London Chess Classic 2016 – Round 2

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WESLEY SO BREAKS 2800 WHILE ADAMS AND TOPALOV START WITH SHORT CASTLES

London chess classic – Round 2 continued to treat the spectators with majority of the decisive games. And once again it was a THREEPEAT from the day before, since three games out of five finished with less friendly variation of the handshake and the words “I resign“.

It was a rather happy day for Wesley So, since he become the 12th player in the history to break the mythical 2800 barrier (source : Chess.com). However, in Croatia there is a saying that “When it darkens for someone, it lightens up for someone else“. And Wesley so’s luck was polarised by the tournament start of the Topalov and Adams. Because zero points out of two games allowed me to write the joke from the title.

Because, you know… 0-0.. okay, never mind

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Both players have had better chess moments

It has to be said that compared to the Carlsen – Karjakin match, the quality of the play in this tournament is somewhat lacking. Most probably it is due to character of match play, which allows much better preparation, and where players usually take less risks. Since every loss is much more costly in match compared to tournament play.

In the remainder of the post we will briefly examine every game from the round. Finally, the detailed analysis of the Topalov – Caruana clash is provided. Because the tactical complexity and variations are extremely interesting and beautiful and there was alot to analyse.

Hint: Click on any move and the pop-up board will appear

WESLEY SO – MICHAEL ADAMS

Wesley So has really had a stellar 2016 year and this tournament seems to be a climax so far. Because after winning the Sinquefield Cup 2016 and the Gold Medal at the Chess Olympiad, he has accomplished another feat, by breaking the 2800 line with his live elo rating.

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There is much reason for So to be smiling right now

The game with Adams started with the Catalan opening, which Wesley has been using very often recently, and with good results. This time also he obtained slightly more comfortable position with his bishop pair against a bishop and a knight.

However, with his queenside pawns divided it seemed that bishop pair alone shouldn’t be enough to win the game. But little by little he played on and built up his advantage and set Adams some problems, untillthe later blundered heavily with 5 minutes left on his clock.

Therefore, it was not a real smooth sail by Wesley as described by Chess.Com, but he has always had a nice edge in his hands and was playing with a draw in his hand.

VISWANATHAN ANAND – MAXIME VACHIER LAGRAVE

The three-names Frenchman has been considered the worlds’ greates expert in the Sicilian Najdorf.

However, after obtaining nothing yesterday as White against Giri his reputation was somewhat shaken.

And today he lost to the evergreen “Tiger from Madras” who carved another hole in the MVL’s Sicilian Najdorf reperotire.

I wonder, if he ever switches to Sicilian Dragon, will we be allowed to call his Black games, the three headed Dragon.

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The good old times of Yugi Oh Cards..

In the game, Anand seemed excellently prepared as always. On the move 11 MVL refrained from the typical Rxc3 Sicilian sacrifice that many commentators were demanding. Anand said that positions arising after that sacrifice : “Aren’t unkown to him”

However, refraining from the sacrifice didn’t bring MVL many benefits as Anand came out clearly better out of the opening.  But the accuracy on the move 21 practically forced him to sacrifice the exchange, leading to a materialy unbalanced, but equal endgame.

Unfortunatelly for French fans, MVL was the one to make the last mistake, as he went with the “full greed mode” and captured the c2 pawn. It was a fatal error and Anand exploited it in a very nice tactical way. Make sure to check the final combination as it is very very pretty.

VLADIMIR KRAMNIK – LEVON ARONIAN

Kramnik played the White pieces for the second time in a row, and he repeated the opening from the day before. Levon chose the solid Queengambit-like set-up and offered to transpose into Catalan. Kramnik avoided the Catalan with b3, and another transpotion to some sort of Queen’s Indian hybrid followed. The position was rather symmetrical and draw was expected all along. There were some tactical escapades along the way, but the result was never in any real doubt.

ANISH GIRI – HIKARU NAKAMURA

The familiar story from the Giri’s games continues. In his game against Nakamura he once again obtained a position with a clear positional edge. Furthermore, Naka had no active plans and no counterplay, and could  therefore just defend passively.

Unfortunatelly, similarly as in Candidates tournament, Giri couldn’t just find that winning plan and the winning idea. His decision to open up the position with a5 allowed counterplay along the b-file, and in the end, when the threefold repetition occured, he might even be slightly worse.

VESELIN TOPALOV – FABIANO CARUANA

The feelings are very mixed about this game.

Because simultaneously it was the game of a lesser quality and of a great excitement.

The players made a great deal of mistakes, but the variations they missed with a little time on their clock are really very deep and highly tactical.

Caruana was apparently very lucky in the end, but I guess he won’t be complaining alot.

It was great pleasure to analyze the game and discover all the intricacies, so without further ado, the analysis can be found below.

 

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