Caruana and Wang Hao Lead at Isle of Man

Fabiano Caruana shares first place with Wang Hao after six rounds of play in the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss. He will meet Alexander Grischuk on Thursday when the tournament resumes after Wednesday’s rest day.

Caruana started his event with three straight wins, defeating Zhang Zhong, Samuel Sevian, and Alexei Shirov, before surrending two draws to co-leader Wang Hao and “the world’s strongest amateur,” Luke McShane. In point of fact, Caruana was lucky to hold the game against McShane, but he showed steely resolve to hold a bad position that most others would have lost.

Caruana rebounded in Tuesday’s Round 6 with this win over Vladimir Fedoseev, choosing an older line of the Rossolimo and perhaps catching his opponent under-prepared.

While Caruana and Wang are the only two players at 5/6, they are trailed by a pack of seven at 4.5/6, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, and Alexander Grischuk. After three consecutive draws in rounds 2-4, Carlsen suffered the indignity of having to play off the top boards and among the hoi polloi, but wins over Surya Shekar Ganguly and Alexei Shirov have propelled him back towards his more accustomed atmosphere.

With this win Carlsen keeps his unbeaten streak of 96 games alive.

The field in Douglas is absolutely chock-a-block with talent, and every round features mouthwatering matchups between some of the world’s elite. One of the most interesting games from Round 6 features the hero of the FIDE World Cup, Nikita Vitiugov, and his cunning piece sac against Matthias Bluebaum.

Vitiugov-Bluebaum (photo

Vitiugov has seemingly shaken off the disappointment of his exit from the World Cup, and it will be interesting to see how he performs the rest of the way in the Grand Swiss.

Team America

Caruana is one of 12 Americans playing at the Isle of Man. The top scorer after six rounds, excluding Caruana, is Hikaru Nakamura at 4/6.

Hikaru Nakamura (photo

With four draws thus far, Nakamura does not seem a likely bet to win the tournament and claim the seat in the 2020 Candidates, but if anyone can go on a hot streak quickly, it’s the American champion. Perhaps his sharp round six win over Alexander Riazantsev is a harbinger of things to come.

Wesley So, Jeffery Xiong, Ray Robson, and Alex Lenderman are all at 3.5/6, while Sam Shankland, Gata Kamsky, and Sam Sevian are all on even scores.

Full American Results after 6 Rounds

American Pairings for Round 7

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  1. “Hoi polloi is an expression from Greek that means the many or, in the strictest sense, the people. In English, it has been given a negative connotation to signify deprecation of the working class, commoners, the masses or common people in a derogatory or ironic sense. Synonyms for hoi polloi, which also express the same or similar distaste for the common people felt by those who believe themselves to be superior, include “the plebeians” or “plebs”, “the rabble”, “the masses”, “the dregs of society”, “riffraff”, “the herd”, “the canaille”, “the proles”, and “peons”.” -Wikipedia

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