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The following game shows what happens when a mathematical approach based on static factors meets deep understanding. It was already too late when Giri found out that the evaluation of this position wasn’t 0.00. Carlsen shows how to beat an engine.

From Russia with stuttering

Karjakin and Fedoseev are the most obvious cases, but also Jakovenko and Morozevich have shown it from time to time.

Whenever something is happening, there is usually not one single clear cut explanation for it, instead there are a variety of possible explanations. Some are more likely, some are less likely. One of these possible explanations can be found >> here <<. How likely is it?

Note: I am not talking about possible doping, because using banned substances is only illegal if people don’t have a prescription for them.

Another strange defeat

We have already seen how Vitiugov managed to lose in 18 moves to Svidler by simply forgetting well known theory and backing it up with third-rate moves over the board. This time it was Svidler’s turn to lose without a fight to Karjakin’s second Mamedyarov. How did this happen? Svidler, who is usually a safe bet to draw with white against opponents with a similar rating in less than 25 moves, came up with a bad novelty on move 6 in a known position that instantly forced him to fight for equality. Mamedyarov found the computer-line up until move 17, and that was it. Easy game!

The good news is that this unexpected victory put Mamedyarov in the position to win the tournament. He will face Carlsen with white, while Giri has to hold Caruana with black. Svidler on the other hand can make the usual quick draw with his second Matlakov.

Carlsen can give piece odds, it seems

This game is quite remarkable, because not only does MC manage to swindle Jones, it is also important for theory. It discusses what I regard as the critical line of the whole system and it seems that Jones had prepared an important improvement over the line given in his book. I added some quick analysis by Stockfish, in which direction this may be heading.

The Equalizer from China

The cat is out of the bag. Now we know why the players from China are going for the early Bf5. Drummroll please for the variation that curtains the mainline of the Petroff:

The biggest advantage of the Petroff is that it not only dodges the discussion in the Berlin, it can also dodge the Italian, the Scotch and the Four-Knights, although black has to go slightly offbeat to do so.

Carlsen on the Winawer

The following game may or may not lead to another renaissance of the French Winawer, but this variation obviously got the stamp of approval from the World Champion, at least for one game against a known theoretician. For convenience I also added the known draws.

On a sidenote: Kramnik scored another full point against his former second Svidler, this time in 24 moves. For some very weird reason former seconds don’t seem to be able to cope with the pressure of meeting their former boss and fail to recall their home analysis, their playing strength, their resilience and pretty much everything else.

Angle Shooting in Chess

In this position Inarkiev gave check on e3 to which Carlsen replied with Kd3. Inarkiev immediately called the arbiter and claimed an illegal move by Carlsen and got awarded the win. This is the oldest trick in blitz and it shows how low it can get in professional sports these days. My deepest respect goes to Carlsen for staying calm, because I have already seen fights over unsportsmanlike behavior like that.

Here is the incident:

Source: Youtube

And here is the lucky winner talking about it with a grin on his face:

Source: Youtube

Finally the good news: The arbiters looked at the incident again and offered Inarkiev to continue the game from the final position. He declined to play on and got his well deserved zero. That’s an amazing turn-around and two thumbs up for the arbiters!

A lesson in tournament strategy

You can say a lot of things about Anand, but he never has a bad hair-day and he certainly knows how to play tournaments. It turned out that playing Stock Exchange Chess can be enough to win. Obviously it is easier said than done, but he certainly executed it to perfection.

Btw, has anyone seen Gelfand? I wonder why he didn’t participate.

And the Winner is….Svidler

This is why you shouldn’t bet on chess or maybe you should. Anyways, Volkov ends up in a lost position in his pet-line after 14 moves against Vitiugov and Svidler beats Malakhov in a totally one-sided affair. That led to a tiebreak between Svidler and his friend and second from the candidates Vitiugov. Svidler won the first game with black and then Vitiugov basically threw the second game. Surprisingly or not Svidler became the new Russian Champion, for the 8th time. Meanwhile Fedoseev and Dubov shared third place.

Here are the most memorable games:


Source: Youtube

Svidler beats the Fed

Going into this round Fed was the sole leader with seven points. Svidler was one point behind and his buddy Vitiugov even had a chance to take the lead if he beats Dubov and Svidler wins. So basically Svidler had every reason to play a complicated game. The only problem is that this is incompatible with his free-roll style. Playing unclear positions where he doesn’t have a forced draw in his back-pocket is simply not part of his repertoire. Obviously that’s only half of the story, because the Fed self-destructs in this game for absolutely no reason. Svidler didn’t win the game, Fedoseev lost it. Maybe losing in rounds 6 and 7 had something to do with this.

Play it safe!