For today’s episode, I chose a game from the 8th round of the Turkish Super League between two women that is probably some sort of match preparation, since both players followed the computer line all the way to the end.
There is also a game from the 6th round that is worth mentioning:
When Nakamura bursted into the scene he had one huge weakness and that were his openings. Over the years he made the transition and incorporated freerolls and forced draws into his repertoire. Just look up his win in the English against Karjakin and you know what I am talking about. In the following game Naka is willing to repeat an old line that dates back to the Kortchnoi-Karpov match in 1978. It looks like Karjakin smelled a rat and went for the forced draw.
Every once in a while you can see what happens, when engine-kids are on their own. In such cases the game usually ends very fast and things can become rather ugly. In the featured game, Wesley was obviously caught out of preparation in a static type of position, where dynamic resources simply don’t exist. The weird thing is that he refused to castle and instead tried everything he could to open up files against his own king. I bet the most difficult task for Carlsen in this game was to hide the grin on his face.
On a sidenote I should mention that I underestimated Carlsen in my predictions. Playing something other than his match openings doesn’t hurt him that much, because there are so many quiet systems to chose from, where he can make something out of nothing.