Sinquefield Rd2: Thrills and drama in all games

by Albert Silver
8/7/2016 – After the excitement of round one, round two, if anything, it was even more thrilling with every game having a story to tell. Topalov seemed poised to play a masterpiece after a beautiful attack on Caruana, but somehow botched it and let Fabiano escape, while Anand came back from a bad position to outplay MVL and score his first win. The last game to finish was Nakamura's superb win over Giri, and that was not all that happened. Here is the detailed report with analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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2016 Sinquefield Cup

The 2016 Sinquefield Cup is an elite international event, featuring 10 of the strongest chess players in the world. Over the course of nine rounds, these competitors will battle for $300,000 in prize money (first: $75,000, second: $50,000, third: $40,000, last: $15,000) plus points toward the Grand Chess Tour and the coveted title of 2016 Sinquefield Cup Champion.

The venue is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center at 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108. Tickets cost $10 per round or $80 for all ten rounds. Full information available at the official web site.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators worldwide are expected to enjoy the all-star commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade as they provide keen insights and analysis, in depth player interviews and witty discussions. Commentary is also available on the CCSCSL YouTube Channel, Livestream and Twitch.

Round Two - Saturday, August 6, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Fabiano Caruana
2807
½-½
Veselin Topalov
2761
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
1-0
Anish Giri
2769
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Wesley So
2771
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
0-1
Viswanathan Anand
2770

All photos by Lennart Ootes from official site

After seeing an excellent movie that you know will have a sequel, the first concern is whether the sequel can live up to the original. It can certainly happen of course, but overall the statistics are not in favor, and more often than not we find ourselves trying to rationalize why it really was ‘pretty good’. Sticking with the analogy, if round one was that excellent first movie, then one can confidently say that round two was a tremendous sequel that improved on round one in many ways.

Alejandro Ramirez and Robert Hess are on lcoation providing live commentary to the audience visiting

In round two there were more wins, more drama, and not a single dull draw. In fact, the draws that happened had seemed destined to a decisive result, while two games saw very unexpected wins.

The first game to end, and the one that had seemed headed towards a win, was Ding Liren against Wesley So. Wesley found himself in trouble fairly early on against Ding Liren, who was nursing a nice advantage, when suddenly he played a tactic winning a pawn…. Or so he thought.

Ding Liren - Wesley So

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.06"] [Round "2"] [White "Ding, Liren"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2755"] [BlackElo "2771"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. d4 {(3s)} Nf6 {(7s)} 2. c4 {(4s)} e6 {(5s)} 3. Nf3 {(4s)} d5 {(3s)} 4. Nc3 { (4s)} Nbd7 {(5s)} 5. Bg5 {(134s)} h6 {(6s)} 6. Bh4 {(3s)} Be7 {(7s)} 7. e3 { (4s)} O-O {(5s)} 8. Be2 {(2s)} dxc4 {(560s)} 9. Bxc4 {(57s)} c5 {(9s)} 10. O-O {(5s)} cxd4 {(34s)} 11. Nxd4 {(37s)} Nb6 {(398s)} 12. Bb3 {(1134s)} Nbd5 { ( 162s)} 13. Nxd5 {(263s)} Nxd5 {(4s)} 14. Bg3 {(3s)} Bf6 {(225s)} 15. Rc1 { (1459s)} Nb6 {(2446s)} 16. Qe2 {(1529s)} Bd7 {(366s)} 17. Nb5 {(5s)} a6 {(912s) } 18. Nd6 {(395s)} Bc6 {[#] (18s)} 19. Nxb7 $2 {(72s) Overdoing it and undercalculating.} Bxb7 {(18s)} 20. Bc7 {(4s)} Qe7 {(158s)} 21. Bxb6 {[#] (9s)} Bxg2 $1 {(4s) This fairly easy move to see was missed by the Chinese player and now leads him to some trouble.} 22. Kxg2 {(264s) Ding Liren spent nearly 5 minutes staring at his position in disbelief} Qb7+ {( 5s)} 23. Qf3 {(14s)} Qxb6 {(5s)} 24. Rc6 {(2s)} Qb7 {(163s)} 25. Rc2 {(116s)} Qxf3+ {(5s)} 26. Kxf3 {(3s) } Rfc8 {(8s)} 27. Rfc1 {(4s)} Rxc2 {(6s)} 28. Rxc2 {(3s)} Rb8 {(7s)} 29. Rc6 { (50s)} a5 {(62s)} 30. Rc5 {(23s)} Ra8 {(5s)} 31. Rb5 {(36s)} Ra7 {(470s)} 32. Bc2 {(193s)} Kf8 33. a4 {(5s)} Ke7 {( 27s)} 34. b4 {(6s)} Bc3 {(31s)} 35. bxa5 {(27s)} Rxa5 1/2-1/2

Wesley So, with good reason to smile

Ding Liren’s tactical ability is not to be underestimated, but here he got impatient to take it home and was lax in his thoroughness. As a result, Wesley So left the battlefield without a scratch, albeit after a small scare.

