Caruana Sole Leader In Dortmund Before Final Round

Caruana Sole Leader In Dortmund Before Final Round

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Fabiano Caruana has excellent chances to win the Sparkassen Chess Meeting for the third time. On Independence Day the new U.S. grandmaster grabbed sole lead by beating GM Hou Yifan — his fourth win in a row.

GM Vladimir Kramnik reached a winning ending against GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu but then let his opponent escape. The other Russian, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, also played a nice ending and he did manage to beat GM Arkadij Naiditsch.

Kramnik has won the tournament in Dortmund ten times — that we know. Caruana might be on his way to challenge this number: if he holds the draw as black against Nisipeanu tomorrow, he'll win his third title, after sharing first with Karjakin in 2012 and winning outright in 2014.

In what was his fourth straight win, Fabiano Caruana today outplayed Hou Yifan from a Sämisch Nimzo-Indian. The Chinese grandmaster sacrificed a pawn in the opening and definitely got some compensation: a bad bishop and c-pawn for White.

Black controlled many squares, and the only way Caruana could improve his position was by pushing his pawns on the kingside. It was only after a small inaccuracy from his opponent that he could force things with a central pawn push.

Hou seemed quite close to drawing this game. | Photo Dagobert Kohlmeyer.

That meant sole first place for Caruana since Dieter Nisipeanu was never going to win his black game with Vladimir Kramnik. On the contrary, at some point he was lost.

Kramnik played a wonderful positional game based on an IQP (isolated queen's pawn) in the black camp. He managed to win that pawn and then reached a winning rook ending. To everyone's surprise, the great Russian then failed to win it!

The conclusion after my superficial analysis (but later confirmed by Dejan Bojkov) is that he only really spoilt it on move 58.

Annotations by GM Dejan Bojkov & Peter Doggers

A great game by Kramnik who almost “deserved” a win. | Photo Dagobert Kohlmeyer.

It was a good day for instructive Russian endings. Ian Nepomniachtchi gave a nice showcase as well against Arkadij Naiditsch, in an ending with rooks and bishop versus knight — one of Bobby Fischer's favorite endgames.

After the trade of queens White was much more active and won a pawn. The white bishop then nicely dominated the knight and when Nepomniachtchi's king joined the party it was all over. 

Great endgame play by Nepomniachtchi. | Photo Dagobert Kohlmeyer.

Georg Meier will have a lot to analyze and reflect upon after this tournament. He reached many promising positions before, and again got a clear advantage out of the opening against Wesley So

Especially on move 19 there were several good options. Meier continued with solid moves, but this allowed So to just hold the balance.

More missed chances for Meier. | Photo Dagobert Kohlmeyer.

On Sunday the tournament starts two hours earlier than the other rounds: at 1pm local time. Nisipeanu, still the only undefeated player in the field, needs to beat Caruana to win the tournament. 

Dortmund 2015 | Schedule & Results

Round 1  15:00 CET 27.06.15   Round 2  15:00 CET 28.06.15
Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Caruana   Caruana 0-1 So
Meier ½-½ Hou   Naiditsch 0-1 Nisipeanu
Kramnik 0-1 Naiditsch   Hou 0-1 Kramnik
Nisipeanu 1-0 So   Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Meier
Round 3  15:00 CET 30.06.15   Round 4  15:00 CET 01.07.15
Meier 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Naiditsch
Kramnik 1-0 Nepomniachtchi   Hou ½-½ So
Nisipeanu ½-½ Hou   Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Nisipeanu
So 0-1 Naiditsch   Meier 0-1 Kramnik
Round 5  15:00 CET 03.07.15   Round 6  15:00 CET 04.07.15
Kramnik 0-1 Caruana   Caruana 1-0 Hou
Nisipeanu ½-½ Meier   Nepomniachtchi 1-0 Naiditsch
So 1-0 Nepomniachtchi   Meier ½-½ So
Naiditsch ½-½ Hou   Kramnik ½-½ Nisipeanu
Round 7  13:00 CET 05.07.15        
Nisipeanu - Caruana        
So - Kramnik        
Naiditsch - Meier        
Hou - Nepomniachtchi        


Dortmund 2015 | Round 6 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Caruana,F 2805 2913 phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 4.5/6
2 Nisipeanu,LD 2654 2842 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 4.0/6
3 Kramnik,V 2783 2764 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 1 1 3.5/6
4 So,W 2778 2706 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 0 ½ ½ 3.0/6
5 Nepomniachtchi,I 2720 2675 ½ ½ 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 2.5/6 7.75
6 Naiditsch,A 2722 2678 0 0 1 1 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.5/6 7.50
7 Hou Yifan 2676 2613 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 2.0/6 5.75
8 Meier,Geo 2654 2616 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 2.0/6 5.75


The 43rd Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place June 27-July 5 in the NRW Orchestra Center in central Dortmund. It is a single round robin with eight players. | Thanks to Dagobert Kohlmeyer | Games via TWIC  phpfCo1l0.png


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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