Grenke Classic 2017: Hou Yifan is queen for the day...again!

by Elshan Moradiabadi
4/17/2017 – What can one say, except: wow. Of the four games in round two, three ended in decisive results, and Levon Aronian's escape from Magnus Carlsen was a small miracle. Round one's losers Fabiano Caruana and MVL struck back with enormous determination to get back to 50%. The exception was Hou Yifan who broke past Georg Meier with a mating attack with black to now lead with 2.0/2! Here is the illustrated report by Elshan Moradiabadi with detailed analysis by Aleksandr Lenderman.

Grenke Classic 2017: Hou Yifan is queen for the day...again!

Photos by Georgios Souleidis

Round 2 (16.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Naiditsch, Arkadij
0 - 1
Caruana, Fabiano
Meier, Georg
0 - 1
Hou, Yifan
Carlsen, Magnus
½ - ½
Aronian, Levon
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
1 - 0
Bluebaum, Matthias

Video highlights of round two 

After spending nearly a month covering the Women World Championship, it feels like an involuntary return to those roots now at Grenke. The reason is a special occasion, when a young lady steals the show in the presence of the world champion. This is the first time after Judit Polgar’s retirement that a lady is leading a super tournament with a full point margin.

World women no.1, Hou Yifan, played a brilliant attack against German GM George Meier and finished the game in style to lead the Grenke Classic with 2.0/2, after dismantling Caruana’s aggressive play yesterday. Meier, who had the white side of a smooth Catalan played strong moves and obtained a good advantage, however, in the midst of tenacious dynamic sequences where both players stumbled here and there, Meier was unable to keep his advantage and after strong play by Yifan (d4, g6 and eventually Nxf2) his king got exposed to a finishing mating attack that is not to be missed!

Georg Meier - Hou Yifan

[Event "4th GRENKE Chess Classic 2017"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2017.04.16"] [Round "2"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E16"] [WhiteElo "2621"] [BlackElo "2649"] [Annotator ""] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Nd2 O-O 6. Ngf3 b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. b3 {E16: Queen's Indian: 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Bb4+} Nbd7 9. Bb2 Qe7 10. Ne5 $146 (10. Qc2 Rac8 11. e3 Ba3 12. cxd5 Bxb2 13. Qxb2 Bxd5 14. b4 c5 15. bxc5 bxc5 { 1/2-1/2 (50) Fedoseev,V (2668)-Dragun,K (2518) Warsaw 2014}) 10... Rfd8 11. Nd3 Bd6 12. e3 Rab8 13. Rc1 Ne4 14. cxd5 exd5 15. Re1 c5 16. dxc5 bxc5 17. Qc2 Rbc8 18. Nf4 Nef6 (18... Ndf6 $14) 19. Nc4 $1 $16 Bc7 20. Red1 Bxf4 21. exf4 (21. gxf4 $6 Qe6 $11) 21... Ba8 22. Ne3 Qe6 23. Nf5 {Threatens to win with Re1.} Re8 24. h3 ({Better is} 24. b4 $1 $16) 24... d4 $11 25. Bxa8 Rxa8 26. b4 Rac8 {[#]} (26... Rab8 $1 $11 {remains equal.} 27. bxc5 d3 28. Qxd3 Rxb2) 27. Qb1 ({ White has to play} 27. Re1 $1 $16 Qxe1+ 28. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 29. Kg2) 27... Ne4 ( 27... cxb4 $2 28. Rxc8 (28. Bxd4 Rxc1 29. Rxc1 h5 $14) 28... Rxc8 29. Re1 $18 ( 29. Bxd4 Re8 $14) (29. Rxd4 a5 $11)) 28. g4 {bxc5 is the strong threat.} g6 $36 {Black has the initiative.} 29. Nh4 $2 (29. Nh6+ $11 Kg7 30. bxc5 Kxh6 31. Bxd4 ) 29... Nxf2 $19 {Black is clearly winning.} ({Not} 29... cxb4 30. Rxc8 (30. Bxd4 Nc3 31. Bxc3 bxc3 $15) 30... Rxc8 31. Re1 $15) 30. Kxf2 {[#]} Qe2+ $1 31. Kg1 Re3 {( -> ...Rg3+)} 32. Qc2 Rg3+ 33. Kh1 Rxh3+ 34. Kg1 Qe3+ ({Weaker is} 34... Qxg4+ 35. Ng2 $15) 0-1

 Hou Yifan showed great understanding of the position’s dynamic qualities and won a slightly worse position against a very solid and strong GM who rarely loses in general, let alone with the white pieces. With only five rounds to play, Hou Yifan is now in a hot pursuit of first place in this super tournament. Were she to pull it off, it would bring a great deal of good vibes to women’s chess and investments in it!

