Sinquefield Cup: So beats Swiercz

by Klaus Besenthal
8/19/2021 – The second round of the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis was played on Wednesday. Wesley So was the only winner of the day. The Filipino-born star inflicted Dariusz Swiercz’s second loss in a row. So thus joined Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Leinier Dominguez in the lead of the event. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Winning with the Berlin

Until move 20, Dariusz Swiercz and Wesley So were following theory out of a Berlin Defence. The endgame that appeared on the board left White on the defensive.

In a rook ending, Swiercz understandably was thinking long and hard before deciding whether to enter a pawn endgame — after all, a drawn position could suddenly turn into a losing position if you have not calculated precisely enough. A hesitant Swiercz finally decided to leave the rooks on the board while in time trouble. His misfortune was that he had to deal with the exception to the rule: the correct move would have been the transition to the pawn endgame!  


Both players are well-versed theoretically in this line.

20.f4 Ke7 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.Rf1 h5 23.f5 hxg4 24.hxg4 Rh4 25.f6+ Kf7 26.Re4 Rd2 27.fxg7+ Kxg7 28.Rf2 Rxf2 29.Kxf2 Rh2+ 30.Kf3 Rxc2 31.Rd4 Rxb2 32.Rd7+ Kg6 33.Rxc7 c5 34.Re7 Rb6 35.Rc7 a6 36.Rxc5 Rc6 


Confirmed by the incorruptible computers: this is a drawn position.

37.Ra5?? But now White is lost.

[Correct was 37.Rxc6 bxc6 38.a4 a5 39.Ke4 Kg5 40.Kd4 Kxg4 41.Kc5 Kf5 42.Kb6!


White draws here. However, Swiercz had only two minutes left on his clock, and he needed to calculate the whole line.]

37...Rc3+ 38.Ke4 Rc4+ 39.Kd3 Rxg4 40.Rc5 Kf5 41.Kc3 b5 42.Kb3 Rc4 43.Rxc4 bxc4+ 44.Kxc4 Kxe5 45.a4 Kf4


Swiercz resigned. 0-1

Dariusz Swiercz spent too much time in the early stages of the game | Photo: Bryan Adams

Fabiano Caruana’s position against Leinier Dominguez was worse for a while, but he was probably never in real danger of losing | Photo: Bryan Adams

Peter Svidler had to work hard in his game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to recover from an opening that did not go particularly well for him | Photo: Austin Fuller

Standings after round 2


All games



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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