[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site ""] [Date "2018.08.18"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2822"] [BlackElo "2766"] [PlyCount "133"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "United States"] [BlackTeam "Russia"] [WhiteTeamCountry "USA"] [BlackTeamCountry "RUS"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. Re1 d6 7. a4 Kh8 8. Nc3 Ng8 9. Nd5 f5 10. h3 fxe4 11. dxe4 Nf6 12. a5 (12. Ng5 Nxd5 13. Nxh7 Rf4 $1 { Was spotted by Aronian! Yes, during his own game, he went into the confessional booth to give this variation about another game!}) 12... a6 13. Ra3 Be6 14. Nxf6 Bxc4 15. Nd5 Bb5 16. Be3 (16. b3 {was Caruana's improvement.} Nb8 17. c4 Bd7 18. b4 {"Is a big improvement compared to the game." -- Caruana} ) 16... Qd7 17. Nd2 Nd8 18. c4 Bc6 19. Qg4 Ne6 20. b4 Rae8 21. Nf3 Bd8 22. h4 { Showing some symbiosis with the other h4-h5 games, but Caruana said it was played since he sensed ...Qf7 and ...Bd7 looming and he needed a hiding place for his queen.} h6 (22... Qf7 23. Ng5) 23. h5 Nd4 (23... Qf7 24. Qg6 Qxg6 25. hxg6) 24. Qxd7 Nxf3+ 25. gxf3 Bxd7 {"He was definitely slightly better here." -- Caruana} 26. Kg2 Rf7 27. Rh1 Ref8 28. Bc1 c6 (28... Be6 29. b5 c6 30. bxc6 bxc6 31. Nb6 Bxb6 32. axb6 Bxc4 {and Caruana didn't know if it "would be safe" for him since ...Bb5 and ...Rb7 might come.}) 29. Nb6 Be6 30. Rd1 Bxb6 31. axb6 Rf6 32. Rad3 Bxc4 33. Rxd6 Rxf3 34. Be3 R3f7 35. R1d2 Kh7 36. Rd7 Rxd7 37. Rxd7 Rf7 38. Rc7 {"It's already unpleasant for him...Black has to find something concrete or I might slowly win this one." -- Caruana} Be6 39. Bd2 g6 40. Bc3 ( 40. hxg6+ Kxg6 41. Bc3 {Caruana chastised himself for not playing this way right at the time control. The difference? Now when he wins the e-pawn his e- and f-pawns are mobile.}) 40... g5 41. Bxe5 Kg8 42. f3 Bb3 43. Kf2 Be6 (43... Bd1 44. Bd6 $1 Rxf3+ 45. Ke1 Rf7 46. Be7 {was the trick, so Grischuk abandoned his original plan}) 44. Ke3 (44. Bd6 Rd7) 44... Kf8 45. f4 ({Caruana said something "subtle" like} 45. Bd4 {was preferable since Black can hardly move. For example} Ke8 ({or} 45... Rd7 46. Rc8+ Kf7 47. Rh8) 46. Bg7) 45... gxf4+ 46. Bxf4 Ke8 47. Bxh6 Bg4 48. Bf4 Bxh5 49. Rc8+ Kd7 50. Rh8 Bg4 51. Bc7 Rf3+ 52. Kd4 Rh3 53. Rb8 c5+ $1 {Seen by Caruana but he didn't see a way to stop it.} 54. bxc5 Kc6 55. Bd6 Bd7 56. Ke5 Rh6 57. Rg8 a5 58. Kf4 a4 59. Ra8 Rh4+ 60. Ke3 Kb5 61. e5 Bc6 62. Kd3 Rh3+ 63. Kd2 Rh2+ 64. Kd3 Rh3+ 65. Kd2 Rh2+ 66. Kd3 Rh3+ 67. Kd2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis USA"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2018.08.18"] [Round "1"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, M.."] [Black "Carlsen, M.."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B30"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2842"] [Annotator "Alejandro"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2018.08.18"] [SourceVersionDate "2018.07.08"] 1. e4 c5 {The first small surprise. Carlsen plays the Sveshnikov Sicilian here and there, but his usual reply to 1.e4 is, by far, 1...e5 - Carlsen might be saving his ideas in those variations for Caruana in November, however.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 {MVL did not want to get in the main lines of the Sveshnikov Sicilian, a defense that has proven tough to crack in the recent past. The usual way to avoid it is the Rossolimo with 3.Bb5, but 3.Nc3 also has some venom.} e5 4. Bc4 g6 $5 {A strange move that has been essayed before. Black want to fianchetto his bishop, which is ambitious, but not necessarily a bad approach.} 5. h4 $5 {MVL never shies away from complications, trying to force the issue against Black's kingside.} h6 (5... h5 {is a disastrous weakening of the g5 square.} 6. Ng5 Nh6 7. d3 d6 8. Be3 $16) 6. h5 g5 7. Nh2 $5 {The knight reroutes to control both of the weakened squares: f5 and d5. It is time consuming, but preventing the breaks will put Black in a passive position.} Nf6 8. d3 d6 9. Nf1 Bg4 {Provoking f3 does not change too much, but it's logical for Black to not have to worry about Qf3 ever again.} 10. f3 Be6 11. Ne3 Bg7 12. Ncd5 O-O 13. c3 Rb8 14. a4 a6 15. g4 $6 {MVL mentioned in the post-mortem that he was unsure of this decision, as it takes g4 away from the knight in the future. It does seem like a questionable move, as it also prevents him from ever performing the g3-f4 break.} (15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. Bd2 $14 {seems safe enough, and it gives White good chances to fight for an advantage. Black's problems in the light squares will not disappear, even with a d5 or f5 break, and White can simply castle (the reason for taking on f6 - not having to worry about the h5 pawn) and develop his pieces. Black is not in huge trouble, but White's position is to be preferred.}) 15... b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. Bb3 (17. Ra6 {was White's original idea, but it is extremely risky. Some sample variations:} bxc4 18. Rxc6 Bxd5 19. exd5 cxd3 20. Nf5 (20. Qxd3 e4 $1 $15) 20... e4 $5 $13 { The game starts to become very sharp, but White is the one that seems to have more trouble navigating this complications than Black, who holds the initiative.}) 17... Ne7 {Suddenly White is facing some difficulties. If the game opens up via a pawn break on d5, he is underdeveloped and his king exposed and in the center. MVL pulled the breaks and started to search for equality.} 18. Nxe7+ Qxe7 19. O-O Qb7 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. c4 b4 22. b3 Nd7 23. Qe2 Rbd8 24. Nc2 {Black is the one pressing. He has ideas of putting a knight on d4 and using the fact that his bishop gains some squares once a trade on d4 happens. White is super solid, however, as he has no attackable weaknesses, the pawn break of d5 is the only one remaining and is highly ineffective, and the rooks simply cannot enter. MVL finds a nice setup in which he feels safe.} Nb8 25. Be3 Nc6 26. Kg2 Rf7 27. Ra4 Rdf8 28. Bg1 {Now White is never afraid of Nd4, as he can take with the knight and put his bishop on h2.} Bf6 29. Rfa1 Bd8 30. Ra8 Rxf3 {Not much of a sacrifice, but it changes very little.} 31. Qxf3 Rxf3 32. Kxf3 Kg7 33. Ke2 {As both players explained in the post-mortem with Maurice Ashley, even if Black were to win a rook for the knight, not that this is remotely achievable, White would still have a total fortress.} Bb6 34. R8a6 Kf7 35. Ra8 Kg7 36. R8a6 Kf7 37. Ra8 Kg7 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.18"] [Round "1"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2777"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The Sinquefield Cup has started with a small 'boom', with two decisive games in the first round. Watching from afar, I was happy when Anand drew his game without too many problems. Since Naka has always been Vishy's 'boogey' opponent, this game should serve as a confidence booster for the Madras Tiger. } 1. d4 {Naka has switched to 1.d4 almost exclusively now. This is a small surprise for me, considering he is an aggressor first and an accumulator next. Still, all the Berlins and the Petroffs are suffocating sometimes, so it is good to see some change.} Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 {The most solid line in the QGD. Anand nowadays plays more for security and serenity than a serious attempt to play for a win.} 5. Bf4 {Today's favourite by a large margin. The old lines have fizzled out due to modern equalising attempts.} (5. Bg5 {was how Rubenstein, Alekhine and Capa played, but today, due to the Tartakower defense, this move is seen as second rate. A small illustration} h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Rc1 Be6 12. b3 c5 $132 {shows that Black isn't without his chances, Eljanov-Topalov 2016.}) 5... O-O {The main move today.} (5... a6 6. c5 O-O 7. e3 Nc6 8. a3 Nh5 9. Bd3 Nxf4 10. exf4 $14 {and only White can be better here, with a substantial space advantage.}) (5... c6 6. e3 Nbd7 7. h3 O-O 8. Qc2 Re8 9. Bd3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 b5 11. Bd3 $14 {and White has achieved a solid but favourable structure, reminiscent of the Meran Slav.}) 6. e3 c5 $1 {Carlsen played this against Anand in the 2014 WCC, and effectively neutralised White's opening advantage. Since then, this has been quite the rage.} 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 {Naka chooses to simplify, when there are more complex options available.} (8. Qc2 Nc6 9. Rd1 Qa5 10. Be2 dxc4 11. Bxc4 $13 {with a complex position. This should have been chosen by Naka if he wanted to play for the win.}) 8... Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 { This position looks optically good for white, as he has succesfully exchanged a pair of minor pieces and can work against the isolated pawn. However, Anand has managed to pull his king to safety, and can create threats against Naka's king if allowed some time. For that reason, I believe Black has more or less equal chances.} 10. a3 {preventing Bb4+, a move that can be a little annoying to meet, and hinting at a queenside expansion policy.} Nc6 {The best move in the position, angling for a quick d4. Black is close to equalising.} 11. Bd3 Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 {Anand retains some pieces in the position, and prepares standard isolani development.} (12... d4 $5 {is an interesting and forcing attempt to equalise. Though the engine approves, I personally don't like this confrontation before developing my pieces. Play goes} 13. e4 (13. exd4 Nxd4 14. Be5 (14. Nxd4 Bxd4 15. Be4 Qf6 $132 {and Black's active enough to maintain equality.}) 14... g6 {killing the LSB once and for all on that diagonal. Komodo gives} 15. Bxd4 Bxd4 16. Bxg6 Bxf2+ 17. Rxf2 Qxd1+ 18. Rxd1 hxg6 19. Rd4 b6 $11 {with a comfortable position for Black, though he needs to play precisely for few more moves to achieve equality.}) 13... Bg4 14. h3 Bh5 15. Rc1 Re8 16. Re1 Rc8 $13 {and Komodo gives equality, though a human only assesses this as unclear. Whats clear to me though, is that if Black wanted to fight, he should have gone for this line. The position is really unbalanced, and all three results are possible. This goes to show that Naka's opening strategy is dubious.}) 13. h3 Bh5 14. Bb5 $5 {a mysterious move by Naka. This move is made to protect d4 once more, and probably to threathen Bxc6 followed by b4, fixing the pawns on attackable squares. Still, my feeling is that it is a bit artificial, as there were some other choices that were perfectly playable as well.} Rc8 {Anand stops the afforementioned plan, and develops.} ( 14... f6 $5 {is a really interesting move suggested by Komodo here. The point is to protect e5 once and for all. The bishop can also prevent itself from being exchanged and overprotect d5 from f7. An interesting attempt to maintain equilibriun. Play continues} 15. Rc1 Qd7 16. b4 Rac8 17. Be2 Rfd8 18. Qb3 Kh8 $132 {and both sides can play on here.}) 15. Rc1 h6 16. b4 Re8 17. Bd3 { over the past few moves, both sides have made improvements to their position. Now, my gut tells me Anand makes an innacuracy.} Bxf3 $6 {Unnecessary, though this equalises in the end. I wouldn't have given up the bishop pair that easily.} (17... d4 $5 18. g4 $1 Bg6 19. Bxg6 fxg6 20. b5 $14 {and White retains a nagging edge.}) (17... Qd7 $1 {simple, developing the last piece, and waiting for White to react. Admittedly, Black doesn't like doubling his pawns on the kingside, but this doesn't do much harm. After} 18. g4 Bg6 19. b5 (19. Bxg6 fxg6 20. Qd3 g5 21. Bg3 Qf7 $11 {it's hard to see Black losing here, infact White should be careful not to mess up and allow d4 under favourable circumstances.}) 19... Na5 20. Ne5 Qe6 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Nxg6 fxg6 23. Qb1 Kh7 $132 {and Black's control of the c-file and possiblity of Nc4 guarantees him equal chances.}) 18. Qxf3 $1 Ne5 19. Qe2 $6 {This is a mistake, allowing black to follow his faulty idea and equalise.} (19. Bxe5 $1 Rxe5 20. Qf4 Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Re6 22. g3 $14 {/=}) 19... Rxc1 20. Rxc1 Nxd3 21. Qxd3 d4 $1 {Now that the pieces have been vacuumed from the board, its only a draw.} 22. exd4 Bxd4 23. Qd2 Qf6 24. Bg3 Rd8 25. Qe2 Qg5 26. Rd1 Qxg3 27. Rxd4 Qc7 28. Rxd8+ Qxd8 29. g3 {and a draw was agreed. A good start for Vishy, as he comfortably held Naka to a draw. I admit his Bg4xf3 isn't that convincing, but even after that innacuracy, I don't see a clear minus for him. Naka on the other hand should be disappointed after this game. After the form he showed in the Rapid and Blitz, he should have gone for a win against Vishy here. Still, this is a long tournament, and this game should act as stimulus for greater things for both players.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.19"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A17"] [WhiteElo "2842"] [BlackElo "2773"] [Annotator "Hess, R"] [PlyCount "175"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {Whenever the competitors from the 2016 World Chess Championship meet over the board, it is certain to be a grueling battle. In this game, Carlsen sustained pressure throughout. Karjakin defended admirably, but he went awry after over six hours of warding the World Champion off. It's truly exhausting to fight off an advantage where one mistake can be fatal.} 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 (2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. d4 dxc4 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Ne5 Nc6 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Nxc6 Qe8 10. Nxe7+ Qxe7 11. Qa4 {has been played dozens of times. The difference between this and the game is that the pawn is on a2 rather than a3. The benefit of having the pawn on a2 is that the light squares are more secure, leaving less room for a Black counter attack on the queenside.}) 2... Bb4 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. a3 Be7 (6... Bxc3 7. dxc3 dxc4 {isn't quite quick enough for Black, who would be in great shape with a knight already on c6. Here, however,} 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Ne5 {wins back the pawn while keeping the two bishops.}) 7. d4 dxc4 8. Ne5 Nc6 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. Nxc6 Qe8 11. Nxe7+ Qxe7 12. Qa4 c5 13. dxc5 (13. Qxc4 {has been tried multiple times against Karjakin, who successfully held against Aronian a decade ago:} cxd4 14. Qxd4 e5 15. Qb4 Qe6 16. Bg5 a5 17. Qh4 Nd5 18. Rc1 Rb8 19. Na4 f5 20. O-O f4 21. e4 fxe3 22. fxe3 Rxf1+ 23. Rxf1 h6 24. Nc5 hxg5 25. Rf8+ Kxf8 26. Nxe6+ Bxe6 27. Qxg5 Rxb2 28. Qxe5 Rb1+ 29. Kf2 Kf7 30. Qh5+ Kf8 31. Qe5 Kf7 32. Qh5+ Kf8 33. Qe5 Kf7 34. Qh5+ {1/2-1/2 (34) Aronian,L (2737)-Karjakin,S (2727) Sochi 2008}) 13... Qxc5 14. Be3 Qc7 15. Rd1 Nd5 {Karjakin successfully forces the the knights off the board, leaving the players with bishops of opposite colors. Karjakin must have been satisfied with the opening - his position looks totally fine.} 16. Bd4 ( 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. Rxd5 $4 Qb7 (17... Bb7 18. Rc5 {allows White to escape with the material, though without the right to castle.}) 18. Qb5 a6 {and two rooks on the long diagonal will not survive.}) 16... Rd8 17. Nxd5 exd5 18. Qc2 Qe7 ( 18... Bh3 {isn't particularly threatening, since White has no real need to castle.} 19. f3 {and Carlsen will place his king on f2. Here, however, it is far less simple for White to play Bc3 -- the e3 square is now vulnerable.}) 19. O-O Bh3 20. Rfe1 Rd7 21. Bc3 (21. e4 dxe4 (21... Re8 22. f3 f5 23. e5 f4 { is entering complicated territory where White has a clear passed pawn but a shaky kingside.}) 22. Rxe4 Be6 {looks quite level.}) 21... Re8 22. Rd4 Qg5 { creatively preventing Rh4 without committing to a pawn move.} (22... h6 23. e4 Qd8 24. e5 {again makes the position more double-egded. Black can't complain (and might even be preferred), but White's pawns appear to be more mobile in the near future.}) 23. Qd2 (23. e4 $5 {could have created some legitimate challenges for Black. For example,} Qh5 (23... Qd8 {keeps everything covered, though White can once again choose to play} 24. e5) 24. Qd1 Qxd1 25. Rexd1 Rxe4 26. Rxd5 Rxd5 27. Rxd5 {Black is worse here, thanks to the inferior queenside pawn structure. The fact that a tempo must be spent on making luft does not help.}) 23... Qxd2 24. Rxd2 {In this queenless ending with bishops of opposite color, White is the easier side to play. In order to defend d5, Black must place the bishop on e6, which in turn blocks the rook's access to the file. Moreover, White controls the pawn break (e4) and can expand more easily.} Be6 25. Red1 Rde7 26. f3 h5 27. Kf2 f6 28. Rd4 Kh7 29. R1d2 (29. Bb4 Rb7 30. e4 { gains White control of the d-file, but also allows Black to trade off a few pieces.} dxe4 31. Rxe4 Bf7 32. Rd6 Rxe4 33. fxe4 Re7 {may cost a pawn, but liquidation occurs. In such an ending, the pawn-down sign still has high drawing chances.} 34. Rxf6 gxf6 35. Bxe7 Kg6 36. Ke3 Be8 37. Kd4 Bb5 38. Kc5 a6 {looks like a pretty stable setup.}) 29... Bf7 30. h3 (30. Bb4 Re3 {is annoying to deal with.}) 30... a6 31. Rf4 Kg8 32. Bd4 Kh7 33. Bc3 Kg8 { Karjakin moves his king back and forth, unafraid of Carlsen's shuffling.} 34. g4 hxg4 35. hxg4 Kh7 36. Rf5 Rb7 37. Rfxd5 (37. Rd1 {with the intent of an eventual Rg1 and g5 breakthrough was very worthy of consideration.} Rbe7 38. Re1 {and White can attempt to inch forward with e3, Bd4, etc. Black would be unwise to not consider exchange sacrifices on b2.}) 37... Bxd5 38. Rxd5 Kg6 $6 {By no means is this a terrible move, but it does give up another pawn. The endgame is trickier with Black's rook squaring off against a bishop and two pawns.} (38... Rc7 {with the idea of heading to c6 keeps Black's queenside completely defended. However, it also leaves Black without any sort of activity.} 39. Rd6 Rce7 40. e4 Re6 41. Rd5 Rc6 {and if White does not play g5, Black will do so.}) 39. Rc5 Rh8 40. Kg3 Rb6 41. Rxc4 Rh1 42. Rc7 Rc1 { Threatening to exploit the pin with Rxb2.} 43. Rd7 Rc6 {Black has come up with a stubborn defense. Karjakin, renowned for his resourcefulness, is facing an uphill battle. Yet there are quite good chances to hold.} 44. a4 {This pawn should be fixed on a dark square, and a5 is far superior to a3. It limits the rook on the sixth rank, but also secures a desired landing spot on b6. If the rook gets there, a trade would create a passed pawn. If the bishop gets there, it keeps a hold of a5 and cuts the rook off from its protection of the a6 pawn. } (44. Rb7 $2 {would have thrown away any winning chances. In positions with imbalances, it is always important to anticipate your opponent returning to a dynamic with similar pieces (in this case a rook apiece). Here it immediately results in a draw, but an eye should be kept on this exchange return even if it does not restore material equality because it can be easier to defend a position with like pieces.} R1xc3 45. bxc3 Rxc3 {and the a-pawn is can't be defended.} 46. a4 Rc4 47. a5 Rc5) 44... Rg1+ 45. Kf2 Ra1 46. a5 Ra4 (46... Rxc3 47. bxc3 Rxa5 {most certainly is an incorrect time to give back the material, because White's king rushes to the aid of the c-pawn.} 48. Ke3) 47. Kg3 Rac4 48. Ra7 (48. f4 {could have been a difficult move for Karjakin to handle.} Rxc3+ ({Much better is the patient} 48... Rc7 49. f5+ Kh7 50. Rd6 R4c6 51. Rd1 {where White has to prove he can create problems for Black.}) 49. bxc3 Rxc3+ 50. Kh4 Rc5 {White can't defend the a5 pawn, but in exchange for that pawn he is able to force through a passed pawn.} 51. f5+ Kh6 (51... Kh7 52. e4 Rxa5 ( 52... Re5 53. Kh5 {is a forced win for White. The activity is simply overwhelming.} Rxe4 54. g5 fxg5 55. f6) 53. g5 fxg5+ 54. Kxg5 {is an endgame worth studying. White is clearly much better, but winning? I'll let the readers take a look :)}) 52. Rd6 Rxa5 53. g5+ Kh7 54. e4 Ra4 55. Rd7 fxg5+ 56. Kh5 Ra1 {is similarly worth a deep investigation.}) 48... Re6 49. e4 Rc8 50. Rd7 Rec6 51. f4 R8c7 52. f5+ Kh7 53. Rd8 Rc8 54. Rd3 Re8 55. Rd4 Rc7 56. Kf4 Rce7 57. Rc4 Kh6 58. Kf3 Rd7 59. Bd4 Kh7 60. b4 Rd6 61. Ke3 Kh6 62. Rc1 Kh7 63. Bb6 Rd7 64. Bc5 Red8 (64... Rd5 {is a cool move to play. The point is that if White's rook or king move, Black gains an important entry square on the d-file. } 65. Ba7 {is the best reply.}) 65. Rh1+ Kg8 66. Kf4 (66. g5 fxg5 (66... Rd3+ 67. Kf4 Rd1 68. Rxd1 Rxd1 69. g6 Re1 {seems to hold, though a misstep would hand White a win.}) 67. e5 g6 $1) 66... Re8 67. Re1 g5+ $1 68. fxg6 Kg7 (68... Re5 {would be a nice way to cut off White's progress, except that now} 69. Rh1 $1 {prevents Black from playing Kg7xg6.}) 69. g5 Kxg6 70. gxf6 Kxf6 71. Rh1 Rf7 {A very nice move, allowing Black's king to rush to the queenside.} 72. Ke3 ( 72. e5+ Rxe5 73. Rh6+ Kg7+ 74. Kxe5 Kxh6 {White does not have enough pawns to win this ending, since the only way to win a6 is to give up the b4 pawn.} 75. Kd6 Kg6 76. Kc6 Rf6+ 77. Kb7 Re6 78. Bb6 Re4) 72... Ke6 73. Rh4 Rf6 74. Rh7 Rf7 75. Rh5 Kd7 76. e5 Rf1 (76... Kc6 77. Ke4 (77. Rh6+ Kd5) 77... Re6 78. Rh8 Rg6 79. Rc8+ Kb7 80. Re8 Kc6 {is a clever way to hold. The king has nowhere to run after} 81. e6 Rg4+ {and the checks continue forever. If White tries to interpose with the bishop} 82. Kd3 Rg3+ 83. Kc4 Rf4+ 84. Bd4 Rgg4 85. Rd8 Re4 { e6 falls.}) 77. Ke4 Kc6 $2 {A fatal mistake in time trouble. Karjakin had defended precisely for many moves, but this one did him in.} (77... Re1+ 78. Kd5 Rd1+ 79. Kc4 Rc1+ 80. Kb3 Re6 {holds. Keeping the opposing rook off the sixth rank should do the trick to obtain a draw.}) 78. Rh6+ Kb5 79. Rb6+ Kc4 80. e6 $1 {Karjakin must have underestimated this resource, which wins. All other moves lead to a draw.} (80. Rxa6 Re1+ 81. Be3 (81. Kf4 R1xe5) 81... Kxb4 82. Ra7 Rxe3+ 83. Kxe3 Rxe5+ 84. Kd4 Rxa5) 80... Re1+ 81. Kf5 Rf1+ 82. Ke5 Re1+ 83. Kf6 Rf1+ 84. Kg7 {There are no more checks available to Karjakin, as e7 and g1 are both secured by the bishop on c5. There's nothing left to do.} Ra8 85. e7 Re1 86. Kf7 Re4 87. Rd6 Rh8 88. Rxa6 1-0 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.20"] [Round "3.4"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C55"] [WhiteElo "2777"] [BlackElo "2766"] [Annotator "Hess, R"] [PlyCount "178"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. c3 d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Re1 Bg4 ({Anand tried a less active approach against Kramnik, but that did not go so well:} 8... Be6 9. Nbd2 Bd6 10. Ne4 h6 11. b4 a6 12. a4 Re8 13. Qb3 Nf6 14. Bxe6 Rxe6 15. Be3 Ne7 16. Rad1 Ng6 17. h3 Qd7 18. Nc5 Bxc5 19. bxc5 b5 20. cxb6 cxb6 21. d4 exd4 22. Bxd4 Rxe1+ 23. Nxe1 Qc6 24. Qxb6 Qxa4 25. Rb1 { 1-0 (25) Kramnik,V (2800)-Anand,V (2776) Moscow RUS 2018}) 9. Nbd2 Nb6 10. Bb5 Bd6 11. h3 Bh5 12. Ne4 ({Last week in the Saint Louis Rapid, So was able to overcome Anand:} 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Ne4 Re8 14. c4 Nd7 15. Bd2 c5 16. Ng3 Bg6 17. Bc3 f6 18. Nh4 Bf7 19. Nhf5 Bf8 20. Qe2 a5 21. b3 a4 22. Qc2 Nb8 23. Ne4 Nc6 24. Nfg3 Nb4 25. Bxb4 cxb4 26. Rad1 Qd7 27. Nd2 axb3 28. axb3 Bc5 29. Nf3 Ra3 30. Ne4 Bd4 31. Rb1 Rea8 32. Nxd4 Qxd4 33. Qd2 Ra2 34. Qe3 Qxe3 35. fxe3 Bg6 36. Nf2 R8a3 37. e4 Rc2 38. Ra1 Rb2 39. g4 Rbxb3 40. Reb1 Rxb1+ 41. Rxb1 c5 {Anand,V (2768)-So,W (2780) Saint Louis 2018 0-1}) 12... Re8 13. Bg5 {I'm not a particularly big fan of this, as f6 is a useful move for Black. I can't fathom why Black would not want this inclusion, as it defends e5 and allows the bishop a retreat to the f7 square. Then again, I'm not entirely sure what useful move White has here.} f6 14. Be3 a6 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Ng3 Bf7 17. c4 $146 ({There's a ton of room for improvement for both sides, by Aronian held quite easily against Magnus in this line:} 17. d4 Nc4 18. dxe5 Bxe5 19. Nxe5 Rxe5 20. Qc1 Qe8 21. b3 Nxe3 22. Rxe3 Rxe3 23. Qxe3 Qxe3 24. fxe3 Rd8 25. Ne4 Rd3 26. c4 Rxe3 27. Nc5 a5 28. Rd1 Bg6 29. Kf2 Re5 30. Nb7 Be4 31. g4 h5 32. Rd8+ Kh7 33. Ra8 c5 34. Ra7 hxg4 35. hxg4 Bxb7 36. Rxb7 a4 37. Rxc7 axb3 38. axb3 Kh6 39. Kf3 g6 40. Rb7 Kg5 41. b4 cxb4 42. Rxb4 f5 43. gxf5 {1/2-1/2 (43) Carlsen,M (2855)-Aronian,L (2792) Leuven 2016}) 17... Bb4 18. Re2 Bf8 {Of course the bishop could have retreated in one move, but Grischuk first puts Nakamura's rook on an awkward square.} 19. b3 c5 {A very good move, shutting down the queenside and permanently preventing d4.} (19... a5 20. d4 e4 { looks pleasant for Black as well, but White does seem to have more to work with than in the game.}) 20. Qe1 (20. Ne4 {aims to win the c5 pawn, but} f5 { protects the pawn tactically.} 21. Nxc5 (21. Nc3 Bh5) 21... f4) (20. Rd2 a5 21. a4 {closes down the queenside in Black's favor. The pawns on b3 and d3 are targets, whereas Black's pawns are harder to attack. The knights are restricted; it's only a matter of time before Black reroutes a knight to say c6 (via c8 and a7) and tries to play ...f5.}) 20... a5 (20... Qxd3 $4 {would lose the queen} 21. Rd1 Qg6 22. Nh4) 21. Rd1 (21. a4 {attempts to close the position, but now d3 is truly hanging with b3 en prise.} Qxd3 22. Rd1 Qxb3) 21... a4 22. Nd2 (22. Ne4 f5 23. Bg5 (23. Nxc5 f4) (23. Nc3 Bh5) 23... fxe4 24. Bxd8 exf3 25. Rxe5 Rexd8 {gives Black a large edge. Three minor pieces outclass an enemy queen.}) 22... Qd7 23. Nb1 axb3 24. axb3 Bg6 25. f3 { Nakamura tries to solidify his position, but Grischuk has much more room to operate with. At this point it is clear that Black is calling the shots.} Rad8 (25... f5 26. Bf2 Qd6 27. Nc3 Nd7 {Black remains better, but now he'd have to take care of his e5 pawn.} (27... c6 28. b4 $1)) 26. Qf2 Qc6 27. Red2 Nd7 ( 27... f5 28. f4 {hardly resolves all of White's many issues, but Nakamura would obtain more activity for his pieces. It's easier to pursure counter play than it is to sit idly.}) 28. Nc3 (28. h4 {at any moment is a worthy try. If Black plays ...h5 himself, the f6 pawn can't move without ceding control of the g5 square. Black can ignore and allow White to play h4-h5, hardly a devastating threat but also a spatial grab.