Round 5: Anand wins the classical section

by Marc Lang

In today's round, the players had the last chance to fight for a doubled price - a win in the classical games was worth two points and in tomorrow's rapid tournament only one. As both results are added together in order to determine the overall winner, especially the players that are not known as rapid specialists were more or less obliged to take a few risks.

The first game to end was Nakamura - Aronian that saw once again why the so-called Berlin Defense has also "The Berlin Wall" as a nickname. Although Nakamura played a new move already at move 6, he didn't manage to emerge out of the opening with an advantage and as the rest of the game went on without any clashes or complications, a draw was agreed on move 44 in a totally equal pawn ending.

Meanwhile, Caruana tried his best to win his first game of the tournament. Playing Vladimir Kramnik with white, who had drawn all of his games so far, he opted for a seemingly quiet Italian opening that soon came to life after Caruana pushed first his pawns on the queen's wing and then in the center. Kramnik, however, placed his pieces on very active squares and maintained the balance with a temporary pawn sacrifice that ultimately lead to a drawn rook ending.

More excitement was granted by Karjakin - Anand, where the tournament's leader had the chance to widen the gap to his pursuers. In an English Opening, both players followed a less common, but solid line which Karjakin played in a somewhat passiv way. Nevertheless, just when Anand's pieces threatened to become to active, the Russian went for simplifications and steered the game in an equal endgame that was soon agreed drawn.

So before tomorrow's rapid games, Anand is leading with 7 points, a full point ahead of Nakamura with 6, but the American is well-known for his rapid and blitz skills and even Kramnik (5 points) has still some chances if he performs well tomorrow.

Remember: All classical games count as double (a win is 2 points, a draw 1) while the rapid results are included only with 1 point for a win and 0.5 for a draw.

Rapid games start tomorrow at 13:00 CET, with a new round beginning at every full hour.

Crosstable Classical
Rk
Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
Pt
SB
1
Anand, Viswanathan
**
2
1
1
1
2
7.0
16.50
2
Nakamura, Hikaru
0
**
1
2
2
1
6.0
12.50
3
Kramnik, Vladimir
1
1
**
1
1
1
5.0
12.50
4
Karjakin, Sergey
1
0
1
**
1
1
4.0
10.00
5
Caruana, Fabiano
1
0
1
1
**
1
4.0
10.00
6
Aronian, Levon
0
1
1
1
1
**
4.0
9.50

Today's results:
Round 5 - Wed. February 18th
Caruana, Fabiano
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
1:1
Nakamura, Hikaru
-
Aronian, Levon
1:1
Karjakin, Sergey
-
Anand, Viswanathan
1:1


Round 5: Showdown!

Round 5 starts today at 15:00 with these pairings

Nakamura - Aronian
Whenever Nakamuara and Aronian played each other, the one having the white pieces was a huge favorite - so far, both managed to win only one game with black while losing 4 (Aronian) and even 9 respectively (Nakamura). So, with Nakamura playing on the "good" side today, we may expect him to try to continue his streak and thus trying to catch up with Vishy Anand.

Caruana - Kramnik
The Italien urgently needs a win in order to lift himself up to 50% before tomorrow's rapid games, but his opponent is very tough to crack and until now, more than 75% of their previous duels ended with a draw. On the other hand, Kramnik has not yet managed to beat Caruana with black while the Italian scrored two wins.

Karjakin - Anand
It has not been Karjakin's tournament so far - only 1 out of 5 in the preliminary Blitz and now down to -1 before the last round...the Russian definitely needs a win to improve not only his tournament position, but also his frame of mind. However, his last round's opponent is no-one less than the unfeated leader Viswanathan Anand, who has played brilliantly so far and who has not lost to Karjakin with the black pieces yet.

As usual, we will have the games broadcasted with live German, English and Russian commentary on our live page. To choose the language, click on the flag below the video stream on the right.

 

Crosstable Classical
Rk
Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
Pt
SB
1
Anand, Viswanathan
**
2
1
1
1
2
7.0
16.50
2
Nakamura, Hikaru
0
**
1
2
2
1
6.0
12.50
3
Kramnik, Vladimir
1
1
**
1
1
1
5.0
12.50
4
Karjakin, Sergey
1
0
1
**
1
1
4.0
10.00
5
Caruana, Fabiano
1
0
1
1
**
1
4.0
10.00
6
Aronian, Levon
0
1
1
1
1
**
4.0
9.50


Zurich Rd4: Anand topples Nakamura, now leads!



Detailed analysis of the games on chessbase.com

by Alejandro Ramirez

Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ Karjakin, Sergey

A rather odd opening choice from Kramnik, as after a very, very unusual transposition the players reached a variation of the 3.g3 Paulsen Sicilian, one in which Black was up a tempo as he did not have to waste time going e7-e6 and only then e6-e5.

Black did not experience any serious difficulties from the opening. He was able to equalize comfortably with his break on d5, and even though White had aggressively expanded on the kingside his attack there was halted and Kramnik had to be careful not to over-extend his position as his king did not have the pawn cover to protect him anymore.

After a series of trades down the e-file and the simplification of most of the queenside the players reached time control. Black was active, but he had no targets while White's king was too weak for his pieces to leave him undefended. Since neither side could make progress the draw was agreed.

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Nakamura, Hikaru

The same battleground in which Anand obtained his sole victory against Carlsen in last year's World Championship match. There was a significant twist to it as Nakamura chose to eliminate the f4 bishop as soon as possible, but the ideas of the position were similar: White's space advantage guaranteed him good chances on the queenside, While Black hoped to hold down the position in that flank, not having to worry with the locked up kingside and center.

