Archives for posts with tag: Magnus Carlsen
image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image

Sinquefield Cup 2015 final standings

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Sinquefield Cup 2015

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

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

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Round 1

So vs Lagrave

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

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

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

Round 2

Giri vs So

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

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

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

Round 3

So vs Grischuk

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

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

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

Round 4

So vs Aronian

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

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

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

Round 5

Carlsen vs So

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

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

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

Round 6

So vs Nakamura

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

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

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

Round 7

Anand vs So

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

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

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

Round 8

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

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

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

Round 9

Caruana vs So

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

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

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

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

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

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

image

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

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

Round 1

Carlsen vs Topalov

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

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

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

Round 2

Caruana vs Carlsen

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

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

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

Round 3

Carlsen vs Lagrave

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

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

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

Round 4

Giri vs Carlsen

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

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

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

Round 5

See Wesley vs Carlsen

Round 6

Aronian – Carlsen

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

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

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

Round 7

Carlsen vs Grischuk

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

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

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

Round 8

Carlsen vs Nakamura

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

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

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

Round 9

Anand vs Carlsen

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

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

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

Advertisements

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.

image

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

image

Final standings after 9 round single round robin tournament

The Vugar Gashimov Memorial, was held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, from the 17th to the 26th of April, in memory of the great GM Vugar Gashimov, who passed away on the 10th of January 2014. The tournament consists of some of the strongest players in the World: reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen, former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, as well as, Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Michael Adams, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rauf Mamedov competed in this prominent event.

While two of my sought top Chess GMs in this present generation, Wesley So from the PH but decided to switch Federation to USA and world champ and top ranked Magnus Carlsen of Norway whom I admired most of the style of games. Following games both of this two young phenom compiled with the games annotated by www.chessbase.com author, writer and Grand Master himself, Alejandro Ramirez.

image

Two young phenom GM Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So during their 8th round encounter at Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir 2015, photo from http://www.shamkirchess.az

####################

Round 1

Wesley So 1-0 Anish Giri

Head-to-head match between Giri and So was 3-0-3 (Win-loss-draw) before the Gashimov tournament. This time Wesley won via 32 moves English opening even after a dissapointing performance in US Chess Championship 2015.

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.17
Round : 1
White : So, Wesley (2788)
Black : Giri, Anish (2790)
Result : 1-0
ECO : A10 – English Opening
Annotator : Alejandro Ramirez

image

Payback this time as Wesley beat Giri via 32 moves English Opening skirmish photo courtesy of http://www.shamkirchess.az

1.c4 g6 2.e4!? e5!?   Modern Chess! Already we are mostly out of theory.

3.d4 Nf6   3…d6 might transpose back into a King’s Indian Defense, but we wouldn’t want that would we?

4.dxe5 4.Nf3 exd4 5.e5 Ne4 6.Qxd4 Bb4+ was the game Nakamura-Svidler from a 2013 Grand Prix. It was also Svidler-Carlsen from 2014, but that was a blitz.

4…Nxe4 5.Bd3 Bb4+ 6.Kf1!  6.Nd2   was a completely wacko game between Kortschnoj-Timman back in 1976!

6…Nc5 7.Nf3    The opening can hardly be called a success for Black. White cannot castle, but besides that everything is going well. His development will be faster than Black’s. Giri also has to worry about his dark squares on the kingside.

7…Ne6  covering g5.

8.a3 Be7 9.Nc3 d6 10.exd6 Bxd6 11.b4  11.Bh6 was also possible, So prefers the fianchetto and the queenside expansion.

11…Bf8!? It’s hard to guess that this bishop mas already moved three times. It will move a fourth to g7, definitely its best square.

12.Qe2 Bg7 13.Bg5 Bf6 a fifth time?!

14.Bxf6 only to be traded. This leaves Giri in a position with basically no development. It is not surprising that So’s attack will be very strong.

14…Qxf6 15.Qd2 0-0 16.Re1 Qd8 17.Rd1! a5 18.h4!  White’s simply crashing through. Without Black’s pieces being active it is clear that the king will find it difficult to survive.

18…axb4 19.axb4 Nd7 20.h5+- Nf6 21.c5  21.Qc1? Would have been a beautiful shot. The point is that after Nxh5 (21…Qe7 22.Nd5 Nxd5 23.cxd5 Ng7 24.hxg6 fxg6 25.Re1 Qf6 (25…Qf7 26.Rxh7! Kxh7 27.Ng5++-)  26.Qh6 (Black’s position simply falls apart.) 22.Bxg6+- )

21…b6 21…Nxh5 22.Rxh5 gxh5 23.Qh6 is about as ugly as it gets.

22.hxg6 fxg6 23.Qe3 Qe7 24.Bc4 bxc5 25.b5!  There is no need to retake the pawn. White simply pushes his own pawn in order to prevent counterplay.

25…Rb8 26.Re1 Rb6 27.Na4  Material losses are now inevitable.

27…Rd6 28.Nxc5 Ng4 29.Qe4 Nxf2  29…Nf6 30.Qh4 is of no help, the simply threat of Ng5 cannot be parried.

30.Kxf2 Rd2+ 31.Kg3! 31.Kf1?? Qxc5 32.Bxe6+ Kh8 33.Qh4 h5! and despite being down a pawn this position is far from easy. Black has a subtle point: 34.Bxc8 Rxf3+? 35.gxf3 Qxb5+ 36.Kg1 Qb6+ 37.Kf1 Qb5+ with a draw. Grandmasters are very tricky!

31…Rxf3+  31…Qxc5 32.Nxd2+-

32.gxf3 Black doesn’t have a lot of checks and he is down a huge amount of material. 1–0

Viswanathan Anand 1/2-1/2 Magnus Carlsen

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.17
Round : 1
White : Anand, Viswanathan (2791)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
ECO : C89 – Ruy Lopez, Marshall
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d3 Bd6 13. Re1 Bf5 14. Qf3 Bg6 15. Bxd5 cxd5 16. Bf4 d4 17. cxd4 Bb4 18. Nc3 Qxd4 19. Be5 Qd7 20. Nd5 f6 21. Nxb4 fxe5 22. Qd5+ Qxd5 23. Nxd5 Bxd3 24. Rxe5 Rfe8 25. Rxe8+ Rxe8 26. Ne3 Rc8 27. a3 a5 28. h4 Bg6 29. Rd1 b4 30. axb4 axb4 31. g4 b3 32. h5 Bf7 33. Kg2 Kf8 34. Kg3 Ra8 35. Rd2 h6 36. Nf5 Be6 37. Nd4 Bf7 38. f3 Rc8 39. Kf4 Rc1 40. Nf5 Kg8 41. Rd8+ Kh7 42. Rd7 Kg8 43. Rd8+ Kh7 44. Rd7 Kg8 45. Nd6 Be6 46. Re7 Bd5 47. Kf5 Rc6 48. Ke5 Bxf3 49. Nf5 g5 50. Rg7+ Kh8 51. Rg6 Kh7 52. Rg7+ Kh8 53. Rg6 Kh7 1/2-1/2

####################

Round 2

Vladimir Kramnik 1/2-1/2 Wesley So

Wesley So holds on Kramnik to a draw!

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.18
Round : 2
White : Kramnik, Vladimir (2783)
Black : So, Wesley (2788)
ECO : A00 – Uncommon Opening
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 Ne4 7. Nxe4 dxe4 8. Ng5 Qxd4 9. Qxd4 Bxd4 10. Rd1 Nc6 11. Bxe4 Bg7 12. c3 Ne5 13. f4 Nc4 14. Bd5 Nd6 15. Be3 h6 16. Nf3 e6 17. Bb3 b6 18. a4 Bb7 19. Ne5 Rfd8 20. a5 h5 21. Bc2 Bf6 22. b3 c5 23. axb6 axb6 24. Rxa8 Bxa8 25. b4 Nb5 26. Nd7 Bxc3 27. Nxb6 Bd4 28. Bxd4 cxd4 29. Nxa8 Rxa8 30. Bd3 Nc3 31. Rd2 Kf8 32. b5 Ke7 33. Rb2 Kd7 34. b6 Rb8 35. Rb4 Nd5 36. Rxd4 Ke7 37. Be4 Nxb6 38. Rb4 Nd7 39. Rxb8 Nxb8 40. Kf2 Nd7 1/2-1/2

Magnus Carlsen 1-0 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.18
Round : 2
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
Black : Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar(2756)
ECO : D11 – QGD, Slav
Result: 1-0

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 g6  The Schlechter system of the Slav. This is considered a much more appropiate response to 4. e3 than 4. Nc3, as now the bishop cannot go to f4.

5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be2 0-0 7. 0-0 b6 8. a4 a5 9. cxd5 cxd5  9…Nxd5 Was Wang Yue’s choice against Anand in 2010, but I feel taking with the c-pawn is more logical.

10. b3 Ne4?!   The beginning of Black’s real problems. This trade is normally quite desirable on e4, as Black obtains a good square on d5 for his other knight and retains solid chances. However here, specifically, he is unable to do anything like that because of his slow development.

11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Nd2 Bb7 13. Ba3 f5 14. Rc1 Kh8 15. Nc4  Black would like to play the move Nb8-d5, but the knight doesn’t stretch so far.

15…Nd7 16. d5  Precisely the problem. The pawn push creates issues for Black as the space created behind it activates White’s pieces.

16…Rc8 17. d6 e6 18. b4!  Opening up even more space.

18…axb4 19. Bxb4 Bd5 20. a5! bxa5 21. Bxa5 Qe8 22. Qa4  It’s very clear that Black is passive. He doesn’t have an active plan and simply hopes that his blockade on d7 will hold.

22…Bc6 23. Qb4 Rb8 24. Nb6!  Why not? The pin looks uncomfortable but Black cannot take advantage of it, more importantly this trades off that d7 knight.

24…Ne5?!  24…Nxb6 25. Bxb6 Qd7 26. Rc2±

25. Qc5 Ba8?  The losing move, technically, but this was already a very difficult position. (25…Rf7 26. Rfd1±)

26. Bc3 Nd7 (26…Qc6 27. Qxe5+-)

27. Bxg7+ Kxg7 28. Nxd7 Qxd7 29. Qe5+  Black’s position very obviously collapses after the rook incursion to c7. 1–0

####################

Round 3

Wesley So 1-0 Michael Adams

Wesley’on the verge, leading the pack with 2.5 points on beating Adams instructively.

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.19
Round : 3
White : So, Wesley (2788)
Black : Adams, Michael (2746)
ECO : D35 – Queens Gambit Declined
Result: 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5  This move-order is a relatively rare guest at the top level, but it is still very solid.

5…c6 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. f3  It’s very rare to start with this move, but it cleverly avoids the Nh5 ideas. Here the bishop would simply retreat to f2. The minus side is that White has committed to playing the f3-e4 type plans.

9…0-0 10. Qc2 b5 11. Nge2 Nb6 12. a3 a5 13. 0-0 Bd7 14. Nc1 Nc4 15. Re1 Be6 16. Nb3 Nd7 17. Bf2 Rc8 18. Rad1 Qc7 19. h3 Rfd8 20. f4 a4 21. f5!? Ignoring the threat since the bishop on e6 is trapped anyway.

21…axb3 22. Qxb3 Bxf5 23. Bxf5   It’s hard to evaluate the position. White has some obvious structural problems, but he does have the pair of bishops and good activity whereas Black’s pieces are a little awkward.

23…Rb8 24. Qc2 b4 25.axb4 Bxb4 26. Re2 Qa5? This seems to be the real start of Black’s problems. Adams underestimates the weaknesses that will be left after Bh4. 26…Bd6 27. Bh4? (27. Rb1=) 27…g5?

27. Bh4 f6 28. Na4  28. Ne4!?

28…Nf8 29. Bd3 Nb6 30. Nc3 c5 31. dxc5 Bxc5 32. Kh1 Rbc8 33. Bf5 Rc6 34. e4!  With the liquidation of the central pawns the bishops gain tremendous power. Not only that, Black doesn’t have light square bishop to cover his weaknesses.

34…Bb4 35. e5 Be7 36. Qb3 Qc5? 36…Kh8±

37. exf6 Bxf6 38. Ne4  Now Black simply loses.

38…Qc4 39. Nxf6+ gxf6 40. Qg3+ Kf7 41. Rde1  Re7# is kind of annoying.

41…Qb4 42. Re7+   42. Bg4 immediately was also good enough, as were most moves.

42…Qxe7 43. Rxe7+ Kxe7 44. Qg7+ Ke8 45. Bg4 1–0

Fabiano Caruana 0-1 Magnus Carlsen

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.19
Round : 3
White : Caruana, Fabiano(2802)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
ECO : A90 – Dutch
Result: 0-1

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 c6 5. Nf3 d5   Well, since the normal Dutch lines didn’t work, the Stonewall is given a go.

6. 0-0 Bd6 7. b3 Qe7  A small details, preventing the immediate Ba3. Here White can still exchange bishops by playing a4 but it is not as useful as Qe7.

8. Bb2 b6 9. Ne5 Bb7 10. Nd2 0-0 11. Rc1 a5 12. e3 Na6   This position had been reached many times before, with Qe2 being by far the most common move.

13. Nb1   This move surely can’t be bad, but to me it is slightly baffling. I am not sure where the knight is intended to go. a4?

13…Bxe5 14. dxe5 Ne4 15. Qe2 a4!? 16. Nc3?! 16. Ba3 c5 17. cxd5 exd5 18. f3 Ng5 19. bxa4 with a complex position. It won’t be trivial to win the a4 pawn.

16…axb3 17. axb3 Qb4 18. Nxe4 dxe4 Black’s obviously happy now. He has pressure against b3 and White’s bishops are mediocre. White should still somehow be fine though.

19. Qc2 Nc5 20. Bc3 Qxb3 21. Qxb3 Nxb3 22. Rb1 Nc5 23. Rxb6 Na4 24. Rxb7 Nxc3   White’s bishop on g2 is pretty bad, but he for now has a powerful rook on b7.

25. Re7 25. f3 was the logical choice, opening the diagonal for the bishop. After… 25…Ra2 26. fxe4 fxe4 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Bh3 the game will probably end in a draw.

