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Caruana and Aronian Win Rd. 2 in St. Louis | Update: VIDEOS

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 8/28/14, 6:29 PM.

The much-anticipated matchup between GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Magnus Carlsen turned out to be the sideshow in round two of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup, hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The two rivals drew, while the other two games produced wide-open positions and two winners.

GM Levon Aronian accepted GM Veselin Topalov's resignation first. A few moves after the pendulum swung to give White the initiative, Topalov blundered further and was left shaking his head.

All graphical images courtesy Eric Mousel and Spectrum Studios.

The game began completely locked, but pawns began shifting files and Topalov's centralized queen invaded after 14...Bxd4! Aronian was forced to sacrifice the exchange, something his opponent is well known for.

GM Levon Aronian, starting much faster than last year.

Critical was Black's 20th. Instead of playing 20...Qb4+ to exchange queens, Topalov retreated and allowed all of White's pent-up energy to be released with 21. d5!

"...Qb4 is really strong," Topalov said. "After ...Qe6, d5, now it's not so easy anymore. It's very messy. I would say White's not worse at all."

All games via TWIC.

"When he's attacking, he's unstoppable," Aronian said of his opponent. "Defending is not his forte."

Update: here's a video with Levon Aronian about the game:

"There's something very wrong with my calculation," Topalov said. "Today was a very good chance for me to get a full point. I collapsed very quickly. The way I played was really terrible."

"It was a lucky escape for sure," Aronian said.

All three games ended before the time control and in under three hours today; last year only one game all tournament ended before the 40th move.

 

GM Fabiano Caruana continues to make the most of his first event on native soil in eight years. He moved to 2-0 by handing GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave only his third loss of 2014.

Unlike the previous game in this report, he was never in trouble and in fact had most of the critical lines worked out at home. MVL captured a poisoned pawn on b2 and while not lost, it forced him to walk a tightrope for the rest of the game.

"I had 'only moves' 5 or ten moves in a row," he said.

GM Fabiano Caruana's new idea of 15. g4 and 16. f4 had been found a few months ago but saved for today.

"I got caught in the opening," Vachier-Lagrave admitted. "I probably shouldn't have played this line." MVL eschewed his usual Sicilian in favor of the Caro-Kann, explaining he didn't want to be surprised first.

"I was lucky to get my preparation in the opening," Caruana said. "It was a fairly smooth win. He didn't have a chance to show his creativity."

Caruana's perfect start comes up against GM Magnus Carlsen tomorrow.

He spoke to Chess.com, and a video where he explains more about the game will be embedded here in a few hours.

Update: here it is:

 

The only non-decisive game today was Nakamura-Carlsen. Before talking about the game, more can be explained about yesterday's report in which Carlsen referred to Nakamura as "inept."

Kaja Snare, the journalist for TV2 who conducted the interview, told Chess.com that "udugelig" translates most closely as "inept," but in any case, Carlsen reaffirmed to her in St. Louis that he was joking.

The mood here is much more professional. Prior to the commencement of the event, all players had sit-down interviews with commentator WGM Jennifer Shahade.

Carlsen on Nakamura: "He's a strong player and he's had some good positions against me."

Nakamura on Carlsen: "He doesn't tend to have a lot of bad days. It's much more important to not lose to him than to beat him."

In the game, Carlsen countered the Ruy Lopez with the rare Smyslov Variation (3...g6) as opposed to last year's Berlin. Nakamura used the line last year to beat GM Viswanathan Anand. The game thus gives Carlsen's world championship challenger something else to think about.


"Coming out of the opening, I didn't think I was really better," Nakamura said. "I haven't played this line in a while."

 

Nakamura's eyes were unsheathed today (photo courtesy Lennart Ootes).

Unlike in the first Sinquefield Cup, Nakamura left his Ray-Ban sunglasses at home today (he used them in both matchups against Carlsen last year).

"I have to admit I don't have a countermove to the sunglasses," Carlsen told Shahade in that interview. "If [Nakamura] listens to this, he should really bring the sunglasses out this time."

 

GM Magnus Calrsen resting before the opening bell.

 

After the game, Carlsen agreed with the statement that Caruana was becoming his main rival. On the live rating list, Caruana is now 2810, the seventh-highest live rating of all time. If he goes to 3-0 tomorrow, he'll pass GM Vladimir Kramnik's all-time best.

Lastly, FIDE has moved up the deadline for Carlsen to sign the world champion contract (Anand just signed). It is due Tuesday.

Kaja Snare reported to Chess.com that she asked him (in Norwegian) if he would talk about it. He declined. She then said, "You'll have to talk then," and Carlsen responded, "No, I won't."

 

TV2 of Norway is hosting a live show and has sent a crew here to St. Louis. Here Kaja Snare asks Carlsen about the world championship deadline.

The intrigue continues -- keep checking these pages for news about the Tuesday deadline.

Chess.com/TV will embed the official commentary at 2 p.m. Central (GMT -6) for every round.

