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    1948 World Chess Championship 1959 Candidates 1962 Candidates 2.c3 Sicilian 2.f4 Sicilian 2011 European Team Championship 2011 Russian Championship 2012 Capablanca Memorial 2012 Chess Olympiad 2012 European Women's Championship 2012 London Chess Classic 2012 U.S. Junior Championship 2012 U.S. Women's Championship 2012 US Championship 2012 Women's World Chess Championship 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013 Alekhine Memorial 2013 Beijing Grand Prix 2013 European Club Cup 2013 European Team Championship 2013 FIDE World Cup 2013 Kings Tournament 2013 London Chess Classic 2013 Russian Championship 2013 Tal Memorial 2013 U.S. Championship 2013 Women's World Championship 2013 World Blitz Championship 2013 World Championship 2013 World Rapid Championship 2013 World Team Championship 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Chess Olympiad 2014 London Chess Classic 2014 Petrosian Memorial 2014 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 Sinquefield Cup 2014 Tigran Petrosian Memorial 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2014 Women's World Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Junior Championships 2014 World Rapid Championship 2015 Capablanca Memorial 2015 Chinese Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2015 European Team Championship 2015 London Chess Classic 2015 Millionaire Open 2015 Poikovsky 2015 Russian Team Championship 2015 Sinquefield Cup 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2015 World Blitz Championship 2015 World Cup 2015 World Junior Championship 2015 World Open 2015 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2015 World Team Championships 2016 2016 Candidates 2016 Capablanca Memorial 2016 Champions Showdown 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 European Club Cup 2016 Isle of Man 2016 London Chess Classic 2016 Russian Championship 2016 Sinquefield Cup 2016 Tal Memorial 2016 U.S. Championship 2016 U.S. Junior Championship 2016 U.S. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Blitz Championship 2016 World Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2016 World Rapid Championship 2017 British Championship 2017 Chinese Championship 2017 Geneva Grand Prix 2017 PRO Chess League 2017 Sharjah Masters 2017 Sinquefield Cup 2017 Speed Chess Championship 2017 U..S. 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    Entries in Levon Aronian (86)

    Thursday
    Aug172017

    St. Louis Rapid & Blitz: Aronian Leads After the Rapid Portion

    The blitz has just started, so let's get caught up to speed on what has happened the last couple of days, starting with the travails of one Garry Kasparov. On day one, already reported on below, he drew all three games, two normally and one (against Hikaru Nakamura) after being better and then losing. Much more variance was yet to come.

    In round 4 he did well, drawing with Black against Levon Aronian. In fact he was winning near the end, a pawn up in a knight ending, but in his usual time pressure he missed a nice tactical trick that let his opponent escape with a draw. Kasparov finally experienced a decisive result in round 5, but not the one he hoped for. Playing very aggressive, enterprising chess Kasparov outplayed Ian Nepomniachtchi in the middlegame, but squandered his advantage with 22.exd7. He was still okay until his 33rd-35th moves. Had he played 33.Rxe8 Rxe8 34.Bf7 all would have been well, but after the interpolation of 33.Rh1 Qg5 that same sequence was losing, as his opponent demonstrated.

    Round 6 wasn't as exciting as one would have hoped, with the historic rematch between Viswanathan Anand and Kasparov. Kasparov hoped to play a Najdorf, but Anand played 3.Bb5+, whereupon Kasparov produced an expression that was some funny mix of pain and contempt for the move. Nevertheless, the game still became Najdorf-like, with White hoping to exploit the d5 square and Black looking for counterplay. Kasparov played well, and after 19...d5 stood slightly better. His inaccuracy on move 22 allowed Anand to emerge unscathed, and the draw was soon agreed.

    The next day everything was wild. He played great chess against David Navara for the first part of the game, but in the second half things spun out of control. He was still winning - most of the time - but it was a mess. Finally, Navara was equal, but Kasparov still had a tempting trick or two to push for the win. Both sides were short of time, but for once his opponent had less time than he did. Kasparov thought he found a nice win, but unfortunately Navara had seen further, and with a great tactical trick not only saved the game but won it.

