Rapid Chess - 2015 Showdown in Saint Louis
Hikaru came out guns blazing, playing an opening that might be more appropriate for 960 than for top level chess. However, it worked! Caruana found himself very quickly in a difficult position, and had to come from behind. White was unable to find the best continuations, and it was actually Nakamura that had to find a way to draw near the end of the game:
Meanwhile Hou Yifan showed extraordinary understanding of the hedgehog positions to win a great game against Negi:
There is no other way to describe game two but total suicide from Nakamura. The move 6...f6 is simply incomprehensible for a player of his level.
In a chess player's career there will always be opportunities to play a brilliant game. It doesn't happen to everyone, and it certainly doesn't happen often. It usually doesn't happen in fast time controls, as calculation is difficult, but today Negi proved that even in a 15+10 format truly brilliancy can be found in chess. Negi simply executed a masterpiece in a sharp Sicilian today:
Caruana had a tough time from the opening in round three. The King's Indian type position certainly favored Nakamura, who had pressure all over the board. White might have cashed in his chips a little too early: Black got some counterplay, although he was unable to follow it up with precise moves. He kept missing chances to give up material and giving White's king problems, and found himself in a difficult position. Just when things looked bad, Fabi showed excellent class in holding the endgame:
In the third game of Negi-Yifan, there is no way to describe the bout but an absolute heartbreaker. Negi had a beautiful, winning position only to blunder it away in time trouble.
The French Defense was Hikaru's choice in game four, but it did not go so well. Fabi got a slight edge from the opening and he was able to outplay his opponent. An aggressive king incursion cemented White's advantage. Nakamura tried to create counterplay with a passed d-pawn, but Caruana's precision sealed the deal:
Negi certainly felt defeated after his blunder, and it seemed like the wind was taken away from his sails in the last game of the rapid.