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 27.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 6 02.09.14 14:00 CDT
Aronian ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura - Aronian
Topalov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana - Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave
Round 2 28.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 7 03.09.14 14:00 CDT
Nakamura ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Nakamura
Caruana 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
Aronian 1-0 Topalov   Topalov - Aronian
Round 3 29.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 8 04.09.14 14:00 CDT
Topalov - Nakamura   Nakamura - Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave - Aronian   Aronian - Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen - Caruana   Caruana - Carlsen
Round 4 30.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 9 05.09.14 14:00 CDT
Vachier-Lagrave - Nakamura   Caruana - Nakamura
Carlsen - Topalov   Carlsen - Aronian
Caruana - Aronian   Vachier-Lagrave - Topalov
Round 5 31.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 10 06.09.14 14:00 CDT
Nakamura - Caruana   Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave
Aronian - Carlsen   Topalov - Carlsen
Topalov - Vachier-Lagrave   Aronian - Caruana

 

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2801 3570 phpfCo1l0.png       1 1 2.0/2  
2 Aronian,Levon 2805 2970   phpfCo1l0.png ½     1 1.5/2  
3 Nakamura,Hikaru 2787 2841   ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½     1.0/2 1.25
4 Carlsen,Magnus 2877 2778     ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½   1.0/2 0.75
5 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2768 2649 0     ½ phpfCo1l0.png   0.5/2  
6 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2003 0 0       phpfCo1l0.png 0.0/2  

 

phpfCo1l0.png

11029 reads 34 comments
3 votes

Comments


  • 3 weeks ago

    kavanam

    Beg Pardon!! Where is St.Louis? in US or Elsewhere?Innocent

  • 4 weeks ago

    adarkhorse

    The carlsens prolly keep silent cause its impossible to come up with a plausible explanation that doesn't make him look bad. The bs of concentrating on playing is just that, after all they knew about Sochi for many months and have a team for press releases.

  • 4 weeks ago

    KchessKOfficial

    GM Fabiano Caruana Unstoppable! 

  • 4 weeks ago

    RobbertLubbers

    Great play by Caruana. But let's not get too excited, Italian amici.

  • 4 weeks ago

    silbort

    Grande Caruana ti avvii ad essere il migliore al mondos

  • 4 weeks ago

    dzindzifan

    Great coverage, Mike, I was watching you take pictures live and while the players were getting seated, Aronian almost climbed across you back to get to his seat!  Keep up the great work for chess.com!

  • 4 weeks ago

    KMagik

    @bagpiper123456

    That's why it's not a rivalry. And that's what I said.

  • 4 weeks ago

    FM MikeKlein

    I wish we could get a comment from either Magnus or Henrik Carlsen regarding the deadline. Both have chosen not to respond. Didn't want the Chess.com community to think we haven't tried.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Debistro

    @ savantz

    Carlsen has been rubbing shoulders (and maybe more than that) with some very big and prominant public, political, and business figures. But you are right, he is still too new and young. And minus the charisma of Garry.....

    As a chess fan, I would be very disappointed in him if he threw away the title rematch all because he is being used and maybe pressured by certain political/business elites to do so? The term "used as a pawn" comes to mind.

    Unless you live under a rock, you should know Russia and Western relations are at an all time low.

  • 4 weeks ago

    savantz

    there's a HUGE difference...

    when gary broke from fide, throwing the chess hierarchy into 12-13 years of turmoil and chaos, he had already been world champion for some 8 years and defended this title against karpov (who he had wrested the title from) in titantic struggles, on several occasions. he was established! had proven his heft, consistency, and his place in history. he had credibility and the respect of the other chess professionals and potential sponsors; a network!

    carlsen has none of this AND "balks" at the first defense of his title against the former world champion (anand) from whom he achieved said title.

    at the time gary made his "break", he was truly head and shoulders above all; carlsen is just first among equals (and imo that is up for debate). carlsen lacks "heft", "gravitas"; this he is still yet to prove.

  • 4 weeks ago

    inselschaker

    The deadline is officially still Sunday, but Carlsen gets until Tuesday - a bit like an appointment for 12:00, saying that you are willing to wait one hour before leaving yourself. Then for some reason, chess.com initially turned "two days more" into "two days less".

  • 4 weeks ago

    adarkhorse

    @kosakarika: it means they have actually given him more time to decide. Hoping he'll come around.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Sakurei

    I whole-heartedly agree with @KMagik. Carlsen has a score of 10-0-16 against Nakamura. That is not a rivalry - that is bullying a lesser player. It would be a rivalry if their score was (close to) even. I feel like some reporters on chess.com dote on Nakamura in some way because he's playing for the USA or maybe because Nakamura is registered on the site? Neither I can agree with. He's a good player, but far far away from being a rival to Carlsen.

    I actually dread the day he beats Carlsen once. It'll probably be dubbed something like "Rise of a new world champion?" and then I will have to cry.

  • 4 weeks ago

    bagpiper123456

    @KMagik Nakamura has never won a classical game against Carlsen.

    @kosakarika Moving up the deadline seems to be the only way to have a proper world championship this year. The last thing they want is the world's best player to leave and do his own thing...something that happened not too long ago.

  • 4 weeks ago

    wpsilva

    Why such comment about Nakamura VS Carlsen? Americans...  Nakamura is nothing but one chess player between all the others top 20. He is not Carlsen, Aronian or Caruana.

  • 4 weeks ago

    vegma

    Bryan_Urizar: "Which chess pieces are those?"

    I heard that they were especially made. They sure are beautiful, far more beautiful than the official FIDE set. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    Razzfazz

    Beautiful presentation and excellent interviews -thanks!

  • 4 weeks ago

    kosakarika

    Moving up the deadline seems to indicate they would like Carlsen to forfeit.

  • 4 weeks ago

    KMagik

    For the last time, there is no Carlsen/Nakamura rivalry. It's not a rivalry if one man beats the other most of the time. It would be rivalry if they went head to head...

  • 4 weeks ago

    Farewell314

    Which chess pieces are those?

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