25…Rfe8 26. Rxe8+ Rxe8 27. Ra1 Rd8 28. Bf1 c5 29. Ra3?!   Inviting problems. The knight is forced to relocate to a better square.

29…Nb1 30. Ra1?!  30. Ra5 Rd1 31. Ra8+ Kf7 32. Ra7+ Kg6 33. Kg2! Nd2 34. Rd7=

30…Nd2 31. Be2 Nf3+! 32. Bxf3 exf3?   Because of the persistent mating threats and the eventual weakess of the f2 pawn, this is a very unpleasant endgame for White.

33. h3 h5 34. g4  A little desperate, but suffering slowly didn’t seem like fun either. 34. Ra5 Rd1+ 35. Kh2 Rf1 36. Rxc5 Rxf2+ 37. Kg1 Rg2+ 38.Kf1 Rxg3 should be winning for Black.

34…fxg4 35.hxg4 h4!  Passing another pawn that will soon be defended.

36. Kh2 36. g5 Kh7-+

36…Rd2 37. Kh3 g5 38. e4 Rd4  Clearly White is lost. His king still has to worry about checkmates and White can’t attack g5, which is holding Black’s position together.

39. Ra8+ Kf7 40. Ra3 Rxc4 41. Rxf3+ Ke7 42. Re3 Rd4 43.f3 c4  The pawn is too far for the king on h3.

44. Ra3 Rd3 45. Ra7+ Kd8 46. Kg2 c3 47. Ra4 c2 48. Rc4 Rd2+ 49. Kh3 Kd7 50. Rc5 Rf2 51.f4  51. Rc4 Rxf3+ 52. Kg2 Rg3+ 53. Kf2 Rxg4-+

51…Rf3+ 52. Kh2 Rxf4 0–1

####################

Round 4

Wesley So 1-0 Rauf Mamedov

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.20
Round : 4
White : So, Wesley (2788)
Black : Mamedov, Rauf (2658)
ECO : B32 – Sicilian, Maroczy
Result: 1-0

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6   The Maroczy isn’t seen at the top level very often. Mainly because most of the time Black ends up suffering for no real reason.

7.f3 Not the most common move order, but it makes sense. It avoids some of the quick Nxd4 ideas.

7…Bg7 8. Be3 0-0 9. Be2 Nh5!?  A typical idea in these structures, though not in this specific move. f4 is a little lose and changing pieces is almost always good.

10. g3 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Be6 12. f4  I have the feeling taking on d4 would have given better practical chances, but the computer disagrees with me.

12…Nf6 13. 0-0 Rc8 14. b3  White has a nice space advantage everywhere.

14…Qa5 15. f5 Bd7 16. a3 e6 17. b4 Qd8 18. fxg6! 18. fxe6 Bxe6! does not have the same effect.

18…fxg6 18…hxg6 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bxe5±  and there are problems with the knight on f6 lacking defense.

19. e5!  19. Bxa7 seems to be possible, but it hands the initiative over to Black after Bc6 and even though it shouldn’t compensate a full pawn, it is, from a practical point of view, better to keep material even and a strong position.

19…dxe5 20. Bxe5 Bc6 21. b5 Ne4 22. Qxd8! Rcxd8 22…Rfxd8 was a better choice. The endgame looks bad, but it might be holdable. 23. bxc6 Nxc3 24. cxb7 Nxe2+ 25. Kg2 Rb8 26. Bxb8 Rxb8 27. Rad1±

23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Rc1 Nxc3 26. Rxc3 Bd7  Material is even, but Black’s position is horrible. White’s pawns on the queenside are fast and Black’s e-pawn is more of a weakness than anything.

27. c5 Rc8 28. a4 Kf6 29. Kf2 Ke5 30. Ke3 Be8 31. Bf3± Rc7 32. Kd3 g5 33. Kc4 h5 34. a5 g4 35. b6! axb6 36. axb6 Rd7 37. Re3+ Kf6 38. c6  The Bishop has been attacked for a few moves, but Black has no time to take it. White’s pawns simply march forward.

38…bxc6 39. Bxc6 Rd8 40. Bxe8 Rxe8 41. b7 41. b7 Rb8 42. Rb3 Ke7 43. Kc5 Kd7 44. Kb6  is very obviously lost. 1–0

Michael Adams 1/2-1/2 Magnus Carlsen

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.20
Round : 4
White : Adams, Michael (2745)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
ECO : C76 – Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz defence, Fianchetto Variation
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. c3 a6 5. Ba4 d6 6. d4 Bd7 7. O-O Bg7 8. d5 Nce7 9. Bxd7+ Qxd7 10. c4 h6 11. Nc3 f5 12. exf5 gxf5 13. Nh4 Nf6 14. f4 e4 15. Be3 O-O 16. Ne2 c6 17. dxc6 bxc6 18. Bd4 c5 19. Bc3 Qe6 20. Rc1 Rf7 21. Ng3 Kh7 22. Qe2 Rg8 23. Rfd1 Ne8 24. Nh5 Bxc3 25. bxc3 Rg4 26. g3 Rxh4 27. gxh4 Ng6 28. Kh1 Nxh4 29. Rg1 Nf3 30. Rg3 Re7 31. Rd1 Qf7 32. Rh3 Re6 33. Rb1 Rg6 34. Rg3 Re6 35. Rh3 Re7 36. Rd1 Re6 37. Rb1 Re7 38. Rd1 Re6 1/2-1/2

####################

Round 5

Viswanatan Anand 1-0 Wesley So

First encounter between the two. Anand seems more confident and prepared than Wesley with their encounter. As Anand did a Knight sacrifice to dismantle Wesley’s defense and successfully wins.

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.21
Round : 5
White : Anand, Viswanathan (2791)
Black : So, Wesley (2788)
ECO : C78 – Ruy Lopez, Breyer
Result: 1-0

image

Their first encounter, happened to be in Shamkir Chess 2015, photo courtesy http://www.shamkirchess.az

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. Nc3 d6 9. a3 Nb8  This Breyer idea is common in most Spanish positions. Even though the knight here is not going to defend e5, it will be very useful on c5.

10. Ng5!?  Putting pressure on f7 even seems silly. White might be trying to provoke h6 weakening g6. So was in no mood to oblige, but one does wonder how that could be a bad move. 10. a4 was Caruana-So from Wijk Aan Zee this year. 10…b4 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Bxd5 c6=

10… Nc6  The knight strangely goes back to c6 – the idea is that now Nd4 is possible since the knight went to g5. (10… h6 11. Nf3 (11. f4!? {is another matter entirely, and probably Anand’s idea.}) 11… Nbd7=)

11. Ba2 Nd4 12. Ne2  Exchanging the intruder.

12…Nxe2+ 13. Qxe2 h6  Initiating the fight! This move is very commital, even though it doesn’t appear to be so. White cannot retreat and hope for any kind of advantage, so Anand goes all in.

14. f4!? hxg5  14… exf4 is very interesting. I wonder what it is that Anand was planning on doing here… The players did not mention it during the press conference.
         15. Nxf7 (15. Bxf4 hxg5 16. Bxg5-+) (15. Nh3?)
             15… Rxf7 16. Bxf7+ Kxf7 17. Bxf4
  doesn’t seem sufficient.

15. fxg5 Ng4  15… c6 16. gxf6 Bxf6 17. Be3   is very pleasant for White.

16. g6  White must have enough for the piece, but there are very important details.

16…Bg5!? (16… d5!? 17. Bxd5! Bc5+ 18. Kh1 Qh4 19. g3 Qh3 20. gxf7+! This move is incredibly important. Kh8 21. Bxa8 and White wins, as the move Nxh2 is not possible: Qxh2 and the queen is pinned! ( 16… Nh6!?)

17. h3!   Very precise. (17. Bxf7+ Rxf7 18. gxf7+ Kf8 {is very, very unclear.})

17… Bxc1 18. Raxc1 Nh6 19. Qh5! Putting up even more pressure. Black is up a piece but cannot defend comfortably.

19…Be6  (19… Kh8 20. Rxf7 Rxf7 21. gxf7 {is losing as Rf1 next is unstoppable, followed by simply g4-g5.})

20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. g4 c6?!  Anand thought this was a mistake during the press conference.
       (21… Rf4! 22. g5 Qf8 {is not as clear as the game continuation.})
          (21… Qe7 22. g5 Rxf1+ 23. Rxf1 Rf8 24. gxh6 Rxf1+ 25. Kxf1 Qf8+ 26. Ke2 gxh6 27. Qg4 {is similar to the game.})

22. Rxf8+ Qxf8 23. Rf1 Qe7 24. g5 Rf8 25. gxh6 Rxf1+ 26. Kxf1 Qf8+ 27. Ke2!  Very important. The king is safest in this position as Black cannot organize his checks properly.

27…gxh6  White is obviously better in this position. Black cannot avoid Qg4, h4-h5, creating a protected passed pawn on g6. The only issue is how is White going to break through after that.

28. Qg4 Qf6 29. h4 d5  It’s hard to suggest a way to hold the position together, and it would take quite a bit of analysis to determine if Black can somehow hold.

30. h5 d4 31. b4!  This position, however, is quite clear. White will penetrate on the queenside slowly. The pawn structure is such that there are no perpetuals, queen trades are impossible. Anand wraps up with great technique.

31…Kg7 32. Qf3 Qe7 33. Kd1 Kg8 34. Qf2 Kg7 35. c3 dxc3 36. Kc2 Qc7 37. Qc5 Kg8 38. Qe3 a5 39. Qh3 axb4 40. Qxe6+ Kf8 41. axb4 Qa7 42. Kxc3 Qa3+ 43. Kc2 Qa4+ 44. Qb3 Qa7 45. d4 1-0

Magnus Carlsen 1-0 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.21
Round : 5
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
Black : Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (2765)
ECO : A00 – Uncommon Opening
Result: 1-0
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. Na3 a6 5. c4 b4 6. Nc2 e6 7. d4  This position has, surprisingly, been seen a few times. For example 7…c5 was Lenderman-Abudmalik from last year.

7…a5 8. O-O Be7 9. d5 Na6 10. Nfd4 Nc5 11. Re1 O-O 12. e4  It’s hard to understand what Black really wanted from this opening. White now has a strong center, more space and no real weaknesses. The strong knight on c5 does not compensate fully for the b7 bishop.

12…e5 13. Nf5 d6 14. Bg5  White’s pressure on the kingside is very obvious. Black is simply trying to be solid.

14…Nxd5?!  But well, there goes that idea, bring on the fireworks!  14… Bc8 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. f3  is unpleasant, but nothing more than that.

15. Bh6! gxh6 16. Qg4+ Bg5 17. cxd5   Black “won” a pawn, but it is double and weak and there is the threat of h4. He must give it back immediately.

17…Kh8  (17… h5 18. Qxh5 Bc8±)

18. h4 Bf6 19. Nce3 (19. Nxh6   was also strong.)

19… Bc8 20. Qf3 Bg7 21. Bh3 Rg8 22. Bg4!  I like this maneuver very much. The bishop inches closer to a useful square. The “strong” knight on c5 is not part of the defense! It doesn’t have the choice of going back either as it must keep the c-file closed.

22…Qf6 23. Bh5 Bxf5 24. Nxf5 c6   counterplay, but not really. Black’s pieces on the kingside are a mess.

25. dxc6 Rac8 26. Qd1 Rxc6 27. Qd5  It is typical that the side with a space advantage can easily swing his pieces from one side of the board to another without a hitch. The side with the space disadvantage is just stuck.

27…Rgc8 28. Rad1 Bf8 29. Qxf7 Qxf7 30. Bxf7  White isn’t up material, but his pieces are much better and heh as pressure everywhere on the board.

30…Na4 31. Re2 Rc1 32. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 33. Kg2 Nc5 34. b3 Rc3 35. Kh3 Nd7 36. Be6 Nc5 37. Bd5 Nd7 38. Ne3 Nf6 39. Be6 Rc5 40. Nc4 Kg7 41. f3 Ne8 42. Rd2 Nc7 43. Bg4 a4
         (43… d5 44. Nb6! d4 45. Nd7 Rc3
               (45… Rb5 46. f4+-) 46. Nxe5 is horrible, so MVL tries desperate measures.)

44. Nxd6 Bxd6 45. Rxd6 a3  counterplay against the a2 pawn, maybe?

46. Bd7!  Extremely precise!

46…Rc2 47. Bc6! Rxa2  (47… Na6 48. Bd5 Nc5 (48… Nc7 49. Bc4+- Look at the domination over that knight. For example: Ne8 50. Rd7+ Kf8 51. Rf7+ Kg8 52. Rb7+ Kf8 53. Rxb4 Rxa2 54. Kg4+-) 49. Rc6 does not help Black at all.

48. Rd7+ Kf6 49. Rxc7 Rc2 50. Rxh7  The bishop is still tactically defended. Black could win it for a pawn, but it’s not a pawn he wants to lose.

50…Kg6  (50… Rxc6 51. Rxh6+ Kg7 52. Rxc6) ( 50… a2 51. Ra7 Rxc6 52. Rxa2 and White is just up two pawns. 52…Rc3 53. Kg4 Rxb3 54. Ra6+ Kg7 55. Rb6 with an elementary win for a 2800.

