Carlsen Beats Adams, Leads Grenke After Round 2

Carlsen Beats Adams, Leads Grenke After Round 2

| 22 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen scored the first win of the 2015 Grenke Chess Classic super tournament today in Baden-Baden, Germany. 

Carlsen notched the tournament’s only full point in round two, defeating English GM Michael Adams in -- appropriately -- the English Opening.

Carlsen commented on his opening choice: “It wasn’t great, but there is potential for some slight pressure there. There isn’t much risk.”

Adams emerged from the opening unscathed with the black pieces, but his 18th move Re7 looks to be slightly inaccurate, as it allowed Carlsen to build up the pressure with 19. b4! White enjoyed a steady advance on the queenside until the 30th move, when Carlsen retreated his dark-squared bishop to the back rank and redirected his efforts to the kingside. 

Carlsen then shifted again, won Black's b-pawn and got the queens off the board to enter the endgame with a healthy advantage. The relentless world champion cashed in the full point with accurate and alert play until Adams capitulated on move 64, his demise imminent.

All photos: Georgios Souleidis.

In the post-game press conference, Adams criticized his performance starting in the late middlegame.

"I was running a bit short of time," said Adams. "I just played horribly.”

The other seven games in the first two rounds of the tournament were drawn, which means the world champion is in clear first place after two days of play.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

World number-two Fabiano Caruana had promising chances in his game today, but wound up drawing in a tricky endgame against the French GM Étienne Bacrot.

Bacrot came out of the opening fine as Black, but after 16…b5 White got an advantage.

“It was an interesting position,” said Caruana. “It wasn’t clear around here.”

Bacrot equalized again after 33…Bxb5

“I started to lose control,” said Caruana. “I wasn’t sure how I was proceeding on the kingside.”

Caruana later built up an attack with his active rooks and bishop, but let up the pressure after 48. Bd3. The move Rg2 would have maintained the advantage, according to Stockfish.

GM Vishy Anand, the former world champion, also believed he had winning chances today with White before conceding a draw to the resiliant German grandmaster Arkadij Naiditsch

"I thought my position was very, very promising,” Anand said after the game. “This position turned out to be much tougher than I thought. I assumed I must be winning…but somehow I didn’t nail it," said Anand.

"I missed my chance,” the former world champion said.

Anand's advantage evaporated after 41. R1c6. Moving that same rook one square further up the board to c7 gave White its best chances to win, at least according to the computer.  

World number-nine Levon Aronian also could score no better than half a point today, drawing his game with the German grandmaster David Baramidze

Baramidze chose to open the game with his king’s pawn because he believed his opponent could easily achieve a solid position against d4.

“I don’t have a big choice of openings when I face e4,” said Aronian, who steered the game into a Berlin Defense.

The game was drawn after reaching an ending with opposite-colored bishops.

When asked if he was satisfied with two draws in the strongest tournament of his career, Baramidze said: “We have played only two games, so the tournament is still ahead. We will see how it ends.”

How does Aronian recommend players score full points against tough opposition? “Start playing e4,” Aronian said, “to score more points.”

After two rounds of play, Magnus Carlsen stands a half-point clear of the field.

2015 Grenke Classic | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,M 2865 2948 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1.5/2
2 Aronian,L 2777 2730 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.25
3 Caruana,F 2811 2754 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.0/2 1.00
4 Anand,V 2797 2759 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.00
5 Bacrot,E 2711 2703 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 1.00
6 Baramidze,D 2594 2744 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/2 1.00
7 Naiditsch,A 2706 2767 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/2 0.75
8 Adams,M 2738 2595 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/2

Play resumes in Baden-Baden on Wednesday for round three, with the following pairings


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