Caruana Demolishes Topalov, Increases Lead Again | Update: VIDEO

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 9/2/14, 6:21 PM.

Start counting on your other hand. GM Fabiano Caruana's run at the strongest tournament in history now stands at 6-0.

Sinquefield Cup commentator GM Ian Rogers had a request for Caruana after today's game: "At least equal the chances and give us some hints what you're going to play [tomorrow]."

Today Caruana began his second time around the field, but so far it's looking the same as the first. A mere 31 moves and barely three hours was all it took to take out GM Veselin Topalov in round six.

Graphical images courtesy Eric Mousel and Spectrum Studios.

Much of the game was won at home. Caruana's second, GM Vladimir Chuchelov, prepared the move 13. Re2:

"How else to get the bishop to d2?" said Chuchelov.

Although the idea looks simple, Chuchelov said that the computers don't have it as a top recommendation.

Caruana must also know the ideas well -- he used the same opening from the opposite side against GM Dragan Solak at the 2014 Olympiad.

GM Fabiano Caruana getting his second win over GM Veselin Topalov (photo: Lennary Ootes).

When asked how he finds strong novelties that are not computer discoveries, Caruana's second smiled wryly and talked about "a feeling a position gives you that there is something there."

Chuchelov has actually known about the move for a while -- he showed it to Caruana about a year ago but struggled to remember the original student that he found it for. That's about the only oversight team Caruana has made in St. Louis.

Games via TWIC, annotations to this game based on GM Ian Rogers, GM Varuzhan Akobian and Caruana's analysis.

While waiting to see if White would find the cruncher 28. e6!!, GM Maurice Ashley referenced Frank Marshall's ...Qg3 and said, "Gold coins? I've got credit cards I'll throw on the board if e6!" Currency has changed a lot in a hundred years, but brilliancies are still brilliancies.

"It's all coming together in one tournament," Chuchelov said of his work with Caruana. He explained that three games have been won by preparation, and three by Caruana over the board. "I don't know what to do anymore!" he said, simultaneously joyous and exasperated about the good fortune.

For more on the relationship between the two, and about today's game, here's our exclusive interview with Caruana:

Topalov might have been thinking, "I have to play this guy again?!"

On these pages we've chronicled various 4-0 and 5-0 starts in super tournament history. Now chess historians must dig deeper into chess record books for possible comparisons.

Anatoly Karpov's 1994 undefeated score at Linares (11/13), often considered the best single performance of all time, could be rivaled soon. Bobby Fischer won 20 in a row leading up to his world championship, but that took place over many months.

They may need the engraver for the Sinquefield Cup to arrive before the final round.

"In terms of play, I'm not even close to Karpov," Caruana said. He told that his chances for 10-0 are "not very large."

United States Chess Federation (USCF) Executive Director Jean Hoffman was asked about the chance that Caruana might return to representing the U.S. in international play.

"The USCF welcomes chess players and we welcome Fabiano Caruana," Hoffman said, then clarified to, "we would welcome Fabiano Caruana."

That's an important auxiliary verb!

Carlsen's (2862) rating advantage over Caruana (2831) has shrunk by almost 40 points in one week.

Meanwhile, it continues to be a curse to be in second place. Today the gap widened by yet another half-point (as it has every single round) as GM Magnus Carlsen was frustrated in his inability to win an endgame against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

"Anyone in second place should not focus on Fabiano anymore," MVL said.

If Caruana gains another half-point tomorrow, he will clinch clear first place with three rounds to go!

"After today, I lost the very little chance I had of catching [Caruana]," Carlsen said as he pinched his fingers together to show his ebbing chances. 

The world champion seems resigned to not defending his Sinquefield Cup title.

"I had a good position today and I screwed up. That's why I'm in a foul mood now," Carlsen said.

In a tournament where only one player seems capable of avoiding self-deprecation, this game may top the charts.

Carlsen: "In general I've played three good games with Black and three terrible games with White. I don't know why."

Vachier-Lagrave: "It was a disgraceful moment on my part. It could be my worst game."

