It's Ding's to Win

By John Hartmann |  August 27, 2019  |   News

Ding Liren is in the driver’s seat as the final round of the 2019 Sinquefield Cup nears. His draw against Levon Aronian, coupled with Ian Nepomniachtchi’s loss to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, gives him a slender half-point lead over four players heading into Wednesday's 11th and final round. A win will give Ding his first Sinquefield Cup title, while a draw opens the door to a playoff on Thursday.

courtesy STLCC
courtesy STLCC

Nepomniachtchi has been the tournament’s most dangerous player, with four decisive games (three wins, one loss) as of Tuesday's 10th round. His fluctuations in form continued here against Vachier-Lagrave, when Nepo inexplicably played 21.Nd7? instead of 21.Nc6, which would lead to a quick draw. MVL headed to the confessional to admit as much…

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…while Nepomniatchtchi took to Twitter to describe his bewilderment at his blunder.

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[pgn] [Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.08.27"] [Round "10.2"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A34"] [WhiteElo "2774"] [BlackElo "2778"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2019.08.17"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb4 6. Bb5+ N8c6 7. d4 cxd4 8. a3 dxc3 9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. axb4 cxb2 11. Bxb2 f6 12. e5 Bd7 13. Bc4 e6 14. O-O ( 14. exf6 $5 Bxb4+ 15. Ke2 gxf6 (15... Rg8 $143 16. fxg7 Ke7) 16. Bxf6+ Kc7 17. Bxh8 Rxh8) 14... Be7 15. b5 Nxe5 16. Bxe5 fxe5 17. Rfd1 Ke8 18. Nxe5 Bc8 19. b6 Bc5 20. Bb5+ Ke7 21. Nd7 $4 (21. Nc6+ bxc6 22. Bxc6 Bb7 23. Bxb7 Rad8 24. bxa7 Rxd1+ 25. Rxd1 Bxa7 $11) 21... Bd6 22. Rac1 Rd8 $1 (22... Bxd7 23. Bxd7 axb6 ( 23... Kxd7 $2 24. Rc7+ Ke8 25. Rxd6) (23... a5 $5) 24. Bb5 Rhd8 $17) 23. Nc5 Bxc5 24. Rxd8 Kxd8 25. Rxc5 axb6 26. Rc1 Ra5 27. Rb1 Bd7 $17 28. Bd3 (28. Bxd7 Kxd7 29. Rxb6 $4 Ra1+) 28... h6 29. Rxb6 Ra1+ 30. Bf1 Kc7 31. Rb2 b5 32. f3 Kb6 33. Kf2 Bc6 34. Bc4 e5 35. Bd3 Ra3 36. Bb1 Rc3 37. Ke2 Rc4 38. Kd2 b4 39. Ba2 Rd4+ 40. Kc1 e4 41. fxe4 Rxe4 42. g3 Bb5 43. Kd1 Kc5 44. Rf2 Bc4 45. Bb1 Re7 46. Kd2 Rf7 0-1 [/pgn]

Meanwhile, Ding trotted out the Two Knight’s Defense against Aronian, and after doubling Aronian’s d-pawns in the trendy 8.Bd3 line, Ding always had enough compensation to keep the draw in hand.

[pgn] [Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.08.27"] [Round "10.1"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C58"] [WhiteElo "2765"] [BlackElo "2805"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2019.08.17"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3 Nd5 9. Nf3 Bd6 10. O-O Nf4 11. Nc3 Nxd3 12. cxd3 O-O 13. b3 c5 14. Ba3 Nc6 15. Ne4 Nb4 16. Bxb4 cxb4 17. Re1 Bb8 18. Ng3 Qxd3 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Rxe5 Be6 21. Re3 Qd4 22. Ne2 Qd6 23. d4 a5 24. h4 Rfd8 25. Qd2 a4 26. Rd1 axb3 27. axb3 Ra5 28. Rg3 Rf5 29. Ra1 Bd5 30. Qe3 h6 31. Rg4 Rf6 32. Ng3 Qe6 33. Qxe6 Bxe6 34. Re4 Bxb3 35. d5 Rb6 36. Rb1 Bxd5 37. Rexb4 Rxb4 38. Rxb4 Be6 39. f3 Ra8 40. Kh1 Rd8 41. Kg1 Ra8 42. Kh1 Rd8 43. Kg1 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

photo Lennart Ootes

Magnus Carlsen broke his duck with the second win of the round, defeating Wesley So in a game where Carlsen simply seemed to understand the nuances of the middlegame better.

