Reports | February 14, 2013 22:02

Meier beats Fridman in 7th round Grenke Chess Classic

Georg Meier won his first game at the Grenke Chess Classic on Thursday. The German grandmaster beat Daniel Fridman in 60 moves from a slightly better ending. Fabiano Caruana kept his half point lead over Vishy Anand and Arkadij Naiditsch in Baden-Baden as the other two games in round 7 ended in draws. The top encounter Caruana-Anand was a 7.Nf3 Najdorf where White always had a slight plus, but the World Champ held the balance with accurate play. Arkadij Naiditsch took some risks against Mickey Adams and got under pressure in an ending, but here too the defending side managed to save himself.

Georg Meier wins and is no longer the tail-ender

Caruana leads as Meier claims first win

There was no love lost between the GRENKE Chess Classic players on Valentine’s Day, with tense fights on all three boards. It was only long after the first time control that Caruana-Anand and Adams-Naiditsch were agreed drawn, leaving Meier and Fridman to uphold the tradition of each round featuring a decisive game. Sure enough, after six hours Georg Meier banked his first win.

Report by Colin McGourty, photos by Georgios Souleidis, videos by Macauley Peterson

If you were going to bet on a decisive result in Round 7 you’d be unlikely to look much further than Arkadij Naiditsch. The German firebrand seemed well on his way to prolonging his streak of five decisive games in a row when he played the provocative 9…g5!? against Michael Adams (Magnus Carlsen once lost a pre-Biel blitz game to Etienne Bacrot after 9…Qa5).

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It looked close to madness against a positional master like Adams, although the Englishman told Naiditsch afterwards in the press conference that after 10.Be5 Bg7 11.Bd6 he’d expected the mayhem of 11…Nb6!? 12.Nb5 Nc4 13.Nc7+  – “more in your style!”. After the 11…Nb8?! retreat White seemed to have an almost dream position, but when queens were exchanged Naiditsch felt the worst was over. Adams summed the game up: “I had a very nice position and then I gradually made it worse, steadily, move by move, but not quite enough to lose.” Adams' grip evaporated when he went for a tactical sequence on move 24. Although he was able to eliminate Black’s queenside pawns he ended up living dangerously in time trouble:

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Adams said he’d “for some reason” assumed Naiditsch had to play 36…Kg6 and that “it starts to become a bit unpleasant for White” after 36…Kg4! The white king ended up boxed in the corner, but the ensuing position was one where even Naiditsch was forced to acknowledge a draw was inevitable.

Replay the post-game press conference with Michael Adams and Arkadij Naiditsch

The other draw between Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana involved even more subtle manoeuvring, and there was more at stake – any decisive outcome might determine the fate of the tournament. Anand admitted afterwards he’d been on the ropes, identifying 16…Rab8?! and 24…Rb6?! as mistakes:

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Anand: “The rook just gets in the way. It’s already unpleasant for Black. He may objectively be ok, but it’s not a fun position to play.” Anand had thought the knight was never going to get to d5, but when it did with 41.Nd5 he explained the time the players were taking with, “White is very close to winning”:

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Caruana’s domination of the light squares makes a nice impression, but as with the Adams-Naiditsch game neither the players nor the computer could come up with a convincing way for White to exploit his domination. Anand was pleased with some accurate moves at around this stage, starting with 41…Ba5!, though it’s worth noting as a curiosity that after 42.Kf4 h6 43.Re4 Bd8 44.Kg3 h5, when Caruana accepted Anand’s draw offer, Houdini rates the line with 45.h4 as better for White than any other position that occurred in the game.

Replay the post-game press conference with Fabiano Caruana and Viswanathan Anand

The one win of the round saw Georg Meier leapfrog Daniel Fridman out of bottom place. Meier finally converted a good position resulting from some more fine preparation with White – he mentioned 12.Nbd2 had been a novelty when he checked it – but it was in many ways a self-inflicted defeat for Fridman. When the two players met in Round 2 Fridman took a pragmatic decision, commenting, “If I started to calculate all the variations I might play the same but without time on the clock.” That was exactly his problem in Round 7:

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Here Fridman spent 40 minutes weighing the merits of 17…Qxb6, 17…Rxd1+ and the move he eventually played,17…Qxc2. Then after 18.Rxd8+ he burned more time choosing between 18…Bxd8 and 18…Rxd8, eventually leaving himself under ten minutes for fifteen moves. Some fantastic lines were aired in the post-game press conference, but as Daniel explained, “the best solution was just to play something, but quicker!” The end result was Fridman overlooking that a long sequence of play simply ended with the b4-pawn dropping, although even the ending a pawn down left him with chances. As it happened, it was mainly a chance to commit another classical psychological error.

