Aimchess U.S. Rapid QF: Aronian, Carlsen, Firouzja Lead
Alireza Firouzja was looking strong on Tuesday. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Aimchess U.S. Rapid QF: Aronian, Carlsen, Firouzja Lead

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Alireza Firouzja defeated America's GM Wesley So 2.5-0.5 in their first quarterfinal match of the online Aimchess U.S. Rapid tournament. GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Levon Aronian also started with wins against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, respectively.

GM Vladislav Artemiev, the winner of the preliminary stage, was in trouble vs. GM Leinier Dominguez but managed to win the fourth game to level the score.

How to watch?
The games of the Aimchess U.S. Rapid knockout phase can be found here as part of our live events platform. Daily commentary is provided on the Chessbrahs Twitch channel starting at 8:00 a.m. Pacific / 17:00 Central Europe.

Aimchess U.S. Rapid results

Firouzja-So 2.5-0.5

Firouzja's results in the Grand Chess Tour events have been up and down ("I played terribly!" in his own words), but against one of the strongest performers in the Tour so far, he had a good first day. The now 18-year-old Iranian-French GM ruthlessly defeated So with both the white and black pieces before sealing match victory with a draw in the third game. 

Let's look at the first game, which was a very sharp Nimzo-Indian that followed a 2017 correspondence game for 22 moves. Yep, these top grandmasters are working hard on their games! The battle was complicated from start to finish and at the end decided by the last to err:

Alireza Firouzja Aimchess
"I think now I am getting in better shape," Firouzja said. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Carlsen-Duda 2.5-0.5

Carlsen convincingly beat Duda on the first day of the quarterfinals but didn't want to call it revenge for the World Cup defeat just yet. "I don't get revenge by beating people once," he said. "I will need to show up tomorrow with the same kind of energy that I did today."

In the third game, Carlsen stepped out of a pin with his king in the opening that recalls somewhat the Bongcloud:

Artemiev-Dominguez 2-2

Against Dominguez, Artemiev could only draw his two white games—a Queen's Gambit Accepted and then a London System. After a loss in the solid Caro-Kann as Black, the Russian GM needed to try something else for the must-win game four:

Dejan Bojkov Game of the Day

Aronian-Mamedyarov 3-1

Aronian continues to be a tough opponent for Mamedyarov. In what is the same matchup as the Chessable Masters quarterfinal (won 2-0 by Aronian), the Armenian and soon-to-be American GM took the lead by winning the first match that saw four decisive games.

Here's game four, which Mamedyarov had to win and in which he was winning indeed:

Levon Aronian Aimchess
Levon Aronian, playing from Yerevan, Armenia. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

All Games Day 4

The Aimchess U.S. Rapid runs August 28-September 5, 2021 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players have advanced to a six-day knockout that consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $100,000, including a $30,000 first prize.

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