    Kasparov's pain was somewhat mitigated in round 8 when Le Quang Liem moved a rook where it could be taken in one move, instantly losing what had been an equal position. Finally, in round 9, Kasparov lost again, falling to -2, at the hands of Fabiano Caruana. The game was equal for a long time, but some Kasparov inaccuracies let Caruana outplay him step by step.

    In the rest of the show, Aronian finished the rapid portion in first place, though what ultimately matters for money and Grand Chess Tour points is the combined score. Aronian had trouble with the second game of all three days, losing on days 1 and 2 and drawing on day 3, but except for his round 4 draw with Kasparov he won the remaining five games. Nepomniachtchi led most of the way, and would have finished the rapid tied for first if he had defeated Nakamura in the last round. He had chances, but imprecision let Nakamura escape and then even win in a long game. Nakamura is in second, a point behind Aronian (half a point in classical scoring, but since the rapid games are weighted double compared to the blitz games it's a full point in the standings), tied with Caruana.

    Here are the standings after the rapid, based on the tournament's 2-1-0 scoring, and here are the games from rounds 2 and 3, with brief comments to each of Kasparov's games.

    1. Aronian 12 (of 18)
    2-3. Caruana, Nakamura 11
    4. Nepomniachtchi 10
    5. Dominguez 9
    6-7. Le Quang Liem, Karjakin 8
    8-10. Navara, Kasparov, Anand 7

    Thursday
    Aug102017

    Sinquefield Cup, Round 7: Three Lead With Two Rounds to Go

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrange had enjoyed the solo lead for a while, but now he's part of a three-way tie for first going into the penultimate round. He did his best to maintain the lead, employing some very deep preparation against Sergey Karjakin on the white side of the Berlin ending. After his 26th move, he had used just over a minute on his clock, while Karjakin had burned much more time - and would continue to do so. The bishop vs. knight ending that had arisen was very complicated, and it gave Karjakin yet another chance to justify the "Minister of Defense" sobriquet others have bestowed upon him. He used almost all his time in the first time control, while MVL had loads of time left - and it paid off. With essentially perfect defense he avoided a number of pitfalls, and held the draw.

    This gave three people the chance to catch Vachier-Lagrave in first: Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, and Levon Aronian. Carlsen managed to achieve the very slightly happier side of a draw against Peter Svidler, and won the moral victory of doing so with Black (in a Scotch), but the bottom line is that he remains half a point behind the leader.

    Or rather, leaders, as both Anand and Aronian won. Anand had a small edge against Ian Nepomniachtchi in a double rook ending, and it unexpectedly turned into a winning advantage when Black played 31...b4. Black had no real threats against White's king, while his kingside counterplay was too slow for White's queenside pawn majority. Anand's accurate 40th move eliminated Black's last hope for play, and accordingly Nepo resigned.

    Aronian also won, and with Black, against Hikaru Nakamura. Nakamura played the English, and the players entered a line from the 1987 Kasparov-Karpov match in Seville. Nakamura's 15.Ne4 varied from some earlier games (none by Karpov or Kasparov) in which 16.Bb2 was played; most recently in Svidler-Karjakin from the Candidates tournament in 2016. Nakamura's move looks good, but Aronian handled the resulting position better and obtained an edge. Many moves and some White inaccuracies and errors lately, Aronian won a bishop vs. knight ending with an extra pawn.

    Finally, Wesley So drew a short game with Fabiano Caruana; not the result he hoped for, but he did stop the bleeding after a couple of losses.

    Here are the round 8 pairings:

    • Anand (4.5) - Vachier-Lagrave (4.5)
    • Aronian (4.5) - Svidler (3)
    • Nepomniachtchi (2.5) - Carlsen (4)
    • Caruana (3.5) - Nakamura (2.5)
    • Karjakin (3.5) - So (2.5)

    Wednesday
    Aug092017

    Sinquefield Cup, Round 6: Aronian Defeats So to Join the Second-Place Tie behind MVL

    Wesley So was the #2 player in the world coming into the event, and had he defeated Magnus Carlsen in the previous round he'd have been #1. After losing to Carlsen in round 5, and now losing - badly - to Levon Aronian in round 6, he's now #6 in the world and has fallen below 2800. (It isn't easy at the top, or near it. Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, and several other players who have been #2 in recent years - sometimes with a healthy gap between them and the #3 player - have all taken a tumble and had to gradually work their way back up.)

