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Sinquefield 09: Aronian wins tournament(Blog please copy and paste to watch games or send me a messa

Sep 2, 2015, 5:42 AM 1

2015 Sinquefield Cup

This super-GM single Round Robin brings together some of the best players in the world. This is the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

The players – Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Fabiano Caruana (USA), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Viswanathan Anand (India), Wesley So (USA).

The venue is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center at 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108. Tickets can be purchased at the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Round Nine

Round Nine
Nakamura, Hikaru 2814
Grischuk, Alexander 2771
Anand, Viswanathan 2816
Carlsen, Magnus 2853
Topalov, Veselin 2816
Aronian, Levon 2765
Caruana, Fabiano 2808
So, Wesley 2779
Vachier-Lagr, Maxime 2731
Giri, Anish 2793

All eyes were on only one game today, as if Aronian didn't lose this game the tournament would simply be over; no matter what happened in the other games, the tournament would be claimed by the Armenian superstar. That being said, the players themselves were fighting for those valuable Grand Chess Tour points and higher position in the standings. Don't forget, after all, there is a big pay difference between second and fifth!

The first result of round nine was, for many, rather predictable. Levon Aronian is known to be a magnificent defender and one that is sure to prepare his black sides to a dead equal position. He didn’t quite do that today, but he was very well-versed in the dubious variation of the Ragozin that Topalov employed, trying to catch him off-guard. Aronian even enjoyed a slightly better position but allowed his opponent to execute a perpetual check to end the game.

Topalov and Aronian played a game, but it was the Armenian calling the shots

 1000 Opening Traps

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1000 Opening Traps

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Topalov, Veselin2816–Aronian, Levon2765½–½

D393rd Sinquefield Cup 2015901.09.2015Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1.d4 f6 2.c4 e6 3.f3 d5 4.c3 b4 5.g5 dxc4 6.a4+ c6 7.a3 A variation that scores rather badly for White, Topalov must have had some kind of special idea. xc3+ 8.bxc3 d5 9.xf6 gxf6 10.d2 White will have some compensation for his pawn thanks to the central majority and a slightly weakened kingside, but it should not be enough. If anything Black has real chances to play for an advantage, as the score of this line proves. b5 11.c2 a6 12.e4 d7 13.g3 b7 14.g2 e7 Aronian mentioned after the game that he was very happy with the opening... "I didn't have to think! just put the knight on e7, a rook on d8 and go c5, what else can I do?". 15.0-0 0-0 16.fd1 ad8 17.a4 c5 18.axb5 axb5 19.f3 c7 20.ab1 f5 Black really has no problems, and this advance forces White to start thinking about not falling into a clearly worse position. 21.exf5 xf5 22.xb5 xf3 23.xf3 cxd4 24.c1 dxc3 forcing the draw

24...e7 was worth considering, but Aronian thought he shouldn't get too clever... 25.e4!=

25.b4 c8 

24...h8 was what Topalov was afraid of, but there is a clear draw here... 25.cxd4 xd4 26.xd4 xd4 27.h6! e7 28.b7= d8 

25.xf5 xd1+ 26.xd1 exf5 27.g5+ h8 28.f6+ g8 29.g5+ And with that Aronian becomes the 2015 Sinquefield Champion.


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2015 Sinquefield Cup winner Levon Aronian with Maurice Ashley

In the game between Anand and Carlsen, and much like their World Championship matches, the Norwegian decided to stick to his Berlin defense. Both players played rather slowly, perhaps unfamiliar with the variation. Anand mentioned looking at this variation in the past but could not recall the specifics. Carlsen was able to trade into an opposite-colored bishop position and draw the game.

Carlsen could have pressured Aronian had he not

lost to Grischuk, or blown his game against Nakamura!

 The ABC of the Ruy Lopez – 2nd Edition

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Anand, Viswanathan2816–Carlsen, Magnus2853½–½

C673rd Sinquefield Cup 2015901.09.2015Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1.e4 e5 2.f3 c6 3.b5 f6 4.0-0 xe4 5.d4 d6 6.xc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 f5 8.xd8+ xd8 9.h3 h5 10.c3 e7 11.d1+ e8 12.e2 h4 13.xh4 xh4 Both players took a long time to get to this position, but it had all been played before. 14.f3 f5 15.d4

15.c3 c2 16.d2 f5 17.g4 e6 was fine for Black in Leko-Radjabov, 2014. The Azeri won that game in the long run. 

15...g6 16.f4 e7 17.g4 Anand mentioned that he had looked at this idea with f3 and g4, but must have botched it up at some point. d8 18.g2 hxg4 19.hxg4 c5 20.c3 xd4 21.xd4 xd4 22.cxd4 e7 White retains some chances of creating an advantage if he can push f4-f5, but it looks difficult to achieve... and when it does, still the advantage is not that clear. 23.c1 e6 24.e3 f6 Now the draw is obvious. The structural advantage is meaningless with the opposite colored bishops on the board. 25.exf6 gxf6 26.d2 d8 27.c3 f7 28.g3 e8 29.h1 d3 30.e1 xe1 31.xe1 c4 32.a3 b6 33.f4 a5 34.e3 a4 35.g3 b5 36.xc7


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Anand started slow and could not really recover

Vachier-Lagrave had perhaps a slight advantage against Giri after sacrificing a pawn, or at least that is what most grandmasters thought. The Dutch player himself thought that it was Black playing for the advantage! After a couple of careless moves from MVL, it was indeed Giri who was slightly better; unfortunately it was never anything special. The game dissolved into a drawn rook endgame.

 Guide to the Tkachiev Ruy Lopez

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Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime2731–Giri, Anish2793½–½

C783rd Sinquefield Cup 2015901.09.2015Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1.e4 e5 2.f3 c6 3.b5 a6 4.a4 f6 5.0-0 b5 6.b3 c5 7.c3 d6 8.d4 b6 9.e3 0-0 10.bd2 h6 11.h3 e8 12.e1 b8

12...exd4 was seen by MVL recently in his game against Svidler back in March. That game was drawn. 

13.a3 a5 14.a2 exd4

14...c5 was Areschenko-Fedorchuk in 2012. 


15.cxd4 xe4 16.xh6 is complicated, but not necessarily better for White. 

15...c6 16.xb6 xb6 17.c4 Black's position looks good, but perhaps his next move was not the best b4


18.c5! A nice move. At the cost of a pawn White's pieces gain activity and Black's structure really suffers dxc5 19.e5 h7

19...h5 is more active 20.e4 e7

20...xd1 21.axd1 b3 22.b1 c4 23.c3 f4 24.e4 

21.f6+ xf6 22.exf6 d8 

20.e4 xd1 21.axd1 b3

21...bxa3 22.bxa3 b2 23.c4 f8 24.xc5 c2 25.c1 xe5 26.xe5 xe5 

22.b1 c4 23.c3 Slightly better for White, despite the missing pawn. Black's structure is weak and it will take some time to remaneuver all the pieces. However, White doesn't have anything that is clear yet. f8 24.e4 e7 25.a4?! This idea simply improves Black's position. b5 26.d4 a5 awkward but good enough, otherwise Black is just too active. 27.c3 g5

27...fg6! 28.c6 xc6 29.xc6 f8 


28.g3 fg6! 


28...g7 29.e2 c5= 

29.c6 xc6

29...c5 30.xe7+ xe7 31.d5 f8! Was an idea to retain equality. 

30.xc6 f8 31.d5 f4 32.xc4 e6 33.xe6 xe6 34.e3 g7 35.e2 b8 36.d4 xd4 37.xd4 e8 The rook endgame is now very drawish. Both sides have real weaknesses. 38.f4 gxf4 39.xf4 exe5 40.xb3 ab5 41.bf3 f5 42.b4 a5 43.c3 c5 44.bxc5


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Giri is just a bit too solid: eight draws!

