Sinquefield 04: American Disaster

9/14/2013 – Both Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky lost crucial games against their opponents today. Nakamura was soundly outplayed after a questionable opening that allowed Aronian an initiative on the kingside. Kamsky's game was a series of inaccuracies, but ultimately the American was unable to hold an endgame that seemed drawable. Report and analysis.

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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. Sofia rules apply, which means none of the games can be drawn before move 30 - with certain exceptions.

Round four

The Americans quickly got in trouble in very different ways. First, Kamsky was unsure on which opening to play and ended up with an Exchange Spanish that he clearly was not very familiar with. Carlsen used a known move to try to keep the game going and after a couple of inaccuracies by Kamsky it was clear that the Norwegian's kingside pressure was something quite serious. Kamsky shed a pawn to keep himself alive.

Kamsky was as usual the first person in the playing hall, with a big smile on his face and even cracking a joke before the games started

Carlsen came immediately after him and started adjusting his pieces and focusing immediately

Kamsky thought for some time after 3... a6, it's unusual that he didn't go for the
main lines of the Spanish as it is one of his main openings with both sides

Carlsen was actually the one that shocked his opponent with 14... Ng4

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2013.09.13"] [Round "4"] [White "Kamsky, Gata"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C69"] [WhiteElo "2741"] [BlackElo "2862"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "118"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 {Kamsky seemed to have not expected Carlsen to go for this variation specifically. He thought for a few minutes before deciding that the best course of action was to go into the quiet waters of the exchange Spanish.} 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O f6 6. d4 Bg4 7. dxe5 (7. c3 {was Fischer's favorite, but neither this move nor the move in the game are considered dangerous for Black nowadays.}) 7... Qxd1 8. Rxd1 fxe5 9. Rd3 {a common rook lift, the idea being that if White had played instead} (9. Nbd2 O-O-O {it becomes difficult to develop his pieces.}) 9... Bd6 10. Nbd2 Nf6 11. Nc4 {White's play revolves around the weakened e5 pawn - taking it and playing with the remaining passed pawn while Black has no chance at creating one himself on the queenside. However Black's piece activity has been considered for some time to give him a perfetly good game.} O-O 12. Nfxe5 Be2 13. Re3 Bxc4 14. Nxc4 Ng4 $1 {More accurate than the other move. At least here White has some chances of going wrong.} (14... Bc5 {is a known draw:} 15. Re1 Rae8 16. Be3 Bxe3 17. Rxe3 Rxe4 18. Rxe4 Nxe4 19. f3 Nd6 {and although White should be minimally better becaues of the structure, no one has been able to win this position.}) 15. Re2 Bxh2+ 16. Kf1 $6 {and he starts doing so almost immediately. The king is safer and better placed on h1.} Rae8 17. Nd2 $6 {It's going to become incredibly hard to develop because of the self-pin.} (17. c3 { just passing and allowing some breathing room on the second rank was much better.}) 17... Rd8 $1 {The World number one shows that he is in a class of his own. With the rook going back and forth, he has now secured a pin on the d-file that causes White's development to stall almost completely.} 18. f3 Bg3 19. Kg1 Ne5 20. b3 Ng6 $1 {Magnus moves are all precise, with the goal of not allowing White easily development.} 21. Nf1 Be5 22. c3 $2 {Panic.} (22. Rb1 Rd1 23. Rd2 Bd4+ 24. Kh2 Rxf1 25. Rxd4 Nf4 26. Rd7 Rf6 27. Bxf4 $1 Rxb1 28. Be5 { is unpleasant, but White's activity gives him excellent chances to draw.}) 22... Bxc3 23. Bb2 Nf4 24. Rc2 Ba5 {The Norwegian wants to keep as many pieces on the board as possible, especially with the somewhat exposed king, but there was nothing wrong with simplifying the position and exploiting the material advantage.} 25. Ng3 g6 26. Rf1 Rd3 27. Kh2 Bb4 28. Ne2 Ne6 29. Nc1 Rd7 30. g3 Rfd8 31. Kg2 Kf7 32. f4 h5 33. Kh3 a5 34. Kg2 Nc5 35. Kf3 Nd3 36. Re2 Be7 $2 { Allowing White some hope.} (36... Nxb2 37. Rxb2 Ba3 38. Rc2 Rd2 {and it will be very hard for White to hold this position as a2 will soon fall as well.}) 37. Nxd3 Rxd3+ 38. Kg2 Bc5 $6 {The extra pawn still gives Black excellent chances to win, but the advantage is slipping move by move. The bishop is not well placed on c5 as it might be forced back to b6 in a defensive position.} 39. Rc1 $6 (39. Be5 $1 {Would have at least forced Black to find an active idea to defend c7.} Bd6 40. Bb2 {and now any move by the bishop will be met with be5 again.}) 39... Rd2 40. Rce1 Rxe2+ (40... Bb4 {was also more accurate.} ) 41. Rxe2 {Time control has been reached. Black is still up a pawn, but will have a tough technical job ahead of him after missing many ways of finishing his opponent off.} Rd3 42. Rc2 Bd6 43. Bc1 Be7 44. Kf2 a4 45. Rd2 Rxd2+ $2 {A strange decision. The bishop endgame looks less promising than the rook endgame.} (45... Bc5+ $1 46. Kg2 Rc3 47. Bb2 Re3 48. Bd4 Bxd4 49. Rxd4 a3 $1 { Gives black great winning chances.}) 46. Bxd2 axb3 47. axb3 c5 48. g4 $6 {Not necessarily losing, but why create a free passed pawn for Black? Much more tenacious was to simply wait and keep the king on e2-d3, forcing Black to figure out a plan of action.} b5 49. gxh5 gxh5 50. Bc3 $2 {The final blunder.} (50. Kf3 b4 51. Be3 {should still be somehow winning for Black, but it's much more difficult to figure out.}) 50... b4 51. Bb2 Bh4+ {not the most precise but also winning.} 52. Ke2 Bg3 {the combined action between the passed pawn on h4 and the threats of breaking on c4 and exchanging bishops gives Carlsen the win. Here he is pushing the f-pawn forward so he will be able to easily trade bishops later.} 53. f5 h4 54. e5 h3 55. e6+ (55. Kf3 Bh4 56. Ba1 Be1 $19) 55... Ke7 56. Kf3 Bf4 57. Bg7 Bg5 58. Be5 c4 59. bxc4 Bf6 {White has two passed pawns, but they are worth nothing compared to the outside passed pawns of Black, which will soon promote.} 0-1

