Xiong Catches Caruana, Drops World No. 2 in Weekend Tilt in St. Louis

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GMs Jeffery Xiong and Fabiano Caruana
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GM Jeffery Xiong scored his first-ever win over compatriot and World No. 2 GM Fabiano Caruana in the fifth round of the 2021 Sinquefield Cup. // photo Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

 

American Grandmaster Jeffery Xiong notched the biggest win of his career in St. Louis over the weekend, knocking off World No. 2 GM Fabiano Caruana in the fifth round of the 2021 Sinquefield Cup. 

In the final leg of the international circuit Grand Chess Tour on Saturday, the Dallas GM recovered from an awkward start in a Reti and pounced on two key mistakes made by his compatriot under time stress. Black’s awkward retreat at 23. … Nd8 allowed Xiong the strong 24. Nb4! and access to a central outpost. Caruana made a nice defusal toward an endgame with 32. … d3 to splinter White’s pawn structure, but in the worst of mutual time pressure chose the piece-dropping 34. … Rd8? with just seconds left on his clock. 

[pgn][Event "8th Sinquefield Cup 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.08.21"] [Round "5.4"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A08"] [WhiteElo "2710"] [BlackElo "2806"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2021.08.17"] {[%evp 12,72,23,25,58,41,41,38,38,-11,-10,-47,-29,-54,-50,-74,-27,-44,-33,-43, -35,-36,0,-3,0,-41,-29,-46,-48,-48,-48,-50,-53,-55,-2,-4,82,75,91,80,80,60,60, 60,72,63,79,58,58,8,0,8,39,30,37,30,52,23,352,343,352,343,508]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 e5 7. Nb3 a5 8. Bg5 a4 9. Nc1 Be6 { White is slightly better.} 10. e4 {[%eval -11,18]} (10. Nc3 $14 {[%eval 38,16]} ) 10... d4 11. f4 Be7 12. Nd3 Nc6 13. Bf3 {[#]} Nd7 {[%eval -27,18]} ({Black should try} 13... exf4 $1 $17 {[%eval -74,15]} 14. gxf4 Bh3) 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Nd2 {And now f5 would win.} b5 16. b3 f6 17. Bh5+ g6 18. f5 {[%eval -41,17]} Bf7 $15 19. fxg6 hxg6 20. Bg4 Be6 21. Bxe6 Qxe6 22. Nf3 g5 {[%eval -2,15]} ( 22... O-O $15 {[%eval -55,15]}) 23. Qe2 Nd8 {[%eval 82,14] [#]} (23... O-O $11 {[%eval -4,15]}) 24. Nb4 $1 $16 Rb8 25. Nd5 {Nc7+ is the strong threat.} O-O 26. h4 Nf7 27. hxg5 fxg5 28. Rf2 Nb6 $1 29. Qxb5 Nxd5 30. Qxd5 {[%eval 8,18]} ( 30. exd5 $14 {[%eval 58,14]} Qg4 31. Qc6) 30... Qxd5 $11 31. exd5 {With the idea Re1.} axb3 32. axb3 {Strongly threatening Ra6.} d3 33. cxd3 {Black must now prevent Ra6.} Rxb3 34. Ra6 {Hoping for Rg6+.} Rd8 $2 {[%eval 352,16][%mdl 8192]} (34... Rxd3 $11 {[%eval 23,18] and Black is okay.} 35. Rg6+ Kh7) 35. Rg6+ $18 Kh7 36. Rf6 Rxd3 {[%eval 508,19] Weighted Error Value: White=0.12/ Black=0.34} (36... Kg8 {[%eval 343,20] was worth a try.} 37. Rxf7 Kxf7) 1-0 [/pgn]

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2021 Sinquefield Cup R5 standings
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courtesy Grand Chess Tour

 

The result pulls Xiong to within a point off the Sinquefield’s leading pack, now back to 50-percent through five rounds, and drops Caruana out of that group, now sole fourth place at 3.0/5. Swapping with Caruana is French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who rejoined the leaders with his win in an Italian Game over GM Dariusz Swiercz on Saturday. 

