Home Chess News Magnus Carlsen closer to his second Grenke title

Magnus Carlsen closer to his second Grenke title

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Magnus Carlsen one step away from his second Grenke title

Fabiano Caruana defeated local star Georg Meier in round 8.  Fabiano now retains a slim chance of catching the tournament leader, Magnus Carlsen. It would, however, require Caruana to win his game and Carlsen to lose his game against Maxime Vachier.

Peter Svidler v Magnus Carlsen

Peter Svidler against Magnus Carlsen. Photo credit Georgios Souleidis.
Peter Svidler against Magnus Carlsen. Photo credit Georgios Souleidis.

The World Champion had another short day at the office as he won with the Black pieces against Peter Svidler in merely 33 moves.  Svidler had tried to sidestep Carlsen’s Sveshnikov preparation with 3.Nc3.  Carlsen played ambitiously out of the opening, thrusting forward his ‘f’ pawn on the 13th move. In the sharp middle game that ensued, Svidler missed a trick Carlsen had up his sleeve on the 20th move and soon stood worse.  Carlsen was quick to plant a knight on the e3 square and soon won the game with a decisive attack on the White King.

Peter Svidler v Magnus Carlsen

Georg Meier v Fabiano Caruana

Caruana’s game was similar to Carlsen’s in some respect. Caruana’s opponent, Georg Meier, also tried to avoid a Sveshnikov with the 3.Bb5 line of the Sicilian. Meier went on to uncork a novelty on his 11th move, but Caruana had his surprise in stock with a pawn sacrifice.

Meier missed a great chance in the tactical battle of sealing the game in his favour. On his 26th move, engines screamed an advantage for White as he could have sacrificed his Rook on the g6 square. The computers spurted complicated lines that gave White the lead. Meier’s 26.Rgd1 restored Caruana’s advantage in the game.

Meier made a critical error when he played 33.h5 allowing Black to close the kingside with 33…g5.  Meier’s position looked seriously worse, and a blunder on the 44th move lost him some material.

Georg Meier v Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana in action. Photo credit Georgios Souleidis.
Fabiano Caruana in action. Photo credit Georgios Souleidis.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave v Vincent Keymer

MVL in the 3rd decisive game was very impressed by his young opponent, Vincent KeymerMaxime with the White pieces went into unchartered waters very early in the game in the Alapin variation of the Sicilian. Vincent’s queen had penetrated the d3 square in the game. Maxime swung his Rook all around the board, not only driving her majesty off but also generating threats on the kingside.

For a long time, Vincent had managed to hold ground successfully but soon time trouble loomed.  Keymer erred on his 37th move and let White’s heavy pieces come flooding into his position. Maxime was quick to win a couple of pawns and force resignation after this.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave v Vincent Keymer

Other games

The other two games of the round ended peacefully. Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand played a solid variation of the Anti-Berlin in which the game remained balanced all the way through.

Francisco Vallejo Pons versus Arkadij Naiditsch was a draw as well. The two had played a rare variation of the Queen’s Gambit. Vallejo, with the White pieces, oscillated between being better and equal for a large part of the game before gaining a two pawn advantage. The pawns, however, were split, with Naiditsch’ having the more active pieces. Naiditsch managed to save a half point by giving up his extra piece for the last White pawn.

The final round of the tournament will take place on 29th April 2019 at 15:00 CEST.

Links

Grenke Classic website.

Round 7 report on Grenke Classic.