Grenke 2018 / Round 1


by National Life Master Loal Davis

All Images Courtesy Of Derrick Bartotto


Fabiano Caruana & Magnus Carlsen


Yes they will be playing for the World Chess Championship later this year; November 9th through November 28th.  That match will take place in London.  But – that’s later.  Right now they, and others, are playing in another tournament.

The 2018 GRENKE Chess Classic is a 10-player round-robin held in Germany from 31 March to 9 April. The first 3 rounds are in Karlsruhe alongside the GRENKE Chess Open, then after a rest day the last 6 rounds are in the Kulturhaus LA8 in Baden-Baden. The field features World Champion Magnus Carlsen and fellow Top 10 players Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian, as well as women’s no. 1 Hou Yifan. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to the end of the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1. If players are tied for first place a rapid play-off will take place. 

In the first round there was one decisive game.  It finished with a threatened Philidor Mate; all other games were drawn.  


[Event “Grenke Classic 2018”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2018.03.31”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Bluebaum, Matthias (GER)”]
[Black “Vitiugov, Nikita (RUS)”]
[Result “0-1”]
[PlyCount “50”]
[EventDate “2018.03.31”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Bd2 Nbd7 8. Nxg6 hxg6 9. c5 e5 10. b4 Be7 11. b5 O-O 12. Qa4 Re8 13. bxc6 bxc6 14. Be2 exd4 15. exd4 Nxc5 16. dxc5 d4 17. O-O dxc3 18. Bxc3 Bxc5 19. Bf3 Rc8 20. Bxc6 Re2 21. Bf3 Rxf2 22. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 23. Kxf2 Rxc3 24. Qxa7 Ne4+ 25. Kg1 Ra3 0-1

Final Position

Unfortunately White cannot cover all of the Black squares on the g1/a7 diagonal; as a matter of fact White can’t cover any of them.  This means Black’s Queen gets to ‘d4’.  Then it’s not the Rook in the corner that matters, it’s the dead/smothered King in the other corner.

26. Qxa3 Qd4+ 27. Kh1 Nf2+ 28. Kg1 Nh3+ 29. Kh1 Qg1+ 30. Rxg1 Nf2#



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