Touchdown! Caruana Wins Again for 7-0 Score
GM Fabiano Caruana's rout of the world's best players at the Sinquefield Cup continued in round seven.
After GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave became a victim for the second time in the double round robin, GM Vladimir Chuchelov shook MVL's hand, shrugged his shoulders, and gave a perfunctory apology.
Chuchelov, coach of the chess world's runaway train, might need to raise his rates soon. His star student is now only 0.4 points away from the third-highest live rating of all time.
That's going to look good on the resume.
"Right now he's simply not making a mistake," Vachier-Lagrave said. "I've never seen this. I've never even seen Magnus (Carlsen) play so well."
Caruana's not just winning, he's wrapping up the result before journalists can even download their photos. This win was essentially decided just after the opening.
"He was just planning on playing the Queen's Gambit," GM Magnus Carlsen said. "Now after 20 moves we have this," the world champion said while motioning to the broadcast screen.
Whatever @FabianoCaruana is taking - I want lots of it! :)— Nigel Short ( @nigelshortchess) September 3, 2014
MVL came down the stairs after his game and for a moment was baffled at what had just happened. "It's frustrating, but it is frustrating for all of us."
He described Caruana's performance as "il envoie du lourd" which colloquially means "it blows you away" in French.
Here's another way to view what's going on: even if he only scores 0.5 in his remaining three games, his final performance rating will still be right at 3000!
Caruana methodically took advantage of the mistake 14. Qa4. He had just achieved the thematic ...e5 break, even though he actually had an earlier opportunity since White played Nf3 so late. Black's pressure on the opposite flank rendered the lady helpless.
Here's a pretty famous guy asking MVL about the move:
I will be interested in hearing Vachier-Lagrave explain 14.Qa4 later. Take on e5, play Qc2 & maybe Black is better but no threats!— Garry Kasparov ( @Kasparov63) September 3, 2014
To @Kasparov63 14.Qa4 was designed to take on e5, put queen on d4 then f3 and Kd2. I missed 14...Qh4 15.0-0 Nf6 at first and panicked then!— MVL ( @Vachier_Lagrave) September 4, 2014
The advance ...f5 greatly weakened e5, a decision that the leader made with celerity. GM Ian Rogers, an on-site commentator, said he would have at least thought about it for a while.
"Maybe he's too young to be afraid," Rogers guessed.
White's king walk was more desparation than him experiencing joie de vivre. Caruana said he knew he was winning after 23...b6.
Chess.com spoke with Caruana about the incredible run -- here's the video:
Carlsen was asked on the live show if he was seeking revenge on Caruana for his round three loss. "Yeah, definitely," Carlsen said. "The game tomorrow is my last chance to get a positive result."
The two meet in round eight; Caruana takes white.
"I'm enjoying the idea of a match between both of them for the world championship," Vachier-Lagrave said.
Only a once-in-a-lifetime result like Caruana's could make today's Carlsen-Nakamura tussle a sideshow.
The battle began early, with the two queens developing before the minor pieces. Nakamura threw his resources at removing a blockade and creating a discovered attack on White's king, but Carlsen didn't fear the complications.
"When he played this move (11)...Na6, I seem to remember this wasn't possible," Carlsen said. "Naturally I didn't expect this."
The world champion snatched the center pawn on offer and paced around the room for nearly an hour, waiting for Nakamura's reply. Although Black can get a second queen as early as move 15, no variation offers salvation. The American tried in vain for complications, but Carlsen had everything sorted.
"He doesn't really lose this way to other people," Carlsen said. His record against Nakamura in decisive games moved to 11-0. "He has to figure out what his problems are [against me]."
Carlsen spoke to Chess.com about the game, and whether or not the word "underdog" applies to either player tomorrow. Here's the video:
What's undeniable is the result needed for tournament victory. Carlsen, who enjoys golf, is "dormie" -- he trails Caruana by three points with three games to play.
Today was the first day of the entire event that Caruana didn't manage to increase his lead. Of course, it wasn't for a shortcoming on his part. Carlsen was the first player sitting in second place to notch a win.
Not often is a game of two former 2800s relegated to the bottom of a chess article, but that's how it has been going in St. Louis.
GM Veselin Topalov and GM Levon Aronian repeated moves right at the time control.
The two kept this from being the third round in which all three games were decisive. Even with their draw, 62 percent of the games in St. Louis have yielded a winner.
So will the perfection continue tomorrow? The live show crafted some statistics showing Caruana's chances, stripped of other variables (like form!). If Las Vegas sports books took bets on chess, casino managers would be counting their losses from Caruana's streak.
The live broadcast speculated that the chances of achieving a 7-0 score, assuming a 50 percent chance of drawing, were 1 in 14 million. It also claimed that going 8-0 was 1 in 69 million; 9-0 was 1 in 253 million. A perfect 10-0 score? About one in a billion.
The broadcast's math might have been a bit fuzzy (what's a few extra zeroes when the chances are this slim?), but suffice to say, Caruana's accomplishment is truly once in a lifetime.
It also goes without saying Caruana has already greatly increased his chances of achieving scores of 8-0, 9-0, and 10-0.
Tomorrow, Caruana will once again try to be larger than the laws of probability.
Chess.com/TV will embed the official commentary at 2 p.m. Central (GMT -6) for every round.
2014 Sinquefield Cup | 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 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