Sinquefield Cup 2015 – Round 6
Nakamura seems especially motivated when playing against his fellow Americans So (his first win ever against him) and Caruana, perhaps feeling they’re invading his turf. But American chess can only benefit from this kind of fierce rivalry and they are now at least on par with the other superteams like Russia, China, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia and India.
The duel of the leaders, Aronian and Carlsen, ended in the carefully-played draw I predicted in the last report. Worth noting is that Aronian keeps playing 1 c4, avoiding at the same time both the Grunfeld and the opening advantage for white. The only time he played 1 d4 he demolished Caruana…
Giri put some pressure on Anand in the Slav but his advantage petered out when he needed to find a way how to make better use of his pair of bishops and passed d-pawn.
Vachier beat Topalov in the Berlin. A tricky guy this Frenchman, first he says he has “shitty” (his words) ideas against it (when actually he was referring to the Spanish with 4 d3, avoiding the Berlin) and then he goes on and enters the Berlin and beats Topalov in it! These guys should not be trusted! Topalov’s choice of the Berlin, instead of his usual Sicilian, can perhaps be attributed to his lack of energy, something he complained about before the rest day. What may have been confusing for Topalov was that in 1998 he obtained a great position against Svidler in a very similar position (without the move h3 and h6) and he underestimated the dangers (curiously enough, he also lost that game to Svidler). I also include that game in the comments.
Finally light at the end of the tunnel for Grischuk. He said he prepared 10 hours for his game against Caruana, and he was lucky Caruana decided to repeat the dubious (in my view) line in the QGD with 5 Bf4. Grischuk could demonstrate his preparation, and although objectively black was OK, the psychological pressure when playing against a well-prepared opponent who plays fast and the complexity of the position led to Caruana’s demise. What puzzled me, though, was that even though still in preparation Grischuk played moves that were not approved by the comp. That can mean several things: Grischuk’s hardware is much stronger than mine so at, let’s say, depth 45 white is OK (I very much doubt this version – my hardware is pretty good); Grischuk bluffed both in the game (knowing what he was risking) and in the comments about his prep (possible); Grischuk mixed things up and misplayed his prep (possible); Grischuk was lucky (possible). Grischuk can now look ahead with more optimism, while the loss was a cold shower for Caruana, coming immediately after his win in the previous round. A topsy-turvy showing for the American.