Reggio Emilia starts…Caruana fumbles.
Why the change in format? Probably now that Italy has a superstar (Caruana) the organizers want to optimize his chances to win a big tournament on home turf…in anycase, the youngster fumbled a winning position in today’s first round against the Russian Morozevich. Probably the fast time control (100 minutes followed by 50 minutes to mate ; with 30 spm) can partly explain Caruana’s loss
You have to admire Caruana’s faith in himself: instead of playing more safely, he wants to put Black away by tactical means. Here he fumbles, however, and his position collapses in one move!
Good enough is 47.Qd3 Rxc4 (there is nothing better) 48. d7!! and Black is in zugzwang. If 48…Kh8 then simply 49.Qf3. But this is not the only way to bag the point: 47.Qe2 is also possible, with the same idea. If Black then tries to wiggle out with 47…Nxd6 then the pretty 48.Rxg7-ch! followed by Qxe5 is decisive.
INSTEAD, Caruana played the horrible 47.Nc7?? overlooking that after 47…Bxc4! 48.Qxc4 Nxd6! wins the house!
A lucky escape by the Russian and an unfortunate way for the local hero to start the tournament.