Can You Calculate Like a Grenke Classic Grandmaster?

After winning the Grenke Classic, Aronian gained 15 rating points and moved back up to #6 in the world. Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Levon Aronian recently won the Grenke Classic, which featured a top-notch field, including Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Maxime-Vachier-Lagrave, and Hou Yifan. Even more impressively, Aronian sealed the tournament victory with a round to spare.

Can you solve tactics from this exceptionally strong event?

Tactic #1

Fabiano Caruana vs. Levon Aronian

Position after 23. b3

[fen]2r3k1/1pp3p1/1n2Nb1p/p2rp3/P7/1P4BP/2P2PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 23[/fen]

Black to move.

Level: Warm-Up

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"]
[Site "0:17:33-0:51:33"]
[Date "2017.04.22"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Fabiano Caruana"]
[Black "Levon Aronian"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C50"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2r3k1/1pp3p1/1n2Nb1p/p2rp3/P7/1P4BP/2P2PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 23"]
[PlyCount "76"]
[EventDate "2017.04.13"]23... c5 $1 ({If} 23... Kf7 24. c4 {and, after the rook moves, the white
knight escapes to the c5-square.}) 24. c4 Rd6 {And White's knight is trapped.
Although Black is winning, Caruana fought back and managed to draw a
complicated battle:} 25. Nxg7 Kxg7 26. Bxe5 Rd3 27. Bxf6+ Kxf6 28. Re4 Rc7 29.
Rae1 Rxb3 30. Rf4+ Kg7 31. Re6 Nxa4 32. Rg4+ Kf8 33. Rxh6 Rf7 34. Rh8+ Ke7 35.
h4 Nc3 36. h5 a4 37. h6 a3 38. h7 a2 39. Re8+ Kxe8 40. h8=Q+ Kd7 41. Kh2 a1=Q
42. Rg8 Qa5 ({Although Aronian spent 50 minutes here, the most accurate
defense of his open king is very difficult to find, and he missed the winning
line, which starts with} 42... Qe1 $1) 43. Qh3+ Kc7 44. Qg3+ Kd7 45. Qd3+ Ke7
46. Qe3+ Kd6 47. Rg6+ Kc7 48. Qe5+ Kc8 49. Rg8+ Qd8 50. Qxc5+ Rc7 51. Rxd8+
Kxd8 52. Qf8+ Kd7 53. g4 Rb2 54. Qf3 Ke8 55. Qxc3 Rxf2+ 56. Kg3 Rff7 57. g5 Rg7
58. Kg4 Kf8 59. Qf6+ Kg8 60. g6 Rxg6+ 61. Qxg6+ 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
The World Champion had a lukewarm event, finishing with only one victory against the lowest seed and drawing all of the other 6 games. Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Tactic #2

Georg Meier vs. Magnus Carlsen

Position after 38. Qxe5+

[fen]8/p4pk1/6p1/4Q1qp/2pn1rP1/4R2P/PR1K4/8 b - - 0 38[/fen]

Black to move.

Level: Intermediate

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"]
[Site "Karlsruhe GER"]
[Date "2017.04.20"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Georg Meier"]
[Black "Magnus Carlsen"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D90"]
[WhiteElo "2621"]
[BlackElo "2838"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/p4pk1/6p1/4Q1qp/2pn1rP1/4R2P/PR1K4/8 b - - 0 38"]
[PlyCount "7"]
[EventDate "2017.04.13"]
[SourceDate "2015.11.12"]38... Qxe5 $1 {leads to a fascinating series of double attacks:} 39. Rxe5 Nf3+
40. Ke3 Nxe5 41. Kxf4 Nd3+ 0-1[/pgn]
After an unexpected round 1 loss to Hou Yifan, Fabiano Caruana recovered with two victories in a row, ultimately finishing in a tie for 2nd with Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Tactic #3

Fabiano Caruana vs. Georg Meier

Black's king is open and White's pieces are very active. How did Caruana turn this into an unstoppable attack?

Position after 27...f5

[fen]1bq3r1/pb3pk1/1p2p3/2r2p1p/3N1P1P/1BP1Q3/PP4P1/1K1RR3 w - - 0 28[/fen]

White to move.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"]
[Site "Karlsruhe GER"]
[Date "2017.04.17"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Fabiano Caruana"]
[Black "Georg Meier"]
[Result "?"]
[ECO "C10"]
[WhiteElo "2817"]
[BlackElo "2621"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1bq3r1/pb3pk1/1p2p3/2r2p1p/3N1P1P/1BP1Q3/PP4P1/1K1RR3 w - - 0 28"]
[PlyCount "13"]
[EventDate "2017.04.15"]28. Nxe6+ $1 {ripping open the black king's pawn shelter.} (28. Bxe6 {is also
strong.}) 28... fxe6 29. Qd4+ Kh7 30. Rxe6 Be4+ 31. Ka1 Rg7 32. Qf6 Bxf4 33.
Rd8 Qa6 {And, here there are numerous ways to win. Caruana played} 34. Ree8 {
which led to a quick resignation. There is also a forced checkmate in 7 moves. Can
you find it? (See Tactic #4.)}*[/pgn]
Hou Yifan was the early tournament leader, winning two games in a row and then drawing against Magnus Carlsen. She finished with an even score, tied for 4th. Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Tactic #4

Fabiano Caruana vs. Georg Meier

Position after 33...Qa6

[fen]3R4/p5rk/qp2RQ2/2r2p1p/4bb1P/1BP5/PP4P1/K7 w - - 0 34[/fen]

White to move and checkmate in 7 moves.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "GRENKE Chess Classic"]
[Site "Karlsruhe GER"]
[Date "2017.04.17"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Fabiano Caruana"]
[Black "Georg Meier"]
[Result "?"]
[ECO "C10"]
[WhiteElo "2817"]
[BlackElo "2621"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3R4/p5rk/qp2RQ2/2r2p1p/4bb1P/1BP5/PP4P1/K7 w - - 0 34"]
[PlyCount "13"]
[EventDate "2017.04.15"]34. Rh8+ $1 ({The actual game finished with} 34. Ree8 Qf1+ 35. Bd1 {and Black
resigned.}) 34... Kxh8 35. Re8+ Kh7 36. Bg8+ Kh8 ({If} 36... Rxg8 37. Re7+ Rg7
38. Qxg7#) 37. Bf7+ Kh7 38. Bg6+ Kh6 (38... Rxg6 39. Rh8#) 39. Rh8+ Rh7 40.
Rxh7# *[/pgn]
For more information, visit the Grenke Chess Classic Website.

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