Ding and Nepomniachtchi Step Forward

Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi took big steps forward in Round 9 with key wins, moving into the lead of the 2019 Sinquefield Cup with two rounds to play. Both players are at 5.5 points heading into today’s action.
courtesy STLCC
courtesy STLCC
Ding defeated Fabiano Caruana, who started the round tied for first place, in a lovely positional effort. In a post on Facebook, used here with his permission, Jacob Aagaard writes:
I have long thought that Ding Liren is a plausible winner of the Candidates 2020. Yesterday he won a great game against Fabiano Caruana in St Louis. After a mistake in the opening, Caruana was under permanent pressure.
In this position, Black should play 16…Nxf4 or 16…Qa8, but it is not obvious that 16...Rc6 creates such problems for Black, but after 17.Be5 it was really not easy. Later on Black had a few chances to equalize, but they all required great accuracy, which is difficult to deliver when the time runs out.

Ding’s pressure did indeed induce small errors from Caruana, and eventually Caruana lost the thread in a difficult position with 45…Qc2. After that, Ding converted his advantage without difficulty.
[pgn]

[Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.08.26"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Ding, Liren"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2805"]
[BlackElo "2818"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2019.08.17"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 b6 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4
Ba6 9. Bxa6 Nxa6 10. Qe2 Qc8 11. O-O Qb7 12. a3 c5 13. Nb5 Rac8 (13... Ne4 14.
Rac1 Rac8 15. Ne5 Nd6 16. Nxd6 Bxd6 17. Qg4 cxd4 18. Rxc8 Rxc8 19. Nxf7 Bxf4
20. Qxe6 Nc5 21. Nh6+ Kh8 22. Nf7+ Kg8 23. Nh6+ Kh8 {1/2-1/2 (23) Carlsen,M
(2835)-Nakamura,H (2746) St Petersburg 2018}) 14. b4 Nd5 15. bxc5 bxc5 16. Rab1
Rc6 $6 (16... Nxf4 17. exf4 Rb8 18. Nc3 Qc8 19. d5 c4 $132) (16... Qa8 $1 {
"the human way to equalise" (Aagaard on Facebook)}) 17. Be5 Rb6 18. a4 Nac7 19.
dxc5 Bxc5 20. Rbc1 Nxb5 21. Rxc5 Nd6 22. a5 Rc6 23. Bxd6 Rxd6 24. Rfc1 h6 25.
h3 Rfd8 26. Ne5 Nf6 27. Nc6 R8d7 28. a6 Qb6 29. Ne5 Rd8 30. Rc8 Qa5 (30... Nd7
$5 31. R8c6 Rxc6 32. Nxc6 Rf8) 31. f4 Rd2 (31... Nd7) 32. Qf3 (32. Qf1 $5)
32... R2d5 33. R1c7 Kh7 (33... Qxa6 34. Rxd8+ Rxd8 35. Rxf7 Qa1+ 36. Kh2 Qe1 {
seems a very narrow path to equality}) 34. Kh2 Rxc8 35. Rxc8 Qxa6 36. Ra8 Qb7
37. Rf8 Rb5 $6 (37... Qb4 {with the point that} 38. Rxf7 Qb1 {threatens ...Rd1;
if} 39. Qg3 Nh5) 38. Qf1 Qd5 39. Nxf7 Nd7 40. Rd8 Rb8 41. Rxb8 Nxb8 42. Qb1+
Qf5 43. Qb7 Nc6 44. Nd6 Qc5 45. Ne4 Qc2 $2 (45... Qxe3 {looks necessary:} 46.
Qxc6 Qxf4+ 47. Kg1 Qe3+ 48. Kh1 $16) 46. Nf6+ Kg6 47. Ne8 Qc3 48. e4 {Suddenly
the endgame has turned into a king hunt.} a5 49. Qd7 a4 50. Qxe6+ Kh7 51. e5
Nd4 52. Qd7 Kg6 53. Qxg7+ Kf5 54. Nd6+ Kxf4 55. Qf6+ Ke3 56. e6 Kd3 57. e7 1-0