    About the Aronian-So game. Aronian criticized So's 19th and 24th moves, 19...Bxe4 (allowing White to open the f-file, with attacking chances) and 24...Rb7, but while these moves made So's situation precarious the engine insists that Black wasn't in grave danger until he played 27...Qe7 (27...Re7 was correct) and especially 28...Qc5. So needed to play 28...Qd6, to prevent Aronian's excellent response to the move actually chosen. Aronian's 29.Rf6! was crushing, and when So resigned a few moves later it was in a position where White had winning plans to spare.

    The other four games were drawn, with the most notable of the bunch being Carlsen's marathon draw with Hikaru Nakamura. To mention just two or three of the interesting moments in the game: first, there was the series of 10 consecutive captures after Carlsen's 20.Bg5; second and third, and related, there's Carlsen's handling of his kingside pawns in the rook ending. Playing h4-h5 on move 43 or especially move 42 would have given him a forced win (and at least excellent practical chances even if he didn't manage to play like a computer). Instead, 43.g5? made it impossible to make progress against good defense, and while Nakamura may have made his life a little more difficult than he needed to, he held the fort and got the draw.

    Carlsen thus missed out on a chance to catch Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a tie for first; instead, he's tied with Aronian and Viswanathan Anand. Here are the pairings for round 7, which begin in an hour or so:

    • Vachier-Lagrave (4) - Karjakin (3)
    • Svidler (2.5) - Carlsen (3.5)
    • Nakamura (2.5) - Aronian (3.5)
    • Anand (3.5) - Nepomniachtchi (2.5)
    • So (2) - Caruana (3)

    Wednesday
    Aug022017

    Sinquefield Cup, Day 1: Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave, and Karjakin Start with Wins

    It was not a dull first round at the Sinquefield Cup - despite the presence of two Closed Ruys and two Giuoco Pianos out of the five games. As long as players are willing to fight, the games will get interesting, and so they did.

    That said, the liveliest game was the one non-1.e4 game. Levon Aronian played the English against Ian Nepomniachtchi, and while the line was one Nepo said that he himself had prepared to play with White, he apparently couldn't remember what to do against it with Black. His decision on move 11 to sac his b-pawn was iffy, and 14...Bxc3 only made things worse. His position went further downhill after 16...Be6, which can fairly be described as the losing move. Aronian had no trouble from there, winning more material every few moves until Nepomniachtchi gave up on move 29, down a bishop and a pawn.

    The other two wins came from the Italian Game. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was better against Wesley So much of the way, but So was mostly okay until he played 32...f5. Opening the board favored MVL and his bishops, and left So in a precarious position. The decisive error came on move 40, when So played 40...Kd8? instead of repeating with 40...Kf6. The upshot was that he trapped his own rook, so that in the final position the otherwise desirable 43...Nxb6 would be met by 44.Bxb7, collecting the aforementioned rook.

    The other Italian victory was Sergey Karjakin's win over Peter Svidler. White didn't achieve an opening advantage, but often a playable, interesting position is victory enough. Karjakin's 16.c4 was visually pleasing, creating a row of White pawns from a4 through e4, and more importantly it gave Black a host of moves and plans to choose from. Svidler burned a pretty fair amount of time on this move (and about an hour in total from moves 13-17, inclusive), and chose a mistaken idea starting with 16...exd4. White's queenside clump of pawns on the a- and b-files soon proved decisive, and although it wasn't the best move it's fitting that the game finished with 39.a7, moving the pawn next to his adjacent passer on b7.

    The other games were drawn. The marquee matchup between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana (with Caruana playing White) was a well-played and well-fought draw in a Closed Ruy with 6.d3. Only the game between Viswanathan Anand and Hikaru Nakamura may deserve a little bit of criticism, as Nakamura was meaningfully better (with Black) in a 4.d3 Anti-Berlin when the draw was agreed. It isn't as though Nakamura hasn't displayed his fighting prowess at the chess board for around two decades, so if he is in need of some slack for the draw, we should speedily and wholeheartedly give it to him.

