Fabiano Caruana vs Alexander Onischuk, Ruy Lopez C78, Archangel (Arkhangelsk) Variation
2018 US Chess Championship, Round 11, St. Louis, 04/29/18
Detailed theory of the Archangel Ruy Lopez: https://youtu.be/gf-5PDa619E
Fabiano Caruana missed the title by only half a point. Samuel Shankland gave him no chance to win because he had a very convincing performance in the second part of the tournament. Both players seemed to sweep up the competition, but Shankland was tiny bit more successful. Despite that Caruana’s performance is up to par with his wins at the Candidates and at the Grenke Classic. He played marvelous chess both positionally and tactically and he outperformed almost all his opponents.
In the final round he faced Alexander Onischuk (who finished last with 3/11) with white. Onischuk went for the Archangel Variation of the Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game). An opening which is considered slightly unsafe for black compared to the closed variations (Breyer, Chigorin…). Black does have a lot more activity, but he is also under a lot more pressure from white’s kingside attack.
Caruana’s play was simplicity itself. He put pressure on black’s center until he won a pawn. Then he won a second one and Onischuk resigned! It was as if Caruana was playing an amateur. Complete domination over the board.
2018 US Championship, final standings:
Samuel Shankland 8.5/11
Fabiano Caruana 8/11
Wesley So 6.5/11
Hikaru Nakamura 5.5/11
Aleksandr Lenderman 5.5/11
Jeffery Xiong 5/10
Zviad Izoria 5/11
Ray Robson 4.5/10
Yaroslav Zherebukh 4.5/11
Varuzhan Eduardovich Akobian 4.5/11
Awonder Liang 4.5/11
Alexander Onischuk 3/11
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.d3
Be7 8.Re1 O-O 9.a4 Re8 10.Nbd2 Bf8 11.Nf1 Na5 12.Ba2 d5
13.axb5 axb5 14.exd5 Bxd5 15.Bg5 Bxa2 16.Rxa2 e4 17.Bxf6 Qxf6
18.Rxe4 Rxe4 19.dxe4 Rd8 20.Qe2 Nc4 21.c3 Bc5 22.Ra1 g6 23.e5
Qc6 24.Ng3 Re8 25.b3 Nb6 26.Ra5 Bf8 27.Qxb5 Qxb5 28.Rxb5 Ra8