 

A delighted Hou Yifan talks about her game in round two

I mentioned yesterday that Arkadij Naiditsch knows how to play at the Grenke Classic, but today he went down at the hands of Fabiano Caruana, who bounced back after shocking his first round loss against Hou Yifan. Naiditsch played a solid, lesser known line with a Bc4- Nc3 set up against Caruana’s king pawn opening. Later on toward the end of the opening, Naiditsch tried too hard to create something and instead he ended up with a ‘suffocated’ queen on a3.

Arkadij Naiditsch fell in round two to Fabiano Caruana

Nevertheless, he managed to bring his pieces to the game and despite Caruana’s slight edge throughout the game, Arkadij was close to equality near the time control. His 33. Kg1?? was a blunder and after 33….Ref6!, Caruana masterfully converted his strong attack and won right at the time control. It seems that ‘Fabi’ is fighting his way back and is getting his momentum after this fine win.

Fabiano Carauan was clearly fired up after his disappointing loss in round one

Arkadij Naidistch vs Fabiano Caruana

[Event "4th GRENKE Chess Classic 2017"] [Site "Karlsruhe"] [Date "2017.04.16"] [Round "2"] [White "Naiditsch, Arkadij"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C28"] [WhiteElo "2702"] [BlackElo "2817"] [Annotator "Elshan"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Na5 5. Nge2 Bc5 6. O-O {C28: Vienna Game: 2...Nf6 3 Bc4 Nc6} O-O 7. Ng3 (7. a4 Nxc4 8. dxc4 a5 9. Qd3 d6 10. b3 Be6 11. Be3 Nd7 12. Rad1 f5 13. f4 b6 {1/2-1/2 (28) Carlsen,M (2855)-Giri,A (2782) Paris 2016}) 7... h6 8. h3 {The position is equal.} d6 9. Bb3 $146 (9. Kh1 Be6 10. Bxe6 fxe6 11. Na4 Bb6 12. Nxb6 axb6 13. f4 Nc6 {1/2-1/2 (68) Rodriguez Guerrero,E (2450)-Cox,J (2396) England 2012}) 9... c6 10. Na4 Nxb3 11. axb3 Bb4 12. Bd2 Bxd2 13. Qxd2 d5 14. Qb4 b6 15. Nc3 (15. Nxb6 $2 {is tempting but loses to} Rb8 16. Rxa7 Qxb6 17. Qxb6 Rxb6 $17) 15... c5 16. Qa3 d4 17. Nce2 a5 18. f4 Be6 19. Rae1 exf4 20. Nxf4 Nd7 21. Qa1 Qg5 22. Kh2 Ne5 23. Qd1 Rae8 24. Nge2 Ng6 25. Qc1 Qe5 (25... Qh4 $5 {feels hotter.} 26. g3 Qe7 27. g4 Ne5 28. Ng3 Qh4) 26. Kg1 Nh4 27. g3 Ng6 28. Kg2 Qd6 29. Kh2 (29. Nxg6 $11 {keeps the balance.} fxg6 30. Rxf8+ Rxf8 31. Rf1) 29... Ne5 $17 30. Kg2 f5 31. Nxe6 Rxe6 32. exf5 Qd5+ 33. Kg1 {[#]} ({White must play} 33. Kh2 $15 Ref6 34. g4 (34. Nf4 Nf3+ 35. Rxf3 Qxf3 $17)) 33... Ref6 $1 $36 {Black has a strong initiative.} 34. Nf4 (34. g4 {keeps fighting.} Nf3+ 35. Rxf3 Qxf3 36. Qf4 Qxh3 37. Qg3 Qxg3+ 38. Nxg3) 34... Nf3+ 35. Kf2 Qxf5 36. Kxf3 Qxh3 $1 {Strongly threatening .. .g5.} 37. Re4 $2 {[#]} (37. Rg1 {was called for.}) 37... g5 38. Ke2 Qxg3 ({Less strong is} 38... gxf4 39. gxf4 Re6 40. Rxe6 Qxe6+ 41. Kd2 $17) 39. Rf3 (39. Rg1 $142 Qh4 40. Qe1 Qxe1+ 41. Kxe1 Rxf4 42. Re2) 39... Qg4 40. Qh1 Rxf4 0-1

 

Fabiano Caruana shares his impressions after his win

When I left for my game in a weekend tournament, World Champion Magnus Carlsen had a clear winning position, however, it was a great surprise to his fans and me when he threw it away. After this, Aronian did not give the world no.1 a second chance to fight for a win and secured the half point.

