GM Daniel Fridman vs. GM Arkadij Naiditsch
Opening: E97: King's Indian, Orthodox, Aronin-Taimanov Variation (Yugoslav Attack / Mar del Plata Variation)
Player(s): Fridman, Naiditsch
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The economic climate in Europe has cost us some of our favorite tournaments, but the inaugural edition of the GRENKE Chess Classic in Baden-Baden suggests that the news is not all bad. With three top flight foreign grandmasters - Anand, Caruana, and Adams - competing with three German GMs, the event provided plenty of entertainment. Caruana dominated for much of the way before faltering in the last two rounds, allowing Anand to overtake him with two concluding wins. While Anand's continuing comeback is big news, I would like to focus on another story involving a player well down in the crosstable.
Arkady Naiditsch finished second from last with 4/10, even eventually overtaken by his countryman Georg Meier, but that doesn't do justice to his play. Naiditsch is quietly but quickly gaining a reputation as a decisive result machine. Only two draws in ten games among such competition is astounding. In the first half of the event his enterprising play was better rewarded, hitting the high point with a stirring round six defeat of Daniel Fridman. This exciting tactical melee had its shares of errors, as complicated games do, but it was fascinating enough to make Vishy Anand forget all about analyzing his own game that day.