London Chess Classic 2016 – Round 5

So didn’t try to take advantage of Anand’s careless play from the previous rounds. Perhaps he’s of the opinion that the current +2 should be able to allow him to cruise to first place, just like it did in St. Louis in August, when he won the Sinquefield Cup.

After Anand’s novelty on move 10 So steered clear of any complications and went for massive simplifications and drew comfortably on move 30.

Giri also introduced a novelty early on against Aronian, he improved upon the old game Karpov-Anand from the rapid in Corsica in 2002. He confidently followed his preparation and drew without problems in 20 moves after a repetition.

Working for somebody else and neglecting his own preparation seems to affect Vachier quite a bit. Playing white and facing the Petroff Defence he managed to get a worse position against Caruana on move 18 and by move 20 he was clearly worse. Not your common scenario in the Petroff! He was lucky that Caruana misplayed his advantage with the flashy 24th move so he managed to save the game. Vachier probably needs more time to patch up his opening gaps while Caruana must be feeling sorry for a missed chance to win with black in the Petroff. It would have been quite a phenomenon on this level.

Nakamura and Kramnik continued their discussion in the QGD. I find it instructive to ponder why Kramnik plays 4…Be7 against Nakamura, allowing a normal QGD, while against other people he prefers 4…Nbd7. My guess is that the positions after 4…Be7 5 Bf4 0-0 6 e3 Nbd7 7 c5 are too static and closed and shouldn’t suit Nakamura’s dynamic style. Kramnik didn’t have problems out of the opening, but Nakamura kept on pushing for a very long time even though the position remained equal throughout. Eventually the game was drawn after 61 moves and ended with a stalemate.

The decisive game of the round was a game that involved Topalov again. What I wrote yesterday is still valid for today – Topalov just won’t play calmly. Even his choice of the Berlin doesn’t help, he treats it in such a way so that complications always arise.

Next is a rest day in London and after it in Round 6 we have the game Topalov-So. Literally anything can happen there.

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