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Fridman described 41…Kd6?! as a typical 41st move, where a chess player is so relieved to make the time control with seconds to spare that he rushes and blunders. Both Fridman and Meier thought 41…Ne4! would offer more chances, with Georg noting his pieces were poorly coordinated. After that Meier’s pawns advanced inexorably, with some help from his opponent, but that wasn’t quite the end. The players continued even after Meier queened a pawn (at the second time of asking). Fridman was drawn to the idea of finding positions where a pawn and knight can compete with a queen, but Meier kept his cool and took home the full point: “I was seeing some ghosts, but not so many”.

Replay the post-game press conference with Georg Meier and Daniel Fridman

Although that game transformed the standings at the bottom Fabiano Caruana continues to lead with 4.5 points. Anand and Naiditsch follow with 4. The pairings for Friday's Round 8 mean Meier has no time to rest on his laurels. He said after today's game that it's been a recent trend for him to do well with White and terribly with Black (before it was the opposite) - so facing the World Champion with the black pieces could be tricky. The full pairings are: Fridman - Adams, Naiditsch - Caruana and Anand - Meier. You can follow the live coverage from 15:00 CET.

Games round 7

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

Grenke Classic 2013 | Round 7 standings

 

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

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Comments

Jocky's picture

Another tournament where Anand has ni chance of winning, and this was the easiest one for sometime, what an embarrassment he is

Anthony Migchels's picture

lol :-) It's not THAT bad, he's still performing at 2762, but it's sure true he's far from overimpressive

Kronsteen's picture

Yes, it is a shame he had to spoil his record with that win against Naiditsch.

Thomas Oliver's picture

What makes you think that Anand has no chances of winning (or at least sharing first place)? In the next two rounds he has white against Meier and Fridman - while Caruana has black against the unpredictable Naiditsch and white against the solid Adams. So anything can still happen.
If Carlsen was half a point behind with three rounds to go, would anyone say "ni chance of winning"?

Kronsteen's picture

Carlsen has shown a greater willingness to fight for the win than Anand has.

bronkenstein's picture

Not really, he is simply much (much...) younger, with all the benefits that come with that.

RRPrice's picture

If Carlsen was half a point behind with three rounds to go, he'd be a lock for first place!

Andreas's picture

if if if if if if ...
carlsen would be 2 points ahead at this stage

illuminati's picture

waiting for carlsen to dislodge him and be the real world champ

PircAlert's picture

Good. Keep on waiting!

meshrath's picture

Carlsen has been the number one player for quite some time now. His recent tournament record is awesome. But Anand is the World Champion and World championships are matches. Carlsens match experience is woefully short. On chessgames.com only 2 previous matches are listed, and those too a long time ago. So, if he manages to get past the candidates, then his summit clash with Anand would be interesting. Still to play Anand, he has to clear the candidates hurdle first. And in the candidates, he will face players like Kramnik, Aronian in matches. So, it might be a long wait still.

ML78's picture

But is really the performance of Anand the only interesting thing left to talk about in chess?!

Anonymous's picture

for those who envy his title it is

RRPrice's picture

What is Anand's title? Captain Boring?... Oh, you mean the FIDE title thing.

RG13's picture

It's not about FIDE, Anand beat every challenger, and there were far fewer challengers in the days before FIDE. So eventually he will pass the crown on to a younger player but why should fans disparage him in the meantime?

RRPrice's picture

All in good fun.

Anonymous's picture

yeah, the FIDE title thing RRprice. You know, the thing that all other players want and had Carlsen hire a shitload of coaches.

Septimus's picture

In Adams-Nadisch, I would say 24.g4 was the weak move that gave away the advantage. Why not attack Black's weak Q-side instead of fighting a battle on two fronts?

Mike's picture

Anand is just invited because he is the world- champ.. if he looses his title in the next WC-Match to Carlsen.. he will drop to 2750 and go the way shirov went.. slowly but steadily to 2700...

Mike's picture

Anand is just invited because he is the world- champ.. if he looses his title in the next WC-Match to Carlsen.. he will drop to 2750 and go the way shirov went.. slowly but steadily to 2700...

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