}) 28... h6 29. Kh1 (29. Ra2 { is very logical here. There's an open file for the taking, so why not go for it? The d3 pawn is forever a target, and it may be worth giving up in exchange for activity down the a-file.}) 29... Kh8 30. Nb5 Bh7 31. Ra2 f5 32. Bc1 ({ Considering that Nakamura was ground down, in retrospect he likely wishes he tested Grischuk with the chaotic} 32. f4 g5 $1 33. fxg5 f4 34. Ne4 fxe3 35. Qxe3 {White gets two pawns for the piece, and the remaining pawns are not particularly healthy.}) (32. Bd2 {is also a decent option, with the intent of heading to a5 and allowing the second rook access to the a-file if Black challenges the open file.}) 32... Nf6 33. Nc3 Qb7 34. Rb2 g5 35. Rb1 Qc6 36. Bb2 Kg8 {Wisely stepping off the long diagonal.} 37. Nf1 (37. Ra1 {and sitting the queen on c2 seems like an improvement. Black will have a tough time breaking down White's stubborn defenses, and the rook can protect b3 via a3.}) 37... Nh5 {Taking advantage of Nakamura's retreat.} 38. Nd5 Qd6 39. Ng3 c6 $1 { Forcing an exchange of knights on favorable terms for Black. Grischuk either is able to undouble his pawns and initiate a pawn trade, or he pushes Nakamura back before planting his knight on f4.4} (39... Nxg3+ 40. Qxg3 c6 41. Nc3 { is still good for Black, but the full point will not be easy to get with the kingside potentially vulnerable and the pawn on c5 an accessible target.}) 40. Nc3 (40. Nxh5 cxd5 41. cxd5 f4 (41... Bg6 42. Ng3 Qxd5 43. Qc2 {is a fight.}) 42. Rbc1 Bg6 43. g4 Bxh5 44. gxh5 Qxd5) 40... Nf4 {Grischuk has a winning position, but he started to spend a lot of time. Nakamura moved quickly in an attempt to usher Grischuk into further time trouble.} 41. Qf1 Nxd3 42. Nce2 Qe6 43. Bc3 Rd6 (43... Bg6 {keeps the h5 square off limits, allowing ...e4 to come next.}) (43... e4 $2 {is too soon, oblivious to White's kingside opportunities. } 44. fxe4 fxe4 45. Nh5 {with very legitimate compensation.}) 44. Rd2 Red8 45. Rbd1 Bg6 46. Nc1 Nxc1 47. Rxd6 Bxd6 48. Rxc1 Rb8 (48... e4 49. Qe1 e3 { establishes an advanced passed pawn that White will be tied down to.}) 49. Ra1 Rxb3 50. Ra8+ Rb8 51. Ra6 Bf8 52. Qe2 Bg7 (52... e4 {again was strong.} 53. fxe4 f4) 53. Ra7 Re8 54. h4 {Desperation in a tough position, but unnecessary. Grischuk would have had a much greater challenge trying to crack Nakamura's setup if this move had not been played.} gxh4 55. Nf1 f4 56. Nd2 Re7 (56... h3 57. Ne4 hxg2+ 58. Kxg2 {is three extra pawns for Black, but most are blockaded with no evident way of freeing up in the imminent future.}) 57. Rxe7 Qxe7 58. Ne4 Bf7 59. Kh2 h3 60. gxh3 ({Keeping a compact pawn structure on the kingside would have increased Nakamura's drawing chances. Even if the pawn on c4 is lost, it's not that easy for Black to make progress.} 60. Kxh3 Qe6+ 61. Kh2 Qxc4 62. Qb2 Qb3 63. Qa1 (63. Qxb3 Bxb3 64. Nxc5 Bc2 {gives White some chances to hold, but two pawns is a substantial deficit.}) 63... Qa2 64. Qe1 {and Black still has his work cut out for him.}) 60... Qe6 61. Qg2 Kh7 62. Qc2 Kh8 63. Qb2 Kh7 64. Qc2 $2 (64. Nxc5 {was necessary. Nakamura needed to snag the pawn, since after} Qxc4 (64... Qe7 65. Ne4) 65. Nd7 {the e5 pawn falls. Black is still pressing for a win, but it's not clear if just one extra pawn will do the trick.} (65. Bxe5 Qxc5 66. Bxg7 Qg5 {and Black wins at least one of the remaining two pawns after Qg3+})) 64... Qg6 65. Qe2 Be6 66. Qf1 Bf5 67. Qe2 Qh5 (67... Bxe4 $2 68. Qxe4 Qxe4 69. fxe4 {is the game continuation, but with a pawn on h3 for White. This is a vital difference, since White can rush the king to f3 and set up a fortress.}) 68. Nf2 Qh4 (68... e4 $2 {would be a way to exploit White's tied down pieces, except that it's a blunder:} 69. Bxg7 Kxg7 70. Qb2+ {and Black will be fortunate to escape the numerous checks.}) 69. Ne4 Qxh3+ 70. Kg1 Qh5 71. Be1 Bxe4 72. Qxe4+ Qg6+ 73. Kh2 Qxe4 74. fxe4 Kg6 75. Kh3 (75. Kg2 Bf6 76. Kf3 Kg5 77. Bf2 Be7 78. Be1 h5 {and the h-pawn rolls.}) 75... Kh5 76. Bh4 f3 77. Bf2 (77. Be7 f2 78. Kg2 Kg4 79. Bxc5 Kf4 {is an easy win.}) 77... Bf6 78. Be1 Bg5 79. Bf2 Be7 80. Be1 Bd8 81. Bg3 Kg5 82. Bxe5 Bf6 83. Bd6 f2 84. Kg2 Bd4 85. Kf1 Kg4 86. Ke2 h5 87. Kf1 h4 88. Bh2 h3 89. Ke2 Be3 0-1 [Event "St. Louis"] [Site "St. Louis"] [Date "2018.08.20"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2842"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Armenia"] [BlackTeam "Norway"] [WhiteTeamCountry "ARM"] [BlackTeamCountry "NOR"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. O-O d6 6. c3 a6 7. Re1 h6 8. b4 Ba7 9. a4 O-O 10. Nbd2 Re8 11. Nf1 Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6 13. Ng3 Ne7 14. d4 Ng6 15. Qc2 c6 16. h3 Qc7 17. Be3 d5 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. dxe5 Qxe5 20. exd5 {Giving Black a choice. All three captures are within the realm of possibility.} cxd5 (20... Qxd5 21. Rad1 Qe5 22. c4 (22. Bxa7 Qxe1+ 23. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 24. Kh2 Rxa7 {would be a more solid version for Black of the note to the next move})) (20... Nxd5 21. Bxa7 Qxe1+ 22. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 23. Kh2 Rxa7 {Same.}) 21. Rad1 (21. Bxa7 Qxe1+ 22. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 23. Kh2 Rxa7 24. Qd2 Re8 25. Qf4 Raa8 26. Nf5 {And Aronian said this looked better to his post-mortem self than at the board.}) 21... Bxe3 22. Rxe3 Qc7 23. Nf5 Rae8 24. Qd3 Qf4 25. g3 Qc7 26. a5 Rxe3 27. Nxe3 Qc6 28. Nxd5 Nxd5 29. Qxd5 Re1+ 30. Kh2 Rxd1 31. Qxd1 Qxc3 32. Qd8+ Kh7 33. Qd5 Qxb4 34. Qf5+ Kg8 35. Qc8+ Kh7 36. Qf5+ Kg8 37. Qc8+ Kh7 38. Qf5+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "St. Louis"] [Site "St. Louis"] [Date "2018.08.20"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2822"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Azerbaijan"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "AZE"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 b5 6. e5 Nd5 7. Nxb5 Nb6 8. Be2 Nc6 9. O-O Be7 10. Be3 O-O 11. Nc3 Rb8 12. a3 Bb7 13. Qc2 Na5 14. Rad1 h6 15. Nd2 Qd7 16. f4 {"Came as a huge relief," Caruana said. Instead, he worried about setups with Ne4, Bf3, and Qe2.} (16. Nde4 Nd5 17. Bf3 Nxc3 18. Nxc3 $1 Bxf3 19. gxf3) 16... Nd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Qc3 (18. f5 exf5 19. Rxf5 Rxb2 ( 19... Be6 {was Mamedyarov's concern}) 20. Qxb2 Qxf5 21. Qb5) 18... Rb5 19. Nxc4 (19. g4 Rfb8 20. f5 Rxb2 21. f6 gxf6 22. exf6 Bf8 23. Qxa5 R8b3 $3 24. Nxb3 ( 24. Bf2 Rxa3) 24... Rxe2 {is fun with silicon!}) 19... Nxc4 20. Bxc4 Bxc4 21. Qxc4 Rxb2 22. d5 exd5 23. Rxd5 Qf5 24. a4 Rfb8 25. Rb5 c5 26. Rxb8+ Rxb8 27. Qd5 Rd8 28. Qc4 Rb8 29. Qd5 Rd8 30. Qc4 a5 {Instead of repeating, Caruana said this stops all of White's play and he can now proceed himself, although he didn't have enough to win. Still, that didn't stop him from trying.} 31. h3 h5 32. Rc1 Rd3 33. Kf2 Qg6 34. g3 Qf5 35. Rb1 Ra3 36. Rb3 Rxb3 37. Qxb3 Qxh3 38. Qb8+ Kh7 39. Qc7 Qe6 40. Qxa5 h4 41. gxh4 Bxh4+ 42. Ke2 Qc4+ 43. Kd2 Qa2+ 44. Kd1 Qb1+ 45. Ke2 c4 46. Qc3 Qe4 47. Kd1 Qf3+ 48. Kc1 Bg3 49. Qd2 c3 50. Qd4 Be1 51. Qd3+ g6 52. Kc2 Qg2+ 53. Kd1 Qh1 54. Kc2 Qc6 55. Kd1 Bg3 56. Qd4 Qf3+ 57. Kc2 Be1 58. Qd3 Qc6 59. Kd1 Bg3 60. Qd4 Qf3+ 61. Kc2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.21"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2812"] [BlackElo "2777"] [Annotator "Hess, R"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Ne5 Nc6 { This Catalan structure is seen in an another important Saint Louis game. Karjakin used a variation of this line against Carlsen (throwing in Bb4 and a3 before retreating to e7), with Carlsen ultimately prevailing after many hours of pressing.} 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Nxc6 Qe8 10. Nxe7+ Qxe7 11. Qa4 c5 12. dxc5 Qxc5 13. Be3 Qc7 {[#]} 14. O-O-O $146 {Caruana clearly has done his homework. He said he found it a few months ago, and it leads to similar positions as castling kingside except with the king on c1, giving White attacking chances. He actually referred to this as a "throwaway novelty" and that Black should be able to equalize with proper play, so he figured he'd get to use this in a rapid game.} ({Nakamura was able to hold a pawn-down (theoretical) draw against Svidler at the Palma Grand Prix:} 14. O-O Nd5 15. Bd4 Bd7 16. Qa3 a5 17. Rad1 Nb4 18. Bc5 Qxc5 19. Rxd7 Rab8 20. Rfd1 h6 21. Qa4 Nd5 22. Nxd5 exd5 23. R7xd5 Qb4 24. Qc2 Qxb2 25. Qxc4 Rb4 26. Qc5 Qxa2 27. Qxa5 Rb2 28. Qxa2 Rxa2 29. e3 g6 30. g4 Rfa8 31. Kg2 R8a5 32. h4 Kg7 33. Kg3 R2a3 34. Kf4 R3a4+ 35. e4 Rxd5 36. Rxd5 Ra3 37. f3 Rc3 38. Ra5 Rb3 39. Rc5 Ra3 40. Rb5 Rc3 41. Kg3 Ra3 42. g5 hxg5 43. hxg5 Rc3 {Svidler,P (2763)-Nakamura,H (2780) Palma de Mallorca 2017 1/2-1/2}) 14... Ng4 {Extremely logical, shattering White's pawn structure. } (14... Bb7 15. f3 Nd5 16. Bd4 {Caruana referred to this as "like the Magnus game against Sergey," with chances for an attack for both sides.}) 15. Rd2 Nxe3 (15... a5 16. Rhd1 {changes nothing, as capturing on h2 would be a terrible decision.} Nxh2 17. Qb5 Ng4 (17... f5 18. Qc5 Qf7 19. f3 {traps the knight.}) 18. Bb6 Qb7 19. Rd8 {with a decisive attack, since Black's rooks are not connected.}) 16. fxe3 Rb8 17. Rhd1 {A hard position to understand without having seen it before. Caruana felt that Nakamura handled the position quite well having walked into a novel idea.} a5 18. Kb1 (18. Rd4 {invites} e5 (18... Rb4 {keeps the pawn defended.}) 19. Qxc4 (19. Rxc4 Qb6) 19... Qb7 20. R4d2 Be6 21. Qd3 Qg2 {and Black has the better pawn structure and pressure on the queenside.}) 18... h6 (18... Qc5 {doesn't quite attack the e3 pawn, since the a5 pawn is more important.}) 19. Ka1 {Caruana runs his king to the corner, out of the way of any potential checks. A big issue for Nakamura is that he can't develop his bishop without allowing Caruana's rooks to infiltrate the d-file. Of utmost importance to this position is that the knight can't be dislodged from c3, whereas the bishop does not have a particularly stable square to operate from.} ({The rook can move forward, but it is in some danger of venturing too far.} 19. Rd6 Bb7 20. Ka1 Bd5 $1 21. Qa3 Rfd8 22. Nxd5 exd5 ( 22... Qxd6 $2 23. Nf6+) (22... Rxd6 23. Qxd6 Qxd6 24. Nf6+ gxf6 25. Rxd6 { is about level.}) 23. R6xd5 Rxd5 24. Rxd5 Qb7 25. Rd1 a4 {is an "extra pawn" for White, who actually stands worse. There is no luft for the king and Black can start going after the kingside pawns.}) 19... Rb4 20. Qc2 Rb8 (20... Bb7 21. Rd7 Qb6 22. Qd2 Bc6 23. Rd8 {is problematic. Black can't afford to swap queens with the weaker pair of queenside pawns. The knight outclasses the bishop in such an endgame, since White does not have pawns fixed on light squares.}) 21. Qe4 Bb7 22. Qd4 Ba8 ({Even if the f7 pawn didn't fall, the rooks are more powerful than the queen in this position} 22... Rfd8 $2 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Rxd8+) 23. e4 Rfc8 24. Qf2 (24. e3 {with the intention of playing g4 and h4 and then swinging the rook to kingside was mentioned by Caruana in the post-mortem.}) 24... Bc6 ({Nakamura could have competed for the d-file now that Caruana removed his queen from d4.} 24... Rd8 25. Qf4 Qb6 { and Black keeps up the fight on the open file.} 26. Na4 {does not work out, since the queen is not actually en prise after} Rxd2) 25. Qc5 Be8 (25... Qb7 26. Qxc4 {was referred to as "real compensation, but not 100% compensation for the pawn" by Caruana.}) 26. Qxc7 Rxc7 {The queenless ending is clearly better for Caruana. By no means was Nakamura even close to lost at this stage, but the bishop never finds a stable square. The knight, on other hand, need not move from its great spot on c3. It's always worth noting that a knight can attack pieces on both colors, whereas the bishop is inherently limited in this regard.} 27. Rd6 (27. Rd8 Rcc8 28. Rxc8 Rxc8 29. Rd6 Bc6 {cuts the rook off from an attack on the a-pawn. Black will rush Kf8-e7 and it's unclear how White makes any progress.}) 27... Kf8 28. Ra6 {The point stated above. White's rooks need to keep Black tied down to that a5 pawn.} Rc5 29. Ra7 Rbc8 (29... g5 {needed to be considered, with the idea to play g5-g4 and then swing the rook to h5. However, White can immediately prevent this with} 30. g4 {himself.}) 30. Kb1 Rh5 31. h4 Re5 32. Kc2 g5 33. Rf1 Kg7 34. Rb7 Kg6 35. Kd2 f5 {Considered a very risky move by Caruana.} (35... Kh5 {was mentioned in the post-mortem, but after} 36. Rf6 {the king might not be able to safely continue its journey.} ( 36. Ke3 {also looks good.})) 36. hxg5 fxe4 (36... hxg5 37. Rh1 {leads to a large attack.}) (36... Bc6 37. Re7 Rd8+ $1 {to push the king back.} (37... hxg5 $2 38. exf5+) 38. Kc1 (38. Ke3 hxg5 39. Rxf5 Rxe4+ 40. Nxe4 Kxf5 41. Nc3 { "I assume I'm also better here, but it can all be wrong. The bishop will get kicked around." - Caruana.