[/pgn]

Ian Nepomniachtchi ground down Wesley So in a long queen and pawn ending, taking a full 132 moves to claim the full point. With the time control at the Sinquefield Cup lacking increment – players get 130 minutes for the game, with a 30 second delay for each move – So had under five minutes on the clock for nearly fifty moves!
[pgn]

[Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.08.26"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2774"]
[PlyCount "264"]
[EventDate "2019.08.17"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8.
Qb3 e6 9. Bb5 Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Na4 Qd6 13. Re1 Rb8 14. Qd1 Ne7
15. b3 Nf5 16. Bb2 Rd8 17. Qc2 Nxd4 18. Bxd4 Bxd4 19. Nxd4 Qxd4 20. Rad1 Qf6
21. Rxd8+ Qxd8 22. Rd1 Qe8 23. h3 e5 24. Qc5 a6 25. Qa5 Kg7 26. Rd8 Qe7 27. Nb6
Qxd8 28. Qxe5+ Qf6 29. Qxb8 Be6 30. Qg3 h5 31. Na4 Qa1+ 32. Kh2 Qxa2 33. Nc5
Qe2 34. Qc3+ Kg8 35. Qd4 Bd5 36. Nd7 Qe6 37. Nf6+ Kf8 38. b4 Qd6+ 39. Kg1 Ke7
40. Ng8+ Ke6 41. Qf6+ Kd7 42. Qd4 Qb8 43. Nf6+ Ke6 44. Ne4 Bxe4 45. Qxe4+ Kd7
46. Qc4 Qe8 47. Qd4+ Kc8 48. Qb6 Qe1+ 49. Kh2 Qe5+ 50. g3 Qb5 51. Qa7 Qb7 52.
Qc5 Qc7 53. h4 Kb7 54. Qf8 Qd7 55. Kg1 Qd5 56. Kh2 Kc7 57. Kg1 Kd7 58. Kh2 Qc4
59. Kg1 Qe6 60. Qc5 Qe2 61. Qd4+ Ke6 62. Qc5 Qb5 63. Qe3+ Kf6 64. Qc3+ Ke7 65.
Qd4 Ke6 66. Qe3+ Kd7 67. Qa7+ Ke8 68. Qd4 Qd5 69. Qb6 Qc4 70. Qb8+ Ke7 71. Qe5+
Kd7 72. Qb8 Ke6 73. Qe8+ Kf5 74. Qe7 Qd5 75. Qe2 Qb5 76. Qe7 Qc4 77. Qe8 Qe6
78. Qd8 Ke4 79. Qd2 Qc4 80. Qe3+ Kf5 81. Qe7 Kg4 82. Qd7+ Kf3 83. Qd2 f6 84.
Qe3+ Kg4 85. Kg2 Kf5 86. Kh2 g5 87. hxg5 fxg5 88. Qd2 Qd5 89. Qe2 Qd4 90. Kg1
Qxb4 91. Qf3+ Ke5 92. Qxh5 Qb1+ 93. Kg2 Qf5 94. Qd1 a5 95. Qd8 Ke4 96. Qd2 Qd5
97. f3+ Kf5 98. g4+ Ke6 99. Qc2 Kd6 100. Kg3 Qe5+ 101. Kg2 Qf4 102. Qg6+ Kc7
103. Qh7+ Kb6 104. Qb1+ Qb4 105. Qc1 Qc5 106. Qb2+ Ka6 107. Qa2 Qb5 108. Qg8 a4
109. Qa8+ Kb6 110. Qd8+ Kb7 111. Qe7+ Ka6 112. Qf8 Qe2+ 113. Kh3 Qe3 114. Qa8+
Kb5 115. Qb7+ Qb6 116. Qg7 Qc5 117. Qb2+ Ka6 118. Qe2+ Ka7 119. Qd2 a3 120. f4
gxf4 121. Qxf4 Qc3+ 122. Kh4 Qh8+ 123. Kg5 Qg8+ 124. Kh5 Qd5+ 125. g5 a2 126.
Qa4+ Kb6 127. Qb4+ Qb5 128. Qd4+ Ka6 129. Qd8 Qe2+ 130. Kh6 Qe6+ 131. g6 Qh3+
132. Kg5 Qg2+ 0-1

