Sinquefield 03: Exciting draws

9/12/2013 – Hikaru Nakamura came out for blood using the King's Indian and playing incredibly active moves to obtain a strong initiative against Magnus Carlsen. Despite using the black pieces he was able to obtain an advantage, and when the Norwegian felt threatened he went for a safe option and drew. Kamsky-Aronian was also an exciting draw with plenty of opportunities. Analysis and report.

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The Sinquefield Cup is taking place from September 9th to September 15th at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The tournament brings together the top two players in the world as well as the top two Americans in a double round robin. The time control is the standard FIDE 90 minutes for 40 moves plus thirty minutes at move 40 with 30 second increment throughout. Sofia rules apply, which means none of the games can be drawn before move 30 - with certain exceptions.

Round three

The main attraction of today's game was certain the one between the leaders. Magnus Carlsen was white against Hikaru Nakamura, with the Norwegian trailing by half a point. Carlsen's score against Nakamura is exceptionally good and the American wanted to get rid of this ghost that is currently haunting him. USA's #1 player went for fighting chess with a King's Indian that soon turned into his type of position: unbalanced and tactical. Soon Carlsen was forced into the defensive, but he was able to obtain a holdable position that he considered didn't hold much danger and survived.

Nakamura came in sporting an interesting look: sunglasses. When asked why he chose to wear this indoors he simply said he wanted to do something different, trying to have fun in chess where everything sometimes is taken so seriously. He didn't believe the glasses gave him any kind of psychological edge, he simply attributed his good position to making good moves.

When asked about the game Carlsen gave a small laugh. "It was messy, to say the least" was his remark. The Norwegian felt that it was a complicated game in which he didn't have a full grasp of what was going on. He was surprised at Nakamura using sunglasses since he recalled that his opponent had mentioned that all he needed was to play good moves and not do anything special.

The Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club and the organizer of the event, Tony Rich, had the honor of making the opening move in Carlsen-Nakamura. He shook Nakamura's hand while Carlsen pondered on his opponent's intentions.

Carlsen came in with his usual weapon: a bottle full of orange juice

"No hypnotism, better chess" tweeted Nakamura

GM Daniel King provides video analysis of Carlsen vs Nakamura

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2013.09.11"] [Round "3"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E62"] [WhiteElo "2862"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 {Nakamura comes to the game in fighting spirits. This slugfest was expected, and the American's step-father, FM Sunil Weeramantry, had predicted that this would be a game full of fighting chess.} 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. O-O Rb8 8. Bf4 {In a very common position Carlsen decides to play in a slightly unusual way. h3 and b3 are by more common ideas, but this move coupled with Rc1 has been seen more and more in the recent past. The Bf4, like in the game that Carlsen played yesterday with black, has the problem that it might be bothered by the e5 break.} a6 9. Rc1 h6 $5 {This move allows Black to sometimes play g5 if the time is right.} 10. b3 (10. Qd3 Ng4 $5 11. Bd2 e5 {was the game between Vachier-Lagrave and Ding Liren from 2012 which ended in a draw.}) (10. h3 {is also interesting, to avoid g4 after g5.}) 10... g5 $1 {Of course, Nakamura wouldn't back down from such an opportunity. White is forced to go for the line that was played in the game} 11. d5 (11. Bd2 g4 12. Nh4 Nxd4 {does not give White enough compensation for the pawn.}) 11... gxf4 12. dxc6 fxg3 13. hxg3 {Black cannot win a pawn here after...} b5 (13... bxc6 $6 14. Nd4 Bd7 (14... c5 $2 15. Nc6 {and Black loses}) 15. Nxc6 Bxc6 16. Bxc6 {is certainly more pleasant for White.}) 14. cxb5 axb5 15. b4 {White fixes the weakness on b5, but at the same time his pawn on b4 is somewhat lose. He has to worry about Black's pair of bishops and the potential pawns on the center rolling down. On the other hand he has pressure on b5 and a majority on the queenside that might be problematic for Black.} d5 16. Qd3 Qd6 17. Nd4 Qxb4 18. a4 {Both players are happy with this exchange. b4 is lost, and the bishops gain a little more scope in the open game, but for the other hand White will obtain a passed pawn on the a-file} Ne4 $5 {Nakamura spent 17 minutes in this move, a difficult position not only because of the many variations, but because none of them are necessarily clearly evaluated.} (18... bxa4 19. Rb1 Ba6 $1 20. Rxb4 Bxd3 21. Rxb8 Rxb8 22. exd3 {leaves Black down a piece, and although he has a powerful passed pawn on the a-file and a strong bishop supporting it from g7, it seems unlikely that there is quite enough}) 19. Ndxb5 $5 (19. Nxd5 Nxf2 $1 (19... Qxd4 20. Qxd4 $1 Bxd4 21. Bxe4 {gives chances to retain the advantage with pressure on e7 and c7.}) 20. Rxf2 Qxd4 21. Qxd4 Bxd4 {is nearly equal.}) 19... Nxc3 20. Nxc3 Bxc3 21. Rxc3 (21. Qxc3 Qxc3 22. Rxc3 e6 {gives Black some chances to win as White's a-pawn is weaker than it is dangerous.}) 21... Bf5 22. Qxd5 Qxc3 23. Qxf5 {A strange position. Neither side will be able to make much progress as Black has more material but his king is permanently weak and the white bishop will hold down the position comfortably.} Rfd8 24. Bf3 Ra8 25. Qe4 Qf6 26. Qb4 Ra7 27. Kg2 Rda8 28. Qg4+ Kf8 29. Qd7 e6 30. Rd1 Qe5 31. Rh1 Kg7 32. Rb1 Rxa4 33. Rb7 {Black has managed to round up the a pawn but now has to deal with the weakness on c7. He in reality has made no progress.} R4a7 34. Qe7 Rxb7 {The only way to continue, but allowing a pawn that is protected on b7 is sad.} 35. cxb7 {White on the other hand can also make no progress as b8 will be permanently defended.} Rb8 36. Qd7 c5 37. Qc6 Kf6 38. Kh2 Ke7 39. Kg2 f5 40. Qc8 Qd6 41. e3 Kf6 1/2-1/2

