Links

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    1948 World Chess Championship 1959 Candidates 1962 Candidates 2.c3 Sicilian 2.f4 Sicilian 2011 European Team Championship 2011 Russian Championship 2012 Capablanca Memorial 2012 Chess Olympiad 2012 European Women's Championship 2012 London Chess Classic 2012 U.S. Junior Championship 2012 U.S. Women's Championship 2012 US Championship 2012 Women's World Chess Championship 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013 Alekhine Memorial 2013 Beijing Grand Prix 2013 European Club Cup 2013 European Team Championship 2013 FIDE World Cup 2013 Kings Tournament 2013 London Chess Classic 2013 Russian Championship 2013 Tal Memorial 2013 U.S. Championship 2013 Women's World Championship 2013 World Blitz Championship 2013 World Championship 2013 World Rapid Championship 2013 World Team Championship 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Chess Olympiad 2014 London Chess Classic 2014 Petrosian Memorial 2014 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 Sinquefield Cup 2014 Tigran Petrosian Memorial 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2014 Women's World Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Junior Championships 2014 World Rapid Championship 2015 Capablanca Memorial 2015 Chinese Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2015 European Team Championship 2015 London Chess Classic 2015 Millionaire Open 2015 Poikovsky 2015 Russian Team Championship 2015 Sinquefield Cup 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2015 World Blitz Championship 2015 World Cup 2015 World Junior Championship 2015 World Open 2015 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2015 World Team Championships 2016 2016 Candidates 2016 Capablanca Memorial 2016 Champions Showdown 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 European Club Cup 2016 Isle of Man 2016 London Chess Classic 2016 Russian Championship 2016 Sinquefield Cup 2016 Tal Memorial 2016 U.S. Championship 2016 U.S. Junior Championship 2016 U.S. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Blitz Championship 2016 World Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2016 World Rapid Championship 2017 British Championship 2017 British Knockout Championship 2017 Champions Showdown 2017 Chinese Championship 2017 Elite Mind Games 2017 European Team Championship 2017 Geneva Grand Prix 2017 Grand Prix 2017 Isle of Man 2017 London Chess Classic 2017 PRO Chess League 2017 Russian Championship 2017 Sharjah Masters 2017 Sinquefield Cup 2017 Speed Chess Championship 2017 U..S. Championshp 2017 U.S. Junior Championship 2017 Women's World Championship 2017 World Cup 2017 World Junior Championship 2017 World Rapid & Blitz Championships 2017 World Team Championship 2018 Candidates 2018 Chess Olympiad 2018 European Championship 2018 Gibraltar 2018 Grand Chess Tour 2018 Grenke Chess Classic 2018 Grenke Chess Open 2018 Pro Chess League 2018 Tal Memorial 2018 U.S. Championship 2018 Wijk aan Zee 2018 World Championship 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 22016 Chess Olympiad 2Mind Games 2016 2Wijk aan Zee 2017 60 Minutes A. Muzychuk A. Sokolov aattacking chess Abby Marshall Accelerated Dragon ACP Golden Classic Adams Aeroflot 2010 Aeroflot 2011 Aeroflot 2012 Aeroflot 2013 Aeroflot 2015 Aeroflot 2016 Aeroflot 2017 AGON Agrest Akiba Rubinstein Akiva Rubinstein Akobian Akshat Chandra Alejandro Ramirez Alekhine Alekhine Defense Aleksander Lenderman Alekseev Alena Kats Alex Markgraf Alexander Alekhine Alexander Beliavsky Alexander Grischuk Alexander Ipatov Alexander Khalifman Alexander Moiseenko Alexander Morozevich Alexander Onischuk Alexander Panchenko Alexander Stripunsky Alexander Tolush Alexandra Kosteniuk Alexei Dreev Alexei Shirov Alexey Bezgodov Almasi AlphaZero Alvin Plantinga Amber 2010 Amber 2011 American Chess Magazine Amos Burn Anand Anand-Carlsen 2013 Anand-Gelfand 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match Anand-Topalov 2010 Anastasia Bodnaruk Anatoly Karpov Anders Ericsson Andrei Volokitin Andrew Martin