If So got off easy, then Fabiano Caruana has to consider he really dodged a bullet. Veselin Topalov was quite simply crushing him and had played a masterful attack with tactical finesses. Unfortunately, as soon as he reached the winning line, he seemed distracted, and began to miss moves badly, allowing Caruana to escape with fortress ideas.

Fabiano Caruana - Veselin Topalov

Topalov had to be wondering how things got so out of hand after what promised to be a day of victory

Maxime Vachier Lagrave had been enjoying one of the great runs in elite chess, and had been undefeated in 67 games… until today. He came out of the opening against Vishy Anand with a  nice edge, and even seemed likely to win, but the former world champion is not without a large set of tools.

Anand faced an MVL who had gone 67 moves without losing. His 2819 rating was a direct result.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - Vishy Anand (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

A fantastic win for Anand, who has a great start

Maxime knew the run had to end one day, and just wished it did not have to be today

With this win Anand moves into a tie for first after two rounds. Naturally it is much too early to begin talking about leaders in any serious way.

If MVL had been on a run to end all runs, Svidler is having trouble getting out of a pit that seems to get deeper every time he looks. Naturally, his opponent Levon Aronian is one of the all-time greats, but Svidler is no slouch and the endgame seemed a relatively simple thing to draw. Instead, with all the pieces off the board except one pair, the Russian seemed to forget some of the most basic fundamentals, and declined to develop and centralize his king! This cost him very soon, and decisively so.

Levon Aronian was quite perplexed by Svidler's decision to leave his king in the corner

Levon Aronian - Peter Svidler

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.06"] [Round "2"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "2792"] [BlackElo "2751"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. d4 {(14s)} d5 {(7s)} 2. c4 {(21s)} c6 {(2s)} 3. Nc3 {(11s)} Nf6 {(6s)} 4. e3 {(11s)} a6 {(8s)} 5. Nf3 {(39s)} b5 {(6s)} 6. b3 {(41s)} Bg4 {(5s)} 7. Qd2 { (50s)} Nbd7 {(2165s)} 8. Ne5 {(14s)} Nxe5 {( 133s)} 9. dxe5 {(6s)} Nd7 {(3s)} 10. cxd5 {(1510s)} cxd5 {(27s)} 11. Qxd5 {(689s)} e6 {(38s)} 12. Qd4 {(26s)} h5 {(45s)} 13. Bd2 {(936s)} Qb8 {(1428s)} 14. Ne4 {(1023s)} Qxe5 {(186s)} 15. a4 { (307 s)} Bf5 {(180s)} 16. Ng3 {(96s)} Bc2 {(205s)} 17. axb5 {(765s)} h4 {(48s)} 18. Ne2 {(665s)} Qxb5 {( 173s)} 19. Qc3 {(104s)} Bh7 {(259s)} 20. Nd4 {(83s)} Qb7 {(20s)} 21. h3 {(211s)} Be7 {(783s)} 22. Be2 {(28s)} O-O {(558s)} 23. Bf3 { (11s)} Be4 {(6s)} 24. Bxe4 {(83s)} Qxe4 {(4s)} 25. Qc6 {(51s)} Nc5 {(173s)} 26. Qxe4 {(7s)} Nxe4 {(4s)} 27. Nc6 {(8s)} Bc5 {(160s)} 28. Ra4 {(146s)} Nxd2 { (43s)} 29. Kxd2 {(5s)} Rfc8 {(2s)} 30. Na5 {(65s)} Be7 {(120s)} 31. Rc1 {(47s)} Rxc1 {(145s)} 32. Kxc1 {(3s)} Rc8+ {(12s)} 33. Rc4 {(55s)} Rxc4+ {(28s)} 34. Nxc4 {(4s)} g5 {(134s)} 35. Kd2 {[#] (9s)} f5 $2 {(38s) It is rather extraordinary to see a player of Svidler's calibre completely spurn developing his king and bringing it to play.} 36. Ne5 {(23s)} Bd6 {(20s)} 37. Nf3 {(7s)} Be7 {(0s)} 38. Ne5 {(4s)} Bd6 {(1s)} 39. Nf3 {(3s)} Be7 {(2s)} 40. Kd3 {(0s)} Kg7 {(0s)} 41. Ne5 {(135s)} Bb4 $2 {[#] (422s) And now White gets to play Kc4 with a free tempo.} 42. Kc4 {(189s)} a5 {(513s)} 43. Kb5 {(373 s)} Kf6 {(241s)} 44. Nc4 {(180s)} Be1 {(138s)} 45. f3 {(10s)} g4 {(32s)} 46. Nxa5 { (100s)} gxh3 {(23 s)} 47. gxh3 {(4s)} Ke5 {(4s)} 48. Nc4+ {(551s)} Kd5 {(4s)} 49. Nb6+ {(10s)} Kd6 {(33s)} 50. Kc4 {( 23s)} Kc6 {(128s)} 51. Na4 {(64s)} Bf2 {(5s)} 52. e4 {(119s)} fxe4 {(16s)} 53. fxe4 {(4s)} Kd6 {(3s)} 54. Nb2 {(5s)} 1-0

The final game of the day, and the longest by far, was the battle between Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri. After playing quite poorly, and losing to an opponent he bests more often than not, Nakamura had pronounced fighting words in the post-game interview, but with great optimism, a sign he was ready to do battle. He pointed out that even Magnus had had terrible starts and bounced back to win the event he was playing, so there was no reason to overreact.

It was a very tense and thrilling battle between Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura

Anish Giri - Hikaru Nakamura (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

His positive thinking paid off and in spite of some rocky moments, Nakamura emerged victorious and is back in the mix.

The tournament is clearly on the way to provide intense excitement, so be sure to follow it!

Replay games of round two

Select games from the games list below the board

Standings after two rounds

The games are being broadcast live on Playchess, with expert analysis.

Schedule

Day Date Time Event
Playchess commentary
German
Saturday Aug. 6 1 p.m. Round 2
Oliver Reeh/Georgios Souleidis
Klaus Bischoff
Sunday Aug. 7 1 p.m. Round 3
Chris Ward
Christian Bauer
Monday Aug. 8 1 p.m. Round 4
Simon Williams
Klaus Bischoff
Tuesday Aug. 9 1 p.m. Round 5
Simon Williams
Klaus Bischoff
Wednesday Aug. 10 Rest Day
Thursday Aug. 11 1 p.m. Round 6
Chris Ward
Thomas Luther
Friday Aug. 12 1 p.m. Round 7
Yannick Pelletier
Thomas Luther
Saturday Aug. 13 1 p.m. Round 8
Simon Williams
Yannick Pelletier
Sunday Aug. 14 1 p.m. Round 9
Yannick Pelletier
Klaus Bischoff
Monday Aug. 15 1 p.m. Playoffs
 
 

Pairings

Round One - Friday, August 5, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Wesley So
2771
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Round Two - Saturday, August 6, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Fabiano Caruana
2807
½-½
Veselin Topalov
2761
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
1-0
Anish Giri
2769
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Wesley So
2771
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
0-1
Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Three - Monday, August 7, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Wesley So
2771
  Levon Aronian
2784
Anish Giri
2769
  Ding Liren
2755
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Veselin Topalov
2761
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Peter Svidler
2751
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
Round Four - Tuesday, August 8, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Peter Svidler
2751
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Ding Liren
2755
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Wesley So
2771
  Anish Giri
2769
Round Five - Wednesday, August 9, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anish Giri
2769
  Levon Aronian
2784
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Wesley So
2771
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Ding Liren
2755
Peter Svidler
2751
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Round Six - Friday, August 11, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian 2771   M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Hikaru Nakamura 2731   Fabiano Caruana
2807
Ding Liren 2793   Peter Svidler
2751
Wesley So 2779   Veselin Topalov
2761
Anish Giri 2765   Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Seven - Saturday, August 12, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Levon Aronian
2784
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Anish Giri
2769
Peter Svidler
2751
  Wesley So
2771
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Ding Liren
2755
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Round Eight - Sunday, August, 13, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Ding Liren
2755
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Wesley So
2771
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
Anish Giri
2769
  Peter Svidler
2751
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Round Nine - Monday, August 14, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Levon Aronian
2784
Peter Svidler
2751
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Anish Giri
2769
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Wesley So
2771
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
  Ding Liren
2755

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the 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 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
 


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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praddy06 praddy06 8/8/2016 10:42
Unbeaten Streak in Chess without defeat in classical games
===========================

Mikhail Tal in 1973-74 - 93 games
Mikhail Tal in 1972-73 - 86 games
Milan Drasko in 2006-2007 - 84 games
Vladimir Kramnik in 1999-2000 - 82 games
Wang Yue in 2008 - 82 games
Vachier Lagrave in 2015-2016 - 67 games
joeyj joeyj 8/7/2016 05:36
MVL Unbeaten Run
Win Draw
27 + 40 = 67
GregEs GregEs 8/7/2016 05:33
Superb quality photos of players in action. Good GM analysis on the games. Thanks for the thorough and balanced report of Rd2 Sinquefield tournament.
and a happy new year and a happy new year 8/7/2016 04:14
Joeyi, thanks for the info. Do you happen to know how many games did MVL win and draw during his unbeaten run?
joeyj joeyj 8/7/2016 09:49
With MVL last loss to Giri in R2 @ 2015 World Cup as reference, counting from R1 @ 31st European Chess Club Cup til R1 @ Sinquefield 2016 it's only 67 streak of no losses.

Ref: https://ratings.fide.com/hist.phtml?event=623539
anaguasoft anaguasoft 8/7/2016 09:07
Proofreading the game comments is a must!
anaguasoft anaguasoft 8/7/2016 09:06
That will eventually allow Caruana to build a fortress not Giri!
Camembert Camembert 8/7/2016 08:43
Congratulation Vishy ! You crushed the "Book-Man" !
1