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Chess (#1214)

Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian tied for second place with 5 each

Devangshu Datta  |  New Delhi 

Chess (#1214)

Wesley So held onto his narrow lead to win the Sinquefield ahead of four pursuers who were just a half point behind. So (Elo rating 2771) scored 5.5 from 9 games with two wins and seven draws - this would be enough to gain 11 Elo in a field with an average of 2779. So takes home $75,000 for his efforts.

Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian tied for second place with 5 each. Topalov came with an ace of tying for first place but he botched a winning endgame, against Aronian in the last round.

The World #2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura (both 4.5 managed to maintain even scores. The laggards were Ding Liren (4), Peter Svidler (3.5) and Anish Giri (3). Giri in particular, has been in terrible form for a while, The tournament was followed by an exhibition rapid match featuring ''Team Rex" (Sinquefield) versus "Team Randy" (Sinquefield) with the field split into two teams of five joined by Garry Kasparov for Rex, and Yasser Seirawan for Randy. The players rotate out, each playing five moves ina row at a control of 5 minutes with 3 seconds delay per move. (Instead of an increment, the clock starts with a 3 seconds delay after the opponent's move is played).

The 16-year-old Jeffery Xiong leads the World Juniors (Under-20) at Bhubaneswar with 7.5 from 9 rounds. With four rounds left at the time of writing, the American has an excellent chance of picking up a title, which has been won by among others, world champions like Anand, Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, and Boris Spassky. Grzegorz Nasuta (Poland) is on 7 and Vladislav Artemiev alongwith Yinglung Xu share third 3-04 with 6.5 each. Aravindh Chithambaram and Murali Karthikeyan are both on 6 - both suffered painful losses to Xiong. In the Girls Event, Janelle Frayna (Philippines), and Alina Bivol (Russia) share the lead with 7 each. Michelle Catherina (6.5) is one of four players sharing 3rd-6th while P.V. Nandhidhaa, M Mahalakshmi, and R. Vaishali (all on 6) are sharing 7th-12th.

The diagram, WHITE TO PLAY, ( White: So Versus Black: Topalov, 4th Sinquefield Cup Saint Louis 2016) is a good example of So's gutsy sharp style. White's king is exposed and Topalov could continue with 32. Qd2 Qxc5 with good chances in a very unclear position. Instead the former world champion opts to take the king-pawn. This looks optically better since the white king is even more exposed but it's not. The c-pawn turns into a killer.

Play went 32.Qd2 Re5 33.b4 Bg5 34.Rd1 Bxe3 35.Qd7 Qa8 36.Nd5 Bg5 37.c6 This pawn is the boss Play continued 37.- Bh4 38.Rd2 Re1 39.Rc2 Kg7 40.Nb6 Qb8 41.Qd4+ (1-0). Now c7 is unstoppable

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player

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First Published: Sat, August 20 2016. 00:01 IST