Andrew Paulson Android apps Anish Giri Anna Muzychuk Anna Ushenina Anna Zatonskih Anti-Marshall Lines Anti-Moscow Gambit Anti-Sicilians Antoaneta Stefanova Anton Korobov Anton Kovalyov apps April Fool's Jokes Archangelsk Variation Arkadij Naiditsch Arne Moll Aron Nimzowitsch Aronian Aronian-Kramnik 2012 Arthur Bisguier Arthur van de Oudeweetering Artur Yusupov Arturo Pomar Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 attack attacking chess Austrian Attack Averbakh Awonder Liang Baadur Jobava Bacrot Baku Grand Prix 2014 Baltic Defense Bangkok Chess Club Open Baskaran Adhiban Bazna 2011 Becerra beginner's books Beliavsky Ben Feingold Benko Gambit Bent Larsen Berlin Defense Biel 2012 Biel 2014 Biel 2015 Biel 2017 Bilbao 2010 Bilbao 2012 Bilbao 2013 Bilbao 2015 Bilbao 2016 Bilbao Chess 2014 bishop endings Bishop vs. Knight Blackburne Blaise Pascal blindfold chess blitz blitz chess Blumenfeld Gambit blunders Bob Hope Bobby Fischer Bogo-Indian Bohatirchuk Bologan Book Reviews books Boris Gelfand Boris Spassky Borislav Ivanov Borki Predojevic Boruchovsky Botvinnik Botvinnik Memorial Branimiir Maksimovic Breyer Variation brilliancy British Championship British Chess Magazine Bronstein Bronznik Brooklyn Castle Browne Brunello Bu Xiangzhi Budapest Bundesliga California Chess Reporter Camilla Baginskaite Campomanes Candidates 2011 Candidates 2011 Candidates 2012 Candidates 2013 Candidates 2014 Capablanca Carlsen Caro-Kann cartoons Caruana Catalan Cebalo Charlie Rose cheating Cheparinov chess and drugs chess and education chess and marketing chess books chess cartoons chess documentaries chess engines chess history chess in fiction chess in film chess in schools Chess Informant chess lessons chess openings chess politics chess psychology chess ratings chess strategy chess variants Chess24 Chess960 ChessBase DVDs ChessBase Shows ChessLecture Presentations ChessLecture.com ChessUSA ChessUSA blog ChessVibes ChessVideos Presentations Chigorin Variation Chinese Chess Championship Chithambaram Aravindh Christian faith Christiansen Christmas Colin Crouch Colle combinations Commentary computer chess computers correspondence chess Corsica Cristobal Henriquez Villagra Cyrus Lakdawala Danailov Daniel Parmet Daniil Dubov Danny Kopec Danzhou Danzhou 2016 Danzhou 2017 Dave MacEnulty Dave Vigorito David Bronstein David Howell David MacEnulty David Navara Davies Deep Blue Deeper Blue defense Dejan Antic Delchev Denis Khismatullin Ding Liren Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam Dmitry Andreikin Dmitry Gurevich Dmitry Jakovenko Dominic Lawson Dortmund 2010 Dortmund 2011 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2013 Dortmund 2014 Dortmund 2015 Dortmund 2016 Dortmund 2017 Doug Hyatt Dragoljub Velimirovic draws dreams Dreev Dunning-Kruger Effect Dutch Defense DVD Reviews DVDs Dvoirys Dvoretsky Easter Edouard Efimenko Efstratios Grivas Eltaj Safarli Emanuel Lasker Emory Tate en passant endgame studies endgames Endgames English Opening Ernesto Inarkiev Erwin L'Ami Esserman Etienne Bacrot European Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2012 European Club Cup 2014 European Individual Championship 2012 Evgeni Vasiukov Evgeny Bareev Evgeny Najer Evgeny Sveshnikov Evgeny Tomashevsky Exchange Ruy expertise Fabiano Caruana Falko Bindrich farce FIDE FIDE Grand Prix FIDE Presidential Election FIDE ratings Fier fighting for the initiative Finegold Fischer Fischer-Spassky 1972 football Francisco Vallejo Pons Fred Reinfeld French Defense Fritz 15 Ftacnik Gadir Guseinov Gajewski Gaprindashvili Garry Kasparov Gashimov Gashimov Memorial 2017 Gata Kamsky Gawain Jones Gelfand Gelfand-Svidler Rapid Match Geller Geneva Masters Genna Sosonko Georg Meier Georgios Makropolous GGarry Kasparov Gibraltar 2011 Gibraltar 2012 Gibraltar 2013 Gibraltar 2014 Gibraltar 2015 Gibraltar 2016 Gibraltar 2017 Giri Go Grand Chess Tour Grand Chess Tour 2017 Grand Chess Tour Paris 2017 Grand Prix 2014-2015 Grand Prix Attack Greek Gift sacrifice Grenke Chess Classic 2013 Grenke Chess Classic 2015 Grenke Chess Classic 2017 Grinfeld Grischuk