Sinquefield 01: Kamsky and Aronian self-destruct

9/10/2013 – Nakamura and Carlsen were the happy recipients of grave mistakes by their opponents. In Nakamura-Aronian the latter obtained a good position which could only be better for him, but a dreadful blunder gave away an exchange and gifted Nakamura a full point. Kamsky was over-aggressive which allowed Carlsen to coolly mount a deadly counterattack. GM analysis of both games.

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The Sinquefield Cup is taking place from September 9th to September 15th at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The tournament brings together the top two players in the world as well as the top two Americans in a double round robin. The time control is the standard FIDE 90 minutes for 40 moves plus thirty minutes at move 40 with 30 second increment throughout.

The tournament's opening ceremony was only open for the players, the organizers and select members of the press.

The Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club Tony Rich and the arbiter for the event Chris Bird

The man who is most essential in all of this: Rex Sinquefield, sponsor of the club and the tournament

Carlsen drew number one by picking one of four boxes with a number inside and will start against number four, Gata Kamsky

The trophy that the players are playing for, that and a $70,000 first prize

Round one

The Americans started off with the surprises in the opening. The Bf5 variation of the a6 Slav is unusual but played, and it seems that it certainly was not what Carlsen was expecting. Kamsky quickly got an advantage on the clock and a solid but passive position - very much his style. In the other game, Nakamura's Nbd2!? seemd to catch Aronian off-guard, not an easy thing to do as the Armenian is arguably the best player of the Spanish in the World.

Nakamura's strong opening immediately put Aronian against the ropes

Aronian was in very high spirits before the game, but his mood considerably changed when Nakamura uncorked 32.Nd7!

Levon Aronian was the last one to show up, and without a pen

The organizers promptly provided him with one. The players also have access to all kinds of snacks and pastries they can possibly think of.

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2013.09.09"] [Round "1"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2813"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] {Aronian was the last person on his board, arriving only a few minutes before the opening moves.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 b4 9. d4 d6 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nbd2 {The players confidently blitzed to this position, but here Aronian began to think. Maybe he was not anticipating this in his preparation, but it seemed that he wasn't out of his own book as he quickly replied} Nfd7 12. Nd4 c5 13. Nf5 {Hikaru has nothing to complain out of the opening. His powerful control of the lightsquares a dangerous knight on f5 should give him the better position.} Nf6 14. Ne3 (14. Nf3 $5 {was maybe a better move, trying to mobilize all of White's pieces, but Black can try to create counterplay after} Bxf5 15. exf5 Qc7 {preparing c4.} (15... c4 $2 {this move immediately does not work because} 16. Nxe5 cxb3 17. Nc6 {is a deadly fork.})) 14... Bb7 15. f3 Ng6 $6 {White retains strong pressure after this. Levon spent a lot of time on this move but maybe he was not confident in his calculations nonetheless.} (15... d5 $1 { Breaking in the center is the only reason to put the bishop on b7.} 16. exd5 Nxd5 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Rxe5 Bxb3 19. Rxe7 $1 (19. cxb3 $2 Qd4+ 20. Kh1 Qxe5 { and Black wins.}) 19... Qxe7 20. Nxb3 Rad8 21. Qf1 c4 $1 22. Nd2 Qc5+ $1 23. Qf2 Qe5 {Despite White's material advantage, it's very hard to see how exactly he will untangle. It is more pleasant to be Black, but maybe Aronian was worried that White would be able to develop and utilize his material advantage. }) 16. Ndc4 d5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Nf5 Qc7 19. Nxe7+ Ngxe7 20. Bg5 {White's pair of bishops secures him a slight but stable advantage. Also, Black's pawn structure on the queenside is not the best.} Nf5 21. c3 (21. Na5 $5 {would've been a very interesting move, since after} Qxa5 22. Bxd5 Bxd5 23. Qxd5 { White's pieces are clearly dominating the board.}) 21... bxc3 22. bxc3 h6 23. Qd3 g6 24. Bd2 Rad8 25. Qe2 Nf4 {it seems that with this move Black starts regaining control of the position and equality. White's only advantage is the pair of bishops and without it Black should hold without problems.} 26. Bxf4 Qxf4 27. Rad1 Bd5 28. Nd2 Bxb3 29. Nxb3 Qxa4 30. Nxc5 Qb5 $4 {A stunning blunder!} (30... Qc6 31. Ne4 {would have led to an easy draw}) 31. Qxb5 axb5 32. Nd7 {Nakamura played this instantly, after which Aronian was visibly shaken. He might have completely forgotten about this resource which wins an exchange. The Armenian was very fidgety before he decided his best chance was to immediately take on d7} Rxd7 33. Rxd7 Ra8 {Without the queenside pawns Black might have some hope of holding the draw.} 34. Kf2 Ra6 35. g4 Nh4 36. f4 Rc6 37. Re8+ Kg7 38. Ree7 Rf6 39. Kg3 g5 40. f5 h5 41. Re6 { Nakamura starts the tournament with an unexpected win.} 1-0

