Caruana Streak Continues at Sinquefield, Now 4-0 | Update: VIDEO

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 8/30/14, 6:25 PM.

Round four of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup produced slightly more solid play from four players, but it was just another day at the office for GM Fabiano Caruana.

By notching the day's only win, he moved to 4-0, increased his lead to two full points, and achieved the fourth-highest rating of all time. That's a full day.

His win today over GM Levon Aronian means he's leaving the former world number two in his distant wake -- Caruana is now 23 points clear of the Armenian number one, who slipped below 2800 today.

All grahical images courtesy Eric Mousel and Spectrum Studios.

If recent history is any indication, the Italian-American has good chances for a six-figure paycheck in a week's time. The two recent major events to produce a 4-0 start --  M-Tel 2008 (GM Vassily Ivanchuk) and Norway 2013 (GM Sergey Karjakin) -- saw the early leaders hold on to win. (GM Alexei Shirov began 5-0 at Wijk aan Zee 2010 and did not win, but that was a 13-round event.)

First prize at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a cool $100,000.

GM Fabiano Caruana is now 2820.8. Only Carlsen, Kasparov and Aronian have done better (photo: Lennart Ootes).

Today, Caruana again showed his superior preparation, and the importance of his on-site second GM Vladimir Chuchelov, with the novelty 15. Na2. Black got nothing going on the queenside. Even though Aronian controlled the board's only half-open file, it was Caruana who attacked on the other flank.

"Na2 looks like a player from space," Aronian joked.

After the retreat, he still liked Black's position. Aronian was upset with himself for not playing ...Nc3 before White's aggression on the kingside.

Caruana continued to widen the distance between him and Aronian. 

"When you don't do the move you are planning and lose the opportunity, you get mad at yourself," Aronian said.

"When I got my queen to h5, I was already much better," Caruana said. He added that his opponents have been playing right into his preparation.

Games via TWIC

Caruana said the piece sacrifice was natural and not hard to find. After 45. Rf6, a very slight smile could be seen on Caruana's face.

For more on his reaction to the game and his thoughts on starting 4-0, see our video:

The buzz in St. Louis is all about Caruana -- so much so that GM Maurice Ashley slipped while ending his post-game interview with GM Magnus Carlsen. Ashley's accidental portmanteau was nonetheless telling: "We were here with World Champion Magnus Caruana."

Carlsen's reponse? "That's high praise."

The world champion looks over at Caruana's game. Carlsen was happy to be confused with Caruana.

Speaking to, Carlsen added, "He's playing proper chess. He's winning every game and it's not by some kind of fluke. It's really impressive. I cannot even begin to think of catching him. Right now I am not a challenger to anyone."

Carlsen and Nakamura, strangely the only two winless players in St. Louis (photo: Lennary Ootes)

Carlsen could not inch closer as he again got little to no advantage out of the opening against GM Veselin Topalov. He was particularly displeased with today's effort.

"Today was terrible," Carlsen said. "I just kept missing stuff. I did basically everything that I shouldn't do."

Initially, it looked like Carlsen may even lose thanks to his hapless knight and discoordinated pieces. The winning try 45...Rc5 nearly works, but after the trade of rooks, White can sacrifice for the a-pawn and his own passed pawns are separated just enough to hold the balance.

So who can catch Caruana? The closest is GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2/4), whose draw today with GM Hikaru Nakamura was probably the most solid game of the entire event.

"I wanted to have some safe advantage and see how it would turn out -- you can't play wild games all the time," MVL said.

The two nearly followed the game Ponomariov-Giri, 2013, with Black's pawn on h6 instead of his rook being on b8. The difference proved not terribly consequential and no sizeable advantage was ever obtained by either combatant.

"After yesterday's disaster, I didn't sleep well," Nakamura said. "For me it was important to shut it down today. I'm not upset with today."

Referencing yesterday's loss againt Topalov, he said he had the first 19 moves in his home computer and knew he was better, but misanalyzed the critical sacrifice on f2.

Nakamura: "I'd be OK if it weren't for five moves of the tournament."

Nakamura's silver lining is that after starting with three Blacks in four games, he now looks forward to four Whites in the final six games. He gets White tomorrow against Caruana.

When asked if he was afraid that Caruana would not allow any excitement and attempt to protect his lead, Nakamura responded, "If chess has gotten to the point where one side can play solid chess and not give anyone opportunities, then I wouldn't be playing it anymore."

The weekend crowds came out today... the chess club rented out the entire sports bar next door (turning away many slightly confused college football fans). will embed the official commentary at 2 p.m. Central (GMT -6) for every round.

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Round 4 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2801 3605 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 1 1 4.0/4
2 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2768 2817 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.0/4
3 Carlsen,Magnus 2877 2694 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/4 2.50
4 Nakamura,Hikaru 2787 2717 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0 1.5/4 2.50
5 Aronian,Levon 2805 2694 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.5/4 2.25
6 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2729 0 ½ 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/4 2.25

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 - Aronian
Topalov 0-1 Caruana   Caruana - Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Carlsen   Carlsen - 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 - Caruana   Nakamura - Vachier-Lagrave
Aronian - Carlsen   Topalov - Carlsen
Topalov - Vachier-Lagrave   Aronian - Caruana 


22621 reads 54 comments
4 votes


  • 2 years ago


    Who is Caruana's second?

    Guess he has more than one player working with him in his game. But I think he goes to the tournaments with GM Vladimir Chuchelov, in the photo

    Vladimir Chuchelov and Fabiano Caruana

  • 2 years ago


    Who is Caruana's second?