Grob Gruenfeld Defense Grünfeld Defense Gulko Gunina Guseinov Gustafsson Gyula Sax Hannes Langrock Hans Berliner Hans Ree Harika Dronavalli Hastings Hawaii International Festival Haworth Hedgehog helpmates Hennig-Schara Gambit Henrique Mecking HHou Yifan highway robbery Hikaru Nakamura Hilton Hjorvar Gretarsson Hort Horwitz Bishops Hou Yifan Houdini Houdini 1.5a Howard Staunton humor Humpy Koneru Ian Nepomniachtchi Icelandic Gambit Ignatius Leong Igor Kovalenko Igor Kurnosov Igor Lysyj Iljumzhinov Ilya Makoveev Ilya Nyzhnyk Imre Hera Informant Informant 113 Informant 114 Informant 115 Informant 116 Informant 117 Informant 118 Informant 119 Informant 120 Informant 121 Informant 122 Informant 124 Informant 125 Informant 126 Informant 127 Informant 128 Informant 129 Informant 130 Informant 131 Informant 132 Informant 133 Informant 134 insanity Inside Chess Magazine Ippolito IQP Irina Krush Irving Chernev Ivan Bukavshin Ivan Sokolov Ivanchuk J. Polgar Jacek Oskulski Jacob Aagaard Jaenisch Jaideep Unudurti Jakovenko James Tarjan Jan Gustafsson Jan Timman Jan-Krzysztof Duda Jay Whitehead Jeffery Xiong Jeremy Silman Jim Slater Jimmy Quon Joe Benjamin Joel Benjamin John Burke John Grefe John Watson Jon Lenchner Jon Ludwig Hammer Jonathan Hawkins Jonathan Speelman Joop van Oosterom Jose Diaz Jose Raul Capablanca Ju Wenjun Judit Polgar Julio Granda Zuniga junk openings Kaidanov Kalashnikov Sicilian Kamsky Karen Sumbatyan Karjakin Karpov Karsten Mueller Kasimdzhanov Kasparov Kavalek Keanu Reeves Ken Regan Keres KGB Khalifman Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix Kim Commons king and pawn endings King's Gambit King's Indian King's Tournament 2010 Kings Tournament 2012 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov KKing's Gambit KKing's Indian Klovans Komodo Komodo 11 Korchnoi Kramnik Kunin Lajos Portisch Larry Evans Larry Kaufman Larry Parr Lasker Lasker-Pelikan Latvian Gambit Laurent Fressinet Laznicka Le Quang Liem Leinier Dominguez Leko Leon 2017 Leonid Kritz lessons Leuven Rapid & Blitz Leuven Rapid & Blitz 2017 Lev Psakhis Levon Aronian Lilienthal Linares 2010 Linder Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu Loek van Wely Lombardy London 2009 London 2010 London 2011 London Grand Prix London System Lothar Schmid Luke McShane Macieja Magnus Carlsen Main Line Ruy Malakhov Malcolm Pein Mamedyarov Marc Arnold Marc Lang Marin Mariya Muzychuk Mark Crowther Mark Dvoretsky Mark Taimanov Markus Ragger Marshall Marshall Gambit Masters of the Chessboard Mateusz Bartel Matthew Sadler Maurice Ashley Max Euwe Maxim Matlakov Maxim Rodshtein Maxime Vachier-Lagrave McShane Mega 2012 mental malfunction Mesgen Amanov Michael Adams Miguel Najdorf Mikhail Antipov Mikhail Botvinnik Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Osipov Mikhail Tal Mikhalchishin Miles Mind Games 2016 Minev miniatures Miso Cebalo MModern Benoni Modern Modern Benoni Moiseenko Morozevich Morphy Movsesian Müller music Nadareishvili Naiditsch Najdorf Sicilian Nakamura Nanjing 2010 Natalia Pogonina Navara Negi Neo-Archangelsk Nepomniachtchi New In Chess Yearbook 104 New York Times NH Tournament 2010 Nigel Short Nihal Sarin Nikita Vitiugov Nimzo-Indian Nino Khurtsidze NNotre Dame football Nodirbek Abdusattarov Nona Gaprindashvili Norway Chess 2013 Norway Chess 2014 Norway Chess 2015 Norway Chess 2016 Norway Chess 2017 Notre Dame basketball Notre Dame football Notre Dame Football Notre Dame hockey Nov. 2009 News Nyback Nyzhnyk Oleg Pervakov Oleg Skvortsov Olympics 2010 Open Ruy opening advice opening novelties Openings openings Or Cohen P.H. Nielsen Pal Benko Palma Grand Prix 2017 Parimarjan Negi Paris Grand Prix Paris Rapid & Blitz passed pawns Paul Keres Paul Morphy Paul Rudd Pavel Eljanov pawn endings pawn play Pawn Sacrifice pawn structures Pentala Harikrishna Pesotskyi Peter Heine Nielsen Peter Leko Peter Svidler Petroff Philadelphia Open Philidor's Defense philosophy Phiona Mutesi Pirc Piterenka Rapid/Blitz Polgar Polgar sisters Polugaevsky Ponomariov Ponziani Potkin poultry Powerbook 2011 