Hikaru mentioned after the game that he was ready to offer a draw to Aronian had he played 30...Qc6 instead of 30...Qb5?? From the opening it seems that Nakamura thought he had a slight edge somewhere, but was unable to figure out exactly how to proceed. When asked if he felt as if he was representing America in this tournament, he simply said that he, as always, will try to play his best, but that he clearly was the one that would have to give face for the country as Kamsky's position was already nearly lost. The American player admitted that he didn't realize that Qb5 was immediately losing, but was able to see the winning combination seconds after his opponent played the losing move.

Aronian was very graceful after the game, simply calling chess a very "humbling game". It must be so if even the World number two can fall for such blunders! He categorized his mistake as "ridiculous" but also resigned himself to the fact that "these things happen". Regarding the opening he admitted to forgetting everything about this variation, but figured that c5 was the natural way to continue.

The sponsor Rex Sinquefield quickly made Carlsen's opening move

Carlsen faced a quick onslaught by Kamsky, but he defended cooly and won with a swift counterattack

A number of spectators lined up to try to observe the opening moves of the tournament

Daniel King's Play of the day

Sinquefield Cup Round 1: Magnus Carlsen vs Gata Kamsky

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2013.09.09"] [Round "1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Kamsky, Gata"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D15"] [WhiteElo "2862"] [BlackElo "2741"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. d4 d5 4. Nc3 a6 5. e3 {An annoying move to face. There are many other possibilities, but most importantly 5.c5!? is dangerous to which Gata almost always replies 5...g6!?} Bf5 {A surprise! Other moves have been tried in this idea. 5...b5 is a main idea while transposing to a Semi-Slav with 5...e6 is also very popular.} 6. Bd3 (6. Qb3 b5 7. c5 a5 $1 8. Ne5 a4 9. Qd1 g6 10. g4 Be6 11. h3 Bg7 {gave Black a fine position in the game Tomashevsky-Ramirez, Tromso 2013}) 6... Bxd3 7. Qxd3 e6 8. O-O Bb4 {Most players had rejected this as a dubious idea. Magnus took a long time trying to figure out how to get an advantage after this.} (8... Be7 {allowing} 9. e4 dxe4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Qxe4 Nd7 {is very possible and the main idea.}) 9. Bd2 Bxc3 10. Bxc3 O-O 11. a4 Nbd7 12. a5 Ne4 13. Bb4 Re8 14. Rac1 {White holds a very slight advantage because his position has more space and its more obvious on what exactly to do: mainly it is to remove the knight from f3 and push f3.} h5 $5 {Kamsky took a long time thinking about this move. Carlsen seemed to have a confused look on his face when he saw it.} 15. Ne5 Qc7 (15... Nxe5 16. dxe5 { strands the knight on e4, and could prove dangerous.}) 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. Qe2 ( 17. f3 {was more direct, but its unclear how much advantage White will be able to obtain.}) 17... Nf6 18. Rfd1 Qc7 19. h3 Rad8 20. b3 Rd7 {Black has enough space to maneouver endlessly, so it's up to White to try to create something.} 21. Rc2 Qd8 22. Rcc1 h4 23. Be1 Ne4 24. Qg4 g5 $5 {Kamsky is in no mood to let Carlsen slowly wrap his army around the weak h4 pawn. Instead he will create space on the kingside and push back White's pieces. Kamsky was beginning to fall dangerously low on the clock around this time.} 25. cxd5 f5 26. Qf3 cxd5 ( 26... Rxd5 $5 {was also interesting, to retain the pawn on the c-file keeping White's pieces out.