The Week in Chess
Caruana wins against Aronian to lead at the half way stage of the Berlin Candidates - 7
Sun Mar 18 21:09:00 2018
Fabiano Caruana survived what looked like a last throw of the dice from Levon Aronian and picked up a win in Round 7 and lead at the half way stage of the FIDE Candidates in Berlin.

Aronian found an interesting pawn sacrifice that hadn't been checked by Caruana in a position where he thought he'd looked at everything. Aronian got quite a lot of practical compensation but the computer assessments tellingly never were better for him and were occasionally dire. Aronian had a final chance to draw with 32.Qh4 after his 32.Bc4? in spite of time trouble Caruana brought home the full point.

Sergey Karjakin and Wesley So seemed to be heading for a draw as they entered a Rook, Knight and Pawn endgame with all the pawns on the Kingside. But So drifted into difficulties (the active defence 26..Rb6 was suggested by Karjakin afterwards) but he was still in the game until 35...Ke8? (35...Rc7! draws) after which Karjakin was winning, So lost on time.

Alexander Grischuk had no option but to take a draw by repetition on move 16 in his game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a Ragozin Defence.

Ding Liren equalised quickly against Vladimir Kramnik's English. 21...Bf5 seemed especially promising but also 27...Bd7. Once Kramnik equalised on move 30 he decided to play on and on as the only one with any theoretical chances. In fact the game remained balanced until the draw was agreed on move 74.

Round 7 Standings: 1st Caruana 5pts, 2nd Mamedyarov 4.5pts, 3rd Kramnik 3.5pts, 4th Ding Liren 3.5pts, 5th Grischuk 3.5pts, 6th Karjakin 3pts, 7th Wesley So 2.5pts, 8th Aronian 2.5pts

Round 8 pairings Monday 18th March 2018 2pm GMT: Grischuk-Kramnik, Mamedyarov-Karjakin, Ding Liren-Aronian, Wesley So-Caruana

19th European Individual Championship 2018 - Games and Results
Sat Mar 17 09:39:00 2018
The 19th European Individual Championship takes place in Batumi, Georgia, Saturday 17th to Wednesday 28th March 2018: Leading players: Jakovenko, Wojtaszek, Navara, Vallejo Pons, Ivanchuk, Mamedov, Matlakov, Dubov, Naiditsch, Ponomariov etc
Mamedyarov joins Caruana in the lead after beating Kramnik in Candidates Round 6 - Games and Results
Fri Mar 16 20:59:00 2018
Fabiano Caruana played 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. e3 an idea initially championed by his opponent Alexander Grischuk in 2013. Grischuk said he gave it up because of the setup he tried in the game, a setup Axel Smith called the "Poor Man's Benoni" in his book e3 Poison. Grischuk conceded he was wrong to give the idea up as the position remained very sharp and interesting. Caruana liked his position up to his 27.Bf4 which he described as "really bad" and soon took the opportunity to repeat and draw.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov joined Fabiano Caruana in the lead after defeating Vladimir Kramnik. However Kramnik will probably regard this as a completely self inflicted loss, he totally equalised with black but then thought with 28...h5 he was creating winning chances. Instead a few moves later he blundered horribly with 34...Rdc8 saying that he calculated the resulting position with his rook on c8 instead of c7, but even that seems bad for him. He just seemed to lose all objectivity for a short while. Kramnik dropped his h-pawn for nothing and was completely lost, he resisted for a long time, even finding a mating idea when a rook for queen down but he was never given a saving chance..

This means that Caruana and Mamedyarov share the lead on 4/6 on +2 a point clear of a group on 50% Kramnik, Grishuk and Ding Liren.

Wesley So finally showed what he is capable of against Levon Aronian in a Marshall Ruy Lopez. Aronian was well prepared but was outplayed eventually missing that his 33...Rf8 loses material to 34.Re2! Aronian resisted a long time but the game was gone. Wesley So will be glad to get out of the basement and back into the tournament with this win.

Ding Liren got nothing as white against Sergey Karjakin's Gruenfeld and the game was drawn in 18 moves.

Round 6 standings: 1st Caruana 4pts, 2nd Mamedyarov 4pts, 3rd Kramnik 3pts, 4th Grischuk 3pts, 5th Liren Ding 3pts, 6th Wesley So 2.5pts, 7th Aronian 2.5pts, 8th Karjakin 2pts

Rest day: Saturday 17th March 2018

Round 7 Sunday 18th March 2018 14.00 GMT: Grischuk-Mamedyarov, Kramnik-Ding Liren, Karjakin-Wesley So, Aronian-Caruana

4NCL 2017-18 - Games and Results
Fri Mar 16 09:46:00 2018
The 4NCL chess league takes place Saturday 11th November 2017 to Monday 7th May 2018.
Aronian misses chances to beat Grischuk and all games drawn in Candidates Round 5 - 5
Thu Mar 15 20:24:00 2018
All four games in the fourth round of the FIDE Candidates tournament in Berlin were drawn. Levon Aronian missed several concrete chances after he got the advantage in a King's Indian/Benoni structure. Aronian said he even saw a winning line starting with 28.Rxg4 and acknowledged he should have played 29.Qxc8+ which was his final chance. "I don't understand how I played 29.Qd8+, it's beyond me". Aronian.

Wesley So and Vladimir Kramnik drew a Semi-Slav where black pushed a little bit but the game didn't depart far from equality. Ding Liren and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew a Catalan in 31 moves in a position of total equality. Fabiano Caruana gave up equality even earlier in a Catalan against a well prepared Sergey Karjakin.

Round 5 standings: 1st Caruana 3.5pts, 2nd Kramnik 3pts, 3rd Mamedyarov 3pts, 4th Aronian 2.5pts, 5th Grischuk 2.5pts, 6th Ding Liren 2.5pts, 7th Karjakin 1.5pts, 8th Wesley So 1.5pts.

Round 6 pairings 16th March 2pm GMT: Caruana-Grischuk, Wesley So-Aronian, Ding Liren-Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Kramnik