Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Caruana back on top

After his win in St Louis last year, it was felt that 2015 would be a race between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana for the World No. 1 spot. However Caruana then fell back a little, and was still mixing it the rest of the world top 4 or 5 players.
Now with the final Grand Prix event of the current series underway, it looks as though Caruana back in front of the pack. After 4 rounds he is on 3/4, having beaten Vachier-Lagrave and Tomashevsky. Going into the first rest day he is half a point ahead of Peter Svidler and Lenier Dominguez (with Caruana drawing with both players).
Of course Caruana still has a number of tough games to go (Nakamura, Grischuk, Giri etc) but it is easier to win a tournament from in front rather than behind.
In round 4 he played an interesting game against Vachier-Lagrave. The opening was a line I played when first learning about the positional aspects of chess, especially queenside play. By exchanging of d5 White can play a minority attack, using the a and b pawns to break up the black queenside. The usual counter is for Black to strike in the centre, or try for a kingside attack, but modern GM's don't always follow these scripts any more. Instead White made noises on the kingside, and it was Black who broke up the queenside. The emergence of a passed e pawn was too much for White who lost a piece dealing with it, and resigned soon after.

Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime (FRA) - Caruana,Fabiano (ITA) [D38]
FIDE Grand Prix 2015 Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia (4.5), 17.05.2015

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