2 Americans are Candidates
To wrest the title of World Champion from Magnus Carlsen, a challenger will have to outscore him in a match of many games.
To become that challenger, a player will have to prevail over seven of the best players in the world next year at the World Championship Candidates’ Tournament. To do that, he will have to qualify to participate. Recently, two U.S. representatives did just that.
Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura tied for first last month in the final International Chess Federation Grand Prix Tournament held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. That result made them the top two finishers in the Grand Prix overall. The top two are automatically invited to participate in the Candidates Tournament. Considering their results and rankings worldwide this past year, they both have serious chances of success there.
Last year, Fabiano Caruana, now 22, achieved the third highest-rating ever, behind Carlsen and Garry Kasparov. Throughout most of the time since then, he has been rated No. 2 internationally behind Carlsen. A dual citizen of Italy and the U.S., he once set the record for being the youngest GM ever in both countries. Previously affiliated with the Italian teams, he agreed this year to start playing for the U.S. This column’s game shows the Grand Prix winner overcoming his foe in a true slugfest.
Nakamura, 27, has been living a dream this year. In January at the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters Open, he streaked off six wins in a row and stayed on top throughout to take clear first. He finished ahead of 256 players, 72 of which were Grandmasters.
In February at the Super GM Zurich Chess Challenge, he placed first ahead of former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik. In March, he returned home to compete in the U.S. Championship. Leading and lossless throughout, he took first and the title for the fourth time. His international ranking reflects these results; he is now rated fourth world wide.
The next step toward the title will pit our warriors against each other as well as six other truly scary foes. Former Champion Anand will be there aswell as the two finalists at the 128-player knock-out World Cup Tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan. Two additional Super GMs will be chosen by rating and another as a wild card by the organizing committee. Millionaire Chess update
Last year, Millionaire Chess run by Amy Lee and GM Maurice Ashley held a tournament in Las Vegas with a guaranteed milliondollar prize fund. Many players in all sections were given a chance to win significant amounts of prize money, not to mention an enjoyable stay in the “Gambling Capital of the World.” For this year’s event, scheduled for Oct. 8-12 at Hotel Planet Hollywood, the organizers are risking an additional million. One finalist from one of the rating divisions will pick one of 64 prize envelopes. One prize that envelope could contain is a voucher for $1million! Atotal of 475 players have already signed up to play. To do so yourself, go to millionaire chess.
Caruana, F.-Tomashevsky, E. FIDE Grand Prix 2015 Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 e6 6.Bf4 a5 7.e3 Be7 8.g4 Na6 9.g5 Nd7 10.h4 Nb4 11.Be2 b6 12.h5 Bb7 13.cxd5 exd5 14.Qd2 f5 15.gxf6 Bxf6 16.h6 g6 17.e4 dxe4 18.Nxe4 0–0 19.0–0–0 Nd5 20.Bg3 Ba6 21.Bxa6 Rxa6 22.Rhe1 Ra8 23.Kb1 Be7 24.Qd3 Rf5 25.Ne5 Qc8 26.Nc3 Nxc3+ 27.Qxc3 Nxe5 28.Qb3+ Rf7 29.dxe5 Qf5+ 30.Ka2 Bb4 31.e6 Re7 32.Bh4 Ree8 33.e7+ Qf7 34.Re6 b5 35.Rd8 bxa4 36.Qe3 Bxe7 37.Rxa8 Rxa8 38.Bxe7 Re8 39.Ka1 a3 40.bxa3 Qf5 41.Qc3 1–0
June 21, 2015
Position No. 4369: White
mates in two.
Position No. 4368: 1.Qb3! Hint: Whitemates next with: Nc6, Qb8, Nxg6, Qxg3, or Nxc6.