Thursday, September 04, 2014

Chess History in the Making

This is not a chess blog, but my interest in the game is such that I cannot let the Sinquefield Cup now being played in St. Louis pass without comment.  It is, according to the average rating of its participants, the strongest tournament in history.  Now one can certainly quibble that a few tournaments decades ago before rating inflation might have actually been stronger, but at the very least, this is the strongest tournament in years.

Yet a certain Italian-American unknown to most Americans, Fabiano Caruana is running away with it.  And, not only that, his score is 7-0-0, seven wins, no losses, no draws, including a defeat of the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen.  As his latest victim, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave put it, “He’s not making a mistake.”

With draws common among grandmasters, in about half of GM vs. GM games, seven wins in a row in such a field is exceedingly rare.  One would  have to go back decades to find a more dominating performance in such a high-powered tournament. 

And it could hardly happen to a better young man.  Caruana is quiet, polite, and unassuming.  He even seems to have some sympathy for his victims.  Heck, one of his nicknames is “Mr. Perfect.”

Although Italian and playing under the flag of Italy, he was born in the United States.  But rumor has it he is considering returning to the U. S. which would be a wonderful coup for the American chess scene.

Caruana plays Magnus Carlsen again today.  FWIW, I think Magnus will at least draw and stop the Fab streak, but it should be a most interesting game whatever the result. You can watch the St. Louis Chess Club’s excellent coverage beginning at 1:50pm CDT over at livestream.  I will most certainly be watching.

No comments: