Never has winning $100,000 come as such a letdown. Article by Brian Jerauld.
Clinching first place of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup is GM Fabiano Caruana, who claimed the lion’s share of the U.S. super tournament’s $315,000 prize fund with two rounds remaining.
What was left behind, however, was a monumental streak of seven-consecutive wins against the highest-rated field in history – versus five of the world’s current top-ten International Grandmasters.
In Thursday’s round 8, World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen held Caruana to his first half-point of the tournament, an effort that simultaneously knocked Caruana down to a less-than-perfect 7.5/8 and also mathematically ended Carlsen’s chances to catch the leader from behind.
The half-point maintains the World Champion’s place in clear second with 4.5/8, though GM Veselin Topalov (4/8) lurks just a half-point behind after defeating GM Hikaru Nakamura (2/8) on Thursday.
GMs Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave settled with a draw to remain tied in fourth, with 3/8.
Round 8 results:
Hikaru Nakamura 0-1 Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 1/2-1/2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Fabiano Caruana 1/2-1/2 Magnus Carlsen
Round 8 standings:
1. Fabiano Caruana 2801 – 7,5
2. Magnus Carlsen 2877 – 4,5
3. Veselin Topalov 2772 – 4
4-5. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2768 and Levon Aronian 2805 – 3
6. Hikaru Nakamura 2787 – 2
Round 9 pairings:
Fabiano Caruana – Hikaru Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen – Levon Aronian
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Veselin Topalov
The 2014 Sinquefield Cup is a 10-round, double round robin tournament that runs through Saturday, September 6, with a playoff scheduled for September 7, if necessary. Each round begins daily at 2:00 p.m. local time and 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.