20 - 29 April 2019

Carlsen fails to break Anand's defence; Svidler joins tournament lead

Much like the first two rounds of the GRENKE Chess Classic, Magnus Carlsen was seen playing well into the sixth hour of the round and was the last to finish in an action-packed third day. Unlike in his last two rounds, Carlsen did not manage to break through the staunch defence of Vishy Anand. Earlier in the day, Peter Svidler had won his second straight game of the tournament against Georg Meier of Germany. Following Vishy’s save against Magnus, Svidler has joined the world champion in the tournament lead. In the second decisive game of the round, Fabiano Caruana brought down the crowd favourite Vincent Keymer.

Once again, Magnus Carlsen played the longest game of the day | Photo: Georgios Souleidis


Soon after the day began, Magnus Carlsen seemed to be in total command of the position against India’s Viswanathan Anand. Anand had made an error in the opening and was suffering the consequences. His 10...c6 in an English Opening – as he also pointed out after the game – was a bit hasty.


“I just took my eye off the ball for a moment. Even h5-h4 and then c6 might be better than what I did. It’s just so wrong at so many levels,” Anand said after the game.


The result was a very unpleasant, cramped position for black while white enjoyed a space advantage along with total control of the ‘h’ file. Talking of his position, Vishy said that he must have been very close to being lost the whole game. But the ‘Madras Tiger’ kept finding defensive resources despite being caught in a straightjacket and after a 63-move-long struggle, managed to come out alive.


Carlsen’s draw meant that Peter Svidler had joined the world champion in the tournament lead. A sharp Classical French had emerged on the board with Svidler having the white pieces against Georg Meier. After the game, Svidler admitted that Meier’s choice of the 12…Bb4 had caught him completely off guard. The heavily theoretical battle then seemed to have fizzled out into an equal endgame but in the double rook and bishops of opposite colour endgame, the eight-time Russian champion generated a powerful attack despite the reduced material and forced resignation by the 37th move.

Peter Svidler has now joined Magnus as the tournament leader | Photo: Georgios Souleidis


Levon Aronian and Francisco Vallejo Pons discussed the exact same line of the French Defence as Svidler and Meier. Interestingly, this game also finished around the same time as the former. Unlike Meier’s 12…Bb4, Vallejo chose the 12…a6 variant in the line but the game remained razor sharp. Aronian gave up a pawn for the initiative in the middle game. However, Vallejo was up to the task of finding enough counterplay. In the end, the Aronian forced matters with a rook sacrifice and repeated the position to sign peace.

Aronian against Vallejo was another French Classical | Photo: Georgios Souleidis


The game between Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Arkadij Naiditsch was a mainline Berlin endgame in which the French number one found a fascinating piece sacrifice to spice up the game. As play progressed, he followed up aggressively, thrusting his kingside pawns forward. Another exchange sacrifice followed on the 31st move and despite being a full rook down, his compensation was enough to force a repetition.

MVL played an exciting game in the Berlin Defence, sacrificing a full rook | Photo: Georgios Souleidis


Vincent Keymer continued his aggressive play in the third round. In his game against Fabiano Caruana, he once again marched his kingside pawns aggressively to get an initiative on that side of the board. Caruana’s committal 17…c4 had fixed the structure in the centre but at the same time had given him a nice queenside majority. In the middle game, Caruana said that he felt his position seemed a little vulnerable to him due to his king position and Keymer’s superior pawn structure. However, as the first time control approached, Keymer began to crack and made some errors. Caruana immediately sought counterplay rolling his queenside passer and forced resignation on the 42nd move.

With his ambitious play, Vincent Keymer did not win his game but earned the praise of the world championship challenger, Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Georgios Souleidis


Round 4 begins tomorrow, April 23, 2018, at 15:00 CEST.  The top matchup of the day will be Fabiano Caruana against Magnus Carlsen. This will be their first meet ever since their World Championship match last year. Full pairings of the round can be found below.

Pairings of the 4th round (23.04.2019 / 15:00)











Vallejo Pons, Francisco



Anand, Viswanathan





Caruana, Fabiano



Carlsen, Magnus





Naiditch, Arkady



Keymer, Vincent





Meier, George



Vachier-Lagrave, maxim





Aronian, Levon



Svidler, Peter



The video team of the GRENKE Chess Open made numerous videos. The interviews and impressions of the events in Karlsruhe can be viewed on the YouTube channel GRENKE Chess.