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The Week in Chess

Chess News from throughout the World
  1. Clutch Chess Champions Showdown 2020 - Games and Results

    The Clutch Chess Champions Showdown takes place online Tuesday, May 26 - Friday, May 29 2020 and organised by the Saint Louis Chess Club. The format created by Maurice Ashley awards the normal points in a 12 game match (time control 10 minutes plus 10 seconds a move) but doubles these for games 5 and 6 at the end of day 1 and trebles them for the final games 11 and 12. This should mean that matches have tense finishes. If successful a further even in June with more players is planned. Players: Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Leinier Dominguez and Hikaru Nakamura.
  2. Karjakin somehow survives to fight another day against Dubov in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge - Day 7

    The seventh day of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge produced some of the most exciting chess of the event so far. Magnus Carlsen defeated Wesley So 2.5-0.5 again in their second mini-match to go through 2-0. Carlsen outplayed So wonderfully in game one in a Ruy Lopez Berlin/Giuoco Pianissimo position, a classy positional display, game two was quickly draw, in game three So threw caution to the wind and got a genuine mess on the board, according to computers Carlsen was better for much of the game but he had no idea what was going on late in the game and 31.Kh1 would have posed him problems.

    Daniel Dubov will wonder how he is not through to the second round after losing a final decisive Armageddon game to Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin scored his first win against Dubov in this tie beating him with white in the first game of the day. 1.e4 Nc6 was Dubov's surprise choice as black and it got him equality but he then started to go astray (maybe starting with 19...Bg5) and lost a pawn and in spite of stout resistance later the game. Dubov struck back in game two winning a long manoeuvring game. Game 3 was a fiasco for Karjakin who thought he remembered the theory for the line of the Scandinavian Dubov played, but in fact was playing moves for a different line and he could have resigned after just 15 moves. So far, so good, for Dubov who only needed a draw with white in game 4, he chose a very solid setup and asked Karjakin to break through. Dubov seemed to have everything under control until he assumed he was repeating a position when he wasn't and allowed a winning piece sacrifice for Karjakin. In the final Armageddon game Karjakin chose black and this meant Dubov had to win to win the match, Dubov got a winning attack but couldn't find his way through the complications, 30.Nh4 was winning but maybe 30.Qf2 was a better way, 34.e6? was a mistake leading to more or less equal play 34.Bxg6 was the winner, 34.Rf6 was good for Dubov. Karjakin said thinking of his win from 2-0 down against Svidler in the World Cup kept his spirits up.

    Tomorrow Wednesday 27th May at 3pm BST Karjakin and Dubov play a final match alongside Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi while Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen who face each other in the semi-final have a day off.

  3. Nakamura through and Ding survives on day 6 of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge - Day 6

    Hikaru Nakamura looked very comfortable in progressing to the semi-finals of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge by defeating Levon Aronian 2-0 in their mini-matches. Nakamura will now have three days off to prepare for the winner of Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So. In the other match Ding Liren levelled his tie against Yu Yangyi winning 2.5-1.5.

    Aronian was defeated an the Armageddon tie-break after a 2-2 tie in their first mini-match and would have been anxious to avoid that option today. In game one Aronian was very comfortable out of the opening with black but he got into major trouble in the following sequence 27.c4 Nc7?! (27...bxc4) 28.Kg2 (28.Bf2 was better) 28....Ne6?! (28....b4=) 29.Bf2 Qe7? (it's already tricky but this is definitely bad) and Nakamura ended up winning. In game two Nakamura's defence to the Bf4 Queen's Gambit we all know so well from these online events held up again for a draw (he was actually better). In game three Nakamura seemed content to draw with white and in the final game Aronian finally got the kind of position he wanted until Nakamura tore the initiative from him with 17...f5. The computers think is very bad but at this time control Aronian couldn't find his way through and after 21.Qc1? Nakamura was already better (21.d4! fighting fire with fire was the way). Nakamura quickly wrapped up the win. Nakamura whose chess grew up online still looks very much at home here.

    In the other semi-final Ding Liren got off to a flying start when he absolutely strangled his opponent Yu Yangyi in game one in a beautiful positional effort, Yu Yangyi was better in game two but Ding escaped with a draw in a bishops of opposite colours endgame. Ding was generally a bit better in the third drawn game, in the final game of today's tie there was a sharp Two Knights Defence where Ding seemed to confuse his move order (10...h6?! 10..0-0 is better) but Yu soon went wrong himself. Then in a perfect example of Ben Finegold's "don't play f3!" advice - Yu played f3 and immediately had a lost position. Ding's 14...Bc5+ sets up the crushing 15...Qh3 after 50.Kh8 so Yu had to take a lost position instead. Ding got a long way towards winning spectacularly but when he went slightly wrong he just forced the draw he needed to take the match into Wednesday's third and final mini-match.

    Tuesday 26th May: Carlsen-So and Karjakin-Dubov second set of mini-matches.

  4. Carlsen and Dubov win quickly on day five of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge - Day 5

    Magnus Carlsen beat Wesley So 2.5-0.5 and Daniil Dubov beat Sergey Karjakin 3-0 in the first rubbers of their matches in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge.

    In this knockout phase the ties are best of three mini-matches. Carlsen won the first game in a sharp variation where So allowed a Queen sacrifice that left him hopelessly tied up. In game two So was much better and at various stages winning (the final win was 45.R5e3) but in a position that had spiraled out of control. Near the end So turned down a draw by repetition and just lost. So repeated early on in game 3 to take a draw, clearly he'd had enough for the day.

