Caruana Wins Dortmund, Now World Number 3
GM Fabiano Caruana clinched first place at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany with a round to spare. It was his second title in three years.
In doing so, he crested 2800 for the first time and is now the third highest-rated player in the world. He is only the seventh player in history to top 2800.
Assuming he plays no more events before the Olympiad in August, his rating will become officially 2801, only four points behind GM Levon Aronian.
In round six, he beat defending champion GM Michael Adams. Caruana moved to 5/6 and since no one had more than 3.5/6, he could not be caught. Today he drew GM Peter Leko to finish with 5.5/7 and a 1.5-point margin over Leko, who finished tied for second at 4/7.
Here's the clinching game. Caruana's play was straightforward for the Berlin -- use the kingside majority while not allowing Black's queenside pawns or bishop pair to do any damage.
The draw against Leko in the final round was simply a formality. What really won the event for Caruana was his very fast start. He opened with 3.5/4, including wins over GM David Baramidze, GM Ruslan Ponomariov, and GM Georg Meier.
Here is the round four win. Caruana thought that after 34. f6 White stood better, even though the fearless engines may disagree. Black needed to play 37...Rg6 to have any chance to survive.
The other big story from the event was GM Vladimir Kramnik's demise. As previously reported, he was upset in round one, then failed to convert two winning positions in the next two rounds.
His event didn't get better, as he drew in rounds 4-6 and then lost the final round to end with 2.5/7 and second-to-last place. The 10-time winner of Dortmund lost nearly 17 rating points and is only decimal points away from falling out of the world top ten. His 2760 rating is his lowest in five years.
In the final round, Kramnik played lifelessly as Ponomariov won a pawn and converted.
Kramnik resigned rather than see mate in three executed on the board (a clever "staircase" -- 57. Rf7+ Kg6 58. Rf8+ Kh7 59. Rh8#).
If you include the final four rounds at his previous tournament (Norway 2014), he is now +0 = 6 -5 in his last 11 games, which is a rating loss of 32 points.
Also notable is the strong performance of Meier. After the opening round upset of Kramnik, he went on to play .500 chess and finish in joint second with Leko with 4/7.
The final placement list can be viewed here.