[/pgn]
Viswanathan Anand and Sergey Karjakin are tied for second place, a half-point behind leaders Ding and Nepomniachtchi with 5 points. Anand had another disappointing day at the office, drawing Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a complex game where “Shak’s” activity always seemed compensation enough for his sacrificed pawns.
photo Lennart Ootes
[pgn]

[Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.08.26"]
[Round "9.2"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C53"]
[WhiteElo "2756"]
[BlackElo "2764"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2019.08.17"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. O-O h6 7. Re1 O-O 8. Nbd2
Ne7 9. d4 Bb6 10. a4 c6 11. dxe5 Ng4 12. Rf1 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 dxe5 14. Qh5 Qd6 15.
Nf3 Bc7 16. Nh4 b5 17. axb5 cxb5 18. Bxb5 Bb7 19. Qe2 Bb6 20. Ba6 Bc6 21. Nf3
f5 22. Bd3 Rae8 23. exf5 Nxf5 24. Be4 Kh8 25. Nd2 Qe6 26. Kh1 Bd7 27. Bd3 e4
28. Nxe4 Bc6 29. f3 Qe5 30. Bd2 Bc7 31. g3 Bxe4 32. Qxe4 Qd6 33. Bf4 Qd7 34.
Qb7 Qxd3 35. Qxc7 Re2 36. Qc5 Rfe8 37. Rf2 a5 38. Raf1 Rxb2 39. Kg2 Ree2 40.
Qxa5 Kh7 41. h4 Ne3+ 42. Bxe3 Qxe3 43. Qf5+ Kh8 44. Qf8+ Kh7 45. Qf5+ Kh8 46.
Qf8+ Kh7 47. Qf5+ 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
photo Lennart Ootes
Karjakin drew with Black against Anish Giri in a game that started with a bang (7.b4!?) but eventually fizzled into a bishop of opposite colors ending.
[pgn]

[Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.08.26"]
[Round "9.4"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2779"]
[BlackElo "2750"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2019.08.17"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nd5 Bc5 7. b4 Nxb4 8.
Nxb4 Bxb4 9. Nxe5 d5 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. O-O Be6 12. Rb1 a5 13. a3 Bd6 14. Nf3
Nb6 15. Qc2 Re8 16. h4 h6 17. Nd4 Bc8 18. Nf5 Bf8 19. e4 Be6 20. d4 a4 21. d5
Bxf5 22. exf5 Bd6 23. Bf3 Ra7 24. Kg2 Nd7 25. Rd1 Qe7 26. Rd4 Rea8 27. Re4 Qf8
28. Qc3 Re8 29. Rxe8 Qxe8 30. Bb2 Qf8 31. Re1 Ra8 32. Bd1 Nf6 33. Qc4 b5 34.
Qxb5 Rb8 35. Qe2 Re8 36. Qd2 Rxe1 37. Qxe1 Bxa3 38. Bxf6 gxf6 39. Bxa4 Qe7 40.
Qxe7 Bxe7 41. Bb3 Bc5 42. Ba4 Be7 43. Bb3 Bc5 44. Ba4 Be7 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
In the remaining games, Hikaru Nakamura saved a tricky position against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, holding the draw, while Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen also drew. This was Carlsen’s ninth consecutive draw in the event. Today’s Pairings:
courtesy STLCC

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In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I like the informations about the chess tournament there at St Louis, Mo.

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