The Kamsky-Aronian game was very interesting. It started off as a very passive game, with White playing a strange early c3 and Black responding with a mirror opening. However it quickly came to light that both players were looking for a fight! Aronian launched all his kingside pawns forward and obtained a dangerous attack, but in time pressure he was unable to really make use of it and the game fizzled down to a draw.

Kamsky thinks about his third move...

and it's the surprising c3!

Levon is taken aback, but responds in a very solid way

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2013.09.11"] [Round "3"] [White "Kamsky, Gata"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2741"] [BlackElo "2813"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c3 {A bizarre way of starting the game. This move promises White no advantage, and at most he will get a reverse Slav in which he has no problem developing his dark squared bishop. Interestingly Kamsky had already used this in a few ocassions with good success.} c6 {Unambitious but solid. Aronian won't be dragged into playing something risky for no reason and is happy just equalizing with black.} 4. Bf4 Nh5 $5 {Not letting the bishop develop easily.} 5. Be3 $5 {An awkward placement for the bishop, but Kamsky's idea is that it is not as awkward as the knight on h5.} (5. Bxb8 Rxb8) (5. Bg3 g6 6. Nbd2 Bg7 7. e3 Nd7 8. Bh4 h6 9. g4 {was interestingly a game between Zugic-Nakmaura in which the much lower rated player managed to win in Montreal, 2008}) 5... g6 6. g3 Bg7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. Qc1 Nd7 9. Bh6 Re8 10. Bxg7 Kxg7 11. O-O e5 {White has gotten rid of his awkward bishop, but Black has broken thorough in the center. Chances are about even.} 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Rxe5 14. e3 Nf6 15. Nd2 a5 {a baffling move. In Kamsky's spirit, it is now Aronian that plays a strange rook pawn move!} (15... Bg4 16. h3 (16. c4 $2 d4 {is the point. Black is better as White doesn't have Nf3 in this position.}) 16... Be2 17. Re1 Bd3 {was interesting.}) 16. c4 Re8 17. cxd5 Nxd5 18. a3 Kg8 19. Re1 Nf6 20. Qc3 Be6 {Neither side has played with any strong ambition, but somehow White's position seems to be becoming slightly better move by move. The eventual power of the bishop on g2 should not be underestimated, especially if coupled with a knight that could come to c5.} 21. e4 Nd7 22. Rac1 f6 23. Nf3 a4 24. Nd4 Bf7 25. Red1 Qe7 26. h4 $5 {Switching gears a little. Now that Black has dedicated all his defensive resources to preventing any queenside intiative, Kamsky decides to open play in both sides. This decision might have been aided by the fact that Kamsky was now significantly up on the clock.} Ne5 27. h5 Nc4 28. Bf1 Nd6 29. hxg6 hxg6 30. f3 Qe5 31. Kf2 Rad8 32. Qb4 f5 $1 {Aronian wastes no time! Kamsky hasn't achieved much in his last moves and he sees it is the time to strike.} 33. exf5 gxf5 (33... Qe3+ 34. Kg2 Nxf5 35. Nxf5 gxf5 {seemed slightly more accurate as now White must somehow defend his position.}) 34. Qd2 {Although the knight on d4 can be dislodged, it proves to be a powerful defensive piece on e2.} Qg7 35. Qc3 Qh6 36. Qd2 Qg7 37. Qc3 Bd5 {Aronian refuses a three-fold repetition since he senses he is better.} 38. Ne2 Bb3 39. Qxg7+ Kxg7 40. Rd4 Kf6 {With time pressure over, Kamsky is still slightly worse, but it is a negligible edge that black possesses.} 41. Rc5 Nb5 42. Rxd8 Rxd8 43. Ke3 {Black could try to play a knight to d5 and maybe push his queenside pawns, but with correct play White should hold without too many problems.} 1/2-1/2

Kamsky was certainly in a good mood before the game

Maurice Ashley is providing live commentary at the official website along with Yasser Seirawan, Jennifer Shahade and his assistants Houdini and Fritz!

Photos by Alejandro Ramirez and Sabrina Chevannes

Standings

Schedule

Round 01 – September 09 2013, 13:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
1-0
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
1-0
Aronian, Levon 2813
Round 02 – September 10 2013, 13:00h
Aronian, Levon 2813
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
1-0
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Round 03 – September 11 2013, 13:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
Kamsky, Gata 2741
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2813
Round 04 – September 13 2013, 13:00h
Kamsky, Gata 2741
-
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
Aronian, Levon 2813
-
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
Round 05 – September 14 2013, 13:00h
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
-
Magnus, Carlsen 2862
Aronian, Levon 2813
-
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Round 06 – September 15 2013, 11:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
-
Aronian, Levon 2813
Kamsky, Gata 2741
-
Nakamura, Hikaru 2780

The games start at 20:00h European time, 22:00h Moscow, 2 p.m. New York. You can find your regional starting time here. The commentary on Playchess begins one hour after the start of the games and is free for premium members.

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics Sinquefield
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