Adams Takes Down Topalov; Kramnik 'Superhuman'
Michael Adams won his first game in London as he crushed Veselin Topalov in an Anti-Berlin. At the end of the day Vladimir Kramnik grabbed the spotlight as he found a beautiful way to draw his game with Hikaru Nakamura.
Going into the rest day, the leaderboard hasn't changed much. The only decisive game was between the two tail-enders.
It was kind of an atypical game for Adams in this round. Known for his quiet, positional style, the Englishman today sacrificed a pawn in the opening for an attack on the king. It wasn't specific prep for Topalov; he said he had found the idea a while back when preparing for the Berlin.
Photo: Lennart Ootes.
"I sort of knew the opening a bit and I knew the computer didn't really believe this 16...Qd3," said Adams.
It wasn't an easy game, according to Adams. "He kept on finding some tricky moves."
A fine win by Mickey Adams. | Photo: Lennart Ootes.
Last Topalov was as low as 20th in the world, was 24 yrs ago on FIDE's July list in '92. Since Jan '93 he's always been top 18. #LondonChess— Tarjei J. Svensen ( @TarjeiJS) December 13, 2016
World number-two Fabiano Caruana played the Petroff today, and actually came close to a win in his black game with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
The Frenchman wasn't really surprised about his opponent's opening choice, but "it still doesn't explain why I got into such troubles," he said.
He had clearly underestimated the pawn break on move 18, and from there he had to defend. MVL admitted that it's not great to get nothing as White, but he was mostly happy that he got away with the draw.
"My position felt really bad at some point."
Caruana had reason to be annoyed. He had seen the strong idea 24...Nb4 but carelessly played something else. "I had a lot of time. I should have calculated it to the end." The American player said he decided to trust his intuition, but there was no real attack. "What I have is very minimal."
MVL: "I have not been playing...not only my best chess, but not even my chess." | Photo: Lennart Ootes.
The round ended beautifully, and that was thanks to Vladimir Kramnik. The Russian defended brilliantly in a difficult ending against Hikaru Nakamura.
But first things first: according to Kramnik, the 14th world champion, Black was doing fine out of the opening. "The problem was I didn't know whether to play for a win or for a draw. I confused things," he said.
Around move 40 he was in trouble. Nakamura: "Somewhere around the time control it felt like I should be winning but I used a lot of time and I tried to find the best lines. And then at the end he just defended perfectly and he found this very nice Nf7 idea, which was quite cute. I thought I was just winning until he played it."
Kramnik said he didn't see the stalemate in advance, but he did calculate quite deeply and had correctly evaluated the endgame. A "superhuman" effort, as commentator Yasser Seirawan called it.
Kramnik and Nakamura analyzing the endgame. | Photo: Lennart Ootes.
Both Aronian-Giri and So-Anand were quick draws. The latter deserves a quick mention because of the stunning novelty played by Anand. He said: "When my second showed me this move I had to do a double take to see it was legal!"
It prompted his opponent to play it safe. So: "When you are out-prepared, you have two choices: either go all out or play quietly."
Image Spectrum Studios.
Here are the pairings for round six, which is Thursday at 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. New York, 8 a.m. Pacific).
Image Spectrum Studios.
Games from TWIC.