St Louis may bid for Fabiano Caruana versus Magnus Carlsen match

St Louis may bid for Fabiano Caruana versus Magnus Carlsen match

Aarao
Aarao
Mar 30, 2018, 9:09 AM |
0

Caruana’s victory in the candidates series in Berlin has sparked rumours that November’s world title contest may switch from London to the United States and offer a larger financial prize to the winner

 

By winning this week’s candidates tournament in Berlin, the 25-year-old American Fabiano Caruana has qualified for a 12-game world title series against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in November. It was going to be in London with a €1m prize fund, but now there are rumours of a much higher bid, a venue switch to St Louis and tricky negotiations.

 

The first American-born challenger since Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 lives in St Louis, which has become a renowned global chess centre hosting inter alia the US championship and an annual elite event in which both Carlsen and Caruana compete. The billionaire Rex Sinquefield bankrolls it all and was financially responsible for Caruana, who has dual nationality, electing to represent the US rather than Italy from 2015.

 

Caruana was born to Italian-American parents in Miami, was home schooled, learned his chess skills in Brooklyn, and at 14 broke Fischer’s age record as the youngest US grandmaster. He moved to Europe in search of the best tournaments and coaching, living in Madrid, Budapest and Lugano and representing Italy. As an American again, he led the US team in 2016 to their first ever gold medals at the biennial 150-nation Olympiad.

 

Sinquefield is a long-time Fischer fan, who once met his idol on a plane trip, and a few years ago bought up Bobby’s personal library. Four-time US champion Yasser Seirawan, a Sinquefield confidant, said that a St Louis bid would be “significantly higher” than the €1m in London, which may be in some doubt anyway, since it was raised from primarily Russian sponsors before the Berlin result was known.

 

For the embattled and financially stretched global chess body Fide, St Louis could prove a lifeline. Its president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has been sanctioned by the US Treasury for allegedly aiding the Syrian government, and Fide’s Swiss bank will shortly close its account. A successful high profile partnership with Sinquefield, who contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, could restore credibility for Fide in Washington. However, Fide’s commercial partner Agon, based in Moscow but probably planning a move to London, holds the rights to the match and is sure to fight its corner.

 

Fide will also remember how in 1993 its then president awarded the world championship to Manchester without consulting the players. Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short took their match outside Fide, and the resulting schism lasted 13 years. Carlsen has played several times in St Louis, defended his crown against Vishy Anand in India in 2014, and beat his Russian challenger, Sergey Karjakin, in New York in 2016, so he will be relaxed about playing away again if the prize money jumps.

 

Back at the board, Caruana showed class and strong nerves in the decisive moments after he lost to Karjakin two rounds from the end. The resilient American won his final two games, even playing out for a full point against Alexander Grischuk when a draw would have sufficed.

 

Caruana’s penultimate round win over Levon Aronian, who was the pre-tournament favourite but ended up last, became a complex struggle, decided by a few key moments. White’s 8 d3 and 9 Bd2!? is the latest anti-Marshall nuance aiming for a small edge, and Caruana builds up pressure until Aronian mixes it by 25…Bxg4!? and 27…Nxf2!? Two moves later, 29 N5e3! gives White a clear advantage as in the game Black missed the tactic 31…Nxb4! 32 cxb4 Rd4! with wild but probably drawing complications. After that, Caruana stormed through on the h file and Aronian resigned due to 39…Kxh6 40 Nxg4+ Kh7 41 Qxg5 Qf8 42 a7.

 

Fabiano Caruana v Levon Aronian

e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 O-O 8 d3 d6 9Bd2!? Bg4 10 c3 d5 11 h3 Bh5 12 Qe2 Rb8 13 Bg5 dxe4 14 dxe4 h6 15 Bc1 Bg6 16Nbd2 Nh5 17 Nf1 Bc5 18 g3 Kh7 19 Kg2 Qe7 20 Bc2 Rfd8 21 b4 Bb6 22 a4 Nf6 23Nh4 Qe6 24 Bd3 Bh5 25 g4 Bxg4!? 26 hxg4 Nxg4 27 Nf5 Nxf2!? 28 Bc2 g6 29N1e3? gxf5 30 exf5 Qf6 31 Qxf2 e4? 32 Rh1 Rd6 33 Bxe4 Rg8+ 34 Kf1 Ne5 35 Qf4 c6 36 axb5 Rg5 37 bxa6 Qd8 38 f6+ Ng6 39 Rxh6+! 1-0

 

 

Source: The Guardian
Link: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/mar/30/st-louis-bid-fabiano-caruana-magnus-carlsen-match