Nakamura might have played too passively today. His decision to trade the knights on e5 and pull back with the bishop to g7 left him basically down a piece in the important queenside battle. Anand took full advantage of the situation, penetrating first with his major pieces and then bringing his knight to finish off the attack. Nakamura tried to lash out in the kingside with g5, but was quickly stopped by a nice sequence by Anand, forcing the American to close down the kingside again! With that battleground closed the immense pressure from White's pieces on the queenside proved too much; Nakamura's position simply collapsed.

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano

What a traditional battleground! The Lasker variation of the Queen's Gambit Decline has been around, well, since Lasker's time! The variations have received a complete re-do recently as White has found new ways of creating pressure, some which involve very creative kingside attacks.

Today’s game was much more positional than that. Aronian tried to prove that his queenside pressure was sufficient for the advantage, while Caruana turtled inside his solid pawn structure and hoped that his lack of weaknesses would allow him to have enough time to finish his development.

Even though these positions are always more pleasant for White, they are extremely difficult to crack. Aronian was unable to put real pressure on his opponent's position. After the Italian was able to exchange knights it was clear that White's edge had evaporated and the draw was agreed.

Today's games


Round 4: India strikes back!

by Marc Lang

In round 4, the unbeaten leaders of the tournament finally met: Anand played Nakamura, whom he had never beaten before in classical games. So the question was, if this series continued or if the indian player could defeat his personal nemesis for the first time to take over the lead before tomorrow's final round.

So Anand - Nakamura certainly was destined to be the game of the day and this is what it turned out to be. Starting with a calm Bf4 Queen's Gambit, Anand played a novelty at move 15 by moving his king instead of taking immediate actions. Later, Nakamura could have changed his queen for two white rooks, but refrained from doing so. The post-mortem analysis showed, however, that this had been his chance to change the course of the game to his favor. Instead, the American played too passively and found himself in a heavy-piece ending with Anand's heavy pieces and knight being much more active than Nakamura's rooks, queen and bishop. Black tried one last desperate attack on the white king, but Anand kept his cool and in the end it was him who delivered mate.

Aronian - Caruana was a highly theoretical duel in the so-called "Lasker Defence" of the Queen's Gambit, which has he reputation of being a rather drawish opening - and the game could by no means refute this. Aronian tried to put some pressure on the Italian's position, but the evaluation of the position never really swung to either player's favor. In a completely equal endgame with two rooks and a bishop for both sides, a draw was finally agreed

Today's longest game was the Russian duel Kramnik - Karjakin that started with an opening called the "King's Indian reversed", a calm choice that promises a long, mainly strategic battle that was considered to favor Kramnik. However, after Karjakin had played a bit passively, Kramnik somehow overstretched his position and suddenly had to defend a worse position. Karjakin kept pressing, but the former World Champion Kramnik defended with his usual coolness and in the end a draw was agreed here, too.

One round before the end of the classical tournament, Anand is back on top with 6 points, followed by Nakamura with 5 and Kramnik with 4. Karjakin, Caruana and Aronian share 4th to 6th place with 3 points each.

Classical after Round 4
Rk
Name
ELO
Pts
SB
1.
Anand, Viswanathan (IND)
2797
7.0
16.5
2.
Nakamura, Hikaru (USA)
2776
6.0
12.5
3.
Kramnik, Vladimir (RUS)
2783
5.0
12.5
4.
Karjakin, Sergey (RUS)
2760
4.0
10.0
 
Caruana, Fabiano (ITA)
2811
4.0
10.0
6.
Aronian, Levon (ARM)
2777
4.0
9.5


Today's results:
Round 4 -  Tue February 17th
Kramnik, Vladimir
-
Karjakin, Sergey
1:1
Anand, Viswanathan
-
Nakamura, Hikaru
2:0
Aronian, Levon
-
Caruana, Fabiano
1:1

Tomorrow's parings:
Round 5 - Wed February 18th
Caruana, Fabiano
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
1:1
Nakamura, Hikaru
-
Aronian, Levon
1:1
Karjakin, Sergey
-
Anand, Viswanathan
1:1


Round 4 starts today at 15:00 with these pairings

Anand - Nakamura
THE duel of the day is, of course, the clash of the leaders: Will Anand be able to beat Nakamura in order to put himself in 1st place again? Or will the American, after having surpassed the 2800 barrier in the ELO live listing with his win over Karjakin yesterday, score his 5th(!) win over Anand with the black pieces (compared to Anand's zero so far) to practically secure his victory in the Classical section ahead of schedule?

Kramnik - Karjakin
The Russian duel's theme will be about who can catch the last train to the upper part of the table before the last round. The statistics are slightly in Kramnik's favor - so far, Karjakin has not beaten him with black. We'll see if this continues.

Aronian - Caruana
The "cellar match": Both players find themselves at the bottom of the table with more than half of the tournament over. Both urgently need a win in order to get at least an equal score before the rapid matches.

As usual, we will have the games broadcasted with live German, English and Russian commentary on our live page. To choose the language, click on the flag below the video stream on the right.

 

Crosstable Classical
Rk
Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
Pt
SB
1
Anand, Viswanathan
**
2
1
1
1
2
7.0
16.50
2
Nakamura, Hikaru
0
**
1
2
2
1
6.0
12.50
3
Kramnik, Vladimir
1
1
**
1
1
1
5.0
12.50
4
Karjakin, Sergey
1
0
1
**
1
1
4.0
10.00
5
Caruana, Fabiano
1
0
1
1
**
1
4.0
10.00
6
Aronian, Levon
0
1
1
1
1
**
4.0
9.50