FIDE Candidates' Tournament R5: Grischuk Thrills Again

vukdamjanovic123
vukdamjanovic123
Mar 17, 2018, 10:34 AM |
0

For the first time at the 2018 FIDE Candidates' Tournament, the day's action ended in stasis. All four games ended drawn, despite the best efforts of GM Alexander Grischuk, who played another wild encounter.

For the second day in a row, his up-and-down fight ended in a draw; today his foe was GM Levon Aronian. But unlike yesterday, where he could only show fantastic variations with three queens on the board, today's maelstrom actually produced a third queen, albeit briefly.

As has been a theme all tournament, the player moving second had good chances as the Russian almost produced some more Black Magic. Aronian was in sight of a win himself (or several wins!).

Both were out for a battle as they each opened the position without thought of their exposed kings.

But right at a critical moment where Aronian could have castled queenside and been winning, he failed to stick the needle in the voodoo doll for what would have been his second win of the tournament. He missed at least one other massive chance, thus Grischuk's luck evened out after his own missed win yesterday.

 

As has been a theme all tournament, the player moving second had good chances as the Russian almost produced some more Black Magic. Aronian was in sight of a win himself (or several wins!).

Both were out for a battle as they each opened the position without thought of their exposed kings.

But right at a critical moment where Aronian could have castled queenside and been winning, he failed to stick the needle in the voodoo doll for what would have been his second win of the tournament. He missed at least one other massive chance, thus Grischuk's luck evened out after his own missed win yesterday.

Kramnik, the elder of the tournament, again had the longest game, but it's not clear why. Against GM Wesley So, the two "slugged" it out for 57 moves, although it was really a poking and pinching contest. There just wasn't anything there worth fighting over, although chess players should hardly be castigated for trying. Usually the public quiet rightly reviles the short draw.

In the game of the day, Aronian's anti-Grunfeld turned into a Benoni that he had played many times before, including recently at the Grand Prix event in Spain in November. He then improved on his own play on move 17 before both armies began taking up aggressive postures.

Both players willfully opened the center despite their kings being at home. The complications caused Grischuk to be playing on the increment by move 24. Or, you could say Grischuk waited until move 24 to play like Grischuk!

Aronian then missed a somewhat forgivable win, ironically involving getting his king to safety, followed by a much more calamitous gaffe shortly thereafter. The second missed win can be explained by not seeing a second queen sacrifice. That's right -- White could have won by having one of his queens captured on move 25, then the second six moves later!

Our analyzer GM Dejan Bojkov is officially getting "hazard pay" for the games being produced this tournament:

 

Caruana made this reporter's job harder today, in the opposite way of Aronian and Grischuk. Despite being one of the two directors of content for Chess.com, Caruana said afterward that "there really wasn't any content today." But try we will:

Unlike yesterday, where Karjakin's move-order inversion cost him big time, today a subtle transpositional possibility tripped up his opponent. The result wasn't as catastrophic for Caruana, but it did leave him in unfamiliar territory. 

Last cycle's runner-up tried to surprise the vice-world champion with 6. Qb3, but it turns out that just transposes to 6. Qc2 if the c-pawn is captured. 

"When he took on c4 I realized that actually he probably checked it from the Qc2 move order," Caruana said. "Which is a more common move. I don't know this idea. Over the board I just couldn't find a clear way to play.”

For his part, Karjakin confirmed this theory. He navigated back to familiar waters in just the way his opponent guessed.

"6. Qb3 was a surprise for me but fortunately we switched to the line which I knew," Karjakin said. "Finally I am quite proud that I got my preparation; I wanted to show that at least I have some ideas in the opening, and actually I knew all the line until 17…Nxc5. I was just trying to remember it and after 17…Nxc5 it's just a dead draw. It's very important that White doesn't have Nd4 here because of Bg5."

They admitted that the next dozen moves were only played to fulfill the 30-move draw rule.