chessbase india logo
Hindi News

 

 

Saint Louis Rapid day three: Aronian leads as we enter blitz

by Venkatachalam Saravanan - 17 August 2017

The Saint Louis leg of the Grand Chess Tour consists of nine rounds of rapid chess and eighteen rounds of blitz. On the third day of rapid where rounds 7, 8 and 9 were played Levon Aronian emerged as the sole leader with 6.0/9. He was followed by Nakamura and Caruana on 5.5/9. In our day three report from United States IM V. Saravanan takes us through the most interesting moments of the games and also brings to you a perfectly captured video of Kasparov's dejected expression after blundering big time against David Navara.

What is it that makes us cling to our past, those days of bygone glory even though we know from our hearts that ‘Old order changeth, yielding place to new?’ Is it our desire to live in those days when the world was sunny, our soul was young, and our favourites were not just liked but idolized? And what makes us cringe deep inside when those heroes appear once again on the stage only to be relegated to pale shadows in presence of brutal reality and destiny?

 Garry, Garry our hearts bleed for Thee | Photo: Spectrum Studios

Magnus Carlsen perhaps captured the mood of the day with a tweet of condolence and support for Garry Kasparov:

You read the tweet, and you feel sad for Garry, who had a victory slip through his fingers, and then warmth for Magnus Carlsen, for concern shown to his former teacher and the player whose shoes he seem to be determined to fill. Then you looked at the game, where Garry Kasparov played such energetic and admirable chess from the word go:

 

Kasparov - Navara, position after 8...h5:

 

Ever the champion, Garry uncorked 9.f5!? here, answering 9...exf5 with 10.g5 going for a complete assault with a pawn sacrifice. Then you realise that the words he uttered the previous day were indeed serious: “As promised I played more aggressively. I wanted big fight(s). I said I would entertain everybody. I am going to have fun!” Fun it definitely was, going to the extent of even compromising his pawn strcuture in front of the king:

 

Kasparov - Navara, position after 17.bxc3:

 

Unbelievable to observe the force with which Kasparov conducts the game, throwing caution to the winds and aiming for a complete fight! Building his position carefully and energetically, he reached a point where White’s advantage seemed overwhelming:

 

Kasparov - Navara, position after 33...Ke8:

 

34.Nd3?? [Garry suffers from time pressure, missing a certain win which he painstakingly built up all through the game] 34.e6 and it is even difficult to suggest a move for Black. And then came the final piece of misery:

 

Kasparov - Navara, position after 48...Ke7:

 

In a drawn position, believing for the win which didn’t exist anymore, Kasparov blundered: 49.Nc6?? Qxc6! 50.Qxc6 (50.Kxc6 is met with 50...Rc1+) 50...Rd6 and Kasparov resigned. 49.Qc5 could have ended in a draw for him.

[Event "Saint Louis Rapid 2017"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2017.08.16"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Black "Navara, David"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2812"]
[BlackElo "2737"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "100"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle "playchess.com"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3 e6 5. g4 Bg6 6. Nge2 c5 7. Be3 Ne7 8. f4 h5
{[#]} 9. f5 $5 exf5 10. g5 {Kasparov plays energetically here, going for a
complete assault with a pawn sacrifice} Nbc6 11. Nf4 a6 12. Bg2 cxd4 13. Bxd4
Nxd4 14. Qxd4 Nc6 15. Qf2 Bb4 16. O-O-O Bxc3 17. bxc3 {Unbelievable to observe
the force with which Kasparov conducts the game, throwing caution to the winds
and aiming for a complete fight!} Qa5 18. Rxd5 Qxc3 19. Qc5 Qxc5 20. Rxc5 O-O
21. Bxc6 bxc6 22. Rd1 Rab8 23. c4 Rfd8 24. Rd6 Kf8 25. Rcxc6 Rdc8 26. Kc2 h4
27. Rxc8+ Rxc8 28. Kc3 a5 29. Ra6 Rb8 30. Rxa5 Rb1 31. c5 Re1 32. Ra8+ Ke7 33.
Ra7+ Ke8 34. Nd3 $4 {Garry suffers from time pressure, missing a certain win
which he painstakingly built up all through the game} (34. e6 {and White is
completely winning here - difficult even to suggest moves for Black}) 34... Re3
35. Kd2 Rh3 36. c6 Rxh2+ 37. Ke3 Rc2 38. e6 h3 39. Nb4 f4+ 40. Kd4 h2 41. Ra8+
Ke7 42. Rh8 Rd2+ 43. Kc5 Be4 44. c7 Bb7 45. Kb6 Bc8 46. Rxc8 h1=Q 47. Re8+ Kxe8
48. c8=Q+ Ke7 49. Nc6+ $4 (49. Qc5+ Kxe6 50. Qc8+ Rd7 (50... Ke5 51. Qc3+) 51.
Qe8+ Re7 52. Qc8+ {with a draw}) 49... Qxc6+ 50. Qxc6 Rd6 0-1

