It’s time to add ink to that history book. Article by Brian Jerauld.
The 2014 Sinquefield Cup, already claiming a page of history as the strongest-rated tournament ever, may now be remembered for a different mark in time altogether. On Tuesday afternoon at the host venue Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, GM Fabiano Caruana earned his second win over GM Veselin Topalov with a stunning piece sacrifice, bringing the Italian’s record to a perfect 6-0.
Caruana’s opening to the U.S. super-tournament has now equaled the longest starting win streak in an elite tournament in the modern era, established by former World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov in Linares 1994, oft-argued as the greatest tournament performance ever.
The “rest” of the strongest field in history has all-but been left in a battle for second place, a position currently held by World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen.
On Tuesday, Carlsen again slipped from the leader’s pace after fumbling a winning position to only score a half-point against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Also drawing were GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian, who remain tied at the bottom of the six-player leaderboard – yet only one point out of second place.
Caruana needs just a half-point from Wednesday’s match against Vachier-Lagrave to mathematically clinch the Sinquefield Cup’s $100,000 first-place prize — still with three rounds remaining.
Round 6 results:
GM Hikaru Nakamura 1/2-1/2 GM Levon Aronian
GM Fabiano Caruana 1-0 GM Veselin Topalov
GM Magnus Carlsen 1/2-1/2 GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Round 6 standings:
1. GM Fabiano Caruana 2801 – 6,0
2. GM Magnus Carlsen 2877 – 3,0
3-4. GM Veselin Topalov 2772 and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2768 – 2,5
5-6. GM Levon Aronian 2805 and GM Hikaru Nakamura 2787 – 2,0
Round 7 pairings:
GM Magnus Carlsen – GM Hikaru Nakamura
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – GM Fabiano Caruana
GM Veselin Topalov – GM Levon Aronian
The 2014 Sinquefield Cup is a 10-round, double round robin tournament that runs through September 7, with each round beginning daily at 2:00 p.m. local time. Each round will be broadcast live through www.USChessChamps.com, featuring analysis from the world-class commentating team of GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade.
Last year’s Sinquefield Cup, which featured Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura and American No. 2 Gata Kamsky, became the strongest tournament ever held on U.S. soil. The 2014 player field features six of the top-ten players in the world and averages a historical 2802 rating, with a prize fund that totals $315,000.