FIDE Grand Swiss: Caruana, Wang Hao Still Perfect
Carlsen checks on Shirov vs. Caruana. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE Grand Swiss: Caruana, Wang Hao Still Perfect

| 30 | Chess Event Coverage

Both Fabiano Caruana (U.S.) and Wang Hao (China) won their third game at the FIDE Grand Swiss. As the only players on 3/3, they will play each other on Sunday.

You can follow the games here as part of our live portal There's daily coverage by GM Daniel King and IM Anna Rudolf, joined by WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni for interviews, on

The show starts daily at 14:50 local time, which is 15:50 (noon) CEST, 9:50 a.m. Eastern and 6:50 a.m. Pacific.

2019 FIDE Grand Swiss commentary

It was Wang who grabbed the lead first. After his game with his compatriot Bu Xiangzhi, Wang revealed that normally he and his opponent take a short draw at tournaments. It was a remarkable statement to make, not because it's uncommon, but because chess players rarely speak about it.

This time Wang played for a win, and it paid off.

"Here I decided to play because, OK, first I was White and second, it's the wrong [strategy]. It's very early; it's better to make some performance," he said.

Wang Hao Bu Xiangzhi FIDE Grand Swiss
A nice win by Wang Hao vs. Bu Xiangzhi. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The game saw the incredibly popular Giuoco Pianissimo where initially Bu was fine. As Wang pointed out, his opponent's mistake was 14...Ne5?, made because he had missed White's quiet but venomous 16.Be2 in combination with 17.c4, after which Black cannot avoid the loss of material.

Wang Hao showed his game in the live broadcast. 

For a long time it seemed that Wang was going to be the sole leader after today's round, but at the end of the day Caruana joined him in first place. The American grandmaster did so by tricking Alexey Shirov deep in the game.

The Latvian-Spanish veteran GM, who was the world number-two as early as 1994 (two years after his opponent was born), took some time to think about his third move. Eventually he went into a theoretical line of the Sicilian Najdorf.

Shirov had played the position after 13...Nh5 in earlier games, and also Caruana himself had played it as White.

In a sharp middlegame Caruana missed a big chance when Shirov held the balance for a long time. After many hours of good defense, he stumbled after all—although perhaps he resigned a tad too early, as GM David Smerdon argued.

Caruana Shirov FIDE Grand Swiss
Carlsen and Nakamura looking at Shirov vs Caruana. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It was another hard-fought round among many opponents of close to equal strength. This time nine of the top 20 boards saw decisive results.

Magnus Carlsen, who needed a bit of work yesterday to draw with Alexey Sarana, dropped another half point. In a game between world champions, the Norwegian had some chances against 2004 Tripoli winner Rustam Kasimdzhanov, but the latter played a solid game.

Of the 154 participants, only Caruana and Wang have started with three wins. Below the two leaders are 10 players on 2.5 points. 

Baskaran Adhibaban had started with 2/2 and drew today, while the rest are players who had been on 1.5 points and won today: Nikita VitiugovVidit Gujrathi, Alexander Grischuk, Gabriel Sargissian, Ivan Cheparinov, Vladimir Fedoseev, Luke McShane, Kirill Alekseenko and Parham Maghsoodloo.

Playing hall FIDE Grand Swiss
The playing hall seen from outside. Photo: John Saunders.

Of these players McShane won the most exciting game, and commentator Daniel King right away called it the Game of the Day.

The English GM played a lovely attacking game as Black against, we have it again, a Giuoco Pianissimo. Behind the white pieces was Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, the second Vietnamese player behind Le Quang Liem, who also is playing in the tournament.

Luke McShane FIDE Grand Swiss
A great game by Luke McShane today. Photo: John Saunders.

Pushing his g- and h-pawns up the board early was "a rush of blood to the head" more than preparation, McShane admitted afterward. He was pleased with the game and rightly so.

It seems that he was inspired by one of his heroes. As McShane said: "At some point I asked myself: 'What would Kramnik play?'"

McShane reviewed his game in the live broadcast. 

McShane is one of many participants who played the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk before this event. Another is Levon Aronian, who was so close to reaching the semifinals but ended by losing a winning game against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Armenian GM is definitely one of the top favorites at Isle of Man.

Levon Aronian FIDE Grand Swiss
Aronian with Fiona Steil-Antoni. Photo: John Saunders.

On Saturday Aronian defeated Andrey Esipenko, one of the many junior players in this tournament and one of Russia's biggest talents at the moment.

Asked whether he prefers playing younger or older opponents, Aronian replied: "The youngsters. You got to beat them while they're young!"

Aronian showed his game in the live broadcast. 

Sergey Karjakin is obviously a favorite as well. Like Carlsen, the 2016 world championship contender is on 2/3, thanks to a win after two draws. A bit of good luck was involved here; poor Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan decided to avoid a move repetition (and rightly so), only to lose four moves later:

Jumabayev - Karjakin FIDE Grand Swiss
Jumabayev vs. Karjakin. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

We finish this report with a miniature by the Indian junior Nihal Sarin. His opponent WGM Vera Nebolsina responded badly to a piece sacrifice and was subsequently crushed:

On a final note, this round was rather unique in the sense that not one but two games played on the same day saw four queens on the board!

That's one...

...and there's another one!

FIDE Grand Swiss | Round 3 Standings (Top 12)

Rk. SNo Name Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 15 Wang Hao 2726 3,0 2683 4,0 5,0
2 2 Caruana Fabiano 2812 3,0 2659 4,0 5,0
3 73 Adhiban Baskaran 2639 2,5 2728 3,5 3,5
4 13 Vitiugov Nikita 2732 2,5 2651 3,5 5,0
5 17 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2718 2,5 2644 3,5 4,5
6 7 Grischuk Alexander 2759 2,5 2642 2,5 3,5
7 41 Cheparinov Ivan 2670 2,5 2627 3,5 4,5
8 28 Sargissian Gabriel 2690 2,5 2627 3,0 4,5
9 47 Fedoseev Vladimir 2664 2,5 2622 3,5 3,5
10 34 McShane Luke J 2682 2,5 2620 3,0 4,0
11 38 Alekseenko Kirill 2674 2,5 2608 3,0 3,5
12 48 Maghsoodloo Parham 2664 2,5 2556 2,5 3,5

(Full standings here.)

Tomorrow it's time for Caruana to set something straight. In his eight classical games with Wang so far, the score is 6.5-1.5 for the Chinese GM, who scored five wins, three draws and zero losses vs. Caruana. It must be noted that Wang played as White in seven of the eight games.

FIDE Grand Swiss | Round 4 Pairings

Board Seed Fed Name Rtg Pts Fed Pts Name Rtg Seed
1 2 Caruana Fabiano 2812 3 3 Wang Hao 2726 15
2 38 Alekseenko Kirill 2674 Grischuk Alexander 2759 7
3 41 Cheparinov Ivan 2670 Vitiugov Nikita 2732 13
4 48 Maghsoodloo Parham 2664 Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2718 17
5 28 Sargissian Gabriel 2690 Fedoseev Vladimir 2664 47
6 34 Mcshane Luke J 2682 Adhiban B. 2639 73
7 53 Kovalev Vladislav 2661 2 2 Carlsen Magnus 2876 1
8 54 Ganguly Surya Shekhar 2658 2 2 Yu Yangyi 2763 5
9 6 Karjakin Sergey 2760 2 2 Demchenko Anton 2655 57
10 8 Aronian Levon 2758 2 2 Sevian Samuel 2654 61

(Full pairings here.)

Find the top games of round three for replay here:

Rakesh Kulkarni contributed to this report.

Previous reports:

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