Sinquefield R9: Caruana, Aronian, Carlsen tie for first; Caruana slated to play Wesley in playoff

Sinquefield R9: Caruana, Aronian, Carlsen tie for first; Caruana slated to play Wesley in playoff

IM vinniethepooh

The final round was filled with excitement. The tiebreak scenarios, both for GCT and Sinquefield were very confusing. A lot of possibilities could happen and the final round promised bloodshed.

It turned out to be one of the more decisive rounds of the tournament, with Carlsen and Aronian winning their games to catch Caruana.


Round 9

Carlsen had to play against his "client", Nakamura. He held an advantage of 12-1 Head to Head against the American and was confident. 

The game began with a 5.Bf4 QGD where Nakamura chose the 6...b6 line. Carlsen got a very slight edge out of the opening and was playing around Nakamura's c5 weakness. Nakamura made a few inaccuracies and it was clear that Magnus is pushing.

He got clear control over the d file and penetrated into the 7th rank. At this point Nakamura decided to exchange queens. But Carlsen rejected the offer and went for an attack.

The attack fizzled out, but pressure by the World Champion meant that Nakamura had to defend an unpleasant ending.


Clearly, Hikaru wasn't pleased with what he got. He cracked under pressure which meant a perfect victory for Carlsen.

Aronian vs Grischuk was another important match up from the final ranking point of view. An offbeat kind of Old-Indian Defense was played by Grischuk.

The American superstar unleashed the novelty pawn break 10.f3!? after which he got the two bishops. The game became extremely interesting.

Image result for levon aronian

Aronian was in the mood, and unleashed the fabulous 18.Rxf7!?!?!? offering a whole rook. It was one match that would give you the chills. A gamble which worked out to perfection. Caruana noted that he hasn't seen a more "gangster" move in his entire life. Yeah, it was a masterpiece on how to play practically. Soon enough, Grischuk was mated.

Caruana on the other hand, completed an easy draw against Wesley in an offbeat Petroff (YAPP- yet another perfect petroff!)

The defence minister, Karjakin saved yet another lost position against Maxime Vachier Lagrave.

Anand-Mamedyarov was a rather quiet draw.

So the final standings: Carlsen, Caruana, Aronian were tied for first in the Sinquefield Cup!


But who actually came first?

Let's have a look at the tiebreak scenarios:

  • 1.Direct Encounter: All three drew against each other, so this tiebreaker is dissolved.
  • 2.No. of wins: Everyone had 2 wins, so no progress even here.
  • 3.No.of wins as Black: None of these guys won a single game with Black.. still the tie is intact.
  • 4.Drawing of Lots: Rejected by the players (Of course, do you ever want to win/lose solely on luck?)

A playoff was proposed, but Caruana was in no mood. So finally it was declared that Caruana, Carlsen, Aronian- will share 1st prize, money and GCT points.

However, a playoff is still in the proceedings: Caruana vs Wesley So, for the fourth and final qualification spot as they ended dead equal (26 points each) in the GCT standings. Nakamura, Aronian and MVL are the ones who have qualified.


What are you views? Who do you think will take the final qualification spot? Write your ideas in the comments section below!


Here is how the playoff is supposed to proceed:

Be ready to enjoy the playoff which begins at 1 pm Local!