressive plan.

11…Ne5
     [ 11… Nd8 12. Qg4 h6 13. Nh3    feels like White is a bit better.  ]

12. Nb5!   A great move!

12…Qxb5    [  12… O-O-O 13. d4! Qxb5 14. dxe5 Bxe5 (14… dxe5 15. Qg4) 15. Nf7    wins an exchange for a pawn for White. Black doesn’t have enough.   ]

13. Nxe6 Kd7 14. Nxg7   The knight is trapped on g7, but White is up a pawn and has chances to attack the black king.

14… h5   [  14… Raf8   was perhaps a bit more prudent.  ]

15. a4 Qb6 16. a5 Qb5 17. c4   The Black queen gets kicked around a lot this game!

17…Qc6 18. b4!?
    [ 18. Bf4! +- Rhg8 19. d4 cxd4 20. Qxd4  was extremely difficult to meet for Black. The threat of Bxe5 is not easy to parry. White is winning. ]

18… Rh7 19. bxc5 Rxg7 20. Rf6  White’s attack in this line is also decisive.

20… Nc8   [ 20… Nf7 21. Bh6   is very ugly, but it was necessary.

21. d4! Ng4  [ 21… Qxe4 22. dxe5 Qxe5 23. Rb1 Qxf6 24. Rxb7+ Ke8 25. Bb2   and White wins material with the lethal skewer.  ]

22. Rf3 Qxe4 23. h3   Simple and good. The knight on g4 is trapped, without extra material Black’s position simply collapses.

23…dxc5 24. dxc5+ Ke8 25. hxg4 Ne7 26. Qf1 Rg8 27. Bb2 hxg4 28. Re1    The king will perish on e8 shortly. A great game by Nisipeanu!    1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 2

It’s a hard game to explain, as despite the massive ratings from both players, the game was certainly not of the highest quality. Caruana surprised his opponent in the h3 Najdorf with an early a3 break on the queenside. Caruana had a good position from the opening, but he had to play actively to try to pressure his opponent. He was even winning at some point with a quick c5 break that he missed.

Not exactly the level of play expected from two top-10 players

Instead of that Caruana fell into a passive and weak position. The only reason he came back into the game were So’s mistakes, eventually reaching an endgame that seemed very hard to win. Caruana helped out a little, and eventually So did take the full point in a rook + 2p vs knight and bishop endgame.  With report of Alejandro Ramirez from Chessbase.com

Caruana, Fabiano  0-1  So, Wesley

Event: 43rd GM 2015
Site: Dortmund GER
Date: 2015.06.28
Round:  2
White:  Caruana, Fabiano – 2805
Black: So, Wesley – 2778
Result:  0-1
ECO:   B90 – Sicilian Najdorf,  Adams attack

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 b5 8. g4 b4 9. Nd5 Nxd5 10. exd5 h5 11. gxh5 Rxh5 12. a3 bxa3 13. Rxa3 Nd7 14. Bg2 Nf6 15. O-O Rb8 16. f4 Be7 17. c4 Qb6+ 18. Rf2 Rh4 19. Rc3 Bd7 20. b3 Bxh3 21. Bxh3 Ne4 22. Qe1 Nxc3 23. Qxc3 Qxb3 24. Qxb3 Rxb3 25. Bc8 e4 26. Bxa6 Bd8 27. c5 dxc5 28. Rg2 g6 29. Rg3 Rxg3+ 30. Nxg3 Rg4 31. Kh2 f5 32. Ne2 Rh4+ 33. Kg2 Bc7 34. Bc8 Kd8 35. Be6 Ke7 36. Be3 Bd6 37. Bf2 Rh8 38. Be1 c4 39. Bc3 Ra8 40. Be5 Ra2 41. Kf1 Rd2 42. Bc3 Rd3 43. Ba5 Ba3 44. Bg8 Bd6 45. Be6 Bc5 46. Ke1 Rb3 47. Kd2 Rb2+ 48. Kd1 Bb4 49. Bxb4+ Rxb4 50. Kc2 Rb3 51. Nc3 e3 52. Bg8 Rb6 53. Ne2 Ra6 54. d6+ Rxd6 55. Bxc4 Kf6 56. Bd3 g5 57. fxg5+ Kxg5 58. Ng3 Rc6+ 59. Kd1 f4 60. Nf1 Rb6 61. Nh2 Kh4 62. Ke1 Kg3 63. Nf1+ Kf3 64. Nh2+ Kg2 65. Nf1 Re6 66. Bc4 Re5 67. Ba6 Ra5 68. Bb7+ Kg1 69. Nxe3 Re5   0-1

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 3

A masterfully maneuver from Naiditsch! A very bad game from American player Wesley So.

So, Wesley   0-1   Naiditsch, Arkadij

Event: 43rd GM 2015
Site:  Dortmund GER
Date: 2015.06.30
Round:  3
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black: Naiditsch, Arkadij – 2722
Result: 0-1
ECO:  D37 – QGD 4. Nc3 variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. e3 Be7 6. b3 O-O 7. Bb2 b6 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. Qc2 c5 10. cxd5 exd5 11. O-O a6 12. Rfd1 Re8 13. Rac1 Bd6 14. Bf5 Rc8 15. dxc5 bxc5 16. Qd3 Rc7 17. Na4 Qe7 18. Qc3 d4 19. exd4 Bxf3 20. Qxf3 cxd4 21. Ra1?   A  move that is too mysterious to understand. So clearly is being ambitious and wants to take on d4, but he grossly underestimates Black’s initiative.
     [ 21. Rxc7 Qe1+  Is not playable either…   ]
     [ 21. g3 Rxc1 22. Bxc1 Ne5 23. Qg2= is still rather unclear   ]

21… Ne5 22. Qh3 g6! 23. Bd3 Nd5!   Black’s knights start swarming the position. So regrets having such inactive pieces, like the knight on a4 and the rook on a1. Naiditschs’s attack strikes at the right time. 

24. Bxd4?    A clear oversight
     [ 24. Bf1 is passive, ugly but holds for now  ]

24… Nxd3?
     [  24…Nf4 seems to simply win material. 25. Qh6 Qf6!  A very difficult move to find, but one that would have ended the game immediately. The point is that Bf8 is a very difficult move to defend against!
(25…Nfxd3?? 26. Nxd3)
 26. Bxe5
(26. h4  Bf8 27. Qg5 Qxg5 28.hxg5 Nexd3 is over.)
      26…Rxe5-+ Bf8, Rh5… too many threats. ]

25. Qxd3 Nf4  Black’s attack is strong regardless. 

26. Qxa6?    Grabbing this pawn seems suicidal, though. A hard move to understand.

26… Qg5 27. g3 Ne2+ 28. Kf1 Qg4 29. Be3 Rxe3 Other moves also won.

30. Qa8+ Kg7 31. Rxd6 Re4  White’s king is simply getting mated here. Qh3 is a big threat. 

32. Kg2 Nf4+ 33. Kg1 Nh3+ 34. Kg2 Rc2 35. Rf1 Nf4+ 36. Kg1 Qf3  A very bad game from So, who completely underestimated his opponent’s chances.   0-1

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 4

Draw by repetition by Wesley So vs Yifan Hou.

