Dominguez, So Play Knockout in Last Champions Tour Event

zaphfrans

Image Caption courtesy Meltwater Champions Chess Tour   Top American Grandmasters Leinier Dominguez and Wesley So have advanced to the knockout stage of the last regular-season event of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the online tournament series launched by World Champion Magnus Carlsen and his Play Magnus Group.  On Tuesday, […]

Image Caption

courtesy Meltwater Champions Chess Tour

 

Top American Grandmasters Leinier Dominguez and Wesley So have advanced to the knockout stage of the last regular-season event of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the online tournament series launched by World Champion Magnus Carlsen and his Play Magnus Group. 

On Tuesday, So begins a quarterfinal match with French GM Alireza Firouzja, while Dominguez faces Russian GM Vladislav Artemiev. The knockout bracket matches are played over two days, with each day featuring one set of four rapid games.  

The Aimchess US Rapid began Saturday with 16 of the world’s top GMs and played a round-robin cycle of rapid games over three days, advancing the top 8 players to the knockout bracket. So, a regular participant in the Meltwater series and winner of three of its monthly events, earned the bracket’s fifth seed after a decisive weekend that included six wins and three losses.  

There had been no rest for the weary and the reigning US Chess Champion, who had one day to recover from the 2021 Sinquefield Cup, held over-the-board in St. Louis, MO and finishing Thursday, before returning to his Minnesota home to find this first-round pairing in Aimchess with the World Champion himself. 

[pgn][Event "Aimchess US Rapid Prelim"] [Site "chess24.com INT"] [Date "2021.08.28"] [Round "1.8"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E00"] [WhiteElo "2847"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "109"] [EventDate "2021.08.28"] [EventType "rapid"] {[%evp 9,109,-56,-19,-73,-73,-84,-19,-21,-13,-38,-38,-49,-39,-33,11,-56,-56, -56,-56,-56,46,30,59,60,50,47,47,47,82,54,67,67,68,37,68,37,41,38,37,37,38,37, 39,38,36,38,38,38,36,36,81,81,86,90,101,81,94,81,82,82,81,82,82,82,82,81,81,82, 82,81,115,115,115,116,115,115,205,115,213,126,133,116,181,126,181,181,213,213, 