standing tradition of the Sinquefield Cup of no repeat winners remained
as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave emerged as the winner of the 2017 tournament!
Entering the round, the eventual winner was tied with Viswanathan Anand
and Levon Aronian with Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin just half a
point behind them. The day started off well for the Frenchman as Anand
had a quick draw against Welsey So, while Aronian was already suffering
in Carlsen’s hands. Vachier-Lagrave did his part by converting his
advantage against Ian Nepomniachtchi on the white side of the Najdorf.
He was officially crowned the winner once Aronian accepted the
inevitable and resigned. For his efforts, Vachier-Lagrave collected
$75,000 and 13 Grand Chess Tour points. He is now only three tour points
behind Carlsen in the overall standings.
once, Vachier-Lagrave was facing the Najdorf instead of playing it with
the black pieces. He played a very instructive game where he had a very
classical example of a good knight against a bad bishop after
exchanging all the right pieces. He converted masterfully as his
opponent never got the chance to even make a threat or hope to defend
his position. This important move also moved Vachier-Lagrave to the
number two spot on the live rating list.
Magnus Carlsen vs Levon Aronian 1-0
Armenian Grandmaster’s dreams of winning were destroyed as his opponent
played a high-class game. Aronian tried to create an imbalance in the
position by changing the pawn structure to get activity. Carlsen
defended against his opponent’s threats and the resulting position was
simply advantageous for him. Black’s position fell apart as he had too
many weaknesses and no real counterplay. This was truly a heartbreaking
way to end the tournament for Aronian who had played creative and
inspiring chess throughout tournament.
Wesley So vs Viswanathan Anand ½
American had a disastrous tournament and it was clear that he simply
wanted to play a solid game and end the tournament. He got a nice
advantage in the middlegame but did not put any pressure on his
opponent. It was an unfortunate situation for Anand who needed the win
as Vachier-Lagrave had the white pieces and a good chance to score a
victory. In the postgame interview, Anand was in good spirits and felt
good about his overall tournament.
Hikaru Nakamura vs Sergey Karjakin ½
his win yesterday, Karjakin had some mathematical, albeit unlikely,
chances of still tying for first. Nakamura played an enterprising and
quick b4 in a relatively new variation of the reverse Sicilian English.
Karjakin had to find some precise moves to equalize the game as he found
his bishop quite offside. However, once the bishop was retrieved, the
Russian considered he had no problems. The logical conclusion led to
massive exchanges and the draw.
Peter Svidler vs Fabiano Caruana 1-0
opening of the game was offbeat, and the players found themselves in
uncharted territory quite quickly. Svidler was ahead in development and
played precisely to keep his advantage. In a critical moment, he shied
away from sacrificing a piece and admitted in the confession booth that
he probably should have gone for the complications. His intuition was
correct as the sacrifice would have ended the game before move 30. He
went on to win the game anyway, as he still had a slight advantage and
Caruana’s poor form did not allow him to put up a tenacious defense to
bring home the half a point.