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu Prague Chess Train problems progressive chess prophylaxis Qatar Masters 2015 QGD Tartakower QQueen's Gambit Accepted queen sacrifices Queen's Gambit Accepted Queen's Gambit Declined Queen's Indian Defense Rabat blitz 2015 Radjabov Radoslaw Wojtaszek Ragger rapid chess Rapport Rashid Nezhmetdinov rating inflation ratings Ray Robson Raymond Smullyan Regan Reggio Emilia 2010 Reggio Emilia 2011 Reshevsky Reti Reuben Fine Rex Sinquefield Reykjavik Open 2012 Reykjavik Open 2017 Richard Rapport Richard Reti Robert Byrne robot chess Robson Roman Ovetchkin rook endings RReggio Emilia 2011 rrook endings RRuy Lopez RRuy Lopez sidelines Rubinstein Rubinstein French Rudolf Spielmann rules Ruslan Ponomariov Russian Team Championship Rustam Kasimdzhanov Ruy Lopez Ruy Lopez sidelines Rybka Rybka 4 S. Kasparov sacrifices Sadler Saemisch Sakaev Sam Collins Sam Sevian Samuel Reshevsky Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011 Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012 satire Savchenko Savielly Tartakower Schliemann Scotch Four Knights Searching for Bobby Fischer Seirawan self-destruction Sergei Tiiviakov Sergey Erenburg Sergey Fedorchuk Sergey Karjakin Sergey Kasparov Sergey Shipov Sevan Muradian Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Shamkir 2015 Shamkir 2016 Shamkir 2017 Shankland Sharjah Grand Prix 2017 Shenzhen 2017 Shipov Shirov Short Sicilian Sinquefield Cup sitzfleisch Slav Smith-Morra Gambit Smyslov So-Navara Spassky spectacular moves Speelman sportsmanship Spraggett St. Louis Chess Club St. Louis Invitational St. Louis Rapid and Blitz 2017 stalemate Staunton Stephen Hawking Stockfish Stockfish 4 Stonewall Dutch Suat Atalik Super Bowl XLIV Susan Polgar Sutovsky Sveshnikov Sveshnikov Sicilian Svetozar Gligoric Svidler sweeper sealer twist Swiercz tactics Tactics Taimanov Tal Tal Memorial 2009 Tal Memorial 2010 Tal Memorial 2011 Tal Memorial 2012 Tal Memorial 2012 Tarjan Tarrasch Tarrasch Defense Tashkent Tashkent Grand Prix Tbilisi Grand Prix 2015 TCEC TCEC Season 10 TCEC Season 11 TCEC Season 8 TCEC Season 9 TED talks Teimour Radjabov Terekhin The Chess Players (book) The Simpsons The Week in Chess Thessaloniki Grand Prix Three knights Tibor Karolyi Tigran Petrosian Tim Krabbé time controls time trouble Timman Timur Gareev Tomashevsky Tony Miles Topalov traps Tromso Olympics 2014 TWIC types of chess players Ufuk Tuncer Ultimate Blitz Challenge underpromotion Unive 2012 University of Notre Dame upsets US Championship 2010 US Championship 2011 US Chess League USCF ratings USCL V. Onischuk Vachier-Lagrave Valentina Gunina Vallejo value of chess van der Heijden Van Perlo van Wely Varuzhan Akobian Vasik Rajlich Vasily Smyslov Vassily Ivanchuk Vassily Smyslov Velimirovic Attack Vera Menchik Veresov Veselin Topalov video videos Vienna 1922 Viktor Bologan Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Moskalenko Vincent Keymer Viswanathan Anand Vitaly Tseshkovsky Vitiugov Vladimir Fedoseev Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Tukmakov Vladislav Artemiev Vladislav Tkachiev Vlastimil Hort Vlastimil Jansa Vugar Gashimov Vugar Gashimov Memorial Walter Browne Wang Hao Wang Yue Watson Wei Yi Welcome Wesley Brandhorst Wesley So Wijk aan Zee 1999 Wijk aan Zee 2010 Wijk aan Zee 2011 Wijk aan Zee 2012 Wijk aan Zee 2013 Wijk aan Zee 2014 Wijk aan Zee 2015 Wijk aan Zee 2016 Wijk aan Zee 2017 Wil E. Coyote Wilhelm Steinitz William Golding William Lombardy William Vallicella Willy Hendriks Winawer French Wojtkiewicz Wolfgang Uhlmann Women's Grand Prix Women's World Championship World Champion DVDs World Championship World Cup World Cup 2009 World Cup 2011 World Cup 2011 World Junior Championship World Senior Championship WWesley So WWijk aan Zee 2012 Yasser Seirawan Yates Yermolinsky Yevseev Yoshiharu Habu Yu Yangyi Yuri Averbakh Yuri Razuvaev Yuri Vovk Yuri Yeliseyev Yuriy Kuzubov Zaitsev Variation Zaven Andriasyan Zhao Xue Zhongyi Tan Zug 2013 Zukertort System Zurab Azmaiparashvili Zurich 1953 Zurich 2013 Zurich 2014 Zurich 2015 Zurich 2016 Zurich 2017

