Stavanger 2017 – Round 5

After a day of 5 draws perhaps the organisers will consider having a cow-milking event prior to every round?

Today it was mostly about memorisation. Vachier and Aronian tested their memory in the Marshall Attack. It is not that the players just bang out their preparation and reach a draw, no, they do come up with slight improvements and novelties. The idea is to check if the (slight) problems they create for their opponents will bear some fruit. Mostly they don’t, but it’s worth a try, especially if not minding a draw.

Vachier came up with a novelty on move 20, deviating from their two previous games – one was played at the opening blitz and the other at the Sharjah GP several months ago. Since the whole line is absolutely harmless for Black, Aronian didn’t have much trouble drawing.

Anand and So went down the deep theory of the Giuoco Piano that exploded in the last few years. So’s 16th move was new, but the position was already dry enough. Besides, I don’t think Anand minded a draw after yesterday’s loss.

The most exciting theoretical duel was between Karjakin and Caruana in the Petroff because the latter played a line which was considered bad for Black because of some old analysis by Ivanchuk.



The other two games had less theory. Kramnik went for 1 e4 again, this time against Nakamura, and again he showed his opening guile. Take a look:



These guys only allow a maximum of 1 chance per game! If you don’t take it then it’s a draw…

Carlsen didn’t manage to make something out of very little in the Giuoco Piano against Giri. He missed his best chance on move 15 and then he even risked a bit more than necessary and sacrificed a pawn, but Giri safely steered the game towards a draw. Carlsen is still struggling to find his rhythm and best chess and as things stand he is very likely not to win yet another event! Tomorrow he has his second White in a row (against Vachier) which is most probably his last chance to make a change in the tournament.

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