[pgn] [Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.08.27"] [Round "10.4"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2882"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2019.08.17"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. c3 d6 7. h3 h6 8. Re1 a6 9. a4 a5 10. Nbd2 Be6 11. Bb5 Na7 12. d4 Nxb5 13. dxc5 Na7 14. b3 Re8 15. cxd6 Qxd6 16. Ba3 c5 17. Nc4 Qxd1 18. Raxd1 Bxc4 19. bxc4 b6 20. Nh4 Rad8 21. f3 g6 22. g3 Nh5 23. Kf2 Nc6 24. Bc1 Kg7 25. Be3 Rxd1 26. Rxd1 Rd8 27. Rb1 Rb8 28. Ng2 Nf6 29. Ke2 Ne8 30. Bf2 Nd6 31. Ne3 Ne7 32. Nd5 Nxd5 33. cxd5 Rb7 34. Kd3 f5 (34... f6 35. c4 g5 36. Be1 Kf7 37. Bd2 f5 38. g4 f4 39. Bc3 Kf6 40. Rb2 $22 {(Carlsen)}) 35. c4 fxe4+ 36. fxe4 Rf7 37. Rxb6 Rxf2 38. Rxd6 Rf3+ 39. Ke2 Rc3 40. Re6 Rxc4 41. Rxe5 Rxa4 42. Re7+ Kf6 43. d6 1-0 [/pgn]
The win improbably pushed Carlsen into shared second place, along with Nepomniachtchi, Viswanathan Anand, and Sergey Karjakin. Anand and Karjakin drew in another game that Anand may feel that he should have won.
[pgn] [Event "7th Sinquefield Cup 2019"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.08.27"] [Round "10.3"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2750"] [BlackElo "2756"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2019.08.17"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 b6 7. Be2 Ba6 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 Qxd5 10. Bxc7 Qa5+ 11. Kf1 Bxe2+ 12. Qxe2 Nd7 13. h3 Rac8 14. Bg3 Rc6 15. Kg1 Rfc8 16. Kh2 Rc2 17. Qd3 g5 18. Rhb1 h5 19. Kg1 g4 20. hxg4 hxg4 21. Ne1 Rd2 22. Qe4 Nf6 23. Qb7 Re8 24. Rc1 Qf5 25. Rc7 Bd6 26. Rxf7 Bxg3 27. Rg7+ Kh8 28. fxg3 Rf2 29. Nd3 Qxd3 30. Kxf2 Ne4+ 31. Kg1 Qxe3+ 32. Kh1 Qh6+ 33. Kg1 Qe3+ 34. Kh1 Qh6+ 35. Kg1 Qe3+ 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

photo Justin Kellar

Anand has found ways to get great advantages against his opponents here in Saint Louis, but in multiple games he has been unable to convert those advantages into full points. Garry Kasparov, who is preparing for his own return to the board in the Champions 960 event that follows the Sinquefield Cup, dubbed Anand the “Robin Hood of Chess” in a Tweet.

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The remaining two games were drawn. Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri found an early path to a repetition, while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana also played to a draw. Final Round Pairings

courtesy STLCC

Sinquefield Cup quick links Grand Chess Tour homepage and live games starting at 1:50 ET YouTube channel (archives and live show) Grand Chess Tour twitter GCT tour standings 

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Magnus had 2 must win games in the final rounds and won both - playoff tomorrow with Ding Liren

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] a final round victory over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, coupled with his Round 10 win over Wesley So, propelled Carlsen into shared first place with Ding and the rapid / blitz […]

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