D-day in Berlin!
Who will crack first?
Today it will be decided who will be Magnus Carlsen’s challenger! While Caruana is half a point ahead of Karjakin and Mamedyarov, and by a full point over Ding, the reality is that nothing less than a win with Black will be enough to absolutely guarantee his qualification. On paper each of these four gentlemen has his practical chances, some less than the others because of the tie-break rules, but what is certain beyond any doubt is that today nobody will be thinking of playing it safe!
Grischuk is a tough player to beat, especially when he plays White. I would think that Caruana has a 1% chance of winning. Karjakin against Ding is heavily in White’s favour, while Mamedyarov (with the Black pieces, like Caruana) has also about 1% chance of winning against Kramnik.
So I am of the opinion that Karjakin’s chances are the most realistic to challenge Carlsen later this year in London. HOWEVER, strong nerves are everything today, and we could very likely witness several surprises should one or more of the players crack. It should be a whole lot of fun to spectate today!
gm Caruana – gm Aronian Round_13 (1-0)
A surprisingly comfortable win by Caruana! Aronian never got a fully satisfactory position and his efforts to complicate in the middlegame backfired quickly.