Sinquefield Rd4: An encore of draws

by Albert Silver
8/9/2016 – It was another uneventful round, and while several games seemed to hold promise for more than a draw, the wind seemed to peter and die out in the players' sails. The most dynamic game of the round was unsurprisingly between Nakamura and Topalov, players for who the word dynamic seems a weak term, but despite the material imbalance at the end, neither seemed willing to press the issue. Giri pressed hard in an endgame against So, but the American neutralized his attempts and they also drew. Full report with GM analysis.

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2016 Sinquefield Cup

The 2016 Sinquefield Cup is an elite international event, featuring 10 of the strongest chess players in the world. Over the course of nine rounds, these competitors will battle for $300,000 in prize money (first: $75,000, second: $50,000, third: $40,000, last: $15,000) plus points toward the Grand Chess Tour and the coveted title of 2016 Sinquefield Cup Champion.

The venue is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center at 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108. Tickets cost $10 per round or $80 for all ten rounds. Full information available at the official web site.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators worldwide are expected to enjoy the all-star commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade as they provide keen insights and analysis, in depth player interviews and witty discussions. Commentary is also available on the CCSCSL YouTube Channel, Livestream and Twitch.

Round Four - Tuesday, August 8, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
½-½
Peter Svidler
2751
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
½-½
Veselin Topalov
2761
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Viswanathan Anand
2770
Wesley So
2771
½-½
Anish Giri
2769

Round four

All photos by Lennart Ootes from official site

In spite of a round with only draws, always a disappointing tally for spectators and players alike, the round was hardly denuded of interest. We are past the phase of ‘grandmaster draws’ at the elite stage, and all the top players can be counted on for a good fight or at least attempt.

One of the quickest games of the day was between Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana, but was not a little intriguing: the reason was the opening. A very rare guest at the top level, Caruana played the Benoni as Black, an opening that has gained a reputation as being somewhat suspicious when playing fellow Top 10 or Top 20 players. Somewhat disappointingly, Aronian did not choose to challenge Fabiano on the sharpest possibilities, opting to exchange material off and take the draw, but he forgivingly explained he had been sick and was not at his best.

Nevertheless, this did not explain the Benoni, which was a choice by his opponent. Caruana explained he had been trying to play it for the past six months, but somehow his opponents always seemed to sidestep it unwittingly.

Veselin Topalov is outright intrigued to see the makings of a Benoni on the board. Sadly for him and the fans, Aronian would refuse to commit himself to it, and transposed to a Queen's Gambit Declined, leading to a somehwate uneventful draw.

“I’ve been trying to play the Benoni for the past half a year, since Wijk aan Zee, and I’ve given my opponents 20 or more chances to play the Benoni and I’ve only gotten it once.” Maurice Ashley, interviewing him, promptly asked whether they were backing down to the challenge, but Caruana saw this as just one of those coincidences where the stars just refused to align the way he wished.

“At the start, they just didn’t know. Like Carlsen played 1.g3 against me on the first move; Giri played 1.e4, and against all odds I only managed to get one Benoni, in the Candidates against Levon. But today I guess he just wasn’t feeling up to it. I mean, it would be a very tough game, and if you’re not feeling well it makes sense to try to simplify.” After jokingly addressing the camera and audience to avoid playing the terrible Benoni, he did comment more seriously about his choice: “I’m getting bad positions in the Queen’s Gambit Declined, so how much worse can the Benoni be?”

Two of the most uncompromising players in the world, Hikaru Nakamura and Veselin Topalov played a game that promised all manner of craziness, and indeed it did, though neither walked away with the win.

Hikaru Nakamura - Veselin Topalov (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Ever the fighter, Hikaru Nakamura

Wesley So and Anish Giri also had a long struggle. After a fairly balanced game, the two players headed toward a knight endgame in which Anish Giri began to outplay his opponent. Before things got out of hand though, Wesley So fought back and avoided a defeat.

Wesley So had a tough day at the office but was up to the challenge

The reality of a top player today: Anish Giri observes his own game against Wesley So, while a cameraman takes advantage of the moment he stood up to get a good angle for the fans watching at home.

The production team of the Sinquefield Cup is not just a few computers with some choice webcams...

... it is a full-fledged TV production crew.

Vishy Anand played a tough game against...

... top Chinese player Ding Liren with whom he drew.

Peter Svidler held his own against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

About GM Elshan Moradiabadi

Elshan Moradiabadi is a GM born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the US in 2012. Ever since, he has been active in US college chess scenes and in US chess.

Elshan co-authored "Chess and the Art of War: Ancient Wisdom to Make You a Better Player" with Al Lawrence. He has also published written articles for ChessBase, and edited opening materials for fellow authors.