Magnus Carlsen has certainly had his chances, but seems to be lacking that killer blow to wrap things up in his favor

Magnus Carlsen - Levon Aronian (annotated by Aleksandr Lenderman)

[Event "Grenke Chess Classic 2017"] [Site "Karlruhe"] [Date "2017.04.16"] [Round "2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C88"] [Annotator "Aleksandr Lenderman"] [PlyCount "140"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {Welcome everyone! This is GM Aleksandr Lenderman presenting you the round two Game of the Day. I decided to choose the game between Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian since not only was it arguably the most marquee matchup of the day, but the game was quite an interesting fight.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 ({Aronian has always played exclusively the text move, spurning the Open Ruy Lopez with} 5... Nxe4) ({as well as the Arkhangelsk or Neo-Arkhangelsk with} 5... b5) ({and} 5... Bc5 {respectively.}) 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 {8.a4 is a very common at the high level Anti-Marshall Move, which leads to quieter games and very much to Magnus Carlsen's liking. Magnus decides not to test Levon Aronian in the Marshall Attack this game.} (8. c3 d5 {is of course the Marshall Attack, in which Aronian is considered one of the biggest experts.} 9. exd5 (9. d4 dxe4 10. Nxe5 Bb7 11. Nxc6 Bxc6 12. Bg5 Nd5 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Nd2 f5 15. f3 e3 16. c4 $2 (16. f4 $1 {/\} Kh8 17. Qf3 $14) 16... Nf4 $1 17. cxb5+ Kh8 18. Nc4 e2 19. Qd2 Qg5 20. Rxe2 Nxe2+ 21. Qxe2 Bxb5 22. Qe3 $15 {/-/+,Carlsen,M (2835)-Kamsky,G (2732)/Wijk aan Zee/2012/}) 9... Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d3 Bd6 13. Re1 Bf5 14. Qf3 Qh4 15. g3 Qh3 16. Bxd5 cxd5 17. Be3 Bxd3 18. Qxd5 Rad8 19. Qf3 Rfe8 20. Nd2 Qf5 21. Qxf5 Bxf5 22. Bd4 f6 23. f3 b4 24. Ne4 Bc7 25. Kf2 bxc3 26. bxc3 Rb8 $44 {Carlsen,M (2548)-Anand,V (2785)/Leon rpd/2005/ A typical Marshall endgame: the bishop-pair makes converting the extra pawn almost impossible.}) ({The immediate} 8. d4 {gives Black a wider choice:} Nxd4 (8... d6 9. c3 Bg4 { -C91 This line is not considered too dangerous for Black.}) 9. Nxd4 (9. Bxf7+ Rxf7 10. Nxe5 Rf8 11. Qxd4 Bb7 $5 $44 12. c4 c5 13. Qd3 Qc7 14. Nf3 bxc4 15. Qxc4+ d5 16. exd5 Bxd5 17. Qe2 Bd6 18. Nc3 Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Bxh2+ 20. Kf1 Rad8 ( 20... Be5 $5) 21. g3 Nh5 22. Qxh5 Rxf2+ 23. Kxf2 Qxg3+ 24. Ke2 Qg2+ {1/2, Kamsky,G (2717)-Leko,P (2756)/Jermuk/2009/} 25. Ke3 Qg3+ 26. Ke2 Qg2+ {1/2, Kamsky,G (2717)-Leko,P (2756)/Jermuk/2009/}) 9... exd4 10. e5 Ne8 11. c3 (11. Qxd4 Bb7 12. c4 c5 13. Qg4 d6 14. Nc3 (14. Bf4 {Short,N (2707)-Fressinet,L (2702)/Bastia rpd/2012/} bxc4 15. Bxc4 d5 $11 {/=/+}) 14... dxe5 15. cxb5 axb5 16. Nxb5 {Gilabert Mallol,E (2440)-Kyhos,A (2352)/corr/2010/} Nf6 17. Qf5 Qb6 $132) 11... dxc3 12. Nxc3 d6 13. Qf3 Be6 14. Nd5 Rc8 15. Bf4 Bxd5 $5 (15... dxe5 16. Nxe7+ (16. Bxe5 Bd6 17. Rad1 Bxe5 18. Rxe5 Bxd5 19. Rexd5 Nd6 20. Qf4 Qe7 21. Re5 Qf6 22. Qxf6 gxf6 23. Rc5 Rfd8 24. Rdc1 Re8 25. g3 Re2 26. Rxc7 Rxc7 27. Rxc7 Rxb2 28. Rc6 Ne4 29. Rxa6 Nc5 $11 {Henrichs,T (2483)-Gustafsson, J (2584)/GER-ch Bad Koenigshofen/2007/}) 16... Qxe7 17. Bxe5 Nd6 18. Qc3 Qg5 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. Rac1 $5 (20. b3 Qg6 21. Qc6 Nf7 22. Bg3 e5 23. Rac1 Qf6 24. h3 Rfd8 {Leko,P (2756)-Aronian,L (2768)/Jermuk/2009/}) 20... Nc4 21. Bg3 Rfe8 22. b3 Nb6 23. Qa5 Nd5 24. Rc6 e5 25. Rxa6 c6 26. h4 Qf6 27. a4 $14 { Sievilainen,T (2179)-Laine,E (2234)/corr/2010/}) 16. Bxd5 dxe5 17. Rxe5 Bf6 18. Re2 Nd6 19. Rd1 Bg5 20. Be5 Bf6 21. Bf4 {1/2,Becerra Rivero,J (2598)-Onischuk, A (2670)/Lubbock/2008/}) 8... b4 ({For} 8... Rb8 9. axb5 axb5 10. d3 d6 11. Nbd2 {- see Carlsen-Topalov}) 9. d3 {A slight surprise.} (9. d4 {is a much more popular move, and Magnus himself has also played this move in the 2013 Sinquefield Cup against Aronian in that famous game where Magnus would take clear first with a draw, but deciding he had a somewhat better position without much risk, he declined the draw and played on.... and won!}) 9... Bc5 ( 9... d6 {is also quite a common move, and also has been played by Aronian quite frequently. However, in his last game in the World Rapid against Yu Yangyi, he did play Bc5, so most likely Magnus did expect Bc5 more.}) 10. c3 $146 {Amazingly, this move according to my database is already a novelty.} (10. Be3 {This was played by Yu Yangyi.} Bxe3 11. Rxe3 d6 12. Nbd2 Na5 13. Ba2 c5 14. Nc4 Nxc4 15. Bxc4 Be6 $11 {Black has no problems here, and the game was drawn in a few moves in 1/2 (29) Yu Yangyi (2729)-Aronian,L (2785) Doha QAT 2016}) (10. Nbd2 {has also been tried a few times, including once by GM Wei Yi. }) 10... bxc3 {First small think here by Aronian for about 5 minutes.} (10... d6 {is also possible, but then Black has to count with the move d4.} 11. d4 Ba7 12. h3 {And maybe White can hope for something with some central control.}) 11. bxc3 {And about a 10-minute think by Magnus here. So, he probably didn't expect bxc3 so much. Or maybe more likely it's just a delayed transmission, since bxc3 seems like the only logical move.} (11. Nxc3 $2 {seems anti-positional, leaving Black with a strong d4 square and leaving White with backward pawns b2 and d3, for no real compensation.} d6 $15) 11... Rb8 12. Bg5 $5 {This is an ambitious move, which allows Black to hunt the bishop down in return for weakening his king somewhat.} (12. Nbd2 $11 {was of course an alternative.}) 12... h6 13. Bh4 g5 $1 {Aronian is not the type to back down from principled continuations.} 14. Bg3 (14. Nxg5 $2 {Just did not work tactically for White.} hxg5 15. Bxg5 Rxb3 $1 {This is the point, otherwise White can hope for some compensation.} 16. Qxb3 Bxf2+ 17. Kxf2 Ng4+ 18. Kg1 Qxg5 $19 {And Black is completely winning here. Material is roughly equal, but Black's pieces are much better and he has a strong attack.}) 14... Nh5 $1 { Usually the rule is, when we say A, we should say B. Very energetic play by Aronian here, and he had to foresee some other interesting possibilites from White as well here. What's also impressive is that Aronian executed the sequence of g5 and Nh5 quite quickly, in less than 10 minutes.} (14... d6 $6 { Was probably not the best idea. Seems a bit slow.