Devangshu Datta September 5, 2015 Last Updated at 00:03 IST

Chess (#1164) Sunday Chess TV
power chess

Levon Aronian regained form in splendid fashion to win the Sinquefield Cup. The Armenian GM, who had dropped from #2 to #11 in the course of the past two years, won with 6 points from 9 games (three wins, six draws). He played artistic, creative chess. This win fetches 19 rating points and propels Aronian back to #7, quite apart from Grand Tour points and prize money. Incidentally Aronian beat all three Americans.

There was a big tie from 2nd-5th, shared by Anish Giri, Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura (all on 5 points). Giri was unbeaten. Veselin Topalov and Alexander Grischuk (both 4.5) had even scores. This must have been disappointing for Topalov who started with two wins before he was hit by losses to Vachier Lagrave and Fabiano Caruana. Viswanathan Anand and Caruana shared 8th-9th (3.5 each) with Anand the only player who failed to win a game. Wesley So (3) finished last.

Rankings will change on the “live list” (unofficial but continuously updated), with Nakamura at #2, Topalov #3 and Anand dropping to #4. Giri moves to #5 with Caruana dropping one spot to #6. Nakamura has played with a new found solidity this year. He pulled out one fantastic combinative win against So, and one superb draw when he defended a lost position well against Carlsen.

The world champion was close to challenging for the top spot but never quite found form. He dropped that draw to Nakamura and there were two losses to Veselin Topalov and Grischuk. Somehow, Carlsen’s technique was sub-par. That’s a bad sign since technique is his forte.

On the official list (updated every month), Carlsen is second, Ding Liren moves to #7, while America’s John M Burke (born 2001) who is not yet 14, climbs to Elo 2601. Burke becomes the youngest player to reach super GM strength. His rise has been so meteoric (moving from Elo 2258 on July 1, 2015, to 2601 on September 1) that he isn’t yet formally titled.

THE DIAGRAM, BLACK TO PLAY ( White: So Vs Black: Nakamura, Sinquefield Cup 2015 Saint Louis )  was a brilliancy. Black breaks through with 25…f3! 26.gxf3 Nxe4! Even after27.Rxd7 Rxf3! 28.Bxf3 Qxf3+ 29.Qg2 Qxd3 30.Rd1 Bd2!!  31.Bxd2 Nf4 black has a winning attack while 27. fxe4 Rf1+ 28. Kg2 Be3! 29. Bxf1 h3+ is a typical sort of line.

White lost his way with 27.Rd1? Rxf3 28.Rxd7 Rf1+! 29.Kg2 Be3! The alternative win with 29…h3+ 30.Kxh3 Rf2 31.Bxf2 Qxf2 32.Nxf2 Nf4+ 33.Kh4 Bg5# is preferred by engines.

The game ended with a arousing king-hunt 30.Bg3 hxg3 31.Rxf1 Nh4+ 32.Kh3 Qh6 33.g5 Nxg5+ 34.Kg4 Nhf3 35.Nf2 Qh4+ 36.Kf5 Rf8+ 37.Kg6 Rf6+! 38.Kxf6 Ne4+ 39.Kg6 Qg5# (0-1).

Susan Polgar

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