Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz: Kasparov was "too democratic"

by André Schulz
8/17/2017 – Where Kasparov is, there is drama. On the last day of rapid at the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament, the 13th World Champion was particularly emotive after he completely outplayed David Navara, only to spoil the game utterly. Levon Aronian leads the field alone. | Photos: Lennart Ootes

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Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz

Day 3

Levon Aronian has nothing to frown about. The current number two in the world completed the third and last day of the rapid gmaes with two victories and one draw and now leads the field with 12 points (rapid games count double in Saint Louis). Nakamura, and Caruana are trailing, just one point back. Nakamura knocked off Nepomniachtchi in the last round of rapid play to leapfrog over him. Caruana said Wednesday that it was his best day of chess thus far.

Levon Aronian was looking happier by the end of the day | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Levon Aronian speaks to Maurice Ashley at the end of day 3 | CCSCSL on YouTube

No comeback for Garry?

Kasparov began the day with a drama in three acts. He overwhelmed David Navara in the opening, and converted to a clearly won endgame where, however, he missed "simple" winning opportunities and then, as the clock ticked down, he threw it all away.


49.Nc6+?? Qxc6! 50.Qxc6 Rd6 1-0

What an incredible reversal! The moment was captured by ChessBase's reporter Venkatachalam Saravanan:

 This prompted the first tweet from Magnus Carlsen since leaving Saint Louis:

Kasparov was naturally shocked:


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In an interview with Maurice Ashley, Navara explained that he is accustomed to playing bad positions because his opening preparation has been poor since his youth.

David Navara's post-game chat with Maurice Ashley | CCSCSL on YouTube

In the next round, Kasparov was the beneficiary of an freakish blunder from Le Quang Liem:


Relive the moment as it happened:

Kasparov - Le, Position after 38...Re6 CCSCSL on YouTube

After these two games, Kasparov appeared a bit frazzled as he arrived to play Fabiano Caruana for his third game of the day. After an equal middle-game, Caruana obtained an outside passed a-pawn and got enough initiative in the rook and bishop ending to gain an advantage that only grew from there.


Caruana is never one to be intimidated | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Levon Aronian later said, "I think the last game especially he played passively. He's a bit shy yet — chess-wise — he's not yet playing the most obvious moves. He's trying to control it too much."

Kasparov's own verdict was a bit different:

Standings after Round 9

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Aronian Levon 6.0 5
2 Caruana Fabiano 5.5 4
3 Nakamura Hikaru 5.5 3
4 Nepomniachtchi Ian 5.0 2
5 Dominguez Perez Leinier 4.5 2
6 Le Quang Liem 4.0 3
7 Karjakin Sergey 4.0 2
8 Navara David 3.5 3
9 Anand Viswanathan 3.5 1
10 Kasparov Garry 3.5 1

Games and commentary


Commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade

Translated from German by Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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