Quadruple Queens and Raining Rooks: Bluebaum and Navara advance to final

GMs Matthias Bluebaum and David Navara advanced to the 2022 Fischer Random World Championship Qualifying Final 2 on Tuesday. Armageddon.

General Managers Alexey Sarana and Daniel Naroditsky reached the semi-finals. IM V Pranav, GMrs. Alexander Donchenko, Vincent Keymer and Vladislav Kovalev reached the quarter-finals.

Qualification 2 continues with the final on August 21, from 5:00 a.m. PT / 6:00 p.m. CEST.

How to watch?

Live stream of this weekend’s tournament, hosted by GM Jon Hammer.

This was Fischer Random’s starting position for the quarter-finals. In 2020, the supercomputer Sesse evaluated all 960 possible starting positions in Fischer Random. This position was rated as +0.15―closer to equality than the standard chess setup, which was rated as +0.22.

Seeing how each of these eight strong players handle the same new starting position gives us some of the nuance between the different styles we see in regular chess mixed with the larger creative possibilities of Fischer Random.

Bluebaum was the only player to win the position with white and black.

Navara secured a dominant opening position with white against Keymer, taking control of the center and excluding black’s a8-bishop. From there, he discovered an exchange sacrifice to create two passed pawns connected in the center.

However, Keymer fought back and even got an advantage in the end until he overlooked Navara’s unstoppable outside passed pawns.

Navara tied the second game as black to win the match.

After an initial draw, Sarana against Donchenko resulted in a surreal second game, all or nothing, with both teams promoting a second queen.

Pranav and Naroditsky drew twice to bring it all back to an Armageddon playoff from the same starting position.

Naroditsky offered 11:30 minutes for black with odds of a draw. The time deficit can often carry more weight in Fischer Random since players have to think more early in the game due to the lack of opening theory. Yet the toss is a powerful tool, not just because you have two outcomes in your favor, but because there is psychological pressure on your opponent to play for the win and keep the game alive. , whatever happens.

Pranav was insistent for much of the game, but the moment he let his advantage slip away, Naroditsky jumped at the chance for counterplay, activating his pieces and rolling his connected past Kingside panels across the board.

Semi-final matches featured this new Chess960 position, which is valued at +0.21 in favor of white. This is nearly the same rating as a regular chess set, but all opening variations are new avenues to explore.

Navara defeated Naroditsky with white reacting to his opponent’s attack with a superb rook sacrifice, tearing the kingside apart.

Naroditsky nearly tied the score and triggered a playoff in Game 2. He created the imbalance of the queen and two pawns against the rook, bishop and knight and pressed over 135 moves before firing.

Surprisingly, Sarana and Bluebaum both won as blacks. Can you find the clever tactic Bluebaum came up with for his win?

Sarana, on the other hand, picked up a win from an equal double rook and knight. In the Armageddon playoffs, Bluebaum offered 11:25 minutes to win the black pieces. Although Sarana had chances to win for much of the match, he neglected a repeat three times, immediately ending the match in favor of Bluebaum.

Qualify 2 Knockout Semi-Finals

The Fischer Random World Championship, presented by the Icelandic government and the city of Reykjavik, brings together top players from around the world to compete in a series of classic Fischer Random games for their share of the $400,000 prize and the title of FIDE Fischer Random World Champion. Fischer Random (also known as Chess960) is a chess variant where all the standard chess rules are the same except for the starting position of the pieces, which can be in any of 960 semi-random configurations. Strongly endorsed by GM 11th World Champion Bobby Fischer, the variant eschews opening preparation to highlight players’ true understanding of chess.

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