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.
The tournament in Bilbao has about the worst lineup that one could ever imagine. Carlsen and Karjakin can’t play their main openings, Giri and Wei Yi are both Drawmeisters, So is a classical Bumhunter, but there are no bums in the field, which basically leaves it to Nakamura to grab the money.
Vacation is over and the Drawmeisters are back at work shuffling pieces around for no purpose other than stealing rating points. This time Pono shows us a simple way to tame Kramnik’s already rather tame Semi-Trash Variation: Push a4-a5 and liquidate the queenside!
After the unfortunate experience in the Najdorf, our hero chose the much safer 1.d4 and managed to kill the position in his usual style.
Taking a look at the position after gxf3 as a winning attempt was inspired by the following classic and one of my favorite games. Since Leko never had the chance to seize the c-file like Botvinnik, his decision cannot be blamed though. After all we want to be fair, don’t we?
Things don’t look to good for our hero so far. He drew in the first round as expected, equalized with black in the second round and as a true gentleman he refused to beat a woman in the third round. In the fourth round he had to face the guy with the name that nobody can pronounce (Ne-pom-ni-she). I don’t know what went wrong with the preparation for this game, because Leko plays a novelity on move 15 and loses track immediately after a rather obvious reply that is among the top choices for every engine, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected. Basically it was a rare loss straight from the opening.
On a sidenote: Hou Yifan found a nice drawing mechanism against Chucky. It is neither forced up to that point nor are there any predecessors, so I assume that it was just an over the board creation.
I don’t know about you, but whenever Peter Leko plays a game, it feels like a major holiday to me. Ok, he played all the top computer moves and ended up a pawn down, so it wasn’t the typical draw that the fans would have expected. Still it all ended in a repetiton and who wants to argue with the master? We’re not worthy!
If you are searching for draws in the Qc2-Nimzo, you will find this model game by Khalifman, who was an absolutely brilliant player once, but became a Drawmeister at the later stage of his career.
If you check this game with engines, you will notice that 10… f6 is their top choice, so if you want to go for this line, you have to come up with an answer. Khodashenas came up with such an answer, but he was still in for a rough ride, because 19…Nf6 keeps it alive.
While the world elite is on vacation, we have to watch the second tier battle it out. To my surprise they do have a lot of decisive results and even the draws are mostly fought out, so there is not much left for me to report. Apparently these guys haven’t reached the level yet, where they get paid for just reproducing 25 moves of computer analysis before calling it a day. In the absence of anything better, here are some of short draws in well known lines: