Caruana Reaches Peak, Knocks Down Topalov in First Round

Sinquefield Cup chess Grandmaster GM Topalov Caruana

World No. 8 GM Veselin Topalov expresses concern, while No. 3 GM Fabiano Caruana explores the possibilities during the first round of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup. 

SAINT LOUIS (August 27, 2014) -- One of the strongest just got stronger.

Italian-American Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana did some heavy lifting in the strongest chess tournament in history -- and pumped himself up to his max in the process. The 22-year-old got big with the black pieces in Wednesday’s opening round of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup, knocking down Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov after the recent Olympiad gold-medalist went astray in the middlegame.

The win gives Caruana the lead in the second annual American super tournament, and boosts his live rating to a highest-ever 2805.

The only other two players in the world above 2800 are with him at the host Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, though both GM Levon Aronian and World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen could only find draws in Wednesday’s first round. Carlsen spent considerable time sorting through French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s Scotch opening to earn his half point, while Aronian’s intentions were quickly defused by the Slav defense of American GM Hikaru Nakamura.

Round 2 begins Thursday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. local time, with Caruana looking to reach yet another peak against Vachier-Lagrave, who has lost just two games in 2014. Carlsen brings to the table an undefeated record against Nakamura, though the American played solid on his home soil against the World Champion in last year’s Sinquefield Cup. Topalov seeks a quick rebound Thursday afternoon against Aronian.

Round 2 Pairings:

White Black
GM Hikaru Nakamura GM Magnus Carlsen
GM Fabiano Caruana GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
GM Levon Aronian GM Veselin Topalov


The 2014 Sinquefield Cup is a 10-round, double round robin tournament that runs through September 7, with each round beginning daily at 2:00 p.m. local time. Monday, September 1 will be a rest day. Every round will be broadcast live through, featuring analysis from the world-class commentating team of GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade.

Last year’s Sinquefield Cup, which featured Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura and American No. 2 Gata Kamsky, became the strongest tournament ever held on U.S. soil. The 2014 player field features six of the top-ten players in the world and averages a historical 2802 rating. The winner will take home $100,000.