Carlsen Dominates in Grenke; Caruana Second

Caruana, Carlsen, Naiditsch, and Leminsky (photo van Reem)

Magnus Carlsen was the clear and convincing winner of the 2019 Grenke Chess Classic, scoring an astounding 7.5/9 against a field with an average rating of 2724. Carlsen’s own rating now stands at 2875 in the live ratings, only seven points behind his career best rating of 2882.

Carlsen’s performance in Grenke was inspiring on multiple levels. A +6 score in an elite tournament is always impressive, but it was the way he won, hearkening back to his salad days of 2013 and 2014. Two games were of particular interest.

In Round 2 Carlsen defeated Vallejo Pons in a “once in a lifetime” ending – rook and bishop against knight and bishop.

Carlsen’s victory over Peter Svidler in Round 8 was made memorable by Svidler’s sportsmanship. Seeing that Carlsen had a beautiful mate possibility, he allowed it, with grins from both players evident as the final blows were dealt. Go to about 11:42 in the video to watch it all unfold.

Fabiano Caruana finished second in Grenke with a 6/9 (+3) score, a result that would win many elite tournaments. His wins over Arkadij Naiditsch (rd 7) and Georg Meier (rd 8) are emblematic of his event. In the Naiditsch game, Caruana used sharp calculation to sop up Black’s pressure and bring home the point. The Meier game was old-fashioned siege warfare, save one potential brilliant shot that both players underestimated.

Caruana’s third victory came at the expense of Vincent Keymer, a 14 year old International Master whose spot in the event was earned with his victory in the 2018 Grenke Open.

Despite being outrated in every game, Keymer, who is coached by no less than Peter Leko, acquitted himself admirably. His spectacular endgame win over Georg Meier in round 5 is worth special attention.

 

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