2015 Sinquefield Cup: Round #5

2015 Sinquefield Cup
August 23th – September 3rd, 2014 (St. Louis, USA)
Round #5 – Thursday, 27 August 2015
1 Topalov, V
Caruana, F
2 Aronian, L
Grischuk, A
3 Nakamura, H
Giri, A
4 Carlsen, M
So, W
5 Anand, V
Vachier-Lagrave, M
Official Site

Topalov falls… Carlsen surges to joint first!

Magnus pondering his next move... which was 44.c3.

Magnus pondering his next move… which was 44.c3.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Magnus Carlsen has rebounded after his first-round loss winning against Wesley So after a protracted struggle. Despite missing a rather trivial win, the world champion kept his composure and got a technical win in a rook ending. Meanwhile, So is struggling and sits on -2.

In this Be3 Najdorf, the game went along normal route until Carlsen tried a speculative move sacrificing a pawn for pressure on the white squares. He was able to maintain compensation and slowly developed an initiative on the kingside getting a pawn phanlanx of f4-g5-h6. Meanwhile, So’s king proved to be exposed and Carlsen started working on his advantage of the good knight versus bad bishop. The move 38.Nd8! was a gem, but Carlsen missed the winning 40.Nxc5! when black is losing by force.

After 41.Qg8+ Kd7 42.Qxh7+ white’s pawn on h6 has to constantly be watched which totally uncoordinated black’s forces. As black went over to stop the white pawn, Carlsen had a buffet to black’s other pawns. Despite missing better moves it was an impressive win indeed. Carlsen now shares the lead with Veselin Topalov who lost to Fabiano Caruana.

Intensity reigned at end of Round #5 with two decisive games.

Intensity reigned at end of Round #5 with two decisive games.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

In game where first-place and last-place were meeting, Topalov got very adventurous and sacrificed a rook for several pawns. However, some deft moves by Caruana forced a simplification and it was (as they say) a matter of technique.

All other games were drawn. Alexander Grischuk had a slight edge against Levon Aronian, but frittered it away in time pressure. Hikaru Nakamura, wearing a Motown baseball cap from his recent trip to Detroit, faced Anish Giri’s Taimanov and applied immense pressure. With Giri’s king wading in the center of the board, he conjured up enough resources to draw. Nakamura could not press for a win lest he risk getting mated in a number of ways. Anand-Vachier-Lagrave entered a Najdorf 6.Be2 variation where a middlegame skirmish produced nothing of consequence.

Full Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2015/08/22/2015-sinquefield-cup-st-louis-usa/

Standings after Round 5:

1st-2nd: Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, 3½; 3rd-4th: Veselin Topalov, Anish Giri, 3; 5th-6th: Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 2½; 7th-8th: Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Grischuk, 2; 9th-10th: Viswanathan Anand, Wesley So, 1½.

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