Hou, Yifan  1/2-1/2  So, Wesley

Event:  43rd GM 2015
Site:  Dortmund GER
Date: 2015.07.01
Round: 4
White: Hou, Yifan – 2676
Black: So, Wesley – 2778
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: B19 – Caro-Kann classical, Spassky variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bd2 Ngf6 12. O-O-O Be7 13. Kb1 Qb6 14. Ne4 Rd8 15. c4 O-O 16. Qe2 c5 17. Bc3 cxd4 18. Bxd4 Qc6 19. Nxf6+ Bxf6 20. g4 Bxd4 21. Nxd4 Qc5 22. Nf3 Nf6 23. Ne5 Rd4 24. Rxd4 Qxd4 25. Rd1 Qf4 26. Re1 Qd4 27. Rd1 Qf4 28. f3 a6 29. a3 Ra8 30. Rd6 Re8 31. Ka2 Nxg4 32. fxg4 f6 33. Rd7 fxe5 34. Rxb7 Qd4 35. g5 hxg5 36. h6 gxh6 37. Qh5 Qxc4+ 38. Ka1 Qc1+ 39. Ka2 Qc4+ 40. Ka1 Qc1+    1/2-1/2

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 5

What a game from the Wesley.  The sacrifice of Russian Nepomniachtchi did not materialize.

So, Wesley  1-0  Nepomniachtchi, Ian

Event:  43rd GM 2015
Site: Dortmund GER
Date: 2015.07.03
Round: 5
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black: Nepomniachtchi, Ian – 2720
Result:  1-0
ECO: E60 – King’s Indian defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 e6 4. e4 c5 5. d5 d6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Nge2 exd5 8. cxd5 O-O 9. Ng3 a6 10. a4 h5 11. Be2 Qe8 12. Bf4 Qe7 13. Bg5 Qe8 14. Qd2 Nbd7 15. Bh6 Qe5 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Bd3 Rb8 18. Rd1 Re8 19. Be2 h4 20. Nf1 h3 21. g4 b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Ng3 b4 24. Na4 Ra8 25. b3 Ba6 26. Bxa6 Rxa6 27. O-O Rea8 28. f4 Qe7 29. Qe2 Nh7 30. Rf3 Qh4 31. Kh1 c4 32. Qxc4 Qxg4 33. Qd3 Kf8 34. Rg1 Rxa4 35. bxa4 Nc5 36. Qe3 Rxa4 37. Nf5 gxf5 38. Rxg4 fxg4 39. Rf1 Nf6 40. e5 Nfe4 41. f5 Ra2 42. e6 g3 43. hxg3 Ke8 44. g4 h2 45. Qh3 f6 46. g5 Nxg5 47. Qh8+ Ke7 48. Qg7+ Ke8 49. Qxf6   1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 6

Meier, Georg  1/2-1/2  So, Wesley

Event:  43rd GM 2015
Site:  Dortmund GER
Date:  2015.07.04
Round:  6
White:  Meier, Georg – 2654
Black:  So, Wesley – 2778
Result:   1/2-1/2
ECO:  D11 – QGD Slav, 4.e3 variation

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4 5. Nc3 e6 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Ne5 Nbd7 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. g5 Ng8 11. h4 Ne7 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Qg4 Be7 14. Rh3 Rh5 15. O-O-O Qc7 16. Kb1 dxc4 17. Bxc4 O-O-O 18. Ne2 c5 19. Bb3 Kb8 20. Bc3 Rdh8 21. RDay Bd6 22. dxc5 Be5 23. e4 Bxc3 24. Rxc3 Rxh4 25. Rch3 Rxh3 26. Rxh3 Rxh3 27. Qxh3 Ne7 28. Qh8+ Nc8 29. Qxg7 Nxc5 30. Bc2 Qe7 31. f4 a6 32. Nc3 Nd7 33. e5 Qf8 34. Qxf8 Nxf8 35. Be4 Nd7 36. Kc2 Ne7 37. Bf3 Kc7 38. Kd3 b5 39. b4 Nb6 40. Kd4 Nf5+ 41. Kd3 Ne7 42. Kd4 Nf5+ 43. Kd3    1/2-1/2

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 7

After winning his last game with Kramnik, Wesley finished 2nd behind now co-American player Fabiano Caruana.

So, Wesley   1-0   Kramnik, Vladimir 

Event: 43rd GM 2015
Site:  Dortmund GER
Date:  2015.07.05
Round: 7
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black:  Kramnik, Vladimir – 2783
Result: 1-0
ECO: C67 – Ruy Lopez – Berlin defence, open variation

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 Ne7 10. Nc3 Bd7 11. Ng5 Ke8 12. e6 Bxe6 13. Nxe6 fxe6 14. Re1 Kf7 15. Ne4 h6 16. Rd1 e5 17. Rd7 Rc8 18. Bd2 b6 19. Re1 Ke6 20. Rd3 c5 21. f4 Nc6 22. Rg3 Re8 23. fxe5 g5 24. h4 Bg7 25. hxg5 Bxe5 26. Rf3 hxg5 27. Bxg5 Bd4+ 28. Nf2+ Kd5 29. Rd1 Rhg8 30. Bf4 Re2 31. c3 Rxb2 32. cxd4 Nxd4 33. Be3 Rxa2 34. Rf4 Ra4 35. Ne4 Kc6 36. Nc3 Ra3 37. Bxd4 cxd4 38. Ne2 d3 39. Rf3 Ra2 40. Nf4 d2 41. Kf2 b5 42. Rc3+ Kb7 43. Nd5 Rg7 44. Rb3 a6 45. Nb4 Ra4 46. Rxd2 c5 47. Nd5 Rd7 48. Rf3 Re4 49. Rf6 Ka7 50. Rd3 c4 51. Rh3 Rd4 52. Nb4 R4d6 53. Rhh6 Rxf6+ 54. Rxf6 Rd2+ 55. Kf3 a5 56. Ra6+ Kb7 57. Rxa5 Kb6 58. Ra2 Rd7 59. Ra8 Kc5 60. Nc2 Rc7 61. Rf8 c3 62. Rf5+ Kb6 63. g4 Ka5 64. g5 Ka4 65. Ke3 Rd7 66. g6 b4 67. Rf4 Kb3 68. Nxb4 Re7+ 69. Re4 Rg7 70. Rg4 Re7+ 71. Kf3 Rg7 72. Nc6 Rg8 73. g7 c2 74. Nd4+ Kc4 75. Nxc2+ Kd5 76. Rg6    1-0

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Final standings after single round robin games

World Champion Magnus Carlsen plummeted his career rating minus 22.7 in his 9 classical games on 2015 Norway Chess. Probably the worst performance I’ve seen on him. On round 1, he surprisingly lost to GM Veselin Topalov on a winning position via time forfeiture. And this probably affected psychologically on his performance. Then followed by smashing victory of Fabiano Caruana in round 2 who is fresh from switching federation from Italy to USA. Viswanathan Anand masterfully beats Carlsen on round 4 then compatriot and friend Jon Ludvig Hammer finished his worst performance in the final round. Below the 9 games of GM Magnus Carlsen with reports originally from Chessbase.com and annotated live by the great chess author, annotator and GM himself Alejandro Ramirez. Games are written from last round going to the opening game. Enjoy!

