Sunday, 14 October 2012

Should have pushed harder

Magnus Carlsen has won the 2012 Grand Slam Masters, beating Fabiano Caruana 2-0 in a playoff, after the two players tied for first. Going into the last round it looked as though Caruana had the easier task, playing last placed Vallejo Pons, but there game was drawn quite quickly, after Caruana chose the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez, and Vallejo went for a well known draw-by-repetition line. This gave Carlsen a chance to win the tournament outright, but he only drew with Aronian, meaning a blitz playoff was next on the agenda.
Carlsen won this without too much trouble, beating Caruana in both games. Given the outcome, there were questions after the tournament about Caruana's choice of opening line. While he said he was just looking to reach a normal position, the fact that White (Vallejo) can force a draw if he wishes, casts some doubt over the wisdom of this particular choice.

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