  • 2 years ago


    Performance rating is a hypothetical rating that would result from the games of a single event only. Some chess organizations use the "algorithm of 400" to calculate performance rating. According to this algorithm, performance rating for an event is calculated by taking (1) the rating of each player beaten and adding 400, (2) the rating of each player lost to and subtracting 400, (3) the rating of each player drawn, and (4) summing these figures and dividing by the number of games played.
    Example: 2 Wins, 2 Losses



    This can be expressed by the following formula:

    \textstyle \text{Performance rating} = \frac{\text{Total of opponents' ratings } + 400 \times (\text{Wins} - \text{Losses})}{\text{Games}}

    Example: If you beat a player with an Elo rating of 1000,

    \textstyle \displaystyle \text{Performance rating} = \frac{1000 + 400 \times (1)}{1} = 1400

    If you beat two players with Elo ratings of 1000,

    \textstyle \displaystyle \text{Performance rating} = \frac{2000 + 400 \times (2)}{2} = 1400

    If you draw,

    \textstyle \displaystyle \text{Performance rating} = \frac{1000 + 400 \times (0)}{1} = 1000

    This is a simplification, because it doesn't take account of K-factors (this factor is explained further below), but it offers an easy way to get an estimate of PR (performance rating).


    FIDE, however, calculates performance rating by means of the formula: Opponents' Rating Average + Rating Difference. Rating Difference d_p is based on a player's tournament percentage score p, which is then used as the key in a lookup table where p is simply the number of points scored divided by the number of games played. Note that, in case of a perfect or no score d_p is 800.

    A simplified version of this table:

    1.00 +800
    0.99 +677
    0.9 +366
    0.8 +240
    0.7 +149
    0.6 +72
    0.5 0
    0.4 -72
    0.3 -149
    0.2 -240
    0.1 -366
    0.01 -677
    0.00 -800

    Source: Wikipedia

    According to FIDE method, Caruana's Perf is 3605.

    According to the other method, described eearlier in my post, his Perf is 3205, I think this is the one more commonly used. It seems that the FIDE method over-rewards perfect scores as is evident from the table

  • 2 years ago


    They must be joking man!, Rating Performance of 3605! 

    Surely the rating calculators have to be checked! Tongue Out

  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


    Magnus should concede his world champ match slot to Caruana asap../After all Magnus does not want to sign up and play in Russia

    $100 bucks to anyone who can make Magnus sign up for Sochi today ;-)

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana is amazing! 

    Wow, chess on the TVs in a bar.......... It's like I died and went to heaven!

  • 2 years ago


    Chess over college football at a Sports Bar ... now that's some interesting news!!  Never thought I'd live to see the day!! Bravo CCStL

  • 2 years ago



    Frankly, I wouldn't call Carlsen's performance in Norway Chess a failure. He was still easily second, only 1/2 the point behind Karjakin with perf. rating of 2840. Below expectations for World Champion? Perhaps. Failure? No, Kramnik was a failure there.

    Olympiad is different pair of shoes, though.

  • 2 years ago


    Imagine Magnus was dominating this tournament in the way that Fabiano is. There just wouldn't be the buzz. There was almost a sense of no competition recently, with Magnus doing so well, so I'm thrilled to be watching this. Great coverage too: Yasser and Maurice particularly entertaining. How did the St Louis Chess Club become such a strong chess centre..Also, go Naka - he has engaged brilliantly on this site. Would love to see more PR-friendly super GMs and impressed that Fabiano has been finding time to blitz with the local club members. IMHO, the rest of the elite should realise that they are heroes to a lot of hard core fans (young and old - check out that little lad crying in the Shahade interview when Magnus lost!), and try to engage a bit more.

  • 2 years ago


    TRANKD: Is not just a bad tourmament of Carlsen, he failed twice in Norway this year, so this would be the third bad performance in a row for him, unless things will change in the next games.

  • 2 years ago


    I'm very happy that chess at the top is getting so exiting, who cares who wins, let's hope for amazing chess!!!

  • 2 years ago


    rest easy...

    it will still be in the 2800's; but there won't be much daylight between he and carlsen

  • 2 years ago


    Actually, when it comes to Caruana's performance rating of 3600, ratings based only on wins are basically garbage. It probably will be high, since it looks like it's his tournament, but it's not going to be like that.

  • 2 years ago



    Caruana for the crown.

    He is already the world rapid chess champion.



    No, he is NOT!

    He is the World No.1 of Rapid Chess - there is a difference, of course.

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana played very high quality of chess all these games, combining both positional and dynamic chess. Kudos.

    Anyway I expect Carlsen to produce something impressive as he will focus only on his current board, forgetting his day 3,what is happening on other boards and the WC issues. Caruana has been focusing only on his current 64 squares from day 1.

  • 2 years ago


    Wow, 3605 performance rating! That has to be a record!

  • 2 years ago


    Thanks for the excellent coverage, Mike!

  • 2 years ago


    It's funny how just because of a bad tournament people renegate Carlsen's title of WC and suddenly Caruana is the "true" WC in chess fans' eyes. Don't get me wrong. I wish it were true. Caruana would be such a better face of chess than the arrogant kid Carlsen is but you've got to remember that MC has won almost every tournament at the top for the last years. Last year he won the Candidates, the WC, the Sinquefield cup and this year he became triple WC, won Shamkir and Zurich. Don't disregard him because he's not playing like a machine this period.

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