2013 Sinquefield Cup: Round #4

2013 Sinquefield Cup
September 9th-15th, 2013 (St. Louis, USA)
Round #4 – Friday, 13 September 2013
1 Kamsky, G
USA
0-1
Carlsen, M
NOR
2 Aronian, L
ARM
1-0
Nakamura, H
USA
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 |
Official Site

The Sinquefield participants were introduced at Busch Stadium in what granted chess players worldwide positive exposure. Maurice Ashley and Hikaru Nakamura had to be commentators to teach many the rules of baseball, but a great time was had despite the local St. Louis Cardinals loss.

After a relaxing rest day, it was back to work.

Round Four action… let’s get ready to rumble!
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Today saw two interesting matchups… Levon Aronian would try to avenge a first-round loss to Hikaru Nakamura. One question was whether Nakamura would wear the sunglasses. In fact, as Nakamura walked into the room to take his seat, Gata Kamsky peered over and said, “No sunglasses?” It brought laughter and relieved some of the tension in the playing hall.

Nakamura (sans sunglasses) speaks about his game against Aronian. The American lost the thread on the position, but was candid in his responses. Tomorrow is another epic matchup against Carlsen. Photo by Dirk Jan ten Geuzedem.

Aronian played the unusual 5.h3!? and Nakamura employed a Benko-like after 5…O-O 6. Bg5 c5 7. d5 a6 8. Bd3 b5!? However, GM Alejandro Ramirez, a Benko connesseiur and author of two ChessBase DVDs on the Benko, stated that perhaps Nakamura didn’t have a true feel for such positions. In fact, white was able to stifle queenside play and then attack on the kingside with 20.h4 c4 21.h5.

Ultimately, the pressure became too great and Nakamura decided to sacrifice a piece for a couple of pawns. However, he promptly lost one back and Aronian began to tighten the screws on the position after 45.g3 fxg3 46.f4 Bxh5 47.Kg2. Nakamura was still fighting, but like a pack of hyenas on its prey, Aronian maintained his stifling grip. Despite a couple of inaccuracies by white, black had a few of his own and soon ran out of moves. The suffering was over.

Gata Kamsky has been in a bad way the entire tournament and would try to break out of his bad form with a win. However, he tried one of the most insipid openings to accomplish this gargantuan feat. An Exchange Ruy was on the board and Kamsky soon showed that he did not understand its intricacies and dithered a bit with the positioning of his pieces. At this level, it is hard to bring many surprises. The game was theory for the first ten moves, but white’s pieces got tangled after the pawn grab 12. Nfxe5 Be2 13. Re3 Bxc4 14. Nxc4 Ng4! White’s pieces became a huddled mess.

Carlsen has grabbed the tournament lead going into his epic matchup with Nakamura. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

The pressure became unbearable, Kamsky decided to donate a pawn to free his position and actually had some chances to hold after Carlsen decided on a bishop ending instead of a rook ending. After further mistakes, Carlsen created passed pawns on both sides of the board and white could no longer resist. In the postgame interview, Carlsen was not pleased with his play and left quickly after being interviewed by Maurice Ashley. Imagine how Kamsky must have felt.

Tomorrow is a new day and the St. Louis Chess Club will be an absolute madhouse with the Nakamura-Carlsen matchup and first place at stake. Look for Nakamura to bring his fighting spirit into an Ali-Frazier epic bout.

Standings after Round 4

Magnus Carlsen 3
Hikaru Nakamura 2½, Levon Aronian 2, Gata Kamsky ½

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

3 Comments

  1. This grand mêlée, which is about to start between Nakamura and Magnus, couldn’t have happened at a better time and place. The suspense remains on whether or not we will see him in shades today. In any case, I hope he can put on a different show that will enthrall his fan for days to come. Although I admire the unique style and charisma of Magnus Carlsen, I will be behind the underdog. We want to see a good fight Naka, but don’t start it until it’s clear that you can finish it because Magnus is an unbelievably robust defender.

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