The world champion said he is no longer playing for first (photo: Lennart Ootes).

MVL meant to play 7...Qa5 intead of 7...0-0, which he realized five seconds after making the move. Later, he said, "I was very lucky not to resign immediately. It's a miracle it's not mate in certain variations. I was sure at some point I would lose this position."

He did admit that a win, if it exists, was "not obvious."

MVL, in a rare escape versus Carlsen (photo: Lennart Ootes).

In the final matchup of the day, the two men in last place remained there. GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Levon Aronian drew after Black's d-pawn was corralled.

Nakamura repeated the same line against the Berlin that he played against Carlsen at the 2013 event. He differed with 11. Re2 instead of 11. Re1.

The two players are in a simply weird tournament position. They are mathematically nearly eliminated from first, but both still control their own destiny in the race for second!

Caruana's placard hardly needs velcro -- glue would be just as useful.

For those expecting MVL to play it safe tomorrow against Caruana, think again.

"I'm not going to make a draw tomorrow," the Frenchman said. "As good as he is, I'm still White."

Asked how chess fans will receive him if he breaks up the "perfect game," MVL laughed and said, "I really couldn't care less." will embed the official commentary at 2 p.m. Central (GMT -6) for every round. 

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Round 6 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2801 3596 phpfCo1l0.png 1 11 1 1 1 6.0/6
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2877 2784 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ ½ 1 3.0/6
3 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2749 00 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 0 2.5/6 6.00
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2768 2762 0 ½½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 2.5/6 6.00
5 Nakamura,Hikaru 2787 2685 0 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½½ 2.0/6 4.75
6 Aronian,Levon 2805 2679 0 0 1 0 ½½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/6 4.50

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 27.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 6 02.09.14 14:00 CDT
Aronian ½-½ Nakamura   Nakamura ½-½ Aronian
Topalov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Round 2 28.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 7 03.09.14 14:00 CDT
Nakamura ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - Nakamura
Caruana 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
Aronian 1-0 Topalov   Topalov - Aronian
Round 3 29.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 8 04.09.14 14:00 CDT
Topalov 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura - Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Aronian   Aronian - Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 0-1 Caruana   Caruana - Carlsen
Round 4 30.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 9 05.09.14 14:00 CDT
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Nakamura   Caruana - Nakamura
Carlsen ½-½ Topalov   Carlsen - Aronian
Caruana 1-0 Aronian   Vachier-Lagrave - Topalov
Round 5 31.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 10 06.09.14 14:00 CDT
Nakamura 0-1 Caruana   Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave
Aronian 0-1 Carlsen   Topalov - Carlsen
Topalov 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Aronian - Caruana 


28008 reads 76 comments
0 votes


  • 2 years ago

    FM MichiganEagle

    Stunning. 7-0.

  • 2 years ago


    He did it again guys. 7/7 for Caruana, just like that.

  • 2 years ago


    Look's like Fabiano is finally bringing ME some recognition!!! (see screenname)

  • 2 years ago


    Interesting post Shakaali !  thanks for answer , indeed i checked it and it makes sense to me now , so castling basically allowed the Yugoslav structure that he didn't prepare for , ok  i understand better now !  cause i thought he meant that it was losing outright :) 

    pm11081994 , yes my engine also gives Re2 as a first choice somehow, he was probably using an older engine and investigated some alternate moves to find it perhaps ?

    For the discussion on the Wch  and who will dominate chess , i think it's too soon to tell , Caruana is making an all-time memorable performance and i wish him the best for the future as it would be great to see a fierce rivalry at the very top   but i think we have to size up the players over a longer period of time , during the last year Magnus was really strong to be honest 

    Let's hope that this tournament will make Caruana a lot more confident and that he'll become a match for Carlsen in term of consistency for the next few years  

  • 2 years ago


    @Chessbusta and others: Funny how quickly some people jump to conclusions. Not that long ago (maybe until one week ago?), some people claimed that Carlsen will dominate for at least ten years. I was skeptical - not questioning his current status, but: it's hard enough (impossible even for GMs in most positions?) to calculate ten moves ahead, it's plain impossible to make predictions ten years or even ten months ahead. I didn't dare to predict who would pose the biggest threat to Carlsen - giving roughly equal chances to Caruana and Karjakin in the rather short term, considering Vachier-Lagrave, Giri and maybe So on longer timescales (two years?) as well as for example Wei Yi on even longer but still subdecadal timescales (five years?).

