Reports Oct 10, 2016 | 12:38 PMby Carlos Colodro

Isle of Man (9): Eljanov edges out Caruana

Pavel Eljanov finished one of the best tournaments of his career with a draw, which was enough to take first place in the Masters section of the Isle of Man International Open. Fabiano Caruana, meanwhile, beat Michael Adams, catching Eljanov on 7.5 points and sharing the prize money (£9,000 each), but finishing second on tiebreaks. Finally, Arkadij Naiditsch beat Maxim Rodshtein with the black pieces and was the only player to finished within half a point of the leaders. We've now also added Jan Gustafsson's video analysis of how 11-year-old IM Praggnanandhaa beat a GM in 18 moves!

Eljanov knew he'd won the event when the draw was signed | photo: Harry Gielen

You can see all the pairings and results below - click a game to watch it with computer analysis, or hover over a player's name to see their results in the tournament:

This was unquestionably a deserved victory for Eljanov. After five consecutive wins - where he beat direct rivals Naiditsch, Shirov and Vidit - Pavel rose to the occasion and held two draws against the two favourites on the island, Caruana and So. In the last round, the Ukrainian showed his experience and drew convincingly with Black, safe in the knowledge that even if Caruana were to win, the tiebreaks would be in his favour.

The Ukrainian leader got some revenge over the US no. 1 for losing out on Olympiad gold medals by the narrowest of margins, and also didn't forget his Olympiad teammates:

Volokitin's performance at the Olympiad

Pavel's excellent performance earned him 15.5 rating points, which put him in 16th place on the live ratings list. His main opponent also felt the victory was deserved.

Caruana's joy didn't just come from where he finished in the event as a whole, but from an excellent victory in the last round. The American lived up to his ranking to beat Mickey Adams "on demand". In a sharp Ruy Lopez, the Englishman put all his hopes on a direct kingside attack, which led him to sacrifice an exchange in the middlegame. Although the sacrifice is approved by the computer, the continuations needed to justify it are very difficult to find - especially in time trouble and against the second best player in the world. After 40 moves and with queens already off the board, it was only a matter of Caruana converting his advantage in the technical phase:

Caruana converted his extra exchange

Fabiano only needed five moves and about 15 minutes to force Adams' resignation, ending the tournament with an overall gain of 10 rating points - he now stands "only" 30 points behind Magnus Carlsen on the live ratings.

Lawrence Trent looks on as Adams tries to discover what went wrong | photo: Harry Gielen

Caruana's manager Lawrence Trent also participated in the Open and, although he'll try to forget his own performance as quickly as possible, he seemed happy to celebrate with Fabiano... by playing some more chess:

The other winner of the day was Arkadij Naiditsch, who took advantage of Maxim Rodshtein's optimism in a King's Indian. Here's the final position, but we recommend replaying the full game on our platform:


Naiditsch only lost one game - against Eljanov - and, after having had an Olympiad with many ups and downs (he didn't draw a single game), he gained 21.4 rating points here and in the Spanish League to return to the "2700 club".

Arkadij Naiditsch | photo: Harry Gielen

It seems appropriate to close this report with three Indian players:

16 year-old C.Y. Aravindh drew his last game against Hikaru Nakamura to finish with 6/9 points, the same amount achieved by the American, who failed to recover fully after his defeat against Bok in the fifth round.

A memorable game for Aravindh | photo: Harry Gielen

Harika Dronavalli ended an excellent tournament with a draw against Sergei Movsesian, tied for the top women's place half a point ahead of Hou Yifan, and clinched fifth place in the women's rankings.

The world's youngest IM, R. Praggnanandhaa, said goodbye to the Isle of Man with a beautiful miniature:

After only 18 moves, White is forced to resign, as he can't do anything against the discovered checks when the black knight moves.

Jan Gustafsson has now analysed that game for us:

The final standings at the top:

11GMCaruana FabianoUSA28137,5290810,4
5GMEljanov PavelUKR27417,5288015,5
310GMNaiditsch ArkadijAZE26847,0283414,9
42GMSo WesleyUSA27946,52767-0,4
11GMShirov AlexeiLAT26796,527669,5
16GMSalem A.R. SalehUAE26506,526736,4
21GMHowell David W LENG26446,5272311,0
83GMNakamura HikaruUSA27876,02695-8,3
4GMAdams MichaelENG27456,02723-1,5
8GMRodshtein MaximISR26876,027599,4
9GMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND26866,027002,6
13GMFressinet LaurentFRA26766,02635-4,0
14GMSargissian GabrielARM26706,02639-2,6
18GMGranda Zuniga Julio EPER26486,02619-2,1
22GMGrandelius NilsSWE26426,0273011,6
25GML'ami ErwinNED26056,026162,7
27GMLenderman AleksandrUSA25936,02567-1,6
31GMBrunello SabinoITA25666,026218,2
32GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND25646,025620,8

So, one of the strongest opens of the year is over, but the action continues in other parts of the world, with only one month left until the World Championship match. Millionaire Monday is coming in Atlantic City, while the Russian Superfinal begins next week in Novosibirsk. Don't forget to follow the games of these and many other tournaments in our live broadcasts section!

See also:

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