How not following top level games can make you lose out on important points
The life of a professional chess player is not easy. He has to be updated with all the latest wrinkles in opening theory. If he misses one of the important games that has happened in his line, then that same variation can be sprung upon him as a surprise. This is what happened with D. Gukesh, who played against Gawain Jones at the fifth round of the Gibraltar Masters 2020. The English GM played the Rossolimo against Gukesh following the line Carlsen had played against Dubov. Gukesh was unprepared and took a lot of time for his moves. Very soon he succumbed to a defeat. Praggnanandhaa played some fantastic chess to score his fourth consecutive win and move to 4.0/5. Check out both the games analyzed in great detail.
One of the key jobs of professional chess players is to follow top level encounters. The main reason for the same is that opening trends develop based on top games and players all across the world are busy preparing new ideas after watching games by Carlsen, Caruana, Anand and other world class players. The general thinking is - if a player like Anand has played this opening with his super strong computer, and seconds, it must be good. Two high profile events are running simultaneously - the Tata Steel Masters and the Gibraltar Masters. Players at both the events are following the games of the other one and drawing ideas from it. In the fifth round Gawain Jones played the Rossolimo against D. Gukesh. Gukesh started taking a lot of time right from the opening, while Gawain was well prepared, not just because he himself plays a lot of Rossolimo, but also because he had improved upon the recent Carlsen versus Dubov game from the Tata Steel Masters 2020.
Praggnanandhaa showed how being updated with the latest trends is very useful. The line that he chose from the black side of the Catalan has been very popular recently. It was played by Ganguly to beat Saduakassova and also Ding Liren essayed it against Alexander Grischuk at the World Cup 2019. Pragg was a step ahead of his opponent. Although it took him time to recollect his analyses, it was clear that he had worked on the system and knew the intricacies. The result was a solid point against the strong Indian IM Ravi Teja.
Standings after round 5
|6||47||GM||Antipov Mikhail Al.||RUS||2562||4,0||2850|
|10||12||GM||Jones Gawain C B||ENG||2679||4,0||2702|
|19||52||GM||Ibarra Jerez Jose Carlos||ESP||2548||3,5||2704|
Pairings of round 6
|1||11||GM||Cheparinov Ivan||2686||4½||4½||GM||Esipenko Andrey||2654||16|
|2||13||GM||Maghsoodloo Parham||2674||4½||4½||GM||Paravyan David||2629||22|
|3||31||GM||Praggnanandhaa R||2602||4||4||GM||Topalov Veselin||2738||4|
|4||47||GM||Antipov Mikhail Al.||2562||4||4||GM||Jones Gawain C B||2679||12|
|6||27||GM||Kobalia Mikhail||2609||4||4||GM||Hjartarson Johann||2524||64|
|7||63||GM||Kotronias Vasilios||2526||4||4||GM||Pichot Alan||2606||30|
|8||1||GM||Mamedyarov Shakhriyar||2770||3½||3½||GM||Aryan Chopra||2562||48|
|9||2||GM||Vachier-Lagrave Maxime||2770||3½||3½||GM||Peralta Fernando||2574||43|
|10||45||GM||Sanal Vahap||2569||3½||3½||GM||Le Quang Liem||2713||6|
|11||7||GM||Alekseenko Kirill||2704||3½||3½||GM||Kaidanov Gregory||2546||54|
|12||50||GM||Lalith Babu M R||2558||3½||3½||GM||Adams Michael||2694||10|
|13||51||GM||Maze Sebastien||2550||3½||3½||GM||Saric Ivan||2655||14|
|14||15||GM||Adhiban B.||2654||3½||3½||IM||Flom Gabriel||2510||69|
|15||17||GM||Lagarde Maxime||2651||3½||3½||GM||Gagare Shardul||2481||80|
Among the many interesting games that will take place on the top boards, Pragg vs Topalov is definitely a mouth watering encounter that is worth following!