Prague Masters 2020 R4: Firouzja's absurd gaffe, Vidit maintains sole lead
When two sides play a perfect game of chess, the game more often than not ends up a draw. Today, while all the 5 games ended up as draws, 3 of them didn't follow the stated script. Alireza Firouzja exhibited passion and imagination, confusing Nikita Vitiugov with a speculative knight sacrifice to gain a decisive advantage, but made two inexplicable moves to gift the latter a draw. Duda was seriously worse after 9 moves, but his opponent David Anton failed to find the most incisive continuation, continuing his roller-coaster ride in the tournament. Harikrishna played the forgotten Sozin Attack, and had to soon defend for a while to see out the game to a draw. Markus Ragger was tortured by the exchange down David Navara for a while before concluding peace, and Nils Grandelius signed a rather tame draw with the tournament leader Vidit, who retains sole lead. A detailed report by Tanmay Srinath.
Has there been a pact with the Gods - wins in odd rounds and draws in even? Well, the players don't seem to think so, even if the results reflect the following statistic - 3 wins in Rounds 1 and 3, and 5 Draws in Rounds 2 and 4. Well, this tournament has had games that have made us feel as if chess is so abstract that it is completely impossible to predict what is happening and what can happen! The Russian Roulette tendency of the games has been really exciting for the fans, but the players are definitely aging at the speed of light! Before another philosophical outburst happens, I will quickly redirect the readers to the following position:
Firouzja 0.5-0.5 Vitiugov:
Ivan Sokolov, former Iran coach, had remarked previously that Firouzja reminded him of a young Anand. Well, I don't disagree, but Firouzja also reminds me of a young Tal in the 21st century, with his amazing imagination, zest for the game, and penchant for sacrificial play. Today he played a crazily complex battle in a 6. d3 Ruy Lopez against Vitiugov, in what was clearly the game of the round, but the end must have left a bitter taste for the young Phenom. Let's have a look at one of the most complex games played in this tournament:
The notes to the game should not only give you an idea of what happened in this game, but also focuses on how to convert an advantage and understanding the Ruy Lopez:
David Anton 0.5-0.5 Duda:
After his 1st round stunner, Duda has boiled off, making 3 successive draws. Today, he could have been in serious pressure had Anton found the best 10th move:
Ragger 0.5-0.5 Navara:
One's heart goes out for David Navara - he fought like a man possessed, but Markus Ragger wasn't perturbed, and managed to hold the draw. A few critical positions:
Harikrishna 0.5-0.5 Shankland:
Fischer's beloved Sozin attack was resurrected in this game, but apart from this nothing much happened - two players struggling for form signed a quiet draw.
Grandelius 0.5-0.5 Vidit:
Vidit came excellently prepared with black, and Nils couldn't really find any advantage.