"The Streak" Ends, but Caruana Draws Carlsen to Clinch | Update: VIDEOS

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 9/4/14, 6:17 PM.

So GM Fabiano Caruana is human. He also happens to be a $100,000 richer human.

In the most hyped game of his budding career, Caruana went for the gusto against GM Magnus Carlsen. The game ended drawn, which stops Caruana's winning run at seven, but etches his name as the winner of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup.

"I'm not disappointed...the result is pretty good," Caruana said in the chess understatement of the year.

Never has a man gained so much while having his performance rating drop nearly 400 points. He moves from the stratosphere (3592) to the troposphere (3273).

The usually stoic GM Fabiano Caruana now has 100,000 reasons to smile.

Consider: Besides the six-digit payday, he achieved the third-highest live rating in history (2836.1), and is still very much on pace to obliterate the record for best numerical performance in history. He also sealed victory in the strongest-ever tournament by only having to play 80 percent of it.

"Eight-zero was pretty unrealistic," Caruana said. Actually, he was closer than he thought. A few missed chances might have tested the world champion more today.

Games via TWIC.

The game followed Felgaer-Cuenca Jimenez (2013) until move 15, when Caruana moved his queen's knight to b5, not d5. Think that was an obscure game? Well it was also played in Andorra, making it even more remote.

Carlsen didn't sound like he knew of the game. He had planned an early ...Qa5 instead of ...a5 and ...a4. "I saw this idea and I thought, why not go for it?" Carlsen explained.

Despite the chances for more today, even at "just" seven games, Caruana's moment in history is surely the Joe DiMaggio 56-game hitting streak of chess.

Perhaps he will be like DiMaggio and start another one. Joltin' Joe hit safely in 16 consecutive games immediately following.

All cameras were trained on history today...
...except for maybe this one!

"Above all I didn't want to lose," Caruana said. "From the opening he gave me a really good position."

He said he would remain focused the final two rounds. "It's important to end on a high note."

Caruana spoke to Chess.com and here's our exclusive video interview:

GM Magnus Carlsen now looks down at a new chaser.

Carlsen's early-tournament prediction that Caruana would become his main challenger proved true, and in spades. What does the world's highest-rated person think of Caruana's unprecedented event?

Carlsen praised the achievement in the on-air interview. "When Fabiano is playing as well as he is, there's nothing you can do about it," Carlsen said. "I hope it goes for it in the last two rounds to make something really special."

"What he's done here is absolutely incredible," Carlsen said. "But we shouldn't completely forget what's happened the last four years." Carlsen was of course referencing his own successes and world title.

More impressive -- Caruana's seven-round explosion or Carlsen's 50+ months at number one?

"Even if [Caruana] doesn't show up for the last two rounds, it is one of the great results of our time," Carlsen said.

Many fans were rooting for Caruana to remain unblemished. Perhaps even the host Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis wanted it too -- the catering theme today was -- what else? -- Italian.

Carlsen's had a lot to think about this week -- the tournament, a new number two, and the contract for the world championship (photo: Lennart Ootes).

All three games in round eight were tied together through a curious element. White played an early g4 thrust in each game. 

GM Levon Aronian got the party started, playing g4 about as early as could be expected of a super-GM. His jab came on move 5 and the strong theoretician GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was caught largely unprepared.

He said he'd seen the variation before but was afraid that by capturing, he would be walking into a bear trap. "I should have taken it but I didn't simply on the chance he has prepared something," Vachier-Lagrave said. "Instead I went mad." (Maybe he should watch Sinquefield Cup commentator GM Ben Finegold's video about it!)

"I had many easy wins I was planning to do," Aronian said. The computer engines suggest he made three inaccurate moves in a row from 21-23. "My brain just turned off." It was instead another close escape for Vachier-Lagrave.

Even though 23. Rde1 allowed an immediate tactical simplification, MVL said the win was already not clear at that point. This was similar to the Frenchman's game with Carlsen, where he also suspected he was losing but couldn't isolate the exact winning line.

GM Levon Aronian tried to punish the Philidor (photo: Lennart Ootes).

