Touchdown! Caruana Wins Again for 7-0 Score

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 9/3/14, 5:44 PM.

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."

GM Fabiano Caruana, completely in his own world right now.

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.

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!

MVL-Caruana started out fairly tame...
...but eventually the tournament leader had reason to get excited.

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:

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.

Games via TWIC

White's king walk was more desparation than him experiencing joie de vivre. Caruana said he knew he was winning after 23...b6. 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.

Just as in round three, Caruana-Carlsen will once again keep everyone's focus tomorrow.

"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.

GM Hikaru Nakamura tries to see what GM Magnus Carlsen is thinking.

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."

It took Carlsen seven rounds to get on a plus score. He is still barely alive for the top spot.

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]."

GM Hikaru Nakamura, trying to remember his preparation (photo: Lennart Ootes).

Carlsen spoke to 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.

Topalov and Aronian -- this was the first round that neither lost.

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. 

A young Woody Allen? No, the world's second-best chess player (photo Lennart Ootes).

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

2014 Sinquefield Cup | Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2801 3592 phpfCo1l0.png 1 11 11 1 1 7.0/7
2 Carlsen,Magnus 2877 2834 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½½ 1 ½1 4.0/7
3 Topalov,Veselin 2772 2757 00 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 3.0/7
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2768 2716 00 ½½ 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 2.5/7 7.50
5 Aronian,Levon 2805 2693 0 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½½ 2.5/7 6.50
6 Nakamura,Hikaru 2787 2656 0 ½0 0 ½ ½½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/7

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 - 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 


42816 reads 100 comments
7 votes


  • 2 years ago


    @yakinthos: Caruana's 1.5/2 result against Carlsen isn't that bad, is it? He may have cut down the risk a bit towards the end of their second game (particularly with 26. 0-0), as a draw was after all enough to seal tournament victory with two rounds to go. Arguably a bit like Anand at the candidates event who might have been able to score +4 or +5 if he needed and 'wanted' - but at least against Andreikin was happy with a draw in a favorable but tricky-complicated position.

  • 2 years ago


    caruana's performance rating after round 8 ~ 3243(!!!)

  • 2 years ago


    Please don't quote Caruana's "performance rating." It's really fairly meaningless. His opponents (as Magnus pointed out in his own interview) just aren't playing "normal chess" against him right now. He's a great player, to be sure. I absolutely love that Magnus showed no fear, and even a little amused contempt, when the interviewer asked him why he wasn't the underdog in his upcoming game against Caruana. "Because I'm the better player." That's the way a champion thinks!

  • 2 years ago


    Leave it to Carlsen to slow down the runaway train of Caruana!

  • 2 years ago


    wrong rook... so close 29. Rfd1(not 29. Rcd1) and lights out!

  • 2 years ago


    Fabi showed today that he still has a lot of work to do to be able to challenge Carlsen convincingly, especially in the psychological field. He doesn't have the champion's mentality yet and that was the only reason he failed to win today even though he had so many chances. Carlsen proved that he is still the hardest player to beat even when he is out of form. His winner's mentality gives him an overwhelming edge against other potential competitors like Caruana or Karjakin.

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen and Caruana drew their game today.

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana can only draw with Carlsen today. Magnus has the heart of a great champion!!

  • 2 years ago


    i caurana wins this tournamnet :P all he even has to do is draw 1 game and the tournamnet IS HIS

  • 2 years ago


    Fabulous Fabiano Caruana, Italy's greatest ever player! Italy is so proud of you Fabiano! 

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana's performance rating: 3592. Wow!

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana is remarkable so let the streak continue.

  • 2 years ago


    Right now, there is only Carlsen and Caruana - everyone else is at a lower level. Potentially there is a huge matchup between the two C's and  I dont think there has been potentially as much interest in the Royal game since the days of Fischer - Spassky.

  • 2 years ago


    When I was eleven, I just got good. -- Bobby Fischer

  • 2 years ago


    If Caruana is that clearly better than anyone except Carlsen then why didn't he even qualify for the Candidates (not to mention winning it) ?

    Before announcing him as the next WC pls think about it for a second.

  • 2 years ago


    These things change fast, it's just a few months since Aronian was higher rated than Caruana is now, and then he was the player that was the guaranteed Candidates winner or next World Champion according to many. As Carlsen said, suddenly no one remembers that.

  • 2 years ago


    "LOL @ Carlsen saying in the interview "I'm a better player than Caruana". Well, it was true in the past but definitely not the case right now"

    Definitely not the case because of the last seven games, after Carlsen has done much better in their previous events? That's a bit too early to be too definitive about something after only seven games.

  • 2 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    I love MVL's needle (even if unintentional):   I've never even seen Magnus (Carlsen) play so well."

  • 2 years ago


    Fabiano Caruana is simply having a phenomenal result. I have to say that I do believe that Magnus Carlsen will either win or draw today. MVL played terribly early on yesterday and could never recover. As Magnus stated, "I have to play normal chess." Caruana's last two wins were tremendously aided by his opponents' oversights. Caruana is really getting players out of their opening books, which I think is awesome. Wow, Caruana v. Carlsen would be a great WC match.

  • 2 years ago


    Caruana: "A draw is a fine result for me"

    Translation: "I double-dog dare you fools to step to me!"

    Carlsen: "I am not an underdog. I am a better player!"

    Translation: "I think I can, I think I can..."

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