Sinquefield Rd6: So leads after action-packed round

8/12/2016 – After the dearth of decisive games in rounds with plenty of action but not results, round six saw three wins that could easily have been four. Aronian missed a trick early in his game and could not save versus MVL, while Ding Liren got a decisive advantage early on in a King's Indian against Svidler. The game of the day was Wesley So’s win over leader Veselin Topalov, allowing him to take over the sole lead with 4.0/6. Here is the round six report with annotations 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.

Participants

No.
Player
Rating
W-Rnk
Age
Country
1
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
2819
2
25
France
2
Fabiano Caruana
2807
4
24
USA
3
Levon Aronian
2784
5
31
Armenia
4
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
6
28
USA
5
Wesley So
2771
7
22
USA
6
Viswanathan Anand
2770
8
47
India
7
Anish Giri
2769
9
22
Holland
8
Veselin Topalov
2761
12
41
Bulgaria
9
Ding Liren
2755
13
23
China
10
Peter Svidler
2751
18
40
Russia

Rounds start at 1 p.m. local time (CDT), which is UTC-5, 20:00h Europe, 23:30 India.
Check the start time at your location here.

Round Six - Thursday, August 11, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian 2771
0-1
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Hikaru Nakamura 2731
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Ding Liren 2793
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Wesley So 2779
1-0
Veselin Topalov
2761
Anish Giri 2765
½-½
Viswanathan Anand
2770

Round six

All photos by Lennart Ootes from official site

Vishy Anand came dangerously close to losing against Anish Giri, and it was only a blunder at move 40 that saved the Indian from certain defeat. The opening went fine for both players, in a fighting Semi-Tarrasch. The turning point came after 25…Rc4? due to a serious miscalculation. Anand realized it very soon and admitted he was shaken when he did. As much as he tried to recover his equanimity and position, Giri pressed his advantage well, albeit at a serious cost to his time. This ended up being crucial as a near certain win was thrown out the window on move 40 when he blundered with just four seconds left on the clock. After that it was accept the draw or be worse.

Anish Giri lost in thought, which would eventually cost him

Anish Giri - Vishy Anand

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.11"] [Round "6"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A14"] [WhiteElo "2769"] [BlackElo "2770"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. c4 {(2s)} c5 {(11s)} 2. Nf3 {(71s)} Nf6 {(13s)} 3. Nc3 {(137s)} Nc6 {(15s)} 4. g3 {(3s)} d5 {(15s)} 5. cxd5 {(16s)} Nxd5 {(8s)} 6. Bg2 {(2s)} e6 {(16s)} 7. O-O {(7s)} Be7 {(5s)} 8. d4 {(3s)} O-O {(10s)} 9. e4 {(2s)} Ndb4 {(71s)} 10. dxc5 {(8s)} Bxc5 {(30s)} 11. e5 {(3s)} Bb6 {(99s)} 12. a3 {(13s)} Nd5 {(133s)} 13. Qe2 {(164s)} Bd7 {(834s)} 14. Rd1 {(661s)} Nxc3 {(593s)} 15. bxc3 {(12s)} Qc7 {(56s)} 16. a4 {(1450s)} Ne7 {(707s)} 17. Ng5 {(898s)} Bc6 {(909s)} 18. Ba3 {(257s)} Bxg2 {(185s)} 19. Kxg2 {(76s)} Bc5 {(104s)} 20. Qe4 {(727s)} Ng6 { (189s)} 21. Bxc5 {(49s)} Qxc5 {(19s)} 22. Nf3 {(12 s)} b6 {(189s)} 23. Rd7 { (179s)} Qxc3 {(382s)} 24. Rad1 {(36s)} Rac8 {(190s)} 25. Rxa7 {[#] (156s)} Rc4 $2 {(524s)} 26. Qb7 {(98s)} Rcc8 {(493s)} ({Upon playing ...Rc4, Anand had planned on} 26... Nxe5 27. Nxe5 (27. Ra8 $1 {was the move Anand missed in his earlier analysis, but thankfully for his sanity, he caught his mistake in time, and avoided an immediate defeat.} g5 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Qb8+ {with a double attack on the king and the knight.} Kg7 30. Nxe5 {and it would be game over.}) 27... Qxe5 28. Rd7 {and he would actually be fine.}) 27. Re1 {(836s)} Rb8 { (309s)} 28. Qe4 {(54s)} Qc5 {(163s)} 29. Rb1 {(58s)} b5 {(499s)} 30. Ra5 {(31s) } Qc4 {(5s)} 31. Qxc4 {(209s)} bxc4 {(5s)} 32. Rxb8 {(27 s)} Rxb8 {(6s)} 33. Rc5 {(5s)} Rb4 {(5s)} 34. a5 {(20s)} Ra4 {(28s)} 35. Nd2 {(405s)} c3 {(23s)} 36. Rc8+ {(14s)} Nf8 {(10s)} 37. Nb3 {(26s)} g5 {(123s)} 38. Rxc3 {(423s)} Ra3 {(50s)} 39. Kf3 {(46s)} Ng6 {[#] (10s) That White stands better here, is unquestionable. This doesn't mean it the win is just a matter of technique, but that the burden of holding is very much on Black's shoulders.} 40. Rc8+ $2 {(0s) After this though, there is nothing for White anymore.} Kg7 {(0s)} 41. Rc3 {(163s)} 1/2-1/2

Levon Aronian tried inventive chess, but soon lost confidence in his concept

Levon Aronian succumbed to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a Symmetrical English after he sacrificed a pan for active play, but was unable to keep his initiative alive. After 11…c4 he said he was already no longer happy with his position and he reacted badly, which did nothing to recover the position’s equilibrium.