51. Rc7 Kf6 52. h5 Rc1 53. Rh7 a2 54. Bd5  now MVL doesn’t even get the bishop. What a game! ( 54. Bd5 a1=Q 55. Rf7+ Kg5 56. Rf5#) 1-0

####################

Round 6

Wesley So 1/2-1/2 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.23
Round : 6
White : So, Wesley (2788)
Black : Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (2756)
ECO : D17 – QGD, Slav
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Bg2 g5 12. Ne3 gxf4 13. Nxf5 O-O-O 14. Qc2 Nc5 15. O-O fxg3 16. hxg3 a5 17. Rfd1 h5 18. Rxd8+ Qxd8 19. Rd1 Qf6 20. Bh3 Kb8 21. Qd2 Be7 22. Qe3 Ng6 23. Rd4 Ne6 24. Ne4 Qe5 25. Rd7 Rd8 26. Qd3 Rxd7 27. Qxd7 Qxe4 28. Nxe7 Nxe7 29. Qxe7 Qxe2 30. Qxf7 Qd1+ 31. Bf1 Nd4 32. Qf8+ Kc7 33. Qe7+ Kc8 34. Qf8+ Kc7 35. Qe7+ Kc8 36. Qe8+ Kc7 37. Qe7+ 1/2-1/2

Anish Giri 1/2-1/2 Magnus Carlsen

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.23
Round : 6
White : Giri, Anish (2790)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
ECO : D38 – QGD, Ragozin Variation
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 dxc4 9. Bxc4 c5 10. dxc5 Nd7 11. c6 Ne5 12. Nxe5 Qxe5 13. O-O bxc6 14. Qe2 Rd8 15. Rfd1 Bb7 16. Rxd8+ Rxd8 17. Rd1 Rxd1+ 18. Qxd1 Qc7 19. h3 Bxc3 20. bxc3 c5 21. Qa4 Qc6 22. Qxc6 Bxc6 23. Bd3 e5 24. f4 f6 25. Kf2 Kf7 26. h4 Ke6 27. g3 g5 28. hxg5 hxg5 29. fxg5 fxg5 30. Ke1 Bd5 31. a3 e4 32. Be2 Ke5 33. Kd2 Be6 34. Ke1 Kd6 35. Kd2 Ke5 36. Ke1 Kd6 37. Kd2 Ke5 1/2-1/2

####################

Round 7

Fabiano Caruana 1-0 Wesley So

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.24
Round : 7
White : Caruana, Fabiano (2802)
Black : So, Wesley (2788)
ECO : E21 – Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
Result: 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. e3  It’s always pleasant to see a Rubinstein Variation.

5…Ne4 6. Qc2 Bb7 7. Bd3 f5 8. O-O Bxc3 9. bxc3 O-O 10. c5!? 10. Nd2 has been played hundreds of times, and is considered to be the main line.

10… Rf6  Black isn’t kidding around; he weill try to checkmate White with his rook and bishop and queen. His queenside development will be stalled, but for now that is ok. White might develop them for him, if for example he takes on b6.

11. Ne1! using the fact that the knight on e4 doesn’t have many retreat options with the rook on f6.

11…bxc5 11… Rh6 12. g3! keeps the queen away. White won in both Leko-Andreikin and Georgiev, V-Eljanov.

12. Rb1 Qc8 13. f3 Ng5 14. Be2 cxd4 15. cxd4 White’s down a pawn, but Black’s develompent is awkward. His bishop on b7 is exposed, the g5 knight will have to retreat, the f6 rook doesn’t do much but be a potential target. However White does still need to do something concrete.

15…Nc6 16. Nd3 Ba6 17. Bb2 Ne7 18. d5 Rh6 19. dxe6 Nxe6 20. Nf4 Nxf4 21. exf4 Bxe2 22. Qxe2 How the game has changed. White has a powerful bishop and still has the better coordination. Black has two passed pawns, but hey are not going to be a factor yet.

22…Re6 23. Qd3 Ng6 23… Rb8 looked stronger. The knight will be useful on e7.

24. g3 Rb8 25. Qxf5 Reb6 26. Bd4 Rxb1 27. Rxb1 Rxb1+ 28. Qxb1 With material equality in the endgame it is time to take stock once agian. White is clearly better: his bishop dominates the open board and coordinates much better than the queen and knight.

28…c5 29. Qb3+ c4 29… Kh8 30. Qc3+-

30. Qb5 With little effort White has already blockaded the pawns. Now they are ripe for the taking.

30…Ne7 31. Qg5!? 31. Bc5 Nd5 32. Qxc4 Qc6 33. Qd4±

31… Qf8 32. Bc5 Kf7 33. Qe5 Qe8 34. Kf2 Black is paralyzed.

34…Nc6 losing a pawn, but what else to do?

35. Qh5+ g6 36. Qxh7+ Ke6 37. Qg7 Qf7 38. Qxf7+ Kxf7 39. Ke3 White has too many pawns on the kingside.

39…Ke6 40. g4 d6 41. Ba3 d5 42. Bb2 Nb4 43. a4 Nc2+ 44. Kd2 Nb4 45. h4 Nd3 46. Bd4 a6 46… Nxf4 47. Bxa7 leaves Black with too many passed pawns to deal with.

47. h5 gxh5 48. f5+ Kd6 49. gxh5+- Ne5 50. Ke3 Nf7 51. Bg7 1-0

Magnus Carlsen 1-0 Vladimir Kramnik

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.24
Round : 7
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
Black : Kramnik, Vladimir (2783)
ECO : C65 – Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defence
Result: 1-0
Annotator : Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Ne7 8. d4 Bb6 9. Bd3 d5 10. Nbd2 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 exd4 13. Qc2 13. cxd4 Bf5?! 14. Bxb7 Rb8 15. Ba6 Be4 was better for White in Duda-Vallejo Pons, but of course Black doesn’t have to give up that pawn on b7.

13… h6 14. a4!? White is in no hurry to regain his pawn. Taking on c3 looks very dangerous.}

14…c6 14… dxc3 15. Rd1! Qe8 16. Qxc3 with the idea of a5-a6, with an initiative. Perhaps with best play Black can survive without issues, but it looks scary to not be able to develop.

15. Rd1 Nd5 16. Nxd4 Symmetrical pawn structure, but White’s slight lead in development gives him a nice and dangerous edge. Black needs just a couple of tempi to catch up to White’s position, but it’s a valuable couple of tempi.

16…Re8 17. a5! What a move! White sacrifices a pawn simply to discoordinate the Black pieces. 17. Nf3 Qe7 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Rxd5 Be6

17… Bxa5 18. Nf3 the point is that now c4 is a hard move  to parry.

18…b5 18… Qc7 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Qa4 is a nasty double attack.

19. Nd4 returning to d4 and regaining the pawn. The rules of chess say Kramnik can’t put his pawn from b5 on b7, with a repetition.}

19…Bc7?! A tactical mistake. 19… Bb7!

20. Nxc6 Qd6 21. g3 Bb7 22. Bf4 Qxc6 23. Bxd5 Black is in very serious problems

23…Re1+ 23… Qb6 24. Bxb7 Qxb7 25. Rd7 Rec8 25… Rac8 26. Qf5 Rf8 27. Be3 isn’t much better ,with the dual threat of Bc5 and Rxa7. 26. Qf5 leaves Black helpless against Qf7.

24. Kh2! A very important move. 24. Rxe1 Qxd5 leaves White nothing better than 25. Qe4 Qxe4 26. Rxe4 Bxe4 27. Bxc7==

24… Qxd5 25. Rxd5 Rxa1 26. Rd1! Rxd1 27. Qxd1 Rd8 28. Qe2 White’s queen here will dominate the bishop and rook. There are too many targets, and White just needs a couple of moves to safeguard his king against the combined action of Black’s pieces.

28…Bb6 29. Be3 Bxe3 30. Qxe3 Rd1 31. g4 Bc6 31… Rh1+ 32. Kg3 Rg1+ 33. Kf4 isn’t really that scary. The king chills on f4.

32. Qc5 Bd7 33. Qxa7 Rd2 34. Kg3 Rd3+ 35. Kf4 Kh7 36. Qb7 Rd2 37. Ke3 Rd6 38. f4 g6 39. Qb8 Rd5 40. Ke4 Be6 41. Qb7 Rc5 42. Kd4 Rc4+ 43. Ke5 b4 44. cxb4 Rc2 45. Kf6 Rxb2 46. Qb8 The king is an aggressive piece!

46…Rf2 47. f5 gxf5 48. Qg3! Rf1 49. g5 Black cannot escape checkmate. 1-0

####################

Round 8

Wesley So 1/2-1/2 Magnus Carlsen

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.25
Round : 8
White : So, Wesley (2788)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
ECO : A29 – English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. cxd5 Nd4 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. Qa4 a5 11. e3 b5 12. Qc2 Bb7 13. b3 Qg5 14. a3 Bf8 15. Bb2 Bxd5 16. e4 Bb7 17. Bxd4 c5 18. Be3 Qg6 19. d3 a4 20. Rab1 axb3 21. Rxb3 b4 22. axb4 cxb4 23. Bd2 Bc6 24. Rb2 Ba4 25. Qc4 Rec8 26. Qd4 Bc5 27. Qd5 b3 28. d4 Bb6 29. Be3 h6 30. e5 Bc6 31. Qxb3 Bxg2 32. Kxg2 Bxd4 33. Bxd4 Qe4+ 34. Qf3 Qxd4 35. Rb5 Qc3 36. Rd1 Qxf3+ 37. Kxf3 Rc7 38. Rbd5 Raa7 39. Kg4 Ra2 40. R1d2 Rxd2 41. Rxd2 1/2-1/2

####################

Round 9

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 1/2-1/2 Wesley So

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.26
Round : 9
White : Vachier Lagrave – Maxime (2765)
Black : So, Wesley (2788)
ECO : B12 – Caro-Kann Defense
Result: 1/2-1/2

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 c5 6. Be3 Qb6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. c3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Ne7 12. Nc5 Qc7 13. g4 Bg6 14. f4 Nc6 15. O-O Nxd4 16. cxd4 Bxc5 17. Rc1 O-O 18. Rxc5 Qd7 19. Qb3 Be4 20. Rfc1 Rac8 21. Qb5 Rxc5 22. Qxc5 f6 23. Qd6 Qxd6 24. exd6 Rd8 25. b4 a6 26. b5 Rxd6 27. Rc8+ Kf7 28. Rc7+ Kf8 29. Rxb7 axb5 30. Bxb5 Rd8 31. a4 Ra8 32. Rc7 Bf3 33. h3 Ra5 34. Rc1 h5 35. gxh5 Bxh5 36. Kf2 Ra8 37. Rc6 Bd1 38. Rc3 Bh5 39. Rc6 Bd1 40. Rc3 Bh5 41. Ke3 Be8 42. Kd3 Ke7 43. Kc2 e5 44. fxe5 fxe5 45. dxe5 Bxb5 46. axb5 Ke6 47. h4 Kxe5 48. b6 Kd6 49. Kd3 Rb8 50. Rb3 Kc6 51. Kd4 Kb7 52. Kxd5 Rh8 53. Rb4 Rh5+ 54. Ke6 g5 55. hxg5 Rxg5 1/2-1/2

Magnus Carlsen 1-0 Rauf Mamedov

Event : Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015
Site  : Shamkir AZE
Date  : 2015.04.24
Round : 9
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2863)
Black : Mamedov, Rauf (2658)
ECO : A15 – English
Result: 1-0

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 a6 5. d4 Bf5 6. Be2 h6 7. Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 9. O-O Bb4 10. Bd2 O-O 11. Rfd1 Ba5 12. a4 Nbd7 13. b4 Bxb4 14. Nxd5 exd5 15. Bxb4 Re8 16. a5 dxc4 17. Qxc4 Nd5 18. h3 Qc7 19. Be1 N7f6 20. Ne5 Ne4 21. Rac1 Qe7 22. Qd3 Nd6 23. Qa3 f6 24. Nd3 Rad8 25. Bb4 Nxb4 26. Qxb4 Ne4 27. Nc5 Nxc5 28. dxc5 Rxd1+ 29. Rxd1 Qf7 30. Qg4 f5 31. Qb4 Re4 32. Qb6 Qe7 33. Qb3+ Kh7 34. Rd6 Qe5 35. Qf7 1-0

Sources:
www.shamkirchess.az
en.chessbase.com
chessgames.com
chess24.com

It was a back-to-back winner for World Champion Magnus Carlsen after winning the Armageddon tie-break #5 versus local bet Arkadij Naiditsch at 3rd Grenke Chess Classic held at Baden Baden Germany. 8 days after winning also the Tata Steel Chess’ category 20 super tournament. Magnus still has enough gas to successfully maintain composure and win his 2nd major tournament of the year.

When my friend reads one of my blog, I was being asked why am i just getting reports coming from other websites? Why do i not do my game analysis of my own, while i’m capable of doing that like what i do to my post game analysis. And also, he asked me why only Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen games am i fascinated of?

Well, for one, i do compile the games just between Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So, Wesley since the start, i see his games with much of an improvement from time-to-time, and predicted that he can reach beyond among the elite. And look now, he just belongs to the new recruited “Deadly Killer” in the line-up. Meaning, he can’t just be ignored. While Magnus, of course the new generation World Champion. I am also fond of his games, the meteoric rise in ratings. I’m figuring out if he can reach beyong 2900!

I can’t do my self analysis and write-ups as i am just doing my compilations through my mobile. I just need to type and grab the articles but of course, giving the credits to the owner. I just want to produce all the games played by Magnus and Wesley and compiled in a good order.

Here’s the round-to-round match-up of Magnus Carlsen at Grenke Chess Classic in Baden Baden Germany. Hope you enjoy the report and can be used for your future board analysis.

GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden, is an elite grandmaster tournament. They have brought together an exclusive line-up, headed by World Champion Magnus Carlsen and 2013 Champion Viswanathan Anand. The tournament is being held 2-9 February 2015.
It has rating average of 2752, making it a stellar Category 21 tournament.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

image

Final score after Carlsen wins Armageddon

Tie-Break 5

What an exciting finish! Before Magnus missed an opportunity to convert his last round game against Bacrot via King’s Indian, he had to settle for a tiebreaker match between Naiditsch…In the tiebreaker match Carlsen won the first round, Naidtisch retaliated on round 2, and after two draws, The World Champion wins in the Armageddon…

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.09
Round : TB 5
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Black : Naiditsch, Arkadij (2706)
Result: 1-0
ECO : B91 – Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. g3 e5 7. Nde2 Be7 8. Bg2 O-O 9. O-O Nbd7 10. a4 b6 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Qxd5 Rb8 13. Nc3 Nf6 14. Qd3 Be6 15. Qxa6! [ A nice positional sacrifice. The pawn was certainly not free: Naiditsch had seen a way to recover his material, but Carlsen decided that he was going to keep his pawn, by giving up the exchange! ] 15…Qc7 16. Qe2 Bc4 17. Qf3 Bxf1 18. Bxf1 [The light square weaknesses that Black has currently make his position very difficult.]
18…d5 19. exd5 e4 20. Qf5 Rbd8 21. Bf4 Qc5 22. Rd1 Qb4 23. Be5 Bc5?? [An almost inexplicable move. This allows White to simply rip apart the kingside and annihilate the opponent king.]
24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Nxe4 [ Now it’s very clearly all over, Black is even down material.]
25…Qxb2 26. Bd3 Rfe8 27. Nxf6+ Kf8 28. Nxh7+ Ke7 29. Re1+ Kd6 30. Qf4+ Kxd5 31. Nf6+ Kc6 32. Nxe8 1-0

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tie-Break 4

Tie-breaker game #4 via Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defence ended in a draw again! We are heading to the Armageddon!