    Entries in Fabiano Caruana (132)

    Wednesday
    Apr112018

    Grenke Chess Classic: Caruana Wins the Tournament; Carlsen a Point Behind

    Finishing with two wins in his last three games, Fabiano Caruana has won the 2018 Grenke Chess Classic, a full point ahead of Magnus Carlsen and a point and a half ahead of the next three players in the crosstable. This is his third tournament victory in his last four events (he also won the London Chess Classic and the Candidates), and he's back to #2 in the world, ahead of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and 21 points behind Magnus Carlsen. Not bad at all!

    After six of the tournament's nine rounds he was tied for first with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Nikita Vitiugov, with Carlsen half a point behind. In round 7 Carlsen beat Arkadij Naiditsch with Black, but at the same time Caruana defeated MVL - also with Black - to go into clear first, with Vitiugov and Carlsen half a point behind. All the other games in round 7 were drawn, and in round 8 everyone drew.

    That set up an exciting last round, with Caruana playing Black against Vitiugov and Carlsen having Black against Viswanathan Anand. The latter game was an interesting and mutually well-played draw, while Caruana's game echoed his Candidates finale against Alexander Grischuk. Once again he was paired with a Russian, had Black, played the Petroff, and faced the slightly unusual line 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5 d5 5.Nbd2. And once again, he outplayed his opponent and won.

    Congratulations once again to Caruana, who now comes back to St. Louis to try to reclaim the U.S. Championship title he won in 2016 but surrendered to Wesley So in 2017. As usual, the big three are all participating in the tournament, which begins April 18. Also starting on the 18th is the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, and Carlsen will be in that event, along with Mamedyarov, Vladimir Kramnik, and six other top players.

