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Aimchess US Rapid QF1: Carlsen and Firouzja blaze Duda and So

by Shahid Ahmed - 01/09/2021

Leinier ended Artemiev's unbeaten streak at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Aimchess US Rapid. The American beat the Russian in their second game, however Artemiev delivered the equalizer in the fourth game to tie the first set. So lost to Firouzja 0.5-2.5 which is the inverse of their score in the Carlsen invitational earlier this year. Firouzja has never played a Semifinal in this season, and he is in a good position to advance. Duda lost the first set against the world champion without scoring a single win. Aronian and Mamedyarov had four decisive games and the Armenian won the first set. Can Duda, So and Mamedyarov make a comeback? Second set of the Quarterfinals start today at 8:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Amruta Mokal

Duda, So and Mamedyarov in a must-win situation

Duda and So did not win a single game in the first set. They both need to win the second set against Carlsen and Firouzja respectively to force tie-breaks and keep Semifinal hopes alive.

Carlsen avenged his World Cup loss against Duda in the first set | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Artemiev - Leinier: 2-2

Leinier was better in the endgame against Artemiev in their first game of the Quarterfinals.

Artemiev - Leinier, Game 1

Position after 31.Kg1

White's position is already in shambles. 31.Kg1 did not help either. Black took the pawn, 31...Qxb3 and White managed to get back in the game, 32.Qxe4. What should have Black done instead of taking the b3-pawn directly. The game eventually ended in a draw.

Second game seemed to be rushing towards a draw, until Artemiev blundered in the endgame.

Leinier - Artemiev, Game 2

Position after 29...Bd5

Find out why 29...Bd5 is a blunder and what Black needed to do to hold the position. Leinier gained a 0.5-1.5 lead.

The third game was an exciting draw. Artemiev had a substantial advantage in the middlegame.

Artemiev - Leinier, Game 3

Position after 21...Bxf6

What should White do here - save the rook or protect the d4-knight? The game eventually ended in a draw which means Leinier maintained his lead 1-2.

Artemiev won the fourth game to level the first set 2-2.

Leinier - Artemiev, Game 4

Position after 35.Qxe6

35.Qxe6 is a big mistake. Find out why.

Aronian - Mamedyarov: 3-1

Mamedyarov got himself a decisive advantage in the middlegame but he was unable to maintain it.

Aronian - Mamedyarov, Game 1

Position after 28.Rxe8

White offered his queen as a sacrifice at one point. The game continued 28...Rxe8 29.Qg3 Nxb4 and so on. Even 28...Bxd3 was also good for Black. Aronian eventually turned things around and scored a victory.

Mamedyarov immediately struck back in the second game to level the score 1-1.

Mamedyarov - Aronian, Game 2

Position after 23.Nd2

White is threatening Nf3 followed by Qxf6. How should Black respond? Aronian defended incorrectly and eventually lost the game.

Aronian outplayed Mamedyarov in the endgame to gain a 2-1 lead.

Aronian won a wild fourth game which was completely winning for Mamedyarov. Thus, the Armenian won the first set 3-1.

Mamedyarov - Aronian, Game 4

Position after 39...Ne8

White can play 40.Re6 or Qh6, both are completely winning. However, White chose to play 40.Rd8 which allowed Black to get in the game 40...f4+.

So - Firouzja: 0.5-2.5

Firouzja's brilliant attack forced to make a mistake which could have ended the game much earlier.

Firouzja - So, Game 1

Position after 22...Qc7

White has a fantastic attack on the kingside. Find out how can White finish it. Firouzja played 23.Ne4 and went on to win in the endgame after So made one final mistake.

So dropped a couple of pawns in the middlegame against Firouzja and he did not have any compensation for it.

So - Firouzja, Game 2

Position after 24.Nd5

24.Nd5 allows Black to gain e4-pawn for free, 24...Qxe4 25.Nc3 Qxe3 and Black is now in the driver's seat. 24.Rf4 would have prevented Black from getting any of the e-pawns. Firouzja went on to win the game and extend his lead 0-2.

Firouzja was completely winning the third game too.

Firouzja - So, Game 3

Position after 26...Qxd3

White wants to play 27.Qd7 but it does not work now as 27...Qb5 is there. So 27.a4 first prevents Black's defense, and it's all over. Anyway, a draw was enough for Firouzja to win the first set, which is exactly what happened, and he won the set 0.5-2.5.

Carlsen - Duda: 2.5-0.5

Carlsen outplayed Duda in the endgame to take a 1-0 lead.

Carlsen - Duda, Game 1

Position after 29.Rc5

29.Rc5 speaks volumes about how the first game ended.

Second game was a hard-fought draw.

Duda's ambitious play did not turn out well for him.

Carlsen - Duda, Game 3

Position after 24...f5

24...Qc5 would have been a safer idea. 25.Qxe6+ Kg7 26.Qd6 and Black did not anything out of the open e-file. Thus, Carlsen won the first set 2.5-0.5

Replay Quarterfinal 1 games

Replay the live stream

Aimchess US Rapid Day 4 - Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Quarterfinal 1 results

Aronian, Firouzja and Carlsen win the first set | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Schedule

All games will start from 8:30 p.m. IST between 28th August and 5th September 2021.

Links

Champions Chess Tour official site

Tournament regulations


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