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.09
Round : TB 4
White : Naiditsch, Arkadij (2706)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Result: 1/2-1/2
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. c4 Ke8 10. Nc3 Be6 11. b3 Be7 12. Ne4 Rd8 13. Bb2 h5 14. Rad1 b5 15. Nfg5 Bxg5 16. Nxg5 a6 17. Bc3 c5 18. Rxd8+ Kxd8 19. Rd1+ Ke7 20. Ne4 bxc4 21. Nxc5 cxb3 22. axb3 Rb8 23. b4 Rb6 24. Kf1 Bc4+ 25. Ke1 Bb5 26. f3 h4 27. Kf2 Rc6 28. Bb2 Ke8 29. Rc1 Ne7 30. Nb3 Nd5 31. Rxc6 Bxc6 32. Ba3 Nf4 33. g3 Nd3+ 34. Ke3 hxg3 35. hxg3 Nxe5 36. Kf4 Nxf3 37. Bb2 f6 38. Nd4 Ne1 39. Ke3 Bd5 40. Ke2 Ng2 41. Kf2 Kd7 42. Bc3 g6 43. Nf3 g5 44. Bxf6 Bxf3 45. Kxf3 Ne1+ 46. Ke2 Nc2 47. Bxg5 Nxb4 48. Bf4 Nd5 49. Bd2 Ke6 50. Kd3 Nf6 51. Bc1 Kd5 52. Bg5 Ng4 53. Kc3 c5 54. Kb3 Kc6 55. Ka4 Ne5 56. Ka5 Kb7 57. Bh6 Nc6+ 58. Ka4 c4 59. g4 Kc8 60. Bg7 Kd7 61. Bf6 Ke6 62. g5 Kf5 63. Ka3 Ne5 64. Kb4 a5+ 65. Kc3 a4 66. Bxe5 Kxe5 67. Kxc4 Kf5 68. Kb4 Kxg5 1/2-1/2

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tie-Break 3

Tie-breaker game #3 via Bogo-Indian ended in a draw!

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.09
Round : TB 3
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Black : Naiditsch, Arkadij (2706)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : E11 – Bogo-Indian Defence, Gruenfeld Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 b6 5. e3 Bb7 6. Bd3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 O-O 9. a3 Be7 10. b4 a5 11. b5 d5 12. Bb2 Nbd7 13. a4 Rc8 14. Rc1 dxc4 15. Nxc4 Nd5 16. g3 Nb4 17. Be2 Na2 18. Ra1 Bxf3 19. Bxf3 Rxc4 20. Rxa2 Nf6 21. Bc6 Nd5 22. Qe2 Rb4 23. Rd1 Rb3 24. Kg2 Qd6 25. Qc2 Qb4 26. Rda1 Rc8 27. Ba3 Qc3 28. Qxc3 Rxc3 29. Bxd5 Rxa3 30. Rxa3 Bxa3 31. Bxe6 fxe6 32. Rxa3 Rc4 33. Kf3 Rxd4 34. Rc3 Rxa4 35. Rc6 Kf7 36. Rxb6 Rb4 1/2-1/2

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tie-Break 2

Naiditsch gets back in contention! thanks to his win on second tie-break game! It seems the game is full of errors. Luckily Naiditsch nailed this one…

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.09
Round : TB 2
White : Naiditsch, Arkadij (2706)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Result: 1-0
ECO : C49 – Four Knights, Symmetrical, Pillsbury Variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d6 7. Bg5 Ne7 8. Re1 c6 9. Ba4 Ng6 10. Bb3 h6 11. Bd2 Bg4 12. h3 Bh5 13. g3 d5 14. Kg2 d4 15. Ne2 Bxf3+ 16. Kxf3 Bxd2 17. Qxd2 Nd7 18. a3 Kh8 19. Kg2 Nc5 20. Ba2 f5 21. exf5 Rxf5 22. Rf1 Qf6 23. f4 Rf8 24. Rae1 h5 25. Rf3 h4 26. g4 Nxf4+ 27. Kh2 Rg5 28. Nxf4 exf4 29. b4 Nd7 30. Re6 Qd8 31. Qe1 Rb5 32. a4 Rb6 33. Re7 Nf6 34. Qxh4+ Nh7 35. Be6 Rf6 36. Bf5 Rh6 37. Qe1 Qd6 38. Re8+ Nf8 39. Qe7 Qxe7 40. Rxe7 Rxb4 41. Re8 Rf6 42. Rxf4 g6 43. g5 Rf7 44. Rh4+ Kg7 45. Be4 Rb2 46. Kg3 Rxc2 47. Rf4 Rc5 48. h4 Ra5 49. Rxf7+ Kxf7 50. Rb8 b5 51. Rb7+ Ke6 52. axb5 cxb5 53. Kf4 Ra2 54. Rxb5 Rf2+ 55. Kg3 Re2 56. Ra5 Nd7 57. Ra6+ Ke7 58. Bxg6 Ne5 59. Be4 Nxd3 60. Bxd3 Re3+ 61. Kf4 Rxd3 62. h5 Rh3 63. h6 d3 64. Rxa7+ Ke6 65. Ra6+ Kf7 66. g6+ Ke7 67. g7 d2 68. g8=Q 1-0

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tie-Break 1

Carlsen draw first blood on their tie-break match, will Naiditsch gets back?

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.09
Round : TB 1
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Black : Naiditsch, Arkadij (2706)
Result: 1-0
ECO : E11 – Bogo-Indian Defence, Gruenfeld Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 b6 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 O-O 7. e3 Bb7 8. b4 a5 9. Bb2 axb4 10. axb4 Ne4 11. Qc2 Rxa1+ 12. Bxa1 Qe7 13. c5 f5 14. Be2 Nc6 15. Bc3 bxc5 16. dxc5 Ra8 17. O-O Nxc3 18. Qxc3 Qf6 19. Qd2 Rd8 20. b5 Ne5 21. Nxe5 Qxe5 22. c6! [ Using the pin on the d-file White kills the bishop on b7.]
22…Bc8 23. Rd1 d5 24. Qd4 Qxd4 25. exd4 Kf8 26. f4 [Black’s position is simply sad. The bishop on c8 has absolutely no moves. White simply has to march his forces forward.]
26…Ke7 27. Ra1 g6 28. Kf2 Kd6 29. Ra3 Rf8 30. h4 Ke7 31. h5 Rg8 32. hxg6 hxg6 33. Rh3 g5 34. fxg5 Kd6 35. Rh6 Ke7 36. Bf3 e5 37. Rh7+ Kd6 38. dxe5+ Kc5 39. Rxc7 Kxb5 40. Bxd5 1-0

image

Final Standings after round 7, Carlsen and Naiditsch will battle for a tie-break games!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 7

Carlsen played a fantastic game, and just when it was time to finish Bacrot off he ran into some unexpected difficulties:

Carlsen, Magnus 1/2-1/2 Bacrot, Etienne

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.09
Round : 7.2
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Black : Bacrot, Etienne (2711)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : A48 – King’s Indian, Torre Attack

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. e3 d6 6. Bc4 Nbd7 7. O-O Qe8 8. a4 e5 9. a5 e4 10. Ne1 h6 11. Bh4 c6 12. Bb3 Nh5 13. f3 exf3 14. Qxf3 Ndf6 15. Nd3 Bg4 16. Qf2 Be6 17. Bxe6 Qxe6 18. Qf3 g5 19. Bf2 g4 20. Qe2 Rae8 21. a6 b6 22. Rae1 Nd5 23. e4 f5 24. Qd1 fxe4 25. Rxe4 Qf5 26. Qxg4 Qxg4 27. Rxg4 Re2 28. Rd1 Nhf6 29. Rg3 Nh5 30. Rf3 Rxf3 31. gxf3 Ne3 32. Bxe3 Rxe3 33. Nc4 Rxf3 34. Nb4 b5 35. Na5 c5 36. Nbc6 Rf7 37. Nb7 Nf4 38. dxc5 dxc5 39. Nxa7 Bd4+ 40. Kh1 Nh3 41. Kg2 Nf4+ 42. Kg3 Ne2+ 43. Kg4 Rf4+ 44. Kh3 Rf3+ 45. Kg4 Rf4+ 46. Kh3 Rf3+ 1/2-1/2

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 6

Caruana, Fabiano 1/2-1/2 Carlsen, Magnus

The only interesting moment of this duel between the top two players in the World came with the perpetual that arose at the end.

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.08
Round : 6.3
White : Caruana, Fabiano (2811)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Result: 1/2-1/2
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 h6 10. Rd1+ Ke8 11. Nc3 Ne7 12. Bf4 Ng6 13. Bh2 Bb4 14. Ne2 Be7 15. Nfd4 Nf8 16. g4 h5 17. Nf5 Ne6 18. Kg2 b6 19. f3 c5 20. Bg3 Bg5 (20… Bb7 [was also perfectly possible.])
21. h4 hxg4 [and now the draw is forced]
22. hxg5 gxf3+ 23. Kxf3 Nxg5+ 24. Kf4 (24. Kg4 Nh3 [is risky for White:] 25. e6 Bxe6 26. Nf4 g6 27. Nxe6 gxf5+ 28. Kxf5 fxe6+ 29. Kg4 e5! [with this key move the knight from h3 is rescued and Black remains out a pawn, though probably one that is very hard to convert.] 30. Bxe5 (30. Rd5 Ke7) (30. Re1 Kd7!) 30… Nf2+)
24… Nh3+ 25. Ke4 Ng5+ 26. Kf4 Nh3+ 1/2-1/2

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 5

As per Alejandro Ramirez of Chessbase.com it seems to be doing the same as Magnus Carlsen did in Wijk aan Zee: Carlsen has his second straight win after losing. This gives the Norwegian a tie for first with Naiditsch, who was held to a draw by a stubborn Caruana.

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Baramidze, David

Baramidze was holding his own until a crucial mistake was all it took for Carlsen to play like a machine and take the win.

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.07
Round : 5.1
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Black : Baramidze, David (2594)
Result: 1-0
ECO : C95 – Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer, Borisenko Variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 g6 [One of the tabiya’s (starting position) of chess. The Breyer has been considered to be a very solid, albeit a little passive, way of handling the Spanish as Black.]
15. a4 Bg7 (15… c5 [is considered to be the main line, trying to exploit the weakness of the b3 square with the continuation] 16. d5 c4 [which has been seen many, many times.])
16. Bd3 c6 17. Bg5 Nf8 18. Qd2 Ne6 19. Bh6 Nd7 20. Bc2 Bxh6 21. Qxh6 Qf6 22. Rad1 Rad8 (22… exd4 23. cxd4 Qf4 24. Qxf4 Nxf4 25. e5!?)
23. d5 cxd5 24. exd5 Qf4 25. Qxf4 Nxf4 26. Ne4 Bxd5 27. axb5 axb5 28. Nxd6 [So far Baramidze has done a fantastic job defending and cdreating counterplay at the same time. His well placed pieces give him compensation even if he loses the b5 pawn.]
28…Re6? [This, unfortunately for the German player, is quite the mistake.] (28… Bxf3 29. gxf3 Re7 30. Nxb5 Rb8 31. c4 Nxh3+) (28… Rf8 29. Ne4 (29. Nxb5 Rb8= [the pawn is regained on b2.]) 29… f5 [doesn’t leave the rook vulnerable to an attack on e6.])
29. Ne4! f5 30. Nfg5! Re7 31. g3! [What a sequence! The knight on f4 cannot move as the bishop on d5 is hanging, and because of the awkward positions of Black’s rooks and the pinned knight on d7 his structure will be compromised.]
31…Bxe4 32. Bxe4 fxe4 (32… Nxh3+ 33. Nxh3 fxe4 34. Ng5)
33. gxf4 Rf8 34. Nxe4 Rxf4 35. b4 [Material is still even, but White’s knight on e4 is monstrous and the b5 pawn will soon come under attack.]
35…Nf6 36. Nd6 Rf3 37. Nxb5 Rxh3 38. c4 [Material is still even, but clearly Black’s pawns are less threatening than White’s. The position is very hard to play.]
38…Rh4 (38… Rb3 39. Nd4! [is a nice trick to keep the pawns alive. Taking on b4 fails to the fork on c6.])
39. Nd6 (39. Nd6)
39…Nh5 40. b5 Nf4 41. b6 Rg4+ 42. Kf1 Rh4 [ Black tries to create some counterplay against White’s king, but it is insufficient. It can fend off for itself against a lone rook and knight.]
43. f3 Rh1+ 44. Kf2 Rh2+ 45. Kg1 Rc2 46. Kh1 Nh3 47. Ne4 [ The knight comes back to defend against Nf2+. There were other winning moves, but this is the easiest.]
47…Rxc4 48. Rd8+! Kg7 49. Rb1 [And now there is nothing to do against the advance of the b-pawn. Blockading is not possible due to Nd6, forking the rook. One mistake is all it took for Carlsen to win a very Carlsen-like position.] 1-0

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 4

Carlsen bounced back with a win over Anand in a stonewall!