    Here are the round 2 pairings:

    Carlsen (.5) - Karjakin (1)
    Aronian (1) - Caruana (.5)
    Nakamura (.5) - Vachier-Lagrave (1)
    Svidler (0) - Anand (.5)
    Nepomniachtchi (0) - So (0)

    Wednesday
    Jul052017

    An Aronian Interview

    Excerpts in English, here.

    Friday
    Jun162017

    Norway Chess 2017, Round 9: Aronian Wins the Tournament

    It's shaping up to be a good year for Levon Aronian. First Wijk aan Zee, now Norway Chess! It looks like his slump is over, and he's once again going to be a contender for the world championship - as he should be. By holding a draw with Black against Wesley So he finished the tournament with an undefeated 6-3 score, with wins against the world's #1 and #2 players - Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik, respectively - plus Sergey Karjakin, the "vice champion". (This is not to be confused with a champion of vice rather than virtue.) He also crushed the 2800 barrier after some time below that bar, and is now the world's #4, 1.3 points behind Wesley So.

    Hikaru Nakamura was the runner up - or rather, the co-runner-up. Had he defeated Fabiano Caruana today he could have caught Aronian (and rejoined the 2800 club). Another effect would have been Caruana's ouster from the same club, but it didn't happen. Caruana prepared a new idea with White against the Poisoned Pawn Variation in the Najdorf, and while the computer finds a variety of equalizers for Black, human beings finding them over the board is another matter entirely. Nakamura was unable to negotiate all the complications, and lost a game that was as good as over long before the clocks were stopped.

    Sharing second with Nakamura, with 5/9, was the up-and-down Vladimir Kramnik. For the fourth round in a row, White won, and since he had the white pieces this time it was good news for him. His victim was Anish Giri, who also enjoyed and suffered a roller coaster of a tournament. Kramnik played an extremely provocative version of the Colle (a statement that sounds as funny as "an exciting London System" used to, but the richness of the royal game never cease to amaze), and it worked better than Kramnik could have dreamed. Giri is always - or now we should say, almost always - extremely well-prepared, but having sown the wind he wasn't ready for the whirlwind, and lost in just 20 moves.

    The other two games were short but not perfunctory draws. Sergey Karjakin was in trouble on the white side of a Najdorf against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and had MVL played 24...f5 followed by 25...e4 he would have been a favorite to win with his extra pawn. Instead, he blundered with 24...Rxd5, allowing Karjakin to bail out with a draw by repetition. The world champion, Magnus Carlsen, was also in trouble against his most recent predecessor, Viswanathan Anand. Had Anand played 23.e5 he would have had good winning chances. The opportunity was missed, and in the end it was Anand who was more forced to play for the draw than Carlsen.

    The games, with my annotations, can be replayed here. Here are the final standings:

    1. Aronian 6 (of 9)
    2-3. Nakamura, Kramnik 5
    4-6. Caruana, So, Giri 4.5
    7-9. Vachier-Lagrave, Anand, Carlsen 4
    10. Karjakin 3.5

     

    Wednesday
    Jun142017

    Norway Chess, Rounds 6 & 7: Aronian Surging Forward With a Bang, Carlsen Going Out With a Whimper

    Round 6 (on Monday) and round 7 (on Wednesday) were both exciting and eventful, and after a slow start the Norway Chess tournament has become very lively. There were two wins in round 6 and three in round 7, and it's nice to see that the decisive games have all been well-played by the winners.

    Hikaru Nakamura had been leading after round 5, but he was caught in round 6 by Levon Aronian, who promptly went by him with a second straight win in round 7. In round 6 Aronian beat Vladimir Kramnik pretty badly on the white side of a Semi-Tarrasch when the latter underestimated the danger to his queen on g4. That was a clean victory, slightly contrasted with his win over Sergey Karjakin in the next round. Aronian was never in danger, but his play was rather speculative. Karjakin got caught up in the speculative atmosphere, which proved unfortunate. In particular, 28.Rg6 only managed to get the rook in trouble, and in the lead up to the time control things went from bad to worse, and Aronian dispatched him most efficiently.

