Caruana Wins FIDE Candidates' Tournament

Mar 28, 2018, 12:31 PM |

Fabiano Caruana won the 2018 FIDE Candidates' Tournament in Berlin convincingly, and earned the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world title in November. He earned 95,000 Euros ($117,845) with his victory.

Caruana defeated Alexander Grischuk in the final round with the black pieces. Sergey Karjakinblundered but held the draw vs Ding Liren, and both Kramnik-Mamedyarov and Aronian-So were also drawn. 

Caruana Press conference Candidates 2018

Caruana was all smiles at the press conference. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

"I’m absolutely thrilled," said Caruana, in his first statement at the winner's press conference.  "Coming into today I wasn’t sure what would happen, and things couldn’t have gone better. A few days ago I thought the tournament was already out of my hands when I lost the game, and somehow things just came together perfectly at the end, so I really couldn’t be happier."

The 25-year-old grandmaster, who was born in Miami, grew up in Brooklyn and who played for Italy between 2005 and 2015, won the tournament by a full point. The next step for him is the world championship. 

Magnus Carlsen
@MagnusCarlsen"> @MagnusCarlsen

Been great fun following the candidates as a chess fan. Congrats to Caruana on a fully deserved victory, and good luck in November!


Caruana's statement included an aspect that made his win in Berlin so impressive: after losing his game in round 12, he managed to recover fully, and finish the tournament with two straight wins. A psychological victory of the highest order.

Caruana beats Grischuk Candidates 2018

Caruana also beat Grischuk to finish with two wins. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The last round of the tournament was an incredibly tense one for three of the four boards. (So and Aronian, who had absolutely nothing to play for, drew in 17 moves.)

Because of the controversial tiebreak rules (isn't it about time we have a playoff to decide?), the players were often walking back and forth to other boards, looking at the position of the others. All the while, that left players wondering: Is a draw enough?

Spectators looking at Grischuk-Caruana Candidates 2018

Spectators looking upon Grischuk-Caruana. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The second game to finish was Sergey Karjakin vs Ding Liren, a game both players needed to win (even Ding still had a theoretical chance for tournament victory), but which ended in a draw. A dramatic moment came on move 27, when Karjakin completely missed a simple tactic which blew away his last hopes for a second match with Carlsen in an instant. Or so it seemed.