Caruana, Wang Hao Lead FIDE Grand Swiss At Half
McShane resigns his game vs. Wang Hao. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Caruana, Wang Hao Lead FIDE Grand Swiss At Half

| 51 | Chess Event Coverage

The sixth round of the FIDE Grand Swiss started with seven leaders, but of those just Fabiano Caruana and Wang Hao won their games today. The two are on 5/6 going into the only rest day in Isle of Man.

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

Tuesday was a good day for the white pieces, as six of the top nine boards were won by White. It was also a bloody day, with 12 decisive games among the top 17 boards.

After a narrow escape in the previous round against Luke McShane, Caruana did much better the next day. The second seed defeated Vladimir Fedoseev convincingly.

Caruana Fedoseev 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
A good win for Caruana vs. Fedoseev. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

"I wasn't particularly proud of that game," Caruana said about the day before. "I just blundered something horribly in the opening [...] and my position got borderline losing and I didn't defend very well. [McShane] was playing well for the most part and then right at the finish line he just failed to put me away."

On Tuesday, Caruana managed to surprise his opponent by going for an old version of the topical Rossolimo Sicilian. "He just wasn't very well prepared for this line, which is very dangerous for Black," he said.

Caruana was referring to his approach with 5.c3, basically the old main line from the 1970s. Taking on c6 is much more common these days.  

Without going into much detail, Caruana suggested that Black should have postponed castling. As it went, White's advantage became bigger and bigger.

Caruana showed his game on the live broadcast.

McShane could have been the sole leader after five rounds, but instead he only got a half-point out of his last two games. On board three, Wang Hao was too strong today.

The Chinese GM joined Caruana in the lead thanks to this excellent game:

Wang Hao McShane 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
McShane and Wang Hao start their game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

World junior champion Parham Maghsoodloo had prepared a surprising line in the Anti-Berlin against Alexander Grischuk, where he allowed a ...Qxf2+ in the opening. White had to put his king on d1, but that was part of the plan. After this promising start the game soon fizzled out:

Parham Grischuk 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Parham's remarkable preparation didn't get him much vs. Grischuk. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Magnus Carlsen, just half a point behind the leaders, defeated Alexei Shirov in what was a "decent enough game," as the winner put it. 

In Nikita Vitiugov's footsteps (vs. Wesley So at the World Cup), the world champ quickly got a very pleasant position from a 3.d4 Petroff.

Carlsen Shirov 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
It's "best by test" 1.e4 for Carlsen vs. Shirov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Carlsen was content with provoking Black's ...b6, which got rid of any Qc7-a5 later on. "Then his only counterplay is connected with ...g5 or ...d4 but I don't think any of them really work," he said.

Shirov played ...g5 anyway, on move 17, to which Anish Giri posted on Instagram: "When you play the Petroff but then you remember you're Alexei Shirov." 

Alexei Shirov 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Alexei Shirov was the world number-two 25 years ago. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

When the interviewer Steil-Antoni told Carlsen about Giri's post, the world champion smiled, and then continued explaining: "17...g5 is not really a move you want to play. I think it was born out of some sort of desperation. He felt like he was a bit worse and he wanted to break out. Ultimately it doesn't improve his position at all."

In the remainder, Carlsen felt he played "a bit sloppy," but he never seemed to have lost control.

Carlsen showed his game on the live broadcast

Sergey Karjakin was worse against Yuriy Kryvoruchko and also in quite serious time trouble, but eventually held the draw with a perpetual in a queen endgame where he was two pawns down.

Karjakin 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Karjakin held up to his reputation of being an excellent defender. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Levon Aronian faced the veteran grandmaster Alexey Dreev. Dreev sacrificed a piece for which he got an octopus on d3, and attacking chances. Just when things started to get really interesting, Dreev miscalculated as he probably missed an intermediate move, and suddenly it was over.

Aronian Dreev 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Aronian and Dreev meet again after their last game 14 years ago. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Vitiugov won a great game against Matthias Bluebaum where Vitiugov sacrificed a bishop on f7 in the opening. Vitiugov thought he was winning there, and the players still believed that as they analyzed the game, but the engine spoiled the fun as it pointed out a possible defense for Black.

"Sometimes it's better to be optimistic," remarked Vitiugov.

Vitiugov Bluebaum 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Vitiugov vs. Bluebaum before the bishop sacrifice. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Vitiugov showed his game on the live broadcast.

After winning two good games in a row, Viswanathan Anand noted that his tournament is improving after his bad start. "I just stopped thinking about it after round one," he said. "Once you make a mistake like that then you play just play game to game and that's it."

The 49-year-old Indian legend was too strong for the 34-years-younger prodigy, Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.

Anand Abdusattorov 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Anand vs. Abdusattorov, a clash of generations. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Anand showed his game on the live broadcast.

After Carlsen and Caruana it was eight-time Russian champion Peter Svidler's turn to put up an Houdini act. Against the five-time Romanian champion Constantin Lupulescu, Svidler was a piece down for two hours and 30 more moves, but eventually held the draw:

Peter Svidler 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Peter Svidler, the escape artist of the day. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Hikaru Nakamura is still in contention as well, after four draws and two wins. In this round he outplayed the Russian grandmaster Alexander Riazantsev:

Nakamura Riazantsev 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
After a slow start, Nakamura is back in contention. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE Grand Swiss | Round 6 Standings

1-2: Wang Hao, Caruana 5

3-9: Maghsoodloo, Anton, Carlsen, Grischuk, Vitiugov, Alekseenko, Aronian 4.5

10-23: Adhiban, Fedoseev, Shirov, Jumabayev, McShane, Kovalev, Yu, Karjakin, Wojtaszek, Nakamura, Gelfand, Kryvoruchko, Anand, Hovhannisyan 4

(Full standings here.)

FIDE Grand Swiss | Top pairings round 7 (Thursday)

Grischuk vs. Caruana
Aronian vs. Wang Hao
Alekseenko vs. Carlsen
Anton vs. Vitiugov
Yu Yangyi vs. Maghsoodloo
Kryvoruchko vs. Anand
Fedoseev vs. Karjakin
Shirov vs. Wojtaszek
Adhiban vs. Nakamura
Jumabayev vs. Gelfand

(Full pairings here.)

Find the top games of round six for replay here:

Marie Sebag birthday 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
GM Marie Sebag celebrated her 33rd birthday today. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Fiona Steil-Antoni 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni interviews the players for the live broadcast. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Vishy Anand 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Vishy Anand after his game in round six. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Fabiano Caruana smiling 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
A smiling co-leader, Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Magnus Carlsen TV touch screen 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Magnus Carlsen using the touch screen to show his game. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Svidler Lupulescu 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Svidler about to save a lost position vs. Lupulescu. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Wang Hao 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Wang Hao sharing some thoughts... Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Luke McShane 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
...with Luke McShane, still in good spirits after his loss. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Nihal Sarin Parham Maghsoodloo 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Nihal Sarin and Parham Maghsoodloo on a walk through the hotel. Photo: Maria Emelianova/
Anna Rudolf Danny King 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss
Anna Rudolf's tea cup made it to Danny King's Twitter. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Rakesh Kulkarni contributed to this report.

Previous reports:

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