Carlsen putting the finishing touches on Kamsky

In the other game, Nakamura strangely allowed Aronian to weaken his lightsquares in an King's Indian that more resembled a declined Benko Gambit. Black's maneouvers seemed alright until it was clear that the kingside did not have enough defenders. Being the resourceful player that he is Nakamura did not sit and wait patiently for White to unfold his attack, instead sacrificing a piece for two pawns to diffuse the threats and hope for holding in an endgame. Furthermore he sacrificed even another pawn after that to try to create a fortress with the remaining pawns.

Nakamura made it with less than a minute to go, and one of the fans was very unhappy about having to wait for him

Aronian was certainly going out for blood in this game, as he was unable to win a single game in the first half of the tournament

Aronian plays 5.h3 and 6.Bg5, not what Nakamura was expecting

The American #1 is not the type of player that subtly hides his emotions, such as surprise, during the game

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2013.09.13"] [Round "4"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E71"] [WhiteElo "2813"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "121"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Bg5 {Aronian quickly played this move. Maybe sensing that Hikaru was out for blood, the Armenian prepared something against Nakamura's King's Indian Defense.} c5 {The most common reply, transposing back into Benoni waters.} 7. d5 a6 8. Bd3 $5 (8. a4 { preventing b5 is by far the most common idea. Levon has the notion that the b5 advance is not dangerous in itself, and White can allow it as long as he obtains quick development.}) 8... b5 9. Nf3 Nbd7 10. O-O h6 {This move isn't something black wants to play as it is a weakness and it makes the e6 break harder as a swap of pawns on that square will severely weaken g6. However the bishop on the g5-d8 diagonal can prove to be very annoying.} (10... b4 { closing the queenside is always possible, but never desirable.} 11. Ne2 a5 12. Re1 $14 {and White will slowly but surely work on getting the e5 break in.}) 11. Be3 bxc4 12. Bxc4 a5 13. a4 Nb6 14. Bd3 Ne8 $5 {A typical maneouver in the Benko Gambit - which is very similar to the position on the board. If someone asked an experienced grandmaster which opening this position originated from, a b6 Benko is definitely one of the possible answers.} 15. Re1 Nc7 16. Rc1 Na6 $6 {The knight marches towards b4, its perfect outpost - though it is possible that on c7 the knight was already well placed as it controlled b5 and allowed Black to take on e6 with the knight.} (16... Ba6 $1 {It is known that exchanging bishops is good for Black in these setups.} 17. Bb1 $2 (17. b3 Bxd3 18. Qxd3 Na6 {and no h4-h5 will really be as dangerous.}) 17... Nc4 $15) 17. b3 Nb4 18. Bb1 Bb7 {Probably the beginning of some problems.} (18... e6 $2 19. dxe6 Bxe6 20. Nb5 $16 {its impossible to defend d6.}) 19. Ne2 Rc8 20. h4 c4 $2 {This is just asking for trouble.} (20... h5 21. Ng5 $5 Bb2 $6 (21... Nd7 $1 { regrouping the knight, is far more solid and to the point.}) 22. Nf4 {gives White a huge initiative with sacrifice possibilities; however maybe Black can somehow complicate the issue.}) 21. h5 cxb3 22. Qxb3 {White's plan is very simple: attack on Black's weakened lightsquares on the kingside.} g5 23. Ng3 { obviously the knight is headed to f5. Black cannot allow this, once the knight gets there the game is over as the pressure would become unbearable.} N6xd5 { desperation. Aronian from now on sweeps the game without any issues.} 24. exd5 Bxd5 25. Rxc8 Bxb3 26. Rxd8 Rxd8 27. Nf5 {if Black had time to regoup, to take a4, and maybe set up his pawns on e6 and d5 he would be ok, but that's not going to happen.