Candidates, Round 2: Grischuk wins against So

by Klaus Besenthal
3/12/2018 – Round 2 of the Candidates Tournament in Berlin brought one win and three draws. Alexander Grischuk bounced back from his loss against Vladimir Kramnik in round 1 and won an energetic attacking game against Wesley So. Mamedyarov and Aronian, Kramnik and Karjakin, and Ding Liren and Caruana all drew their games. | Photo: André Schulz

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Standings after two rounds

Rk. Title Name Country ELO 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts. Perf.
1 GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
2814       ½     1   1.5 / 2 2970
2 GM Vladimir Kramnik
2800           1 ½   1.5 / 2 2955
3 GM Fabiano Caruana
2784         ½     1 1.5 / 2 2974
4 GM Levon Aronian
2797 ½       ½       1.0 / 2 2792
5 GM Liren Ding
2769     ½ ½         1.0 / 2 2790
6 GM Alexander Grischuk
2767   0           1 1.0 / 2 2799
7 GM Sergey Karjakin
2763 0 ½             0.5 / 2 2617
8 GM Wesley So
2799     0     0     0.0 / 2 1976

Mamedyarov ½-½ Aronian

A short but interesting game: Mamedyarov managed to infiltrate Aronian's position with his major pieces but Aronian defended well and this quickly led to a repetition of moves. This draw gave Aronian a good (1.0/2) and Mamedyarov an excellent start (1½/2).


Shakriyar Mamedyarov's novelty did not fully succeed

Kramnik ½-½ Karjakin

Vladimir Kramnik is motivated - after his win round 1 win against Grischuk he also would have liked to win against Sergey Karjakin in round 2. He came close but not close enough. Kramnik was the one who made the Berlin Defense popular among top players, in this game he showed how to play against it. This forced Karjakin to a long passive defense but Karjakin once again lived up to his reputation of being very hard to beat. He defended with calm precision and hold the draw.


Well prepared: Vladimir Kramnik

The Art of Defence

The purpose of this DVD is to explain the viewer all main methods of defence: exchanging pieces, creating a fortress, eliminating dangerous enemy pieces, escaping the danger zone with the king, improving the position of the pieces.

Ding Liren ½-½ Caruana

In round 1 Fabiano Caruana had won against Wesley So with White and in round 2 he wanted to win against Ding Liren with Black. In a sharp line Caruana spiced up things even further with a positional exchange sacrifce which gave a lot of play on the weakened white squares around White's king. But Ding Liren managed to protect his king well enough which led to a roughly balanced position in which Black had a pawn and play for the exchange. Despite his slight material deficit Caruana still might have pressed for a win in this position but he did not want to tempt fate and therefore the point was shared.


With 1½ / 2 Fabiano Caruana started well

The Art of the Positional Exchange Sacrifice

The positional exchange sacrifice is one of the most powerful and fascinating strategic weapons in chess. On this DVD Sergey Tiviakov explains why the positional exchange sacrifice is such a strong weapon and how to use it.

Grischuk 1-0 So

Wesley So seems to be out of shape in Berlin - he started the tournament with two losses. Grischuk showed how dangerous rooks can be when they manage to support an attack against the enemy king. So was more or less forced to sacrifice a piece to parry White's attack, perhaps hoping that Grischuk's notorious time-trouble might help him to save the game. But White's position was to good to give Black the chance to pose serious problems and Grischuk won without too much trouble.


Alexander Grischuk showed his attacking skills

Attacking the King — for Experts

Ever since the beginning of chess, the assault on the king has had its own special magic; masterly attacking games, crowned by sacrifices and unforgettable combinations, have never ceased to attract and thrill the audience. On this DVD in FritzTrainer video format, Rustam Kasimdzhanov shows us that particularly the World Champions were outstanding attackers from who we can learn a lot. From Steinitz, Lasker and Capablanca to Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov, one exemplary attacking game is presented reflecting the individual playing attitude of each of these chess legends.



Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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