Candidates Tournament 2018: Trash talk and a new Immortal!
“Chess is, above all, a fight!” – Emanuel Lasker.
And so it is proving at the Candidates! Before the tournament even began, Carlsen took to Twitter to mock MVL’s comment that Kramnik was the player “who best understands chess”.
This prompted Anish Giri (who didn’t qualify for the Candidates but is acting as second for Kramnik) to claim Carlsen was “more nervous than all 8 candidates put together”.
Magnus quickly put him back in his place with “Come on, that is just weak. Win a tournament for the first time in your life, and maybe people will start taking you seriously”. Call 911, Giri got burned.
Round 1. Fight!
The tournament got off to a great first round with 3 out of the 4 games being decisive. Kramnik, White against Grischuk, played the rare opening system 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.b3 ultimately getting a clear endgame advantage which he converted with his trademark technique.
Mamedyarov, the current world #2, managed to do what Carlsen only managed once in his 12 classical World Championship games – beat Karjakin, as Black, no less. And Caruana beat his compatriot Wesley So in a 33 move Catalan.
The next 2 rounds only saw 2 decisive games but it was certainly a case of quality over quantity with Kramnik producing a game of sheer brilliance.
With the Candidates taking place in Berlin, Kramnik was always going to meet the Ruy Lopez with the defense of the same name. But things got interesting when Big Vlad came up with a novelty, 7…Rg8! preparing to launch the g-pawn towards g4, challenging White’s h3 pawn.
Suddenly Black’s pieces and pawns were gliding around the board, each one glaring menacingly at Aronian’s king. An exchange sac, a brilliant bishop sac (…Bd5!!) and Kramnik produced a Morphy-esque mating finish in just 27 moves.
The game is already being declared a new “Immortal” but Kramnik was more concerned with the point than the performance. This win puts him in clear first place with 2.5/3.
Vishy’s Quickest Victories
This week’s free video features Vishy Anand fastest victories against strong Grandmasters.
Watch how Vishy Anand demolishes legendary GM Viktor Korchnoi in just 19 moves in a fantastic attacking game against the French Defense. GM Damian Lemos shows the “Tiger of Madras” already had sharp teeth almost 20 years ago and why he is one of the most dangerous Super GMs around.
Last week’s puzzle:
Did you find the winning sequence from Pichot – Cheparinov?
If Black takes White’s rook on b7 immediately, he’ll lose after 1…Bxb7 2.Txe6+ Kf7 3.Qd7+ Kg6 4.f7+. However, Black can create a safe haven for his king on g8 by starting with 1…Rg1+! 2.Kxg1 (2.Rxg1? Bxb7 and Black is simply a piece up) Qc5+! 3.Kh1 Bxb7 4.Rxe6 Kf7 5.Qd7 Kg8! and White has no more threats against Black’s king. If White takes Black’s bishop on b7 with 6.Qxb7, he loses immediately to 6…Qf2! with decisive threats on g2 and f1.
This week’s puzzle:
This week’s puzzle is a classic. It’s taken from a game between Judit Polgar and Vishy Anand in the Wijk aan Zee tournament back in 1998.
It was a super-sharp battle in the Sicilian Najdorf. In this position, Judit Polgar, playing White, only made 1 more move and Anand immediately resigned in view of a fantastic combination. Black to play – can you spot how Polgar sealed the deal against Anand?
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