Tough Day for Americans at Sinquefield Cup

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 13/09/13, 17:58.

The Sinquefield Cup leaderboard experienced a shakeup in round four as both Americans suffered through, and ultimately lost, worse endgames.

Pre-round tournament leader GM Hikaru Nakamura breezed through the first half of the tournament, winning twice and nearly taking out GM Magnus Carlsen to make it a clean sweep (they drew in round three). Today was completely different against GM Levon Aronian, who blundered badly in their round one game.

"I took too many risks," Nakamura said. "All credit to Levon. He played well...I just gave him a free point."


Nakamura said he regretted his plan of ...a6 and ...b5. Aronian said better resistance could have been offered if Black matched 20. h4 with 20...h5, but "...h5 feels so sad. You give away this g5-square. His position is so unpleasant there."

"I'm just much worse," Nakamura evaluated the move. "Maybe a computer could hold it, but not a human."


Even so, an inventive piece sacrifice nearly allowed America's best player to liquidate all the pawns. Aronian was unimpressed with his own decision to trade queens and allow chances to hold in the endgame. He called the decision "silly...I have no explanation for it. I should have played Qd1 and won by attacking his king. The extra piece should help."

Nakamura spent nearly half of his remaining time trying to find a last-gasp salvo after 45. g3. The response 45...f3 nearly saves Black, but the plan to zigzag the pawns with ...e5 and ...e4 fails because he needs to spend a tempo on ...Kf6. For example, 46. Nd2 Bxh5 47. Bc2 Kf6 (to guard f5) 48. Bd1 and the e-pawn is too slow to connect with the loose pawn on f3.

Instead, Aronian wedged his knight on an inviolate outpost. When he finally reactivated it by heading for g5, Black's pawns stood to begin falling, and Nakamura capitulated.


Aronian and Nakamura have now played seven consecutive decisive games against each other in classical time controls. "I tend to complicate things, and as Black, I tend to lose," Aronian said of the curious stat.



The other American, GM Gata Kamsky, did not come out of the rest day with aggression, and was similarly ground down. He played the Exchange Ruy Lopez against Carlsen and lost as White for the first time against him.

"I thought perhaps he would be more ambitious," Carlsen said, adding that he thought Kamsky drifted after the opening. "I think he played a few mistakes from move 15-18." 


Carlsen seemed especially critical of his own play as well. "At some point I lost control, but fortunately it was enough. Today in the fourth hour of play I was playing so badly. The same against Levon (Aronian) the other day - hesitating and burning huge amounts of time."

One oversight that would have converted sooner was the simplification 36...Nxb2 37. Rxb2 Ba3 38. Rc2 Rd2 39. Rf2 Rxf2+ 40. Kxf2 Bxc1 41. Rxc1 Rd2+, winning another pawn and establishing an insurmountable four-on-one queenside majority.

Both matchups went nearly five hours, the longest two games of the tournament. Carlsen conducted his normal on-air interview, but unlike the first few rounds, left the playing site expeditiously without answering questions from the growing contingent of media. There was also a big increase in the number of fans in attendance.


Kamsky, who began the tournament the most visibly excited of the quartet, was asked to explain how sometimes he has tournaments in which he struggles greatly. "It just happens," he said softly.

The two decisive games today make five winners out of eight games. Carlsen now leads with 3/4 and leapfrogs Nakamura, who is on 2.5/4. The two meet tomorrow, with Nakamura getting White this time around.

"I expected to be trailing him," Calrsen said on the live commentary. "It's a welcome change for me."

Aronian (2/4) takes White against Kamsky (.5/4).


Letto 10143 volte 30 commenti
4 voti


  • 3 anni fa


     Capablanca's play produced and still produces an irresistable artistic effect. In his games a tendency towards simplicity predominated, and in this simplicity there was a unique beauty of genuine depth. - Mikhail Botvinnik

  • 3 anni fa


    @P_G_M there are lots of sites where u can play live chess960, i know some but i wont give free ads here, just search for them its not that hard to find one

  • 3 anni fa


    Fischer had never beaten Spassky until the WC. And then he lost the first 2 games. Past history is no indication of future performance.

  • 3 anni fa


    like i said before; GM Nakamura has never beaten GM Carlsen in classical time controls. Carlsen is going to win this thing.  

  • 3 anni fa



    Computers aren't strong because they know a lot of opening theory.  They are strong because they can calculate deeper and faster and have perfect memory.

    I find it hard to fathom that anyone could say that 2700 players don't have extraordinary understanding and caclulation skills.

  • 3 anni fa


    Good comments by all you guys.

    I will like to add that I'm dissapointed that has not started Live Chess960.

    I'm certain that once starts the Live Chess960 there will hundreds of thousands of chess players joining just to have the opportunity to experience Live Chess960.

    Last question:

    Does anyone knows of a website where we can play Live Chess960?

