Canty conquers Kavutskiy: 2022 IMSCC, Round of 16

FM James Canty III and MI Kostya Kavutskiy faced off on Friday in the 16-game third round of the IM Not A GM Speed ​​Chess Championship. Pre-match favorite Canty managed to avoid a valiant comeback effort from Kavutskiy in the quicker time checks and the match ended 13.5-10.5 in favor of the eighth seed.

The next IMSCC game between IMs Polina Shuvalova and David Pruess starts on Thursday, May 19, at 10 a.m. Pacific / 7 p.m. Central Europe.

Blitz 5|1: Canty-Kavutsky 5-3

Canty crushed predictions that the two would be neck and neck from the start, getting a blistering start that saw him take a 5-0 lead into 5+1 time control.

The popular streamer showed early on that he was ready to get into theoretical talks, displaying a deep understanding of the Makogonov Variation in India’s King’s Defense in Game 2.

With desperation setting in, Kavutskiy opted for the Trompowsky attack (seen at the 2016 World Championship!), perhaps drawing inspiration from Wednesday’s Round of 16 winner IM Lawrence Trent, who practices the opener. After several moves, the position had reached a configuration that resembled a Najdorf although, without the benefit of having reached a known position, chaos ensued.

A pawn sacrifice from Kavutskiy was not enough to gain a significant advantage and after reaching a technically drawn rook and pawn end, the game swung again in Canty’s favor.

As Game 5 drew to a close, commentators were in disbelief that Canty had managed a clean sweep so far, noting that predictions had indicated the two were so close on paper.

After several tough defeats, an aggravated Kavutskiy said enough was enough and again launched a dynamic version of Trompowsky’s attack, this time saving his opponent’s position after an untimely error on move 24.

The victory instilled a boost of confidence in Kavutskiy and he managed to pull off back-to-back wins in Games 7 and 8 to cut the deficit to three points, well off the five-point margin at the start of the season. match.

Blitz 3|1: Canty-Kavutsky 4-4

Friday’s 3+1 split was closer and Kavutskiy was the first to strike, capitalizing on Canty’s early two errors. Despite originating as a Chigorin opener, the position quickly looked like a Gruenfeld gone bad for Canty. Kavutskiy didn’t need permission to plant a passed pawn on the d3 square with obvious intent and ultimately prevailed with two queens and checkmate on the board.

Kostia Kavutsky. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The two traded blows over the next few games in a period where both could only manage wins with the black pieces. Match 12 turned into a slugfest after Kavutskiy sacrificed his queen for three coins. The position quickly became a battle between coordination (three pieces) and brute force (the queen), a battle which Canty won with a “brilliant” exchange sacrifice.

Maintaining a slim two-point margin, a miracle save for Canty was a welcome relief in the next game, which Kavutskiy could have won if precise moves had been played.

A hilarious moment in the penultimate occurred when Canty nearly fell out of his chair after spotting a wayward trick in an ending where he nearly repeated moves.

The excitement never waned throughout the 3+1 section and the final game was no exception. The rating bar cartwheeled as players guessed their way through a frenetic position with just seconds on the clock, with Kavutskiy ultimately benefiting from a frustrating blunder from Canty.

Bullet 1|1: Canty-Kavutski 4.5-3.5

Starting with’s ball ratings separated by only a single point and a three point difference in the match and similar characteristics in the SmarterChess prediction chart, the 1+1 segment promised to be high resolution tension and bite to match it.

The ball matches were split almost evenly, which would have left Kavutskiy lamenting his slow start to the game. Canty quickly won the first two games of the split, leaving Kavutskiy trailing by an almost insurmountable margin with the game counting down.

Building up a promising position in Game 18, Kavutskiy attempted to close the margin with enterprising play but overshot his advantage and fell victim to a heartbreaking queen trap.

With the match out of reach, Kavutskiy kept fighting until the clock expired, saving a draw in a position where he had lost an entire tower!

Both players engaged in an entertaining interview at the end of the match where Canty joked that he felt he needed to win as Kavutskiy was “talking trash” during the match, which Kavutskiy smartly played with. and admitted his “talking trash was probably a mistake.”

After Canty’s heroics on Friday, he will progress to play against the winner of the match between Shuvalova and Pruess in the quarter-finals.

All matches – Round of 16

2022 IM Speed ​​Chess Championship Bracket

2022 IM Speed ​​Chess Championship Results

The IM Not A GM Speed ​​Chess Championship (IMSCC) is an online event where some of the best IMs and other guest players compete in a series of speed chess matches. Each match consists of a 5+1 blitz segment, a 3+1 blitz segment and a 1+1 bullet segment, with the player who scores the most points winning the match. If there is a tie, the players play a four-game 1+1 match to determine the winner. If the tie persists, an Armageddon game with a bidding system decides the winner.

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