Carlsen Falters; Caruana, Adams Score In Grenke Round 3

Carlsen Falters; Caruana, Adams Score In Grenke Round 3

| 49 | Chess Event Coverage

Although today's round of the Grenke Chess Classic featured three (!) decisive games, the most exciting by far was Magnus Carlsen's wild affair against GM Arkadij Naiditsch. 

The Norwegian world champ continued his experimentation with the Modern Defense and unleashed an absolutely shocking bishop sacrifice on move 10:

After the game, Naiditsch stayed quite humble and wasn't too critical of Magnus. When asked about how he felt after seeing 10...Bxg4, he said, "but I think it's already quite a difficult position, actually, because I want to play Ng3, and maybe Bxg4 is actually not such a bad practical try. I was of course quite shocked by Bxg4, but in case of 10...Nbd7 11.Ng3...I think White is much much better here." 

He also surmised that Carlsen must have been feeling desperate in order to change the character of the position so radically. 


All photos: Georgios Souleidis.

Of course, the move was shocking not only to Naiditsch, but to everyone watching. World number-10 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was particularly stunned, tweeting:

As the fascinating game went on, Carlsen found some compensation for the bishop, but Naiditsch played quite well and ended up converting his advantage into a full point with the extra piece in the endgame. Interestingly enough this is Naidtisch's second win in a row over Magnus, as he had also defeated him in the 2014 Tromso Olympiad.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov:

Taking advantage of a few mistakes, world number-two Fabiano Caruana was able to defeat Levon Aronian, as Aronian tried too hard to create winning chances in a balanced position.


After the game, Aronian was quite critical of his own play, referring to several misses as "simply ridiculous."

Instead of 22.g3, 22.f4 may have been more to the point. In the post-game press conference, both players said they thought White had full compensation after 28.Qxe4. Levon mentioned that he saw 30.Nf4 Qf6 31.Nd5 Qd6 with a draw by three-move repetition, but didn't see the risk of making a few more moves.

Now followed a series of inaccuracies by Aronian, who missed 31.Nc7!, which gives White a small plus after 31...Qxc7 32.Rd7 Qc4 33.Rd5 Be7! (the only move) 34.Rxd7 Rf8+=.

Aronian confessed he also missed 32...Bc5 with idea 33...Ra7!, which allowed Caruana to trade off a pair of rooks and completely extinguish White's initiative. With a very healthy extra pawn Caruana was able to wrap up the game in just a few moves.

The other decisive game of the round saw England's number-one GM Michael Adams bounce back from losing to Magnus yesterday by defeating GM David Baramidze.

In the post-game press conference, both players felt that Black was doing fine after 15.Nf1, with 15...Bc4 suggested as a natural improvement.

Instead Black chose the aggressive 15...Qf6 and 16...Ne7, which looked interesting if not for a devastating double attack noticed by Adams, who said, "I was thinking about [Ne7] a bit earlier, you know, it looked a bit loose, but it was only then that I realized that there was a flaw."

After 18.Rxa7! Rxa7 19.Qe3, White is instantly winning due to the threats of Qxa7 and Nxe5, trapping Black's queen. phpZn6dDF.jpeg

The only draw of the round featured the ever-popular Berlin Endgame, played between Etienne Bacrot and Viswanathan Anand, who followed Game seven of the 2014 Carlsen-Anand world championship match until move 20.

As usual, it seemed that White was a little bit better, but didn't have enough to pose any kind of serious pressure on Black.

There were a few interesting nuances as Anand pointed out in the post-match press conference, but before long the game fizzled out and was drawn.

The other players couldn't help but comment on Magnus's play. Anand said he would definitely consider it and play it if he thought it could work.

Caruana exclaimed: "I couldn't believe Bxg4, it was an extraordinary move."

After an exciting round, Caruana and Naiditsch lead the field with 2/3, with four players trailing closely behind:

2015 Grenke Classic | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Naiditsch,A 2706 2920 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 2.0/3 3.00
2 Caruana,F 2811 2882 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.0/3 2.50
3 Anand,V 2797 2743 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/3 2.75
4 Bacrot,E 2711 2734 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/3 2.25
5 Carlsen,M 2865 2741 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1.5/3 2.00
6 Adams,M 2738 2722 ½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/3 2.00
7 Aronian,L 2777 2637 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.0/3 1.25
8 Baramidze,D 2594 2621 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/3 1.25

Here are the pairings for round four, which takes place Friday, February 6:


IM Kostya Kavutskiy

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IM Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess author, journalist, coach, commentator, and player. As a part of's content team since 2009, Kostya has recorded many video lectures, covered elite tournaments, written instructive articles & blogs, and has done many live commentary shows for Chess TV. Kostya has also written a number of articles for Chess Life magazine and Chess Life Online, and is currently an instructor for Chess University. In 2015, Modernized: The Open Sicilian was released, which Kostya co-authored with IM Zhanibek Amanov. Kostya's tournament accomplishments include winning the 2014 Southern California Closed Championship, as well as achieving his IM title in November 2016. In April 2017, he placed 6th in the star-studded 2017 Reykjavik Open. He currently resides in Mountain View, CA, and his plans are to pursue the GM title while working actively as a coach.



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