Carlsen and Anand maintain Grenke lead after 5 rounds


Vincent Keymer scores his first win at GRENKE!

Following a stormy round four that features four decisive games and one draw, the fifth round of the GRENKE Chess Classic was relatively calm. Only one game finished decisively while four concluded in peace. But what made this lone decisive game special was that a win in this one was scored by the youngest player in the fray, IM Vincent Keymer.

Playing against compatriot GM Georg Meier, Keymer, as white, went into a sharp line in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted where players had castled on opposite wings. By the middle game, Keymer had secured an almost decisive advantage. But he faltered on his 25th turn and rendered the position equal.

“I was very happy to see 25.Qf5; it was my only chance to survive. Instead, b4-b5 with the idea of Rc6 was much better,” Meier said after the game.

But while he did manage to wriggle out of any serious danger in the middle game, fate wasn’t as kind on Meier in the endgame. He was walking on thin ice in the pawn endgame that had ensued and did not manage to find the most accurate continuation to hold the game. Keymer played perfectly in the technical phase of the endgame and sealed victory after the 81st move.

Among the other games of the day, the one between Peter Svidler and Francisco Vallejo Pons was the most exciting. After having lost two games in the tournament already, Vallejo went for broke with the black pieces in an Italian Opening with his pawn expansions on the kingside. Svidler tried to complicate matters by sacrificing a pawn but Vallejo kept maintained balance by inducing exchanges and returning the extra material at the right time. One move before the time control, Svidler sacrificed his rook temporarily to reach an endgame with bishops of opposite colour and agreed to a draw shortly afterwards.

Carlsen once again played the longest game of the day. Playing Arkadij Naiditsch in the Four Knights variation of the English Opening, the world champion did not manage to get much out of the opening besides a funny pawn formation along the ‘d’ file. However, as is well known, an equal position has never stopped Carlsen from pushing. But Naiditsch also defended stubbornly and secured a draw after 60 moves.

The other two games of the round – Vishy Anand versus Fabiano Caruana and Maxime Vachier against Levon Aronian – were relatively short draws. While Anand and Caruana played out a balanced game in the Berlin until the 40th move, ‘MVL’ and Aronian repeated moves after 25 moves in an Anti-Marshall.

This was the last round to be played at the Kongresszentrum in Karlsruhe. The tournament will move to Baden Baden as round 5 resumes on April 26, 2019 after tomorrow’s rest day. Games will begin as usual at 15:00 CEST. Round 6 pairings can be found below.

Round 6 (26.04.2019 / 15:00)