} 15. Nbd2 g4 (15... Nh5 $2 16. Nxe5 $18) 16. Nh4 Nh5 17. Nf5 Bxf5 18. exf5 Qg5 19. Ne4 Qxf5 20. Nxc5 dxc5 21. Bd5 Nxg3 22. hxg3 Ne7 23. Bc4 $16 {would be very strong for White.}) 15. Nbd2 {Played after about 20 minutes of thought and rightfully so. White certainly had interesting alternatives here as well.} (15. Nxe5 $5 Nxg3 16. Nxc6 dxc6 17. hxg3 {seems like it's just winning for White, but ...} (17. d4 Nxe4 18. Rxe4 Bd6 19. Nd2 c5 $11 {Is probably roughly equal.}) 17... Rxb3 $1 18. Qxb3 Qxd3 {This strong exchange sacrifise shatters White's center, and suddenly here, Black has very strong threats with his very active pieces, and White has to think about defending now.} 19. Qd1 Qxg3 20. Qf3 Qxf3 21. gxf3 Rd8 $44 {And I'd probably prefer Black here, since he has a 2 bishop advantage and a pawn as well as very active pieces for the exchange.}) (15. Bd5 Nxg3 16. hxg3 Qf6 {Might be something similar to the game.}) 15... Nxg3 16. hxg3 Qf6 { A very sensible option, activating the queen.} (16... g4 {Was also a possible alternative with complex play.} 17. Nh2 h5 18. Nxg4 hxg4 19. Qxg4+ Kh7 20. Qh5+ Kg7 21. Qg4+ $11 {Was a possible line.}) (16... d6) 17. Nc4 (17. Bd5 $5 g4 18. d4 Ba7 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. dxe5 Qg5 (20... Qxf2+ $2 21. Kh2 Rb2 22. Qxg4+ Kh7 23. Re2 $16) (20... Bxf2+ $4 21. Kf1 $18) 21. Qe2 {would lead to complex play.}) 17... d6 18. Ne3 Be6 {Aronian continues to play the most ambitious way.} (18... Bxe3 $11) 19. Bxe6 {Played after about 25 minutes of thinking and I'm not sure if it's the best move since now Magnus helps Levon activate his rook on f8.} ( 19. Nd5 {was probably more sensible.} Bxd5 20. Bxd5 (20. exd5 $5) 20... Ne7 21. Bc4 g4 {Wasn't so scary because of...} 22. d4 Ba7 23. Nh4 exd4 24. cxd4 Bxd4 25. Qxg4+ Qg5 26. Qxg5+ hxg5 27. Rad1 Bc3 28. Re3 {with a roughly equal game.}) (19. Nd2 Na5 {might be slightly unpleasant for White.}) 19... fxe6 20. Qc2 (20. g4 $5 Qf4 21. Qc2 Bxe3 22. Rxe3 Qxg4 23. Qa2 $44 {is surprising compensation for White since White activates his queen, can soon control the center, and Black's king is slightly weakened.}) 20... h5 21. Rab1 Rxb1 (21... Rbe8 { Perhaps keeping the rooks also deserved attention.}) 22. Rxb1 h4 {The computer doesn't like this move, but it's not clear if Black would be able to make sufficient progress if he played the computer recommended line.} (22... g4 23. Nh4 Bb6 24. Rb2 {And even though it seems like Black is slightly better, it seems not so clear how Black should make progress.}) 23. gxh4 gxh4 24. Rb7 (24. Nh2 $11) 24... h3 $6 {But this already seems to be a little bit over ambitious. Now White will have the upper hand. Black had decent alternatives here to maintain the balance.} (24... Qg7 25. Qe2 h3 26. g3 Bb6 27. Nh4 $1 Na5 28. Rxb6 cxb6 29. Qh5 $132 {Here White has enough counterplay for a draw.}) (24... Rf7 25. Nh2 $11) (24... Bb6 25. Nc4 Qg7 26. Nxb6 Rxf3 27. Qe2 Rf7 28. Nc4 $11) 25. Rxc7 hxg2 26. Qe2 Ne7 27. Ne1 $1 {Could it be that Aronian missed this defensive move when he played h3? Hard to say what exactly Aronian missed or underestimated.} Rb8 $6 (27... Qh6 28. N1xg2 Rf7 {Might've been a little bit more solid but still White is up a pawn and is probably for choice.