São Paulo Rd5 – Caruana keeps lead after brush with disaster

9/30/2012 – Another beautiful day, and high drama in spite of the draws. While Carlsen and Anand fought a tough game with no decision, and Vallejo-Pons split the point with Karjakin, the eyes were on the game between Aronian and Caruana. The Armenian soon achieved a winning advantage, and an upset seemed in order, but somehow Caruana escaped disaster and held. Illustrated report by Albert Silver.

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São Paulo / Bilbao Grand Slam Final

Round 5: Saturday, September 29, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana

Round five

Report and pictures by Albert Silver


Before the start of the round, GM Alexander Fier gave a simul


It was a beautiful day once more and the park was quite full on the Saturday afternoon

It was another beautiful day, and another dramatic round. But for a miracle, the leaderboard might have suffered some severe changes. The first game to end was between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, though not after a good fight.


Both Carlsen and Anand put up a good fight

Anand had white and after a number of draws, was no doubt hoping to at least fight for the advantage, but an upsetting early positional mistake dismissed this option, and instead he found himself fighting an uphill battle to regain control.


The players were thanked by the live commentators Susan Polgar and Gilberto Milos

[Event "5th Final Masters"] [Site "Bilbao ESP"] [Date "2012.09.29"] [Round "5"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E18"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2843"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2012.09.24"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Bf6 9. Qc2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 d6 11. e4 Nd7 12. Rad1 g6 13. h4 Qe7 14. Rfe1 Bg7 15. Qc2 $2 {The world champion was unhappy with ths move, and said that after this positional mistake he spends the rest of the game just struggling.} ({Instead} 15. b3 {was the correct continuation, after which could follow} c5 16. d5 Ne5 17. Nh2 $1 {and White is fine.}) 15... c5 16. b3 cxd4 17. Nxd4 a6 18. Qd2 Rfd8 19. Qe3 Rab8 20. Rd2 Nf6 21. Bf3 Qc7 22. Red1 Nd7 23. Bg2 Rbc8 24. Bh3 Re8 25. Nde2 Bf8 26. h5 Nf6 27. hxg6 hxg6 28. Bg2 Ba8 29. Bf3 Qc5 30. Qxc5 Rxc5 31. Na4 Rc7 32. Nxb6 Bxe4 33. Kg2 Rb8 34. Na4 d5 35. cxd5 Bxf3+ 36. Kxf3 Nxd5 37. Nf4 Nxf4 38. gxf4 Rb5 39. Nb2 Rf5 40. Nc4 g5 41. Rd4 Kg7 42. Rg1 Bc5 43. Re4 Kf6 44. Rxg5 Rxg5 45. fxg5+ Kxg5 46. Ne3 Ba7 47. Rc4 Rxc4 48. Nxc4 Kf6 49. b4 e5 50. a4 Ke6 51. b5 e4+ 52. Kxe4 axb5 53. axb5 Bxf2 54. b6 f5+ 55. Kf3 Bxb6 56. Nxb6 f4 57. Nd5 Kxd5 58. Kxf4 1/2-1/2


A view of the glass box from within


The experience was much enjoyed by those who came to visit as they could watch
up close, and comment without disturbing the players.


Paco starts his game against Karjakin

Francisco Vallejo-Pons had a bit of work against Sergey Karjakin, but in the end, they too drew after a serious struggle.


Carlsen checks out the opening moves of Aronian-Caruana

The game of the round though was between the two leaders, Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana, with the Italian in the driver’s seat, a full point ahead. The Armenian soon achieved a huge advantage and everything pointed towards an upset that would change the entire tournament’s outlook.


A win for Aronian would have seriously affected the outlook on the second half

For the longest time, the only changes in the evaluation were between ‘huge advantage’ and ‘dead won’. While Caruana put up the greatest resistance, it was not really in his hands, and it seemed more a question of when, not if. Yet, little by little, Aronian made some imprecisions that allowed Caruana to hope a little longer until the results ceased to be a certainty, and even Levon could see that as his consternated face showed.