}) 27. Rc2 Rg7 28. Rdc1 Nf6 (28... g4 $1 {was more to the point, but Kamsky was running short on time.}) 29. Qd1 g4 30. f3 $1 {An amazing move. Suddenly the counterattack on the weak h4 pawn is strong and Black must decide exactly how to proceed with the kingside initiative, as if it is mishandled White already enjoys the c-file and some strong positional advantages.} gxh3 31. Bxh4 Kf7 $2 {Too optimistic} (31... hxg2 32. Qe1 Qe7 { still gave some hope}) 32. Qe1 $1 {Very powerful, white is nearly winning now} hxg2 {and now he definitely is with the following sequence} 33. Rc7+ Re7 34. Rc8 Qd6 35. Bxf6 Kxf6 36. Qh4+ Kf7 37. Qh5+ Rg6 38. f4 $1 {Most accurate. Black is in a sort of zugzwang and his position will fall apart faster than with the immediate Qh8.} Qa3 39. Qh8 Rg7 40. Qh5+ Rg6 41. Qh8 Rg7 42. Qf8+ Kg6 43. Kxg2 $1 {Slow but fatal: White's rook will swing into great effect. Black's discovery check is no threat at all. From now on White must play perfect to checkmate Black, but Carlsen does this with ease.} Rgf7 44. Qd8 Rh7 45. Rg1 Qa2+ 46. Kf3+ Kf6 47. Qg8 Rh3+ 48. Rg3 Rxg3+ 49. Qxg3 {and now Black is completely defenseless against the threats.} *

Carlsen condemned the move h5 as the beginning of Black's problems, but he also mentioned he was unable to fully exploit this.

"I played a couple of rook moves that were stupid, I thought he would repeat the position, but he didn't, and that allowed him to get everything he wanted". Remarked Carlsen after the game. When asked how he will spend the evening he mentioned trying to catch the tail end of the US Open, without a particular favorite.

Kamsky seemed very upset but composed after the game. "This is a tournament where there is nothing at stake; I wanted to play chess and make things interesting" was his reasoning for the move h5 and how he continued forward on the kingside. Originally his idea was to get g3 for his knight but he realized that probably playing g4 instead of Nf6 was considerably better.

Nakamura will try to go for 2-0 as he repeats white, this time playing against Gata Kamsky. Levon Aronian will try to pick himself up from his blunder as he has the white side against Magnus Carlsen.

Opening ceremony photos by Carmen Schuette

Round one photos by Sabrina Chevannes

Schedule

Round 01 – September 09 2013, 13:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
1-0
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
1-0
Aronian, Levon 2813
Round 02 – September 10 2013, 13:00h
Aronian, Levon 2813
-
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
-
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Round 03 – September 11 2013, 13:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
-
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
Kamsky, Gata 2741
-
Aronian, Levon 2813
Round 04 – September 13 2013, 13:00h
Kamsky, Gata 2741
-
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
Aronian, Levon 2813
-
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
Round 05 – September 14 2013, 13:00h
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
-
Magnus, Carlsen 2862
Aronian, Levon 2813
-
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Round 06 – September 15 2013, 11:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
-
Aronian, Levon 2813
Kamsky, Gata 2741
-
Nakamura, Hikaru 2780

The games start at 20:00h European time, 22:00h Moscow, 2 p.m. New York. You can find your regional starting time here. The commentary on Playchess begins one hour after the start of the games and is free for premium members.

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

 


Topics Sinquefield
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