    Now Caruana dominates ONE supertournament, nothing less and nothing more. It's too much to ask from him or anyone to repeat his St. Louis performance, but he would need to become even more consistent than he was in the last 2-3 years. The future will tell.

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen or the other guys just need to hire Fab's second.

  • 2 years ago


    @YLS85: They are saying that if Caruana gains another half point over the rest of the competition in this round he will have clinched first, meaning if he wins and Carlsen draws he gains a half point over him.

  • 2 years ago


    Nak will win all four of his remaining games while caruana will lose 3 of thema and barely win the event limping to the finish line.

  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


    Ivanchuk and Shirov had those runs yes, but against a weaker competition! Caruana is demolishing the strongest tournament ever! Strength of the opponents counts a lot.

  • 2 years ago


    "This goes out to all you haters saying that this one tournament doesn't prove anything about Caruana, and that he'll have a hard time in the Candidates"

    One tournament doesn't prove anything about anyone, and there is no reason to believe that Caruana will have a much easier time in the Candidates than Carlsen had, after lining up dozens of super tournament wins the years before. Ivanchuk started 5-0 in Sofia 2008, Shirov started 5-0 in Wijk 2010, but that didn't make it easy for them to get into and win the Candidates, or anyone doubting it a hater. As long as Caruana has no other results similar to this one there is no reason to exaggerate how easily he will win the next Candidates. It's just to wait and see how his next four-five tournaments will look.

  • 2 years ago


    1) Pawn structures are shaped by Caruana's moves until they become favourable for him

    2) Fabiano's (minor) pieces are always better placed or improved in placement [reminds T. V. Petrosjan sometimes]

    3) Caruana does not trade pieces until it hurts... Cool

  • 2 years ago


    I predict 9/10 for Caruana. Carlsen and MVL might hold against him, while Naka and Aronian will lose again. I would choose Aronian over MVL any day but ofc Aronian is in very bad shape this tournament, with 3 losses in a row.

  • 2 years ago


    None of the players in the remaining 4 games will go down without a fight.

  • 2 years ago


    This goes out to all you haters saying that this one tournament doesn't prove anything about Caruana, and that he'll have a hard time in the Candidates. Ask yourselves one question - has a non-world champion ever had such a run against such a strong competition? He's beating everybody in this tournament, and they are all top 10 players. Kasparov had such a run, and Karpov in the Linares tournament where he scored 11/13. Both of these players are all times greats and world champions. 6-0 against such a field is not "luck", and I expect big things from Caruana in the future.

    The Chess Reporter :)

  • 2 years ago


    I don't understand how one more draw clinches first for Caruana.  One more draw puts him at 6.5, and Carlsen could reach 7 by winning all of his remaining games.  Caruana does clinch first if he wins today and Carlsen does no better than a draw.

  • 2 years ago


    If Carlsen plays WCC in November I would say chances are 50-50 this time. Anand seems to be out of his 4 year long crisis and now Carlsen is out of his form. Peter Heine Nielsen said that Anand of 2007-8 might beat Carlsen and I think his current form is somwhat closer to that of his old days.

    That said Caruana deserves to be the true champion now. I don't think Carlsen can stand Caruana in future. Caruana is progressing steadly and I think his current level play will just continue. His most humble attitude and non-boring style of play makes him more likable than Carlsen or any other top players.

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana is playing a fantastic tournement but it is -still- one tournament only. Carlsen seems to be bothered by something or maybe he has personal issues. He's also not really fighting. Still I expect him to play Anand and win.

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana all set to win the title. Carlsen is playing under frustration.He should stop fighting with FIDE. Anand is confident to show his mastery!.

  • 2 years ago


    shades of bobby fischer; he wins with black too!

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