})) 37. Ke3 (37. gxh6 e3+ {pushes the king back, which is important for Black's defensive chances. White of course is better, but after say} 38. Kc1 Kxh6 39. Rf8 Rf5 {Black is still very much in the game.} ) 37... Bc6 (37... hxg5 38. g4 {leads to a mating attack!}) 38. Re7 Rxg5 39. Rxe6+ Kg7 40. Re7+ Kg6 41. Rd1 Kf6 (41... Rxg3+ 42. Kf4 {with Rd6+ followed by Re6, with the h6 pawn being lost.}) 42. Ra7 Ke6 (42... Rxg3+ 43. Kf4 {and Black loses a rook, since Rd6 mate is the threat.}) 43. Rh1 h5 (43... Rh8 44. g4 Rxg4 45. Rxa5 {"isn't easy, but should be technically winning" according to Caruana. The rooks can blockade the h-pawn and the king can go feasting on the queenside.}) 44. g4 Be8 (44... Rh8 45. gxh5 Rgxh5 46. Rxh5 Rxh5 47. a4 { and White will start scooping up some pawns.}) 45. gxh5 Bxh5 46. Nxe4 Rf5 47. Ra6+ Ke7 48. Nd6 Re5+ 49. Kd4 1-0 [Event "St. Louis"] [Site "St. Louis"] [Date "2018.08.21"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2842"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "India"] [BlackTeam "Norway"] [WhiteTeamCountry "IND"] [BlackTeamCountry "NOR"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be3 b6 9. Qd2 e5 10. Bh6 Qd6 11. Bxg7 Kxg7 12. a4 Ne8 13. Nh2 Nc7 14. Ng4 f6 15. f3 Ne6 16. h4 Nd4 17. h5 g5 18. Ne3 Be6 19. Ne2 Kh8 20. Ng3 Rad8 21. Kf2 Qe7 22. Qd1 c4 $1 {And now the fun begins.} 23. dxc4 f5 $1 {Anand said he did see this continuation.} (23... Nb3 24. cxb3 Rxd1 25. Raxd1 {"Is obviously very nice for White," Anand said. Carlsen said, "I can never be better after that." White controls the open file and has a stranglehold on f5.}) 24. exf5 Nxf5 25. Ngxf5 Bxf5 26. Qe2 (26. Qe1 {was Carlsen's suggestion.}) 26... g4 27. Kg1 gxf3 28. Qxf3 Bxc2 29. Qg3 Bd3 {Here Carlsen said, "If I get ...Rf4 that would be really huge and I would be dominating." Hence, Anand's reply:} 30. Rh4 Rd4 31. Rg4 ({Anand had planned} 31. Rxd4 exd4 32. Nd5 $1 cxd5 33. Qxd3 {but after} Qf6 {he liked Black's counterattack, so instead he bailed out with 31. Rg4.}) 31... Rxg4 32. Nxg4 e4 33. Qe5+ Qxe5 34. Nxe5 Kg7 35. Rd1 Rd8 36. Nxc6 Re8 37. Kf2 e3+ 38. Ke1 Bxc4 39. Rd4 Bf7 40. g4 a5 41. b4 axb4 42. Rxb4 Be6 43. g5 Bf7 44. h6+ Kg6 45. Rb5 Ba2 46. Re5 Rxe5 47. Nxe5+ Kxg5 48. Nd7 Bb3 49. Nxb6 Bxa4 50. Nxa4 Kxh6 51. Nc3 e2 52. Nxe2 Kg5 53. Ng3 h5 54. Nxh5 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.20"] [Round "3"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C83"] [WhiteElo "2773"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The third round of the Sinquefield Cup promised a lot of action, but only one decisive result. The opening battles were all interesting, and Fabi would have been slightly disappointed he didn't find anything better in a slightly better endgame. Grischuk will be happy after a win vs Naka, and Aronian should be satisfied with his 1.e4 experiment against Magnus. I now turn to Vishy's game, and it seems that Anand is growing younger, atleast in terms of his opening choices!} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 $5 {Really interesting decision by Vishy, to go for the Closed Ruy Lopez, or so I thought! Maybe he's bored to death by the Berlin and wants to try something new.} 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 { The Open Spanish, which has undergone a renaissance at the top level. Anand has played the Berlin almost exclusively nowadays, with some small dabbles in the Caro-kann and the French. His Sicilian Najdorf has disappeared. But to take up the Open Spanish, which was his major weapon during the 90s, is a very good decision. As far as I know, Anand has sparingly played it since then. He did show during Norway Chess that he plans to use it again, and is clearly inclining more towards this opening now. There is hope after all at the top level, with people returning to the roots of the 20th Century.} 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 {We have arrived at the tabiya position of the opening Spanish. Black gets piece play and a strong Ne4 in exchange for White's e5 wedge and pressure against d5.} 9. Be3 $5 {Sergey chooses an option that isn't seen as frequently as others. Clearly he wants to negate any opening surprise by Vishy. This move is logical, and scores well, but my database shows that players prefer other moves.} (9. c3 Bc5 10. Qd3 Ne7 11. Be3 O-O $13 {with an unclear position, Gashimov-Jussupow 2011.}) (9. Nbd2 Nc5 10. c3 d4 11. Bxe6 Nxe6 12. cxd4 Ncxd4 13. Ne4 Be7 $132 {Was Karpov-Krochnoi 1981. This position clearly indicates the dynamic possiblities for both sides- White's e5 strong point counter balanced by Black's control over d4.}) (9. Qe2 Be7 10. Rd1 O-O 11. c4 bxc4 12. Bxc4 Re8 {with a typical position of this line. This system was recently popularised by Caruana.}) 9... Be7 {The main line.} (9... Qd7 10. Nbd2 Nc5 $5 11. a4 b4 12. Bxc5 Bxc5 13. a5 Nd4 $11 {with a roughly balanced position.}) 10. c3 O-O {Again Anand chooses the most principled. There were few other options.} (10... Nc5 11. Bc2 Nd7 12. Nd4 $1 {an enterprising pawn sac, though White obtains it back by force a few moves later.} Ncxe5 13. Nxe6 fxe6 14. Qh5+ Nf7 15. Qg4 $1 e5 16. Qxg7 Nf6 17. Qg3 $13 {with a crazy position.Black's centre and queenside expansion is balanced by his weak king and White's bishop pair.}) (10... Qd7 {is the most interesting move here, refusing to commit the king. After} 11. Nbd2 Rd8 12. Re1 O-O 13. Nxe4 dxe4 $11 {we reach Karjakin-Ivanchuk,2012. The game was eventually drawn, and the position doesn't do anything to deny such a result- it is balanced.}) 11. Nbd2 Bg4 {Angling for simplification. I can't fault such a strategy.} (11... Qd7 12. Bc2 f5 13. exf6 Nxf6 14. Qb1 Bd6 $13 {would have kept a little more fight in the position, as it is unbalanced, but then, as Black the top players look to simplify to a draw. This line could have been chosen by Anand if he was a little more ambitious.}) 12. Nxe4 {Sergey follows suit, and liquidates to a equal endgame.} dxe4 13. Qd5 $1 {an important move, forcing the queen to make a decision.} Qxd5 (13... exf3 $5 14. Qxc6 fxg2 15. Qxg2 Qd7 16. Bh6 gxh6 17. h3 h5 18. hxg4 Qxg4 19. Bd1 Qxg2+ 20. Kxg2 $11 {is another way of simplifying. Black's worse pawn structure is balanced by early access to the d-file. Magnus could even try to win from here with both colours!}) 14. Bxd5 exf3 15. Bxc6 fxg2 $1 {A good intermezzo.} 16. Rfc1 Rab8 17. a4 b4 $1 {A good move that guarantees further simplification.} 18. cxb4 Rxb4 19. Bxg2 c5 20. Bxc5 Bxc5 21. Rxc5 Rxb2 22. Bf1 Be2 23. Rac1 g6 24. R1c2 {Sergey exchanges a pair of rooks before Black's activity gets serious.} Rxc2 25. Rxc2 Bxf1 26. Kxf1 {Now it's just a draw.} Re8 27. Rc5 f6 28. Rc6 Rxe5 29. Rxa6 {A very small inbalance has been created, but rest assured, that soon disappears.} Kg7 30. Ra7+ Kh6 31. Rc7 Re4 32. Rc6 Rxa4 33. Rxf6 Rh4 {Anand forces the draw, though Black has a very minute edge with a better pawn structure.} 34. Kg2 Rg4+ 35. Kf1 Rh4 36. Kg2 Rg4+ 37. Kf1 Rh4 {and the 3-fold makes this a draw. A very drab middlegame and endgame spoils an inspirational opening I must say. Sergey must be disgrunted by his play in this game, but then, after two losses he atleast gets off the mark. However, this is not how you play as White, and he will hope for a reversal in fortunes as the tournament progresses. As for Anand, I am happy he has reinvigorated the Open Ruy Lopez again, but am slightly disappointed that he didn't press for more against an out of form Karjakin. He has aimed for solidity in this tournament, and as a chess fan I have mixed feelings.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis USA"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2018.08.22"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2768"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2018.08.18"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. a3 Nc6 11. Bd3 Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. b4 d4 (14... a6 15. Rb1 d4 16. b5 axb5 17. Rxb5 Bxf3 18. Qb1 Bc7 19. Bxh7+ Kh8 20. gxf3 Bxf4 21. exf4 Ne7 22. Rh5 Ra5 23. Bf5+ Kg8 24. Bh7+ Kh8 25. Bf5+ Kg8 26. Bh7+ {½-½ Inarkiev,E (2727)-Nakamura,H (2786) Moscow 2017}) 15. b5 Na5 16. exd4 Qf6 $146 {Anand: "I've had it in my notes for a while. It's funny because periodically my seconds would jog my memory, and two or three times I would play 16...Qd5, thinking that was our improvement over 16...Qf6, and they would look at me and tell me: no, you mixed it up again! Qf6 is the improvement over Qd5. So I had this nice note in block capitals saying: NOT QD5!" (...) "It's quite an important improvement because it kills this particular line."} (16... Qd5 17. Re1 Rfe8 18. Rxe8+ Rxe8 19. Rc1 Bxf3 20. Qxf3 Qxf3 21. gxf3 Nb3 22. Rc3 Nxd4 {Huebner,R (2583)-Prusikin,M (2528) Switzerland 2016}) 17. Be3 Bxf3 18. Qxf3 Qxf3 19. gxf3 Rfd8 ({After} 19... Rad8 20. Rac1 g6 {there might be a tempo-winning Bh6 somewhere (Anand).}) 20. Rfd1 Nb3 21. Rab1 Nxd4 {By now "Black has pretty much equalized this line." (Anand)} 22. Kg2 Ne6 23. Bf5 Bxe3 24. Bxe6 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Bb6 26. Bb3 Rd8 27. Rxd8+ Bxd8 28. f4 Kf8 29. f5 a6 30. b6 Bxb6 31. Bd5 Bc5 32. Bxb7 Bxa3 33. Bxa6 Bb2 34. Bf1 Ba3 35. Ba6 Bb2 36. Bf1 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis USA"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2018.08.22"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D34"] [WhiteElo "2777"] [BlackElo "2801"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2018.08.18"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Nf6 7. O-O Be7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. h3 Ne4 10. dxc5 Bxc5 (10... Nxc3 11. bxc3 Bxc5 12. Nd4 Bxd4 13. cxd4 Bf5 14. Be3 {½-½ Ilic,D (2376)-Brenjo,S (2522) Kragujevac 2012}) 11. Bf4 $146 ( 11. e3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bf5 13. Nd4 Be4 14. f3 Bg6 15. f4 Be4 {Bellahcene,B (2286) -Dastan,B (2247) Albena 2011}) 11... Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bf5 13. Nd2 Re8 14. g4 Bg6 15. e3 Bb6 16. Qb3 Re7 17. Rfd1 Rd7 18. a4 Rc8 19. Rac1 h6 20. Qa2 Bc7 21. Nb3 b6 22. Qd2 f5 23. c4 Bxf4 24. exf4 d4 {Mamedyarov liked his position here.} 25. Bd5+ (25. c5 $5) 25... Bf7 26. Qe2 fxg4 27. hxg4 Qf6 28. Qf3 Rdd8 29. Nd2 Rf8 $6 ({Mamedyarov wasn't sure about} 29... Nb4 {(the computer's suggestion)} 30. Ne4 Qe7 31. Bxf7+ Qxf7 {e.g.} 32. c5 $5) 30. Ne4 Qe7 31. Ng3 Qf6 32. Ne4 Qe7 33. Ng3 Qf6 34. Nf5 Kh8 35. Bxf7 Rxf7 36. c5 Rcc7 37. cxb6 axb6 38. Re1 Rf8 39. Qe4 g6 40. Nxd4 {This quickly liquidates to a draw.} ({Mamedyarov was hoping for the more interesting} 40. Nxh6 Re7 41. Qh1 {and now perhaps} Rh7 $5) 40... Qxd4 41. Qxd4+ Nxd4 42. Rxc7 Nf3+ 43. Kf1 Nxe1 44. Kxe1 Rxf4 45. Rc6 Kg7 46. Rxb6 Rxa4 47. f3 g5 48. Rb7+ Kg6 49. Rb6+ Kg7 50. Rb7+ Kg6 51. Rb6+ Kg7 52. Rb7+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis USA"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2018.08.22"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2822"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2018.08.18"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Qd2 Be6 9. O-O-O Qd7 10. Kb1 Bf6 11. h4 O-O-O 12. Nd4 (12. Ng5 Bf5 13. Qd5 h6 14. Ne4 Be5 15. Bd3 Be6 16. Qb5 f5 17. Nd2 f4 18. Bd4 Nxd4 19. cxd4 Qxb5 20. Bxb5 Bxd4 {Aronian,L (2767)-Caruana,F (2822) Saint Louis 2018}) 12... Nxd4 13. Bxd4 Be5 14. Be2 {"I was already a bit uncomfortable with how I should play." (Caruana)} Qa4 ({An alternative was} 14... Bxd4 15. Qxd4 Kb8 {because} 16. Qxg7 {allows} (16. Bf3) 16... Bxa2+) 15. b3 Qa5 16. f4 $146 (16. Bxe5 Qxe5 17. f4 Qc5 18. Bf3 h5 19. Kb2 g6 20. Rhe1 Qf5 21. Qd4 {½-½ Walter,G (2452) -Korabliov,A (2458) corr. 2016}) 16... Bxd4 17. Qxd4 g6 18. h5 (18. g4 $5 { Caruana} Qc5 19. Qf6 Qf2) 18... Qc5 19. Qd2 Rhe8 20. Bf3 Bf5 21. hxg6 hxg6 22. Rh7 Re7 $1 (22... Rd7 $6 23. Re1 {Caruana}) 23. g4 ({Now} 23. Re1 {can be met by} d5 $1 {(Caruana)}) 23... Bd7 24. Re1 Rxe1+ 25. Qxe1 Re8 26. Qd2 Qe3 $1 { "The last accurate move." (Caruana)} (26... Qg1+ 27. Kb2 Bxg4 $2 28. Qd5 Bxf3 29. Qxf7 {Caruana}) 27. Qxe3 (27. Qd5 Qxc3 28. Qxb7+ Kd8 29. Qa8+ Ke7 30. Qd5 Kd8 {Caruana}) 27... Rxe3 28. Rh8+ Re8 29. Rxe8+ Bxe8 30. Kc1 b6 31. g5 Kd8 32. Kd2 Bd7 33. Be4 Ke7 34. Ke3 Be6 35. c4 c5 36. Kf3 Bd7 37. Ke3 Be6 38. Kf3 Bd7 39. Ke3 Be6 40. Kf3 1/2-1/2 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.08.24"] [Round "6"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E20"] [WhiteElo "2822"] [BlackElo "2773"] [Annotator "Hess, R"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [SourceVersionDate "2018.08.24"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d5 6. Nf3 dxc4 7. O-O (7. a3 { would have been an attempt to steer the game back to Carlsen-Karjakin (Sinquefield round 2) territory, which saw} Be7 8. Ne5 Nc6 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. Nxc6 Qe8 11. Nxe7+ Qxe7) 7... Nc6 8. Qa4 Bd7 9. Bg5 {A more challenging move than retreating the queen, according to Caruana.} ({Caruana was well aware of this game between two of his competitors from the Saint Louis Blitz.