GCT 4th place playoffs: Making a habit of London qualification

GCT 4th place playoffs: Making a habit of London qualification

IM vinniethepooh

Knock Knock! "Who's there?" "London calling you Mr.Fabiano Caruana!"

After the Sinquefield Cup ended, the main question was who are the ones who have qualified for the London Chess Classic in December? The top 4 places in the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) standings were going to get that privilege.

It was confirmed that Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Vachier-Lagrave were qualified. But who was the 4th player. By the way note that Carlsen was just a wildcard in St.Louis and wasn't a part of this year's GCT.

It actually happened, that the country-mates Caruana and Wesley had ended dead equal on 26 points each.

Image result for fabiano caruana vs wesley so

So who was coming 4th? It was to be decided by a playoff. Here is how the playoff was supposed to proceed:


In the drawing of lots, Caruana picked Black for the first game. A catalan was on the board, and Caruana got enough activity to equalise.

Hardly did he break a sweat, as Caruana neutralized Wesley's White without much trouble.

In the 2nd rapid game, once again a Catalan was on the board, a slightly different version than the previous game, but this time it was Caruana with the White pieces.

Once again the c4 pawn was sacrificed, but Caruana, unlike Wesley, played more in a gambit style. Although he did recover the pawn eventually- Wesley was left to play an unpleasant ending.

Soon enough, Caruana's rook jumped into action, and took menancing posts. However one of Wesley's rook was sitting on the head of White's king, so Caruana made sure that the other rook is not allowed to come along with the ultra-protective 42.Re7!? Both the players were playing on seconds (Note that this format uses delay and not increment!!)

He finally won the game, and with that the 4th qualification spot to London.

With an improbable Grand Chess Tour comeback, Fabulous Fabi made the double trip to London (WC and the London Chess Classic!)


A satisfied Caruana after a very nice victory.