20 - 29 April 2019

Keymer scores his first win in round 5!

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand retained their tournament lead at the conclusion of the fifth round of the GRENKE Chess Classic in Karlsruhe. Both of the leaders were held to draws in their games against Arkadij Naiditsch and Fabiano Caruana, respectively. Meanwhile, the games Maxime Vachier against Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler versus Francisco Vallejo Pons also ended peacefully. The big result of the day came from the all-German clash between Vincent Keymer and Georg Meier, where the 14-year-old finally scored his first point in style.


As black, Meier essayed a sharp Queen’s Gambit Accepted and the players got into an interesting duel with their kings castled on opposite wings.

Keymer got the better position out of the opening and by the time the middle game arose, he was close to winning. Meier pointed out after the game that Keymer’s 25.Qf5 was an inaccuracy and that his opponent should have tried to firmly plant a rook on the c6 square.

“I was very happy to see 25.Qf5; it was my only chance to survive. Instead, b4-b5 with the idea of Rc6 was much better,” Meier said.

Vincent Keymer's game against Georg Meier was the only decisive game of the round | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

But while he did manage to wriggle out of any serious danger in the middle game, fate wasn’t as kind on Meier in the endgame. He was walking on thin ice in the pawn endgame that had ensued and did not manage to find the most accurate continuation to hold the game. Keymer played perfectly in the technical phase of the endgame and sealed victory after the 81st move.

Maxime Vachier Lagrave versus Levon Aronian was the first game to finish. Once again, we saw Levon play the Anti-Marshall, but this time, he was on the black side of it. On his 13th move, the Armenian numero uno came up with the novelty, 13…d4 that looked slightly odd at first sight. But then, he clarified his idea with a knight manoeuvre from f6 to b7, to exploit the weakness of white’s a5 pawn. Vachier-Lagrave also got his knights at the right outposts to keep the pawn safe and by the 25th move, the players had repeated moves to sign peace.

Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played a short draw in an Anti-Marshall | Photo:  Georgios Souleidis

Soon afterwards, Vishy Anand shook hands with Fabiano Caruana and split the point in their Berlin Defence game. As white, Anand had avoided an immediate endgame with the 5.Re1 line but the heavy pieces were traded off the board anyway. By the 20th move, all of the heavy pieces were off the board. The game went on for another twenty moves but the result was never in doubt.

Fabiano Caruana had no problems holding Vishy Anand in a Berlin Defence game | Photo: Georgios Souleidis 

After having suffered two losses in the tournament, GM Francisco Vallejo Pons decided to go for broke in the opening phase of his game against Peter Svidler. Much like in his previous game against Anand, the Spaniard was seen going for a kingside expansion in an attempt to storm the enemy king with his pawns. However, this time, he was playing black and the opening was an Italian.

Svidler complicated matters with moves like 11.d4 and 12.Nf5 giving up a pawn in the process. Vallejo returned his extra pawn soon afterwards. But, by this point, Svidler’s ‘c’ pawn, which had begun to look dangerous. Vallejo did well, in response, by inducing exchanges and maintaining the balance. One move before the time control, Svidler made a temporary rook sacrifice to reach an endgame with bishops of opposite colour and agreed to a draw shortly afterwards.

Francisco Vallejo Pons played an audacious kingside expansion in the Italian Opening | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

For the fourth time in five rounds, Magnus Carlsen was the last to finish his game. Playing Arkadij Naiditsch in the Four Knights variation of the English Opening, the world champion did not manage to get much out of the opening besides a funny pawn formation along the ‘d’ file.

Naiditsch managed to round up white’s d5 pawn but this hardly amounted to anything given his own doubled ‘d’ pawns. Also, white’s active rooks which soon dominated the ‘c’ file. With this, Carlsen tried to exert some pressure in the position, but the evaluation favoured either side. Once a pure rook and pawn endgame was reached, several pawns were traded off and peace was signed on the 60th move.

Carlsen played the longest game of the day once again | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

This was the last round to be played at the Kongresszentrum in Karlsruhe.  The tournament will move to Baden Baden as round 5 resumes on April 26, 2019 after tomorrow’s rest day. Games will begin as usual at 15:00 CEST. Round 6 pairings can be found below.

Round 6 (26.04.2019 / 15:00)











Vallejo Pons, Francisco



Caruana, Fabiano





Naiditsch, Arkadij



Anand, Viswanathan





Meier, Georg



Carlsen, Magnus





Aronian, Levon



Keymer, Vincent





Svidler, Peter



Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime