Caruana wins in Biel after play-off

PeterDoggers
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The play-off final between Fabiano Caruana and Nguyen Ngoc Truong SonFabiano Caruana won the Young Grandmaster Tournament in Biel today. The Italian was the strongest in a necessary play-off with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, whom he beat in the final.

The play-off final between Fabiano Caruana and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son

The Young Grandmaster Tournament was part of the Biel Chess Festival in Switzerland, which takes place July 17-30. Anish Giri, David Howell, Fabiano Caruana, Maxim Rodshtein, Parimarjan Negi, Dmitry Andreikin, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son played.

Young Grandmasters (Biel) | Round 9 (final) standings

Young Grandmasters (Biel) | Round 9 standings

Young Grandmasters (Biel) | Play-off Semi-final

Young Grandmasters (Biel) | Play-off Semi-final

Young Grandmasters (Biel) | Play-off Final

Young Grandmasters (Biel) | Play-off Final



Round 9 & play-off

As leaders Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave drew in the last round, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son was able to catch the two in the standings by beating Giri. In fact the Vietnamese finished first on tiebreak. As regulations dictated, on Thursday morning a rapid play-off was played between the players who finished on shared 1st place. It was decided that the numbers 2 and 3 played each other and the winner would play Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son.

But first things first: the final round on Wednesday. From a quiet King's Indian Attack, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son slowly outplayed Anish Giri, who might regret his 17th move (e.g. 17...Rfe8 looks close to equal). After a forced sequence of moves an ending was reached where White had more than enough compensation for the pawn.

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son-Anish Giri Biel 2010 Diagram 4 Position after 28.Rxb7.

The Vietnamese continued to play strongly and although Black might have been able to hold the draw, the win seemed fully deserved.

Rodshtein must have missed a win somehere against Tomashevsky. Both 37.Qd4! and 40.Ne4! seem to lead to a decisive advantage. Andreikin reached equality remarkably easily against So, using the Old Indian. The ending was soon better for Black thanks to his superior knight, but it was never winning. Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave drew relatively quickly to secure the rapid play-off.

Play-off

And so we come to this morning's action. Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave first both won one rapid game (10 minutes & 10 seconds increment) with the white pieces. What exactly happened in the first game is not yet clear to us - was one more move played (Bxg3) and did the Frenchman touch his queen? It's more likely that the game was saved incompletely. In any case, he recovered well and won a nice, tactical ending to level the score.

Vachier-Lagrave continued strongly, and reached a promising position again with the white pieces in the Armageddon blitz game.

Vachier-Lagrave-Caruana Biel 2010 Diagram 5 Here 38.Rb2?! allowed 38...Qa4! and the tables turned, as ...Qd1 and Ra1 cannot be prevented. White should still be able to hold it, but the defence proved too difficult.

Caruana had an even narrower escape in the first game of the final against Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, as he defended an ending two pawns down to a draw. In the second game he struck decisively.

Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son-Caruana Biel 2010 Diagram 6 Here 30.Rc2 should draw. 30.b3?! was answered by the strong 30...a3! and after 31.Ra8 Ra5 32.Rxa5 bxa5 33.Nd4 Nb4 34.Nb5 Nxa2 35.Nxa3 Nc1 Black won a pawn, which was, like in almost any knight ending, decisive.

Games rounds 9 & tiebreak



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Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana with the winner's medal in Biel



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