Nakamura, 'Kacparov' Tie In Titled Tuesday 9
GM Hikaru Nakamura and the "other" Kacparov, IM Kacper Drozdowski, tied for first with 7.5/9 in Titled Tuesday 9 today. Without a bit of fortune, or in Nakamura's case, misfortune, Nakamura would have been clear of everyone.
The field today included 95 players, 26 of which were grandmasters. Next month's edition will double the prize fund -- see below for a breakdown.
In the final round, Drozdowski was down a rook but his opponent, frequent Chess.com blogger FM Viacheslav Tilicheev, flagged after likely connection problems. Both players were experiencing issues during the last game. Even so, Nakamura and Drozdowski both claim their first wins in the series, and both take home $375.
A four-way tie for third (7.0/9) included frequent cashers IM Lucas Liascovich and GM Jose Carlos Ibarra Jerez (both have a title in their pockets), as well as IM Dejan Stojanovski and IM Matvei Shcherbin. Each wins $62.50.
Equally telling was the list of names that didn't finish in the prizes. Titled Tuesday monster GM Baadur Jobava didn't play, while GM Georg Meier's run of two straight event wins ended when he suffered three losses and finished with 6.0/9. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave again failed to notch a title; he also finished on 6.0/9.
Before we look at the games, an important note about the next Titled Tuesday on June 2, at 11 am Pacific: $1,000 will be added to the prize fund for Titled Tuesday 10 and subsequent events.
This DOUBLES the prize pool and brings the total monthly purse to $2,000. The prizes will now be as follows:
- $750 for first
- $400 for second
- $200 for third
- $100 for fourth
- $75 for fifth
- $100 for the top IM/WIM
- $100 for the top FM/WFM/CM/WCM/NM
- $75 for the top female
- $75 for the top player under the age of 18
- $125 for the best game prize, which will be awarded by a Chess.com member vote on the homepage survey
Per usual tournament rules, players may only win one prize, and would win the higher prize for which they are eligible. The exception is the best game prize, which can be won in addition to any other prize. Also, if a female player holds two titles, she is only eligible for her higher title.
In today's action, all went according to form only for one round. The wildness began in round two, when Vachier-Lagrave failed to trap White's knight. Drozdowski bailed out into a draw though as his time drew to a close.
Live commentator IM Greg Shahade tried the "Danny Rensch special" -- playing while commentating. He hung a piece on move 12 but managed to draw.
Also in round two, recent U.S. National Team hero GM Daniel Naroditsky failed to brave an onslaught from this anonymous GM, who landed more punches than his countryman Manny Pacquiao did on Saturday.
In case you're wondering, our Chess.com columnists are not all this young or adorable!
The GM clashes began in earnest in round three. Frequent Chess.com player GM Yuri Vovk built up some back-rank pressure on Nakamura, but lost in a tempo-driven king-and-pawn endgame. Shahade thought that 37...h6 sealed Black's fate, as the pawn was then much closer for White to capture. There was even shades of the "Searching for Bobby Fischer" movie ending, as both players ran their rook pawns down the board.
In round four, Nakamura remained perfect by using his usual time advantage to take out Tilicheev with two knights beating two bishops. Stojanovski also moved to 4-0, as did young IM Alexander Katz.
Two grandmasters also played a marathon 178-move game. One of them was showing solidarity with the people of Nepal. The country has the only non-quadrilateral flag of any nation.
As a reminder, there's still time to help with earthquake relief by bidding to play GM Anish Giri in a simul. Read more about that in Peter Doggers' recent report.
If face time for the flag was what Azzaro25 was going for, he upstaged himself in round eight by playing a 230-move game, the longest in Titled Tuesday history! The endgame was never winning, even though his opponent's king was close to the "wrong" corner for defending rook versus bishop.
Nakamura and Stojanovski became the only 5-0 players after beating Katz and Vachier-Lagrave, respectively. They met in round six, when the Macedonian's Benko proved troublesome for the top American. Nakamura somehow survived, but wouldn't have if 43...Rh2+ had landed, which leads to forced mate after Black's queen makes her way to g4.
After the game, Stojanovski chatted that he was pleased even with the draw. He called Nakamura "my idol" and admitted that he had "fear at the end."
Nakamura chatted: "Dude played well," and wrote that at the end "...Ne2 instead of ...e6 is probably winning."
Those two still enjoyed shared first into round seven. Hikaru won again to go to 6.5/7. Tilicheev got back into the picture by handing MVL another loss, while Stojanovski dropped a half-point to GM Sam Shankland.
Nakamura again survived a worse position in round eight. The clever move 52. f6+ ensured his knight didn't get relegated to obscurity, and Nakamura's active king and rook secured the draw against Liascovich.
Stojanovski caught back up by beating Tilicheev and equaling Nakamura on 7.0/8. Drozdowski beat Meier to stay in the picture with 6.5/8.
In the final round, Stojanovski lost early, and Drozdowski was down on the clock 2:00-0:30 early on. Eventually, the time disadvantage morphed into a material deficit, and Drozdowski was down a rook. Nakamura must have felt safe to agree to a draw in this position, which had some fight left (especially for a player who doesn't need much of an opening in blitz).
There was only one problem -- Tilicheev had been having connection problems (the in-game chat showed he'd been disconnected twice already in the ninth round). In a completely winning position, he had a third issue and flagged, giving Drozdowski a point and shared first with 7.5/9.
Here were all of the players that finished with 6.0/9 or better:
9th Titled Tuesday | Final Standings (Top 17)
The next Titled Tuesday is June 2 at 11 a.m. Pacific (GMT -7). Remember to compete for all the extra prizes (so don't withdraw!), and also to vote for the best game in the homepage survey starting on the Wednesday following each event!