Elshan Moradiabadi is a veteran instructor and teaches chess to every level, with students ranging from beginners to IM. He can be contacted for projects or teaching at his email.

You can contact him at his email or follow him on Twitter.

 

Replay games of round four

Select games from the games list below the board

Standings after four rounds

The games are being broadcast live on Playchess, with expert analysis.

Schedule

Day Date Time Event
Playchess commentary
German
Monday Aug. 8 1 p.m. Round 4
Simon Williams
Klaus Bischoff
Tuesday Aug. 9 1 p.m. Round 5
Simon Williams
Klaus Bischoff
Wednesday Aug. 10 Rest Day
Thursday Aug. 11 1 p.m. Round 6
Chris Ward
Thomas Luther
Friday Aug. 12 1 p.m. Round 7
Yannick Pelletier
Thomas Luther
Saturday Aug. 13 1 p.m. Round 8
Simon Williams
Yannick Pelletier
Sunday Aug. 14 1 p.m. Round 9
Yannick Pelletier
Klaus Bischoff
Monday Aug. 15 1 p.m. Playoffs
 
 

Pairings

Round One - Friday, August 5, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Wesley So
2771
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Round Two - Saturday, August 6, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
1-0
Peter Svidler
2751
Fabiano Caruana
2807
½-½
Veselin Topalov
2761
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
1-0
Anish Giri
2769
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Wesley So
2771
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
0-1
Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Three - Monday, August 7, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Wesley So
2771
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
Ding Liren
2755
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Veselin Topalov
2761
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Peter Svidler
2751
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
Round Four - Tuesday, August 8, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
½-½
Fabiano Caruana
2807
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
½-½
Peter Svidler
2751
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
½-½
Veselin Topalov
2761
Ding Liren
2755
½-½
Viswanathan Anand
2770
Wesley So
2771
½-½
Anish Giri
2769
Round Five - Wednesday, August 9, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anish Giri
2769
  Levon Aronian
2784
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Wesley So
2771
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Ding Liren
2755
Peter Svidler
2751
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Round Six - Friday, August 11, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian 2771   M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Hikaru Nakamura 2731   Fabiano Caruana
2807
Ding Liren 2793   Peter Svidler
2751
Wesley So 2779   Veselin Topalov
2761
Anish Giri 2765   Viswanathan Anand
2770
Round Seven - Saturday, August 12, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Levon Aronian
2784
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Anish Giri
2769
Peter Svidler
2751
  Wesley So
2771
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Ding Liren
2755
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Round Eight - Sunday, August, 13, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Levon Aronian
2784
  Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Ding Liren
2755
  M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Wesley So
2771
  Fabiano Caruana
2807
Anish Giri
2769
  Peter Svidler
2751
Viswanathan Anand
2770
  Veselin Topalov
2761
Round Nine - Monday, August 14, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Veselin Topalov
2761
  Levon Aronian
2784
Peter Svidler
2751
  Viswanathan Anand
2770
Fabiano Caruana
2807
  Anish Giri
2769
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
  Wesley So
2771
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
  Ding Liren
2755

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the 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 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.
 


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


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Bertman Bertman 8/10/2016 02:55
@yesenadam

I suspect your mastery of English is not as great as you think.
vincero vincero 8/10/2016 02:08
all....fine players....yet lots of missed moves....topa and svidler had large enough edges to win...but could not find the best moves....
scoobeedo scoobeedo 8/10/2016 12:08
Since when is Wesley So a American?

He is a Philippine citizen who is playing for the American Chess Federation.
Wesley So have still his original passport. He have no US passport.

Chessbase, please do not write false statements!
yesenadam yesenadam 8/9/2016 11:10
"In spite of a round with only draws, always a disappointing tally for spectators and players alike, the round was hardly denuded of interest. We are past the phase of ‘grandmaster draws’ at the elite stage, and all the top players can be counted on for a good fight or at least attempt.

One of the quickest games of the day was between Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana, but was not a little intriguing: the reason was the opening. A very rare guest at the top level, Caruana played the Benoni as Black,.."

Sorry, but this is awful English. Every sentence has major problems. I gave up at that point. (Several other writers on here don't do much better)
algorithmy algorithmy 8/9/2016 09:28
a tournament without the world champion is not a tournament!
GregEs GregEs 8/9/2016 08:12
Round 5 will prove who is stronger in World Top 10 Live Rankings, Anand or So? It will also prove who will win this tournament. This will be an exciting battle later.
geraldsky geraldsky 8/9/2016 01:12
waiting for Nakamura - Aronian Game
1