Caruana Completes Unbeaten Sinquefield, Carlsen Second
GM Fabiano Caruana completed his dream tournament at the 2014 Sinquefield Cup with a repetition refusal then quick draw offer.
Unlike GM Magnus Carlsen's draw refusal in the final round of the 2013 edition, much less was riding on Caruana's bravery. He'd already clinched first but was still in search of a performance rating well north of 3000.
"I decided I was getting worse, so I offered a draw as soon as I could," Caruana said about his matchup with GM Levon Aronian. The Sofia Rules were in play, so move 30 was the first opportunity to close the door on a historic event.
"I'm very happy about the tournament, except for rounds 8 and 9. Round 9 I'd like to forget," Caruana said, referencing his missed wins against GM Hikaru Nakamura.
Chess.com spoke with Caruana about his place in history and other aspects of his career. Here's the video:
Games via TWIC
Caruana was also asked on-air about two other hot-button issues.
On switching federations: "So far it's just rumors. I'd rather not say too much about that."
On a match with Carlsen: "It's normal there's going to be a lot of hype about this result. Maybe I'll get a match in the future, but you never know."
Even though he shrunk the gap greatly, he still looks up at the world champion's rating as a sort of mystical mark. "Magnus is 2870 or something. I never dreamed of a rating like that. I always wondered how he was able to keep it."
Aronian's disappointing tournament came to a merciful end. "I didn't play any good games at all," he said. "It was a disastrous tournament. I know the reasons I've been playing badly but I don't want to share them."
He nonetheless heaped praise on the club mixed with more self-deprecation. "Everybody's doing such great things for the players. I'm not doing much to give back!"
Meanwhile, the exception to the Sofia Rules was also in play. If two players repeat three times before move 30, the arbiter can allow the draw to stand. That's exactly what happened in GM Veselin Topalov's game with Carlsen.
Both players were fearful of altering their moves, and a draw helped both men in a way. Carlsen was assured of second place, even if his long run of finishing +2 or better ended. Topalov secured third and an even score.
"I was a little bit tired, I couldn't sleep so well," Carlsen said, referencing his missed win versus Aronian yesterday.
Carlsen didn't agree with the engines that there were plausible alternatives to the game's final moves. "The computer doesn't say so, but computers don't understand anything about the Berlin," he said.
"I was +2 against regular guys, but I lost two to Fabiano. That shouldn't count really!" Topalov joked.
Still referencing the winner, Topalov said, "He was +7 and without luck. It's very strange really."
Topalov also expressed his pleasure at visiting St. Louis. "Somehow in the chess world, we always go to the same places. It's always nice to open new markets...I think FIDE should do more for chess in the States."
Carlsen and Topalov both spoke with Chess.com about the game and the tournament. Here's the video:
In the final game to finish, GM Hikaru Nakamura was denied his first win of the event. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave held to join Aronian in shared fourth.
After the tournament ended, a press conference with all the players offered some enlightening and humorous moments (though a question about Carlsen's world champion contract was deferred).
Topalov: "I don't mind retiring, but now I don't see the reason!" He then admitted that memorization of opening lines is a definite advantage to younger players. "The advantage of getting older is that you lose your memory. When you lose, maybe you forget the next day!?"
When a question was asked about getting to the "top of the chess world," Nakamura put on a brave face by opening, "I'll answer that first because I'm not at the top of the chess world!"
Caruana was asked about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and if that may have helped him. "I hope that wasn't the reason why!" he said.
This reporter asked the five players who didn't win the tournament to give a single word describing Caruana's performance. In order, they responded:
"Fantastico" -- Nakamura; "Memorable" -- Topalov; "Depressing!" -- Carlsen (met with big laughs); "Ruthless" -- MVL; "Surprising" -- Aronian. I asked Caruana to try his hand at the same game, and he seconded "surprising."
After the press conference ended, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted an event for the fans. "Who Wants to Be a Chess Millionaire?" offered the grand prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the 2015 Sinquefield Cup.
In the spirit of statistics, here is the 2014 Sinquefield Cup by the numbers:
- 315,000 - The total prize fund in dollars, a 46 percent increase from 2013
- 243 - Dollars earned by the winner for every move he made (412 total moves, $100,000 prize)
- 7 - Consecutive wins to start the event by Caruana
- 3592 - Caruana's performance rating in those games
- 0 - Number of games to reach the time control in the first three rounds
- 1 - Number of games that did not reach the time control in 2013
- 35 - Rating points gained by Caruana
- 3 - Norwegian media outlets on site in St. Louis
- 8297 - Miles traveled by the farthest fan (Mumbai, India)
- 66 - Rating points gap between #1 and #2 before the tournament began
- 27 - Gap between #1 and #2 now
- 8 - Buckets of water poured on four grandmaster heads
- 10 - Rounds in which Topalov was the first to arrive for the round
- 0 - Number of Caruana's girlfriends, according to his response on the live show
WGM Jennifer Shahade talked with Caruana's coach, GM Vladimir Chuchelov, who sheepishly admitted that he forgot to congratulate Caruana after his student clinched!
2014 Sinquefield Cup | Final Standings
2014 Sinquefield Cup | Schedule & Pairings
|Round 1||27.08.14||14:00 CDT||Round 6||02.09.14||14:00 CDT|
|Round 2||28.08.14||14:00 CDT||Round 7||03.09.14||14:00 CDT|
|Round 3||29.08.14||14:00 CDT||Round 8||04.09.14||14:00 CDT|
|Round 4||30.08.14||14:00 CDT||Round 9||05.09.14||14:00 CDT|
|Round 5||31.08.14||14:00 CDT||Round 10||06.09.14||14:00 CDT|
- Round 9: All Draws in Rd. 9 in St. Louis
- Round 8: "The Streak" Ends, but Caruana Draws Carlsen to Clinch
- Round 7: Touchdown! Caurana Wins Again for 7-0 Score
- Round 6: Caruana Demolishes Topalov, Increases Lead Again
- Rest Day: Fire, Water, Sport During Sinquefield Rest Day
- Round 5: Caruana Completes Perfect First Half at Sinquefield Cup
- Round 4: Caruana Streak Continues at Sinquefield, Now 4-0
- Round 3: Caruana Beats Carlsen, Leads Sinquefield After Round 3
- Round 2: Caruana and Aronian Win Rd. 2 in St. Louis
- Round 1: Caruana Weathers Early Storm at Sinquefield Cup
- Preview: 5 Things You Didn't Know About the World's Strongest Chess Tournament
- Preview: 2800+ Elo for 2nd Sinquefield Cup