After two excellent results in Reggio Emilia and Wijk aan Zee, where he finished as runner-up, we all thought that the young American-Italian stud would have taken a deserved break, enjoying his new amazing position as No 10 in the top unofficial rating list http://www.2700chess.com/.
But "the Fab" Fabiano decided to go from the heaven of elite events to the muddy and slippery ground of the Open tournaments, as he's participating to the 11th Aeroflot Open, in a freezing Moscow. The Open is quite strong, with 6 players over 2700: Tomashevsky, Caruana, Nepomniachtchi, Le Quang, Vallejo Pons and Jobava, followed by Sasikiran, whose rating is exactly 2700.
But there is also a horde of 40 bellicose "over 2600", ready to fight for prizes and ELO points; strong players who in the past have had their spot in the elite club, such as Vladimir Akopian, Evgeny Alekseev - winner of Aeroflot 2007 - Bu Xiangzhi, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Ni Hua and Ivan Sokolov.
So, after a month during which Caruana has faced over the board almost exclusively 2700+ elite GrandMasters (with the exception of GM Van Wely), now he's bound to fight with some of these dangerous and fierce opponents.
It's not common to see a top 10 player play in such tournaments, and we have to give credit to Fabiano for his bravery.
Find information and standings about this strong Open here: www.chessclub.com/finger/Aeroflot12 - http://www.aeroflotchess.org/
After Round 3 Caruana led the pack with 2.5/3, and was steadily climbing up the ladder in the rating list, with the 7th place, only 2 points behind American GM Hikaru Nakamura, but then he lost to GM Korobov in Round 4, falling back again to #10 in the list. In Round5, playing a good game, Fabiano won against GM Khairullin, and now he places #8 in the rating list, very close to #7 GM Karjakin.
The unofficial rating list sees 5 players grouped in just 7 points, with Ivanchuk (10th) at 2763, Morozevich (9th) at 2764, Caruana (8th) at 2766, Karjakin (7th) at 2766 and Nakamura (6th) at 2770.
The Sicilian Defense is by far Black's most popular answer to 1 e4 at all levels of chess - but many White players prefer to avoid the main lines by playing one of the multitude of so-called 'Anti-Sicilian' lines on offer. These alternatives to 2 Nf3 include the primitive but dangerous Grand Prix Attack, one or two wild gambits, and also some tedious and niggling variations such as the Alapin with 2. c3, the Closed Sicilian, the Moscow/Rossolimo with 3. Bb5(+) and the KIA which are all designed to stamp out any fun Black was envisaging when playing 1...c5.
But fear not, because there's an antidote to it all: "Upholding the Sicilian" by IM Mark Ginsburg, who in a new video series provides a reliable repertoire to all those annoying sidelines!
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