[Event "5th Final Masters"] [Site "Bilbao ESP"] [Date "2012.09.29"] [Round "5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2816"] [BlackElo "2773"] [PlyCount "146"] [EventDate "2012.09.24"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 g6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 e6 9. Bb5 Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Na4 Ba6 13. Re1 Nb6 14. Nc5 Bc4 15. Qc3 Bd5 16. Ne5 Qh4 17. b3 Rfe8 18. f3 f6 19. Ng4 h5 20. Nf2 f5 21. Bb2 Rad8 22. Qe3 g5 {Black is in trouble with glaring weaknesses all over, and tries to create counterplay.} 23. g3 f4 24. Qxe6+ Rxe6 25. gxh4 Rg6 26. Nh3 gxh4+ 27. Kf2 Rf6 $2 {A tactical mistake that now pushes him into 'lost position' territory.} ({The more active defense with} 27... Bf7 $1 28. Nxf4 Rxd4 $1 {would have maintained the equilibrium even if White continues much better.} 29. Nxg6 (29. Ncd3 Rxf4 30. Bxg7 Rf5 $14) (29. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 30. Ke2 Rf6 31. Ncd3 Bxa1 32. Rxa1 Nd5 $11) 29... Rd2+ 30. Kf1 Bxb2 31. Ne7+ Kf8 32. Rab1 { with a White edge, but nothing decisive yet.}) 28. Re5 Nd7 29. Nxd7 (29. Rg5 $1 Kf7 30. Ne4 Rg6 31. Rf5+ Nf6 32. Neg5+ Kg8 33. Nxf4 $18) 29... Rxd7 30. Rg1 Rff7 31. Ba3 Rd8 32. Bc5 a5 33. Rxh5 Re8 34. Rxh4 Re3 35. Ng5 Rc3 36. Ke2 Rd7 37. Kd2 $1 Rxc5 {Black has no choice.} (37... Re3 {runs into} 38. Rxf4 Re8 39. Ne4 {which is worse.}) 38. dxc5 Bxb3+ 39. Kc1 Bxa2 40. Ne4 Rb7 41. Nc3 Bb3 42. Rxf4 {With the pawn and the exchange, this position is dead lost.} a4 43. Nxa4 {Tempting, but not the most precise.} ({Instead} 43. Ne4 $1 {would have forced Black's hand, threatening Nf6+.} Rf7 {is the only protection and after} 44. Rxf7 Kxf7 45. Nd6+ Kf8 46. Re1 {Black would have had little resistance left.}) 43... Kh7 44. Rxg7+ ({White missed a subtle trick. He could play} 44. Rh4+ $1 Bh6+ 45. f4 {and after} Bxa4 {would recover the piece on h6 with} 46. Re1 $1 { , threatening Re6,} Bb3 {covering e6} 47. Re3 $1 {and Black cannot prevent Rh3 winning back the bishop.} Bd5 (47... Kg6 48. Rg3+ Kh7 49. Rgh3) 48. Reh3) 44... Rxg7 {The position is a lot less clear. White has good winning chances, but the straightforward win is now a thing of the past.} 45. Kb2 Bd5 46. Nb6 Be6 47. Kc3 Rg5 48. Kb4 Kg7 49. Nc4 Rg1 50. Ne3 Rc1 51. h4 Kg6 52. Ng4 Bd5 53. Ne5+ Kg7 54. h5 Re1 55. h6+ $6 {The worst part is that even had Aronian not ejected the pawn with this, he could not win in the line:} (55. Ng4 {was the only way to hope to continue fighting for the full point, even if this requires help from the opponent.} Rb1+ 56. Kc3 Rb3+ 57. Kd4 Rxf3 58. h6+ Kh8 (58... Kh7 $4 59. Nf6+ Kxh6 60. Nxd5) 59. Rxf3 Bxf3 60. Nf6 {Now, capturing the c6 pawn with the Black king on the h-file will achieve no miracles.} Bg2 61. Ke5 Bf3 62. Kd6 Bg2 63. Ng4 Kh7 64. Ne5 Kxh6 65. Nxc6 {and this is a tablebase draw.}) 55... Kxh6 56. Rf5 Kg7 57. f4 Rb1+ 58. Kc3 Rb3+ 59. Kd4 Rb4+ 60. Ke3 Rb3+ 61. Kf2 Rc3 62. Nd7 Kg6 63. Rf8 Ra3 64. Nb6 Be4 65. Ke2 Bf5 66. Rd8 Be4 67. Nc4 Rc3 68. Rd4 Bd5 69. Ne5+ Kf5 70. Nd7 Be6 71. Kd2 Rf3 72. Nb8 Bd5 73. Na6 Rxf4 1/2-1/2

When they finally shook hands, Fabiano was more than a little jubilant at this minor miracle, while Levon’s fixed smile belied the writhing disappointment underneath. It seemed more a case of holding his composure together or letting out a torrent of fury unfit for the public, for missing a chance to close in on the top spot.


Left to right: Herman Claudius van Riemsidjk (chief arbiter), Francisco Vallejo-Pons,
Marta Hoffman and Davy D'Israel (organizers), Gilberto Milos and Susan Polgar (commentators),
Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, and Sergey Karjakin. Levon Aronian was absent.

Prior to the second half starting in a week's time, both the seed favorites Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian will have some self-analysis to do to unearth the cause for the blunders marring their results.

Fabiano Caruana continues his streak of good fortune and excellent play, and need only worry whether he has used up his nine lives already.


Your reporter and photographer Albert Silver (picture kindly taken by Cathy Rogers)

Traditional crosstable after five rounds

Bilbao crosstable after five rounds

Playchess commentary schedule

Date
Round
Commentator
08.10.2012
round 06
D‘Costa
09.10.2012
round 07
King
10.10.2012
round 08
King
11.10.2012
rest day
12.10.2012
round 09
King
13.10.2012
round 10
D'Costa

Schedule and results

Round 1: Monday, September 24, 15h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 2: Tuesday, September 25, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Sergey Karjakin 
0-1
 Fabiano Caruana
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 3: Wednesday, September 26, 15h
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Round 4: Friday, September 28, 15h
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 5: Saturday, September 29, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana

São Paulo partners


 

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