Anand, Viswanathan 0-1 Carlsen, Magnus

The Dutch! But the Stonewall version this time. Carlsen certainly wouldn’t have used this against Anand in a long World Championship Match, but the risk he takes makes sense in a small seven round tournament where he needs to start accumulating points if he wants to win.

image

Anand vs Carlsen at Grenke Chess 2015 at Baden Baden Germany © photo courtesy of http://chessbase.com

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.06
Round : 4.3
White : Anand, Viswanathan (2797)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Result: 0-1
ECO : A90 – Dutch Defence

1. d4 f5! [ The Dutch! Carlsen lost with this recently against Wojtaszek, and yet he wants to take it for a spin against Anand.]
2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 c6 [ A different breed of Dutch, however, known as the Stonewall. It is a completely different system than the Leningrad (which involves kingside fianchetto). The positions are very complicated. It used to be a very popular “anti-computer” type of structure as the engines have little clue on what to do here usually.]
5. Nf3 d5 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 [ There are plenty of ways of playing this position, but on the basic level White has a nice e5 outpost and usually attacks on the queenside, while Black does the same on the kingside.]
8. Ne5 (8. a4 [trying to trade the bishops with Ba3, is also a common idea.])
8… O-O 9. Nd2 a5 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Qc2 a4!? [ This cheeky advance of the a-pawn is quite troublesome. White doesn’t want to take it as it would ruin his structure some, but if it’s left advancing it will blockade the queenside by installing itself on a3.]
12. Ndf3 Ne4 13. e3 a3 14. Bc3 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Bd7 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. c5 Bc7 18. b4 [ White’s space advantage on the queenside keeps his threats of attacking their alive, but as usual in these positions the pair of bishops is rather meaningless…. that is, until the position somehow opens up!]
18…h5 19. Be1 e5!? [ Opening diagonals is always double edged, but it is certainly tempting to play this move and activate the c7 bishop.]
20. dxe5 Bxe5 21. Rd1 Qe6 22. f3 Nf6 23. Bh3 g6 24. e4 [This move is very tempting, and it starts a series of complications that is very hard to calculate. The point of course is that f5 is hard to defend, but surprisingly, this gives the a-pawn a chance to almost promote…]
24…dxe4 25. fxe4 Bb2! [ Carlsen’s point – the a2 pawn will fall, clearing the way for the black a3 pawn. This will cause White enormous amounts of headaches, and he has to relatiate on the kingside quickly.]
26. exf5 Qxa2 27. Bf2 (27. fxg6?? [it’s important that this move is not possible.] Bd4+ [and it’s bye bye queen on c2.])
27… g5 [Black closes down the kingside before anything bad happens.]
28. Rfe1 Qf7! 29. Re6 Ng4 ( 29… Rfe8!?)
30. Bxg4 hxg4 31. Rg6+ Kh7 32. Rd7?? [This is based on a big miscalculation.] (32. Re6! [and Black might still have chances to push for a win with 32…Rfe8, but his position looks a little loose and White certainly has play.])
32… Qxd7 33. f6 [To me it is not entirely clear what Anand missed, as even though the move played in the game is winning, it is not the only one.]
33…Qd1+! [The cleanest.] (33… Bxf6 34. Rxf6+=) (33… Rxf6! 34. Rxf6+ Kg8 35. Rg6+ Kf8! [and White has no more checks.])
34. Qxd1 Kxg6 35. Qd3+ Kh6 [White has no more checks and material is currently even. The big problem for Anand is that there is no defense against a2-a1.]
36. h4 gxh3 0-1

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 3

Naiditsch beats Carlsen, again!

As reported by Alejandro Ramirez via Chessbase.com it was a big day in Baden-Baden as the standings changed dramatically. Magnus Carlsen went a little haywire against Arkadij Naiditsch, sacrificing a piece and then losing an endgame where he usually would have tried to push for a win. This is the German’s second victory against Carlsen in a row.

An exciting round in Baden-Baden, though one that was strange to say the least. The highlight is clearly Carlsen’s loss against Naiditsch, which came with a number of surprises. First was the fact that the World Champion sacrificed a piece for no compensation, and that despite the fact that he outplayed Naiditsch after that he misplayed the endgame horribly. Only half a year after the Tromso Olympiad Arkadij Naiditsch is able to defeat the number one player in the World… again!

Naiditsch, Arkadij 1-0 Carlsen, Magnus

This is a very difficult game to describe. Carlsen decided to sacrifice a piece in the opening for no apparent reason, and it simply did not pay off. He got compensation by outplaying his opponent, but when he finally had a good grasp on the resulting endgame he wasted too much time and the German player was able to promote his passed pawn.

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.04
Round : 3.3
White : Naiditsch, Arkadij (2706)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Result: 1-0
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro
ECO : B06 – Robatsch (Modern) Defense

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 [ Even though the Modern defense is not practiced by most top level grandmasters, it is not a bad opening. White needs to navigate it well to obtain some sort of opening advantage, and even with it the positions remain double edged.]
5. a4 Nf6 6. h3 O-O 7. g4!? [ A typical idea, White is simply trying to restrain Black all over the board, preventing him from executing his breaks, f5 or b5.]
7…e5 8. d5 c6 9. Nge2 cxd5 10. exd5 Bxg4?! [ Maybe an extra exclamation mark for how spectacular it is for the World Champion to do this, but another question mark for how dubious this idea is. Black sacrifice a piece for two pawns, but that’s basically all there is to it. ]
11. hxg4 Nxg4 12. Qd2 Nd7 13. Ne4 f5 [ Black also is able to kick out the e4 knight, but White can live without this square.]
14. Bg5 Qb6 15. Bh3 [ Naiditsch’s positoin is holding together and now Carlsen is forced to trade some pieces.]
15…Ndf6 (15… Qxb2 16. O-O [looks suicidal. White has the threats of Bxg4 and Rfb1, trapping the queen.])
16. Nxf6+ Nxf6 17. Nc3?! [ When you are up material, there rarely is a good reason to give your opponent counterplay. In this case giving up a pawn was not necessary.] ( 17. b3)
17… Qxb2 18. Rb1 Qa3 19. Rxb7 Rf7?! ( 19… Rab8! 20. Rxg7+ Kxg7 21. Bxf5 gxf5 22. Bxf6+ Kxf6! [ Is just a draw, according to the heartless monsters.])
20. Rb3 Qc5 21. Qe3 Qc7 22. Qb6! e4 23. Qc6 [ A little fancy, just trading was better.]
23…Rc8 24. O-O Qxc6 25. dxc6 Rxc6 26. Rfb1 [ Carlsen again has three pawns for the piece, but now the pair of bishops and the weak a6 pawn give Naiditsch an obvious target. Not only that, but with the queens off there is little counterplay for Black.]
26…h6 27. Bxf6 Bxf6 28. Nxe4! [ A trade of advantages. The endgame after fxe4 is practically very difficult so Carlsen decides to give up the pawn again.]
28…Be5 (28… fxe4 29. Be6 Kf8 30. Bxf7 Kxf7 31. Rb6 Rxc2 32. Rxd6 [and the rooks simply destroy all of Black’s pawns.])
29. Nd2 (29. Rb6! [just a touch more exact.])
29… Rxc2 30. Nf3 Ra2 31. Bg2?! (31. Nxe5! dxe5 32. Rb6 Rxa4 33. Rxg6+ [White only has one pawn left, but it should be sufficient to win.] 31…Kh7 34. Rbb6+-)
31… Bf6 32. Nh2 Kg7 33. Bd5 Re7 34. Rb4 Rd2! 35. Bc4 a5! 36. Rb7 Rd4 37. Rxe7+ Bxe7 38. Bb5 h5 [ With the amount of Black pawns he has enough to compensate for the missing piece. However the most important aspect is that White has no real targets: a5 can now be easily defended by the bishop.]
39. Nf3 Rf4 40. Kg2 h4 41. Rd1 Rg4+ 42. Kf1 h3 43. Rd3 Bf6 44. Nh2 Rh4 45. Kg1 (45. Rxd6 Be5 46. Rd7+ Kf6 47. Kg1 Rb4 48. Rh7!)
45… Bd4 46. Rf3 Kf6 47. Nf1 [ with Black’s pieces so active and his threatening pawn on h3, it would seem as if only Carlsen is playing for a win.]
47…Be5 (47… d5!)
48. Ne3 Kg5? [ This move is already strange. The king will have to go back to f6 so it does nothing but waste important time.]
49. Kh1 Kf6?! 50. Nc4 [ Suddenly Black has done nothing, meanwhile White slowly brought his knight to take the key pawn on a5!]
50…g5 51. Nxa5 g4 52. Rd3 f4 53. Nc4 [ Black’s pawns look threatening, but they are not queening right away.]
53…Rh7 (53… g3 54. fxg3 fxg3 55. Nxe5 g2+ 56. Kh2 Kxe5 57. Bd7 [and the pawns start falling (Rxh3 cannot be prevented). Notice that the a-pawn is the correct color to win with.])
54. Nxe5 dxe5 55. a5 Rc7 56. Ra3 Rc1+ 57. Kh2 Rc2 58. a6! [ Well calculated, those four connected passed pawns are not as relevant as the one passed pawn on the a-file!] 58…Rxf2+ 59. Kh1 g3 60. a7 Rd2 [ One last trick, if White promotes there is backrank mate.]
61. Ra1 1-0

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 2

Despite having played previously from Tata Steel Chess, Carlsen extracted a full point at the expense of Michael Adams. And now Carlsen becomes the early leader.

Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Adams, Michael

It was the Champion took the early shot putting much pressure on and beating Michael Adams.

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.03
Round : 2.2
White : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Black : Adams, Michael (2738)
Result: 1-0
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro
ECO : A29 – English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Nd5 Bc5 6. Bg2 d6 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 Nxd5 9. cxd5 Nd4 10. Nxd4 exd4 [Taking with the bishop is more common, there is an old rapid between Karpov and Anand in this line.]
11. Bd2 a5 12. e4 dxe3 13. fxe3 Qg5 14. Rf4 Bd7 15. a4 Rae8 [The position is not easy to evaluate. White’s pawn structure is strange but it controls a lot of central squares and it will lock out the dark-squared bishop once d4 is achieved. Also, b4 is coming opening up some important lines in the queenside. For this reason maybe 15…Rfe8 was better as White doesn’t have real pressure on the kingside.]
16. d4 Bb6 17. Qb3 Qd8 18. Qc4 Re7 19. b4 axb4 20. a5 Ba7 21. Qxb4 [ Black’s queenside is very vulnerable.]
21…c5 (21… Qc8 [is just a sad move to make.])
22. dxc6 Bxc6 23. Qb3 (23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Qc4 [was also possible.])
23… Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Qd7 25. Raf1 [ White is without a doubt a little better. His pressure on f7 is slightly annoying, as is his pressure on b7. Black doesn’t have a particularly useful plan, his only plus is his pressure on the e3 weakness.]
25…Rc8 26. Rf5 h6 27. R1f2 Bb8 28. Bb4 Qc6+ 29. R2f3 Rcc7 30. Be1 (30. Qd5!)
30… Qe8 (30… g6! 31. Rf6 Qc2+ 32. Qxc2 Rxc2+ =)
31. g4 Re4 32. h3 Rce7 33. Bf2 [ Black’s tripling on the e-file seems counterintuitive. The pressure on e3 will always be sustained by a bishop either on f2 or d2, so it begs the question of what these major pieces are doing exactly.]
33…R4e6 34. Rb5 Bc7 35. Rxb7 Qa8? [ This simply lets Carlsen stay up a pawn. Even though it isn’t pretty, Adams had to take on a5.] (35… Bxa5 36. Rb8 Bd8 37. Bh4 Rd7 [Black’s pinned in every direction, but nothing is hanging and nothing can be attacked. Black might just be holding this.])
36. Rb5 Re8 37. Qd5 Qxd5 38. Rxd5 [ It’s very uncomfortable to play almost equal endgames against Carlsen. It’s almost impossible to play pawn down endgames against Carlsen.] 38…Rb8 39. Bg3 g6 40. h4 Ra8 41. Be1 Re4 42. g5 h5 43. Rb5 Ra7 44. Kf1 Re8 45. Ke2 Rea8 46. Rf6 Ra6 47. Bb4 Bxa5 48. Rxa5 Rxa5 49. Bxa5 Rxa5 50. Rxd6 Kf8 51. Rf6 [ This position is already lost. White’s plan is very simple, push the pawns with the support of the king. Black can’t do anything about it.]
51…Ra3 52. Kf3 Ke7 53. Ke4 Ra5 54. Rf4 Rb5 55. d5 Rb3 56. Kd4 Ra3 57. e4 Rb3 58. Ke5 Rd3 59. Rf1 Rh3 [ Black’s counterplay is too weak, too slow.]
60. Ra1 Rxh4 61. d6+ Kd7 62. Ra7+ Ke8 63. Ra8+ Kd7 64. Rf8 1-0

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Round 1

GRENKE Chess Classic at Baden Baden started

Just one week after the strong tournament Tata Steel Chess in Wijk aan Zee, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian meet again, this time in Baden-Baden, Germany, joining Vishy Anand, Michael Adams, Arkadij Naiditsch, Etienne Bacrot, and David Baramidze for the GRENKE Chess Classic, an eight-player-single-round-robin. Although all games ended in a draw that seems all players are warming up.

Aronian, Levon 1/2-1/2 Carlsen, Magnus

All games were drawn. Seems all players are starting to fill up some gas. Aronian and Carlsen just met recently at Tata Steel 2015 tournament in round 5 and ended Aronian defeated via QGD opening.

