Sinquefield Cup 2016 Starts

The third tournament of the Grand Chess Tour, and the first one of the series with classical time control, started in Saint Louis. As I write this the second round is already under way.

The tournament rooster underwent an unexpected change only days before it began. One of the main crowd-pullers, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, had to withdraw due to problems with his back. Kramnik used to suffer from back problems during his crisis years of 2004-2005 but before his victory over Topalov in Elista in 2006 it seemed that he got it off his back. And now just a month before the Olympiad the back is backstabbing him again. Hopefully he recovers in time while the fellow Russian who got his (Kramnik’s) back covered in Saint Louis is Peter Svidler. Coming directly from his lost match to the Frenchman with two surnames in Biel he seemed to suffer from jet-lag (as suggested by his opponent Topalov):

Somewhat surprisingly the Frenchman didn’t suffer from the same jetlag even though he also came directly from Biel. There must be some secret hidden in the hyphen connecting his two surnames as he managed to escape from a dangerous position against the ever-combative Giri with a fine rook sacrifice:

Anand and Caruana drew an extremely complex Exchange French. Yes, I do know what I am talking about, it’s called an oxymoron. Probably surprised by Caruana’s choice of the Winawer (last time he did it was in 2012, while against Anand at the rapid in Dubai in 2014 he chose the Classical line with 3…Nf6) Anand went for 4 ed5. The game shows that if the players want to fight no opening is dull and no variation is a “drawing” variation. Keep this in mind the next time you curse the Berlin.

In the duel of the Americans So beat Nakamura in a Catalan. Gone seem to be the days (or perhaps So has gained the respect of his fellow colleagues) when Nakamura played the KID and mated So on move 39. It was only 2 years ago, but the final position is worth posting again:

So Nakamura went for the Catalan and So went slightly offbeat with his choice of lines on move 8. Perhaps the fact that Kramnik wasn’t around gave him courage not to follow the Catalan guru and go his own way:

Ding Liren and Aronian drew a rather unexciting game in the QGD.

To finish this post and go to bed I am showing again the Goldchess problem for August (worth $200 and still unsolved) with the detailed instructions: “victory on move 33, the last brilliant move by rook.”

Good night!

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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