Last week we had a puzzle featuring Fabiano Caruana crumbling to Magnus Carlsen’s superior positional play. This week, Caruana has a chance to redeem himself and showcase that he is no opponent to mock. In the eighth round of the blitz section of the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz tournament, Caruana with the white pieces is battling Sergey Karjakin, a Russian grandmaster who has earned the nickname Minister of Defense for his incredible defensive play. However, this time, he wasn’t quite as successful.
After a standard and simple English opening, most likely due to the time format, Caruana traded down into the following position, where he now has an elegant maneuver to force black’s pieces onto the right squares and eventually gain a material advantage. (White to move)
Last Week’s Solution:
12.Qh5 with Qxf6 13.Qxh3, or Bf5 13.Nxf5 exf5 14.Qe2+ Ne5 with f4 coming
With a very subtle move, Qh5 Carlsen effectively traps Caruana’s bishop on h3, forcing either the simple capture of a minor piece, or a positional nightmare if the bishop returns to f5. After the knight captures on f5 and black takes back with the pawn, the black king is left completely open for an attack with Qe2+. Since white’s pawn on f6 covers the e7 square, black must block with a knight move to e5, but since that knight is now pinned, the eventual pawn to f4 leads to a completely winning position for Magnus Carlsen.