Berlin Endgame

While it may have looked like a brilliant concept by MVL in the Berlin, it was actually a novelty by Karjakin that led to this forced draw in the endgame where white has to be precise in order to hold.

Recent Draws in the Italian with a4

This shows how fast modern theory develops. Two days later they all come up with the same antidote: b7-b5! This works after white has castled, because taking twice on b5 can be answered with Bxf2+.

Recent wins in the Italian with a4

This line causes trouble for black, because neither the Berlin nor the Marshall Attack work against it. Note: After 13. Bc2, it’s pretty much a Ruy Lopez with a black bishop on a7 and the queenside restricted.

Hou is on first

This game is somewhat typical, because Moro is the favorite and supposed to play for a win. Hou plays a sideline, which seems to provide him with the opportunity, but things didn’t work out in the end. The piece sacrifice is actually the move with the highest engine evaluation, but the whole concept looks dubious to me. Black can defend with the same amount of pieces that white can attack with and I don’t see him grabbing two more pawns in order to restore material equality. Well, at least he managed to grab one.

Update: She also beat big guns like Navara and Bacrot to win the tournament. Nice!

No more soft playing

What is the point?

They arrange a 4-game-match between Grischuk (2761) und Yu (2753) with a price guarantee of 20.000 USD for the winner and 10.000 USD for the loser, fly Grischuk all the way to China, and then we see draws like this one:

If both players want to go to the tie-break anyways, why not simply start with it? You could even skip the rest day.

Nice try

What to do when you are facing a Drawmeister? Kramnik took a risk and deviated, but in the end there was no escape. That’s the reason why Carlsen plays sidelines and gives his opponent something like 0.20 pawn-units for free in order to get a live position.

Don’t bet on chess

When a Drawmeister meets a guy, who seems to believe that playing for a win against opponents of similar strength is pointless, everyone would expect a short game. It was a short game, but a decisive one.

I don’t know what happened to Svidler and I certainly can neither explain the sequence of bishop moves from f5 to e6 to d7 before trading it off anyways nor the reason behind putting pawns on g6 and e6. When Svidler lost without a fight in the past, it was usually against Kramnik, here it came as a total surprise.

Work-Life Balance

When you are +2 after 3 rounds, it’s time to take a few days off.

Geneva FIDE Grand Prix

After three rounds Radjabov has already won two games, which is surprising. Svidler on the other hand has already offered two draws after 20 moves, which reminds me of chopping the pot in Poker.

Play it safe!