The 3rd annual Norway Chess elite grandmaster tournament is held from June 16 to 26 in Stavanger, in the Southwest of Norway. World Champion Magnus Carlsen leads a stellar field that includes eight players from the world’s top ten. This year the tournament is the kickoff event for the new Grand Chess Tour. Uniting Norway Chess with the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic.

Norway Chess has in only a matter of a few years grown to be one of the world’s biggest chess tournaments. Norway Chess has proven from the start to be a world-class event. Magnus Carlsen is the proud ambassador of Norway Chess and we have had top ranked players as well as prominent guests such as chess-legend, Garry Kasparov who will return again this year.

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GM Magnus Carlsen -22.7 on http://www.2700chess.com after a poor performance at Norway Chess 2015

Round 9

Hammer, Jon Ludvig 1-0 Carlsen, Magnus

It is almost incomprehensible that the World Champion played this way today. Everything was bad about his play: his opening, his strategical comprehension, his tactics. He even got mated in the simplest of ways today:

An absolute disaster for the World Champion. Here he is realizing that he is about to get mated by Hammer’s rooks. He lost 23 rating points in this tournament, lost four games, and this is easily the worst tournament ever played by Carlsen after obtaining his GM strength.

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.25
Round: 9
White: Hammer, Jon Ludvig – 2677
Black: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Result: 1-0
ECO: D30 – Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 a6 Nothing more than a surprise weapon, clearly, though it is hard to prepare against someone that usually prepares your openings!

4. Bg5 f6 5. Bd2 dxc4 hard to believe that playing like this can be good for black.

6. e3 Nc6?!
[ 6…b5 7. b3 cxb3 8. Qxb3 ]

7. Bxc4 Bd6 8. e4 Nge7 9. O-O O-O 10. Qb3 White is clearly better in this position. He has the central control that we teach beginners you must fight for! Black has no compensation for that.

10… Kh8 tactically sound, but not good

11. Bxe6 Bxh2+ 12. Kxh2
[ 12. Nxh2 Nxd4 slight advantage for black ]

12… Qd6+ 13. Kh1 Bxe6 14. d5 Bg8 15. Qa3 Qxa3 16. Nxa3 White is simply better in this position, with some pressure on the c-file and more space

16…Na7 17. Bb4 Rfe8 18. Rac1 Rac8 19. Nd4 f5 20. f3 fxe4 21. fxe4 Ng6 22. Nf5 ?!
[ 22. Rfe1 advantage for white ]

22…Rxe4 23. Bc3 Bxd5? It’s not clear what Carlsen missed. The World Champion usually would be precise enough to find
[ 23…h6 24. Bxg7+ Kh7 25. Bxh6 Bxd5 with counterplay ]

24. Bxg7+ Kg8 25. Bd4 of course. Now the knight on a7 is under attack there is a mate threat on h6

25…Rxd4 26. Nxd4 Bxa2 27. b3 Rd8?
[ 27…c5 28. Rf2 cxd4 29. Rxc8+ Nxc8 30. Rxa2 with a better endgame for White but Black still has chances to draw ]

28. Ne6 Rd2 29. Rc3 Re2 30. Nf4
[ 30..Rf6! would finish the game off. The threat of Rcf3 and mate on f8 is not easy to parry, it would end up costing Black another exchange ]

30… Rb2 31. Nxg6 hxg6 32. Rxc7 Rxb3?? 33. Rd1 Nc6 34. Rdd7 1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 8

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Aronian, Levon
A strategically complex Ruy Lopez was defined in time trouble:

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.24
Round: 8
White: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Black: Aronian, Levon – 2780
Result: 1-0
ECO: C90 – Ruy Lopez, Closed

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. Re1 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. Nf1 h6 13. Ne3 Re8 14. a4 Be6 15. d4 exd4 16. cxd4 Nb4 17. Bb1 bxa4 18. Rxa4 Bf8 19. Ra1 d5 20. e5 Ne4 21. h3 Qb6 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 23. Bxe4 Rad8 24. Bxd5 Rxd5 25. Be3 Red8 26. dxc5 Bxc5 27. Qb3 Bxe3 28. Rxe3 a5 29. e6 fxe6 30. Rae1 R8d6 31. Rc1 Nd3 32. Rc8+ Kh7 33. Qa4 Qxb2 34. Qe4+ Rf5 35. Kh2 Nf4 36. Rc2 Qa1 37. g4 Qf1 38. Ne1 Nh5 39. gxf5 exf5 40. Qc4 1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 7

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 1/2-1/2 Carlsen, Magnus

A short game, but one that was relatively interesting. Carlsen, tongue in cheek, mentioned that people “should not try this at home” – mentioning that the variation that he chose was extremely risky. Ironic, for two reasons: first that it was obvious he had played this position in his home during an analysis session, and second because he played it in Norway!

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.23
Round: 7
White: Lagrave, Maxime Vachier – 2876
Black: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D44 – QGD, Semi-Slav

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Ne4 8. Nxe4 dxe4 9. Nd2 Qxd4 10. e3 Qxb2 11. Rb1 Qc3 12. Be2 Nd7 13. O-O Nc5 14. Nb3 Nd3 15. Nd2 Nc5 16. Nb3 Nd3 17. Nd2 Nc5 1/2-1/2

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 6

Carlsen, Magnus 1/2-1/2 Nakamura, Hikaru

Carlsen obtained nothing from Nakamura’s ultra-solid opening. He kept declining repetitions, but the position was simply not going anywhere. He finally managed to win a pawn, but by that point Nakamura had managed to exchange most of the pieces and he simplified all the pawns on the queenside. The resulting 4v3 on the kingside with rooks on is a theoretical draw, and Nakamura defended perfectly, making it look easy.