213,213,297,297,300,300,317,300,300,299,456,454,442,456]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Bf4 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg3 c5 $146 ({Predecessor:} 5... Nc6 6. e4 Bb4+ 7. Nd2 Nf6 8. d5 Nxe4 9. Ngf3 Nd4 10. Bf4 Qf6 11. Be3 Nxf3+ 12. gxf3 Nxd2 13. Bxd2 Qxb2 14. Bxb4 Qxb4+ {0-1 (24) McGuire,P (564)-Sabaxtarischvili,R (1379) LSS email 2009}) 6. e4 {[%eval -73,17] A50: Queen's Fianchetto Defence (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 b6).} (6. dxc5 $11 {[%eval -19,16]} Bxc5 7. Nf3) 6... Nf6 $17 7. Nd2 Nc6 { [%eval -19,18]} (7... cxd4 $17 {[%eval -84,15]} 8. Ngf3 Nc6) 8. e5 $11 { The position is equal.} Nd7 9. Ngf3 cxd4 10. Bc4 Be7 11. O-O O-O {[%eval 11,17] } (11... Nc5 $15 {[%eval -33,17]}) 12. Rc1 {[%eval -56,16]} (12. Nb3 $1 $11 { [%eval 11,17]}) 12... Nc5 $15 13. a3 a5 $1 14. Nb3 b6 {[%eval 46,17]} (14... Nxb3 $15 {[%eval -56,18]} 15. Qxb3 a4) 15. Nbxd4 Nxd4 16. Nxd4 Bb7 17. Nb5 $1 Ne4 18. Nd6 Qb8 19. Qd4 b5 20. Bxb5 Nxg3 21. hxg3 Bd5 22. Bc6 Bxd6 23. exd6 Ra6 24. Bxd5 Rxd6 {[%mdl 64] [#] Pin} 25. Rc5 $1 Rxd5 26. Rxd5 exd5 27. Qxd5 Qxb2 28. Qxa5 $14 {[%mdl 4096] Endgame KQR-KQR} g6 29. Qb4 Qf6 {[%eval 81,20]} ( 29... Qxb4 $14 {[%eval 36,20]} 30. axb4 f5) 30. a4 $16 {[%cal Ba3a4,Ba4a5] [%mdl 32]} Rc8 31. a5 h5 32. Qa4 Rc6 33. Qa1 (33. Rb1 {is interesting.} Kg7 34. f3 Ra6 35. Kh2 Qe5 36. Rb5) 33... Kg7 34. Rb1 Qxa1 35. Rxa1 {Threatens to win with a6. KR-KR} Ra6 36. f3 Kf6 37. Kf2 Ke5 38. Ke3 Kd5 39. Kf4 f6 40. g4 hxg4 41. Kxg4 Ke5 42. f4+ Ke6 {[%eval 205,22] [#]} (42... Kd5 $16 {[%eval 115,24] keeps fighting.} 43. f5 g5 44. Rd1+ Kc5 45. Rc1+ Kd5) 43. Ra2 {[%eval 115,23]} (43. f5+ $1 $18 {[%eval 205,22]} gxf5+ 44. Kf4) 43... Ke7 {[%eval 213,23]} ( 43... Kd5 $16 {[%eval 115,23]} 44. f5 gxf5+ 45. Kxf5 Kc5) 44. Kf3 {[%eval 126, 24]} ({Better is} 44. f5 $18 {[%eval 213,23]}) 44... Kd6 45. Ke4 Ke6 {[%eval 181,20]} (45... Kc5 $16 {[%eval 116,22] was worth a try.} 46. f5 gxf5+ 47. Kxf5 Kc4) 46. Ra1 {[%eval 126,22]} ({White should try} 46. g4 $18 {[%eval 181,20]}) 46... Kd6 {[%eval 181,21]} (46... f5+ $16 {[%eval 126,22]} 47. Kd4 Kd7) 47. f5 $18 gxf5+ 48. Kxf5 Ke7 49. Kg6 Ke6 50. Re1+ Kd7 51. g4 Kd8 52. Kf7 Rd6 53. Re4 Rc6 {[%eval 456,23]} (53... Ra6 $142 {[%eval 299,23]} 54. Rd4+ Kc8) 54. Rd4+ Kc8 55. Rf4 1-0 [/pgn]

