Fabiano Caruana is the winner of the American Chess Cup 2022. He defeated Levon Aronian in the final with a total score 1,5-0,5 after a decisive final game. With the victory Caruana also won $50 000 and an extra $10 000 bonus from the hefty prize fund. American Chess Cup 2022 preview / Participants / American Cup 2022 live / Many decisive games at the start of the American Cup (day 1) / Five matches decided in playoffs (day 2) / Four players knocked out (day 3) / Caruana – Dominguez is the final in the Champions Bracket (day 4) / Levon Aronian – Fabiano Caruana is the final in the American Cup / Official website
CARUANA – ARONIAN 1-0
A quiet line of the English Opening saw the players reach a dynamically balanced middlegame, with the pair of bishops for Caruana in exchange for a more harmonious position for Aronian. But a practical mistake by Levon to trade queens left him in a surprisingly awkward endgame to defend. Aronian then attempted to fix his problems with a pawn sacrifice in order to build a blockade, but he simply wasn’t in time as Caruana’s king, rook and bishop had plenty of room to infiltrate. With an extra pawn and the more active pieces, Caruana showed flawless technique to win the game and the match without needing a playoff.
After 34.Bd4, White’s extra pawn, better king, and stronger minor piece secured a decisive advantage. | 1-0, 53 moves
The final handshake. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
The previous day Caruana and Aronian drew their first final game. A quiet Italian Game quickly turned incredibly sharp as Caruana opted to sacrifice a pawn in exchange for long-term pressure against White’s kingside. After a complex struggle Aronian managed to trade the queens off and go into an endgame, where he then sacrificed an exchange in order to win a second pawn. Although the position was tenable for Black, Caruana soon erred and found himself in a nearly lost position. But a last ditch effort by Caruana to create counterplay worked, as in time trouble Aronian missed his chance to achieve a winning ending and instead had to settle for a draw by repetition. After Caruana’s 45…Bh4, White’s only win was 46.Ne2 Kxd8 47.Rd3+! followed by 48.Rd4. Instead Aronian played 46.N8e6, after which 46…Rg1+ 47.Ke2 Re1+ 48.Kd3 g6! saved the game for Black.