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.22
Round: 6
White: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Black: Nakamura, Hikaru – 2802
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D56 – Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Rc1 c6 10. Qc2 Nxc3 11. Qxc3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 b6 13. O-O Nd7 14. Rfd1 Bb7 15. h3 c5 16. d5 exd5 17. Bxd5 Bxd5 18. Rxd5 Nf6 19. Rd3 Rad8 20. Rcd1 Rxd3 21. Qxd3 Rc8 22. a4 c4 23. Qc2 Qe4 24. Nd4 c3 25. Qb3 Qd5 26. Qc2 Qe4 27. Qxe4 Nxe4 28. b3 Nd2 29. Rc1 a5 30. Rc2 Nb1 31. Rc1 Nd2 32. Rc2 Nb1 33. Nb5 Kf8 34. f3 Rd8 35. Nd4 Rc8 36. Rc1 Na3 37. Nc2 Nxc2 38. Rxc2 Rc5 39. Kf2 b5 40. axb5 Rxb5 41. Rxc3 g6 42. f4 h5 43. Rc8+ Kg7 44. Ra8 Rxb3 45. Rxa5 Rb2+ 46. Kf3 Rb3 47. Ra7 Rc3 48. Re7 Rb3 49. Kg3 Rb2 50. Kf3 Rb3 51. g4 hxg4+ 52. hxg4 Rb1 53. Rd7 Rf1+ 54. Ke4 Rg1 55. g5 Ra1 56. Ke5 Ra3 57. e4 Ra5+ 58. Kd6 Ra6+ 59. Ke5 Ra5+ 60. Rd5 Ra4 61. Rc5 Ra1 62. Rc2 Rf1 63. Rc7 Re1 64. Ra7 Rg1 65. Ra4 Rf1 66. Ra6 Re1 67. Kd4 Rd1+ 68. Ke3 Re1+ 69. Kf3 Rf1+ 70. Kg3 Re1 71. e5 Re3+ 72. Kf2 Rb3 73. Rd6 Ra3 74. Rd8 Rc3 75. Ke2 Ra3 76. Rd3 Ra1 77. Ke3 Re1+ 78. Kd4 Rf1 79. Ke4 Ra1 80. Rd7 Ra4+ 81. Rd4 Ra5 82. Rc4 Kf8 83. Rc8+ Kg7 84. Rc7 Kf8 85. Kd4 Ra4+ 86. Rc4 Ra5 87. Rc8+ Kg7 88. e6 fxe6 89. Rc5 Ra7 90. Ke5 Rf7 91. Rc4 Rf5+ 92. Kxe6 Kg8 93. Rc8+ Kg7 94. Rc7+ Kg8 95. Rc8+ Kg7 1/2-1/2

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 5

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Grischuk, Alexander

What a respite for the World Champion! A much needed win after the rest day, and the atrocious start that Carlsen had. He played a decent game, that as he mentioned got interest only after a certain point. Grischuk seemed to have a decent position, but his time pressure trouble, which was completely unnecessary, basically cost him the game:

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.21
Round: 5
White: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Black: Grischuk, Alexander – 2781
Result: 1-0
ECO: B91 – Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 e5 7. Nde2 Be7 8. Bg2 b5 9. Nd5 Nbd7 10. Nec3 Bb7 11. a4 Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Nf6 13. axb5 Nxd5 14. exd5 axb5 15. Rxa8 Qxa8 16. Qd3 O-O 17. O-O Bc8 18. Be3 Bd7 19. Rc1 h6 20. Qd1 Qb7 21. Ra1 Ra8 22. h4 Ra6 23. b3 Bd8 24. c4 bxc4 25. bxc4 Bb6 26. c5 Bxc5 27. Bxc5 dxc5 28. d6 Qb6 29. Rxa6 Qxa6 30. Bd5 Qc8 31. Qb3 Be8 32. Qc3 c4 33. Bxc4 Bd7 34. Qb3 Qe8 35. Qf3 Kf8 36. h5 Kg8 37. Qe4 Bc6 38. Bd5 Bd7 39. Kg2 Kh8 40. f4 exf4 41. Qxe8+ Bxe8 42. Bxf7 Bc6+ 43. Kf2 fxg3+ 44. Kxg3 Bd7 45. Bg6 1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 4

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Carlsen, Magnus

A fantastic game from Anand, and another subpar performance from the World Champion:

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.19
Round: 4
White: Anand, Viswanathan – 2804
Black: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Result: 1-0
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro
ECO: C78 – Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 d6 7. c3 O-O 8. Nbd2 Re8 9. Re1 b5 10. Bc2 Bf8 11. Nf1 g6 12. h3 Bb7 13. Ng3 Nb8 14. d4 Notice that White has wasted a tempo with d3-d4, but has recovered it by putting his bishop on c2 without first stopping on b3. This direct transposition into the Breyer System of the Closed Spanish cost the players 30 minutes on the clock.

14… Nbd7 15. a4 c5 16. d5 c4 17. Bg5 Bg7
[ 17… h6 is massively more popular, but the idea of playing Bg7 without h6 has also been seen. ]

18. Qd2 It’s difficult to kick out this bishop from g5 now, which is why most players prefer to put the pawn on h6 before White can do this.

18… Rb8 A novelty, and not a very impressive one.
[ 18… Nc5 was seen in the old game Kuzmin-Spassky, 1973! ]

19. Nh2! A very classical idea. Anand swings the knight to g4 to exploit the weakness of the dark squares around Black’s king.

19… Bc8 20. Ng4 “I was kicking myself for not taking on b5 first!” was Anand’s reaction after the game. That being said, it is possible that there is no need to take on b5 just yet.
[ 20. axb5 axb5 21. Ng4 ]

20… Nc5 21. Nh6+
[ 21. axb5 Bxg4 is not clear as Black gets rid of a generally useless bishop for an attacking knight. ]

21… Bxh6
[ 21… Kf8 22. Re3 with Rf3 next move is too dangerous. Black cannot afford to play like this, so he must give up the bishop. Grischuk mentioned that something went wrong in Black’s game if he was forced to give up the darksquared bishop. ]

22. Bxh6 bxa4 Black’s counterplay on the b-file is not terribly threatening. White has several ideas on how to proceed, but Anand chooses a very direct and aggressive way – but first he must close the hole on b2.

23. Ra2 a3 24. bxa3 Nfd7 25. f4 All-in. White desires to attack on the kingside, specifically by launching his f-pawn forward and backing it with his rooks on the f-file.

25… a5?! Carlsen believes he has some counterplay based on the activity of the bishop on a6 and the weakness of d3, but this is not the case.
[ 25… exf4 26. Qxf4 Qf6 27. Qe3 Ne5 is still a very complicated game. ]

26. Rf1 f6 As Anand said after the game, this is already a concession.
[ 26… exf4 27. Qxf4 Ne5 28. Bg5 and it looks very dangerous to be so weak on the darksquares, but Black’s position already looks to be bad. ]

27. f5! Excellent. This binds Black’s pieces on the kingside and White will transfer his queen to the g4 square.

27… Nd3! Trying to create counterplay. Carlsen will be happy to give up this pawn if it means that he will have play on the queenside and if it slows down the attack on the kingside.

28. Bxd3 cxd3 29. Qd1! A nice move, perfect in Anand’s style. The queen will swing over to g4 to put pressure on g6, not bothering to take on d3 just yet.

29… Re7 30. Raf2 Rf7 31. Qxd3
[ 31. h4 was more precise, and some engiens give it as a decisive advantage already! However there is nothing wrong with first taking the pawn. ]

31… Nc5 32. Qf3 Ba6 33. Qg4! An important move. Now White does not slow down and the attack on the kingside cannot be resisted. Black could try to move Bc8, pinning the f-pawn, but that is just sad.

33… g5 34. h4 Bxf1 35. Rxf1 Qd7 Anand was running low on time, so he decides to take a very pragmatic route.