    Back to the GCC. The games from the last three rounds, with my notes to the three decisive games, are here. (N.B. I've analyzed the Vitiugov-Caruana game more deeply for ChessLecture.com, for those of you who have memberships there, are considering memberships, or want to watch it a la carte when it comes out.) And here are the final standings:

    • 1. Caruana 6.5 (of 9)
    • 2. Carlsen 5.5
    • 3-5. Aronian, Vitiugov, Vachier-Lagrave 5
    • 6. Bluebaum 4.5
    • 7-9. Anand, Hou Yifan, Naiditsch 3.5
    • 10. Meier 3

    Thursday
    Apr052018

    Grenke Chess Classic, Round 4: Caruana Wins, Joins the Leaders

    It's good times for Fabiano Caruana, as he goes from one success in Germany to another. After winning the Candidates in Berlin a week or so ago, he's now the co-leader of the Grenke Chess Classic after defeating Arkadij Naiditsch in round 4. All the other games were drawn - entirely cleanly, it seems, which is unusual and impressive. In fact, the Caruana-Naiditsch game also should have been drawn, too. The position was almost dead drawn, but Caruana managed to create a few problems for Black in the run-up to the time control, and it paid off. (While the material balance was different, I'm reminded of Karjakin-So from the Candidates, which looked like a sure, practically dead drawn game that Karjakin somehow managed to win. In both cases, the defender had a slightly offside knight that he couldn't quite manage to harmonize with the rest of his position.)

    The games are here, with my brief comments on the critical moments of the Caruana-Naiditsch game. Here's what's ahead in round 5:

    • Meier (1) - Carlsen (2.5)
    • Naiditsch (1) - Bluebaum (1.5)
    • Anand (1.5) - Caruana (3)
    • Hou Yifan (1) - Vitiugov (3)
    • Vachier-Lagrave (3) - Aronian (2.5)

    Saturday
    Mar312018

    Grenke Chess Classic, Round 1: Caruana Ekes Out a Draw, Vitiugov Wins a Brilliancy

    The much, but not long-awaited game between Magnus Carlsen and his latest challenger, Fabiano Caruana, took place in round 1, and it did not disappoint. At least it didn't disappoint fans looking for a hard-fought game; partisans of each player will have something to regret - but also to celebrate. Carlsen proved better in the middlegame, while Caruana demonstrated his defensive prowess and showed that Carlsen's vaunted technique isn't perfect.

    The opening was unusual and full of little surprises: Caruana played 1.d4 and then chose a rather passive Anti-King's Indian/Anti-Gruenfeld with 4.e3. Carlsen turned the game into an oddball King's Indian, and outplayed his opponent in the non-standard middlegame that ensued. He eventually obtained a winning double-rook ending, but Caruana defended stoutly, and at a certain point in the second time control Carlsen was forced to find a difficult (but not impossible) winning move. He didn't manage to clear that last hurdle, and from there the draw wasn't too hard for Caruana to secure.

    Four of the five games were drawn, and most of the drawn games had some adventures. Viswanathan Anand had White against Hou Yifan and played a risky, experimental opening, sacrificing a pawn and later an exchange. (Though by that time, he was a pawn up, so he had a pawn for the exchange.) Slightly reminiscent of the Karjakin-Caruana game from the Candidates - Caruana's only loss - Anand's compensation for the exchange was a brilliant bishop on d5. Hou's position was difficult, but she defended resourcefully and saved the game.

    Arkadij Naiditsch's game with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was a real barn-burner. Both players love extreme complications and handle them very well. This time around, Naiditsch handled them better for a good portion of the middlegame, but MVL managed to keep things wild and managed enough counterplay to draw.

    Georg Meier's game with Levon Aronian was the dullest game of the round; not exactly a shock given Meier's 5.Re1 against the Berlin. There are exceptions in Meier's repertoire, but for the most part he plays risk-averse chess, trying to obtain small advantages and then grind away with his excellent technical skills. It's unlikely to prove successful against the top players in the field, but then again he won't lose to them in such situations, either.

    Finally, the one decisive game was a keeper, a minor brilliancy sure to make the rounds. The first 19 moves of Matthias Bluebaum-Nikita Vitiugov looked likely to result in a draw, but then Bluebaum fell into a very deep trap. Vitiugov's 21...Rxf2! was the start of a combination running a dozen or so moves in the main line, requiring a number of precise, subtle, beautiful moves to work. I've annotated this game, along with Caruana-Carlsen, and all five games can be replayed here.

    The round 2 pairings are Carlsen - Hou Yifan, Vachier-Lagrave - Anand, Aronian - Naiditsch, Vitiugov - Meier, and Caruana - Bluebaum. The higher-rated player has the white pieces in every game, and it's a significant rating difference in all of them but MVL-Anand.

    Friday
    Mar302018

    Caruana's First Reaction

    Here's a nice mini-interview of Fabiano Caruana by Macauley Peterson, almost immediately after the former's win over Alexander Grischuk won the Candidates and the right to face Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship title.

