Sinquefield Rd5: Topalov takes lead midway

by Albert Silver
8/10/2016 – A topsy-turvy round started with belliggerent intentions on all boards, but as the round progressed, it began to seem as if we would have another full set of draws. Anand and So played out a striking novelty well past theory and prepared by both, so that in the end, the draw was just. Caruana managed to outfox MVL in the opening and middlegame, but right at the finish line he faltered and let the Frenchman escape. Finally, Topalov took the least obvious route possible to beat Ding and become the leader. Illustrated report with GM analysis.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

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 Five - Wednesday, August 9, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Wesley So
2771
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Ding Liren
2755
Peter Svidler
2751
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Fabiano Caruana
2807
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819

Round five

All photos by Lennart Ootes from official site

The fifth round threatened to be a repeat of rounds three and four, with hard-fought games, chances for wins, but only draws to show for them. Mind you, this was absolutely contrary to the way they started or how they even progressed.

The first standout game, and quickest to end, was between five-time World Champion Vishy Anand and Wesley So. Anand played a Giuoco Piano, or Italian game, for which So came well prepared, opting for a move and line that only very recently first saw the light of day.

The fascinating try of 9…Ne7! leads to a Marshall Gambit sort of position in Anand’s words, and though White is up a pawn, it is worth a fraction of a pawn at best.

Wesley So said he had first prepared this for a game against Anish Giri in Bilbao this year, but the first time this was actually played on the board was by Norwegian GM Jon Hammer in the French Top 12 League in May. That said, Vishy had also studied it in detail, and both rattled off the moves quite quickly, leading to a position that was quite equal in spite of the initial material balance, and it soon simplified into a draw.

Wesley So played a new line on the circuit that he and other grandmasters seem to have been preparing for some time

Vishy Anand - Wesley So

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.09"] [Round "5"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2770"] [BlackElo "2771"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. e4 {(4s)} e5 {(5s)} 2. Nf3 {(9s)} Nc6 {(6s)} 3. Bc4 {(10s)} Bc5 {(8s)} 4. O-O {(29s)} Nf6 {(5s)} 5. d3 {(6s)} O-O {(5s)} 6. c3 {(8s)} d5 {(4s)} 7. exd5 { (11s)} Nxd5 {(6s)} 8. a4 {(14s)} Nb6 {(12s)} 9. Bb5 {[#] (78s)} Ne7 $1 { (6s) This was first played by Norwegian GM Jon Hammer in May this year in the French Top 12 League.} 10. a5 {(86s)} c6 {(5s)} 11. axb6 {(78s)} cxb5 {(4s)} 12. Rxa7 {(10s)} Rxa7 {( 6s)} 13. bxa7 {(7s)} Bxa7 {(3s)} 14. Nxe5 Bf5 {(10s)} 15. Re1 {(965s)} (15. Be3 Bb8 16. d4 Ng6 17. Nxg6 hxg6 18. Nd2 Qd6 19. g3 Qd5 20. Re1 Re8 21. Bf4 Rxe1+ 22. Qxe1 Bxf4 23. gxf4 b4 {1/2-1/2 (77) Milliet,S (2346)-Hammer,J (2689) Drancy 2016}) 15... Bb8 $1 {(17s) Anand said that this was more precise than what he himself had prepared in this line, and praised the idea of 15...Bb8! followed by ...b4 and ...Qd5.} 16. Na3 {(169s)} b4 { (417s)} 17. cxb4 {(31s)} Qd5 {(7s)} 18. Nec4 {(804s)} Bxd3 {(1016s)} 19. Rxe7 { (383s)} Bxc4 {( 6s)} 20. Qxd5 {(54s)} Bxd5 {(5s)} 21. Rd7 {(178s)} Bc6 {(63s)} 22. Rd1 {(10s)} Ba4 {(300s)} 23. Rd3 {(38s)} Bc7 {(104s)} 24. b3 {(97s)} Bc6 { (5s)} 25. f3 {(84s)} Rd8 {(27s)} 26. Rxd8+ {(16s)} Bxd8 {(4s)} 27. b5 {(14s)} Bd7 {(40s)} 28. Kf2 {(57s)} Be7 {(14s)} 29. Ke2 {(17s)} Bxa3 {(4s)} 30. Bxa3 { (6s)} Bxb5+ 1/2-1/2