}) 28. Qg4+ $2 {Magnus has used up a lot of time and energy to try to solve the difficult problems that Aronian has posed him this game, and now it's taking its toll. At this point both players are going to make a few mistakes in this complex position.} (28. Qf3 $1 Qxf3 29. Nxf3 Ng6 {Perhaps Magnus thought this would be annoying counterplay for Black but in fact White is actually doing quite well here.} 30. Ng4 $1 {Not the most natural move, maybe the key move that Magnus missed, since without this move it's not as clear, Black might indeed have sufficient counterplay.} (30. Nxg2 $2 Rb1+ $11) (30. Kxg2 $2 Nf4+) 30... Nf4 $2 (30... Kf8 31. Kxg2 Nf4+ 32. Kh2 Rb3 33. Ng5 $1 Ke8 34. Nf7 $1 {And White, thanks to combination of threats against Black's king, as well as his weak pawns, is winning despite the fact that Black's counterplay looks real.}) 31. Nf6+ {is the point.} Kf8 (31... Kh8 32. Rh7#) 32. Nd7+ $18) 28... Ng6 $2 { Black errs in return.} (28... Kf8 {Seems fine for Black.} 29. Nf3 {Maybe this was Magnus's plan, but here Black has also very strong counterplay with...} ( 29. Qf3 Qxf3 30. Nxf3 Ke8 {Now Black is in time with his king to kick out the annoying rook and White has to be careful not to be worse.} 31. Ng5 (31. d4 Bb6 32. Rc4 exd4 33. cxd4 Kd7 $11) 31... Bb6 32. Rc4 Kd7 33. Nh7 Ng6 34. Nxg2 Bd8 35. Rb4 $11) 29... Qh6 $1 30. Kxg2 (30. Ng5 $4 Qh1#) 30... Bxe3 31. fxe3 Rb2+ 32. Kg3 Qxe3 33. Qh4 Qf2+ 34. Kg4 Qg2+ (34... Qxh4+ $11) 35. Qg3 Qf1 $15) 29. Nf3 $1 Rb2 {Maybe Aronian thought he was fine here, since it seems like he has sufficient counterplay, but now Magnus finds a very nice forced sequence to get what should've been a decisive advantage.} 30. d4 $1 exd4 31. e5 $1 dxe5 32. Nc4 $1 $18 Rb1+ 33. Kxg2 e4 $5 {The best chance to muddy the waters. And it worked!} (33... dxc3 34. Rxc5 c2 35. Ncxe5 c1=Q 36. Rxc1 Rxc1 37. Nxg6 $18 { is completely hopeless for Black.}) 34. Qxe4 $2 {And now unexpectedly just a few moves before time control and converting his winning position comfortably, Magnus makes a big slip.} (34. Nfe5 $1 {was winning. I'm sure Magnus saw this move, but maybe he saw some ghosts in some line.} e3 (34... dxc3 35. Rxc5 c2 { The critical testing line.} (35... Qf5 36. Nd6 Qxg4+ 37. Nxg4 $18 {is a simple technical position.}) 36. Rc8+ $1 Kg7 37. Nd6 $1 {without the sequence of Rc8+! followed by Nd6! White is actually not winning, so perhaps Magnus missed this very nice idea.} Qxe5 (37... c1=Q 38. Rxc1 Rxc1 39. Ne8+) 38. Rc7+ { and White will mate in a few moves here.}) (34... Qf5 35. Qxg6+ Qxg6+ 36. Nxg6 dxc3 37. Nf4 c2 38. Ne2 $18 {is an easy win for White.}) 35. Rf7 $1 $18 { Or perhaps Magnus missed this?}) 34... Nf4+ $1 35. Kg3 Ne2+ $1 {Or maybe Magnus just missed Ne2+ here? Because without this move, White is winning.} ( 35... Nh5+ $2 36. Kg4 $18 {Here Black runs out of counterplay.}) 36. Kg4 (36. Qxe2 Qg6+ {This line will lead to a perpetual check.} 37. Kf4 Qf5+ 38. Kg3 Qg6+ 39. Kh2 Qh5+ 40. Kg2 Qg4+ $11) 36... Qf5+ 37. Qxf5 exf5+ 38. Kxf5 dxc3 $1 { It's also possible Magnus missed this key move from far away. Without this move Black is still losing, but now Black has just enough counterplay.