    Wednesday
    Mar282018

    Grenke Chess Classic 

    The lead-up to the 2018 World Chess Championship begins this weekend with the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden-Baden, Germany. Both Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana will be playing, together with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian, Viswanathan Anand, Nikita Vitiugov, Arkadij Naiditsch, Hou Yifan, Georg Meier, and Matthias Bluebaum.

    The pairings haven't yet been decided, and the first round is at 3 p.m. local time (= 9 a.m. ET). Who will get the upper hand in the psychological duel between Carlsen and Caruana? Stay tuned.

    Wednesday
    Mar282018

    Caruana Interview

    Not a bad interview, despite the misleading clickbait title. Fabiano Caruana gives a very general sense of his understanding about where he stands vis-a-vis Magnus Carlsen.

    HT: Brian Karen

    Wednesday
    Mar282018

    The Chess Mind Live on The Beat of Sports

    If all goes well I'll be on The Beat of Sports, an Orlando, Florida-based sports talk show, at or around 11:17 a.m. ET this (Wednesday) morning, talking about Fabiano Caruana's performance in the Candidates tournament. You may be able to tune in here; hopefully I'll do a good job representing our great game to the general public.

    And for those of you who discovered this blog through my radio "appearance", you're welcome here. Please leave a comment either here or via the Contact link on the right sidebar. If you have a question about Caruana, or the game in general (for instance, how to find chess communities in person or online suitable for yourself, for your kids, etc.), that's welcome too.

    Wednesday
    Mar282018

    538 With Early Match Odds

    Here's a short piece on Fabiano Caruana from the stats-nerds at FiveThirtyEight.com. The links add to its value, and they offer some early odds, for what it's worth, giving Caruana around a 30% chance of winning his coming world championship match against Magnus Carlsen.

    Tuesday
    Mar272018

    2018 Candidates, Round 14: Caruana Wins! **UPDATED with Analysis**

    Congratulations to Fabiano Caruana, who defeated Alexander Grischuk in the last round of the Candidates tournament! He won the event by a full point, as his closest rivals, Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, drew their last games (against Ding Liren and Vladimir Kramnik, respectively), and now moves on to fight Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship title in London this coming November.

    Remarkably, Caruana played the Petroff, trusting either that he'd somehow have a chance to fight for a win, in case Karjakin looked likely to win against Ding Liren (Karjakin would win the event on tiebreaks in case of a two-way tie for first with Caruana), or he trusted that Ding would hold with Black. Or perhaps he felt that playing something sharper would increase his losing chances to an unacceptable degree. Whatever the case, he played the Petroff for the fourth time in the tournament, and for the third time found himself with an advantage early on. As the game went on he maintained control and increased his advantage, and in the meantime Karjakin and then Mamedyarov drew their games. Caruana could have offered a draw at any moment to guarantee tournament victory, but there was no need to - his advantage was decisive by then, and more importantly there was no risk in playing on. (Besides, Grischuk's position was so bad that if Caruana had offered a draw, Grischuk might have separated his shoulder by reaching for Caruana's hand too quickly.)

    Karjakin's game with Ding was very instructive. He seemed to have a position where he could play for a win forever without any risk, and indeed there was a Motylev-Eljanov game that very clearly demonstrated White's strategic concept. But Ding found a remarkable concept with 17...e5 and 18...b4, and showed, amazingly, that it was White who had to be careful. Karjakin did his "Ministry of Defense" thing and held, barely.

    Mamedyarov took some serious chances in the game, starting with the opening, and was in serious trouble more than once against Kramnik. There were also some moments when he had a small advantage too, but unlike the Kramnik we saw earlier in the tournament, this time he mostly maintained his sanity and steered the ending to a draw.

    The fourth game was a pro forma affair between Levon Aronian and Wesley So, the tournament tailenders. (Especially Aronian.) They initiated a known repetition on move 13, calling it quits after 17 moves and clearing the stage for the games that mattered.

    I'll have the games later; for now, here are the final standings. 

    • 1. Caruana 9/14
    • 2-3. Mamedyarov, Karjakin 8
    • 4. Ding Liren 7.5
    • 5-6. Kramnik, Grischuk 6.5
    • 7. So 6
    • 8. Aronian 4.5

    Do come back later, for the annotated games, and I will also spend some time blogging today and over the next few days to catch up on some other events and topics.

