Nakamura Is Victorious at Paris GCT

For the third major tournament in a row (Norway Chess, Your Next Move, and Paris GCT), a member of the American "Big Three" grandmasters was the winner. This time, it was Hikaru Nakamura's turn. The day began with Nakamura trailing Sergey Karjakin by a point. Gradually, Nakamura stayed within range and then gained ground, tying Karjakin's score in round 15 and then surpassing him in round 16. At times, the two tournament leaders had a lot of help from their opponents who were blundering at an abnormally high rate likely due to fatigue at the end of two intense back-to-back top level tournaments.
[pgn][Event "Grand Chess Tour Paris (Blitz)"]
[Site "Paris FRA"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[Round "14"]
[White "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Black "Vladimir Kramnik"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2769"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5rk1/p1r1qppp/bp2pn2/4B3/2p5/PP2P1P1/3Q1PBP/R2R2K1 b - - 0 18"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2018.06.20"]18... Rd7 $4 19. Bxf6 1-0[/pgn]
Not the 14th World Champion's best moment. Photo: Lennart Ootes
Kramnik's blunder was overshadowed, however, by Caruana's blunder against Karjakin in the same round.
[pgn][Event "Grand Chess Tour Paris (Blitz)"]
[Site "Paris FRA"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[Round "14"]
[White "Sergey Karjakin"]
[Black "Fabiano Caruana"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B41"]
[WhiteElo "2782"]
[BlackElo "2816"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6b1/1N4B1/8/8/1p6/2k5/r7/1K6 b - - 0 114"]
[PlyCount "3"]
[EventDate "2018.06.20"]114... Kc4 $4 115. Kxa2 Kb5+ 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
But, it was Alexander Grischuk's queen blunder that was the most surprising.
[pgn][Event "Grand Chess Tour Paris (Blitz)"]
[Site "Paris FRA"]
[Date "2018.06.23"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Alexander Grischuk"]
[Black "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2766"]
[BlackElo "2769"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r3r2k/pppq4/2nn3b/3B1bN1/3P4/1PPQ2P1/P3NPK1/R3R3 w - - 0 25"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2018.06.20"]25. Rh1 $4 Bxd3 0-1[/pgn]
Nakamura sealed victory with two key wins in a row: one in the penultimate round against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and then a 122 move face-off against Caruana in the final round.
[pgn][Event "Grand Chess Tour Paris (Blitz)"]
[Site "Paris FRA"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[Round "17"]
[White "Shakhriyar Mamedyarov"]
[Black "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D05"]
[WhiteElo "2808"]
[BlackElo "2769"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2018.06.20"]1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. e3 c5 4. Bd3 d5 5. b3 Nc6 6. O-O Be7 7. Bb2 O-O 8. Nbd2
b6 9. a3 Bb7 10. Qe2 Qc7 11. Rac1 Rac8 12. c4 dxc4 13. bxc4 cxd4 14. exd4 Rfe8
15. Rfe1 Qb8 16. Ne4 Na5 17. Neg5 Qf4 18. Nxe6 fxe6 19. Qxe6+ Kh8 20. Ne5 Bf8
21. Qh3 Kg8 22. Nd7 Ne4 23. f3 Ng5 24. Qh5 Re3 25. Ne5 Rxd3 26. Nxd3 Qf5 27. d5
Nxc4 28. Ba1 Bxd5 29. Kh1 Rc6 30. Nf2 Qg6 31. Qg4 Ne3 32. Rxc6 Nxg4 33. Rxg6
Nxf2+ 0-1[/pgn]
[pgn][Event "Grand Chess Tour Paris (Blitz)"]
[Site "Paris FRA"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[Round "18.1"]
[White "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Black "Fabiano Caruana"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2769"]
[BlackElo "2816"]
[PlyCount "243"]
[EventDate "2018.06.23"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 a6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Be6 7. e3 Nbd7 8.
Bd3 Bd6 9. O-O O-O 10. Rc1 c6 11. Bf4 Bxf4 12. exf4 Bg4 13. Be2 Bxf3 14. Bxf3
Re8 15. g3 Nb6 16. b3 Qd6 17. Qd3 Re7 18. Rfe1 Rae8 19. Re5 Nbd7 20. Rc2 Qb4
21. Rxe7 Rxe7 22. Kg2 Nf8 23. h4 Ne6 24. Ne2 Nc7 25. Qc3 Qxc3 26. Rxc3 Kf8 27.
h5 Ne4 28. Rc2 Nd6 29. Kf1 Re8 30. a4 a5 31. Nc1 Ne6 32. Ne2 Ra8 33. Bg4 f5 34.
Bf3 Ra6 35. Rc3 Rb6 36. Ke1 Rb4 37. Rd3 b5 38. Rc3 bxa4 39. bxa4 Nc4 40. Rc1
Rxa4 41. Nc3 Ra3 42. Be2 Nd6 43. Bd1 Nxd4 44. Ne2 N6b5 45. Nxd4 Nxd4 46. Rb1
Nb5 47. Be2 Nd6 48. Rb6 Rc3 49. Ra6 Rc5 50. f3 Ke7 51. Ra7+ Kf6 52. h6 gxh6 53.
Bd3 Rc3 54. Kd2 Ra3 55. Ra6 Ra2+ 56. Ke1 Rg2 57. Rxc6 Ke7 58. Rc7+ Ke6 59. Rxh7
Nf7 60. Bb5 Rxg3 61. Be8 Nd6 62. Kf2 Rh3 63. Bc6 d4 64. Kg2 Rh4 65. Kg3 Rh1 66.
Kg2 Ra1 67. Rxh6+ Ke7 68. Rh7+ Kf8 69. Rd7 Nc4 70. Rxd4 Rc1 71. Bb5 Nb6 72. Rd6
Nc4 73. Ra6 Ke7 74. Kf2 Rc2+ 75. Kg3 Ne3 76. Rxa5 Rg2+ 77. Kh4 Rg1 78. Ra6 Kf7
79. Ra3 Ng2+ 80. Kg3 Ne1+ 81. Kf2 Rh1 82. Bc4+ Kf6 83. Ra6+ Kg7 84. Ra7+ Kf6
85. Rf7+ Kg6 86. Rc7 Nc2 87. Rc6+ Kg7 88. Rc7+ Kf6 89. Rc6+ Kg7 90. Rd6 Nb4 91.
Be6 Kf6 92. Bc8+ Ke7 93. Rd7+ Kf6 94. Rd4 Rb1 95. Rd6+ Ke7 96. Rh6 Nd3+ 97. Ke3
Nc5 98. Bxf5 Rb3+ 99. Kf2 Kf7 100. Kg3 Rb2 101. Rc6 Rb5 102. Kg4 Ra5 103. Rb6
Na4 104. Rb7+ Kf6 105. Rb8 Nc3 106. Rb6+ Ke7 107. Be4 Ra1 108. f5 Rg1+ 109. Kf4
Kf7 110. Ke5 Ra1 111. Rb7+ Kf8 112. Rc7 Ra5+ 113. Kf6 Ra6+ 114. Kg5 Ne2 115. f6
Ra5+ 116. Kg4 Ra6 117. Kf5 Ra5+ 118. Kg4 Ra6 119. Kg5 Ra5+ 120. Kh6 Nf4 121.
Bg6 Ra8 122. Rh7 1-0[/pgn]
The next Grand Chess Tour event is the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz from August 11-15. For more information, check out the Official Website.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa West is a regular writer and digital assistant for US Chess News. She won the 2017 Chess Journalist of the Year award. You can follow her on Twitter: @Vanessa__West  

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