What a ride!
GM Fabiano Caruana from the US, with an almost unbelievable score of 7 wins, 6 draws, and zero losses, won the prestigious Tata Steel Master 2020.
In the last round, despite having already conquered the title, Fabiano went all out with Black and defeated a stunned Artemiev. Artemiev's resilience allowed him to play on, trying to calculate all the possible continuations. Still, Fabiano had all of it worked out, and the Black King's walk finished when eventually Caruana was able to interpose his Bishop, with a discover check that ended the fight and the tournament.
Three rounds ago, we were all thinking that Carlsen was on the rise, and the champ had found his best form to attack the leadership when he was only half a point behind Fabiano. But Caruana, instead of fearing Carlsen's climbing back up the ladder, went on to win three games in a row, whereas Carlsen drew his last two games.
Now Caruana's LIVE rating is an impressive 2841.6, gaining almost 20 points in Wijk aan Zee, and getting very close to his record of 2844, which makes him the third player with the highest rating ever.
And now? Well, of course, now on to the Candidates' tournament!
After this fantastic performance, Caruana starts as the favorite to challenge (again!) the Norwegian King of Chess.
But, as we know, the Candidates' is a peculiar tournament: the pressure his much higher than in any other competition, and though the participants are all super-strong GMs, used to play under pressure, the chance to become the challenger can play a role.
The Iran sensation Alireza Firouzja, after an excellent start, found himself a bit disoriented when he got wiped off the board by Caruana and Carlsen, feeling the power of the "big guys." The young Iranian, who plays under the FIDE flag, is thought as the next dominator of the chess scene, but it seems to be a bit too early to put such a responsibility on his shoulders. Let the boy grow up, absorb and learn from his defeats; we all remember when all the chess world was screaming about Wei Yi, China's wunderkind, the youngest ever to cross the 2700 barrier. Today, at age 20, Wei is #21 in the world with a FIDE rating of 2732. Not bad, of course! But he doesn't seem to be - at least for now - the new Carlsen.
Tomorrow, January 27, at 2 PM EST (20:00 CET) GM Alex Yermolinky recaps the Tata Steel 2020 LIVE on ICCTV. Don't miss the show!