  • 3 anni fa


    Some feedback on a question? In Aronian-Nakamura, why not 46... gxf2 e.p. +, 47.Kxf2 Bxh6. 

  • 3 anni fa

    FM MikeKlein

    @PGM I think the pawn sac 22. c3 wasn't meant to provide compensation. It was meant to prevent a first-rank invasion. Capturing allows White to finish development, while playing 22...Rd1 still allows 23. Bb2, completing development.

    @Pfren - My choice of words showed that Nakamura was the one pushing the entire game. Carlsen looked stressed the entire game while at the board. Nakamura had all the winning chances and alternative plans. He had options besides ...Ne4 as I pointed out in the article yesterday. He also had winning attempts in the endgame. In fact, two GMs analyzed the game yesterday from the final position (with Black attempting the ...e5 plan) and White was still walking a tightrope, and in their analysis White often lost before they backed up and tried something new.

    I think you are misinterpreting my comments to mean that Nakamura had a forced win, which is not what I said. I stand by my choice of words.

  • 3 anni fa


    "Besides when a computer outplay the best players in the world, it is time to change to a new version of the game where there is no opening theory book available for the computer to start the opening phase of the game, because if you remove the opening library of the computers then GM can easily beat them because computers can not think, they just follow the opening theory library installed in their hardware at the opening phase."

    I would guess (and maybe I'm wrong) that the reality is the exact opposite.  Computers win by means of computational power, not by memorized opening theory.  If a computer has more sound theory, it is incidental to the fact that it has a stronger capacity to evaluate positions than its opponent.  With few rare positional exceptions, all that determines a computer's moves are the given +/- of the positional evaluation of every possible move and response.  That being said, humans stand a better chance in standard chess, where theory has been analyzed 20+ moves into the game and there is greater likelihood of luring the computer into a draw position. 

  • 3 anni fa


    Looks like Carlsen's in good position to take this one.  The last Naka vs. Carlsen game I saw (TATA Steel) wasn't pretty...I hope he's got something better up his sleeve this time.

  • 3 anni fa


    Poor kamsky Great for Aronian though. If he beats Kamsky he has a good chance for second

  • 3 anni fa

    IM pfren

    Dear sir FM Mike Klein, can you hint just a SINGLE instance where Naka could get some sort of advtanage against Carlsen in the aforementioned game?

    If not, then  your "nearly taking out" comment is just nonsensical, and nothing more than that. Regards.

  • 3 anni fa


    @PGM : while I agree chess960 is a refreshing change, I doubt humans would stand any chance against today's engines in chess960 either, as the engine calculation powers are just too great.

  • 3 anni fa


    hey @P_G_M, so sad that you are too lazy to learn openings and you haven't start early. You have to understand that no one can just like that earn 2700 points by just learning openings. They play better chess than all others behind them. 

  • 3 anni fa


    tough run for kamsky!

  • 3 anni fa


    22. Rb1 is way better. Even the engine says so. I have no idea why Kamsky just gave up a pawn??

  • 3 anni fa



    knowledge of middlegame and endgame is "chess", so if Carlsen is outplaying them, probably he plays better chess than the rest.

  • 3 anni fa



    Houdini proposed 22. Rb1 and the line ends with a drawish position, with white losing the exchange for a fat pawn, but perfectly drawish position.

    Yes. Naka lost the game from the moment he sac the knight.

    Now day Carlsen has the best chess skills of all the elite players, then years from now there will be another young prodigy (with photographic memory like him) replacing him. 

  • 3 anni fa


    Gata made too many mistakes in that game. First of all, why exchange Spanish? But okay, at least do your prep, the line is forced, but he deviated from theory with 16. Kf1 (novelty), which was not the best move, he clearly was not ready for 14. Ng4. Then he needlessly lost a pawn with 22. c3 (22. Rb1 was clearly enough for equality). What did him in though was the endgame blunder with 58. Be5 (58 Kg3 wins back a pawn and keeps things even). It was too soon to resign, too, because Bf4 followed by Bc1 would have taken care of one passer while the king could head for the other, but by then things were not looking good and maybe after trailing from move 16 he just did not want to suffer any more.


    And Naka, knight sac, was that really necessary? After that it was all over.


    BTW, what's with Carlsen bashing? He is obviously stronger than the others, same as Capa was not perfect, but better than others. Capa and other champions made tons of mistakes, they were top because they made fewer mistakes than others. If anything Carlsen does not play openings all that well. Not a fan but he does not deserve blame for whatever huge talent he's got. It's like blaming Bolt for being able to run so fast. Not everyone has to be top, just enjoy the game as you would any other sport.

  • 3 anni fa



    If Kamsky played 22.Rb1 instead of c3, it will be difficult to activate White queen side after 22...Rd1 followed by 23...Bf4

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