    Things are going even more poorly for Magnus Carlsen, who is tied for last place with 2.5 points out of 7. He lost in round 7 to Kramnik, who bounced back nicely from his loss to Aronian with a surprisingly easy win against the world champion. This put Kramnik back into second place on the rating list, and what's incredible is that he's only 6.4 points out of first. Carlsen has been #1 in the world on every list since July 2011 (and on most of the lists going back to January 2010), but he's just one more loss and one more Kramnik (or Wesley So, or maybe even Aronian win) from falling to #2. Back to the Kramnik-Carlsen game: Kramnik played sharply, but Carlsen was fine until his 25th move. After 25...Bxf2+ he would have been fine with correct play; after 25...Qxf2+, however, and his further error on move 27, he was simply lost, and Kramnik was up to the challenge.

    Kramnik is tied for third place with Anish Giri, with four points, half a point behind Nakamura and a full point behind Aronian. Giri played the Accelerated Dragon/Dragon hybrid against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in round 7, and while MVL is one of the best calculators in the world and a player who loves sharp, imbalanced positions this just wasn't his day. He neither took proper care of his king nor got his own attack off the ground fast enough, and lost a short, one-sided game.

    The last decisive game of rounds 6 and 7 came from round 6. Viswanathan Anand (the last person not named "Magnus Carlsen" to be classical world champion or rated #1 in the world [in classical chess]) repeated the same anti-English line he lost with against Giri in round 4, but this time he was fully successful with it against Fabiano Caruana. Caruana's queenside play got nowhere, while Anand successfully broke through on the kingside on the way to a queenside mating attack.

    The decisive games mentioned above can be replayed here, with my comments. Here's what's coming up in round 8:

     

    • Nakamura (4.5) - So (3.5)
    • Carlsen (2.5) - Karjakin (3)
    • Vachier-Lagrave (2.5) - Kramnik (4)
    • Aronian (5) - Anand (3)
    • Giri (4) - Caruana (3)

     

     

     

    Saturday
    Jun102017

    Norway Chess 2017, Round 4: Three Winners, and it Could Have Been Five

    Today's was the best round yet from an entertainment perspective, with three wins from five games. Hikaru Nakamura's win over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave makes him the clear leader with 3 out of 4, while Levon Aronian is the hero of the round after defeating Magnus Carlsen in a great game with sacrifices. Anish Giri also won, and quickly against Viswanathan Anand, while Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana should have defeated Sergey Karjakin and Vladimir Kramnik, respectively.

    Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave was a Najdorf, and White went for one of the unusual sidelines that has cropped in recent years, playing 6.Bd3 e5 7.Nde2. While that's unusual, the race between White's queenside expansion and Black's counterplay on the kingside is one sort of typical Najdorf middlegame. On this occasion Black's kingside play wasn't dangerous - at least when one defends as accurately as Nakamura did in this game. (Your mileage may vary.)

    Aronian found an interesting new idea against the Semi-Slav in 10.Bc2, which is aimed against Black's ...e5-e4 ideas. After 24 minutes, Carlsen played 10...Rd8, and after spending 24 minutes on his next two moves, Aronian sacrificed the exchange and a pawn with 11.a3 Bxa3 12.Rxa3. After 12...Qxa3 13.c5 Black's queen is shut out of the game, both to its detriment and the rest of Black's army as well. This became evident when Aronian went for the Greek gift sacrifice 17.Bxh7+, resulting in a large advantage. Aronian's next dozen moves or so were the best ones, and while he made an inaccuracy on move 29 Black's position was extremely difficult to hold, and Carlsen failed to take advantage of his one chance.

    The first two games ended before the first time control, and so did Giri-Anand. Anand has reputedly had some difficulties against the English in recent years, and he had some troubles in this game as well. Giri was outplaying Anand in the middlegame and had a won position until he chose 29.g5 rather than 29.Rh5. The error was more than compensated by an even bigger mistake by Anand on move 31. The former champion had to play 31...Qxh4, giving up a piece but getting enough pawns and positional compensation to save the game. Instead, 31...Nc5 lost on the spot: 32.g6 Qd7 33.Bb4, and Black has no good defense against d4.

