76th Tata Steel Chess R5: Levon Aronian Retains Lead with Super Performance
Levon Aronian doesn’t cease to amaze, grinding down Arkadij Naiditsch in a tricky endgame. The German dusted off an old variation of the Ruy Lopez, culminating into an equal middle game position. The top seed decided to change gears:
“I felt my only chance to win a game like this is to play fast, to try to put him under pressure.” Naiditsch initially defended well, though, but several inaccuracies after the time control provided the Armenian with excellent winning chances. Aronian steadily increased his advantage and after 57 moves, Naiditsch threw in the towel.
Replay all the games of Round 5 at the 76th Tata Steel Chess (Masters Section) with Chess King.
Wesley So kept the pace, defeating Boris Gelfand. Over the board So decided to try a new move with 8.Qd2. He felt “the opening was just equal but I tried to put some pressure.”
In a Sveshnikov Defense, Loek van Wely fell victim to Fabiano Caruana’s positional approach. Caruana enjoyed a pleasant edge but the Dutchman’s position was solid. According to the Italian, the game was “more or less equal going into the ending. I’m a pawn up but it’s very hard to do anything.”
In the battle between Richard Rapport and Leinier Dominguez, the former once again displayed his creativity when he opted for1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.g4!? The Cuban, surprised by this choice, had a deep think before he acted out his battle plan. According to Dominguez, Rapport “probably overestimated his chances” in the middle game, not realizing the danger his king was in. After 19.Nb3? Dominguez immediately capitalized with 19. …Bxe2!launching a decisive attack on the Hungarian’s king.
The only game to end in a draw was the Hikaru Nakamura – Sergey Karjakin encounter. The Russian grandmaster sacrificed a pawn to gain a lead in development, while Nakamura struggled to finish his. When Karjakin followed up with the strong 18. …d4 (see diagram), however, he stated that “there is probably nothing else for him but to force a draw with 19.h4.” Nakamura agreed that in the end “we both played quite accurately and found the best moves so I think a draw is a pretty normal result.”
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