International Chess Federation
Friday, 16 Sep 2022 05:56
Champions Showdown Chess 9LX: Day 2 Recap

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov surged ahead today in the Champions Showdown, winning all three of his games to finish tied for first with Alireza Firouzja, both on 4.5/6. Yesterday’s leader Ian Nepomniachtchi slipped to third place with 4.0/6, while former World Champion Garry Kasparov was unfortunately once again shut out from scoring any points.


Round 4 - Starting Position

Continuing his run from yesterday, Nepomniachtchi managed to trick Caruana in a drawn knight endgame to move to 4/4, while Nakamura outplayed Dominguez to reach a winning rook and knight against rook and bishop ending.

Final position of Nepomniachtchi - Caruana, Black resigned as White’s a-pawn is simply unstoppable.

In the ‘clash of generations’, Kasparov sacrificed an exchange and established a strong knight on e6, but patient play by Firouzja allowed him to first trade off White’s rook, and then the knight, before overtaking the initiative and winning the game. And in another turnaround, the game between So and Mamedyarov ended abruptly as in a winning position So blundered into a brutal tactical counter:

After 32.Rd3 it looked like Black’s queen was trapped, but the powerful response 32…Ne3!-+ forced resignation from White, who was now losing at least an exchange.

Firouzja & Kasparov discuss their game after the fact. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes


Round 5 - Starting Position

The crucial match-up of the round took place between Firouzja and Nepomniachtchi, who quickly exchanged everything, resulting in an equal double-rook endgame. Things looked quite drawish until Nepomniachtchi suddenly got his king stuck on the back rank, and Firouzja used his active king to win the endgame.

After 44.Re6, Black resigned as the king is completely cut off, with no way to stop the c-pawn.

Mamedyarov and Nakamura also picked up their second straight wins, defeating Kasparov and Svidler respectively. In Mamedyarov’s case, the task was simpler, as Kasparov spent too much time in the opening phase and ended up flagging in a difficult middlegame. In the meantime Nakamura out-developed Svidler and used a textbook rook sacrifice to decimate the enemy king:

After 24.Rxh6! it was all over–in case of 24…gxh6 25.Rxh6 Black can’t avoid heavy material losses.

A nice comeback for Nakamura, who scored 2.5/3 in today’s games. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller


Round 6 - Starting Position

Nepomniachtchi’s run came to a full halt in his Round 6 game against Mamedyarov, after the latter found a nice zwischenzug to strand White’s king in the center of the board. Nepo tried to survive as long as he could, but the result was never in doubt, and the game finished with a nice underpromotion by Mamedyarov, as he scored his third straight win.

25…e1=N+! was the stylish finale in Nepomniachtchi - Mamedyarov.

The players had a lot of fun analyzing today’s positions. | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Meanwhile, Firouzja had excellent chances to win against Dominguez and take the sole lead, but missed a narrow path to win in the rook endgame, and Dominguez managed to hold the draw.

Firouzja is tied for the lead heading into tomorrow’s final rounds. Will he be able to win his third straight super-tournament? | Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The 2022 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX continues Friday, September 16, starting at 1:50 PM CT. Tune in to watch WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, GM Yasser Seirawan, & GM Cristian Chirila provide live commentary on and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and channels.

Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy

Dates & Location: 
September 14 - September 16, 2022
Saint Louis Chess Club

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Photo Credits:
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