Dominguez, another player fresh off the Sinquefield after tying with So for second place, just made the preliminary cut in Aimchess and advances to a Meltwater knockout bracket for the first time in three attempts. Dominguez had his own decisive weekend, tallying six wins and five losses for an 8.0/15 score, edging out GM Anish Giri for the eighth seed. The Dutch GM was undefeated over the past three days, yet was pushed to ninth on tiebreaks with only one win and 14 draws. 

 

Image Caption

courtesy Chess24, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour

 

The preliminary stage of Aimchess also featured two other American GMs, Daniel Naroditsky and Awonder Liang, both in their first appearances in the Meltwater Tour. Naroditsky had a respectable showing, finishing 12th at 6.0/15 after spending most of the weekend flirting just outside of the bracket cut. The California GM sat ninth entering the final day of the preliminary, after claiming this monster win over So in a Ruy Lopez on Sunday.  

[pgn][Event "Aimchess US Rapid Prelim"] [Site "chess24.com INT"] [Date "2021.08.29"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Naroditsky, Daniel"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2021.08.28"] [EventType "rapid"] {[%evp 17,57,57,51,12,15,8,20,2,33,12,43,37,42,17,71,63,72,58,58,37,37,4,0,4, -1,-27,43,43,164,150,186,125,463,307,1849,1695,29987,29987,29994,29995,29995, 29996]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. d3 d6 8. a4 Rb8 9. axb5 axb5 10. Be3 {C78: Ruy Lopez: Archangelsk and Möller Defences.} Bxe3 {has lost popularity (10...0-0).} 11. fxe3 O-O 12. Qe1 { The position is equal.} Qe7 $146 ({Predecessor:} 12... Be6 13. Bxe6 fxe6 14. Ng5 Qd7 15. Ra6 Ra8 16. Rxa8 Rxa8 17. Nc3 Ne7 18. Qg3 Ng6 {1-0 (42) Arribas Robaina,M (2243)-Coimbra,M (2068) Batumi 2018}) 13. Nh4 g6 14. Nc3 Nb4 $1 15. Qg3 {Black must now prevent Nxg6!} Kg7 {[%eval 71,15]} (15... Nh5 $11 {[%eval 17,17]} 16. Qf2 Be6) 16. Nf5+ $16 Bxf5 17. Rxf5 {And now Raf1 would win.} Nd7 18. Raf1 {Threatens to win with Rxf7+.} f6 19. Nd5 Nxd5 20. Bxd5 Nb6 21. h4 c6 {[%eval 43,17]} ({Black should play} 21... Nxd5 $11 {[%eval -27,18]} 22. exd5 Ra8) 22. Bxc6 $14 Qc7 {[%eval 164,19]} (22... Rbc8 $14 {[%eval 43,18]} 23. Bxb5 Rxc2) 23. Bxb5 $18 Qxc2 24. h5 $1 {Hoping for h6+!} Qxb2 $2 {[%eval 463,16] [%mdl 8192] [#]} (24... Qc7 $16 {[%eval 125,16] is more resistant.} 25. h6+ Kxh6) 25. h6+ $1 Kh8 $2 {[%eval 1849,16] [#]} (25... Kg8 {[%eval 307,18]}) 26. Qg5 $3 {[%mdl 512]} Qxb5 (26... Nd5 27. exd5) 27. Rxf6 {White mates.} Rfe8 {[#] } 28. Rxg6 $1 {[%cal Rg5f6][%mdl 512]} Nd7 29. Rg7 1-0 [/pgn]

Liang has been a top player in the Julius Bar Challengers Chess Tour, another Play Magnus tournament circuit that features the world’s best players of the next generation, and grants its winners a free entry into the next Meltwater event. Liang tied for first in the last Challengers event but was edged on tiebreakers to GM Vincent Keymer, though the German youngster already had this week booked with the 2021 European Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

As most of the Challenger winners have figured out, Liang found himself swimming in a different pool in the Champions Tour. The Wisconsin 18-year-old was knocked around over the weekend, finishing 16th with a 2.5/15 score – though tallying this win as Black in a Nimzo-Larsen over Naroditsky. 