} 9. Qc2 Be7 10. e4 Nb4 11. Qe2 Nd3 12. Be3 b5 13. Ne1 Nxe1 14. Rfxe1 c6 15. Rad1 Rc8 16. d5 cxd5 17. exd5 Qa5 18. a3 exd5 19. Bd2 Bd8 20. Nxd5 Qa6 21. Bc3 Re8 22. Qd2 Be6 23. Nb4 Qb6 24. Bd4 Qa5 25. Bc3 Qb6 26. Bd4 Qa5 27. Bc6 Rf8 28. Bc5 Bb6 29. Bxf8 Rxf8 30. Bf3 h6 31. Kg2 Bc5 32. Nd5 Qd8 33. Nf4 Bd7 34. Re5 Qc7 35. Re2 Bf5 36. Nd5 Nxd5 37. Qxd5 Bd3 38. Ree1 Qb6 {So,W (2780)-Anand,V (2768) Saint Louis 2018 0-1}) 9... a5 {"Probably not the move, but Black is under a lot of positional pressure. Especially if you don't know the position."} 10. Bxf6 $146 ({In a game between two talented grandmasters, White made an error that was not taken advantage of:} 10. Rfd1 $2 Nxd4 (10... Bxc3 {was just great for Black.} 11. bxc3 (11. Bxf6 Nxd4) 11... Nb4 12. Qa3 Nc2 13. Qb2 Nxa1) 11. Rxd4 Bxc3 12. Rxd7 Qxd7 13. Qxd7 Nxd7 14. bxc3 f6 15. Be3 Rab8 16. Nd4 Kf7 17. Nb5 {1-0 (17) Lenderman,A (2600)-Gretarsson,H (2567) Reykjavik 2018}) 10... Qxf6 (10... gxf6 11. Qc2 {gives Black longterm issues on the kingside. Even if White does not regain the pawn on c4, the position remains favorable. Good choices include playing for d5, Qe4 to the kingside, etc.} (11. a3 $2 Nxd4 { is a free pawn.}) 11... Be7 12. a3 $1 {to prevent Nb4 and prepare the d5 break. }) 11. a3 Bxc3 (11... Nxd4 $6 12. Qxd7 Bxc3 13. bxc3 Nxe2+ 14. Kh1 Nxc3 15. Qxc7 b5 {gives Black three pawns for the piece, but the bishop is extremely strong here and the pawns are potentially vulnerable. White is ahead.}) (11... Bd6 12. Qxc4 a4 {Caruana considered this a superior alternative, as it does not give White the control of the b-file.}) 12. bxc3 {Black is looking quite passive, with no clear way to activate.} Qd8 (12... Ne5 $4 {would work if not for the queen hanging on f6.} 13. dxe5 Bxa4 14. exf6 {is an extra knight for White.}) (12... e5 13. Qxc4 exd4 14. cxd4 {hands White a big center and a ton of space.}) (12... b6 13. Qxc4 Rac8 {keeps everything defended, but the position is a sad. A human would not volunteer to enter such a position, but it might be tough to make a dent.}) 13. Qxc4 a4 14. Nd2 (14. Ne5 Na5 (14... Nxe5 15. dxe5 {is very problematic, as White will simply play Rd1 and control the board.}) 15. Qb4 {or 15. Qd3 is good for White as well, but Caruana probably wasn't too interested in making exchanges.}) 14... Na5 15. Qb4 Ra7 { Karjakin accepts a position with which he can do relatively little, though this is not foreign territory for him.} 16. Rab1 b6 17. e3 Bc6 18. Bxc6 Nxc6 19. Qb5 Qa8 {Caruana wasn't sure if this is necessary, noting that the rook on a7 has a hard time returning into the game.} 20. c4 Rd8 21. Rfc1 e5 22. d5 Nb8 $2 {A huge problem with this is that the back rank is exposed.} (22... Na5 23. Rd1 (23. c5 {no longer works since the queen defends the back rank.} Rxd5) (23. Qxa4 Nb7 {gives Black great counterplay, even if Black doesn't capture the a3 pawn. Planting the knight on c5 would give Karjakin hope.}) 23... Nb7 24. Ne4 { with a nagging edge.}) 23. c5 Ra5 (23... Rxd5 24. Qe8#) (23... Qxd5 24. cxb6 Qxb5 25. bxa7 $1 Qxb1 26. Nxb1 {is easily winning.} Nd7 (26... Na6 27. Rc6) 27. Rd1) (23... bxc5 {is ugly, but Black can try to hold:} 24. Qxc5 Na6 25. Qc6 Rxd5 {and White has the initiative, thanks to the distracting} 26. Rb8+ $1 (26. Rb7 $1 {is also a funny move that works in White's favor, but is more of a shock than anything.}) 26... Qxb8 27. Qxd5) 24. Qb2 Qxd5 25. cxb6 cxb6 26. Nc4 Rc5 27. Qxb6 $1 {The less natural move, but the stronger one!} (27. Nxb6 Rxc1+ 28. Rxc1 Qb3 29. Rb1 Rd3 (29... Rd1+ 30. Rxd1 Qxd1+ (30... Qxb2 {allows mate} 31. Rd8#) 31. Kg2 {and White will go up a pawn. Caruana stopped analyzing these variations when he preferred 27. Qxb6.}) 30. Nxa4 $1) 27... f6 $2 { A losing move in a really tough position.} (27... Rf8 28. Qxb8 Rxc4 29. Rxc4 Qxc4 30. Qxe5) (27... Rcc8 {At first, Caruana thought this equalized. Then he noticed} 28. Nd6 Nd7 (28... Rxc1+ 29. Rxc1 Rf8 30. Nc8 Qd2 {"doesn't lose on the spot, but White has so many good moves here." - Caruana} 31. Rc7) 29. Nxc8 Nxb6 30. Ne7+) 28. Rd1 {This move "jumped out" to Caruana, so he didn't bother calculating anything else.} (28. e4 {was even stronger.} Qd4 29. Qe6+ Kh8 30. Nd6 {is totally decisive, with both back rank and smothered mating ideas.}) 28... Qxd1+ 29. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 30. Kg2 1-0 [Event "St. Louis"] [Site "St. Louis"] [Date "2018.08.24"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2766"] [BlackElo "2842"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Norway"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "NOR"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. c4 O-O 5. d4 d6 6. O-O c5 7. d5 b5 8. cxb5 a6 9. bxa6 Bf5 10. Nfd2 Nxa6 11. Nc3 Nb4 12. Nc4 Nc2 (12... Bc2 13. Qd2 Bb3 { wins back the d-pawn.}) 13. g4 Nxg4 14. e4 Nxa1 (14... Bxe4 {Was the move Ashley was surprised Carlsen didn't labor over, and Grischuk also thought this was the best way for Black.} 15. Nxe4 Nxa1 16. Qxg4 f5 {unclear (Grischuk)}) 15. exf5 Bxc3 16. bxc3 Nf6 17. Qe2 Re8 {"shocked" Grischuk, as he was expecting:} (17... Ra4 18. Bh6 Nc2 19. Bxf8 Kxf8 {but} 20. Nb2 {was what Carlsen missed in his calculations, according to Grischuk}) 18. Bg5 Qd7 19. fxg6 hxg6 20. Rxa1 (20. Nb6 Qf5 21. Nxa8 Qxg5 22. Nc7 Rc8 23. Nb5 {was winning, but Grischuk was fearful of ...Nxd5 and ...Nf4}) 20... Qf5 21. Bxf6 (21. h4) 21... Qxf6 22. Qf3 Qh4 23. Qe4 Qf6 24. Qf3 Qh4 25. Qe4 Qf6 26. Qd3 Reb8 27. a3 Rb3 28. Rc1 Ra4 {In many variations, this is the problem: Black keeps getting in the way of the a-pawn.} 29. Qc2 {Grischuk thought he was winning, which is why he went for this line, except...} Qf4 $1 {saves the day} 30. Qxb3 Qxc1+ 31. Bf1 Qg5+ 32. Bg2 Qc1+ 33. Bf1 Qg5+ 34. Bg2 Qc1+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.21"] [Round "4"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2842"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The 4th Round of the Sinquefield Cup followed the trend from the previous 2 rounds- lots of fighting chess but only one decisive result. It's nice to see Fabi regain some form ahead of the WCC 2018, as a hotly contested championship match is what a hardcore fan wants. This game though, had some intense moments. It was another meeting between the former and current world champions. Magnus entered the game in a combative move, as shown by his opening choice.} 1. e4 c5 {Carlsen wants to win, and take sole lead, so it's hardly a surprise that he opts for the sharpest opening in his arsenal.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 {Interesting choice by Magnus. No Najdorfs today.} 3. Bb5 $1 {Not so fast dear, says Vishy. Now the game doesn't enter an Accelerated Dragon/Sveshnikov/Classical Sicilian. Instead, we've found ourselves in the tabiya lines of the Rossolimo.} g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 {The best recapture according to me, as Black's pawns stay in a tight bunch.} (4... bxc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8. d4 $14 {is a clear plus for white- I personally don't see a future for the LS Bishop, and central control dominates over the Bishop pair.}) 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 Nf6 {The last few moves have been self explanatory, so let me now throw some light on the current position. White has given up the bishop pair, in return he's got 2 pawns in the centre, free development, and the better endgame. Black on the other hand, has the bishop pair, and control over d4(c3 weakens the d3 pawn a lot, and d4 only opens up black's DSB). I prefer white here, as it's hard to see the LS Bishop activating itself anytime soon. Also, White has a clear target of attack- the queenside pawn mass. On the other hand, Black doesn't have a target for now.} 7. Nc3 {The most popular move in the position, and logical too.} (7. O-O O-O 8. Be3 b6 9. Nc3 {is a similar position to the game, but the king has committed himself already, which is slightly less flexible.}) 7... O-O 8. Be3 b6 9. Qd2 $5 {Wow! Vishy is going for it here. The most aggressive and clearly the best move in the position. Clearly better than the variation above.} e5 $5 {A gutsy move, and the best rejoinder here. Magnus knows his stuff in this line. If the pawn isn't taken Black gets a stranglehold over d4, and if it is then he simplifies.} 10. Bh6 Qd6 {Forced, as otherwise White takes on g7 and then on e5.} 11. Bxg7 Kxg7 12. a4 $5 { a very interesting move, and a new one according to my Mega database 2017. White seizes his chance to prevent b5 and threathens a5-a6 to isolate a7. It seems to me though, that since black is ahead in development, this plan shouldn't be too dangerous.} (12. O-O {is the most popular move here. Play continues} Ne8 13. Nh2 Bd7 14. Rae1 f6 15. f4 $14 {with a slight edge for white.}) 12... Ne8 {To get to the d4 outpost, and threaten to open the game with f5.} 13. Nh2 {White wants to play f4 eventually. So he gets his knight of the way, while threatening to come to g4 and target the h6 and f6 weaknesses.} Nc7 14. Ng4 f6 15. f3 Ne6 {It seems to me that Vishy hasn't got what he wants from the opening. The position is fresh and full of potential, but because of the lack of connectivity of the white rooks and weak d4 square, the position is equal.} 16. h4 $1 {Clearly the best try here.} Nd4 17. h5 g5 {There goes White's chances of opening the h-file. Good defense by Magnus. I have a feeling that black has got the better side of equality.} 18. Ne3 Be6 19. Ne2 { Regrouping to the f5 square. Both sides are playing the best moves, so I really can't suggest any alternatives.} Kh8 20. Ng3 Rad8 21. Kf2 {A move that was long overdue, in my amateurish opinion. The problem with wing expansion is the counter blow in the center.} Qe7 22. Qd1 c4 $1 $15 {Suddenly Black gets some very serious play here. It's impossible to point out where Vishy went wrong, but he's suddenly worse. The a4 move maybe?} 23. dxc4 f5 $5 {Magnus plays a very good move, but misses an absolute specy.} (23... Nb3 $3 24. cxb3 Rxd1 25. Raxd1 b5 $1 $17 {I won't be surprised if Anand loses this. A position perfectly suited to Magnus- Imbalances. White isn't lost yet, but it'll take him a herculean effort to save the game.}) 24. exf5 Nxf5 25. Ngxf5 Bxf5 26. Qe2 (26. Nxf5 $4 Qc5+ $1 $19 {isn't something Anand would miss.}) 26... g4 { Magnus is putting pressure here, and it isn't on the lower side. I am surprised that such a creative opening choice by Vishy has led to this.} 27. Kg1 $1 {Why keep pieces on the board? When defending, exchange is what our forefathers on the chess board have advised. This is what I thought at first. On further analysis, Vishy wins out.} (27. Nxf5 Rxf5 28. Qe3 Rdf8 $17 {and the pressure on the f-file is really intense. I am glad that Vishy's intuition didn't let him down here.}) 27... gxf3 28. Qxf3 Bxc2 29. Qg3 $1 {Again the best move. A bystander might think I am hardcore fan of Vishy looking at the praise I am lavishing on his defence. That is true(!) but I am also admiring his intuitive defence here. Reason- Komodo understands this a LOT later.} Bd3 30. Rh4 $1 Rd4 31. Rg4 Rxg4 {Sadly, this move takes white closer to equality.} (31... Rdf4 $1 {Keep the tension. After} 32. a5 Be2 33. Rg5 b5 $15 {I feel Black has atleast a little something here.}) 32. Nxg4 e4 33. Qe5+ $1 Qxe5 34. Nxe5 Kg7 35. Rd1 {Anand seizes his chance. Again, impossible to pinpoint where Magnus went wrong, but his edge has disappeared.} Rd8 36. Nxc6 Re8 37. Kf2 e3+ 38. Ke1 Bxc4 {This is more desparation than anything else. Now lets all watch how efficiently Anand neutralises Black's play here.} 39. Rd4 Bf7 40. g4 a5 41. b4 axb4 42. Rxb4 {Step 1 - Trade a pair of pawns : Accomplished.} Be6 43. g5 Bf7 44. h6+ Kg6 45. Rb5 Ba2 46. Re5 {Step 2 - Force the trade of rooks.} Rxe5 47. Nxe5+ Kxg5 48. Nd7 Bb3 49. Nxb6 Bxa4 $5 50. Nxa4 $1 Kxh6 51. Nc3 {Step 3 - get into a theoretically drawn endgame.} e2 52. Nxe2 Kg5 53. Ng3 h5 54. Nxh5 { Step 4 - Draw accomplished! A fantastic game by both players, fighting tooth and nail for something tangible that never arrived due to their due efforts (an oxymoron, but then, thats how it was!). Vishy deserves praise for trying something different, but he picked Magnus as his test minion, which wasn't the best choice. Magnus will be angry at himself for missing out on a win here, but lets be fair to both here- neither deserved it. This game shows positive signs for Indian fans- the fighter in Vishy has awoken, and I hope to see more of it in the upcoming rounds.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.22"] [Round "5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The fifth round of a Sinquefield Cup produced a lot of creative chess, but unfortunately there was no decisive result. The closest one got to it was in Carlsen-So where the World Champion was better, but failed to convert in a tricky middlegame. This game also had its moments, but Anand's preparation succesfully negotiated Levon's opening advantage.} 1. d4 {No more 1.e4 from Aronian!?} Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 {The main line 5.Bf4 QGD. A sharp opening, but one where black has a clear path to somewhat equal chances.} O-O 6. e3 c5 {Anand chooses the line that served him well against Nakamura.} 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 {Levon doesn't read my annotations I guess, or he must have found something extraordinary in the resulting IQP position. It's hard to believe the best White can do here is achieve some play against the d5 pawn. Well, exchanging these many pieces surely brings black closer to equality.} (9. Qc2 Nc6 10. Rd1 Qa5 11. Bc4 { Personally, I prefer this line to the one Levon played. This gives white atleast a small edge considering the poor c8-bishop.}) 9... exd5 10. a3 Nc6 11. Bd3 Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 {Anand re-plays his Naka game, obviously not seeking to improve on an already tested position. For more info on the preceeding moves please do check Nakamura-Anand from the first round.} 13. h3 Bh5 14. b4 $5 $146 {Direct play from Levon. Clearly he isn't fooling around with mysterious moves like Bb5. This is also the move I would play here-logical and strong.} d4 $1 { The best move in the position. Anand seeks to play in the centre to counter Levon's flank attack.} (14... a6 $5 {is also a move that deserves attention, but why play something inferior? After} 15. Rc1 d4 16. Be4 dxe3 17. Bxe3 Bxe3 18. Qxd8 (18. fxe3 Qe7 19. Bxc6 Qxe3+ 20. Kh2 bxc6 21. Qd4 Qxa3 $15) 18... Bxf2+ 19. Kxf2 Rfxd8 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Rxc6 Bxf3 22. gxf3 g6 {and White atleast gets an imbalance, though it amounts to nothing significant.}) 15. b5 Na5 (15... dxe3 $6 16. bxc6 exf2+ 17. Kh1 bxc6 $16 {is an interesting piece sac, but as with all such interesting sacrifices it is not the best line available. White gets a clear plus here due to his fantastic bishops.}) 16. exd4 Qf6 {Both players are apparently still in their home preparation. All the preceding moves are logical- Levon is temporarily a pawn up, but Anand is adding significant pressure to that pawn.} 17. Be3 {Komodo says this is the best move here, but I am not so sure.} (17. Be5 $1 {Is the move I feel should have been played. Optically speaking it looks better, and another reason is that it preserves some winning chances in the position. After} Bxf3 18. gxf3 Qh4 19. Kg2 Rad8 20. Qc2 $14 {White retains a small plus according to me, but with best play this should be a draw. Still, knowing how ambitious Levon is, I am surprised he didn't go for this.}) 17... Bxf3 18. Qxf3 {Forced, as} (18. gxf3 $2 Rad8 $17 {would be a terrible mistake. Is this the reason Levon didn't go for my variation above. There is a small difference though, the Bishop is more actively placed on e5, and that makes all the difference.}) 18... Qxf3 19. gxf3 {We have now arrived at an endame. White should have something here due to the double Bishops, but because the e3 one is so passive, I feel Black equalises with best play.} Rfd8 $5 {An interesting answer to the perinneal problem question-which rook?} (19... Rad8 20. Rad1 g6 21. Be4 Rd7 {is also an option. I feel Anand's choice makes more sense.}) 20. Rfd1 Nb3 21. Rab1 Nxd4 22. Kg2 Ne6 23. Bf5 Bxe3 24. Bxe6 {An impercievable innacuracy by Levon. I wouldn't have given up that bishop readily.} (24. fxe3 Nc5 25. Rbc1 b6 26. Rd4 Re8 27. Rc3 Rad8 $11 {is the quicker path to equalit, though if anyone can play on here, its black.}) 24... Rxd1 $5 {An interesting decison to hand over the d-file and equalise.} (24... Bc5 $1 {could have been played to play on here. The tide has turned, and black's bishop has more targets here. With accurate play by White though, this should be a draw. A sample line} 25. Bd5 Rab8 26. a4 b6 27. f4 g6 28. Rbc1 Kg7 29. Bc6 f5 30. Kg3 {shows Black holding a microscopic edge, but this is round about equal.}) 25. Rxd1 Bb6 26. Bb3 Rd8 27. Rxd8+ $11 {Agreeing to a draw.} Bxd8 28. f4 Kf8 29. f5 a6 30. b6 Bxb6 31. Bd5 Bc5 32. Bxb7 Bxa3 33. Bxa6 Bb2 34. Bf1 Ba3 35. Ba6 Bb2 36. Bf1 {and the players end the game in a draw. A very interesting struggle that had its share of speculative decisions. I feel Levon will go back unhappy as he was unable to justify his White pieces today. Vishy's prep is as strong as it has ever been, and he remains combative. It will be interesting to observe his next four games.} 1/2-1/2 [Event ""] [Site ""] [Date "2018.08.25"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2773"] [BlackElo "2801"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Russia"] [BlackTeam "Azerbaijan"] [WhiteTeamCountry "RUS"] [BlackTeamCountry "AZE"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 h6 8. Bg2 g5 {The second straight day with g4 and g5 for Shak, but that's kind of par for the course for him.} 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. Qe2 Ne5 11. O-O-O Nfd7 12. h4 Rg8 13. hxg5 hxg5 14. Kb1 b5 15. f4 (15. a3 {was the Cuban's choice, but then the 13th World Champion played} Bb7 16. Bc1 Rc8 17. Rh3 Ng6 18. Bh1 Nde5 19. Rg3 Be7 20. Na2 Rh8 {and Kasparov went on to win the blitz game.}) 15... gxf4 16. Bxf4 Bb7 17. g5 Qb6 18. Rh7 O-O-O 19. Be3 Qa5 20. Rf1 Rg7 21. Rxg7 (21. Qh5 Kb8 22. Rxg7 Bxg7 23. Qh7 Bh8 24. g6 $1 Nxg6 25. Rxf7 $14) 21... Bxg7 22. g6 Nxg6 23. Rxf7 { We arrived at a similar idea to the previous note, but with a little less teeth with the white queen at home.} Bxd4 24. Bxd4 Nge5 {There's simply no target on the kingside, so black can now focus his defenses in a compact area, which is also quite suitable for the knights.} 25. Rf2 Qb4 26. Be3 Nc4 27. Bc1 Kb8 28. Nd1 {It's becoming apparent that even Black's position is now easier to play.} Rc8 29. b3 Na3+ 30. Bxa3 Qxa3 31. Bh3 Nc5 32. e5 Be4 $1 33. Qe3 Nd3 $1 34. Rf7 (34. cxd3 $2 Bxd3+ 35. Qxd3 (35. Ka1 Rc1+ 36. Qxc1 Qxc1#) 35... Rc1# ) 34... Qc5 (34... Nc5 {is playable since after} 35. Nc3 Bxc2+ $1 36. Kxc2 b4) 35. Qxc5 Nxc5 36. exd6 Rd8 37. Nc3 Rxd6 38. Kb2 Bc6 39. a3 Nb7 40. Rh7 Nc5 41. Rh6 Kc7 42. b4 Ne4 43. Rxe6 Rxe6 44. Bxe6 Nxc3 45. Kxc3 Kb6 46. Kd4 a5 47. Bd5 Be8 48. bxa5+ Kxa5 49. Kc5 Bg6 50. c3 Bd3 51. Bc6 Be2 52. Bd7 Bd3 53. Bc6 Be2 54. Bd7 Bd3 55. Bc6 Be2 56. Bd7 1/2-1/2 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.08.26"] [Round "?"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2768"] [BlackElo "2767"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The 7th Round of the Sinquefield Cup produced no decisive result, but a game that might have a decisive effect on the standings- Magnus was unable to finish Fabi off, so the latter still leads with 2 rounds to go. This game is one of the more intriguing ones of the round- Anand looking to break his duck of wins against Sasha, the latter trying to win and catch up to Fabi.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 {No surprises here. The Guico Piano has effectively overhauled the Ruy Lopez to become the new No.1 choice among the chess elite.} Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 {The start of the modern tabiya in chess.} 6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 {So that b4 doesn't come with tempo.} 8. Re1 O-O 9. h3 {Here, play proceeds as follows- White tries to achieve d4, and Black does his atmost to prevent it occuring under favourable circumstances.} h6 10. Nbd2 (10. Na3 { Makes more sense here- the knight either goes to c2 to support d4, or to e3 to claim the f5 square.}) 10... Re8 {Grischuk develops his rook to the e-fie, seeking to pressurise e4 when White tries to play d4. However, he had a more ambitious plan.} (10... Nh5 11. b4 Qf6 12. Nb3 Qg6 13. Kf1 Be6 14. Bxe6 fxe6 { and black gets atleast equal chances.}) 11. Nf1 (11. b4 {is more aggressive here, and makes sense with the knight on d2. Play can go} Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6 13. Qc2 Qd7 {with mutual chances.}) (11. Bb3 {is what I want to play, preserving the bishop in Ruy Lopez style. Play can go} Nh5 12. Nc4 Qf6 13. Be3 Bxe3 14. Nxe3 Nf4 15. Nd5 Qg6 16. Nxf4 exf4 17. Nh4 Qf6 {and the position repeats. So this move isn't playable if white wants to win.}) 11... Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6 13. Be3 Bxe3 14. Nxe3 {Looks good for white here, with a clamp on f5 and d4 queenside space advantage. Sasha however has none of it and equalises quickly.} d5 $1 15. Qc2 a5 16. Rad1 $146 {A logical novelty. White has a small dot of an advantage due to better pieces, but the game quickly peters out.} Qd7 17. Qb3 Rd8 18. exd5 Nxd5 19. d4 {Anand equalises befere things get out of hand.} exd4 20. Nxd5 Qxd5 21. Qxb7 {It appears Anand is going to start munching pawns, but Sasha has a drawing resource.} Rxe1+ 22. Rxe1 dxc3 23. bxc3 {Now its only a draw.} Qd6 24. Qb5 g6 25. Nd4 Nxd4 26. cxd4 Qb4 (26... Qxd4 27. Qxa5 {if either side wants to play on, this is it, but after all the vacuuming, I doubt either wanted to seriously play for a win here.}) 27. Re8+ Rxe8 28. Qxe8+ Kg7 29. Qe5+ Kg8 30. Qe8+ Kg7 31. Qe5+ Kg8 32. Qe8+ Kg7 {and it's a draw by threefold repetition. A disappointment for the spectators, especially the Indian fans. Anand seems determined to draw all his games here, and is playing solidly. However, he has to get his mojo up if he wats to go higher up on the leaderboard. As for Grischuk, a neat little equalising game as Black, and he will hope his good run contiues.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.08.25"] [Round "6"] [White "So, Wesely"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "120"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The sixth round of the Sinquefield Cup had a lot of effect on the leaderboard-Caruana jumped into sole lead by defeating the out of shape Karjakin. A lot of interesting games, especially this one, provided a lot of action.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 {Well, need I repeat myself? The most trendy continuation by White, and Anand has his equalising weapon ready. This is the third game in black for Anand where he has faced the 5.Bf4 QGD. Give me something new guys!} 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 {Again we arrive at the same structure. I don't know what Naka, Levon and So see here that I don't. But they are 2800+ players, so they obviously see a lot more!} 10. a3 Nc6 11. Bd3 Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 { All this has been seen previously in this tournament twice!} 14. Bb1 $5 $146 { So's novelty. The plan is to gang up against the weak kingside using the Queen-Bishop battery, and to play e4.} (14. Bb5 {was Naka's slightly artificial surprise against Anand, which didn't lead to much.}) (14. b4 { was Aronian's direct attempt against Black's play. This too, was diffused rather easily.}) 14... d4 15. Qd3 Bg6 $1 {The only good move, leading to a semi forced sequence.} 16. e4 Re8 17. Re1 Qe7 18. Qb5 f6 $1 {Again a neat move by Vishy. The idea is to conserve the Bishop.} 19. Nh4 $5 {Looks natural, but White had something better.} (19. e5 $1 Bxb1 20. Raxb1 fxe5 21. Bxe5 Qd7 22. Bg3 Rxe1+ 23. Rxe1 Rf8 $14 {gives White atleast a little something.}) 19... Bf7 20. Nf5 Qc5 21. Qe2 Ne5 {A series of precise moves by the players. Now So had his last chance to secure a symbolic advantage, but he fails to do so.} 22. Bxe5 $11 (22. Bd3 $1 Rac8 23. Rac1 Qf8 24. Qd2 a6 25. b4 Be6 $14 {gives White some hope of winning, but with precise play Black should draw.}) 22... Qxe5 ( 22... fxe5 $1 {is a slightly better way to equalise.}) 23. Bd3 Bg6 24. Qd2 Bxf5 {This exchanges White's strongest piece, and sets up a vacuum procedure.} 25. exf5 Qd5 26. Qc2 Kf8 27. Re6 $1 {A good try by So to play for an advantage, but with smart play Anand neutralises it.} Rxe6 28. fxe6 g6 29. Re1 Re8 30. Bc4 d3 $1 {A good equaliser.} 31. Qxd3 (31. Bxd3 $1 {Why not this move? Keeps queens on the board. After} Rxe6 32. Qc8+ Ke7 33. Rxe6+ Qxe6 34. Qxb7+ Kf8 35. Qf3 Kg7 $14 {Black should hold, but he should suffer to hold.}) 31... Qxd3 32. Bxd3 Ke7 33. Bc4 Rd8 34. Re2 Ba5 $1 35. b4 Rd1+ 36. Kh2 Bc7+ 37. g3 Rc1 { After a lot of provocation Anand gets counterplay against the advanced White queenside, and it's closer to a draw now.} 38. Ba2 Rc3 39. a4 Bd6 40. b5 Ra3 41. Bd5 b6 42. Ra2 $5 {So doesn't find anything better. Now its a dead draw.} Rxa2 43. Bxa2 f5 44. Kg2 Be5 45. g4 fxg4 46. hxg4 h5 47. gxh5 gxh5 {After all this exchanges White gets connected passers, but with the dark square blocade by Black he can never win.} 48. Kh3 Bf6 49. Bc4 Kd6 50. Kg3 Ke7 51. Kf4 h4 $1 { Precise.} 52. Kg4 Kd6 53. f3 Ke7 54. f4 Kd6 55. Kf5 Ke7 56. Bf1 Ba1 57. Bh3 Bf6 58. Bg2 Ba1 59. Ke4 Kd6 60. Bh3 Bf6 {And the players agree to a draw. A fighting game of chess where So had his chances for an edge, but he didn't take them. as for Vishy, another solid draw with Black leaves him on an even score with 3 rounds to go. A really exciting finish is on the cards.