This week we will focus on the GRENKE Chess Classic from Germany, but first, we will take note of a major surprise in the strong open tournament which concluded last week.
Many big names took part, but first place went to the unheralded 13-year-old German IM Vincent Keymer. Keymer’s 8-1 score had many fans remembering Sofia Polgar’s “Sack of Rome, where she notched a 2900 performance rating at age 14 nearly thirty years ago. Keymer beat several grandmasters and went into the last round tied with Korobov and Shirov, who drew their game. Keymer was downfloated to one of the top seeds, Richard Rapport. The Hungarian was hell-bent for victory, but Keymer survived and launched a decisive counterattack to win it all.
IM Vincent Keymer
Let’s see how he did it:
GM Fabiano Caruana
Fabiano Caruana capitalized on the momentum from his victory in the Candidates tournament only days before Grenke. Fabi took control of the tournament with a seventh-round victory over Vachier-Lagrave. Carlsen was in striking distance going into the last round, but the true challenge never materialized as Carlsen could only draw with Anand while Caruana showed another confident last round performance against the early leader Vitiugov, who was not able to win since the first two days. I want to take a look at Fabi’s initial victory over Georg Meier, which was somewhat out of the ordinary and featured some quirky tactics in the variations:
GM Georg Meier
Magnus Carlsen had a rather bland tournament, undefeated but with only two wins. He got close to the top with a seventh-round victory over Naiditsch but could not capitalize. Given his positions, he can’t complain about his finish too much. He actually survived some close calls, in particular, one against a player who for the most part struggled in the tournament, Georg Meier, in round 5:
Arkady Niaditsch is one of my favorite players, at least stylistically, because he plays bold, original chess and is never afraid of losing. He went for a masterpiece against Matthias Bluebaum but was not quite able to finish the job.
GM Arkadij Naiditsch
That does it for this week. Next week I may return to delve into Caruana’s last round victory, which only just concluded shortly before this recording.