Here Comes Hikaru

Never write Hikaru Nakamura off. In our last report, posted after Round 6 of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, we noted that Nakamura was at 4/6 with four draws and looking somewhat adrift from the tournament leaders. Still, we wrote, “if anyone can go on a hot streak quickly, it’s the American champion.” Nakamura has won his last two games to get to 6.5/9, earning himself a share of first place heading into Sunday’s penultimate round. He is tied for the lead with three others: David Anton, Levon Aronian, and Fabiano Caruana. Half a point back are a pack of eleven players, including Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, and Sergey Karjakin. After a seventh round draw with Baskaran Adhiban, Nakamura reeled off a win against Hrant Melkumyan in Round 8 and an exciting victory over Vladislav Kovalev in Saturday’s Round 9.
Hikaru Nakamura (photo David Llada)
[pgn]

[Event "FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2019.10.20"]
[Round "9.5"]
[White "Kovalev, Vladislav"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B31"]
[WhiteElo "2661"]
[BlackElo "2745"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "62"]
[EventDate "2019.10.10"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 Nh6 7. c3 O-O 8.
h3 f5 9. e5 Nf7 10. d4 (10. d3 Ba6 11. c4 d6 12. e6 Ne5 13. Nc3 Nxf3+ 14. Qxf3
Rb8 {was seen in Caruana,F (2817)-Nakamura,H (2793) Saint Louis 2017, drawn in
58 moves.}) 10... cxd4 11. cxd4 Bb7 12. Nc3 c5 13. dxc5 e6 14. Be3 ({A recent
game between Anand and Gelfand went} 14. b4 g5 15. Qd4 h5 16. Nd2 g4 $5 17.
hxg4 fxg4 $2 18. Nc4 $16 {1-0 (35) Anand,V (2756)-Gelfand,B (2686) Amsterdam
2019}) 14... g5 15. Nh2 $6 (15. Bd4 {seems necessary, although Black is still
pushing after} h5) 15... Bxe5 16. Bd4 Bxh2+ 17. Kxh2 Qc7+ 18. Kg1 e5 19. Be3 f4
20. Bc1 Qxc5 21. Qxd7 Rab8 22. Qg4 Rfd8 23. h4 $6 (23. Ne4 $142) 23... Rd3 $1
24. Ne4 ({The key idea is} 24. hxg5 Rg3 $1) 24... Bxe4 25. Rxe4 Rbd8 26. Re1
Qd4 27. a4 (27. Kf1 {is the only chance, but even this should not hold. The
computer gives the cool-as-you-please} h6 {passing the move back to White!})
27... Rd1 28. Qe2 Rxe1+ 29. Qxe1 Qd1 30. Kf1 (30. Qxd1 Rxd1+ 31. Kh2 e4 $19)
30... Qc2 {The threat of ...Rd1 is overwhelming.} 31. Bxf4 gxf4 0-1

[/pgn]
While playing down his tournament ambitions in an early round interview, Nakamura is now in position to claim a seat in the 2020 Candidates Tournament if he can take first place in Douglas. He takes White against Levon Aronian on Sunday.

Fabiano Caruana has already qualified for the Candidates by virtue of his being the 2018 World Championship Challenger, but he continued his steady play in Round 9 with this 25 move draw with World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Caruana admitted that he’d forgotten his preparation after his ninth move, but he responded well, forcing a draw with his 19th move.
[pgn]

[Event "FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2019.10.20"]
[Round "9.2"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A28"]
[WhiteElo "2876"]
[BlackElo "2812"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2019.10.10"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bc5 5. Nxe5 Nxe5 6. d4 Bb4 7. dxe5 Nxe4 8.
Qf3 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Ba5 (9... Be7 10. Qg3 g6 11. Bh6 d6 12. Be2 Be6 13. Rd1 Qd7
14. exd6 cxd6 15. O-O O-O-O {1/2-1/2 (52) Carlsen,M (2861)-Nepomniachtchi,I
(2773) Abidjan 2019}) 10. Bf4 O-O 11. O-O-O Qe7 12. Kb2 Rb8 {A sensible, if
somewhat forced, attempt at developing the Black pieces. Caruana goes for the
pawn break and the White king, burning quite a bit of time in the process.
Meanwhile Carlsen appeared to still be 'in book.'} (12... d6 $2 {just loses a
pawn.}) (12... f6 $2 13. Qd5+ {hangs the bishop.}) 13. Bd3 b5 14. cxb5 Bb7 15.
Qh3 g6 16. Qe3 Rfe8 (16... Bxg2 17. Rhg1 Bd5 {and now either} 18. Qd4 ({or} 18.
Bg5 Qe6 19. Qf4 Qb6) 18... c6 19. Bh6 Bb6 20. Bxf8 Rxf8 21. Qf4 Qc5 {is unclear
}) 17. Rhe1 (17. Qxa7 {is another possibility, when play could continue} Bb6
18. Qa3 Qe6 {(wti ...Bd5, ...Ra8, etc)} 19. Qb4 Bd5 20. a4 c6 $5) 17... Bc6 18.
a4 a6 19. Bg5 {Lacking any serious alternatives, Caruana decides to force a
draw.} Bxc3+ (19... Qf8 20. Bh6 Qe7 {would also do the trick.}) 20. Kxc3 Qa3+
21. Kd2 Qb4+ 22. Ke2 Qg4+ 23. Kd2 (23. f3 $4 Qxg2+ 24. Qf2 Bxf3+ 25. Kd2 Qxf2+)
23... Qb4+ 24. Ke2 Qg4+ 25. Kd2 Qb4+ 1/2-1/2