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.24"] [Round "6"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "DF"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 ({It barely needs stating that after} 8. Qc2 Nc6 {and either a3 or Rd1, we enter a theoretical battlefield in which I have annotated many games on this site, many of which featured either Anand or Nakamura.}) 8... Nxd5 (8... exd5 9. Rc1 {might be a marginally better version than the game for White, because the c3-knight often has chances to annoy the Black dark-squared bishop. }) 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. a3 Nc6 11. Bd3 {Wesley fancies his chances of impersonating Magnus today, and turning the IQP into (say) a bishop pair, and slowly constricting his opponent to death.} Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 (12... Qf6 13. b4 Bf5 {might seem principled, but actually any exchanges at all favour the side battling the IQP.} 14. Bxf5 Qxf5 15. Qb1 $14) 13. h3 Bh5 14. Bb1 {Clearly, Wesley would like the option to force the d-pawn forward with Ba2, but this may not be one that he actually wants. The position is now totally equal, because when Black ventures ...d4 there will be mass liquidations.} (14. b4 $5 a6 15. Re1 {is the most maximalist way to play the position, with e4 being the response to ...d4.}) 14... d4 15. Qd3 (15. e4 {would be the main way to try and claim an advantage, if this were appropriate; however it turns out not to be after} Bc7 $1 16. Bxc7 Qxc7 {and only Black can be better.}) 15... Bg6 ( 15... f5 $5 $11) 16. e4 Re8 17. Re1 Qe7 {Keeping the f3-knight and b1-bishop at home while preparing ...Rad8. As ...Bc7 is firmly within Black's territory, White will find himself unable to stop it in the long run.} (17... Bc7 $11) 18. Qb5 f6 $6 {Black strives a little too hard for control.} (18... Bc7 19. Qxb7 Bxf4 20. Qxc6 Rab8 $44 {makes considerable sense to me as a pawn sacrifice.}) ( 18... Rac8 {is the machine suggestion, preparing ...Bc7 yet again.}) 19. Nh4 ( 19. e5 $1 Bxb1 20. Raxb1 fxe5 21. Bxe5 $14 {gives White an advantage based on better co-ordination.}) 19... Bf7 20. Nf5 Qc5 21. Qe2 Ne5 22. Bxe5 Qxe5 23. Bd3 {The position is now level again, but as is often the way with the bishop pair, if Black can avoid making big concessions in the next 10 moves he has good chances of being better.} Bg6 (23... Kh8 24. Rac1 Bb3 25. Qf1 g6 26. f4 Qe6 27. Nh4 Rac8 28. Nf3 Ba5 {might be one sequence of moves after which Black begins taking more control of the game}) 24. Qd2 Bxf5 {Indicating contentment with a draw, but quite often playing too hard for a draw has adverse results.} (24... Rac8 $11) 25. exf5 Qd5 26. Qc2 (26. Re2 $14) 26... Kf8 27. Re6 Rxe6 28. fxe6 g6 29. Re1 Re8 $1 {The situation is back under control, and even though Black needs to sacrifice a pawn to get the queens off on the next move, there isn't such a big risk of losing anymore.} 30. Bc4 ({Having said that, something like } 30. h4 Qc5 31. Qe2 $14 {'hinting' at h5, was interesting from a practical perspective.}) 30... d3 31. Qxd3 Qxd3 32. Bxd3 Ke7 33. Bc4 Rd8 34. Re2 Ba5 35. b4 Rd1+ 36. Kh2 Bc7+ 37. g3 Rc1 38. Ba2 Rc3 39. a4 Bd6 $11 40. b5 Ra3 41. Bd5 b6 {Black is active enough that if the rooks stay on, all three results might occur. Therefore White bailed out, but played on, as is the way with such things:} 42. Ra2 Rxa2 43. Bxa2 f5 44. Kg2 Be5 45. g4 fxg4 46. hxg4 h5 47. gxh5 gxh5 48. Kh3 Bf6 49. Bc4 Kd6 50. Kg3 Ke7 {A interesting choice, but not a mistake. Black can defend actively, which is preferable to allowing a raid by White's king.} (50... Ke5 $1 51. f4+ Kf5 $11 {and neither of White's pieces has any prospects at all.}) 51. Kf4 h4 52. Kg4 Kd6 53. f3 Ke7 54. f4 Kd6 55. Kf5 Ke7 56. Bf1 Ba1 57. Bh3 Bf6 58. Bg4 Ba1 59. Ke4 Kd6 60. Bh3 (60. Kf5 Ke7 61. Kg5 Bf6+ 62. Kh5 Kd6 {The fortress holds firm.}) 60... Bb2 61. Kd3 Bf6 62. Kc4 Be7 63. Kd4 Bf6+ 64. Kc4 Be7 65. Kd4 Bf6+ 66. Kc4 1/2-1/2 [Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site ""] [Date "2018.08.25"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2842"] [BlackElo "2822"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Norway"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "NOR"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] {This game not only dictated who would lead the Sinquefield Cup; the winner would be the world's number highest rated player.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 { Caruana's trusted Petrov has helped him achieve tremendous results. It will be interesting to see if he switches it up during the World Championship.} 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nc6 {The players have followed theory thus far. Carlsen opts to stray first.} 8. Bc4 (8. Qd2 Be6 9. O-O-O Qd7 10. Kb1 Bf6 {is standard.}) 8... O-O 9. Qd2 Bf5 (9... Ne5 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. O-O-O Qxd2+ 12. Rxd2 {is a slightly better ending for White, though this rare position needs more practical testing.}) 10. O-O-O Qd7 11. Kb1 Rfe8 $146 { An extremely natural move, planning to retreat the dark-squared bishop and use the open e-file.} (11... Rae8 {has the same idea, except to put the bishop on d8. This move runs more of a risk of abandoning the queenside, though it's difficult to see how White can actually make any dents on that side of the board.}) 12. h4 Bf8 (12... Bf6 13. Bg5 {doesn't work for Black. Taking on g5 opens up the h-file, whereas there is no good means of protecting the bishop and leaving it on f6 isn't an option.}) 13. h5 h6 14. Be2 (14. Rdg1 {deserves attention, as it prepares the kingside assault.}) 14... Bg4 15. Nh2 Bxe2 16. Qxe2 Ne5 17. Bc1 Qc6 18. f4 Nc4 (18... Nd7 19. Qf1 {Caruana considered this a possible improvement for him over the game continuation, but White still just plays g4.} Nf6 20. g4 Ne4 21. Rg1 {or 21. Qf3 with a straightforward attack.} ( 21. g5 $2 Ng3)) 19. Qd3 Qe4 ({Considering how poor his position became in the game, it might have been preferable to sacrifice a pawn here and enter an ending (if Carlsen accepts it).} 19... d5 $5 20. Qxd5 (20. g4 {ignoring all else and pushing forward on the kingside is definitely an option, though Black counters quickly} Qb5 21. Ka1 (21. g5 Re3 22. Qxd5 Na3+ 23. Ka1 Nxc2+ 24. Kb1 Na3+ 25. Ka1 Nc2+) 21... Re6 {with counterplay.}) 20... Qxd5 21. Rxd5 Ne3 { Black's defensive task will be difficult, but there is evident activity as compensation for the lost pawn.}) 20. g4 Ne3 21. Rde1 Qxd3 22. cxd3 Nd5 ({ An absolutely ridiculous sequence was} 22... Ng2 23. Reg1 Re2 24. Nf1 (24. g5 hxg5 25. fxg5 Rae8 {would help Black coordinate.}) 24... Ne1 25. Ng3 Rg2 26. Rxg2 (26. Rxe1 Rxg3) 26... Nxg2 27. Rg1 Nh4 {and somehow that knight is not getting trapped, though White is still better after} 28. g5) 23. Reg1 Re6 { The move is so logical in conjunction with Ne7 next, but Caruana overlooked a tactic. Instead, he should have banked on activity as the best form of defense: } (23... Re2 24. g5 Kh7 25. Ng4 Rae8 26. gxh6 (26. f5 {is scary to meet over the board, but Black looks to escape with} hxg5 27. h6 (27. Bxg5 Be7) 27... f6) 26... f5 $1) 24. g5 Ne7 {"I blundered...I thought that after this move he can't play f5." - Caruana} (24... hxg5 25. fxg5 Rae8 26. Ng4 {keeps Black stymied. "To defend this, you have to play perfectly until the end of the game. " - Caruana}) 25. gxh6 Rxh6 (25... Kh7 26. hxg7 Bxg7 27. Nf3) 26. f5 Rh7 (26... Rxh5 {was why Caruana thought Carlsen could not play like this, but} 27. Ng4 Rxh1 (27... Rxf5 28. Nh6+) 28. Nf6+ Kh8 29. Rxh1#) 27. Ng4 (27. f6 {was what Magnus's intuition told him to play. Carlsen stated that he's having some trouble making up his mind and being practical. Thinking can sometimes be bad for us, apparently!} Nd5 (27... Nf5 28. Rg5 (28. Nf3 {heading to g5, capitalizing on the awkward placement of the h7 rook.}) 28... g6 29. Rhg1 Nh4 30. R1g4 Bh6) 28. Ng4 Kh8 29. Bg5 {is crushing. Black loses material, since he can't capture on f6 without getting mated.} gxf6 (29... b5 30. c4 bxc4 31. dxc4 Nb6 32. fxg7+ Rxg7 33. Bf6 {nets an exchange.}) 30. Nxf6 Nb6 31. h6 {ignoring the rook (for now) with Be3 next is decisive.}) 27... Kh8 28. f6 Ng8 29. fxg7+ Rxg7 30. Be3 ({Unfortunately for Carlsen,} 30. b3 {is too slow.} f5 31. Ne3 Rxg1 32. Rxg1 Ne7 {and the worst is behind Black.}) 30... c5 31. Bf4 (31. Bd2 { with the idea of c4, Bc3 likely gave White additional chances.} Kh7 (31... f5 32. Ne3 Rxg1+ 33. Rxg1 Ne7 34. Re1 {followed by Ng2-f4 is really awful for Black.}) 32. Nf2 {heading to g5 with the knight would have caused Caruana a bit of a headache.} Rxg1+ 33. Rxg1 d5 34. Nh3 Bh6 35. Ng5+ Bxg5 36. Rxg5 { with a very pleasant endgame for White.}) 31... Re8 32. Ne3 Rxg1+ 33. Rxg1 Re6 34. Nd5 Nf6 35. Nc7 Re2 36. Nb5 Re6 37. Rf1 Kg8 38. Nc7 Re2 39. Nb5 Re6 40. Nc7 (40. Nxa7 Nxh5 {caused Caruana no concerns. He even said "the benefit of having had a dead lost position is that you don't see ghosts in dead drawn positions"}) 40... Re2 41. Nb5 Re6 1/2-1/2 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.08.26"] [Round "8"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D73"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2842"] [Annotator "Hess, R"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [SourceVersionDate "2018.08.26"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 c6 5. Bg2 d5 6. Nbd2 a5 {A rare variation aiming to play against a queenside fianchetto. Ivanchuk has played this a couple of times. Carlsen had used such a strategy against Mamedyarov's compatriot, Teimour Radjabov.} (6... O-O 7. O-O a5 8. b3 a4 9. Bb2 Bf5 10. Ne5 Nbd7 11. Nxd7 Bxd7 12. Bc3 axb3 13. axb3 Bg4 14. Rxa8 Qxa8 15. h3 Bf5 16. Qa1 h5 17. Qxa8 Rxa8 18. Ra1 Rxa1+ 19. Bxa1 Bc2 20. e3 g5 21. Bf1 g4 22. hxg4 hxg4 23. Be2 Kh7 24. cxd5 cxd5 25. Bc3 Kg6 26. Kf1 Kf5 27. Ke1 Nd7 28. b4 e6 29. Nf1 Kg5 30. Nh2 Nf6 31. Bd2 Kf5 32. b5 Bf8 33. Ba5 Be7 34. Bc7 Kg5 35. b6 Bb3 36. f4+ Kf5 37. Kf2 Bc4 38. Bd1 Bb4 39. Bd8 Ba5 40. Kg2 Bd3 41. Kf2 Ne4+ 42. Kg2 Nf6 43. Kf2 Ne4+ 44. Kg2 Nf6 {1/2-1/2 (44) Radjabov,T (2773)-Carlsen,M (2835) Wijk aan Zee 2012}) 7. b3 a4 8. Ba3 axb3 9. axb3 O-O 10. O-O (10. Bxe7 { a check to the queen is not as powerful as a check to the king. This tactic fails to} Rxa1 11. Bxd8 Rxd1+ {with Black going up a bishop.}) 10... Re8 11. e3 Bf5 12. Qe2 Na6 $146 ({The predecessor was played in the world rapid championship:} 12... Nbd7 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. h3 e6 15. g4 Be4 16. g5 Bxf3 17. Bxf3 Nh5 18. Bxh5 gxh5 19. f4 Qb6 20. Bb2 Nf8 21. Qxh5 Ng6 22. Qe2 Ne7 23. Qd3 Nf5 24. Rxa8 Rxa8 25. Ra1 Rxa1+ 26. Bxa1 h6 27. gxh6 Bxh6 28. Kf2 Bf8 29. Bb2 Be7 30. Ke2 Qa5 31. Bc3 Qa2 32. Qb1 Qa6+ 33. Qd3 Ng3+ {0-1 (33) Wojtaszek,R (2734)-Ivanchuk,V (2726) Berlin 2015}) ({A move like} 12... h5 {would finally allow} 13. Bxe7 {winning material.}) 13. Ne5 Ne4 14. cxd5 cxd5 15. Nxe4 Bxe4 16. Bxe4 (16. Bh3 {is an interesting option because the bishop on e4 lacks a clean escape route.} Qb6 (16... e6 17. f3 Bf5 18. g4 f6 19. Nc4 $1 {is a nice way to exploit the hanging pieces.}) 17. f3 Bf5 18. Bxf5 gxf5 {isn't so bad for Black, as the kingside is not particularly weak and the doubled pawns are hard to exploit.}) 16... dxe4 17. Qb5 {Taking control of the d5 square from Carlsen's queen.} Rb8 18. Qc4 (18. Rfc1 Nc7 19. Qd7 Bxe5 20. Qxd8 Rbxd8 21. dxe5 Ne6 {is absolutely fine for Black, even if the e4 pawn falls.}) 18... Bxe5 19. dxe5 Qd3 20. Rac1 (20. Rfc1 Rbd8) 20... Qxc4 21. Rxc4 b5 22. Rc6 (22. Rxe4 b4 23. Bb2 Nc5 {would be very bad for White, who loses the b-pawn.}) 22... Ra8 23. Rfc1 (23. Rb6 Kf8 $1 {seems to be the precise move to keep the balance. Black very much would like to trade the minors and the b-pawns, for even if the e4 pawn is lost the resulting ending should be a straightforward draw.} ( 23... Nc7 24. Bc5 {ties Black down.}) 24. Rxb5 Nc7 25. Rb7 Rxa3 26. Rxc7 Rxb3 27. Rc4 {doesn't even lose the pawn, because of} f5 28. exf6 exf6 {with a draw. }) 23... Nb8 24. Rc8 Kf8 25. Bb4 Na6 26. Rxa8 Rxa8 27. Ba5 (27. Ra1 Nc7 28. Rxa8+ Nxa8 29. Ba5 {only temporarily restrains the knight. But what is the evaluation of this endgame? I recommend looking at this position without an engine and trying to plot out some potential paths forward.} Ke8 30. Kg2 g5 ( 30... Kd7 31. Kh3 (31. f3 $2 Nc7 {can only be better for Black.}) 31... Ke6 32. Kg4 Kxe5 33. Kg5 h5 34. Kh6 {and despite being a pawn down, White is the superior side.}) 31. h3 (31. Kh3 h5 32. g4 h4 33. Kg2 Kd7 34. f4 exf3+ 35. Kxf3 Nc7 36. Ke4) 31... Kd7 32. f4 {this is a challenge to the readers: how should Black continue here?}) 27... Ke8 28. Rc6 Kd7 29. Rb6 Nc5 30. b4 (30. Rxb5 Nxb3 31. Rxb3 Rxa5 {should be a draw with best play, by Mamedyarov had no interest in going down a pawn.}) 30... Nd3 31. e6+ (31. Rxb5 Ke6 32. Kg2 Rc8 {heads right for f2.}) 31... fxe6 {Carlsen's pawn structure may be shattered (triple isolated pawns!!), but he has the edge. White's king lacks space and the f2 pawn is a clear target.} 32. Rxb5 Rc8 33. Rb7+ Kd6 34. b5 Rc1+ 35. Kg2 Rc2 36. Kg1 g5 (36... Rxf2 {forces a draw:} 37. Bb4+ Kd5 38. Rd7+ Kc4 39. Rxd3 (39. b6 Kxb4 40. Rd8 Rd2 (40... Rb2 41. b7 Rb1+ 42. Kg2 Rb2+ {would force a draw, for White is the one who might regret playing for more if he's not careful.