Aronian takes the knockout: Rapid Chess Championship Week 10
GM Levon Aronian won week 10 of the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship presented by Coinbasedefeating GM Alexander Grischuk in the knockout final.
GM Hikaru Nakamura won the Swiss tournament and qualified for the semi-finals with GM Fabiano Caruana. General managers Jeffery Xiong, Vidit Gujrathi, Dmitry Andreikin and Jose Martinez qualified for the quarter-finals.
Participating in the event were 38 elite players from FIDE’s Top 100 list, the world’s top 10 women and top 10 juniors, as well as 10 wildcards. The event will continue next weekend, April 23-24, from 9:00 a.m. Pacific / 6:00 p.m. Central Europe.
The Rapid Chess Championship is a weekly tournament organized by Chess.com. This is a nine-round Swiss event with 10+0 time control held every Saturday, followed by a Sunday knockout event between the top eight and 10+2 time control. players draw, they play another 3+2 game; if they are drawn, they play a 1+1 game; and if this is drawn, only one game of armageddon is played.
Nakamura sailed in first place, finishing undefeated and a clear point ahead of the peloton. He picked up a decisive victory over Aronian in the fifth round in an instructive IQP battle.
Andreikin finished second, starting the tournament with a three-game winning streak. He capped the streak with a victory over GM Wesley So, demonstrating a sense of clarity in a tactical position using a slow maneuver to gain material.
Caruana finished third with a strong undefeated performance, including a victory over Grischuk in the fifth round. The game featured a Nimzo-Indian with a mixture of an unusual kingside position and a queenside position where everything went well to win White’s doubled c4 pawn.
Aronian qualified with the best tiebreaker of those with a score of 5.5. In round eight, he accidentally repeated the position three times in a winning queen finish.
After this mishap, Aronian faced an inescapable last round against GM David Paravyan and managed to qualify in a two bishops against a knight and a bishop ending in an extra pawn.
The hilarious commentary duo of Naroditsky and Rensch breathed life into the well-trodden Berlin draw with this commentary gold coin:
Saturday Switzerland | Final ranking (Top 20)
(Full final standings here.)
In Nakamura’s quarter-final against Xiong, Xiong seemed to be playing for a kingside attack with 9…h5 but then abandoned that idea and turned his attention back to the center. Nakamura capitalized on Xiong’s inconsistency, gaining a significant space advantage and quickly knocking Black off the board with his advanced center pawns.
The Grischuk vs Vidit quarter-final was very close. In their quick game, Grischuk attempted to press a pawn end, but his opponent activated his pieces and picked up the pawn, even earning chances to win himself. The two repeated to draw in the race against time.
In the blitz playoff, Vidit insisted on a win for most of the game. As Naroditsky said: “Vidit has shown his intentions here. He wants to play this bare kings.” However, Grischuk managed to hold on in the end.
Vidit showed her intentions here. He wants to play this to naked kings.
—Daniel Naroditsky, Managing Director
In the playoffs, it was Grischuk pressing for victory in a winning ending. The game again reached the time of scrambling madness, leading to another draw.
In the armaggeddon playoffs, Grischuk was finally able to defeat Vidit who couldn’t win enough game with the unavoidable white pieces.
In the Andreikin quarter-final against Aronian, Aronian secured an ideal position for the Nimzo-Indians with pressure against White’s weakened queen-side pawns while his opponent’s king-side attack attempt sagged. proved unsuccessful. Aronian sealed his victory with a nice queen sacrifice forcing either a queen swap to a winning ending or an unexpected checkmate.
The Caruana vs Martinez quarter-final saw a complete opposite Nimzo-Indian. Caruana’s attack broke through on the kingside while his opponent failed to get enough pressure on the queenside. To seal the win, the American maneuvered his queen into the Peruvian’s position with a Qh1-h6-b6 attack to gain overwhelming pressure.
In the Nakamura semi-final against Grischuk, Grischuk overpowered his opponent in a d3 Ruy Lopez, winning a pawn. Nakamura put up fierce resistance, doing everything he could to limit Black’s plays. However, Grischuk was able to gradually unravel his position and convert his advantage.
In the fast-paced Caruana vs. Aronian semi-final, Caruana took the lead with the simple but effective 14.b3, leading to an active rook in seventh place. His opponent responded with the clever 23…Bb6, locking White’s rook on the b7-square and making it very difficult to press for victory without having access to his strongest remaining piece. Caruana decided to sacrifice a pawn to get his rook out and attempted to press the resulting endgame, but Aronian held the position without too much trouble.
Their blitz elimination was very even for most of the match when Aronian took advantage out of nowhere in the end of the round. Suddenly, under further pressure, Caruana’s mouse slipped, interfering with her tower.
The Grischuk vs. Aronian final was surprisingly one-sided after a mistake by Grischuk, who tried at every opportunity to generate counterplay, but his opponent wouldn’t let him back into the game.
Despite struggling in Switzerland, Aronian found great form in the knockout, cleanly beating three powerhouses, Nakamura, Caruana and Grischuk. In his winner’s interview, Aronian spoke about his state of mind during today’s matches: “Like yesterday it was so terrible, I thought things couldn’t get any worse so I was very relaxed.”
Since yesterday was so terrible, I thought things couldn’t get any worse, so I was very relaxed.
—GM Levon Aronian
Aronian also commented on his friendship and rivalry with fellow St. Louis grandmaster Caruana:
The winner of the Swiss tournament is Nakmaura and the winner of the knockout tournament is Aronian. Here’s the full standings and knockout prices:
Sunday knockout | Final ranking
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