} Bf8 28. Bb6 Rb8 29. Bc7 Rc8 {Nakamura plays in the most cunning way, always placing his opponent little traps that he might fall for. The game isn't won just yet, but it is a huge advantage for White.} 30. Bxa5 ( 30. Nxe7+ Bxe7 31. Rxe7 Nd5 {and suddenly it is White who is against the ropes. }) 30... Nc6 31. Bc3 Bxa4 32. Ba2 Rc7 33. Nh2 $6 (33. Ne3 {was another interesting regrouping, probably stronger than the one in the game. Aronian is focused on the h6 pawn though.}) 33... Ne5 $1 {Probably the best practical chance. Nakamura will try to defend a position in which he is down a piece for a pawn, but he will have a solid pawn structure and will simply try to build an impenetrable position.} 34. Bxe5 dxe5 35. Ng4 e6 36. Ng3 (36. Nfxh6+ Kg7 37. Rxe5 $2 (37. Nxf7 $5 Kxf7 38. Nxe5+ Kg7 39. Bxe6 {is a healthy two pawns, but the reduced amount of material might give Black some hope.}) 37... Rc1+ 38. Kh2 Bd6 {is Hikaru's "point"}) 36... Kg7 37. Nxe5 Ba3 {The issue for Aronian now is to create a clear plan of making progress. The pawns are creating a perfect barrier against the knights, so its likely that a sacrifice at some point will be necessary.} 38. Ne4 Rc2 39. Bb1 Rc1 40. Rxc1 Bxc1 41. Nd6 $1 {Forcing the f-pawn to advance is a key part of this endgame. With this weakness it becomes hard for Black to hold his kingside.} f5 42. Ndc4 Bf4 43. Nd3 $1 {The easiest solution. Aronian shows remarkable technique.} Be8 44. Nxf4 gxf4 45. g3 fxg3 46. f4 Bxh5 47. Kg2 Kf6 48. Kxg3 Be8 49. Kh4 Bb5 50. Ne5 Be8 51. Bc2 Ke7 52. Bd1 Kf6 53. Bf3 Ba4 54. Bc6 Bd1 55. Bd7 $1 {Beautiful. It is the transfer of the bishop to d7 that will win the game thanks to a clever set of zugzwangs and knight maneouvers.} Be2 56. Ba4 $1 {At the right time. The bishop comes back to b3 when Black doesn't have the time to protect h5 and bring his bishop to e8.} Ke7 57. Bb3 Kd6 (57... Kf6 58. Bc4 Bd1 59. Nd7+ Ke7 60. Nc5 {loses immediately.}) 58. Kg3 $6 {Transfering the king is slow and clumsy, much better was:} (58. Ba2 Bd1 59. Bc4 $1 {With this Zugzwang the bishop cannot move because of Kh5.} Ke7 60. Bb5 Kd6 61. Bc6 $1 Ke7 62. Bf3 $1 {With a winning advantage.}) 58... Bh5 59. Kf2 Bg4 $2 {Returning the favor} (59... Be8 {would've forced Levon to show exactly where his king was going.}) 60. Ke3 (60. Nxg4 fxg4 61. Kg3 h5 62. Bc2 {was easily winning, but requires some calculation. Levon is still confident in his plan.}) 60... h5 $2 {Making things easy for White.} 61. Nf7+ {with Ng5 wrapping up the pawn and the game.} 1-0

Nakamura blamed the bad result on his opening. He insisted that playing the main theoretical line instead of going for this b5-c4 idea would've been much better, but that at least he should have played something better than 18...Bb7, after which the h4 idea gained too much strength. Nakamura also mentioned that Aronian's decision to allow the queen trade after the piece sacrifice desperado made his life harder, but that he wasn't surprised that the Armenian made that decision as he tends to make his life harder when converting positions.

With these results Carlsen jumps to first place while Nakamura retains second, only half a point ahead of Levon Aronian. Kamsky will look to recover as he desperately needs a win to make this tournament acceptable.

Round four photos by Alejandro Ramirez

Andrew Martin brings as a recap of what he considers to be the game of the day:

Standings

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
½-½
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
1-0
Kamsky, Gata 2741
Round 03 – September 11 2013, 13:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2772
Kamsky, Gata 2741
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2813
Round 04 – September 13 2013, 13:00h
Kamsky, Gata 2741
0-1
Carlsen, Magnus 2862
Aronian, Levon 2813
1-0
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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