36. hxg5 fxg5 37. Qh5
[ 37. Bxg5 was also good. ]

37… Kh8 38. f6 Whtie will at the very least regain his exchange with a bishop check on g7.

38… Rg8 39. Bg7+ Rfxg7 40. fxg7+ Qxg7 41. Nf5! After this Black’s position is absolutely hopeless.

41… Qg6 otherwise Nh6 followed by mate.

42. Qxg6 Rxg6 42… hxg6 43. Nxd6 is kaput.

43. Ne7 Kg7 desperation. [ 43… Rh6 44. Rf8+ Kg7 45. Rc8! Kf7 46. Nf5 Rg6 47. Nxd6+ Rxd6 48. Rxc5 ] is a totally lost rook endgame.

44. Nxg6 Kxg6 45. Rf8 a4 [ 45… Nxe4 46. Ra8 Nxc3 47. Rxa5 is hopeless, Black cannot stop the a-pawn with just a knight.

46. c4 h5
[ 46… Nxe4 47. Ra8 Nc5 48. Kf2 ] also wins easily.

47. Kf2
[ 47. Kf2 Nxe4+ 48. Ke3 Nc5 49. Rd8 ] and the d-pawn falls. 1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 3

Carlsen, Magnus 1/2-1/2 Giri, Anish

It was clear that the World Champion was going for blood against one of his most difficult opponents… Carlsen has yet to defeat Giri in a classical time control tournament, while Giri defeated Carlsen in their very first encounter in Tata Steel 2011!

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.18
Round: 3
White: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Black: Giri, Anish – 2773
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: B51 – Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. c3 Ngf6 5. Qe2 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Bc2 e6 8. d4 Bb7 9. O-O Be7 10. Re1 O-O 11. Nbd2 cxd4 12. cxd4 Rc8 13. Nf1 Re8 14. Ng3 Bf8 15. Be3 Rc7 16. Bd3 e5 17. d5 Nc5 18. Bc2 b4 19. a3 b3 20. Bxc5 Rxc5 21. Bxb3 Qb6 22. Bc4 Rec8 23. Bd3 g6 24. Nf1 Bh6 25. Ne3 a5 26. b4 axb4 27. axb4 R5c7 28. b5 Qc5 29. h3 Nh5 30. Qb2 Qb6 31. Qb4 Bxe3 32. Rxe3 Rc3 33. Rae1 f5 34. exf5 Nf4 35. Be4 R3c5 36. fxg6 hxg6 37. Bxg6 Rxb5 38. Qe4 Rf8 39. Nxe5 dxe5 40. Rg3 Rxd5 41. Qb1 Qxb1 42. Bxb1+ Kh8 43. Be4 Rd7 44. Bxb7 Rxb7 45. Rxe5 Rh7 46. Re4 Rhf7 47. Kh2 Kh7 48. Rf3 Kg6 49. h4 Nh5 50. Rxf7 Rxf7 51. Re2 Nf4 52. Rd2 Nh5 53. g3 Nf6 54. Kg2 Rd7 55. Ra2 Rd5 56. Ra4 Re5 57. g4 Re4 58. Rxe4 Nxe4 59. Kf3 Nd6 60. Kf4 Nf7 61. Ke4 Kf6 62. f4 Nd6+ 63. Kd5 Nb5 64. h5 Nc3+ 65. Kd4 Nb5+ 66. Kc4 Nd6+ 67. Kc5 Ke6 68. Kc6 Nf7 69. Kc7 Nh6 70. g5 Nf7 71. g6 Nh6 72. Kd8 Kf5 73. Ke7 Kxf4 74. Kf8 Kg5 75. g7 Kxh5 76. g8=Q Nxg8 1/2-1/2

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 2

Caruana, Fabiano 1-0 Carlsen, Magnus

Without a doubt the game of the round.

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.17
Round: 2
White: Caruana, Fabiano – 2805
Black: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Result: 1-0
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro
ECO: C67 – Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 The Berlin seemed to many as the logical choice. Carlsen had just lost a game in the strangest of fashions, and going for Caruana’s throat after that might not have been so smart. That being said – I think that Caruana is one of the best players, if not the best player in the World, in the Berlin.

4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 h6 10. Rd1+ Ke8 11. Nc3 Ne7 12. b3 Caruana had tried Bf4 a couple of times before. This move is a little older and hasn’t been seen since 2013, a rarity for the Berlin.

12… Bf5 The computer’s top choice, though not the most common idea.
[12… Ng6 13. Ne2 a5 14. a4 Be6 was Kamsky-Akobian, 2012.]

13. Nd4 Bh7 14. Bb2 Rd8 15. Nce2 Part of Caruana’s preparation.
[15. e6 Nc8!? with a complicated position in Polgar-Howell, 2013. ]

15… Nd5 16. c4 Nb4 17. Nf4 Fabiano played up to this point almost instantly, but stopped doing so after Carlsen’s response.

17… Rg8!? What an interesting move! It is designed against e6.

18. g4 Expanding on the kingside is one of the most common motifs in the Berlin. Here Caruana secures f5 for his knight.
[18. e6 Bd6 19. Nh5 doesn’t attack the g7 pawn with tempo anymore.]

18… Na6?! This move regroups a knight that has already moved too much. Even though this is a Berlin, Black has to develop at some point.
[18… Be7 ]

19. Nf5 Nc5 20. Rxd8+ Kxd8 21. Rd1+ Kc8 22. Ba3! A very nice prophylactic move – aimed against Ne6.

22… Ne6? Based on a complete miscalculation!
[22… b6 ]

23. Nxe6 Bxa3
[23… fxe6 24. Be7 was the trick Carlsen forgot about when he played Ne6. A big miscalculation for a World Champion! b6 25. Rd8+ Kb7 26. Bxf8 exf5 27. e6+- ]

24. Nexg7 Bf8 The tactics don’t work out for Carlsen. Caruana can’t retreat his knight immediately. but he has a trick up his sleeve.

25. e6 Bxf5
[25… fxe6 26. Nxe6 gives Black no chance to take the hanging knight on f5, since there is a checkmate threat on d8.]

26. Nxf5 fxe6 27. Ng3 The resulting position is equal in pawns, but Caruana is dominating. His knight has several excellent anchor spots, including h5 and e4. His pawn majority on the kingside will be impossible to stop and Black’s king is cut off from the kingside. He makes the rest look very easy, which it was.

27… Be7 28. Kg2 Rf8 29. Rd3 Rf7 30. Nh5 Bd6 31. Rf3 Black cannot afford to trade rooks, but giving up the f-file is not a pretty sight either.

31… Rh7 32. Re3! Re7 33. f4! Ba3 34. Kf3 Bb2 35. Re2 Bc3 36. g5 Kd7 37. Kg4 Re8 38. Ng3 Rh8 39. h4 b6 40. h5 c5 41. g6 The passed pawn on g6 is too much. Carlsen by this point had a defeated look on his face – and it’s hard to blame him.

