Added on 3/24/2016

Today we have a SPECIAL EDITION of the Game Of the Day video!

&     GM Lars Bo Hansen       IM Christof Sielecki


Continuing with our "special day" story, today in Moscow was "Black Thursday": easy wins being given away at incredibly low prices. So many winning chances thrown away, in a thrilling and unnerving round. For the first time in 11 rounds, today we could have had 4 decisive results; but nerves, pressure and tension played a fundamental role, and the players showed their human side, blundering like beginners. This is one of the many reasons that make our beloved game so interesting: the human fragility that can surface at any moment.

Let's see what happened. Aronian collapsed against Svidler, giving a bad blow to his hopes to qualify for the World Championship match.

Caruana, in serious time trouble before time control, was not able to find the right plan in a position that saw him holding quite big an advantage, and had to settle for a draw with Topalov. 39...Rc2? was the decisive blunder.

It was clear that Fabiano had lost control of the position, and offered a draw in a position with still some play left, but Topalov's bishops were ready to harass Caruana's rook in the middle of the board. A clear winning chance thrown away by the American and, given how the other games went, possibly Fabiano spoiled a real chance to win the whole tournament.


Press conference Caruana-Topalov courtesy of Worldchess.

Giri, in a winning position against Nakamura, got too excited sniffing his first win in this event, and played 50.Nxg7? Nakamura replied Qxg7 and Giri realized that 51.Rg3 is met by Rg5!, and the game is irremediably drawn.

So, eleventh draws by the young Hollander, which most probably exclude him from the final victory.

Anand is the hero of the day. He started with his pet first move 1.e4, entering a Berlin Defense. Vishy loves this kind of structures, where he can safely develop his pieces and gain space. Karjakin went for the 9...d5 variation, probably hoping to pry the center open, but Anand reacted calmly, and the position got to be quite symmetric, with white being only marginally better. At that point the game seemed to drive toward a quiet draw, but instead Anand kept pressing, and the players arrived to play an opposite color bishops ending, but with two rooks each. Anand kept nagging Karjakin with small threats, while advancing his pawns on the Queen side. A fantastic endgame played by Vishy. The maneuvering led Anand to be able to plant an all-important protected pawn in f6. For some time it almost looked like Karjakin could hold, and pull off a miraculous draw, Houdini-style (the magician, not the chess engine). But the great Indian did not let it go, and slowly strangled his opponent, to eventually win a very important game. Now Anand joins Caruana in the lead; however, Vishy needs half a point more than the American, because the tiebreaks are favorable to Fabiano.

With three rounds to go, this nervous and thrilling event is still open to a lot of solutions, though Caruana is to be considered the favorite number one. Tomorrow Round 12: Giri-Svidler, Nakamura-Anand, Karjakin-Topalov and Caruana-Aronian. Play starts at 8AM EDT, 12 noon GMT and 13:00 CET.

STANDINGS after Round 11

Four winners today in the GTR contest: Pancake, ECP, Biscuetz, nikenwidiartto. Well done!


Find previous rounds' reports HERE