Caruana, Dominguez lead Sinquefield Cup early; So misses first-round shot

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GM Fabiano Caruana
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GM Fabiano Caruana // photo Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

GMs Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez have taken early leads in the American-studded 2021 Sinquefield Cup, both winning their opening-round games against compatriots in the Grand Chess Tour finale event that began Tuesday afternoon.  

Caruana delivered a crushing attack out of a quiet London to topple GM Sam Shankland in the fated World Cup match that never-was, while Dominguez went deep in a Petroff to find an outside passer against GM Dariusz Swiercz, kicking off the prestigious $325,000 event with a full point each.

Shankland might have even felt optimistic to see a protected passer at 18. ... fxe4, but Caruana found a brilliant path through a kingside completely clogged with nearly all of the board's pieces. The recovered World No. 2 ignored a direct attack on his queen, dangling her at 27. ... Ndf5 with 28. Ng4! and an awesome minor-piece mating threat. Shankland doesn't take the bait, though the White queen lives on to almost single-handedly suffocate his position.

[pgn][Event "8th Sinquefield Cup 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.08.17"] [Round "1"] [White "Caruana, F."] [Black "Shankland, S."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2806"] [BlackElo "2709"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2021.08.16"] {[%evp 14,75,-33,-28,-1,-2,-4,-10,-10,-10,-10,-10,8,8,12,0,0,-11,-8,-37,7,-28, -20,-19,-16,-25,29,28,25,25,26,29,29,23,61,63,63,65,71,71,70,70,167,176,177, 177,169,161,351,339,338,346,346,342,328,283,350,372,640,690,632,691,732,765]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 d6 5. h3 c5 6. Nbd2 cxd4 7. exd4 O-O 8. Be2 Qb6 {A48: 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6: Torre, London and Colle Systems.} 9. Nc4 Qc7 10. Ne3 $146 ({Predecessor:} 10. O-O Bf5 11. c3 Nbd7 12. Ne3 e6 13. Nc4 Ne8 14. a4 e5 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Bg3 {1-0 (45) Starke,R (1931)-Kamari,I (1562) Berlin 2017}) 10... Nc6 {The position is equal.} 11. c3 e5 12. Bh2 Qe7 13. O-O e4 14. Ne1 d5 15. N1c2 Be6 16. Qe1 Nd7 (16... Rfd8 $15 {feels stronger.}) 17. f3 (17. c4 $5 {[%cal Rc4d5]} Nb6 18. c5 $15) 17... f5 {next ...f4 is good for Black.} 18. fxe4 $1 fxe4 19. Bf4 Rf7 (19... g5 $142 $1 20. Bg3 Rxf1+ 21. Qxf1 Rf8) 20. Qg3 $1 $11 Nf6 21. Rf2 Qd7 22. Raf1 Raf8 23. Qh4 Ne8 24. Ng4 $1 Nd6 25. Nce3 $1 Ne7 26. Ne5 Bxe5 27. Bxe5 Ndf5 {[#]} (27... Rxf2 $14 28. Rxf2 Rxf2 29. Qxf2 Nc6 ) 28. Ng4 $1 $18 {Black must now prevent Rxf5!} h5 ({And not} 28... Nxh4 29. Nh6#) 29. Qg5 {Hoping for Nh6+.} hxg4 30. hxg4 $40 {[%mdl 128] Black is in trouble.} Ng7 (30... Rh7 {was worth a try.} 31. gxf5 Rxf5 32. Rxf5 Bxf5) 31. Qh6 {Intending Bxg7 and mate.} Nef5 32. gxf5 Rxf5 33. Rxf5 ({Not} 33. Qxg6 Rxf2 34. Rxf2 Rxf2 $18) 33... Rxf5 34. Rxf5 Bxf5 35. g4 Be6 (35... Bxg4 36. Bxg7 { [%mdl 64] Overworked Piece} Qxg7 37. Qxg7+ Kxg7 38. Bxg4 Kf7) 36. Qxg6 { White is clearly winning.} Qf7 37. Qh6 e3 {[#] aiming for ...Qf2+.} 38. Bf3 $1 {[%mdl 512] Weighted Error Value: White=0.03/Black=0.36} 1-0 [/pgn]

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GM Sam Shankland
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GM Sam Shankland // photo Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

[pgn][Event "8th Sinquefield Cup 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.08.17"] [Round "1"] [White "Swiercz, D."] [Black "Dominguez Perez, L."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2655"] [BlackElo "2758"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2021.08.16"] {[%evp 21,116,47,52,33,33,13,13,-10,-8,-8,-8,-17,-10,-23,-8,-8,1,-26,-21,-33, -34,-30,-30,-30,-28,-36,-25,-32,-30,-33,-10,-61,-40,-35,-16,-67,-30,-29,-23, -26,0,0,0,0,0,-63,-68,-71,-13,-35,-33,-42,-40,-134,-140,-164,-159,-290,-284, -288,-262,-241,-238,-248,-253,-284,-257,-274,-253,-253,-211,-210,-212,-216, -108,-217,-215,-205,-191,-252,-249,-259,-259,-308,-311,-318,-318,-409,-336, -316,-334,-334,-351,-409,-409,-409,-409]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. c4 c6 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Bf5 12. Re1 {C42: Petroff Defence: 3 Nxe5 and unusual White 3rd moves.} Nd7 13. Bg5 Qa5 14. Nh4 {The position is equal.} Rae8 15. Nxf5 Rxe1+ $146 ({ Predecessor:} 15... Qxf5 16. Be3 Nf6 17. Bd3 Qd7 18. Qf3 Qg4 19. Qxg4 Nxg4 20. g3 Nxe3 21. Rxe3 c5 {1/2-1/2 (43) Nakamura,H (2736)-Aronian,L (2773) chess24. com INT 2020}) 16. Qxe1 Qxf5 17. Bh4 (17. Bd2 {with more complications.} b5 18. Be2 Nb6 19. Bf3 Qc8 20. Qe4) 17... Qh5 18. Bg3 Bxg3 19. hxg3 Nf6 20. Be2 Qa5 21. Bf3 Re8 22. Qd2 h5 23. Rc1 Re7 24. Qc2 g6 25. Qb2 Kg7 26. Be2 ({White should try} 26. c4 $11) 26... Qg5 27. Bf3 Qa5 28. Be2 (28. c4 $11) 28... c5 29. Bf3 cxd4 30. cxd4 Re1+ (30... Nd5 {is more complex.} 31. Rc2 Rd7 32. Qb3 Nf6 33. Re2 Qd8) 31. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 32. Kh2 b6 33. Qc2 (33. d5 $11) 33... Qb4 $15 34. Qd3 a5 ({Black should play} 34... Qb2 $17 35. d5 Qxa2) 35. a3 Qd6 36. Kg1 b5 37. Bd1 {White is now going downhill.} (37. d5 $1 $15) 37... b4 $17 38. axb4 Qxb4 39. Bb3 (39. f3 $17) 39... a4 $19 {[#] Strongly threatening ...Qe1+.} 40. Bc4 a3 41. f3 Qb2 42. Qb3 Qxd4+ 43. Kh2 Qa7 44. Qc3 Qc7 {Threatens to win with ...h4.} ({Not} 44... a2 45. Qa1 $17) 45. Qd4 Qe7 46. Bb3 Kh7 47. Qf4 Kg7 (47... Kg8 $19 48. Qh6 {[#]} Qe4 $3 {[%mdl 512]}) 48. Qd4 $17 Kg8 49. Qd3 {intending Qxg6+.} Kh7 50. Qd4 (50. Qc4 {was called for.}) 50... Ng8 $19 51. Ba2 Nh6 52. Bb1 Qe1 53. Qb6 Qc3 54. Kg1 Qc1+ 55. Kh2 Qb2 56. Qxb2 axb2 57. Kg1 Nf5 58. Kf2 Nd4 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.23/Black=0.12} 0-1 [/pgn]

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GM Leinier Dominguez-Perez
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GM Leinier Dominguez-Perez // photo Bryan Adams, Grand Chess Tour

Reigning US Chess Champion GM Wesley So appeared to be off on the right foot against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov but stumbled halfway through a Giuoco Piano with several uncharacteristic misses, including a mating attack at f7 just before the 40th-move time control, surrendering his clear advantage in just a couple moves and allowing the crafty Mamedyarov to keep his half-point. 