} 43. Kh3 Nf2+ 44. Kh4 Kc3 45. b8=Q Rxb8 46. Rxb8 Kd2) 41. Kf1 Rd1+ 42. Ke2 Re1+ 43. Kd2 Rb1 44. b7 Rb2+ 45. Kd1 Rb1+ 46. Kc2 Rb2+ 47. Kd1) 39... exd3 40. Kxf2 Kxb4 41. b6 Kc3 42. b7 d2 43. b8=Q d1=Q {with an impending repetition for either side.}) (36... Nxf2 37. Bb4+ Ke5 (37... Kd5 38. Rd7+ Kc4 39. Rc7+ {and wins.}) 38. b6 {is great for White, who has a pretty fast passer.}) 37. Rb8 Rb2 38. Rd8+ Kc5 39. b6 Rb5 40. Kg2 {Somewhat surprising that Mamedyarov would allow Carlsen to play ...g4 himself, though perhaps he made the right choice!} (40. g4 Ne5 41. Bc3 Nf3+ 42. Kg2 Rb1 {threatening Rg1+ followed by h5 and g4 mate.} 43. Rh8 (43. Rb8 Rg1+ 44. Kh3 h5 {is the mating net.}) 43... Kc4 44. Bg7 { is a pretty bizarre defensive setup to stop mating threats.}) 40... g4 41. h3 h5 42. hxg4 hxg4 43. Bc3 {Very importantly stopping Ne5, even at the cost of losing the passed pawn.} e5 (43... Rxb6 $4 44. Bd4+) 44. Rg8 Kc4 (44... Rxb6 45. Rxg4 Rb3 46. Ba5 Rb2 47. Rxe4 Rxf2+ 48. Kg1 {holds. Black needs to somehow win the e3 pawn to have a chance at a win, but it's hard to see that happening. The bishop on a5 is actually quite limited in scope, but can't yet be trapped.} Ra2 49. Bd8 Kd6 50. Rc4) 45. Rc8+ Kd5 46. Rd8+ Kc5 47. Rc8+ Kxb6 48. Rb8+ Kc5 49. Rxb5+ Kxb5 {And now there's no path to progress, for the Black king can't enter and attack f2.} 50. Kf1 Ka4 51. Ke2 e6 52. Kf1 Kb3 53. Ba5 Kc2 54. Ke2 Nc1+ 55. Ke1 Nd3+ 56. Ke2 Nc1+ 57. Ke1 Nd3+ 58. Ke2 Nc1+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "Saint Louis"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2018.08.26"] [Round "8"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2822"] [BlackElo "2768"] [Annotator "Tanmay Srinath"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] {The 8th Round of the Sinquefield Cup was surprisingly without a decisive result, despite Grischuk's 1.f4 and Naka's twin pawn sac. Fabi maintains his lead with a draw against Anand and looks to be the favourite to lift the trophy tomorrow. The following game is again a 5.Bf4 QGD. Not so surprising anymore.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 {It makes no sense to try write something new about the preceding moves- I have almost exhausted my vocabulary trying to describe this system! Everyone wants to test Anand's preparation in this line. A pity we aren't seeing more Catalans and Meran Slavs anymore. Fabi has introduced a slight twist here- He has played Bd3 without a3. This allows Bb4+. Whether this is dangerous remains to be seen.} Bb4+ $1 {This move couldn't be played in the earlier games as it would drop a piece. Here it makes sense, as White has excluded a3. This troubles his development.} 11. Nd2 Nc6 (11... d4 $5 {is a very interesting and aggressive try by Black. But it has no follow-up from Black's pieces. Play can go} 12. Qc2 h6 13. O-O Nc6 14. a3 Bd6 15. Bxd6 Qxd6 16. Nc4 Qe7 $13 {With a complex position.}) 12. O-O { The plus point of this move order, is that White can get in a3 and b4 with tempo if he wants. The minus, is that Black has the retreat square e7 available. From there, he can go to f6, pressurising d4, and guarding e5 against hostile forces.} Be7 13. a3 {Now we see that b4 doesn't come with tempo.} g6 {Denting the d3-bishop.} 14. Rc1 Bf6 {The Bishop can next go to g7, allowing the queen to develop freely.} 15. b4 Qe7 $5 {VIshy prefers not to challenge the pawn.} (15... a5 16. b5 Ne5 17. Nf3 Nxd3 18. Qxd3 Bf5 19. Qd2 Qb6 $13 {Again, a complex position, but I would take Black without a doubt.}) 16. Nf3 Rd8 17. h3 {Restricting Black's c8 Bishop. I feel white has an edge here, mainly due to the Better prospects for the LSB.} Ne5 $1 {Exchange when you are low on squares for the pieces.} (17... a6 18. Rc2 Be6 19. Qd2 Rac8 20. Rfc1 Qe8 $14 {also gets black closer to equality, but white has better prospects in this line.}) 18. Nxe5 Bxe5 19. Qd2 a5 $1 {Finally the strike on the queenside.} 20. bxa5 $5 {Interesting decision. White agrees to a damage in structure.} (20. Bxe5 $1 Qxe5 21. bxa5 d4 22. Bc4 Qxa5 23. Qxa5 Rxa5 24. Rfd1 $14 {is a better way of doing it, but Black is still fine here.}) 20... Bxf4 $1 21. exf4 Qxa3 $1 {a5 will fall later.} 22. Ra1 Qd6 23. Rfb1 {What looked like a bad positional decision by Fabi is infact insightful. By holding back the Bc8, White plans to add pressure to the position after Be2-f3.} Qf6 24. Ra2 Rd6 {Good defense by Anand. For all the pressure White has on b7, he has to worry about the weaknesses on a5 and f4. Also, lets not forget that at the moment, all of Black's pieces are atleast doing a little something.} 25. Rc2 Rc6 26. Rxc6 $5 { This move indicates a safety first approach by Fabi.} (26. Rb5 $1 {forces Black to be precise. After} Qd4 27. Qe3 Qxe3 28. fxe3 Be6 29. Rxc6 bxc6 30. Rc5 Kf8 $14 {White has some pressure in the endgame.}) 26... bxc6 27. Qb4 Qd8 $1 28. Ra1 Ba6 29. Bxa6 Rxa6 30. f5 d4 $1 {Active defense by Anand. After exchanging the LSBs he proceeds to use his connected passers to create counterplay.} 31. fxg6 hxg6 32. Rd1 Rxa5 33. Rxd4 Rd5 34. Re4 Rd1+ $5 {Anand doesn't want to stop drawing.} (34... c5 $1 {and Black suddenly forces White to be precise. After} 35. Qb5 Qd6 36. Qe8+ Kg7 37. g3 Rh5 $15 {Black gets some serious play here.}) 35. Kh2 Qd6+ 36. Qxd6 Rxd6 {Now its a draw.} 37. Re7 Rd2 38. Rc7 Rxf2 39. Rxc6 Ra2 {and a draw was agreed. A very interesting opening debate followed by some surprising middlegame ideas gave us a cracker of a match. It's too sad Anand couldn't press with the line I mentioned, but I am happy (and he is too, I hope) that his opening preparation survived another test succesfully. As for Fabi, another half point that takes him closer to the title must give him some confidence ahead of the match against Magnus.} 1/2-1/2 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.08.27"] [Round "9"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A54"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2766"] [Annotator "Hess, R"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [SourceVersionDate "2018.08.27"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 {Both Aronian and Grischuk needed to win this final round to tie for first place, so Grischuk deserves credit for eschewing topical variations in favor of this offbeat opening.} 3. g3 Nbd7 4. Bg2 e5 5. c4 c6 6. Nc3 e4 (6... Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. e4 {is common.}) 7. Nh4 ({Relevant:} 7. Ng5 d5 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. f3 h6 10. Nh3 exf3 11. exf3 Bb4 12. O-O O-O 13. Nf4 Nb6 14. Qb3 a5 15. Nd3 Be7 16. a4 Nc4 17. Nb5 Bd7 18. Bf4 Rc8 19. Na7 Ra8 20. Nb5 Rc8 21. Na7 Ra8 22. Nb5 {1/2-1/2 (22) Grachev,B (2628)-Morozevich,A (2683) Moscow 2016} ) 7... d5 8. O-O (8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Qa4 {is actually quite awkward for Black.} ( 9. Qb3 {is not a good enough means of pressuring the d5 pawn.} Nb6 10. a4 Be7 11. a5 Nc4) 9... Be7 {is met by} (9... g6 10. Bg5 {creates problems with the d5 pawn.}) 10. Nf5 {giving White the two bishops advantage and the better game. }) 8... Bb4 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. f3 $146 ({White was a tad better before things went south in the following game:} 10. Nf5 O-O 11. Qb3 Bxc3 12. Qxc3 Nb6 13. Ne3 Be6 14. b3 Qd7 15. a4 Rfc8 16. Qb4 Rc6 17. Ba3 a5 18. Qd2 Nc8 19. Rfc1 Ne7 20. f3 Rxc1+ 21. Rxc1 Nc6 22. g4 h6 23. h3 Qc7 24. Bb2 Re8 25. Rf1 Qb6 26. Qd1 exf3 27. exf3 Bd7 28. Re1 Ne7 29. Ba3 Ng6 30. Bc5 Qc7 31. Qd2 Nf4 32. Rc1 Nh7 33. h4 b5 34. Bf1 bxa4 35. bxa4 Qb8 36. Re1 Qd8 37. Bd6 Ng6 38. Bg3 Nxh4 39. Qf2 Ng6 {Kovalenko,I (2642)-Kabanov,N (2501) Moscow 2014 0-1}) 10... Bxc3 11. bxc3 O-O (11... exf3 12. Bxf3 {is a bad transition for Black. White will play Qb3, Bg5, reroute the knight, etc. and go after the d5 pawn.}) 12. Ba3 Re8 13. Nf5 Nb6 14. Nd6 Nc4 (14... Re6 15. fxe4 (15. Nxc8 Nxc8 {and despite White having two bishops versus two knights, I prefer Black. The knights have outposts whereas the bishops lack particularly strong diagonals.} (15... Qxc8 16. Bh3 Qxc3 17. Bxe6 Qxa3 {gives Black sufficient compensation of a knight and pawn for a rook.})) 15... dxe4 16. c4 Rxd6 17. Bxd6 Nxc4 18. Bf4 {is good for White. Black has compensation, but certainly not full equality.}) 15. Nxc4 dxc4 16. fxe4 Nxe4 17. Qc2 Qd5 18. Rxf7 $5 {Going for it all! A really great practical decision considering the alternatives were unattractive and Grischuk was approaching time trouble. Aronian didn't think he had an advantage, but he knew it would not be easy for Grischuk to wriggle free from his powerful bishop with an open kind and mere minutes on the clock.} (18. Rf4 Bf5 19. Raf1 Bg6 {Black's strangehold over the center can hardly be challenged. White's dark-squared bishop has no future and the backward pawn on e2 is a potential target.}) 18... Kxf7 (18... Qxf7 19. Bxe4 {is what Aronian was looking for. The bishop and pawn are worth the rook, since Black is behind in development and there is pressure on the kingside. Black would consider giving up another pawn in order to secure counterplay.} Bh3 {If White gets greedy, the punishment will be swift:} 20. Bxh7+ Kh8 21. Bg6 Qe6 22. Bxe8 Qe3+ 23. Kh1 Rxe8 {leads to mate.} 24. Rg1 Qf2) 19. Rf1+ Bf5 (19... Kg8 $2 20. Bxe4 {is possible, with mate on f8 preventing Black from capturing on e4.} Qh5 (20... Qxe4 21. Qxe4 Rxe4 22. Rf8#) 21. Rf4 {with the initiative.}) 20. g4 g6 21. Qc1 Kg7 ( 21... Re6 $1 {was a useful defensive move. The rook patrols the sixth rank, and can more easily form a doubled rooks on the g-file.}) 22. gxf5 gxf5 23. Bxe4 fxe4 24. Qf4 h6 25. Qc7+ (25. Kf2 $3 {is one of the last moves to come to mind, but it makes sense to evade the impending attack. On the g-file the king is in harm's way. Black can transition to a position like in the game, but the king on e1 is in a worse location than on e3.} e3+ 26. Ke1 Rg8 27. Qc7+ Kh8 28. Bd6 Rg6 29. Be5+ Kg8 30. Qe7) 25... Kh8 $2 (25... Kg6 26. Rf4 (26. Bd6 { no longer is effective without a check for the bishop.} Rac8 27. Qd7 Rcd8 28. Qg4+ Qg5 {is an exchange-up ending for Black.}) 26... Rg8 {and Grischuk's king has the h5 square to run to. Rac8 actually threatens to trap the White queen, forcing a trade.}) 26. Bd6 Rg8+ 27. Kf2 Rg6 28. Be5+ Kg8 29. Ke3 {White may not be better, but Grischuk's pieces are stuck. It didn't help that he had such little time left.} Rd8 (29... Re8 {was necessary so Black could eventually retreat to e7 with the queen.} 30. h4 Qe6 {threatening Qh3+} 31. Kd2 (31. h5 Qh3+ 32. Kd2 e3+ {wins.}) 31... Qe7 32. Qxc4+ Qe6 {and Black is still kicking, though the endgame looks extremely tough.}) 30. Qe7 {Now Aronian is winning.} b5 (30... Qd7 31. Rf8+ {wins the queen.} Rxf8 32. Qxd7) 31. h4 a5 32. h5 Rg5 33. Rf6 Rxe5 34. Rg6+ 1-0 [Event ""] [Site ""] [Date "2018.08.27"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2842"] [BlackElo "2777"] [PlyCount "193"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Norway"] [BlackTeam "United States"] [WhiteTeamCountry "NOR"] [BlackTeamCountry "USA"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. c4 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 b6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Ba6 9. Qe2 Bxc4 10. Qxc4 c5 11. dxc5 bxc5 12. O-O Nc6 13. Rac1 Rc8 14. Ne5 Qb6 15. Nxc6 Rxc6 16. b3 h6 17. Rfd1 Qb7 18. h3 Rfc8 19. Na4 Nd7 20. Rd2 Nb6 21. Nxb6 Rxb6 22. Rcd1 Bf6 23. Rd7 Qa6 24. Qe4 e5 25. Bxh6 Re8 26. Qg4 Qxa2 27. e4 Qxb3 28. Be3 Rb7 29. R7d6 Be7 30. R6d5 Bf8 31. Bxc5 Bxc5 32. Rxc5 Qe6 33. Qe2 Rd7 34. Rxd7 Qxd7 35. Rd5 Qc7 36. Qd2 Ra8 37. Rd7 Qc4 38. f3 Qc5+ 39. Kh2 Qc6 40. Rd6 Qc5 41. Ra6 Qe7 42. Qe3 Kh7 43. Kg3 Qb7 44. Qa3 f6 45. Kh2 Qc7 46. Qa1 Qb7 47. Qa5 Qd7 48. Qa2 Qe7 49. Qf2 Qb7 50. Qa2 Qe7 51. Qd5 Rb8 52. Qa5 Rb7 53. Qe1 Qd7 54. Qh4+ Kg8 55. Qf2 Qf7 56. Qa2 Qxa2 57. Rxa2 Kh7 58. Ra6 Kg6 59. h4 Kh5 60. Kh3 Rf7 61. g4+ Kh6 62. Kg3 g5 $2 (62... Kg6 63. g5 Kh5 64. gxf6 gxf6 { is one way to avoid White's king's advancement.} 65. Kh3 Rf8 $1 66. Rxa7 Rg8 { and here's one fun line:} 67. Ra6 Rg1 $1 68. Rxf6 Rg3+ $1 69. Kh2 (69. Kxg3 { stalemate, and we're not done with that idea!}) 69... Rg8 $1 70. Rf5+ Kxh4 71. Rxe5 Rg2+ $1 {again!} 72. Kh1 Ra2 {and it's a draw due to the mate threats coming up after ...Kg3. Amazing.}) 63. h5 Kg7 64. Kf2 Rb7 65. Ra3 Kh6 66. Ke3 a5 67. Rxa5 Rb3+ 68. Kf2 Rb2+ 69. Kg3 Kg7 70. Ra7+ Kg8 71. Ra1 Kg7 72. Rf1 Ra2 73. Rf2 {The rook builds the first of several shelters.} Ra3 74. Rd2 Ra7 75. Kf2 Kf7 76. Ke2 Rb7 77. Rd3 Ra7 78. Kd2 Ke6 79. Kc3 Ke7 80. Kc4 Rc7+ 81. Kb5 Rc1 82. Rb3 Kf7 83. Kb6 Rc2 84. Kb7 Rc1 85. Kb8 Kg8 86. Rb6 Kg7 87. Rb7+ Kg8 88. Rc7 {Another shelter, and the idea that Nakamura missed.} Rb1+ 89. Kc8 Rb3 90. Kd7 Rxf3 91. Ke6 Rf4 92. h6 Kh8 93. Rb7 Kg8 94. Rg7+ Kh8 95. Kf7 Rxe4 96. Kg6 Ra4 97. Rh7+ {Nakamura stared away from the crowd for a few minutes, realizing that after 97...Kg8 98. Re7 and all the pawns fall, beginning with f6.} 1-0