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GM Joel’s Chess Week Recap - Episode 138

Opening: E51, A20, B13, C54, B52:

Player(s): Najer, Anand, Caruana, Sevian, Safarli, Rodshtein, Wang, Bu, McShane, Adhiban, Kovalev, Carlsen

The tournament provides a qualifying spot in the Candidates Tournament to the winner, complicated somewhat by the fact that the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and his challenger Fabiano Caruana are playing. Obviously they are significant spoilers. The sensation of the first round occurred on board four when Evgeni Najer crashed through with an attack against former World Champ Vishy Anand. Caruana has looked good in the early going, pocketing a full point in his first three games. In the first round, Fabi grabbed a pawn early against Zhang Zhong and made it hold up without any trouble. In the third round, he converted an extra exchange against Alexey Shirov after a sharp struggle. In between, Fabi won a completely different kind of game against American hopeful Sam Sevian. Caruana was joined at 3/3 by Wang Hao, who stayed perfect by beating his countryman Bu Xiangzhi when Bu did not anticipate the danger in time. Wang and Caruana drew in round four and were joined at 3/5/4 by Parham Maghsoodloo, whose only blemish was a fortunate draw with Elisabeth Paehtz in the first round. Luke McShane won a nice game to make it a foursome. And what of Magnus? He defeated Kuzubov somewhat fortunately in the first round, capitalizing on time pressure. Then he was blocked for three rounds, without a whiff of victory. In fact, his fourth-round opponent, Vladislav Kovalev had him dead to rights before time pressure and bad nerves let the champ escape. It's hard to keep a good man down, and as I'm putting the finishing touches on this week's show Carlsen has put up a full point against Ganguly. Caruana is struggling against McShane in a game that may well be covered in next week's show.

Download Joel's annotated games HERE!

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