Maxime moves back to 50% after his win over Aronian

After round five, Fabiano Caruana had mentioned trying to play the Benoni with black for the previous six months, but somehow not getting the collaboration by his opponents, who knew nothing about this wish. In round six, Caruana got his desire, as Hikaru Nakamura went straight into it, playing the most principled line per Fabiano’s words. In spite of a decent opening he never really got anywhere with it, and they eventually ended up in a queen and a-pawn ending against rooks reminiscent of game one in Leko-Kramnik 2004, which they drew. (Ed: I take no credit for this reference. Caruana casually mentioned it in the post-game interview)

Peter Leko - Vladimir Kramnik (WCh 2004)

Position after 37. Qxc3

Hikaru Nakamura - Fabiano Caruana

Position after 44...Qb3

Nakamura was happy to oblige, and gave Caruana his much desired Benoni, which they eventually drew

Ding Liren defeated Peter Svidler in their game, showing how hard it is, even for a player of Svidler’s caliber, to arrive in an elite event with little preparation.

Ding Liren had to be delighted to finally score his first win

Ding Liren - Peter Svidler (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Veselin Topalov was unable to cope with all the questions Wesley So posed at the board

Finally, the game of the day in terms of sporting importance was Wesley So’s victory over Veselin Topalov. GM Elshan Moradiabadi analyzes it in detail and explains how So gave Topalov a taste of his own medicine: forcing your opponent to constantly have to make difficult decisions until they finally go astray.

Wesley So - Veselin Topalov (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Wesley So is all smiles as he is interviewed by Maurice Ashley after his win

Wesley So’s win places him in sole first with 4.0/6, followed closely by Anand and Topalov with 3.5/6. Needless to say it is still wide open and the last rounds promise to be thrilling.

About GM Elshan Moradiabadi

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.

Elshan co-authored "Chess and the Art of War: Ancient Wisdom to Make You a Better Player" with Al Lawrence. He has also published written articles for ChessBase, and edited opening materials for fellow authors.

Elshan Moradiabadi 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 at his email.

You can contact him at his email or follow him on Twitter.

Replay games of round six

Select games from the games list below the board

Standings after six rounds

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

Schedule

Day Date Time Event
Playchess commentary
German
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 - Sunday, August 7, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Wesley So
2771
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
Ding Liren
2755
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Veselin Topalov
2761
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Peter Svidler
2751
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Round Four - Monday, August 8, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
½-½
Peter Svidler
2751
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
½-½
Veselin Topalov
2761
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Viswanathan Anand
2770
Wesley So
2771
½-½
Anish Giri
2769
Round Five - Tuesday, August 9, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Wesley So
2771
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Ding Liren
2755
Peter Svidler
2751
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Fabiano Caruana
2807
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Round Six - Thursday, August 11, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian 2771
0-1
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Hikaru Nakamura 2731
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Ding Liren 2793
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Wesley So 2779
1-0
Veselin Topalov
2761
Anish Giri 2765
½-½
Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Seven - Friday, 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 - Saturday, 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 - Sunday, 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

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genem genem 8/12/2016 06:50
Cool to see the time spent per move, in the ChessBase game replayer.
Topalov's first iffy '?!' move was made after a relatively long think.
johnmk johnmk 8/12/2016 05:23
This is not to take anything away from So, but his win depended on a pretty glaring misjudgment by Topalov when he neglected to recapture with 32 ...Qxc5. After that it was a question of technique. Topalov is a great enterprising player but sometimes too enterprising.
vincero vincero 8/12/2016 04:37
svidler must be very down......topa proving my earlier point....anand still the second best chess player in the world.....very good round ..
kedar mhaswade kedar mhaswade 8/12/2016 04:00
@Fredric, So? :) Shouldn't the program learn that So can be a proper noun?
Sampru Sampru 8/12/2016 03:47
Kramnik won the given Leko-Kramnik game. Kramnik gave a clinic on how to play two rooks against queen. There was also Gurgenidze-Averbakh, Baku 1961 with a similar configuration and the rooks won there too.
stephen brady stephen brady 8/12/2016 02:28
the author says Giri blunders on move 40, but then doesn't show the analysis of what move or idea he should be playing? doesn't really seem that clear cut to me. Yes, white has an advantage, but there's not immediate way to get that a pawn rolling down the board. I guess white plan is to transfer the king to that side of the board. when he does, those queen side pawns seem to become week, and black maybe can even give the knight for the a pawn down the road in some lines.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 8/12/2016 01:15
So is on third base?
Frederic Frederic 8/12/2016 10:55
Wesley So is a great talent and a really great person. The only problem: his surname leads to confusion in proofing programs. "So leads after action-packed round" causes grammatical flagging, with suggestions like "So he leads..."
GregEs GregEs 8/12/2016 10:49
As usual, nice report and good analysis by GM. Very nice photos of chess maestros at Sinquefield in action.
eltollo eltollo 8/12/2016 09:44
I would have liked to see explained what Giri should have played on move 40, and why.
yesenadam yesenadam 8/12/2016 04:43
GO SO!
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