    As for the draws, So was crushing Karjakin until his careless 34.Qxc4??; instead, any move defending the rook (e.g. 34.Re2) would have won easily. The problem was that 34.Qxc4 allowed 34...Nf6, giving Black enough activity to survive. After this both sides played great chess, with So setting Karjakin a series of very difficult problems to solve, and Karjakin rose to the occasion every time. Caruana too was winning against Kramnik, and from early on. Kramnik's 15th and 16th moves were errors, but after that he went into Tal mode, blew a thick fog over the board, and Caruana couldn't manage to put him away.

    The games are here, with annotations to Aronian-Carlsen. Here's what's on tap for round 5:

    • Karjakin (2) - Caruana (2)
    • Anand (1) - So (2)
    • Carlsen (1.5) - Giri (2)
    • Vachier-Lagrave (1.5) - Aronian (2.5)
    • Kramnik (2.5) - Nakamura (3)

    Saturday
    Apr222017

    Grenke Finishes with Four Draws; Aronian Nearly Wins His Fifth Straight Game

    Although all the games were drawn, it was still a good, hard-fought final round. The game of the round was Fabiano Caruana's battle with Levon Aronian. Caruana tried a bit too hard to make something happen, and the result was that he lost a piece. Normally the mopping operation would have been a perfunctory task for Aronian, but the game kept going and going. Aronian spent almost no time on his clock and after the time control, had more time than he started with.

    This was somewhat foolhardy, however. Had he taken more time just before the time control - he had tons of time to think - he would avoided the crazy complications of 39...a2 40.Re8+ and played 39...Rxh7. Then he can play for the win without any risk, and ought to achieve it. After 42.Rg8 he finally realized that the position was a mess, and thought for 50 minutes or so. He was not happy, and also did not manage to find one of the winning lines (they were not obvious, to put it mildly). He managed to bail out to a slightly worse position, and fortunately for his sanity held the draw.

    Magnus Carlsen tried his best to convert a long-term initiative against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, but there was no way to do it, and they also drew a long game (though not as long as Caruana-Aronian). Carlsen and Caruana tied for second, a point and a half behind Aronian.

    Hou Yifan had the upper hand against Arkadij Naiditsch, and if she had won she'd have managed to tie for second with the Cars. Naiditsch escaped, and the two of them tied for 4th-6th place with MVL.

    Finally, tailenders Georg Meier and Matthias Bluebaum drew a short but interesting game to remain tied for last place.

    Final Standings:

     

    • 1. Aronian 5.5 (out of 7)
    • 2-3. Caruana, Carlsen 4
    • 4-6. Naiditsch, Hou, Vachier-Lagrave 3.5
    • 7-8. Bluebaum, Meier 2

     

     

    Friday
    Apr212017

    Aronian Wins Grenke With A Round to Spare

    Not a bad run at all for the great Armenian! Levon Aronian entered round 6 (of 7) with a full point lead over early leader Hou Yifan, world champion Magnus Carlsen, and world #4 Fabiano Caruana. Neither Car made it into fourth gear - the champ drew a sharp, well-played game with Arkadij Naiditsch while Caruana was unable to make more of his advantage against Matthias Bluebaum than the piece-up side of the drawn rook and knight vs. rook ending. As for Hou, she had the chance to be a hero. "All" she had to do was defeat Aronian with Black, and she'd be back in a tie for first.

    She played well through the opening and middlegame, keeping the position roughly balanced, but in the end Aronian's ongoing pressure with the bishop pair was too much. One concession at a time, Black's position grew worse and worse, and Hou gave up just after the time control.

    That was Aronian's fifth win in a row, and now that he leads by a point and a half with a round to go, he has clinched clear first. The battle for second is a live one though, with five players within half a point of each other. Here are the last round pairings:

    • Hou Yifan (3) - Arkadij Naiditsch (3)
    • Fabiano Caruana (3.5) - Levon Aronian (5)
    • Magnus Carlsen (3.5) - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (3)
    • Georg Meier (1.5) - Matthias Bluebaum (1.5)