Event : 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic
Site : Baden Baden GER
Date : 2015.02.02
Round : 1.3
White : Aronian, Levon (2777)
Black : Carlsen, Magnus (2865)
Result: 1/2-1/2
Annotator: Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro
ECO : D36 – QGD Exchange Positional Line, 6. Qc2

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 h6 9. Bh4 Nh5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. O-O-O Nb6 12. Nf3 Bg4 13. Kb1 Nf6 14. Rc1 Nfd7 15. Ka1 O-O-O 16. Nd2 Kb8 17. Na4 Nxa4 18. Qxa4 Qh4 [A relatively dry position. Black has no real targets to pressure, while White is doing the best not to weaken his position.]
19. Rcf1 Qf6 20. Qc2 Rc8 21. Nb3 Rc7 22. Rc1 Rhc8 [Black’s complicated plan of doubling on the c-file and playing c5 may not have been a bad idea, except that it was never executed.]
23. h3 Be6 24. Rhf1 h5? (24… c5!? 25. Nxc5 Nxc5 26. dxc5 Rxc5 27. Qxc5 Rxc5 28. Rxc5 Qg5 [White cannot successfully defend his g-pawn (29.g4 runs into 29…Qh4) so Black gets one pawn for the two rooks against queen situation, which might make his position just an inch preferable.])
25. f4! [ Carlsen must have underestimated this move. There is no comfortable way to protect against f5, trapping the bishop.]
25…g6 (25… Nb6 26. f5 Bd7 27. Nc5 [Leaves Black’s pieces without coordination, very similar to what happened in the game but with the kingside pawns still alive, which is worse for Black.])
26. f5 gxf5?! (26… Bxf5! 27. Bxf5 gxf5 28. Rxf5 (28. Qxf5 Qxf5 29. Rxf5 Rg8=) 28… Qg6 [And Black is a tiny bit worse, but should have enough counterplay with pressure against e3, g2 and some c5 ideas.])
27. g4! [This strong move binds Black’s pieces.]
27…hxg4 28. hxg4 Nb6 [what else?]
29. gxf5 Bd7 30. Nc5 Re8 [Black has some compensation for his cramped position in the form of pressure on e3 and a relatively solid camp, but it is definitely White that is preferable here.]
31. Rce1 Qd6 32. a3?! (32. Rg1!)
32… Bc8 33. Qf2 Nd7?! (33… f6! [Forces Aronian to find some good way of continuing the pressure. Black is close to equality.])
34. e4! dxe4 35. Nxe4 Qf8 (35… Qd5 36. Bb1! [Is extremely uncomfortable, with the threat of Nc3.])
36. Rg1 Rd8 37. Qh2? [This move lets go of any advantage.] (37. f6! Nb6 38. Rg7 [keeps the bind and some real pressure on the position. It’s hard to find moves for Black.])
37… Qh8! [Now that the queens come off the board it is impossible to play for a win with White.]
38. Qxh8 Rxh8 39. Rg7 Nb6 40. Nf6 Rd8 41. Rg4 (41. Bb1! [was probably a simpler way of forcing a draw.](41…Rxd4 42. Ne8 Rcd7 43. Nf6 Rd8 44. Rxf7=)
41… c5 42. Ne8?! (42. dxc5 Rxc5 (42… Rxd3 43. cxb6 axb6 44. Re8 [looks a bit dangerous for Black.]) (43. Bb1= Bxf5?? 44. Rg5+-)
42… Rcd7 43. dxc5 Rxd3 44. cxb6 axb6 [Now that White doesn’t have access to the eight rank the bishop is a slightly better piece than the knight on e8.]
45. Rf4 R8d5 46. Ref1 [It’s hard to make progress with Black anyway. If he is forced to trade a pair of rooks White’s defensive task becomes easier.]
46…Rd1+ 47. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 48. Ka2 Rd5 49. Ng7 [Awkward, but the f-pawn is doing an important job of restraining the Black bishop.]
49…Bd7 50. Kb3 Kc7 51. Re4 Kd6 52. Ne8+ Kc6 ( 52… Bxe8 53. Rxe8 Rxf5 54. Rb8 [is almost impossible to win.])
53. Ng7 Rd3+ 54. Kb4 Rg3 55. Rc4+ Kd6 56. Rd4+ Kc7 57. Nh5 Rg2 58. Nf6 Bc6 (58… Bxf5 59. Nd5+ Kb8 60. b3=)
59. b3 b5 60. Ng4 Re2 61. Nh6 Be8 62. Ng4 Bd7 63. Nh6 Be8 64. Ng4 1/2-1/2

Sources:
GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden
Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez of chessbase.com
The Week In Chess

image

Wesley So

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament has two main tournaments. They are played according to the ’round robin’ system, whereby each competitor plays in turn against every other during the tournament. The Tata Steel Masters has 14 participants and the Tata Steel Challengers has 14 participants. Both groups start on January 10th 2015 and the last round is on January 25th. All rounds in Wijk aan Zee begin at 13.30 hours, except for the last round on January 25th, which begins at 12.00 hours. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.

Wesley So has shredded any doubt that anyone could possibly have about his strength. After having a meteoric ascent, including his victory in the Millionaire Open, many still claimed that he hadn’t had a real challenge with the “big boys”. Well, here he is, with a fantastic 8.5/13 and cementing his position in the top-10 live rating list.

Here, I covered and followed Wesley’s game from start to finish.  I consolidate all Tata Steel 2015 game accounts related to his spectacular games between elite GMs which proved that Wesley can play to that high level.

Participants of Tata Steel 2015
image

Average rating: 2746
Category: 20
FIDE-ratings of January 2015

Final Standings

image

Final standings after 13 rounds at Wijk aan Zee

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 13

So, Wesley 1-0 Van Wely, Loek

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.25
Round : 13.3
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Van Wely, Loek (2667)
Result: 1-0
ECO : A61 – Benoni Defense

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Bf4 a6 8. a4 Bg7 9. h3 O-O 10. e3 Nh5 11. Bh2 f5 12. Be2 f4 13. Qd2 Bh6 14. e4 Bg7 15. O-O Nd7 16. Ne1 Ndf6 17. Nd3 Qe8 18. Rfe1 g5 19. e5 dxe5 20. d6 Kh8 21. Bd1 g4 22. Rxe5 Qg6 23. Nxf4 Nxf4 24. Bxf4 gxh3 25. Rg5 Qf7 26. Be5 Bd7 27. Bb3 Be6 28. Bxe6 Qxe6 29. Re1 Qf7 30. Nd5 Nh5 31. Bxg7+ Nxg7 32. Re7 1-0

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 12

Giri, Anish 1-0 So, Wesley

The longest battle of the day took 111 moves and seven and a quarter hours. It ended Wesley So’s undefeated run going back to April 2014 which was also more than 50 games. So’s problems went back to opening he was already under a lot of pressure after the nice 18.Rb5. They entered a Queen and Pawn ending where Giri had an extra a-pawn on move 36. Giri could have finished things much faster but he probably wanted to make sure and So stayed tough. In the end So couldn’t escape his fate. This results means that it is Giri who is half a point off the leader Carlsen rather than So going into the final round.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.24
Round : 12.5
White : Giri, Anish (2784)
Black : So, Wesley (2762)
Result: 1-0
ECO : A13 – English Opening

with LIVE commentary by GM Alexander Delchev through chessbomb.com.

1. c4 Today’s game is an opportunity for Giri to catch up with the leaders – Carlsen on +5 and So on +4. So is having an almost perfect tournament so far, and I hope for a big clash today. Giri’s first move 1. c4 is an invitation to English opening
1… e6 which So refused. The same he did against Carlsen in round 1 when the game later transposed to Nimzo-Indian defence
2. g3 (2. Nc3 Nf6 3. d4 Bb4 Carslen-So -First round)
2… d5 3. Bg2 Catalan without d4 – white wishes to avoid the sharp lines of Catalan with an early dc4. Giri is a world leading expert in those fiancheto systems
3… Nf6 4. Nf3 d4 Rare line – black wants to play Benoni with colours reversed. Normally, black prefers either (4… dxc4) (or 4… Be7)
5. O-O c5 (5… Nc6 is weaker 6. d3 e5 and black is clearly a tempo down)
6. e3 Nc6 7. exd4 cxd4 8. d3 Bd6 this is the most solid setup for black – Black bishop is more active on d6. Black can more easily achieve e6-e5 now. The downside is that white can exchange his bishop for the knight f6, which however is a double edged operation (8… Be7 9. Re1 O-O is the classical approach. Black will need to lose time for Nf6-d7 or Ne8, to be able to play f6 and e5 and to get the normal Benoni positions)
9. Na3 (The ideal setup for white was demonstrated by Aronian in the following game9. Re1 O-O (9… h6 10. Na3) 10. a3 a5 11. Bg5 h6 (11… e5 12. Nbd2) 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Nbd2 Qd8 (13… Qe7 Ftacnik 14. Nb3) 14. Rc1 Re8 (14… b6 15. Nxd4 Nxd4 16. Bxa8) (14… Qb6 15. Ne4) 15. c5 Bc7 16. Nc4 Bd7 17. Nfd2 Rb8 18. Nd6 with white dominating in Aronian,L -Filippov,V /Istanbul 2003/)
9… e5 what is the advantage of this move compared to more natural (9… O-O 10. Nc2 e5 I think So is avoiding this line because of white option 11. b4 and white can start immediately the typical for Benoni queenside counterplay)
10. c5 White has development advantage so it is the right time for taking the initiative
10… Bxc5 (black is accepting the temporary sacrifice,White has unpleasant pressure in case of 10… Bc7 11. Nc4 O-O 12. Re1 Re8 13. b4 a614. a4)
11. Nc4 Nd7 (11… Bg4 12. Qa4 Bd7 13. Qb3and white is getting back the sacrificed pawn)
12. Re1 O-O (12… f6 was possible but too risky13. Nh4 g6 14. Bh6 (or 14. f4) 14… Bf815. Qc1 keeping the black king in the centre for a long time)
13. Nfxe5 Ncxe5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Rxe5 White has a slight but enduring advantage,His Catalan bishop is exerting pressure over the long diagonal
15… Qb6 seems black need only one more move Be6 and everything is under control, but
16. a4 Giri is in his best. He creates new problems for black, thus slowing down his development. Now a4-a5 is really unpleasant, black should move again his queen
16… a5 Good defence but now b5 is another hole and pawn a5 becomes second weakness(16… Be6 17. b4 Bd6 18. Rb5 was the idea)
17. Qc2 Bb4 18. Rb5 Qe6 19. Bf4 White bishops are separating the board in two parts. Black’s only chance for completing development is to give away b7 pawn
19… Bd7 20. Bd5 Qf6 21. Rxb7 Rac822. Qd1 Be6 (22… Bc6 23. Rb6 Bxa424. Rxf6 Bxd1 25. Rxf7 Rxf7 26. Rxd1 is winning)
23. Rb6 Rfe8 24. Bxe6 Rxe6 25. Rc1 very strong intermediate move. It seems that white is just a pawn up for nothing
25… Rce8 26. Rxe6 Qxe6 27. Bd2 Bxd2 28. Qxd2 Qf5 29. Rc4 Qd5 30. b4 axb4 realisation of advantage. White should avoid various possible theoretical drawn positions in a rook endgame, (30… h5 31. b5 h4 was a good chance to muddy the waters)
31. Qxb4 h5 32. Rxd4 second pawn and there is no hope for So
32… Qf3 33. Re4 Rd8 34. Re3 (34. Qb1 Qxd335. Qxd3 Rxd3 is well known draw,and Giri prefers to exchange rooks not the queens)
34… Qd1+ 35. Kg2 Rxd3 36. Rxd3(36. Re8+ Kh7 37. Qe4+ g6 38. a5 should be a more easy way for him)
36… Qxd3 37. h4 position should be a technical win for white (off course not 37. Qb7 h438. a5 h3+ 39. Kxh3 Qf5+ 40. Kg2 Qxa5)
37… g5 black only chance for a draw is perpetual check so he needs to open white king position
38. Qb8+ (or 38. hxg5 Qd5+ 39. Kg1 Qxg540. Qb5)
38… Kg7 39. Qe5+ f6 40. Qe3 (40. Qe7+ Kg641. Qe8+ Kg7)
40… Qc4 41. hxg5 Qd5+ 42. Qf3 Qxg543. Qb7+ Kh6 44. Qa8 Kg7 45. Qa7+ (45. a5 h4 46. Qb7+ Kh6 47. a6 hxg348. a7 gxf2+ is what white should avoid)
45… Kg6 46. Qa8 Qf5 47. Qf3 Qe548. Kh2 Kf7 49. Qb3+ Kg7 50. Qb4 Giri blocks tha counterplay with h4, but how to support the pawn
50… Qc7 51. Qe4 Giri has to overcome some difficulties, because the direct (51. a5 h4 52. a6 hxg3+ 53. fxg3 Qc2+ 54. Kh3 Qh7+ 55. Qh4 Qd3 56. Qa4 Qf1+ gives hime only a draw.)
51… Qc5 52. Kg2 Qg5 53. Qe7+ Kg6 54. Qe8+ Kg7 55. Qd7+ Kh6 56. Qd6 Kg6 57. Qd3+ Kg7 58. Qe4 Qc5 59. Qb7+ Kg6 60. Qb1+ Kg7 61. Qe4 Qg5 62. Qe7+ Kg6 63. Qe8+ Kg7 64. Qb5 Qg4 65. Qb7+ Kg6 66. Qb1+ Kg7 67. a5 h4 68. Qd3 Qc8 69. a6 Qc6+ 70. Kh2 Qb6 71. Kg2 h3+ 72. Kxh3 Qxf2 73. Qc4 Kg6 74. Qf4 Qg1 75. Qe4+ f5 76. Qg2 Qa1 77. Qc6+ Kg5 78. Kg2 Qa2+ 79. Kf3 Qa3+ 80. Ke2 Qa2+ 81. Kd3 Qb3+ 82. Qc3 Qd5+ 83. Qd4 Qb5+ 84. Qc4 Qb1+ 85. Kd2 Qb2+ 86. Ke3 Qa3+ 87. Kf2 Qa5 88. Qf4+ Kg6 89. Qd6+ Kh5 90. Ke3 Qa4 91. Kd2 Qb3 92. Qd3 Qa2+ 93. Ke3 Kg5 94. Kf3 Qa1 95. Qd8+ Kh5 96. Qe8+ Kg5 97. Qe7+ Kg6 98. Qe6+ Kg5 99. Qe3+ Kf6 100. a7 Qf1+ 101. Qf2 Qh1+ 102. Ke2 Qe4+ 103. Qe3 Qc4+ 104. Ke1 Qb4 + 105. Kf1 Qb1+ 106. Kg2 Qb7+ 107. Kh2 Kf7 108. Qa3 Qa8 109. Qb3+ Kg7 110. Qb8 Qf3 111. a8=Q 1-0

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 11

So, Wesley 1-0 Saric, Ivan

Things were heating up until Saric made a crucial couple of mistakes

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.23
Round : 11.3
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Saric, Ivan (2666)
Result: 1-0
ECO : C92 – Ruy Lopez, closed, 9.h3

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Re8 10. d4 Bb7 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. a4 exd4 13. cxd4 Qd7 14. axb5 axb5 15. Rxa8 Bxa8 16. Ng5 Nd8 17. e5 Nd5 18. Ndf3 h6 19. Ne4 Nb4 20. Qd2 dxe5 21. Nxe5 Qf5 22. Nc5 Bxc5 23. dxc5 Bd5 24. g4 Qf6 25. Bxd5 Nxd5 26. Qxd5 Nc6 27. Nf3 Rd8 28. Qe4 1-0

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 10

Ding Liren 1/2-1/2 So, Wesley

This was seemingly a very exciting game, but it was all prep. The players followed the old game Anatoli Vaisser – Efim Geller from the Sochi Chigorin Memorial back in 1982. Actually this game in Wijk aan Zee even finished a couple of moves before the Vaisser-Geller one.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.21
Round : 10.2
White : Ding, Liren (2732)
Black : So, Wesley (2762)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : D31 – QGD, Charousek (Petrosian) variation

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. g4 Be6 8. h4 Bxh4 9. Qb3 g5 10. Be5 f6 11. Bh2 Bxg4 12. Qxb7 Qe7 13. Qxa8 Qxe3+ 14. Be2 Bxf2+ 15. Kf1 Bh4 16. Qxb8+ Kf7 17. Nd1 Bxe2+ 18. Nxe2 Qf3+ 19. Kg1 Qxe2 20. Bg3 Qg4 21. Kg2 Qe4+ 22. Kg1 Qg4 23. Kg2 Qe4+ 24. Kg1 Qg4 1/2-1/2

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 9

So, Wesley 1/2-1/2 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime

A pawn sacrifice in a Grunfeld (does Black always sacrifice a pawn in the Grunfeld? It increasingly looks like it) left MVL down a pawn but with plenty of compensation. So blundered with the move 28.Re7, missing his opponent’s reply. However in time pressure MVL was not able to use his passed a-pawn and powerful bishop, and the game fizzled into a draw.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.20
Round : 9.5
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime (2757)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : D86 – Gruenfeld, Exchange, Classical variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O b6 11. dxc5 Qc7 12. Nd4 Ne5 13. Nb5 Qb8 14. Be2 bxc5 15. f4 Ng4 16. Bxc5 a6 17. Na3 Qc7 18. Bd4 e5 19. fxe5 Nxe5 20. Qc1 Bg4 21. Bxg4 Nxg4 22. Qf4 Qxf4 23. Rxf4 Ne5 24. Rb1 Rac8 25. h3 Rfd8 26. Rff1 Nd3 27. Rb7 Nc5 28. Re7 Bf8 29. Bxc5 Rxc5 30. Rexf7 Rxc3 31. Nb1 Rc2 32. Kh1 Bg7 33. Na3 Rxa2 34. Nc4 Rf8 35. Rxf8+ Bxf8 36. e5 Bc5 37. g4 Rc2 38. Nd6 Re2 39. Ra1 Rxe5 40. Nb7 Be7 41. Rxa6 Kg7 42. Nd6 Bxd6 43. Rxd6 1/2-1/2

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 8

Ivanchuk, Vassily 0-1 So, Wesley

Ivanchuk fell for some nasty opening preparation.

So  unleashed  the  super-sharp Marshall  Attack of the Ruy Lopez against  the   white-playing Ivanchuk  (ELO 2715),  sacrificing  a  knight on  the  g2-square  to open  up white’s kingside and overwhelming  the  Ukrainian   with a  brilliant  attack.

It’s an example that  a  pawn can be stronger than a knight, ~ Wesley So in  an  interview after the game.

image

Vassily Ivanchuk vs. Wesley So © photo courtesy of chessbase.com

The game of the  day  in Wijk aan Zee  was for  me  Ivanchuk – So where black in  this position sacrificed his knight  with 14…Ng2 and after 15.Kg2 a5.   An amazing play on the whole board with the plan  Ra6-g6. I  was surprised that this idea  was  played  last summer during my birthday  in  the  Andorra open by Gozzoli ~ wrote  Susan Polgar

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.18
Round : 8.3
White : Ivanchuk, Vassily (2715)
Black : So, Wesley (2762)
Result: 0-1
ECO : C88 – Ruy Lopez, closed, 7…O-O

This is a post analysis from Chessbase.com.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. h3 Bb7 9. d3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nbd2 Qd7 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 13. Rxe5 Nf4 14. Nf3 Nxg2 As spectacular as this move is, along with the idea that follows it, it was already known. Gustafsson had employed two months ago against Guliyev. Before that, there was also a game Jolly-Gozzoli in July.
15. Kxg2 a5 This is the point of the position. Black wants to swing over the rook via a6 to g6, but he is also threatening a4 trapping the White bishop. This is very uncomfortable to meet over the board.
16. Rxe7 [16.a4 Ra6 17. Qe2 Rg6+ 18. Kh2 Bd6 19. Nh4 Bxe5+ 20. Qxe5 Re8 21. Qf4 Rf6 22. Qg3 Re1 23. Bh6 Rxf2+! 24. Qxf2 Rxa1 25. Nf5 Rh1+ 26. Kg3 Bc8 27. Qg2 Qxf5 28. Qxh1 Qg6+ 29. Kf2 and here Black, for some reason, had to first place the strong intermezzo 29…bxa4 before taking on h6 to keep his advantage. Gulyiev-Gustafsson, 2014.]
16…Qxe7 17. c3 Ra6 White isn’t up much material. Black’s game kind of plays itself, bring the pieces over to the kingside, while White has no development. Ivanchuk is already lost at this point.
18. d4 Rf6 19. d5 a4 20. Bc2 Rd8 21. Qe1 Qd7 22. Ng5 h6 23. Ne4 Rg6+ 24. Kh2 f5 25. Ng3 Qxd5 26. Qg1 Qf3

image

Ivanchuk vs So final board position after 26...Qf3

[26…Qf3 Black is threatening to take on g3 and, if White recaptures with the f2 pawn, to play Qe2 followed by mate. 27. Be3 Qxe3! fails just the same. 28.fxe3 Rd2+ ] 0-1

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 7

So, Wesley 1/2-1/2 Radjabov, Teimour

Wesley So missed a nice chance to increase the pressure, but it was not a blunder as appaling as what we have seen in the previous examples. Instead of putting up more pressure the liquidation led to a draw.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.17
Round : 7.6
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Radjabov, Teimour (2734)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : D37 – QGD, classical variation (5.Bf4)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 dxc4 8. O-O c5 9. dxc5 Nxc5 10. Bxc4 Qxd1 11. Rfxd1 b6 12. Bd6 Bxd6 13. Rxd6 Bb7 14. Rad1 Bxf3 15. gxf3 Rfc8 16. Bf1 g6 17. Bg2 Rab8 18. f4 b5 19. Ne2 Nce4 20. R6d4 Nc5 21. Bf3 Kf8 22. Kg2 h6 23. b3 a6 24. h3 Ke7 25. e4 Kf8 26. Ng3 Ng8 27. Rd6 a5 28. f5 gxf5 29. exf5 Ne7 30. Bg4 Nd5 31. fxe6 Nf4+ 32. Kf3 Ncxe6 33. Ne4 a4 34. Rd7 Rb6 35. Bxe6 Nxe6 36. h4 axb3 37. axb3 Nc5 38. Rc1 Rbc6 39. Nxc5 Rxc5 40. Rxc5 Rxc5 1/2-1/2

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 6

Jobava, Baadur 0-1 So, Wesley

A tough blow for Jobava, who loses his fourth game in a row.

GM  Wesley So   achieved   another milestone  when   he  defeated  GM Baadur  Jobava  of   Georgia   in  the  sixth round  of the  77th Tata Steel chess championships in  Rotterdam.
  
In beating the 10th-seeded Jobava (ELO 2727) in only 39 moves of   the  old  Italian  opening of  Guioco Piano,  So gained additional 4.5 rating points and  reached  a personal  high  of   2781.4 in the live rating list.
  
Rating-wise, So is  only 8.3 points  behind   the  late  American world champion Bobby Fischer, who   reached  his highest rating of  2789.7  on  Aug. 4, 1972 during his world championship match with Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.16
Round : 6.2
White : Jobava, Baadur (2727)
Black : So, Wesley (2762)
Result: 0-1
ECO : C53 – Giuoco Piano

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O Ba7 7. Bd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Ne7 9. Nxe5 d6 10. Nf3 Nxd5 11. Bg5 f6 12. Re1+ Kf7 13. Qb3 Be6 14. c4 fxg5 15. cxd5 Bd7 16. Nc3 g4 17. Nd2 Rf8 18. Nce4 Kg8 19. Rac1 b5 20. Qc3 Bb6 21. a4 bxa4 22. Nc4 Ba7 23. Na5 Qh4 24. Rc2 Rf7 25. Qxc7 Bb5 26. Qxd6 Bxd3 27. g3 Qh5 28. Rc7 Re8 29. Rxa7 Rxa7 30. Nc6 Rf7 31. Qb4 Ref8 32. Ne7+ Kh8 33. f4 gxf3 34. Nf2 Be2 35. d6 Qb5 36. Qd4 Qd7 37. Rc1 Rf6 38. Rc6 Bb5 39. Rb6 Qe6 0-1
  
○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 5

So, Wesley 1/2-1/2 Hou Yifan

A somewhat strange game. A Ragozin turned into a strange structure where Hou Yifan’s attack on the kingside (which came out of nowhere) netted her an extra pawn, but with a dubious pawn structure. So did not respond in the best way and Black’s bishop and potential passed queenside pawn promised her good chances in the endgame. After a mistake in time pressure, it was Hou Yifan who was against the ropes as she underestimated the danger against her exposed king. After a seemingly inexplicable decision on move 47 by Black to exchange rooks and go into a much worse endgame, it seemed like So might have good winning chances. However, the World Women’s Champion showed she had everything under control: her activity with the passed pawn created by the exchange was just sufficient to net the draw.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.15
Round : 5.4
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Hou, Yifan (2673)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : D38 – QGD, Ragozin variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 dxc4 9. Bxc4 c5 10. O-O cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bd7 12. Ne4 Qe7 13. Qh5 Nc6 14. Nb3 Be8 15. a3 f5 16. Qe2 Bxa3 17. bxa3 fxe4 18. Nc5 Ne5 19. Ba2 Nf3+ 20. Kh1 Qh4 21. gxf3 Bh5 22. Bxe6+ Kh8 23. Bg4 exf3 24. Qb2 Bxg4 25. Rg1 Rf7 26. Qd4 h5 27. Nd3 Rd8 28. Qe4 Qe7 29. Qxe7 Rxe7 30. Nf4 Kh7 31. Rc5 g6 32. h3 Bf5 33. Nxh5 Bxh3 34. Kh2 Bf5 35. Nf6+ Kh6 36. e4 Rf8 37. e5 b6 38. Rd5 Kg7 39. Kg3 Be6 40. Rh1 Bg8 41. Kf4 Rc8 42. Rd4 b5 43. Re1 a5 44. Kxf3 Rc3+ 45. Kf4 Rxa3 46. Nxg8 Kxg8 47. e6 Ra4 48. Rxa4 bxa4 49. Ke5 Kg7 50. Kd6 Kf8 51. Rc1 Re8 52. Ke5 a3 53. Kf6 a2 54. Ra1 Rb8 55. f4 Rb4 56. f5 gxf5 57. Rxa2 Rh4 58. Rd2 Rh6+ 59. Ke5 Rh1 60. Kd6 Ke8 61. Rg2 Rd1+ 62. Ke5 Rh1 63. Rg6 Ke7 64. Rg7+ Ke8 65. Kf6 Rh6+ 66. Ke5 Rh1 1/2-1/2

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 4
  
Caruana, Fabiano 1/2-1/2 So, Wesley

First against Carlsen, and now against Caruana, So has shown an extremely solid repertoire which has allowed him to equalize without problems, neutralizing any initiative that White might come up with. Today the Spanish served him well as Caruana obtained nothing from the opening and after reaching a completely equal middle game the players agreed to a draw.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.13
Round : 4.5
White : Caruana, Fabiano(2820)
Black : So, Wesley (2762)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : C84 – Ruy Lopez, Closed defence

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. Nc3 d6 9. a3 Nb8 10. a4 b4 11. Nd5 Nxd5 12. Bxd5 c6 13. Bb3 Nd7 14. d4 a5 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Qe2 Qc7 17. Be3 c5 18. Bc4 Nb6 19. Bb5 f5 20. exf5 Bxf5 21. c3 bxc3 22. bxc3 Kh8 23. Nd2 Nd5 24. Rac1 Rad8 25. Nc4 Bf6 26. f3 Nf4 27. Bxf4 exf4 28. Nd2 c4 29. Ne4 Rd3 30. Nxf6 Qb6+ 31. Qf2 1/2-1/2

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 3

So, Wesley 1-0 Aronian, Levon

A huge blunder by Aronian straight out of the complex opening

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.12
Round : 3.6
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Aronian, Levon(2797)
Result: 1-0
ECO : C45 – Scotch, Mieses variation

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. Nd2 Rb8 9. c4 Nf4 10. Qe3 Ng6 11. f4 f6 12. Qxa7 Rb7 13. Qf2 fxe5 14. f5 Nf4 15. Qf3 Qf7 16. g3 Nh5 17. Be2 Nf6 18. g4 d5 19. g5 e4 20. Qh3 Ng8 21. Bh5 g6 22. fxg6 Bxh3 23. gxf7+ Kd7 24. fxg8=Q Rxg8 25. Rg1 Bd6 26. cxd5 cxd5 27. Bf7 Rf8 28. Bxd5 Rb4 29. g6 hxg6 30. Rxg6 Rd4 31. Bxe4 Re8 32. Kf2 Rf8+ 33. Ke2 Re8 34. Kf2 Rf8+ 35. Ke3 c5 36. Rg7+ Kd8 37. Ke2 Bc8 38. Bf3 Ba6+ 39. Kf2 Rh4 40. Nf1 Kc8 41. Be3 Rh3 42. Nd2 Rxh2+ 43. Kg1 Rxd2 44. Bg4+ Kb8 45. Bxd2 Be5 46. Re7 Bd4+ 47. Be3 Rg8 48. Bxd4 Rxg4+49. Kf2 Rxd4 50. Rh1 Bb7 51. Rh8+ Ka7 52. Ke3 Rb4 53. b3 c4 54. Rh4 1-0

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 2
  
Carlsen, Magnus 1/2-1/2 So, Wesley

Wesley So equalized without problems from the opening and never let Carlsen have even a hint of an advantage. Carlsen took his time before agreeing to the repetition, probably trying to find something better, but there was simply no rope to pull from.

image

Wesley So vs. Magnus Carlsen © photo courtesy of http://www.tatasteelchess.com

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date : 2015.01.11
Round : 2.4
White : Carlsen, Magnus(2862)
Black : So, Wesley (2762)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO : E46 – Nimzo-Indian, Reshevsky variation

with LIVE commentary by GM Alexander Delchev through chessbomb.com.