    P.S. Congratulations too to the very clever people who predicted a Caruana win - all two of us. (I didn't write "send him home!" for all those years to forsake him now.) And while we're at it, I'll save time by offering my prediction now: Caruana will beat Carlsen in November. (And if he doesn't this time, he'll beat him next time, a la Smyslov vs. Botvinnik and Spassky vs. Petrosian. This does seem to be Caruana's pattern: the first time he comes close, and the second time he crashes through. He barely missed the 2014 Candidates, then made it in 2016. In that event he came very close to winning, and this time he did it. So if Carlsen defeats Caruana by some sort of Kramnikian "miracle" this time around, it will be the reverse in 2020.)

    **UPDATE** The games, with my analysis, are here.

    Monday
    Mar262018

    2018 Candidates, Round 13: Caruana Regains the Clear Lead

    Perhaps the rest day helped, or maybe it was good preparation. Or, maybe it's that Fabiano Caruana's opponent, Levon Aronian, is so out of form at the moment that it was enough for Caruana to play a decent game to obtain good winning chances. Whatever story we invent in all of its ex post facto glory, the facts are that Caruana rebounded from his painful loss to Sergey Karjakin on Saturday with an almost entirely clean and convincing victory over Aronian today. Since Karjakin was only able to draw his game against Wesley So, Caruana is in clear first, half a point ahead of both So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who was given a massive present by Alexander Grischuk. Ding Liren is a full point behind after a lucky draw against Vladimir Kramnik. Amazingly, he's not yet mathematically eliminated from the race for first. But more about this below.

    First then, Caruana's win over Aronian. Caruana repeated the Anti-Marshall line 8.d3 d6 9.Bd2 played by Grischuk (also against Aronian) in the previous round. Aronian varied first, but it looked like either Caruana's preparation or just his feel for the position was better than his opponent's, and soon he was outplaying the great Armenian. On the verge of getting rolled up, Aronian made a good practical decision to sacrifice a piece. It shouldn't have worked, but Caruana's 29.N1e3?? needlessly endangered the win. (I recognize that the double question mark is pretty harsh; I defend that evaluation in the game file.) The problem wasn't easy to spot, however, and once Aronian missed his chance Caruana finished most convincingly.

    As for Karjakin, he never had a chance. When So has White and is determined to be solid, it's almost impossible to get a position where one can play for a win. Magnus Carlsen has managed to do it against him, but that's about it. Besides, Karjakin's classical style doesn't help much either when it comes to must-win situations with Black. He did try to get a sharp line against So's 4.Qc2 anti-Nimzo-Indian line, but So kept it safe and the draw was never in doubt.

    Meanwhile, Mamedyarov joined Karjakin in second. His game with Grischuk also looked like an inevitable draw, and had looked that way for a long time. Mamedyarov did just enough to keep the game from becoming a dead draw, and finally at move 34 Grischuk had to find the right move. He thought he had found a way to achieve an instant draw, but White's reply proved otherwise. Grischuk was tied with Mamedyarov entering the round, so if he had won he'd have had a shot. Not any longer.

    Finally, Kramnik showed how to play for a win with Black, and up until his 30th move had played a great game. Ding would have been lost after 30...Rxe7, and even after 32..Kg7 (or 32...Kh7) Kramnik probably would have won thanks to White's weak king. Instead, Kramnik allowed White to trade queens, and then his king wasn't an issue. The resulting ending was only a little better for Black, and Ding held the draw without much trouble.

    Caruana has 8 out of 13, Mamedyarov and Grischuk have 7.5, and Ding has 7. This site (HT: Chuckles) offers the odds of tournament success for each of the four, and (sacrificing a few decimal places) they are:

    • Caruana: 56.4%
    • Mamedyarov: 20.9%
    • Karjakin: 20.7%
    • Ding: 2%

    The site's author has more information and an explanation of his method, so you're encouraged to check out the full details there.

    Rapping things up over here...the games (with my notes) are here; and the final pairings, to determine the identity of Carlsen's challenger this coming November, are:

    • Grischuk (6.5) - Caruana (8)
    • Aronian (4) - So (5.5)
    • Karjakin (7.5) - Ding (7)
    • Kramnik (6) - Mamedyarov (7.5)