Anand was ready for it, but could not find a way to wrest an advantage

Another game that promised to conclude in a win was the game by Fabiano Caruana against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. After his 19th move, MVL went to the confession box, a form of live commentary by the player during the game that remains hidden from the rival while heard by the live commentators and audience. In it he commented his last move had been highly committal and he suspected he had made a do-or-die move that would most likely decide things one way or the other very soon.

Fabiano Caruana got a winning position against MVL, but let it slip away

While quite correct in his assessment, the position’s evaluation didn’t really waver from the slight plus for white according to the engine, until the serious mistake 25…Qh5? left him lost. This seemed to ensure the game would lead to the day’s first decisive result, but a series of slips by Caruana allowed MVL to escape with half the point.

Fabiano Caruana - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

[Event "4th Sinquefield Cup 2016"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2016.08.09"] [Round "5"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B54"] [WhiteElo "2807"] [BlackElo "2819"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] [TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"] 1. e4 {(3s)} c5 {(4s)} 2. Nf3 {(4s)} d6 {(3s)} 3. d4 {(5s)} cxd4 {(4s)} 4. Nxd4 {(5s)} Nf6 {(5s)} 5. f3 {(6s)} Nc6 {(142s)} 6. Nc3 {(45s)} e5 {(16s)} 7. Nb3 { (5s)} Be7 {(28s)} 8. Be3 {(11s)} Be6 {(138s)} 9. Nd5 {(161s)} Bxd5 {(144s)} 10. exd5 {(5s)} Nb4 {(6s)} 11. c4 {(134s)} a5 {(134s)} 12. Be2 {(686s)} Na6 {(720s) } 13. Nd2 {(1066s)} O-O {(293s)} 14. Nb1 {(183s)} Nd7 {(240s)} 15. Qd2 {(159s)} f5 {( 204s)} 16. Nc3 {(62s)} Bh4+ {(1021s)} 17. g3 {(16s)} f4 {(5s)} 18. Bf2 { (52s)} Bg5 {(6s)} 19. Qc2 {( 354s)} Nac5 {(1002s)} 20. Kf1 {(1407s)} Qe8 { (320s)} 21. Re1 {(782s)} e4 {(206s)} 22. Bxc5 {(173s)} Nxc5 {(205s)} 23. Nxe4 { (46s)} Nxe4 {(11s)} 24. Bd3 {(28s)} fxg3 {(324s)} 25. Bxe4 {[#] (17s)} Qh5 $2 { ( 630s)} ({Black need to play} 25... g2+ {first} 26. Kxg2 {before playing} Qh5 {after which he would be relatively fine.}) 26. Kg2 $1 {(260s)} gxh2 {(4s)} 27. Rxh2 {(15s)} Bh4 {(4s)} 28. Bxh7+ {(95s)} Kh8 {(5s)} 29. Be4 {(294s)} Rf4 { (59s)} 30. Kh1 {(320s) and now Black is in seriousn trouble.} Qe5 {(158s)} 31. Rg1 {(56s)} (31. c5 {was strongest here. The Bh4 is pinned and this would free the way for White's central pawns.} dxc5 32. Qxc5 Rd8 33. Qb6 Rxd5 34. Qf2 $1 { The point is that after Rxd5 has been played, Black suddenly finds himself with the bishop on h4 attacked, and if the queen comes to its rescue, the rook is hanging on d5.} Rd6 35. Bg6 {and} Qxe1+ 36. Qxe1 {is forced due to the back rank threats.}) 31... g5 {(45s)} 32. Qc3 $2 {(366s)} ({Again} 32. c5 {would do the job.}) 32... Qxc3 {(12s)} 33. bxc3 {(3s)} Kg7 {(5s)} 34. Rb1 {(101s)} Rf7 { (176s)} 35. Rb6 {(77s)} Ra6 {(221s)} 36. Rhb2 $2 {(81s)} ({White really needed to keep the rooks on the board to avoid the increase in drawishness due to the opposite-colored bishops.} 36. Rb5) 36... Rxb6 {(7s)} 37. Rxb6 {(3s)} Bf2 { (102s)} 38. Rxd6 {(77s)} Rf6 $1 {(4s) White cannot avoid the exchange of the rooks and thus the dreaded opposite-colored bishop ending is inevitable.} 39. Rd8 {(17 s)} Rf8 {(4s)} 40. Rd6 {(0s)} Rf6 {(0s)} 41. Rd8 {(84s)} Rf8 {(0s)} 42. Rxf8 {(3s)} Kxf8 {(0s)} 43. d6 {(16s)} Bc5 {(136s)} 44. d7 {(14s)} Ke7 { (4s)} 45. Bf5 {(16s)} Be3 {(50s)} 46. Kg2 {(7s)} Bd2 {(114s)} 47. Kf2 {(37s)} 1/2-1/2