Aronian spoke with Chess.com about his form and how he could have played better today. Here's the video:

The game was the first to finish, giving MVL plenty of time to get to a television for the Roger Federer-Gael Monfils quaterfinal match at the U.S. Open. The Parisian's favorite player is Federer, "but if he has to lose, I'd rather it be to a Frenchman!"

In the final game to finish, GM Hikaru Nakamura still couldn't get going in his hometown. He dropped his fourth game of the event to GM Veselin Topalov, who is responsible for half of the defeats.

A choatic ride to third position -- only two draws in eight games for the former World Champion Topalov.

The Bulgarian's bishops eventually stormed over the Berlin Wall, while White's pieces gradually lost coordination.

IM Silvio Danailov, Topalov's longtime confidant, arrived at the club today.

The win for Topalov shrinks the gap to second-place Carlsen, which is about all that's left to decide in St. Louis.

Notable players came out to see history today. Teammates GM Ray Robson (left) and GM Wesley So (right) arrived. Here they're being interviewed by Fox Sports Midwest reporter Teryn Schaefer.
Can you spot the nervous coach? GM Vladimir Chuchelov admitted that Caruana's 17. h4 wasn't the safest choice -- "Why not just castle?" Here he is joined by WGM Anna Sharevich (center) and FM Alisa Melekhina.

Chess.com/TV will embed the official commentary at 2 p.m. Central (GMT -6) for every round. 

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Round 8 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 SB Pts
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2801 3273 phpfCo1l0.png 11 11 1 1 7.5/8
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2877 2830 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ 1 ½1 4.5/8
3 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2803 00 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 11 4.0/8
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2768 2727 00 ½½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 3.0/8 10.00
5 Aronian,Levon 2805 2703 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ 3.0/8 9.50
6 Nakamura,Hikaru 2787 2619 0 ½0 00 ½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/8

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 1-0 Nakamura
Caruana 1-0 Vachier-Lagrave   Vachier-Lagrave 0-1 Caruana
Aronian 1-0 Topalov   Topalov ½-½ Aronian
Round 3 29.08.14 14:00 CDT   Round 8 04.09.14 14:00 CDT
Topalov 1-0 Nakamura   Nakamura 0-1 Topalov
Vachier-Lagrave 1-0 Aronian   Aronian ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Carlsen 0-1 Caruana   Caruana ½-½ 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 


32990 reads 69 comments
5 votes


  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago


    Nice win with the bishop pair in the Berlin by Topalov.

  • 2 years ago


    What chess engine is Maurice using? It must be pretty bad not to detect that Caruana had to play the other rook to d1 to win.

  • 2 years ago


    Hey, we gotta remember that these two guys are 22 and 23 years old. Who didn't "know it all" at that time? I am looking forward to watching Nakamura play against Caruana today. Naka is at the bottom, with nothing to do but play some good chess today. We have to remember that ALL of these guys are capable of making good moves. It is a great win for Fabiano Caruana and perhaps a wake-up for Magnus Carlsen, who has been struggling of late. Maybe he needs to get a grip on all of the distractions which surround his new fame. Chess is certainly Alive and Well!

  • 2 years ago


    The following is oversimplified, but still a fair approximation of how I feel:

    Carlsen -- interesting person, boring chess.

    Caruana -- boring person, interesting chess.

  • 2 years ago


    Magnus stopped him dead in his tracks.

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen is arrogant but Kasparov and Fisher are more arrogant than Carlsen. Carlsen (so far) is relatively better and dignified person than those two.

    Spassky, and Anand are examples for really humble champions. Caruana will join their list once become champion.

  • 2 years ago


    Awesome game that lived up to the billing.  

    As far as asking about a wc match with Carlsen I think even Caruana would agree he needs to continue to show more results.  


    But even if he does continue to win the problem is it is fairly clear to anyone who has been following chess for any length of time that a single tournament is a poor way to choose a challenger.  

    Can Carlsen choose to accept a match for the championship other than the candidates winner- even if he wanted to?   Or do FIDE rules prevent it? 