[pgn][Event "Aimchess US Rapid Prelim"] [Site "chess24.com INT"] [Date "2021.08.28"] [Round "2.5"] [White "Naroditsky, Daniel"] [Black "Liang, Awonder"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A01"] [WhiteElo "2623"] [BlackElo "2587"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2021.08.28"] [EventType "rapid"] {[%evp 12,78,-55,-55,-17,-15,-15,-64,-52,-52,-24,-24,3,3,8,3,8,4,2,-16,-33,-38, -34,-33,-23,-33,-20,-38,-34,-38,-21,-74,-15,-87,-95,-94,-88,-95,-95,-86,240,33, 35,-52,-52,-52,-52,-78,-90,-85,0,0,0,0,64,50,66,5,5,-142,-142,-143,-142,-418, -165,-1913,-1896,-1804,-1913]} 1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. c4 Nge7 4. e3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. a3 Bd6 7. Qc2 {7.d3 is more fashionable.} Bd7 $5 {[%mdl 4] An interesting side line. A01: Nimzowitsch-Larsen Opening.} 8. Nf3 Qe7 9. d3 $146 {[%eval -64,15]} (9. Bc4 $11 {[%eval -15,14]} Nb6 10. Nc3) ({Predecessor:} 9. Bc4 h6 10. Bxd5 O-O-O 11. O-O Rhe8 12. Nc3 Kb8 13. b4 f5 14. b5 Na5 15. Qa4 { 1-0 (30) Semba,H-Battermann,A Germany 1990}) 9... O-O-O {Black is slightly better.} 10. b4 f5 11. Nbd2 Rhf8 12. Nc4 a6 13. Be2 Kb8 14. O-O g5 15. d4 { [%cal Rd4e5]} e4 16. Nfe5 Bxe5 17. Nxe5 Nxe5 18. dxe5 f4 19. Bd4 (19. Qxe4 Bc6 $17) 19... f3 20. Bc4 {[%cal Rc4d5]} Bc6 21. Bc5 {[%eval -74,15]} (21. Qxe4 $2 fxg2 22. Qxg2 Nxe3 $1 $19 {[%mdl 512]}) (21. g3 $11 {[%eval -21,14] remains equal.}) 21... Qd7 $1 $17 {[%cal Rd7g4]} 22. Rfd1 $1 (22. Qxe4 Nxe3 $1 23. e6 ( 23. Qxe3 $2 Qg4 $19) 23... Bxe4 $19) (22. Bxf8 $2 Qg4 23. g3 Qh3 24. Bxd5 Qg2#) 22... Qg4 {[%csl Gf3][%cal Rg4g2]} 23. Bf1 fxg2 $1 24. Bxg2 {[#]} Nf4 $1 25. exf4 e3 $2 {[%eval 240,19][%mdl 8192]} (25... gxf4 $17 {[%eval -86,17] ( -> ... f3!)} 26. Bxf8 Rxf8) 26. Rxd8+ $2 {[%eval 33,14]} (26. fxe3 Rxd1+ 27. Rxd1 Bxg2 $17) (26. f3 $1 $18 {[%eval 240,19][%cal Rf3g4]} Bxf3 27. Bxf8 Bxd1 28. Qe4 { [%mdl 64] Double Attack}) 26... Rxd8 $14 {[%csl Gc6][%cal Rg4g2]} 27. fxe3 { [%eval -52,16]} ({White should play} 27. f3 $1 $14 {[%eval 35,20]} Bxf3 28. Bxe3 gxf4 29. Ba7+ $1 Ka8 30. Kh1 $1) 27... gxf4 $40 {[%mdl 128] And now ... Rg8 would win. Black attacks.} 28. h3 Qg7 29. exf4 Rg8 $1 {[%cal Rc6g2]} 30. Ra2 {Kf1 is the strong threat.} Qf7 {[%eval 0,18]} (30... Bxg2 $1 $17 {[%eval -85,17]} 31. Qxg2 Qf7) 31. Qb1 $11 {Threatens to win with Rf2.} Qd5 $1 { [%cal Rg8g2]} 32. Qc2 {Hoping for Rb2.} Qe6 {[%eval 64,21] [#]} (32... Qf7 $1 $11 {[%eval 0,18]} 33. Qb1 Qd5) 33. f5 $1 $14 {[%cal Rf5e6]} Qxe5 34. Qd1 { [%eval 5,16]} ({White should try} 34. Qd3 $1 $14 {[%eval 66,18]} b6 35. f6 $1 ( 35. Qxa6 $2 Qd5 $19) 35... Qxf6 36. Bd4 (36. Qxh7 $2 Qg5 $19)) 34... b6 $11 { [#]} 35. Bd4 {[%eval -142,15]} (35. Rd2 $1 $11 {[%eval 5,15]} bxc5 36. Rd8+ Rxd8 37. Qxd8+ Kb7 38. Bxc6+ Kxc6 39. Qd3) 35... Qd5 $17 36. Qd2 Qxf5 37. Qc3 { [%eval -418,14][%mdl 8192]} (37. Qe1 $17 {[%eval -142,16] was the only defense. }) 37... Qe4 $2 {[%eval -165,19]} ({Avoid the trap} 37... Qd5 $2 {[#]} 38. Bg7 $1 $18 {[%mdl 512]}) (37... Qg6 {[%eval -418,14][%cal Rc6g2]} 38. Qc2 Be4) 38. Kf1 {[%eval -1913,14]} (38. Bg7 {[%eval -165,19]} Rxg7 39. Qxg7 Qb1+ {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 40. Bf1 Qxa2 41. Qh8+ Kb7 42. Qc3) 38... Qb1+ $19 {[%mdl 64] Double Attack} 39. Qe1 Bb5+ 0-1 [/pgn]

The Aimchess US Rapid carries a $100,000 purse and is the ninth and final event of the Meltwater series, which began in November 2020. Over the course of the circuit, players have been collecting tour points and seeking entry into the Champions Chess Tour finals, a $300,000 event scheduled for October live in San Francisco, California. Carlsen is slated to appear as current leader of the overall tour, followed closely by So, and American GM Hikaru Nakamura, though not participating in Aimchess, also appears safe to make the finals cut. 

 

Image Caption

The overall Champions Chess Tour standings after eight events.

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