Grenke Classic 2015 – Rounds 1-2

The Grenke Classic takes place in Baden-Baden. The first time I came across that place was while I was reading Alekhine’s book On the Road to the Chess Championship while still a kid. I still remember the big cross table of the 1925 tournament, convincingly won by Alekhine, who was also quite happy with the level of his play.

And here we are 90 years later after Alekhine’s triumph in Baden-Baden, with yet another super-tournament. They say the world is in economic crisis, but from what I can see crisis is a time when the rich are getting richer and the poor and the middle-class are getting poorer. Speaking of chess, the rich (the elite) are getting richer, with the neverending string of super-tournaments, where they get good prizes and appearance fees, while the rest are faced with the gloom of the disappearing opens, diminishing prizes and dour conditions. Chess politicians (just remember the latest FIDE elections) only speak of the Carlsens and Anands and Kramniks and the kids – hence the super-tournaments (the latest rumour is of a “Golden League”) and the increasingly popular chess-in-schools talks while all in between doesn’t seem to matter. The obvious tendency is that the only chess professionals will be the Top 10 or 20, while the rest will either work for them (seconds, helpers, analysts etc.) or will teach children how to move the knight. Which reminds me of something I read about the world tendencies, that in the future one will either be a barrister or a barista, with pretty much nothing in between.

Going back to the actual moves, the first two rounds saw 7 draws and the expected Carlsen win against Adams. Adams was one of Carlsen’s seconds in the last match against Anand, but that didn’t help him much – he lost in a typical way he loses against Carlsen – he was slowly strangled. It’s interesting to observe when two players with similar styles play, then the one with the lower class doesn’t have the slightest of chances to survive, simply because they play similarly and he has no surprises, while playing in the usual way is hopeless as the other one is better at it. Just as an illustration – Carlsen and Adams have played 8 games (including the one today) when Carlsen was white and the result is telling – only one draw for Adams.

14 Rf4, a new move by Carlsen

It’s difficult to imagine Adams losing this to anyone else, but we already know that Carlsen has super-powers.

Worth noting was Anand’s good novelty in the Semi-Tarrasch against Naiditsch.

13 d5!? instead of 13 Qa5 as played in Gelfand-Wang Yue,2014

The other games were more or less normal. I’m curious to see whether Caruana will show a glimpse of his Sinquefield superiority, but his two draws with white are not very promising signs.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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  • Feb 4,2015 at 10:01 pm

    To double on the f-file, but since he played d4 anyway a few moves later, as played in the Yusupov-Petrosian game, it's really just a move to start playing the game and leave theory.

  • Feb 4,2015 at 2:19 pm

    what exactly is the rationale behind Rf4?

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