Candidates Tournament 2018: Can Caruana win it?
We’re into the business end of the Candidates Tournament! Just 3 rounds to go with one of those being played right now! Who will come out on top, slay his rivals and throw down the gauntlet to Carlsen?
Realistically, it’s down to 4 players: Caruana (7/11), Mamedyarov (6½), Grischuk or Karjakin (both on 6). Anybody but Karjakin please! (No offense Sergey, but footage of the last match is now being used by Doctors to treat insomnia).
Here’s how the run-in looks:
Fabiano Caruana: America’s great hope narrowly missed out in 2016, losing to Karjakin in the winner-takes-all final round.
Now he leads the way, having beaten Kramnik, So and Aronian and not lost a game.
But he has Black twice in the remaining games, both against close rivals. Draws will be good results and Fab can go for a win with White against Aronian, who is having a nightmare tournament.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: Mamedyarov has been in great form over the last 6 months and is the current world #2 by rating.
Also undefeated, Mamedyarov has managed one win less than Caruana but has excellent chances in the final 3 rounds against Ding Liren, Grischuk and Kramnik. He is perfectly capable of winning all 3 games and I believe he will get at least 2 points.
Sergey Karjakin: After losing 2 out of his first 4 games, Sergey was all but written off. But the Russian has shown he is made of stern stuff and bounced back into the reckoning in impressive fashion with wins against Kramnik, Aronian and So (the same players Caruana has his wins against).
In the final 3 rounds, he faces Caruana and Ding Liren with White plus So with Black. Caruana should be happy with a draw, Ding has drawn all his games so far while So lost to Karjakin in their first game. 1½ points seems likely, though he might manage 2.
Prediction: 7 ½/14.
Alexander Grischuk: A win and a loss against Kramnik, plus a win against Wesley So. All Grischuk’s other games have been draws. He will have to go for it in the final 3 rounds and that could backfire.
His big chance is in today’s game with White against the out-of-form Aronian. He needs to win that, avoid defeat to Mamedyarov and then beat tournament leader Caruana with White in the final round. Easier said than done. I can see him beating Levon, losing to Mamedyarov and drawing against Caruana.
Bobby Fischer’s Third Coming?
Have you heard the mysterious story of Bobby Fischer’s return in 2001?
After winning the World Championship in 1972, Bobby Fischer stopped playing chess professionally until the miraculous rematch in Yugoslavia, 1992.
However, some players believe Bobby was the secretive player behind a series of brilliant games played on the Internet in 2001. Nigel Short, for example, said he was “99 percent sure” that it was Fischer who played him. What’s the truth behind this story?
IM Valeri Lilov, who also believes Bobby was the mystery man, shares some of the games with you and reveals why he thinks it was Fischer and not a chess engine or another strong grandmaster.
Last week’s puzzle:
Did you find the winning sequence from Polgar-Anand?
White’s queen is hanging, but Judit Polgar played the brilliant move 1.Rh8+! and Vishy Anand immediately resigned.
The idea is that after 1…Kg7 (only move), White has 2.Qd4+! Bf6 3.Qxf6+!! Rxf6 4.Rh7+! Kxh7 5.Nxf6 and White wins back the queen and is a piece up.
This week’s puzzle:
This week’s puzzle is taken from a game between Fabiano Caruana, one of the participants in the Candidates Tournament 2018, and Ildar Khairullin in the Aeroflot Open in 2012.
White to play – can you spot the winning combination for White?
Answer next time.