} 39. Rxc5 c2 40. Rc8+ Kg7 41. Rc7+ Kg8 42. Kf6 Rg1 (42... Rb8 {would also draw, but Levon understandably saw the other drawing line and perhaps didn't see the need to calculate the consequences of Rb8, since after Rb8, White has potentially a dangerous initiative and if you miss something subtle, it can be deadly. Here are some variations:} 43. Rg7+ {This is much more critical.} (43. Nce5 {Isn't dangerous because} c1=Q 44. Rg7+ Kf8 45. Rf7+ Kg8 $11 {And White has no more than a perpetual.} (45... Ke8 46. Re7+ Kd8 47. Nf7+ Kc8 48. Nd6+ $11)) 43... Kf8 $1 (43... Kh8 $2 44. Nd6 Rb6 45. Rd7 c1=Q 46. Rd8+ Kh7 47. Ng5+ Qxg5+ 48. Kxg5 Rb4 49. Rd7+ Kg8 50. Re7 Nc3 51. a5 $16 {Is good winning chances for White.}) 44. Ng5 $5 {Again the most critical.} (44. Nfe5 Nf4 45. Rf7+ (45. Nd6 $4 Nh5+ $19) 45... Kg8 46. Rg7+ Kf8 $11) (44. Nh4 Nf4 45. Ng6+ Nxg6 46. Nd6 c1=Q 47. Rf7+ Kg8 48. Rg7+ $11) 44... Nf4 (44... c1=Q $4 45. Ne6+ Ke8 46. Re7#) 45. Nh7+ Ke8 46. Rg8+ (46. Kf5 c1=Q 47. Nf6+ Kf8 48. Rg8+ Ke7 49. Rg7+ $11) 46... Kd7 47. Rxb8 Nd5+ $1 {And this is the key move. 47)Nh5+ also works with a similar idea to distract the White king.} (47... c1=Q 48. Nb6+ Kd6 49. Rd8+ Kc7 50. Rc8+ $18) (47... Nh5+ {Is also good.} 48. Ke5 (48. Kf7 c1=Q 49. Nb6+ Kd6 50. Rd8+ Ke5 $1) 48... c1=Q 49. Nb6+ Ke7 $11) 48. Ke5 (48. Kf7 c1=Q) 48... c1=Q 49. Kxd5 Qh1+ 50. Kc5 Kc7 51. Rb6 Qh5+ 52. Kd4 Qxh7 53. Rxa6 Qh4+ $11 {However, this variation is a little bit complicated and it's very easy to miscalculate a minor detail in a line like this, which can end up being very costly.}) 43. Nxg1 (43. Ng5 $5 {is the computer's choice, but after further investigation I came to the conclusion that it's probably just a positional draw, and most likely both players saw that as well.} Rxg5 44. Ne3 ( 44. Nd6 c1=Q 45. Rxc1 Nxc1 46. Kxg5 Nd3 {Is more or less the same thing.}) 44... c1=Q 45. Rxc1 Nxc1 46. Kxg5 Nd3 47. Nd1 Kf7 48. f4 Nc5 49. Nc3 a5 50. f5 Kg7 51. f6+ Kf7 52. Kf5 Kg8 $1 (52... Kf8 $2 53. Kg6 Kg8 54. Nd5 Nxa4 55. f7+ Kf8 56. Nf6 $18) 53. Kg6 Kf8 54. f7 Nd7 55. Ne4 Ne5+ 56. Kf6 Nxf7 $11) 43... c1=Q 44. Nxe2 Qh6+ $1 {Probably foreseen by Aronian in advance when he played 42)...Rg1. Now Black will win the knight on e2 by force, which practically makes the game a dead draw.} 45. Ke7 Qh7+ 46. Kd6 Qd3+ 47. Kc5 Qxe2 48. Kb6 Qxf2+ 49. Kxa6 Kf8 50. a5 Ke8 51. Nb6 Qf5 52. Rd7 Qc5 {Of course not...} (52... Qxd7 $4 53. Nxd7 Kxd7 54. Kb7 $18) 53. Rh7 Qe5 54. Rd7 Qc5 55. Rd5 Qc6 56. Rh5 Qc3 57. Kb7 Qg7+ 58. Ka6 Kd8 59. Rd5+ Kc7 {A neat move taking advantage of a stalemate idea.} (59... Ke8 {Of course this also draws.}) 60. Rd7+ Kb8 61. Rd8+ Kc7 62. Rc8+ {Magnus is still playing for a win, but at this point the chances of Black making a mistake are quite small.} Kd6 63. Nc4+ Kd7 64. Rc5 Qg1 65. Kb6 Qb1+ 66. Ka7 Qb4 67. Nb6+ Kd6 68. Rh5 Kc6 69. Rh6+ Kb5 {Still not too late to go wrong with...} (69... Kc7 $4 70. Nd5+ $18) 70. Rh5+ Kc6 {A very nice fight between two top players and both excellent warriors in a fighting mood. Sure, it wasn't perfect from a mathematical standpoint, but it was a true battle, and really reflects the idea that chess is after all a sport!} 1/2-1/2

