Grenke: Five draws in round five

by Klaus Besenthal
4/5/2018 – On April 5th, the 5th round of the "GRENKE Chess Classic", now in Baden-Baden was the first in which all five games ended in a draw. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Fabiano Caruana and Nikita Vitiugov thus continue to lead the standings; a half point behind are Levon Aronian and World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Against Georg Meier, Carlsen was on the verge of losing shortly before the time control, but the German grandmaster missed the win! Another game was nearly decisive: Arkadij Naiditsch stood much better against Matthias Bluebaum, but here it was the young German, who somehow managed to survive a devastating attack and fight back in the endgame. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

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Split decisions

After five rounds, the table miraculously reflects the two-tier company in the GRENKE Chess Classic: the five players in the top half have not lost any of the 25 games played so far; while among the players in the lower half, there is not a single victory between them. One possible explanation: Within both of the two groups, the players have barely played against each other. In the top half, only three games have been played so far, and the same in the lower group. Of these six matches, of course, all were drawn. The bottom line is: In the second half of the tournament the leaders will be playing each other, so we can look forward to that!

Meier vs Carlsen

Carlsen chose to transpose to a Stonewall structure against Meier | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Meier ½-½ Carlsen

Just before the time control, Meir had Carlsen dead to rights, but missed the knockout blow allowing the World Champion to turn the tables. Carlsen called it a "bluff", and the result was a quick draw.


Daniel King goes through the game for Power Play Chess:

Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Aronian

From the standings, this was the top contest of the 5th round — but the course of the game was not very exciting. After all, there was a mass liquidation in the middle game resulting in an equal bishop endgame and soon a handshake.


Vachier-Lagrave vs Aronian

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian: The top game of today ended early with a draw | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Anand ½-½ Caruana

Caruana took a more solid posture than in recent days, and Anand's game also looked as if minimising risk was a priority for the Indian. The result was a not very exciting draw:


Anand vs Caruana

Anand vs. Caruana: The drawing margin was never exceeded | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Naiditsch ½-½ Bluebaum

Matthias Bluebaum came under a terrible attack after a tactical mistake in time trouble against Arkadij Naiditsch. But the German managed to survive after a tough struggle netted a well-earned half point!  


Naiditsch vs Bluebaum

Naiditsch missed a potential first victory against Bluebaum, whose only loss came in round 1 | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Hou Yifan ½-½ Vitiugov

In the final position, Vitiugov had indeed an extra pawn, but his bishop was far worse than his Chinese opponent's knight, and the draw was thus inevitable.


Standings after five rounds


All games


Round five recap

Commentary webcast

GMs Jan Gustafsson and Peter Leko

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


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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