    Daniil Dubov took the battle to Sergey Karjakin and won 3-0 as a result. The first game was a very sharp computer line where Dubov was extremely familiar with all the ideas deep into the endgame. It proved a bit much for Karjakin who went astray and lost. The second game was a wild battle where Karjakin had computer wins all over the board but it was not so easy for humans and he eventually lost on time. In the final game Karjakin got the kind of messy position he was seeking with black even though he was several tempo down on a not very good setup in the first place. Dubov however outplayed him and won. Afterwards Dubov said he got upset at Karjakin being disconnected for about 10 minutes and played to win the game when a draw would do (Carlsen too spoke about how disturbing it is to have your opponent disconnected).

    We're back to Yu Yangyi vs Ding Liren and Nakamura vs Aronian on Monday 25th May at 3pm BST. Both Ding and Aronian must win in this second set of mini-matches in order extend these ties into the final day on Wednesday.

  5. IM Not A GM Speed Chess 2020 - Games and Results

    The IM Not A GM Speed Chess tournament took place on The event started on April 18th and finished on May 23rd. Some of the most well known figures in online broadcasting and chess provision compete in long blitz matches consisting of 75 minutes of 5+1 blitz, 45 minutes of 3+1 blitz, and 25 minutes of 1+1 bullet chess. In the final John Bartholomew beat Alina Kashlinskaya 11.5-8.5.
  6. Armageddon games decide both rubbers on the first day of the Lindores Abbey Final 8 - Day 4

    Lindores AbbeyHikaru Nakamura and Yu Yangyi's superior online experience won them the first rubbers in their matches against Levon Aronian and Ding Liren, both were settled in Armageddon tie-breaks in the Lindores Abbey Rapid tournament. The ties are the best of three mini-matches.

    Aronian won a marathon first game against Nakamura where he had a nice advantage out of the opening in Nakamura's favourite defence to the Bf4 Queen's Gambit, he let this go but Nakamura made an error that put him back in trouble again and left him defending a Rook vs Rook and Bishop endgame which Aronian eventually won. The second game was drawn, Nakamura missed a chance after 15.Qb2? to obtain a winning position but missed this and drew that too, in game for Nakamura got a lovely position out of a Petroff and won the nicest game of the match. In the Armageddon Nakamura needed a draw with black and his speedy and solid play left him a comfortable winner on time in the end.

    Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi both missed a few half chances in their four rapid games but it wasn't anything like as dramatic as the other match. In the Armageddon Ding needed a draw with black, got a completely winning position but it was time he needed and Yu had a few key seconds more and won leaving Ding looking pretty stunned and upset afterwards.

    These players will return on Monday for the second rubber of this match which Aronian and Ding must win. Sunday sees Carlsen-So and Karjakin-Dubov play their first rubber.

  7. ECF Checkmate Covid-19! 2020 - Charity

    The ECF Checkmate Covid-19 Chess Charity Marathon will be played from 5.00pm on Saturday 23rd May to 5.00pm on Sunday 24th May. The whole event will be played on, and will be open to members of the English Chess Federation Open Club. Full details
  8. Nakamura tops the first stage of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge - Day 3

    Hikaru Nakamura won the qualifying stage of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge with an undefeated 7.5/11. He drew against Wei Yi and Wesley So on the final day beating Jan-Krzysztof Duda in between. Nakamura has a highly successful streaming channel and it broadcast commentary by Robert Hess and WFM Alexandra Botez during play and Nakamura gave brief interviews. Carlsen later tweeted that "We distribute the MC Tour moves widely, but having participants re-package as competitors brand in own stream is not okay." But Nakamura did inform the organisers beforehand and currently it seems he didn't break any rules.

    Magnus Carlsen described his own qualification for the knockout phase as a shitshow, this vulgar term showing just how displeased he was with his performance. His loss to Daniil Dubov put his qualification in doubt and indeed it came down to the result of his final round game against Alireza Firouzja with the winner of that game qualifying for the next stage and the loser going out. Carlsen did at least pull a win out of the bag there and he will have two days to rediscover some better form. In particular I'd expect his openings with the black pieces to be a lot less risky, especially against So.

    "Dubov likely knows what kind of positions he can outplay me in." Carlsen on his former second who beat him in round 10.

    There is a rest day on Friday followed by the start of the knockout phase on Saturday. Carlsen himself won't play again until Sunday where he will meet Wesley So. The eliminated four players are Grischuk, Firouzja, Duda and Wei Yi. Grischuk was eliminated because he had the worst score in the results between him and the two players he was tied with Aronian and Dubov.

    "It's not ideal, but I am happy to have avoided Ding. So is a difficult opponent, very difficult to beat. But I am positive." Carlsen on Wesley So.

    Rest day Friday 22nd May 2020. The event finishes on Wed 3rd June.

    The second phase starts on Saturday 23rd May at 15:00 BST with Nakamura-Aronian and Ding-Yu Yangyi. Sunday sees Carlsen-So and Karjakin-Dubov. The format is best of three mini-matches, each of these mini-matches is over four games with a single decisive Armageddon game to decide things if they are tied at 2-2. This next phase will decide the four qualifiers for the Online Chess Masters (June 20 – July 5) the over all winner qualifies for the Tour Final: August 9 – August 20.

    Final Standings: 1 Nakamura 7.5, 2 Karjakin 7, 3 Yu Yangyi 6, 4 Wesley So 6, 5 Carlsen 6, 6 Ding Liren 6, 7 Dubov 5.5, 8 Aronian 5.5, 9 Grischuk 5.5, 10 Firouzja 4.5, 11 Duda 4 and 12 Wei Yi 2.5

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25 26 27 28 29 30 31 for more details and full list





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