Reports | February 08, 2013 22:01

Grenke Classic: Naiditsch beats Adams in almost 7-hour battle

Arkadij Naiditsch joined Fabiano Caruana in the lead in round 2 of the Grenke Chess Classic  in Baden-Baden. On Friday the German grandmaster beat Michael Adams in 79 moves and almost 7 hours of play. Both Anand-Caruana and Fridman-Meier ended in draws.

Naiditscih was the winner of the day in round 2

Arkadij Naiditsch emerged victorious after a rollercoaster 7-hour game that saw the German no. 1 and Mickey Adams jockey for the initiative. That game overshadowed the sharp contest between Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana, where the young apprentice unleashed some more deep preparation to hold the champion at bay.

Report by Colin McGourty, photos by Georgios Souleidis, courtesy of the Grenke Chess Classic

The game of the round sparked into life on move 26, when Adams attacked Naiditsch’s queen.

PGN string

The German responded with the spectacular 27.Rxd5! which Adams admitted he’d simply blundered. The minor problem is that taking the queen sees Black mated: 27…Rxf4?? 28.Rd8+ Kh7 29.Ng5+ Kh6 30.exf4!. However, the position was surprisingly still balanced, and after a passage of play in which both players rejected a draw by repetition it was Black who emerged with an extra pawn.

Adams confessed afterwards (for the second day in a row!),

I had no idea what was going on.

At first it seemed as though Naiditsch, angry at letting his earlier edge slip, was making the classic mistake of pushing too hard for a win, but towards the second time control Adams found himself in a tough situation. He thought it was already tough for a human to hold and considered himself practically lost after 50…fxe5. That explained his decided to jettison the exchange on move 56.

PGN string

56...Rxf3?! It was still all to play for, but Adams now had to tread a tightrope while Naiditsch was scenting blood. Exhaustion and time pressure finally had their way, and Mickey offered his hand on move 79. The players somehow found the energy to appear for a post-game press conference with IM Lawrence Trent hours after the other games had finished drawn.

Fabiano Caruana’s difficulties in last month’s Wijk aan Zee started with an early loss with the black pieces against Vishy Anand. Although that could of course happen to anyone, things soon went from bad to worse. When the dust had settled the young Italian had lost five games and almost 25 rating points, dropping not only out of the world Top 5 but also the Top 10. Caruana told the GRENKE Chess Classic press team that his performance there was the result of a whole combination of factors. One was that he was unwell for most of the event, but he was also without his coach Vladimir Chuchelov, who was focussing on one of his other students, Anish Giri.

Here in Baden-Baden Vladimir is accompanying Fabiano, and a repetition of the Wijk aan Zee scenario doesn’t seem to be on the cards. For the second day in a row Caruana demonstrated deep preparation and surprised the World Champion with 20…a5!?, a move Vladimir had recommended the night before instead of the previous grandmaster choice of 20…Nxg4. Vishy at first continued to play relatively quickly, but he lived to regret it – lamenting his “careless” 22.Ne3, which allowed Caruana to equalise with 23…d5! (Anand in the press conference: “I should have at least thought about this”)

PGN string

In the play that followed Caruana emphasised that both sides had a lot of options and he’d barely looked at Anand’s 25.Qb1. He thought his 26…Rad8 “maybe wasn’t the best” but after the crucial 28…e4! he was visibly confident in his position as he left the stage.

For a while it seemed as though the Italian might have a strong initiative against the white king, but the champion used all his experience to bring the game to a rock-solid draw. Anand joked about the near-symmetrical final position,

I thought here I was pushing him back, but it’s not up to much.

The second game to finish was the 26-move draw between German grandmasters Daniel Fridman and Georg Meier. Fridman is a very funny man, and greeted IM Lawrence Trent in the press conference with,

you didn’t fall asleep?

True, it wasn’t spectacular chess to watch, but what emerged from the press conference was an insight into the subtleties that decide matters in the higher echelons of world chess. Meier revealed that

a lot happened in the early moves,

as Fridman managed to use a move-order trick to play a line of the Nimzo-Indian that Meier had successfully avoided in last year’s Dortmund tournament. Meier was left struggling to remember the analysis he’d done as a junior, while Fridman… claimed he hadn’t expected to succeed and also couldn’t remember the line!