[/pgn]
Caruana stays on first board for Round 10, where he will face David Anton with the White pieces. Seeded 39th coming into the event, Anton is having an excellent event, knocking off Alexander Grischuk in Round 8 and drawing Levon Aronian in today’s Round 9.
Anton-Grischuk (photo chess.com / Maria Emelianova)
[pgn]

[Event "FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2019.10.18"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Anton Guijarro, David"]
[Black "Grischuk, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2674"]
[BlackElo "2759"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2019.10.10"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Bc5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Nf3 e4 6. Nh4 d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. d3
Ng4 9. O-O g5 10. d4 Be7 11. h3 Nxf2 12. Rxf2 gxh4 13. Qb3 hxg3 14. Rf4 Nc6 15.
Qxd5 f5 16. Bxe4 fxe4 17. Qh5+ Kd7 18. Be3 Qg8 19. d5 Nd8 20. Nxe4 Qg6 21. Qe5
Nf7 22. Rxf7 Qxf7 23. Rc1 Rf8 24. Bg5 1-0

[/pgn]
Team America There have been four intra-American matchups thus far in the Grand Swiss. Caruana defeated Sevian in Round 1. In Round 4, Xiong drew Akobian, while Lenderman defeated Kamsky. And Robert Hess pulled a minor upset Saturday, taking down Sam Shankland in a real battle of a game.

[pgn]

[Event "FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2019.10.20"]
[Round "9.52"]
[White "Shankland, Sam"]
[Black "Hess, Robert"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E04"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2019.10.10"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. Nf3 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. Qa4 Bd7 8. Qxc4
b5 9. Qc3 Rc8 10. dxc5 Nd5 11. Qc2 Ncb4 12. Qd1 Bxc5 13. e4 Nf6 14. Nc3 Ng4 (
14... O-O 15. Bg5 Bc6 16. Ne5 h6 17. a3 hxg5 18. axb4 Bxb4 19. Nxc6 Rxc6 20. e5
Nd5 21. Nxd5 exd5 22. Rxa7 {1/2-1/2 (28) Diermair,A (2479)-Druska,J (2460)
Blansko 2019}) 15. Qe2 (15. a3 {may win a pawn:} Nc6 (15... Na6 16. h3 Nxf2 (
16... Nf6 17. e5 Nd5 18. Nxd5 exd5 19. Qxd5) 17. Rxf2 Qb6 18. Qe2 Bxf2+ 19.
Qxf2 Qxf2+ 20. Kxf2 $16) 16. b4 Be7 17. Nxb5) 15... Qb6 16. a3 Bxf2+ 17. Kh1 (
17. Rxf2 Nd3 {looks a little scary after} 18. Qxd3 Qxf2+ 19. Kh1 {but the
White minor pieces are more than a match for the rook.}) 17... Nc6 18. e5 Bc5 (
18... Be3 $5 {(wti ...Nf2+)} 19. h3 Bxc1 20. hxg4 Be3 21. Ne4 {and maybe White
is slightly better?}) 19. b4 Be7 20. h3 (20. Ne4 Ncxe5 21. Nxe5 Nxe5 22. Bb2)
20... Nd4 21. Nxd4 Qxd4 22. Bb2 $2 (22. Nxb5 $1 Qxe5 (22... Qxa1 $2 23. Bf4)
23. Qxe5 Nxe5 24. Nxa7 {and the queenside pawns may get dangerous.}) 22... Ne3
$1 23. Rf4 (23. Qf2 Rxc3 24. Bxc3 Qxc3 25. Rac1 Qxe5 $17) 23... Qb6 24. Be4 Nc4
25. Raf1 Nxb2 26. Rxf7 (26. Qxb2 $142) 26... Rxc3 $1 {Well calculated. Hess'
king will find safety on the queenside.} 27. Qg4 Qe3 28. Rxe7+ Kxe7 29. Qxg7+
Kd8 30. Qxh8+ Kc7 31. Bg2 Nd3 32. Qf8 Nxe5 33. Rd1 Nd3 34. Kh2 Rc2 0-1

[/pgn]
Hess will look to keep his solid tournament going on Sunday when he plays fellow countryman Alexander Lenderman, one of three Round 10 pairings between U.S. nationals. Wesley So will play Ray Robson, while Jeffery Xiong meets Sam Sevian. American Results through Round 9 Round 10 Pairings 
Quick Links Main Tournament Page Tournament Schedule Pairings and Results Replayable Games and PGNs American results Live Twitch stream (10 am EDT Rounds 1-10, 8:30am for Round 11)

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Congratulations to Wang Hao for earning Candidates' Tournament seat with last round win!

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