Andreikin, Abasov Win Top Prizes On 2016's 1st Titled Tuesday

Andreikin, Abasov Win Top Prizes On 2016's 1st Titled Tuesday

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 6, 2016, 1:29 PM |
11 | Chess.com News

Both Titled Tuesday tournaments on January 5 saw two clear winners: Dmitry Andreikin and Nijat Abasov. Andreikin only just missed out on the $500 "Fischer Prize" bonus.

The year has now also started for our Titled Tuesday events, with another double TT evening that took place on January 5. Especially the early event was as exciting as it gets.

Early event

There was a total of 122 players, which included 25 GMs. The top guns were Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave; regular participants in our monthly event. Other big names, such as Laurent Fressinet and Sergei Movsesian, played as well.

And each time new names pop up. For example, this week we were happy to welcome the well-known Russian grandmaster Ernesto Inarkiev. He called TT a “good and interesting tournament,” so we might well see him back in the future!

GM Ernesto Inarkiev, a new fan of Chess.com's Titled Tuesdays.

Vachier-Lagrave, whose blitz playoff against Magnus Carlsen at the London Chess Classic is still fresh in our memories, didn't start well. He was held to a draw by IM Asaf Givon of Israel, who played a very decent game:

In the second round Inarkiev already met one of his compatriots: GM Dmitry Andreikin, a former Titled Tuesday winner and renowned blitz specialist. His 43...c3 was a nice clearance move to get knight to c4, which turned out to be winning a knight:

 

GM Dmitry Andreikin.

Bishop endings are not extremely rare, but don't occur very frequently either. GM Alex Lenderman got bishop endings in three straight games, in rounds 2-4 — and the first two were almost identical!

In round two, it was an opposite-colored bishop ending with f- and h- pawns for White. Black held it easily:

The next round it was f- and h-pawns once again, but this time the bishops were of the same color and the win was easy:

A “regular” bishop endgame appeared on Lenderman's screen in the very next round, and again he proved up to the task in what is a technically winning position for strong players.

 

Three bishop endings in a row for Alex Lenderman.

Some 11 players were still on a perfect score after three rounds. On one of the top boards, Nakamura faced Fressinet, who was “too weak, too slow” (courtesy Magnus Carlsen!) in a game that seemed promising from a positional perspective: a typical King's Indian middlegame with the dark-squared bishops away from the board. White's breakthrough at the end was neat.

There were only four players left with wins only. All of them were former Titled Tuesday winners: Maxim Dlugy, Dmitry Andreikin, Hikaru Nakamura and Georg Meier. The latter is the current record holder with five wins in TT history.

One of the crucial games in the tournament was between Andreikin and Nakamura. This Russia-USA encounter would have been a sensitive one during the cold war; these days a fight between two kings of fast chess is enough to get on the edge of your seat.

Andreikin played a very powerful game and got a big advantage thanks to his tactic on move 17. Nakamura defended like a lion, but his position was unholdable and Andreikin's final tactic was cute.

 

At that point Andreikin was the only player on 5.0/5, and he duly continued winning. Look how he outplayed MVL from a very drawish-looking endgame, where activity and space did the trick.

 

Andreikin's next opponent was Nijat Abasov, a talented GM from Azerbaijan who will play in the challengers group of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament later this month. (And, as it turned out, who was just warming up for the late event!)

Abasov will probably try to castle quicker in those games in Wijk. His king was just not safe enough in the center, and tricks were in the air.

“Look at that! He went for my sick tactic!” said commentator IM Danny Rensch.

 

Andreikin also won his next game to reach the stunning score of 8.0/8. He met Alex Lenderman in the last round, and a draw was enough to clinch first. Besides, he could be the first player in Titled Tuesday history to collect the $500 "Fischer Prize."

Akin to a similar prize at the U.S. Championships in St. Louis, this bonus prize is of course referring to the 1963-64 U.S. Championship, won by Bobby Fischer with a perfect score: 11.0/11.

Andreikin seemed well on his way when he trapped Lenderman's queen.

“It's not very often your queen and entire army have a move to spare and she's still trapped,” said Rensch.

However, Lenderman was just not giving up. His tenacious defense was a “face-melting performance” (Rensch) and eventually he even won — one of the most shocking moments in Titled Tuesday history!

 

Andreikin came very close to 9.0/9.

In the last round Nakamura was held to a draw by Abasov. Otherwise America's number one would have caught Andreikin and tied for first, when he would also have tied Meier for most Titled Tuesday wins of all time.

Andreikin won the $500 first prize; Nakamura and Lenderman shared second and third and both got $187.50.

Titled Tuesday 24 | Final Standings (Top 10)

Late event

Scheduled six hours later, the late Titled Tuesday had fewer participants: 81 players, and 17 GMs. Andreikin wanted more, and e.g. Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave were back as well!

This tournament saw a surprising winner: the aforementioned Nijat Abasov. The Azeri player scored half a point less than Andreikin in the first tournament but finished in clear first place nonetheless.

The crucial encounter was his game with Nakamura in the penultimate round; Abasov managed to win on time!

In the last round Abasov was in trouble against MVL, but it wasn't easy to see. Very often tactics are based on double attacks; this one was based on two different double attacks! The young Azeri survived, and even missed a win himself before winning the $500 first prize.

 

A surprising winner in the late event: Nijat Abasov. | Photo courtesy SSIJ.

 

The next Titled Tuesday tournaments will take place on Tuesday, February 2, at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Titled Tuesday 25 | Final Standings (Top 10)

More from PeterDoggers
Giri, Carlsen Trying To Catch Topalov At Shamkir Chess

Giri, Carlsen Trying To Catch Topalov At Shamkir Chess

Carlsen Gets 1st Win In Shamkir Chess; Topalov Leads

Carlsen Gets 1st Win In Shamkir Chess; Topalov Leads