The turning point in the game perhaps came on move 14. Fridman wasn’t yet low on time, but he explained his reasoning for playing 14.Bb4 instead of potentially more promising moves: “In some ways I just believed him. If I started to calculate all the variations I might play the same Bb4 but without time on the clock.” After that there was a lively tactical sequence featuring the nice zwischenzug 15.Qd4, but the game never left the bounds of equality and finished in a logical repetition of moves. Georg Meier is off the mark in Baden-Baden.

PGN string

The highlight of Saturday’s Round 3 looks set to be Caruana – Naiditsch. Will Naiditsch’s satisfaction at winning be enough to overcome the exhaustion of today’s game? In the same fixture in Dortmund last year the Italian only escaped by the skin of his teeth.

Games round 2

PGN file

Grenke Chess Classic 2013 | Pairings & results

Round 1 07.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 6 13.02.13 15:00 CET
Naiditsch ½-½ Fridman   Fridman - Naiditsch
Adams ½-½ Anand   Anand - Adams
Caruana 1-0 Meier   Meier - Caruana
Round 2 08.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 7 14.02.13 15:00 CET
Fridman ½-½ Meier   Meier - Fridman
Anand ½-½ Caruana   Caruana - Anand
Naiditsch 1-0 Adams   Adams - Naiditsch
Round 3 09.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 8 15.02.13 15:00 CET
Adams - Fridman   Fridman - Adams
Caruana - Naiditsch   Naiditsch - Caruana
Meier - Anand   Anand - Meier
Round 4 10.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 9 16.02.13 15:00 CET
Fridman - Anand   Anand - Fridman
Naiditsch - Meier   Meier - Naiditsch
Adams - Caruana   Caruana - Adams
Round 5 11.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 10 17.02.13 13:00 CET
Caruana - Fridman   Fridman - Caruana
Meier - Adams   Adams - Meier
Anand - Naiditsch   Naiditsch - Anand

Grenke Classic 2013 | Round 2 standings


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


RG13's picture

Great, Anand is playing interesting sharp chess.

bronkenstein's picture

Indeed, Caru was in good enough shape to ´stop´ him today, but the trend from TATA is continuing.

His tournament form is slowly rising, but I hope that he won´t forget how to play matches meantime, or someone like Vlad might steal his shiny crown.

redivivo's picture

His chess form has clearly improved lately but still much left for him to be anywhere close to the Anand of 2007-08. In a field like this that Anand would be clear first without discussion, so I don't think his current results should be reason to fear that he is overdoing himself so much that he will lose his crown to someone like Kramnik. Or some other possible contenders, if there are any, that might be considered to reach a similar level as Anand if he does forget how to play matches like the one against Gelfand.

Evgeny's picture

Very nice tournament, looks like it is very well organized; beautiful and well designed homepage and there is a live video coverage available in two languages: english and german)))

Anonymous's picture

Ya it is good tournament and caruna and anand game was good one.

Anonymous's picture

Ya it is good tournament and caruna and anand game was good one.

Saji's picture

Caruna and Anand game was a good ruylopez.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Still no comments on Naiditsch-Adams? If such a game had been won by Carlsen, Nakamura or Topalov (some years ago when he was at his very best), their fans would be all over the place and maybe it would be declared "game of the year" - while even 'game of the tournament' seems premature with eight rounds remaining.

P.S.: Excellent report by Colin!

Anonymous's picture
S3's picture

I wonder of whom the above deleted anonymous is fan. Would it be Topalov, Carlsen or Nakamura ?

redivivo's picture

Declared Game of the year by the Carlsen fans if he had won it? Hardly. Nice win for Naiditsch though.

Remco Gerlich's picture

I love 27.Rxd5!

No. 0ne's picture
boardgame 's picture

Hm, same article on chessbase.

Michael's picture

Well, it seems both took the round report from the tournament website. Don't see the problem; Colin writes quite well indeed.

Lee's picture

The articles here and on chessbase are correctly attributed to the author and photographer.

Nothing to see here, please move on.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

The game Naiditsch X Adams was the best of the tournament until now.

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