American chess grand master Fabiano Caruana won the candidates tournament in Berlin and will now challenge world champion Magnus Carlsen in November. The Norwegian is looking to make his third title defense.The 25-year-old from Brooklyn beat Russia’s Alexander Grischuk in the 14th game to take his tally to nine points, one ahead of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan’s and Sergey Karjakin, also of Russia.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” said world number three Caruana.
“Coming into today, I wasn’t sure what would happen but things couldn’t have gone better. A few days ago, I thought the tournament was already out of my hands, but somehow things just came together perfectly at the end. I really couldn’t be happier.”
Caruana, 25, led the eight-man field from the start but had to withstand a fight-back from Karjakin, who beat the American in 48 moves on Saturday to temporarily send him top of the leaderboard with two rounds remaining.
But Caruana bounced back on Monday, using his extra day’s rest to his advantage to defeat pre-tournament favorite Levon Aronian of Armenia while Karjakin was held to a draw by American Wesley So.
He’ll face reigning champion Carlsen in London in November with the Norwegian looking to make a third successful defense of his title.
“It’s still so far away, but I’ll prepare very seriously for it,” said Caruana.
“I’ll come well-prepared. It will be a tough fight, but right now I’m not even thinking about it.”