[pgn][Event "8th Sinquefield Cup 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.08.21"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Swiercz, Dariusz"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C53"] [WhiteElo "2751"] [BlackElo "2655"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2021.08.17"] {[%evp 15,93,-13,23,9,62,62,67,-35,54,34,102,96,100,99,111,111,111,24,68,75,67, 8,8,-14,15,-9,-9,-36,33,33,61,52,67,70,88,78,78,86,69,68,107,103,159,152,159, 157,263,264,273,271,311,311,311,183,184,186,211,210,219,219,219,201,269,269, 318,317,411,316,412,406,1029,1030,932,959,973,1010,1005,1009,29995,29990]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Re1 Bg4 9. Nbd2 Nb6 {[%eval 62,17]} (9... Bb6 $11 {[%eval 9,16]}) 10. h3 $14 Bh5 11. Bb3 {[%eval -35,15]} (11. b4 $14 {[%eval 67,17]} Be7 12. Qe2) 11... Kh8 { [%eval 54,18]} ({Black should try} 11... Qxd3 $15 {[%eval -35,15]} 12. Bc2 Bxf3 13. Nxf3 Qxd1 14. Bxd1 Rae8) 12. Ne4 Nd7 {[%eval 102,17]} ({Black should play} 12... Be7 $14 {[%eval 34,17]}) 13. Bd5 Bb6 14. Ng3 Bxf3 15. Qxf3 f5 {With the idea ...e4!} 16. d4 {[%eval 24,17]} (16. Nxf5 $2 g6 $19) (16. Bxc6 $16 { [%eval 111,16]} bxc6 17. Ne2 (17. Nxf5 $2 g6 $19) (17. Qxc6 Nc5 $15)) 16... f4 {[%eval 68,16]} (16... exd4 $11 {[%eval 24,17] should be considered.} 17. Bxc6 (17. Nxf5 $2 g6 $19) 17... bxc6) 17. Ne4 Qh4 18. Nd2 {[%eval 8,18]} (18. Nc5 $1 $14 {[%eval 67,17]} Nxc5 19. dxc5 Bxc5 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Rxe5) 18... exd4 $11 19. Nc4 Rad8 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Bd2 Nf6 {[%eval 33,17]} ({Better is} 21... d3 $1 $15 {[%eval -36,17]}) 22. Nxb6 $14 ({Much weaker is} 22. Bxf4 Nh5 $17) ({Reject } 22. Qxf4 Qxf4 23. Bxf4 dxc3 $15) 22... cxb6 23. cxd4 c5 24. Re7 Rxd4 25. Bc3 Nd5 26. Rxa7 Nxc3 27. bxc3 Rdd8 {White stays focused until the end.} 28. Re1 $40 {[%mdl 128] Black is in trouble.} c4 {[%eval 159,18]} (28... Rfe8 $142 { [%eval 103,19]} 29. Rxe8+ Rxe8) 29. Re4 $16 b5 30. a4 $1 Rd3 {[%eval 263,18] [#]} (30... bxa4 $16 {[%eval 157,18] was necessary.} 31. Rxc4 a3 32. Rxa3 Qe7) 31. Qxf4 $3 $18 {[%mdl 512]} Qxf4 (31... Qd8 32. Qe5) 32. Rxf4 {[%cal Rf4f8] [%mdl 4096] Endgame KRR-KRR} Rg8 33. axb5 {Strongly threatening b6.} Rxc3 34. Rc7 {[%eval 183,22]} (34. b6 $142 {[%eval 311,20] aiming for b7.} h5 35. Rc7) 34... Rb3 {[#]} 35. Rc5 $1 c3 36. Rfc4 h6 37. Rxc3 Rb1+ 38. Kh2 Kh7 39. Rg3 Rb2 40. f4 g6 41. f5 g5 42. Rd3 Re8 {[%eval 1029,19]} (42... Rg7 $142 {[%eval 406, 18]} 43. Rd6 Rf7) 43. Rd7+ Kg8 44. Rc6 Rxb5 45. Rg6+ Kf8 46. Rxh6 {[%cal Rh6h8] } Kg8 47. f6 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.20/Black=0.47} 1-0 [/pgn]

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GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
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French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave rejoined the leaders' pack with a Round 5 win over GM Dariusz Sweircz. // photo Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

 

The remaining three games of Round 5 all finished peacefully, including a 2021 World Cup rematch between American GM Sam Shankland and Russian GM Peter Svidler, who was just looking to stop the bleeding after a 0.5/4 start in St. Louis; GM Leinier Dominguez, who kept his share of the lead by drawing Azerbaijan GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a Queens Gambit Accepted; as well as GM Wesley So, who admitted to an excess coffee intake and a poor night’s sleep before a 17-move quick draw with Hungarian GM Richard Rapport in a Berlin. 

 

[pgn][Event "8th Sinquefield Cup 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.08.21"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D27"] [WhiteElo "2782"] [BlackElo "2758"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2021.08.17"] {[%evp 11,78,63,58,26,26,14,25,25,26,31,31,0,0,-1,20,29,16,15,30,14,17,-2,0, -25,0,0,16,0,-11,-40,-40,-40,-8,1,21,-43,8,8,8,8,8,8,8,8,8,7,8,8,8,8,7,8,8,8,8, 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,3,5,3,5,0,5]} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 a6 6. O-O c5 7. Re1 Nc6 8. Bd3 cxd4 9. exd4 {White has an edge.} Be7 10. Nc3 O-O 11. Ne5 Nxd4 12. Bf4 Nf5 13. Qc2 Nd4 14. Qd1 Nf5 {[%cal Bd4f5,Bf5h4,Bh4g6] [%mdl 32]} 15. Qf3 Nh4 16. Qh3 Nd5 17. Bg3 {[#] And now Bxh4 would win.} Ng6 18. Rad1 Bf6 19. Bb1 Qb6 20. Qh5 Nxc3 21. bxc3 Bxe5 22. Bxe5 Rd8 23. h4 { [%eval -43,15]} (23. Bd4 $11 {[%eval 21,15]} Qb5 24. Qxb5 axb5 25. Bc5) 23... Rxd1 {[%eval 8,14]} ({Black should try} 23... Bd7 $1 $15 {[%eval -43,15]}) 24. Rxd1 $11 {Black must now prevent Bxg6.The position is equal.} Bd7 $1 {[#]} 25. Bxg7 $1 Kxg7 26. Bxg6 hxg6 27. Qe5+ Kg8 {Strongly threatening ...Bc6.} 28. Rxd7 {[%mdl 4096] Endgame KQR-KQR} Rd8 $132 {[%mdl 2048] Black is not keeping still} 29. Re7 Qb1+ ({But not} 29... Rd1+ $6 30. Kh2 $16) 30. Kh2 Qf5 31. Qxf5 exf5 32. Rxb7 {KR-KR} Rd2 33. f3 Rxa2 34. Ra7 Rc2 35. Rxa6 Rxc3 36. Ra8+ Kg7 37. Ra6 Kg8 38. Ra8+ Kg7 39. Ra6 Kg8 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.11/Black=0.05} 1/2-1/2 [/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 "2021.08.21"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Svidler, Peter"] [Black "Shankland, Sam"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2714"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2021.08.17"] {[%evp 13,47,14,18,16,19,0,63,65,65,44,63,62,62,48,39,38,46,42,46,32,52,30,60, 21,24,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bd3 e5 7. Nde2 Be6 8. O-O Nc6 9. f4 exf4 {[%eval 63,16]} (9... Be7 $11 { [%eval 0,16]}) 10. Nxf4 $14 {White is slightly better.} Ne5 11. a4 g6 12. Be2 Bg7 13. Be3 O-O 14. a5 Rc8 15. Ra4 Re8 16. h3 Qe7 17. Bd4 h5 18. Qe1 Bd7 { [#] aiming for ...Rxc3.} 19. Nfd5 Nxd5 {The position is equal.} 20. Nxd5 Qe6 21. Nf4 Qe7 22. Nd5 Qe6 23. Nf4 Qe7 24. Nd5 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.09/ Black=0.11} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

The Sinquefield Cup had a rest day on Sunday and returns for its second act beginning with Round 6 on Monday at 3:00 p.m. St. Louis time. Pairings and results are found on the Grand Chess Tour website, while Monday’s action will be broadcast live alongside the commentary team of GMs Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley, and Alejandro Ramirez on the Kasparov Chess Twitch channel

 

Comments

Thanks so much for the return of the no hassle instant downloads with reasonably good notes on each individual game ..the future of US chess is staggering..THANK YOU
"the QUEENS GAMBIT"! you only need one monster sponsor: NIKE, Coca Cola(already a world chess federation /FIDE sponsor!) or a major airline to hold monster stand alone WORLD RATED tournaments in all 50 states that will involve people everywhere by qualifying them to a million dollar first prize US chess championship stand alone final..laugh if you want..it will happen. People will know you are out there. Because the US Chess organization is absolutely last...it will be absolutely first. Forget St. Louis... marvelous as its tight ship super pro chess organization is .US Chess is like ZZTop..nationwide albeit on tiny tracks. Your railroad tracks have run to every hamlet in the nation for 80 years. It may seem mickey mouse amateurs' chess at times.. but like hundreds of the tiny Envie decatur street french quarter coffee shop (New Orleans) Monday and Thursday nights perpetual mini US chess rated 4 hour long tournaments ... US chess is there in the shadows... always.
Jude Acers/ New Orleans

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