venerdì 8 giugno 2018

The Third Wheel

Fabiano Caruana – Wesley So
6th Altibox Norway Chess; Stavanger, June 7, 2018
Spanish Game C65

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. 0-0 Nd4 6. Nxd4 Bxd4 7. Ba4 c6 8. c3 Bb6 9. Na3 d6 10. Bc2 Be6 11. Qe2 h6 12. Kh1 g5!? The two Americans play their last-round game in true “coffee house” mood. 13. Nc4 Bc7 14. Ne3 d5 15. Re1 Qe7 16. a4 0-0-0 17. Rb1 d4 18. Nf1 Bb6. Or 18. ... Rdg8 19. cxd4 cxd4 20. b4 h5 with a race of speed. 18. ... g4(!) was also very interesting. 19. Bd2 Bg4 20. f3 Be6 21. Ng3 Rhg8 22. b4 g4 23. a5 dxc3 24. Bxc3 Bd4 25. Bxd4 Rxd4 26. b5 c5 27. Bb3 h5 28. Nf5 Bxf5 29. exf5 Re8 30. Rbc1 gxf3 31. Qxf3 Red8 (31. ... Kb8!) 32. Bc4. White does not content himself with 32. a6! Rxd3 33. axb7+ Kb8 34. Qc6 Ng4 35. Rxc5 Qxb7 36. Qxb7+ Kxb7 37. Bxf7 that would have left him a Pawn ahead. 32. ... e4? (32. ... Ng4!) 33. dxe4 Qe5 34. Bxf7 Rd3 35. Qf2 R8d4 36. Bd5! A terrific interference. 36. ... Kd7 37. b6? 37. Bxb7 would have easily won. 37. ... axb6 38. axb6 Ng4 39. Qg1. Not 39. Qh4?? because of 39. ... Rh3!! and finis. 39. ... Kd8? On the verge of the time control it wasn’t easy to just dare to bet on 39. ... Rd2! 40. Rf1 h4! 41. h3 R4d3! 42. hxg4 h3!∞ with a dynamic balance. 40. h3? Caruana misses an easy if prosaic win on his 40th move (40. Bxb7).


40. ... Rxh3+! 41. gxh3 Rd3?? After only 4 seconds tought and, what’s more serious, after time control, So makes his losing blunder. Correct was 41. ... Rd2! 42. hxg4 hxg4 43. Qg2 Qh8+ 44. Kg1 Rxg2+ 45. Kxg2 Qh3+ with draw by perpetual check. 42. Qg2! Rg3 43. hxg4! Rxg2 44. Kxg2 h4 45. Kf3 Qg3+ 46. Ke2 h3 47. Rg1 Qh4 48. e5 1 : 0. Thus Caruana won for the first time the Altibox Norway Chess, consecrating himself as the most marketable challenger for the World Championship. On the other hand, I don’t think World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has felt any sadness today. Indeed, he agreed a draw after just 17 moves against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Fabiano Caruana (left) vs. Wesley So (right). Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

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