Atleast it’s not another Berlin!
The Open Spanish (from which opening the above position comes from) is–UNLIKE–the Berlin, a fighting opening, and therefore I will not want to criticize the players for choosing such an opening. Besides, this opening is quite popular, and this tournament saw atleast one or two new twists in the theory of this line.
Congrats to Carlsen for winning his 5th (!) tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Undefeated. Caruana and Ding were right behind Carlsen, Van Wely taking last place (it is a TOUGH tournament!) The 16-year old chinese prodigy Wei finished with a respectable 50%, losing only one game (to Caruana, from an Open Spanish), while Hou Yifan finished in 12th position, losing 4 games and winning only 1.
Carlsen and Ding agreeing to a draw in the final round today. Both were satisfied. The last 40 moves or so saw Carlsen try to give mate with Rook and Bishop versus Rook, but Ding defended effortlessly with the so-called ‘2nd rank defence‘:
POSITION AFTER CARLSEN’S 98th MOVE (98.Kf3)
Forty years ago almost no knew about this relatively air-tight drawing technique, having to instead resort to more complicated techniques first developed in the 19th century. The IDEA of Black’s defence is to keep his Rook on the 2nd rank (with the King nearby) and wait for the opposing pieces to advance. Then there is a stalemate trick..
98…Rf2+! 99.BxR stalemate!
You can listen to Carlsen’s comments about this endgame below