Chess

The Guardian Weekly - - Sport - Leonard Bar­den

Fabi­ano Caru­ana has won two elite tour­na­ments in a fort­night, jumped to No 2 in the live rat­ings only 21 points be­hind world cham­pion Mag­nus Carlsen, and is play­ing in the US cham­pi­onship in St Louis.

Amer­ica’s world ti­tle chal­lenger is al­ready putting psy­cho­log­i­cal pres­sure on Carlsen, seven months be­fore their 12-game world ti­tle se­ries. While cap­tur­ing the Grenke Clas­sic at Baden-Baden, Caru­ana won his fi­nal two games with the un­favourable black pieces, and, just as in the can­di­dates at Ber­lin, went for the full point in the last round when a draw would have en­sured first prize.

While Caru­ana plays in St Louis, Carlsen will play at the Shamkir tour­na­ment in Azer­bai­jan.

Caru­ana broke an­other ta­boo in the fi­nal round at Grenke when he un­leashed a star­tling open­ing nov­elty rather than hoard it un­til Novem­ber. Af­ter 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 Nxe4 4 dxe5 d5 5 Nbd2 Qd7!? has the im­me­di­ate idea that if White con­tin­ues 6 Nxe4 and swaps queens, Black can re­take with the knight on d7 rather than with king or bishop on d8.

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