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

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+

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

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

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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