41… Re8 42. f5 exf5+ 43. Kf4 Rh8 44. Nxf5 Bf6 45. Rg2 1-0

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o

Round 1

Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 Topalov, Veselin

The news of the day! Carlsen was doing his Carlsen thing: he played a relatively solid opening, tried to put on some pressure, created an advantage out of nothing, tortured his opponent in the endgame… and Topalov cracked. The final position is lost for Black:

However, the unthinkable happened… Carlsen flagged! Thinking that he had an extra 15 minutes on move 60 cost him the game, as there was no time addition. Instead he simply lost when he overstepped the time limit. Heartbreaking, as he is completely winning.

The arbiter announced the time control just before the start of the game… but Carlsen arrived late! He did not hear the announcement, mistook the time control and simply lost.

Event: 3rd Norway Chess 2015
Site: Stavanger, Norway
Date: 2015.06.16
Round: 1
White: Carlsen, Magnus – 2876
Black: Topalov, Veselin – 2798
Result: 0-1
ECO: D43 – Queen’s Gambit Declined Semi-Slav

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Rc1 g6 9. Be2 Bg7 10. cxd5 exd5 11. b4 a6 12. a4 O-O 13. b5 axb5 14. axb5 Qd6 15. O-O Nb6 16. Qb3 Rb8 17. Nd1 Bf5 18. Nb2 Rfc8 19. Nd3 Bxd3 20. Qxd3 c5 21. dxc5 Rxc5 22. h4 Na4 23. h5 Rbc8 24. Rxc5 Nxc5 25. Qc2 gxh5 26. Nd4 Qg6 27. Nf5 Bf8 28. Rd1 Qe6 29. Rc1 Nb3 30. Qxc8 Nxc1 31. Qxc1 Qxf5 32. Qc7 Qb1+ 33. Bf1 d4 34. exd4 Qd1 35. Qe5 Bg7 36. Qe8+ Bf8 37. Qd8 Kg7 38. Qd5 b6 39. Qe5+ Kg8 40. Qf6 Bg7 41. Qxb6 Bxd4 42. Qxh6 Qg4 43. Qd6 Qd1 44. Qd8+ Kh7 45. Qc7 Kg7 46. b6 Qg4 47. b7 Qh4 48. g3 Qf6 49. Qc2 Qe5 50. Qd3 Ba7 51. Qf3 Qf6 52. Qe2 Qc3 53. Kh2 Qd4 54. Qf3 Bb8 55. Kh3 Bc7 56. Be2 Bb8 57. Bd1 f5 58. Be2 f4 59. Qxh5 Qxf2 60. Qg5+ Kf7 0-1

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GM David Navara (2751) vs GM Wesley So (2778) match, Cez Trophy 2015, Prague photo grab from http://en.chessbase.com

The traditional ČEZ Chess Trophy 2015 Festival is held from 12-16th June, 2015 at the marvelous Michna Palace on Kampa Island, in Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.

The highlight of the festival is a match of four games between World #14 David Navara (2751) and World #9 Wesley So (2778).

Official Website of the match between Wesley So and David Navara

Michna Palace or also the Palace of Michna from Vacínov, newly known as Tyršův dům, is a pretentious Baroque palace, located in the south part of the Lesser Town, on the borderline of Újezd and Karmelitská Street. Nowadays, it is a residency of The Sokol Movement and of Faculty of the Physical Education and Sport of Charles University.

At the end of the 16th century, a Renaissance folly was originally built here, whose owners changed quite often and each one of them made various construction works and additional changes. The folly therefore turned into a Renaissance villa with a large garden, which became a property of an imperial courtly official, Paul Michna from Vacínov, in 1623. He rebuilt the villa completely in the Baroque style and turned it into a huge palace. In the second half of the 17th century, it was purchased by the Schwarzenbergs and from the second half of the 18th century the palace was used by the army, up to the end of the First World War, when it was classified as a ruin, due to its poor state. In 1923, the ruins of Michna Palace were purchased from the City of Prague by The Sokol Movement and the palace was rebuilt into its current state.

Michna Palace has already hosted the World Chess Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, the best female chess-player of all times Judit Polgár, the chess legends Vlastimil Hort, Lubomír Kaválek and Jan Smejkal and many more world GMs during the ČEZ CHESS TROPHY 2013 festival.

CHESS TROPHY 2015 So – Navara (match) 2015, 12 – 16 Jun 2015, Prague

GM WESLEY SO  –  2778

USA, where he also lives. He has represented at the Chess Olympiads since he was 12, he became a grandmaster at the age of 14 and entered the chess top ten when he was 20. He is currently the No. 7 in the world ranking (ELO 2778).

In 2008, he won at the largely attended tournament in Dubai and a year later he won Group C at the prestigious tournament at Wijk aan Zee. In the same year he was also successful at the Chess World Cup, making it to the fourth round. Since then, So has won a couple of slightly simpler tournaments and became the Philippine Champion in 2011.

One of his most significant achievements is the success at Reykjavik Open in 2013, where he failed to become a champion only due to a worse tie-break score, and especially the last year’s triumph at the Capablanca Memorial in Havana and the Millionaire Chess Tournament in Las Vegas, and also the super tournament at Wijk aan Zee this year, where he shared the second place.

Wesley So studied at Webster University in the USA but left the university this year in order to completely and professionally devote himself to chess. The full overview of So’s tournament result and videos of some of his interesting chess games can be found on his website.

GM DAVID NAVARA  –  2751

Grandmaster David Navara (30) has been the best Czech chess player for many years. He regularly represents at Chess Olympiads and international tournaments, during the annual Prague Chess Society festivals he already played against Anatoly Karpov, Viktor Korchnoi, Vladimir Kramnik, Nigel Short, Boris Gelfand, Alexei Shirov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Judit Polgár, Sergei Movsesian, Peter Svidler, Hou Yifan, and Hikaru Nakamura.

Navara‘s best result in the world ranking was the 13th place (from 1 January till 30 June 2007), he is currently 14th (ELO 2751).
In January 2007, he attended his first super tournament (Corus 2007 at Wijk aan Zee), where he managed to draw with black pieces with the then world champion Vladimir Kramnik, as well as with the then best ranked world player and current world champion Vishy Anand, and with the then No. 1 Veselin Topalov. He also defeated the current No. 1 Manus Carlsen. In summer 2007 he won the prestigious rapid chess tournament in the German city of Maize, which saw the competition of 762 chess players, including the world top ten grandmasters.

During the European Cup in Budva, Navara shared 1st to 11th place, qualifying for the World Cup.
In 2011, he was very successful at the World Cup, where he made it to the eight best players. The super tournament at Wijk aan Zee in January 2012 was less successful for Navara, yet he managed to win with black pieces over the tournament champion and the world No. 2 Levon Aronian.

He won the European Blitz Chess Championship 2014 and came second at the European Individual Chess Championship this year.
After finishing studies at a grammar-school, he was accepted to four different universities. He chose to study Logic at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, graduating in 2010. He is single and lives at home with his parents. His hobby is sociology and he likes to watch historical documents on TV. Sport, apart from chess (if chess is a sport), is of no interest to him. He writes a very interesting blog, which has thousands of followers.

Game 1

Annotated by Karsten Müller with report of Frederic Friedel on en.chessbase.com

Event: ČEZ CHESS TROPHY 2015
Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.13
Round: 1
White: Navarra, David – 2751
Black: So, Wesley – 2778
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: B90 – Sicilian, Najdorf

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 Be7 9. f4 exf4 10. Bxf4 Nc6 11. Qe2 Nd7 12. O-O-O Nce5 13. Kb1 O-O 14. g4 Rc8 15. Qe3 Re8 16. Nd4 Qa5 17. a3 Bf8 18. Nf5 Nb6 19. Qd4 Nec4 20. Bxc4 Nxc4 21. Nxd6 Nxa3+ 22. bxa3 Rxc3 23. Qb4 Qxb4+ 24. axb4 Bxd6 25. Bxd6 Rec8 26. Rh2 Re3 27. Rd4 Rc4 28. Rxc4 Bxc4 29. e5 h6 30. Kc1 Kh7 31. Kd2 Rf3 32. Bc5 h5 33. gxh5 Rf5 34. Ke3 Rxh5 35. h4 Be6 36. Bd6 b6 37. Bc7 a5 38. Bxb6 Rxe5+ 39. Kd4 Rd5+ 40. Kc3 axb4+ 41. Kxb4 Rh5 42. Bd8 Re5 43. Rf2 Re4+ 44. Kc3 Kh6 45. Kd3 Rc4 46. Rf4 Rxf4 47. Bg5+ Kh5 48. Bxf4 Kxh4 49. Be5 g5 50. Bf6 Kh5 51. Ke4 Kg6 52. Be5 f6 53. Bc7 Kh5 54. Bd8 f5+ 55. Ke5 Bc8 56. Kf6 f4 57. c4 Kg4 Pure opposite colored bishop endings have a large drawish tendency and fortresses often play the main role. But the following is unusual due to Navara’s active king..

58. Kg6?  58. Bb6! was forced and then f3 59. Be3 Kh5 60. Bf2= is similar to the game. However not 60. Ke5? Kh4-+

58… Bf5+? So misses his only chance to break White’s walls (58… f3 59. Bb6 Kf4 60. Kh5 (60. Bc7+ Ke4 61. Bg3 g4 62. Kg5 Ke3-+)) 60… Bd7 61. Bc7+ Kf5 62. Bg3 Be8+ 63. Kh6 Kg4 64. Bf2 Kf4-+

59. Kf6 Bd3 (59… f3 is met by 60. Bb6 Kf4 61. Bc7+ Ke4 62. Bg3 g4 63. Kg5 Bc8 64. Bf2 Kd3 65. Kh4 Ke2 66. Kg3= with a typical fortress.

60. Bb6 Bxc4 (60… f3 61. Be3=)

61. Bc5 Bd3 62. Bb6 Kh4 63. Bf2+ (63. Ke5? f3 64. Bf2+ Kh3 65. Be1 g4 66. Kf4 Bf5 67. Bf2 Kg2-+)

63… Kh5 64. Bb6 Ba6 65. Bc5 Bc8 66. Bb6 Kg4 67. Bc5 Bd7 68. Bb6 Bf5 69. Bc5 Bc8 70. Bb6 f3 71. Be3! (71. Bf2? Kf4-+)

71… Bd7 72. Kg6 Be8+ 73. Kf6 Bh5 74. Bb6 Bf7 75. Bc5 Bb3 76. Be3 Bd1 77. Kg6 Bc2+ 78. Kf6 Ba4 79. Kg6 Bd7 80. Kf6! Bf5 81. Ke5 Bc8 82. Kf6! Kh5 83. Bf2 Bd7 84. Be3 Bh3 85. Bf2 Kg4 86. Be3! (86. Kg6? Kf4 87. Kh5 Bd7 88. Bb6 Be8+ 89. Kh6 g4 90. Bc7+ Ke3 91. Kg5 Bd7 92. Kh4 f2-+)

86… Bg2 87. Kg6 Bf1 88. Kf6 Bh3 89. Kg6!  Navara’s active king stops any progress. 89. Bf2? Kf4 90. Bb6 g4 91. Bc7+ Ke3 92. Bg3 f2-+)

89… Bf1 90. Kf6 Bd3 91. Bb6 Bh7 92. Be3 Bf5 93. Ke5 Bc2 94. Kf6! (94. Bf2? Kh3 95. Kd4 g4 96. Ke3 Kg2 97. Bh4 g3-+)

94… Bd3 (94… Kh5 95. Bf2 g4 96. Bg3=) 1/2-1/2

Game 2

Annotated by Albert Silver on en.chessbase.com

Event: ČEZ CHESS TROPHY 2015
Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.14
Round: 2
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black: Navarra, David – 2751
Result: 1-0
ECO: A29- English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. d3 O-O 9. a3 Be6 10. Be3 Nd5  11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Rc1 Bd6 13. Qa4  13. Bc5 Qe7 14. Bxd6 cxd6 15. b4 1/2-1/2  Uhlmann,W (2505)-Seirawan,Y (2510) Thessaloniki 1988

13… Qe8 14. Rfe1  The point is to prevent …Nd4 and if Qxe8 Nxe2+ would win a pawn. Since Wesley spent 25 minutes on this move, it seems safe to say that he was no longer in preparation.

14… Ne7 15. Qxe8 Rfxe8 16. Bc5 Nc6 17. b4 a6 18. Nd2 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Re7 20. Ne4 Rd7 21. g4! Preventing …f5 and securing the knight’s perch.

21… Nd8 22. Bxd6 cxd6 23. Nc3 d5 24. Na4 Rb8 25. e3 f6 26. f4 g6 27. Rc2 Ne6 28. f5 gxf5 29. gxf5 Ng7 30. Rf1 White’s advantage is clear. Black’s knight is currently a passive spectator, and the only open file is controlled by the white rook(s).

30… d4? Whether due to time shortage, or a misjudgement, this is a serious mistake. It allows White to secure the f5 pawn with e4, allowing him to use both his rooks to punch through the c-file.

31. e4 Nh5 32. Nb6 Rg7+ 33. Kf3 Nf4 34. Rfc1! Rf8 The point is that 34… Nxd3? is not possible due to 35. Rc8+ Rxc8 36. Rxc8+ Kf7 37. Rb8!   and incredibly the rook cannot protect the pawn as the king has no way to step aside. h5 38. Rxb7+ Kg8 39. Rb8+ Kf7 40. Nd5 and Black is far from resolving his problems.

35. Rc8 Rgf7 36. Rg1+ Kh8 37. Rc2 Rd8  37… Nxd3 is still not possible due to 38. Nd5 Rd8 39. Rd1 Nf4 40. Nxf4 exf4 41. Kxf4

38. Nd5 Nxd5 39. exd5 Rfd7 40. Rgc1 Rxd5 41. Rc8  Kg7 42. Rxd8 Rxd8 43. Rc7+  The difference in rook activity is huge here, and So exploits it superbly.

43… Kh6 44. Rxb7 Rc8 45. h4 It not only boxes in the king, but prevents it from protecting f6 with Kg5

45… Rc1 46. Ke4? Returning the favor.

46…Re1+? 46… Rh1 47. Rb6 Rxh4+ 48. Kd5 Kg5 would have held. Black’s pawns are certainly no weaker or slower than White’s.

47. Kd5 e4 48. Re7 Ra1 Desperation is the only explanation. 48… e3 49. Kxd4+-

49. Rxe4 Rxa3 50. Rxd4 Kh5 51. Ke6 a5 52. bxa5  Rxa5 53. Kxf6 h6 54. Rd7 Ra4 55. Ke7 Rd4 Black’s last trap.

56. f6 56. Rxd4?? Stalemate! 1-0

Game 3

Annotated by Albert Silver on en.chessbase.com

Event: ČEZ CHESS TROPHY 2015
Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.15
Round: 3
White: Navarra, David – 2751
Black: So, Wesley – 2778
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO: D45 – QGD, Semi Slav

1. Nf3 d5 Though game one went well for So, he possibly does not want to see what Navara has in store should they repeat the Sicilian they transposed into in game one.

2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 b5 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O a6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. e4 e5 13. h3 The most popular continuation here is 13.g3, with 13.Bg5 as a respected alternative.

13… Re8 14. a3 exd4 14… Bb7  was played in a rapid game. 15. Be3 exd4 16. Nxd4 g6 17. Kh1 Bf8 18. Nf3 c5 19. a4 b4 20. Nd5 Nxd5 21. exd5 Nb6 22. Bc4 Rad8 23. Bg5 Rd7 24. a5 Nxc4 25. Qxc4 Qd6 26. Bf4 Bxd5 27. Bxd6 Bxc4 28. Bxf8 Rxd1+ 29. Rxd1 Kxf8 30. Rc1 Bd3 31. Rxc5 Re2 32. Rd5 Be4 33. Rd4 Bxf3 34. gxf3 Rxb2 35. Kg2 Ke7 36. h4 Rb1 37. f4 b3 38. Rb4 b2 39. Rb6 Kf8 40. f5 Kg7 41. Kf3 Kh6 42. fxg6 hxg6 43. Rb7 f6 44. Kf4 g5+ 45. hxg5+ fxg5+ 46. Kf5 g4 47. Kf6 Rf1 48. Rxb2 g3 49. f4 Rxf4+ 50. Ke5 Rf2 51. Rb3 g2 52. Rg3 Kh5 53. Ke4 Kh4 54. Rg6 Kh3 55. Rh6+ Kg3 56. Rg6+ Kh2 57. Rh6+ Kg1 58. Rxa6 Kf1 59. Rg6 g1=Q 60. Rxg1+ Kxg1 0-1  Van Wely,L (2632)-Kramnik,V (2751) Monte Carlo 1999

15. Nxd4 Bh2+ 16. Kh1 Be5 17. Bf3 c5 18. Nf5 Nb6 19. Bg5 Bxf5 20. exf5 Rad8 21. Rxd8 Rxd8 22. Re1 h6 23. Bc1 Bf4 Black has held a slight tug for a while, but unable to build on it. White’s last move is judged a mistake by the engines, and they say that if there was a chance to push for more, it was here with 23… c4 making the most of the queenside majority. 24. Be3 (24. Rd1 Rxd1+ 25. Nxd1 Nbd7 26. Be3 Nc5) 24… Nfd5 25. Nxd5 Nxd5 26. Bxd5 Rxd5 and Black has cleared the way to start rolling the pawns forward.

24. a4 Bxc1 25. Rxc1 Qf4 26. Ne2 Qxa4 27. b3 Qh4 28. Qxc5 Nbd7 29. Qd4 The balance has been restored, and White’s well positioned pieces are more than enough.

29… Qg5 30. Qf4 Qxf4 31. Nxf4 Ne5 32. Bb7 Rd4 33. g3  Nd3 34. Nxd3 Rxd3 35. b4 Rb3 36. Bxa6 Rxb4 37. Rc8+ Kh7 38. Rb8  Ne4 39. Rxb5 Nxf2+ 40. Kg2 Rxb5  1/2-1/2

Game 4

Annotated by Albert Silver on en.chessbase.com

Event: ČEZ CHESS TROPHY 2015
Site:  Prague, Czech Republic.
Date:  2015.06.16
Round: 4
White: So, Wesley – 2778
Black: Navarra, David – 2751
Result: 1-0
ECO: D45 – QGD, Semi Slav

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. a3  a5 12. Ng5 h6 ( 12… Bxh2+ Doesn’t offer anything special since after  13. Kxh2 Ng4+ 14. Kg1 Qxg5 15. f3 (15. Bxh7+ would be a serious mistake since Kh8 16. Bd3 Qh4  wins for Black. 15… Ngf6 16. e4 with a huge center and space advantage, and Black’s queen will lose further tempi trying to find safe haven.

13. Nge4 Be7 14. Rd1 Qb6 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. Bd2 e5?! The engines prefer 16… Be7 with the idea of Nf6 followed by Rfc8 or Rfd8

17. Bh7+ Kh8 18. Bf5 Rad8 19. Ne4 Be7 20. b4 axb4  An error in judgement that will soon lead to a compromised position. Black needed to play …a4. The reason is simply that now the dark-squared bishops will be exchanged and as will be seen, this is going to be disastrous for Black.

21. Bxb4 Bxb4 22. axb4 exd4 23. Rxd4 Nf6 24. Nd6 Possiby the move Navara overlooked or underestimated.

24… Nd5 25. Qc5 Qxc5 26. bxc5  Now the issue is crystal clear. Black’s white squared bishop has nowhere to go…

26… Ra8 27. Rxa8 Bxa8  If ever there was a textbook ilustration of the ‘bad bishop’ this is one. A bishop stuck on a8, with no hope of leaving, facing a monster knight on d6. The game is strategically lost.

28. e4 Nc3 29. Nxf7+ Kg8 (29… Rxf7 30. Rd8+ is mate.

30. Rd7 Na4  Again the knight is untouchable since 30… Rxf7 31. Rd8+ Rf8 32. Be6+ wins the rook. 32…Kh7 33. Rxf8)

31. Ra7 Nxc5 32. Nd6 Rb8 33. e5 Bb7 34. f4 Kf8 35. Kf2  Ra8 36. Rxa8+  White feels that this continuation is the one that offers the least counter play or chances for Black, and it works perfectly. White could easily settle now for two pieces for the rook with 36. Nxb7 Rxa7 37. Nxc5 and there is nothing wrong with it.

36… Bxa8 37. Ke3 b4 38. Kd4 Na4 39. Kc4 c5 40. g3  Bf3 41. Kb5 Bd1 42. Nc8  The threat of e6-e7, protected by the knight, with a bishop check to free e8, is clear.

42… b3 43. Kxa4 b2+ 44. Ka3 Bg4 45. Kxb2 Bxf5 46. Nd6 Be6 47. Ne4  The c-pawn will fall, and with two extra pawns in an elementary endgame, Black resigns.  1-0