[pgn][Event "8th Sinquefield Cup 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.08.17"] [Round "1"] [White "So, W."] [Black "Mamedyarov, S."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2782"] [PlyCount "100"] [EventDate "2021.08.16"] {[%evp 12,100,4,-14,28,28,28,32,32,24,42,42,42,38,38,35,50,57,63,47,35,41,44, 44,46,45,88,38,36,35,38,38,38,32,67,66,89,63,64,64,61,63,86,85,85,94,174,171, 177,174,177,171,177,177,198,148,155,150,180,184,221,154,154,138,156,154,202,94, 87,28,28,28,31,31,31,-22,-15,-14,-20,-13,-26,-19,-13,-13,0,0,-9,-22,0,0,0]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. h3 d6 7. c3 Ne7 {C54: Giuoco Piano: 4 c3 Nf6, main lines with 5 d4 and 5 d3.} (7... a5 {should be considered.}) 8. Re1 $11 Ng6 9. d4 Bb6 {White is slightly better.} 10. Bd3 d5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 10... h6 11. Be3 Nh5 12. Nbd2 Nhf4 13. Bf1 Qf6 14. Kh2 Re8 15. a4 a6 16. g3 exd4 17. cxd4 {1-0 (116) Ter Sahakyan,S (2640)-Quesada Perez, Y (2598) Lichess.org INT 2020}) 11. exd5 exd4 12. c4 c6 13. Qc2 cxd5 14. c5 { [%cal Rc5b6]} Bc7 15. Nxd4 Re8 $1 {[%cal Re8e1]} 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. Nc3 Qe1+ 18. Bf1 Bd7 (18... h6 $14 {feels stronger.}) 19. Qe2 (19. Qb3 $1 $16 {[%cal Rb3b7]} Re8 20. Qxb7 Bh2+ 21. Kxh2 Qxf1 22. Nxd5 Nxd5 23. Qxd7 (23. Qxd5 Bxh3 24. Nb3 Qxf2 $11)) 19... Qxe2 $14 20. Ndxe2 Rc8 21. Be3 Ne7 22. Rd1 a6 23. g4 Bc6 24. f3 h6 25. b4 Re8 26. Kf2 Bd7 27. Bf4 Bxf4 28. Nxf4 d4 (28... Be6 $16) 29. Rxd4 $18 Nc6 30. Rd6 Nxb4 31. Rb6 a5 32. Rxb7 Bc6 33. Ra7 (33. Rc7 $18) 33... g5 $16 34. Nd3 Rd8 35. Ne5 {a3 is the strong threat.} Rd2+ 36. Kg3 Rc2 { [#]} 37. a3 $1 Nbd5 38. Nxd5 (38. Nxc6 $6 Rxc3 39. Ne5 (39. Rxa5 Ne4+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 40. Kh2 Nd2 $14) 39... Ne4+ 40. Kh2 Nd2 $14) 38... Nxd5 ( 38... Bxd5 $16 39. c6 (39. Rxa5 h5 $14) 39... Rc3) 39. Bd3 (39. Rxf7 {[#] leads to mate.} Ne3 $1 40. Rf8+ Kxf8 41. Ng6+ Kg7 42. Be2 Rxe2 43. h4 Nf1+ 44. Kh3 Rh2#) (39. Nxc6 $18 {is more deadly.} Ne3 40. Be2 $1 {[%mdl 512]} Rxe2 41. f4) 39... Rxc5 40. Nxf7 (40. Nxc6 $16 Rxc6 41. Rxa5) 40... Nf4 $1 $11 {[%cal Rf4d3]} 41. Bf5 Bd5 42. Ne5 Rc3 43. Rxa5 (43. Bh7+ $14 Kh8 44. a4) 43... Re3 { ( -> ...Re2)} 44. Nd3 Rxf3+ 45. Kh2 {aiming for Nxf4.} Rxh3+ 46. Kg1 {Black must now prevent Nxf4.} Rg3+ {The position is equal.} 47. Kf2 Rf3+ 48. Kg1 { Strongly threatening Nxf4.} Rg3+ 49. Kf2 Rf3+ 50. Kg1 {And now Nxf4 would win.} Rg3+ {White really could win this. Weighted Error Value: White=0.13/Black=0.10 } 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

Dallas GM Jeffery Xiong drew in a straightforward Nimzo with Hungarian No. 1 GM Richard Rapport, while French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave broke through the Kings Indian Defense of Russian GM Peter Svidler to join Caruana and Dominguez in the lead. 

Round 2 begins Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. St. Louis time and features three All-American pairings, with Dominguez taking White against Caruana, Shankland against Xiong, and Swiercz versus So. On the international boards, Rapport will face MVL and Svidler meets Mamedyarov. Live games with commentary may be viewed here


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