Then you watch this video, about that particular point of the game when Kasparov blundered. One of those videos you start watching for the sake of entertainment, and then it transcends to feeling of sadness for Kasparov, as it registers his shock at realising the blunder. And then finally when he sadly smiles at his cruel fate in spite of so much bravery, your heart reaches out for him

Our friend Lennart Ootes came up with the camera captures of those cruel moments too: 

 David Navara - defending stoically and tricking Garry Kasparov| Photo: Austin Fuller

The other world champion, Viswanathan Anand too, had a rough day at the office. “Desire alone is not enough to win games over the chess board, unless you have the position on the board”, were the immortal words of Bronstein about chess. Creation of winning chances do not succeed unless there is basic soundness in one’s own position. When the created pseudo-activity doesn’t stem out of conducive factors, that is when you invariably get exposed to the opponent’s tactical onslaughts.

 

This was painfully apparent in Anand’s loss to Karjakin in the final round of the Rapid section. Having achieved near equality after 30 moves, Anand went for an unusual misadventure in the next 3 moves, and was completely lost when White started his probing on the kingside:

 

Karjakin - Anand, position after 30.Kh2:

 

Vishy went for a misadventure with 30...exd4?! 31.cxd4 Qb4?! And landed up in a lost position after 32.Rc2 Qb7 33.Qd7 Qxe4 34.Rxc7, when he could have preserved status quo by simply holding on to the position to see his opponent’s intentions with a move like 30...Kh7.

[Event "Saint Louis Rapid 2017"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2017.08.16"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2773"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle "playchess.com"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. c3 O-O 6. a4 a5 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4
Be7 9. Nbd2 d6 10. Bg3 Nh7 11. O-O Kh8 12. Qb3 Qe8 13. Rfe1 Bf6 14. Nf1 Ng5 15.
Nxg5 Bxg5 16. Ne3 Ne7 17. d4 f6 18. f3 Rb8 19. Bf1 Bxe3+ 20. Rxe3 Bd7 21. Ree1
b5 22. axb5 Bxb5 23. Qa3 Bxf1 24. Rxf1 Qb5 25. Rf2 f5 26. Rd2 fxe4 27. fxe4 Ng6
28. h3 Ra8 29. Qa4 Rfb8 30. Kh2 exd4 (30... Kh7 {Black could have continued
waiting and tried to gauge White's intentions rather than activity here}) 31.
cxd4 Qb4 32. Rc2 Qb7 33. Qd7 {Incredible - within a span of 3 moves, Black is
staring at a difficult position} Qxe4 34. Rxc7 Qxd4 (34... Rg8 35. Qxd6 {
wasn't any better}) 35. Rd1 Qxb2 36. Rxd6 Rd8 37. Qc6 {Black's kingside is
indefensible} 1-0

 

Anand - Desire taking over pragmatism? | Photo: Austin Fuller

But at the same time, you had Nakamura on the other end of the spectrum, who fought a valiant battle with Nepomniachtchi, where the Russian was simply unlucky to lose the game. Nepo conducted the whole game with lots of energy, and brought up an admirable position where his knights held sway:

 

Nakamura - Nepomniachtchi, position after 32.Qc4:

 

32... Nxd5! Admirable play by Nepomniachtchi, who plays for a win at all costs aiming for the title} 33. Rxc8 Nxe3 34. Nd6 Nxc4 35. Nxb7 Ne3 and Black's compensation comes from his active pieces, b-passer and possible activity on the kingside.