    Of course, having a world championship match every year makes it sort of hard to schedule a match with a stronger opponent than the candidates winner.  


    Edit: BTW I thought both Caruana and Carlsen do a great job representing chess.  Its very refreshing change from the pre-kramnik days.

  • 2 years ago


    Congratulations to Caruana for winning Sinquerfield Cup by overtaking Carlsen.

    7 wins in a row is incredible in chess history of world class tournament..

    Now,the world is focussing on Caruana, Carlsen,Aronian,Karjakin & Anand for world chess titles!. Keep it up Caruana!!!.

  • 2 years ago


    so much for naka. being the only person that can challenge carlson. ;-(.

  • 2 years ago


    Congratulations, to Fabiano Caruana for a wonderful tournament, all Italy is proud of you. I notice almost all the negative comments about Carlsen are from Americans. I shall not join the hate mob, Carlsen is a terrific player and I find him to be an honest and good natured young man. He's not playing his best chess at the moment, but he's still a worthy world champion and world number 1. At only 23 years old he's likely to learn a lot from his slump in recent form and come back stronger. Both Carlsen and Caruana are terrific young players, and there are others coming through as well, Wesley So, Liren Ding, Anish Giri, Richard Rapport, and who knows, perhaps the best young talent of the lot, 15 years old Wei Yi from China. There is a changing of the guard taking place, the next 10 years will be exciting to watch. Well done, Fabiano Caruana, Italy applauds your great tournament.    

  • 2 years ago


    @ChessBBQ: LOL

  • 2 years ago


    " I propose we now call this win streak the Fabionacci Sequence "

    hahahaha - i second that!

  • 2 years ago


    Carslen is super confident that is for sure, and there is no false modesty when it comes to him talking about his chess ability - and why not! His obvious talent combined with his hard work and attitude AND his self management/lifestyle balance make him what he is.

    Question is can he compete in the future with someone like Caruana who seems totally comfortable with being a total chess nerd that focus's solely on chess as his career. I feel Carlsen has a wider picture than this - is this to his detriment of advantage? Only time will tell. Everyone says Carslens weakness is his opening, well, if this is his weakness and can improve it, then it is quite scary that someone at Carlsens level has improvement in him.

    Make no mistake though, this result will have rocked Carlsen. He himself has never had such a performance in one tournament. For any cricket fans out there it is like the Tendulkar vs Lara debate - Tendulkar was way more consistent but the best of Lara was even better. 

    This result is great for chess and for us chess fans.

  • 2 years ago


    When people imply that Carlsen's statements are worse than anything Kasparov or Fischer ever came up with it's just silly. Carlsen praised Caruana a lot, but clearly disagree about him being the better player of the two and pointed out that one good result doesn't negate the last four years. The stuff Fischer or Kasparov said on a daily basis is just on a totally different level. Fischer said that Spassky was afraid of him, that he only could lose against Mecking if he was bitten by a poisonous snake, accused Korchnoi of throwing games, and so on. Speaking of humble World Champions guys like Tal, Euwe, Spassky and Anand come to mind, Carlsen less so but he is still not comparable to Alekhine, Fischer or Kasparov.

  • 2 years ago


    caruana wins strongest chess event in history, the 2014 sinquefield cup!!!

    .....will world chess champion carlsen be able to hold onto 2nd place?

  • 2 years ago


    @Spikestar, you obviously haven't watched the interviews. 

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen is my fav player and it's annoying people hate on him. He has a good attitude

  • 2 years ago


    @fabelhaft. Fischer accused -in an article he wrote- the Soviets for prearranged draws at Candidates tournament of Curasao 1962 (all games between the 3 first Soviets were aggreed draws, even in positions which could won). Of course this accusation proved right and even the Soviets didn't deny it. Korchnoi admitted Fischer was right but said that personally was out from the aggreement. Fischer claim about Gaprindashvili was not personal, it was about the level of women chess at the time and probably he had right.The others you write are 20 and more years after Fischer's reign.  Fischer till he became WC was a popular person with many friends between the chess players and respect from all.


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