Today I chose this game where Carlsen will face another young star – the winner of the First Millionaire tournament, who recently entered TOP 10 – Wesley So, originally from Philippines. In the first round game of So against Wojtaszek, on the 57 move in a very sharp position both players blundered and So missed his chance to win. Actually, this is the first game between So and Carlsen, so lets see what approach Magnus will choose.

1. c4 English opening – most probably the idea of the first move is to avoid the Gruenfeld defence or Slav as against 1…c6 white has 2 e4!? offering the Caro Kann Panov attack
1… Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. d4 (3. e4 is in the spirit of the English opening, when black has a choice 3… d5 (3… c5 more risky approach 4. e5 Ng8 5. d4 Nc6 6. Nf3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nxe5 8. Ndb5 a6 9. Nd6+ Bxd6 10. Qxd6 f6 11. Be3 Nf7 when white has good compensation for a pawn, but black should be fine) 4. e5 d4 5. exf6 dxc3 6. bxc3 Qxf6 7. Nf3 with complicated struggle, for example 7…e5 8. d4 exd4 9. Bg5 Qe6+ 10. Be2 Be7 11. cxd4 (11. Bxe7 d3) 11… Bxg5 12. Nxg5 was in Aronian,L -Kramnik, V/Moscow 2011/)
3… Bb4 After some move order tricks, the game entered into Nimco Indian defence – the most popular amongst the closed openings
4. e3 Simple chess by Carlsen, Rubinstein variation is one of the most solid white reactions. Here the battle is on a strategical basis, many different pawn structures could arise
4… O-O 5. Ne2 d5 (5… c6 has been popular recently and is a very exciting line – black’s idea is to secure the square c7 for the bishop’s return, from where it will be more active, then on e7, for example 6. a3 Ba5 7. Ng3 (7. b4 Bc7 8. e4 d59. e5 Ne8 is very sharp as black will soon open files with f6, while white is behind in development)7… d5 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 c5 10. O-O cxd4 11. exd4 Nc6 12. Be3 Bb6 and black was already slightly better Sowray,P-Delchev, A/London 2013/)
6. a3 Be7 This is considered as one of the main black continuations after 5.Nge2. The arising positions are quite complicated with chances for both sides.
7. cxd5 exd5 this move leads to more dynamic struggle, then the other continuation (7… Nxd5 Carlsen already played this position in 2013 against Anand. The game followed 8. Bd2 Nd7 9. g3 b6 10. Nxd5 (10. Bg2 Bb7 11. Nxd5 Bxd5 12. Bxd5 exd5 13. O-O Nf6)10… exd5 11. Bg2 Bb7 when Magnus showed up the novelty 12. Bb4 and went on to win Carlsen,M -Anand,V Moscow 2013)
8. g3 this one has been the most popular recently amongst white’s options. White’s plan is after completing the development to achieve the e3-e4 break, but the things are not that simple. A downside of bishop fiancheto is that now in case of white’s typical minority attack with b4, white queenside will be left with light square weaknesses – c4, b5, a4 as the bishop is missing there. On the other side, e3-e4 is hard to achieve, as black will develop his bishop to f5, rook to e8(8. Ng3 is harmless after black’s typical reaction8… c5 with good chances to take over the initiative, for example 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. Bd3 Nc6 11. O-O d4) (8. Nf4 is the old main line 8… c6 9. Bd3 Re8 (9… a5)10. O-O Nbd7 (10… Bd6) 11. f3 Nf8 12. b4 Ne6 13. Nfe2 b6 14. Rb1 a5 15. bxa5 Rxa5 16. a4 Bd6 17. Kh1 c5 with about equal chances) (8. b4 was the move which Aronian preferred a couple of times 8… Bf5 9.f3 h6 10. Ng3 Bg6 11. Bd3 Bd6 12. Nf5 Nc6 13. Qc2 Bxf5 14. Bxf5 a5 15. b5 Ne7 Aronian,L -Adams,M/Wijk aan Zee 16. Bh3 Nh7 17. g3 c5 18. bxc6 bxc6 19. O-O c5 20. dxc5 Bxc5 21. Kh1 Ng5 22. Bg2 Rc8 23. f4 Ne4 24. Bxe4 dxe4 25. Rd1 Qe8 26. Qxe4 Rc6 27. Qf3 Qa8 28. Rd3 Rd8 29. Rxd8+ Qxd8 30. Rb1 Bxa3 31. Bxa3 Rxc3 32. Rd1 Qe8 33. Bxe7 Qxe7 34. Qa8+ Kh7 35. e4 Re3 36. e5 Qb4 37. Qd5 a4 38. f5 Re1+ 39. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 40. Kg2 Qe2+ 41. Kg1 Qe1+ 42. Kg2 Qe2+ 43. Kg1 a3 44. Qxf7 Qe1+ 45. Kg2 Qxe5 46. Qa7 Qb2+ 47. Kh3 Kg8 48. Qe3 Kf8 49. Qc5+ Ke8 50. Qc8+ Ke7 51. Qc7+ Kf6 52. Qd6+ Kxf5 53. Qd5+ Kf6 54. Qd6+ Kf7 55. Qd7+ Kg6 56. Qd3+ Kf7 57. Qd7+ Kf6 1/2 Aronian,L (2752)-Adams,M (2707)/Wijk aan Zee 2006/CBM 111) (8. h3 has been tried by one of the experts of this line – Ivan Sokolov in Tata Steel two years ago but without success 8… Nbd7 9. g4 Nb6 10. Bg2 c6 11. b3 Ne8 12. O-O Nc7 13. Ra2 Re8 14. Nf4 Sokolov-Van Wely 2013 Tata Steel)
8… Nbd7 (8… c6 9. Bg2 Na6 10. Bd2 Nc7 11. Qc2 g6 12. f3 Ne6 13. Na4 Re8 14. O-O a5 15. Kh1 b5) (8… a5 9. Bg2 c6 10. O-O Na6 11. b3 Re8 12. Kh1 Bf8 13. Nf4 Bf5 14. f3 h6 15. Ra2 b5 both lead to a very sharp position, where white e3-e4 is not easy to achieve)
9. Bg2 Nb6 10. O-O Re8 (10… a5 this move is not immediately forced, as white is not threatening b4, the idea is sometimes to have a5-a4 to block the queen side 11. h3 more principled is (11. f3) 11… Re8 12. g4 h6 13. Ng3 c6 14. f4 Nh7 15. b3 Bh4 16. Kh2 Bxg3+ 17. Kxg3 f5 and white’s plan proved to be entirely wrong in Ponomariov,R -Eljanov,P Kharkov 2009)
11. b3 seems to me as a novelty, b3 is a part of white’s plan – to transfer the rook to d2 without losing time moving the bishop c1, so it is a good idea to start with it (11. Nf4 Bf8 12. b3 a5 13. Ra2 c6 14. Rd2 (14. f3) 14… a4 15. b4 Nc4 is good for black coming with tempo to the weak c4 square) (11. Qc2 Bd7 12. b4 this move leads to irreparable weaknesses in white queen side 12… a5 13. b5 c6 14. bxc6 bxc6 15. Nf4 Bd6 16. e4 with sharp consequences in Bluvshtein,M -Swiercz,D /Wijk aan Zee 2011/)
11… h6 (why not 11… Bf5 12. Nf4 c6)
12. Qc2 Magnus changes the plan and is taking the chance – avoiding black bishop to appear on f5. In my opinion the position is a bit too strategically complicated for the taste of So, whose lack of experience can be used as a good base for Carlsen to squeeze the advantage
12… Bd7 13. a4 Precise move – the idea is to drag the black pawn to a5, so later on black’s only possible counterbreak in the center c7-c5 will lead to weakness of the b5 square. Magnus thinks that weakening of b4 is not that important as arrival of black knight on that square is too difficult to achieve
13… a5 (13… Qc8 is just impossible because of14. a5 Bf5 15. e4 winning a piece)
14. Nf4 c6 15. Bb2 Both sides completed development, the opening stage is over. What are the plans for both sides here? Black needs to improve the knight on b6 – Nc8-d6 is possible treatment, to support Bf5. White’s plan is simple – he will put the rooks to e1 and d1, hoping to achieve f3 – e4
15… Bb4 after 20 minutes of consideration, So’s move is not changing much, he activates his bishop to b4 to get control on the e4 square and to impede f3 move for a while, I think he is planning Rc8 and c5 and in that direction he wants to build pressure on the c3 knight
16. Nd3 asking the bishop to return or to be exchanged for the knight – this operation is clearly in white favour, so there is no other choice but to retreat, or maybe first include Bf5 (16. Rfe1 Rc8 17. Nd3 (17. f3 c5 is in black hands) 17… Bf5 18. Qd1 Bf8 19. f3 Bh7 20. Rc1 Nbd7 with balanced position, where both sides must be very carefully planning their operations.)
16… Bf5 For the second time in the game So is refusing to place his bishop on more active location, getting control over the important e4 square. Now white can try Nc5 with intentions to exchange one of black bishops, or if Bc8 Rfe1 preparing e3-e4 and I don’t see any counterplay for black (17. Nc5 Bc8 18. Rfe1)
17. Qd1 Bd6 18. Re1 Nbd7 19. Ba3 The same motif as in the game against Anand – exchange of the dark squared bishops is favourable for white as his bishop on b2 is biting the dust. On the other side, now the plan with e3-e4 will be senseless, as d4 pawn will become a long-term weakness
19… Bxa3 20. Rxa3 Nb8 excellent idea – knight is coming to b4 via a6, while white’s future plan is not entirely clear
21. Ra2 Na6 22. Rae2 white achieved the aim to transfer his rook to the centre, now e3-e4 break is the only available chance for white to open files for the rooks
22… Re7 Black’s position is not easy to handle. Where to attack? How to make use of the b4 square and immobility of white pawn on b3? Should black open with c6-c5, then his d5 pawn will become weak, so the position is standstill, or maybe black can try (22… Bxd3 23. Qxd3 Nb4 24. Qd2 Ne4 to clear the situation a bit, but So doesn’t care much about choosing the concrete plan, unless his position is solid enough and no need to take actions)
23. Ne5 Nb4 24. e4 Carlsen agrees to this move, which for some period will give him the initiative, but I believe black has enough resources to handle it, and it may turn the way around as now d4 pawn is isolated. But why did Magnus refuse the plan with f3 and e4? There is no time as if (24. f3 Nd7)
24… dxe4 25. Nxe4 Bxe4 26. Bxe4 Nxe4 27. Rxe4 Qd5 black is at least equal
28. R4e3 b5 29. Ng4 Rxe3 30. Nxe3 I agree chances are levelled, still black is on the more pleasant side
30… Qe4 31. Ng4 Qc2 32. Ne3 Qe433. Ng4 Qc2 34. Ne3 Qe4 Repetition of moves comes as a good way to put an end to that totally correct but absolutely eventless game. I like Magnus’ opening choice to invite So in Rubinstein variation in Nimzo-Indian. He already had experience here and I expected a bit more aggression from him. He didn’t find a good plan. Maybe that f3&e4 which is the only active possibility for white, probably was considered as a risky approach and he preferred to stay and wait for his opponent’s mistakes. But So was just perfect today and he deserved the draw with black pieces against the twice World champion. Congratulation to So and good luck until the end of the tournament! 1/2 – 1/2

He played the   middle  game  better  than   me. I overlooked  things. Then I  saw the  chance  to  exchange pieces  and  draw. ~ Magnus Carlsen on Wesley on their 2nd round match up

○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○○

Round 1

So, Wesley 1/2-1/2 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw

A very topsy-turvy game. Wojtaszek’s king was always prancing around the middle of the board, but White’s rooks and knight just couldn’t coordinate to deliver a fatal blow. Slowly Black’s pawns crept down the middle of the board and in severe mutual time pressure Wojtaszek missed the tactic.

Event : 77th Tata Steel GpA
Site  : Wijk aan Zee NED
Date  : 2015.01.10
Round : 1.7
White : So, Wesley (2762)
Black : Wojtaszek, Radoslaw (2744)
Result: 1/2-1/2
ECO   : B90 – Sicilian Najdorf, Byrne (English) Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 h5 9. Nd5 Bxd5 10. exd5 Nbd7 11. Be2 g6 12. Qd2 Bg7 13. O-O b6 14. Rae1 O-O 15. c4 Rc8 16. h3 Nh7 17. Na1 a5 18. Nc2 Bf6 19. Na3 Bh4 20. Rb1 f5 21. Nb5 f4 22. Bf2 Bxf2+ 23. Rxf2 Nc5 24. Qc2 Qf6 25. b3 Ng5 26. Bd3 Kg7 27. a3 Nf7 28. b4 Nxd3 29. Qxd3 Qf5 30. Qxf5 gxf5 31. Rc2 Kf6 32. bxa5 bxa5 33. Na7 Rb8 34. Rb5 a4 35. Nc6 Rbc8 36. c5 dxc5 37. Rb6 Nd6 38. Na5 Ke7 39. Nc6+ Kf6 40. Na7 Rcd8 41. Rxc5 e4 42. Ra5 Rd7 43. Raa6 Ke5 44. Nc6+ Kxd5 45. Ra5+ Ke6 46. fxe4 fxe4 47. Rxh5 Rf6 48. Nd4+ Ke7 49. Nc6+ Ke6 50. Nd4+ Ke7 51. Re5+ Kf7 52. Rd5 Ke8 53. Rb8+ Kf7 54. Nb5 Ke6 55. Nc3 f3 56. Rb6 Rg6 57. g4 Rh6 58. Kh2 f2 59. Rf5 e3 60. Kg2 Rc7 61. Nd5 Kd7 62. Re5 Rc5 63. Rb1 Nc4 64. Rf5 Kd6 65. Rb8 Re6 66. Rd8+ Kc6 67. Rc8+ Kd6 68. Rd8+ Kc6 69. Rc8+ Kd6 70. Rd8+ 1/2-1/2

Sources

The Week In Chess
Tata Steel Chess Official Website
chessgames.com
Chess Base