Wijk aan Zee 2015 – Round 5

The last time Aronian beat Carlsen in a classical game was in 2009. Since then Carlsen won 5 games and today he made it 6.

There is a certain feel of despondency surrounding Aronian after the last two Candidates tournaments. After the last one he really started to play badly and even fell below 2800 and lost the second place in the world rankings. Today’s game was also a bleak affair for him, as Carlsen simply steamrolled him.

After the verbal altercations at their press conference in Tashkent, the duels between Giri and Jobava will have a special flair. Today’s game was marred by a bad blunder by Jobava, who still cannot find his stride in this tournament. Like I’ve said before, I think this is due to his over-optimism and insistence on originality while neglecting objectivity.

The leaders Ding Liren and Ivanchuk were the first to finish and it was surprising Ding Liren accepted a threefold repetition in the end – his position was safe and he could play on without any risk. Perhaps he just wanted to draw before the game and when he saw a chance didn’t hesitate to take it.

The triple-named Frenchman (Vachier) didn’t show anything against van Wely’s Scheveningen and was quickly worse. He was lucky he could simplify to a position where all the pawns were on the kingside and draw.

A second win in the Dutch for the Polish player and Anand’s second Wojtaszek. His first win in the Dutch was against world’s number 1 and today he beat world’s number 2, Caruana. It seems Caruana thought it a good idea to repeat an opening in which his opponent beat the World Champion a few days ago. Surely he had his reasons, but as the game went it was clear that black had zero chances to win and quite a lot of chances to suffer. Which he did. I have never understood this popularity of the Dutch, white has so many ways to combat it and most of these ways are good, and more importantly, very solid.

So and Hou Yifan played an exciting Ragozin where at first it seemed white was better, then black and then white again. Eventually it was drawn. Probably a disappointment for both, but more for So, who got his preparation in but couldn’t make it count. If So wants to establish himself firmly as a world champion candidate, he must score against lower rated opponents on a constant basis.

Saric lost against Radjabov in the Spanish with 4 d3, in a position which seemed rather simple he made an inaccuracy which let the initiative to black.

Instead of 17 cb ab 18 a4, Saric went 17 a4?! and after 17…bc it was easier to attack white’s weak pawns

After 5 rounds Ivanchuk still leads with 4/5 and in shared second we have Ding Liren and Wojtaszek. The sharks are on shared 4th – Carlsen and Caruana (who meet tomorrow) together with So and Giri. I don’t expect much of tomorrow’s derby – Caruana didn’t play well today, while Carlsen did, so I reckon he will play something solid and aim not to lose. Perhaps a Berlin endgame?

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