Matthias Bluebaum put up great resistance, but buckled under the pressure of...

...Maxime Vachier-Lagrave determined to win.

After a first round shocking loss, Maxime ‘MVL’ played a nice technical game against the strong young German player, Mathias Bluebaum, who despite his good chances to make a draw went down against MVL’s constant pressure.

Tomorrow, all eyes will be on Hou Yifan against Magnus Carlsen where the world no.1 faces the women world no.1 and leader of the tournament. Will Magnus end Yifan’s fairy tale or will she make even bigger headlines tomorrow?

Pairings and schedule

Round 1 (15.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
0 - 1
Naiditsch, Arkadij
Bluebaum, Matthias
½ - ½
Carlsen, Magnus
Aronian, Levon
½ - ½
Meier, Georg
Hou, Yifan
1 - 0
Caruana, Fabiano
 
Round 2 (16.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Naiditsch, Arkadij
0 - 1
Caruana, Fabiano
Meier, Georg
0 - 1
Hou, Yifan
Carlsen, Magnus
½ - ½
Aronian, Levon
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
1 - 0
Bluebaum, Matthias
 
Round 3 (17.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Bluebaum, Matthias   Naiditsch, Arkadij
Aronian, Levon   Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Hou, Yifan   Carlsen, Magnus
Caruana, Fabiano   Meier, Georg
 
Round 4 (19.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Naiditsch, Arkadij   Meier, Georg
Carlsen, Magnus   Caruana, Fabiano
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime   Hou, Yifan
Bluebaum, Matthias   Aronian, Levon
 
Round 5 (20.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Aronian, Levon   Naiditsch, Arkadij
Hou, Yifan   Bluebaum, Matthias
Caruana, Fabiano   Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Meier, Georg   Carlsen, Magnus
 
Round 6 (21.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Naiditsch, Arkadij   Carlsen, Magnus
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime   Meier, Georg
Bluebaum, Matthias   Caruana, Fabiano
Aronian, Levon   Hou, Yifan
 
Round 7 (22.04.2017 / 15:00)
Player
Res.
Player
Hou, Yifan   Naiditsch, Arkadij
Caruana, Fabiano   Aronian, Levon
Meier, Georg   Bluebaum, Matthias
Carlsen, Magnus   Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime

Links

You can use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.


Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess. is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching.
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Kokoschka Kokoschka 4/17/2017 10:20
There's a hen in the rooster coop!
Denix Denix 4/17/2017 12:12
... and finished the game in style of Wesley So - Nxf2! the Wesley So sac.
benedictralph benedictralph 4/17/2017 12:38
If she can even draw against Carlsen in the next round, that will be quite the achievement. I hope she has the sense to play for a draw rather than a win. I mean seriously. This is Carlsen.
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 4/17/2017 01:06
If Hou beat Carlsen, it would put chess on the front page.
Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 4/17/2017 03:24
Go Hou Go!
docana docana 4/17/2017 03:40
The annotator should've watched the press conference, then he'll find what the players think of instead of wondering...
WildKid WildKid 4/17/2017 03:43
I really don't think much of the notes to the Meier - Hou Yifan game at all. They are minimal and almost useless. A shame that Ms Hou has played two such dramatic games that are so poorly annotated. Danial King, where are you when we need you?
Tartakower777 Tartakower777 4/17/2017 08:32
In the game Meier-Hou Yfan I saw the following line after 25.Nxd4, cxd4, 26. QxR? Wasn't it winning?
diegoami diegoami 4/18/2017 12:30
According to the engine that you can start in the diagram, after 26...Lxg2 27.Dxe8+ Dxe8 28.Kxg2 Black has still the advantage
Masquer Masquer 4/18/2017 01:35
@WildKid, hate to say it, but that Meier vs Hou Yifan game was actually "annofritzed", so no wonder the commentary left something to be desired...
idlivadai idlivadai 4/18/2017 07:15
carlsen with spectacles... oops
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