Anand Goes Down In Grenke Chess Round 6
Anand didn't play well today and lost to Bluebaum. | Photo: Eric van Reem/Grenke Chess Classic.

Anand Goes Down In Grenke Chess Round 6

| 39 | Chess Event Coverage

"I guess he just blundered something," was Matthias Bluebaum's simple comment after beating Viswanathan Anand in round six of the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden-Baden. Georg Meier also blundered, but with little time and in a difficult position, vs Arkadij Naiditsch.

The tournament will run for three more rounds, and at the moment the leaders are still Fabiano Caruana, Nikita Vitiugov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Vitiugov vs Vachier-Lagrave at Grenke 2018

Two of the leaders played each other today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

When Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian meet over the chessboards, it almost always leads to a very interesting fight, on the highest level. Today was no different. Are the two gentleman provoking each other, asked the commentator Peter Leko.

"I know whenever I provoke Levon he is going to be provoked, and then it’s going to be dangerous but then we’ll have some fun!" said Carlsen.

Aronian could laugh about that one, and, with more smiles, he gave his version of their mutual games: "He gets much more dubious positions than I do, but I blunder much more cheapos! Therefore the result is the way it is."

Carlsen vs Aronian, Grenke 2018

Aronian facing Carlsen today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Today it was a Mikenas English, the line 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 named after the strong Lithuanian player Vladas Mikenas (1910–1992). What might have looked as a sideline was still Aronian's preparation for at least 18 moves. "I remembered that I analyzed this position but I didn't remember what was my intention," he said.

Both players gave an exchange after which Black got a strong pawn mass on the queenside. For a moment, Aronian felt he was better while Carlsen thought it was always about equal. Black avoided a nasty trick on move 30, just in time. 

Carlsen: "I could see you were upset!"
Aronian: "Yes!"


Carlsen vs Aronian, Grenke 2018

Perhaps Aronian said: "I was obviously planning 30...a5 there." | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen vs Aronian, Grenke 2018

And Carlsen might have replied: "I was hoping you would!" | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

If the variations above dazzled you, here's something equally complicated, and arguably even more beautiful. We're talking about Hou Yifan's missed win vs Fabiano Caruana, deep in the endgame, after many hours of play. Neither player had seen the key idea Ne1.

Last year Hou had defeated Caruana with the white pieces, and she came close to doing the same with Black today. It all started from a Petroff; sometimes it's not a bad idea to confront your opponent with his own repertoire.

Carlsen watching Caruana vs Hou Yifan, Grenke 2018

Carlsen watching Caruana vs Hou Yifan, the longest game of the round. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It's about time to start talking about the decisive games of today, isn't it. Firstly, it was Viswanathan Anand who played a bit of a strange game and lost to Matthias Bluebaum. The opening already looked "funny" but Black was actually doing OK after 18 moves. But his operation starting with 18...Bd5 was just wrong.

"I didn’t really understand why it happened because he…I guess he just blundered something," said Bluebaum.

Matthias Bluebaum at Grenke 2018

Matthias Bluebaum said he's happy with his score, but not with his play. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis/Grenke Chess Classic.

Speaking of blunders, this is more or less what happened to Georg Meier too. The computer shows he had several moves to hold the balance where he went to an evaluation of minus-eight, but that was not the whole story. Arkadij Naiditsch had been pressing for a while, and with little time on the clock, it was very difficult for Meier from a practical point of view.

Arkadij Naiditsch at Grenke 2018

Naiditsch scored his first win today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The game between two leaders of the tournament ended in a draw, and so they are still on top, together with Caruana, with three rounds to go. Nikita Vitiugov managed to keep an extra pawn offered by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the opening, but Black's bishop pair offered good compensation. It wasn't easy though, and only on move 68 the Russian GM stopped his efforts.

Vitiugov vs Vachier-Lagrave at Grenke 2018

The players chatting afterward. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2018 Grenke Chess Classic | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2789 2870 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/6 10.75
2 Vitiugov,Nikita 2735 2820 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 4.0/6 9.75
3 Caruana,Fabiano 2784 2829 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 4.0/6 9.25
4 Carlsen,Magnus 2843 2776 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.5/6 10
5 Aronian,Levon 2794 2794 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.5/6 9
6 Bluebaum,Matthias 2631 2747 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/6
7 Naiditsch,Arkadij 2701 2672 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 2.5/6
8 Anand,Viswanathan 2776 2611 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 2.0/6 6.75
9 Hou,Yifan 2654 2666 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.0/6 6.75
10 Meier,Georg 2648 2558 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1.5/6

The Grenke Chess Classic is a 10-player round robin held in Karlsruhe (rounds 1-3) and Baden-Baden (rounds 4-9), Germany, The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. Draw offers before move 40 are not allowed.

Previous report:

More from PeterDoggers
Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak