Keymer Scores 1st Win In Grenke Chess Classic Round 5
Vincent Keymer scored his first win at Grenke. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Keymer Scores 1st Win In Grenke Chess Classic Round 5

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

After four losses, two of which were somewhat unnecessary, IM Vincent Keymer scored his first win at the Grenke Chess Classic in Karlsuhe, Germany. The 14-year-old beat Georg Meier while all other games were drawn. Thursday is a rest day.

"If he wins this, we have a rest day and a new tournament might start in Baden-Baden!" said an optimistic Peter Leko during the round. Like in Wijk aan Zee earlier this year, the Hungarian grandmaster acts as both a commentator and as Vincent Keymer's coach.

Leko made the remark when his pupil had just reached a pawn endgame against Georg Meier. It wasn't winning there yet, but soon it would be.

Keymer Meier 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Keymer, finally on the scoreboard. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the "Battle of Deizisau" (as both German players play for this Bundesliga team), the game got quite complicated right out of the opening. It had started as a Vienna Queen's Gambit, with a sideline that is nowadays quite topical.

Meier wasn't happy with his plan of being active on the kingside and then castling queenside, as he felt that his king on c8 allowed all kinds of tactics based on d4-d5 and Be2-g4 ideas. 15...Nb4 was already "desperate" according to Meier, who felt he was lost at move 24.

Here 25.b4 with the idea b4-b5 and Rc1-c6 (Meier) is strong, but also combined with a2-a4-a5 it's probably killing. Instead, 25.Qf5+ Kb8 26.Qd7 c5! allowed Black to continue the game on (almost) equal grounds.

Keymer Meier 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Keymer vs Meier, dubbed the "Battle of Deizisau" by Leko, who also plays for this team. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

After more adventures, eventually Meier went for a pawn endgame, which was much trickier than he thought.

"I don’t know what happened. I was sure it’s a draw but I should have calculated a bit too!" said Meier.

The start of the pawn endgame after Keymer had traded bishops.

It became a race of one pawn on the queenside for Keymer against two pawns for Meier on the kingside, and as a wise man once said, one pawn runs faster than two. White queened first, and then Meier chose the wrong pawn to advance in what was still quite a complicated endgame.

The longest game of the round lasted nearly six hours and saw Magnus Carlsen drawing with Arkadij Naditisch. The game was an English Four Knights, which had a funny central pawn structure for a while.

Naiditsch 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Naiditsch waiting for his opponent, who arrived almost five minutes late for the round. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The rook endgame was slightly better for White and if anyone could win it, it was Carlsen. However, in this case his opponent didn't crack under the pressure, played well and deservedly saved the half-point.

Carlsen Naiditsch 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Carlsen repeats 1.c4 which he also played against Anand. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Peter Svidler and Paco Vallejo, who know each other well having been members of the Baden-Baden team for many years, drew a nice and quite sharp game. That was because of the Spaniard's provoking setup against White's Giuoco Piano: an early ...h6, ...g5 and ...Nh5. That last move was a novelty as early as move eight.

"When you’re on minus two already I guess you don’t have much to lose so I thought OK, let’s play this. It’s a very risky opening of course but on the other hand it’s quite interesting," argued Vallejo.

He added: "I didn't like my minus two [score] so I thought let's go for minus one, or minus three!"

Svidler Vallejo 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Vallejo playing actively in the opening vs Svidler. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Two games ended in draws within two hours of play. The first was Maxime Vachier-Lagave vs Levon Aronian, in which Aronian found himself in another 8.a4 Anti-Marshall, this time on the more familiar black side.

The game was played on a black day for his country: April 24 is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Aronian decided to post about it on social media after the game:

Counting on the fact that his opponent had done a fair amount of work on the line 9.d4 d6 10.dxe5, Vachier-Lagrave deviated from yesterday's Aronian-Svidler game by going for 9.a5 d6 10.d3 instead. After 10...Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nbd2 d5 13.Nb3 Aronian came up with the new and, as Peter Leko put it, "ugly" move 13...d4.

It gives up the c4-square, fixes another pawn on the color of the black bishop and releases the tension in the center early, and yet it was a move against which MVL couldn't find a way to get a clear advantage.

Vachier-Lagrave vs Aronian 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Vachier-Lagrave vs Aronian starting their game, with the latter wearing one of his many colorful shirts. Asked yesterday whether he wears them to annoy his opponents, Aronian replied: "Obviously! How else do I win games?" | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Shortly after, Vishy Anand and Fabiano Caruana also called it a day. It comes down to Anand trying to improve on a game by Anish Giri against the same opponent as last year, but failing to achieve much.

Their endgame was looking more drawish than MVL-Aronian but lasted a bit longer. Instead of trying to find a three-move repetition they chose the other way of finishing their game: just playing out a series of insignificant moves until move 40, the moment when a draw offer is allowed.

Anand 2019 Grenke Chess Classic
Anand can hardly be blamed for not getting an advantage against the Berlin. Another world champion comes to mind, who lost his title in the process. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2019 Grenke Chess Classic | Round 5 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1 Anand,Viswanathan 2779 2878 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/5 7.25
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2845 2851 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3.5/5 7
3 Caruana,Fabiano 2828 2800 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 7.5
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2775 2810 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/5 7
5 Aronian,Levon 2761 2778 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.0/5 7
6 Svidler,Peter 2737 2794 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 3.0/5 5.75
7 Naiditsch,Arkadij 2710 2725 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 2.5/5
8 Vallejo Pons,Francisco 2698 2602 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/5
9 Meier,Georg 2621 2456 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1.0/5 2.25
10 Keymer,Vincent 2509 2515 0 0 0 0 1 1.0/5 1

Pairings round six, Friday, April 26:

Vallejo Pons vs Caruana
Naiditsch vs Anand
Meier vs Carlsen
Aronian vs Keymer
Svidler vs Vachier-Lagrave

April 25 is a rest day, as the tournament moves from the Schwarzwaldhalle in Karlsruhe to the Kulturhaus LA8 museum in Baden-Baden for rounds six to nine (April 26-29).

The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves followed by 15 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment from move one. Draw offers before move 40 are not allowed.

Impressions of round five.

The games start at 15:00 CEST (14:00 London, 9 a.m. Eastern, 6 a.m. Pacific). You can follow the tournament here, as part of our events portal. The games will also be relayed in Live Chess.

IM Levy Rozman is covering the tournament on his Twitch channel, GothamChess.

Earlier posts:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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