Caruana had a crushing position against So basically from the opening. The engines were screaming that Black was basically lost, but Caruana kept giving So opportunities to get back into the game. At the end of the day, enough mistakes allowed So to solidify his position and hold onto a draw. 

 Endgame - CBM 150

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Caruana, Fabiano2808–So, Wesley2779½–½

A303rd Sinquefield Cup 2015901.09.2015Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1.f3 f6 2.c4 b6 3.g3 c5 4.g2 b7 5.0-0 g6 6.d4 cxd4 7.xd4 g7 8.c3 d6 9.e3 bd7 10.ac1 c8 11.b3 a6 12.fd1 0-0 13.h4 e8 This position is without a doubt Karjakin's specialty. He has proven that it is very solid and difficult for White to do anything.

13...c7 is another possibility. 

14.h3 c7

14...a8 is what Karjakin has been playing lately, aiming for a quick b5. 

15.g4 a8 These players also took a long, long time to get to this position, despite being played in several high profile games. Topalov mentioned that he thought this idea of Qa8 was "basically losing". 16.d4 h6 17.g5 hxg5 18.xg5 e6 19.e3 Clearly something is wrong for Black. For starters, d6 is very hard to defend, and h7 being weak is annoying. b8 20.f4 f8

20...e5 offered more resistance if Caruana found the right way, but it looks positionally disastrous. 


21.xd6! was already almost decisive. For example: xd6 22.xd6 White's up a pawn, but the tactics don't work for Black xc4 23.bxc4 xd6 24.h8+! The point. xh8 25.xf7+ g7 26.xd6+- 

21...e5 Now the game is rather complicated 22.xd7 exf4 23.cd1 g7?! 24.7d3


24...ce7 25.g2 xg2 26.xg2 h5 27.d5 Rx xe2 28.g4 d6 The position nis completely unclear. Black has some activity, but his knight on h5 isn't great and White has a powerful one on d5. 29.f3 c5 30.3d2 2e5 31.h4 b5 32.c2 b4 I don't know what So gained from closing down the queenside like this. 33.cd2 a5 34.g4 h6 35.f1 f5 N 36.f3 g7 By this point the players were in serious time pressure. 37.g2 a4 38.d3 a5 39.g5 axb3 40.axb3 f8 The last move of time pressure, but it lands Black in a little bit of trouble 41.f3 c5 42.e4 g7 43.xc5 xc5 44.d4 h6 45.d3 h7 46.f3 e6 47.g1 The computers prefer White, but neither side saw a good way of improving their position. a5 48.g2 h6 49.1d3 d8 50.g4


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The final game of the tournament was the duel between Nakamura and Grischuk. The American won more out of sheer willpower than anything else. Grischuk’s mistakes in the second time trouble gave Nakamura a winning attack. Even though he did not play the most precise moves, Nakamura was still able to take the point home.

Nakamura ground down Grischuk in a long game. He regains #2 in the World in the live ratings!

 The Sicilian with 3.Bb5

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Nakamura, Hikaru2814–Grischuk, Alexander27711–0

B513rd Sinquefield Cup 2015901.09.2015Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro

1.e4 9 Robot c5 2.f3 d6 3.b5+ d7 4.0-0 a6 5.d3 gf6 6.c3 b5 7.c2 b7 8.e1 c8 A position that Grischuk has seen many times, including thrice last year in top level play. 9.a4 b4 10.a5 Nakamura's improvement, binding the queenside.

10.d4 cxd4 11.cxd4 c7 Karjakin-Grischuk, 2014. 

10...c7 A very natural move - d4 is not possible to play (at least if White wants to keep his dual pawn center). 11.d3 bxc3 12.bxc3 e6 13.h3 e7 14.f4 0-0 15.bd2 c6 16.c4 b5 17.fd2

17.e5 dxe5?!

17...xe5! 18.fxe5 d5 

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