Peter Svidler and Hikaru Nakamura played a strong game that seemed better for Svidler but eventually drew

The final game of the day to end, and also one of the tensest, was between Veselin Topalov and Ding Liren. Topalov slowly outplayed his opponent to reach a winning position, but suddenly, in spite of two full extra pawns, things became very challenging to convert.

Ding Liren had managed to reach a drawn position, but missed his chance

Veselin Topalov - Ding Liren (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Veselin Topalov is the leader of the 2016 Sinquefield Cup after five rounds

With this win, Topalov takes the lead in the Sinquefield Cup with 3.5/5 after the first half, followed by So, Anand, and Aronian, all on 3.0/5. Wednesday is a rest day, with play resuming Thursday, August 11. Be sure not to miss it!

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 five

Select games from the games list below the board

Standings after five rounds

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

Schedule

Day Date Time Event
Playchess commentary
German
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 - Sunday, 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 - Monday, 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 - Tuesday, August 9, 1pm
Name
Rtg
Res.
Name
Rtg
Anish Giri
2769
½-½
Levon Aronian
2784
Viswanathan Anand
2770
½-½
Wesley So
2771
Veselin Topalov
2761
1-0
Ding Liren
2755
Peter Svidler
2751
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura
2791
Fabiano Caruana
2807
½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrave
2819
Round Six - Thursday, 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 - Friday, 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 - Saturday, 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 - Sunday, 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


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 8/10/2016 09:08
Only one decisive game in the last 15 played. Let's hope that things heat up after the break.

And go Topy! Nice guy, incredible talent.
Aighearach Aighearach 8/10/2016 08:40
@Rama: You can absolutely say that Topolov's title wasn't legitimate, because there was a legitimate World Champion already holding the title at that time. You're right that you can't say his _FIDE_ title wasn't legitimate; he was absolutely FIDE Champion. The normal point of debate is that he wasn't World Champion of Chess.

Had the title World Champion been legitimately vacant, that would have counted. But it wasn't, which is proven by the unification match that followed.

If people were arguing about his "FIDE title," there never would have been an argument. He won that tournament in one of the best performances ever. Nobody questions that.

It is almost clever to bring up the controversy, but then only actually state the part that isn't controversial. You can backpedal right from where you're standing that way!
Bertman Bertman 8/10/2016 05:27
@KrushonIrina

Thanks, the days in the pairings have been fixed.
kiathong kiathong 8/10/2016 05:06
Quick, quality reporting!
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 8/10/2016 04:18
Actually, I mean the pairings. The problem seems to be that you have the wrong days of the week corresponding to the dates.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 8/10/2016 04:10
dates are all wrong on the round schedule above. Today, August 10, is the rest day.
GregEs GregEs 8/10/2016 09:21
As usual this is a great report of Sinquefield tournament, including the GM analysis.
Rama Rama 8/10/2016 03:10
Unlike the other FIDE champions who won the title through a tournament, Topalov also captured the #1 rating spot at that time and so was briefly the World's strongest active player. Any GM who did not boycott the tournament can not say that his title was not legitimate.
1