The Grenke Chess Classic, played in Karlsruhe and Baden Baden, has been won by Fabiano Caruana, who also won the World Championship Candidates tournament in Berlin (see Chess, 21 April). In his most recent success Caruana finished ahead of the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, by a clear point. Although Carlsen must remain the favourite for the forthcoming World Championship match between the two in London in November, the fact that Caruana can dominate a powerful field in this way and leave the world champion in his wake adds weight to the idea that he may be able to triumph then.
This week, some important milestones from Caruana’s latest laurels in Germany.
Meier–Caruana: Grenke Chess Classic, Karlsruhe/Baden Baden 2018 (see diagram 1)
Here Caruana could bring his kingside attack to a swift conclusion with 24 ... Nh2. This is based on the brilliant point 25 Nd4 Nf1!!, winning after 26 Kxf1 Bc4+ 27 Ke1 Qh1+! mating. Caruana’s slower build-up on the kingside also proved decisive. 24 ... Kf7 25 Rac1 Rc4 26 Bd4 b5 27 Qa5 Nh2 28 Qxa6 Nxf3+ 29 gxf3 g4 30 f4 Qxf4 31 Rxc4 bxc4 32 Be3 Qf3 33 Rd6 Rh3 34 Rxe6 Rxg3+ 35 fxg3 Qxe3+ 36 Kh2 Qf2+ 37 Kh1 Qf1+ White resigns
Vachier-Lagrave–Caruana; Grenke Chess Classic 2018 (see diagram 2)
White has some play for the pawn but Caruana’s next move led to the undermining of his kingside structure. 28 ... g4 29 fxg4 Qd7 30 Qc3 c5 31 Bxe5 Rxe5 32 Qf3 Rxe4 33 Rcd1 Qe6 34 g5 hxg5 35 Rd5 g4 36 Qc3 Re5 White resigns
Vitiugov–Caruana, Grenke Chess Classic 2018 (see diagram 3)
This was Caruana’s last-round victory against an opponent who was, at that time, undefeated in the event. Caruana’s methodical invasion of the white position is very impressive. 29 ... Rd3 30 Rac1 Ra8 31 Qh4 Qxh4 32 Nxh4 c4 33 Kf2 Bf8 34 Nf3 Bd5 35 Nd4 Bc5 36 Nxf5 Ba3 37 Nxh6+ Kg7 38 f5 Bxc1 39 Bxc1 Rxc3 40 f6+ Kg6 White resigns