Pic 3: Nepomniachtchi - Admirable energy and ambition | Photo: Lennart Ootes

But tragically, after missing his chances when he could have increased his chances of a win, Nepo went on to bring pressure on himself and the heartbreak came with a blunder in the final minutes of the game:

 

Nakamura - Nepomniachtchi, position after 68.Rh6:

68...Ke5?? (Missing the thread of the game. The black king had to remain on f4 to keep white king from advancing and thus holding a draw) (68... Nd5 69. Rxh5 Kg4 70. Rh8 Nf4+ 71.Kf2 Nh5 with a draw) 69. Kf3 and White went on to win the game.

[Event "Saint Louis Rapid 2017"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2017.08.16"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B92"]
[WhiteElo "2792"]
[BlackElo "2751"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "177"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle "playchess.com"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Be3
Be6 9. Bf3 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7 11. a4 Rc8 12. a5 Re8 13. Qd2 Rc4 14. Rfd1 Bf8 15.
Qd3 Rb4 16. Qd2 Rc4 17. Qe1 Qc7 18. Be2 Rc6 19. f3 Rc8 20. Bf1 Bc4 21. Bxc4
Rxc4 22. Nc1 d5 23. exd5 Bb4 24. N1e2 Bxa5 25. Qf2 Bb4 26. Kh1 Bf8 {Amusing
piece of play by Nepomniachtchi - the bishop came out of f8, captured the
a5-pawn and gone back to f8 again!} 27. Ng3 b5 28. Rxa6 b4 29. Nce4 Rxc2 30.
Qf1 Rxb2 31. Rc6 Qb7 32. Qc4 $2 {[#]} (32. Nxf6+ Nxf6 33. Qc4 {and White has
compensation for the pawn}) 32... Nxd5 $1 {Admirable play by Nepomniachtchi,
who plays for a win at all costs aiming for the title} 33. Rxc8 Nxe3 34. Nd6
Nxc4 35. Nxb7 Ne3 36. Rg1 {Black's compensation comes from his active pieces,
b-passer and possible activity on the kingside} f5 37. h4 g6 38. Rd8 Nf6 39.
Nc5 Kf7 40. Nd3 Be7 41. Ra8 Rd2 42. Nxe5+ Ke6 43. f4 b3 44. Nf3 Nfg4 {Watch
those black knights! It is admirable that Nakamura kept his composure even
after this position} 45. Ne4 $5 Rb2 46. Ned2 Bb4 47. Rb1 Rxb1+ $2 (47... Rc2 $1
{and Black maintained pressure}) 48. Nxb1 Nf1 49. g3 $2 (49. Nd4+ Kd5 50. Nxb3
{and Black had nothing better than perpetual check} Ng3+ 51. Kg1 Ne2+ {with a
draw}) 49... Kd5 (49... Nxg3+ 50. Kg2 Ne2 {won two pawns here}) 50. Rd8+ Kc5
51. Rc8+ Kd5 52. Rd8+ Ke4 {Once again, spuring the draw and going for glory!}
53. Nfd2+ Nxd2 54. Nxd2+ Bxd2 $2 (54... Ke3 55. Nxb3 Kf3 56. Rd3+ Ke2 57. Nc1+
Kf2 {with good chances of a draw}) 55. Rxd2 Kf3 56. Rd3+ Kf2 57. Rxb3 {White
has a slight edge here, but as long as his king is bottled up on h1, it will
be difficult for him to win} h5 58. Rb6 Kxg3 59. Rxg6 Kxf4 60. Kg2 Ne5 61. Rg3
Ng4 $2 {Strangely, this active move turns out to be a mistake. The g4 square
was needed for the king more than the knight!} (61... Nf7 62. Kh3 (62. Rf3+ Kg4
{and the h4 pawn is in trouble}) 62... Ne5 63. Rg1 Nd3 64. Rf1+ Ke4 65. Kg2 f4
{and White cannot make progress here}) 62. Rf3+ Ke5 63. Ra3 $2 {It is
difficult to find fault with the moves of the game here, as both the players
had just the time gain from each move to conduct the game here} (63. Kg3 {
and the white king will ultimately reach the f4 square, after which he should
be able to win the position}) 63... Ke4 64. Ra4+ Ke3 65. Ra5 Ke4 66. Ra8 Kf4 ({
easier was} 66... Ne3+ 67. Kg1 (67. Kf2 Ng4+ 68. Ke2 Kf4) (67. Kh3 f4) 67...
Kf3 $11) 67. Rh8 Nf6 68. Rh6 {[#]} Ke5 $4 {Missing the thread of the game. The
black king had to remain on f4 to keep white king from advancing and thus
holding a draw} (68... Nd5 $1 69. Rxh5 (69. Kh3 Kf3) 69... Kg4 70. Rh8 Nf4+ 71.
Kf2 Nh5 {with a draw}) 69. Kf3 {and White went on to win the game} f4 70. Rh8
Kf5 71. Rf8 Ke5 72. Ra8 Nd5 73. Rg8 Nf6 74. Rg5+ Ke6 75. Kxf4 Nd5+ 76. Kf3 Nf6
77. Ra5 Nd5 78. Ke4 Nf6+ 79. Kf4 Kf7 80. Kf5 Ng4 81. Ra7+ Kg8 82. Kg6 Ne5+ 83.
Kxh5 Nf7 84. Kg6 Ne5+ 85. Kf5 Nf7 86. Kf6 Nd6 87. Kg6 Kf8 88. Ra8+ Ke7 89. h5
1-0

In the previous game, Nakamura had clearly shown his aggressive intentions, delighting spectators with his positive and energetic play:

 

Aronian - Nakamura, position after 19.Qd2:

19...e4 Bravo! Nakamura should be complimented for his energy and gumption here 20. Rxe4 Rxe4 21. Dxe4 Bxf3 22. Bxf3 a4 23. Rb1 Ne5 24. Bg2 axb3 25. Rxb3 Nxc4 Black has regained his pawn here but Aronian still retains a sound position, where he might even be slightly better. The game ended in a fighting draw after 10 more moves.

[Event "Saint Louis Rapid 2017"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2017.08.16"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A15"]
[WhiteElo "2799"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle "playchess.com"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 d4 5. e3 c5 6. exd4 cxd4 7. O-O Nc6 8. d3
Be7 9. Re1 O-O 10. b3 Nd7 11. Ba3 Re8 12. Bxe7 Rxe7 13. a3 a5 14. Nbd2 Nc5 15.
Ne4 Nxe4 16. Rxe4 e5 17. Re1 Bg4 18. h3 Bh5 19. Qd2 {[#]} e4 {Bravo! Nakamura
should be complimented for his energy and gumption here} 20. Rxe4 Rxe4 21. dxe4
Bxf3 22. Bxf3 a4 23. Rb1 Ne5 24. Bg2 axb3 25. Rxb3 Nxc4 {Black has regained
his pawn here but Aronian still retains a sound position, where he might even
be slightly better} 26. Qb4 Ne5 27. Qxb7 d3 28. Rb1 h5 29. Qd5 Qxd5 30. exd5
Rxa3 31. d6 d2 32. Kf1 Rd3 33. Ke2 Rxd6 34. Be4 Nd7 35. Bf5 d1=B+ 36. Rxd1 Rxd1
1/2-1/2

 

Nakamura, Bravo for the gumption! | Photo: Spectrum Studios

But Aronian clearly deserved winning the Rapid section at the end of the day. Apart from Dominguez Perez in the last round, he had ‘made his bones’ in the first game. Playing with Black pieces against a player who has been praised by one and all for his defensive qualities, Aronian conducted an admirable game:

 

Karjakin - Aronian, position after 22.g3: 

