Champions Chess Tour Finals Day 6: Carlsen strengthens lead
In the sixth round of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour FinalGM Magnus Carlsen bolstered their lead by beating GM Anish Giri in the blitz tiebreaker, but GM Teimour Radjabov kept the chase going, beating GM Wesley So 3-1.
Besides these matches, GM Levon Aronian missed a one-shot checkmate against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, GM Vladislav Artemiev faced GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played against GM Hikaru Nakamura .
Let’s see how the day went!
This match started quite unexpectedly: Aronian was White, he opened with 1.e4, and Duda responded with the French. The players followed about fifteen shots of the pointed variant of Winawer, then played a few shots on their own, then on shot 18 Aronien… missed the checkmate in one. A huge gift for the great Polish master!
The next two games were solid and relatively uneventful, with a tie almost never out of the question. The last quick play of the match saw Aronian in an inescapable situation as Black.
The Armenian super grandmaster opted for a Benoni type position, was between much worse and lost, but then managed to bail out and slowly began to dominate white. With a big swap sacrifice (for more swap sacrifices from the Armenian star check out Aronian-Giri from round 4) he got a significantly better final and it looked like he was about to win, but Duda held the position to win the game and score three full match points.
A really unfortunate result for Aronian, who can attribute everything to the blunder of the first game.
The Azeri general manager didn’t have a good start to the tournament, but around the middle of the event he started warming up and winning matches. Round 6 also treated him very well: in Game 1 he got a slight advantage in the super-solid Queen’s Gambit Declined against So, then slowly squeezed the opponent to score a full point. I highly recommend everyone to learn the late game technique through Radjabov games!
In the second round, Radjabov picked Berlin as Black and secured a very solid position. His American opponent underestimated Black’s attack on the h-file and had to forgo a rally, which Radjabov convincingly converted to score another victory and almost seal the game: 2-0!
Needing to win with Black, the American grandmaster chose the trendline 5 … b5 in the Viennese variant of the Queen’s Gambit Declined and secured a rather unpleasant position. However, he then managed to pull himself out of a mess and began to dominate White. Radjabov defended cautiously and got a draw round final, but then made an absolutely direct error and lost, leaving the opponent to stay in the game.
In the last game So was still in a situation where it was absolutely necessary to win, but this time he had the white pieces. He opted for the Italian game, was better, but didn’t properly deal with Radjabov’s aggression on the king wing and quickly saw his position crumble. As a result, the Azeri general manager won the match in the quick segment to score all three full match points.
This result is excellent news for Carlsen, who increases his lead in the general classification.
As we now know, Radjabov did a great service to the World Champion by beating his closest rival in the event. As for the Norwegian himself, he did not have an easy game.
In the first game, Giri got a significant advantage over the English, but Carlsen managed to defend well and hold the position. In the second round, the Norwegian faced the English with the Whites, but Giri was again much better. However, with careful play, the world champion got another draw.
In the third round Carlsen chose Dubov Tarrasch, in which he equalized rather comfortably to draw, and finally, in the fourth round, Giri didn’t have much trouble neutralizing the Moscow variant of the Sicilian.
And, let’s go for the blitz playoffs. Giri had a very interesting idea in the Rossolimo and asked the opponent to sacrifice a queen for three coins. White was winning for a short period of time but failed to find a way to capitalize on his lead in development, only to see Black crumble and use his three pieces to easily win the game. Let’s see how it happened:
In the last blitz game, Carlsen only needed a draw with the Whites. He once again chose the Moscow variant of the Sicilian, controlled the position and left no chance for the opponent to win the match. The world champion won the blitz segment and got two match points.
Psychologically, the great Azeri master made a very interesting choice in this game. As many know, Nakamura is formidable in blitz time controls and apparently sought to draw quick games quickly and move the match into the blitz part of the match.
However, Mamedyarov had something to say about it. In the first round, with an aggressive Blumenfeld gambit, he quickly had tremendous pressure for the sacrificed pawn and won completely. True, the American streamer showed great defensive skills and then saved the game.
In the second round the position was even all the time, but when it looked like the players were about to accept a draw, on the 70th move Nakamura played it somewhat poorly, having ignored the dangers of giving up. the wing-king, and the white bishop quickly proved superior. to the black knight, which allowed the Azeri GM to gain the advantage: 1.5-0.5.
In Game 3, Mamedyarov secured a solid position in the Queen’s Gambit Declined, but then underestimated the dangers of the white center. Once Nakamura started advancing his pawns to gain an advantage, he never let go and scored a convincing victory to even the score.
In the last quick game, the tie was never disturbed, and after the draw, the players moved on to the blitz part of the match.
In the first blitz match, Mamedyarov, who was white, repeated the same variation as in the last quick encounter. Black was doing perfectly fine to a point, but the Azeri player managed to tie up the entire queen side with a positional pawn sacrifice. Things quickly started to turn sour for Nakamura and he quickly quit.
Nakamura was not yet finished, and produced the match of the day with his back to the wall:
In Armageddon, Nakamura chose the white pieces, which gave him five minutes to four, but put him in an inescapable situation (again!). Mamedyarov handled the position well and got a winning final with an extra pawn and no counterplay for the opponent. However, he then allowed absolutely unnecessary activity on the king’s wing, lost all of his pawns, and couldn’t stop the white h-pawn from making a queen, which allowed Nakamura to come back from among them. dead and win the match by scoring two match points.
The Russian player had some great victories in the last rounds, and this time he started with the white pieces. In the first game he chose the Trompovsky Attack and was pretty close to victory, but MVL saved the game with solid defense. In the next round, Artemiev opted for his trusty Caro-Kann and dominated the French grandmaster in brilliant style. A fantastic position game!
The third game went rather without incident and saw the players share the point, but in the last round, in an unavoidable situation, Vachier-Lagrave managed to retaliate in the Caro-Kann, equalize the score and take the blitz match. playoffs.
In the first blitz match, Artemiev unexpectedly chose the Alekhine defense. The Frenchman had no solid arguments, which made it easy for Black to equalize and then gain a large advantage, which he did not convert, however.
In the next meeting, Vachier-Lagrave opted for the Dutch defense, advanced his pawn a little too ambitiously and was lost at move 12 or so. Up to a point, Artemiev converted his advantage very convincingly, but then allowed Black to get a draw round final. However, MVL didn’t take his chance to save a half point, quickly turned awry and lost, allowing the Russian GM to pick up two match points and continue his winning streak.
All Round 6 games
The $ 300,000 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour final will take place September 25 – October 4, 2021 on chess24. The format is a 10-player round robin, with each round playing a quick four-game match. The time control is 15 minutes for the entire game plus a 10 second increment.