Today is a rest day in Sinquefield Cup. And I think in general it is quite deserved. Ten decided games in 5 rounds (40%) is quite impressive for such an elite event with mainly top-10 players. With few exceptions it is not due to poor play either. I think the players have shown great fighting spirit.
With four rounds to go Vachier-Lagrave is leading with 3,5/5, half a point ahead of Anand and me.
I managed to get a pawn-up rook ending against Anand in round 3 with black, but it was not enough to win against decent defense. Round 4 and 5 has been quite a rollercoaster. As white against white against Vachier-Lagrave I suffered a painful loss from a winning position having gained the advantage around the time control. One oversight, and my lack of re-checking two moves later left me a pawn down in a lost ending. Still it was complicated, and he was forced to find the nice c4-idea in the knight against bishop ending, after which I couldn’t stop the f-pawn.
Having generally played somewhat better than earlier this year (in classic), 2 out of 4 felt borderline unreasonable. Round 5 re-established some kind of balance. As black against Wesley So I allowed Be3 and Ba4 (pinning my knight on d7). It looked quite unpleasant, but it is probably not as bad as it looked. He allowed Rxb2, and it turned out to be a mistake. The pawn wasn’t poisoned. He had some compensation, but recapturing on d6 was not the best continuation. His usual stubborn defense was absent yesterday, and I barely had a chance to start playing for a win before he gave me another pawn and resigned.
My next event will be the World Cup in September in Tblisi, Georgia. The pairings are out. We are getting used to a multitude of highlevel events each year (Grand Chess Tour, Norway Chess etc) but the World Cup will be really remarkable historically with the 15 highest rated players in the world participating!
Back to Sinquefield Cup: With the remaining seven players at 50% or minus one, more or less anything can still happen. In round 6 I’m white against Nakamura.
Magnus Carlsen, St.Louis, August 7th, 2017