22...Qc8! Start of an energetic kingside operation, which proves to be difficult for even the 'best defender in the world', Sergey Karjakin! 23. Qd1 (White cannot capture 23. gxf4??Qg4+ 24. Kh1 Qxf3+ 25. Kg1 Qg4+ 26. Kh1 Qe2 and Black wins) 23... Nh3+ 24. Kg2 f5! 25. exf5 Qxf5 26.Bc1 g5 27. Qe2 g4 28. Nd2 Ng5 29. f3? gxf3+ 30. Nxf3 Qe4! 31. Qxe4 Nxe4 32.Bh6 Rf6 33. Bd2

Aronian - deserved winner of the Rapid | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Karjakin - Aronian, position after 33.Bd2:

33...Rxf3! 34. Rxf3 Nxd2 -/+

[Event "Saint Louis Rapid 2017"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2017.08.16"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Black "Aronian, Levon"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C84"]
[WhiteElo "2773"]
[BlackElo "2799"]
[Annotator "ChessBase"]
[PlyCount "106"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle "playchess.com"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3
O-O 9. Nc3 Na5 10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 Bxa2 12. Nxa2 Nb7 13. c4 bxc4 14. dxc4 a5 15.
Bb2 Qb8 16. Nc3 axb4 17. axb4 Rxa1 18. Qxa1 Nd8 19. Qa4 Ne6 20. Nd5 Nxd5 21.
cxd5 Nf4 22. g3 {[#]} Qc8 $1 {Start of an energetic kingside operation, which
proves to be difficult for even the 'best defender in the world', Sergey
Karjakin!} 23. Qd1 (23. gxf4 $4 Qg4+ 24. Kh1 Qxf3+ 25. Kg1 Qg4+ 26. Kh1 Qe2 {
and Black wins}) 23... Nh3+ 24. Kg2 f5 $1 25. exf5 Qxf5 26. Bc1 g5 27. Qe2 g4
28. Nd2 Ng5 29. f3 $2 gxf3+ 30. Nxf3 Qe4 $1 31. Qxe4 Nxe4 32. Bh6 Rf6 33. Bd2 {
[#]} Rxf3 $1 34. Rxf3 Nxd2 $17 35. Ra3 Kf7 36. Ra8 Nc4 37. Kf3 Nb6 38. Ra5 Kg6
39. Ke4 Nd7 40. Kd3 Kf5 41. Ra7 e4+ 42. Ke2 Bd8 43. Ra8 Bf6 44. Ra7 Nb6 45.
Rxc7 Nxd5 46. Rb7 Nc3+ 47. Kd2 d5 48. b5 d4 49. b6 e3+ 50. Kd3 e2 51. Kd2 d3
52. Rf7 Ne4+ 53. Ke1 Ng5 0-1

 

Karjakin - ‘Best defender in the world’ but outfoxed by Aronian | Photo: Spectrum Studios

So, at the end of the day, what sustained was striving for victory and gumption, but provided you didn’t lose your way through the final minutes of that merciless equaliser of men, Chess Clock! As much as we admire Aronian and Nakamura for their performances on the day, you can’t help admire Nepomniachtchi too, for the ambition shown on the final day.

Standings after nine rounds of Rapid

 

About the Author:

Saravanan Venkatachalam is an International Master and has been an active chess player in the Indian circuit, and has been consistently writing on chess since late 1980s. He turned complete chess professional in 2012, actively playing and being a second and a trainer to a handful of Indian players. He reports on chess tournaments, occasionally being a correspondent to national newspapers and news channels. Apart from chess, he is also interested in Tamil and English literature, music and photography.

Coverage on Firstpost

Firstpost and ChessBase India have collaborated to bring you extensive and detailed coverage of the chess scene in India and internationally.

 

Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz will be extensively covered by Venkatachalam Saravanan who is in USA.

 

 

 

Viswanathan Anand vs Garry Kasparov: A classic rivalry set to revive at Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz event 

Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz: All eyes on Garry Kasparov as former champion returns to chess after 12 years

Viswanathan Anand has disastrous Day 1; Garry Kasparov impresses on return

Viswanathan Anand vs Garry Kasparov: Stalwarts show glimpses of brilliance but settle for draw at Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz

Viswanathan Anand, hampered by fatigue, finishes disappointing joint 8th


Sharing statistics:


Share on: