Aronian and Nakamura qualify for Chess960 Wch final

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
AronianEspecially Nakamura was determined to do better on the 2nd day, and decided to spend more time in the difficult Chess960 opening phase. This approach brought the American three wins, and qualification for today's final, where he will meet Aronian, who also ended on 4/6.

The Mainz Chess Classic, the big, annual festival of rapid chess (20 minutes for the game + 5 seconds increment per move), is held July 27-August 2 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany. During the day many open events take place while at night two unofficial World Championships are held: Tue-Thu the 6th Rapid Chess960 Wch with Aronian, Bologan, Movsesian and Nakamura, and then Fri-Sun the 14th GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship with Anand, Aronian, Nepomniachtchi and Naiditsch.

Draws Don’t Count: Exciting Day 2 at Chess960 World Championship in Mainz

By Johannes Fischer


A strong comeback: Hikaru Nakamura

The second day of the Chess960 World Championship promised exciting chess: While Levon Aronian with 3 out of 3 seemed to be almost certain to play in the final, Hikaru Nakamura, Victor Bologan and Sergei Movsesian all had 1 point and could still cherish hopes for a spot in the final – provided things went right. Things became exciting indeed, but differently than expected.

Nakamura in particular was determined not to repeat the events from the previous day. As a result he invested much more time in the opening, which proved to be a good approach. Aronian was the first to suffer from the “new” Nakamura. The Armenian got nothing out of the opening and made life really difficult for himself when blundering a pawn. Nakamura seized the opportunity, grabbed the pawn and steered the game safely into a won endgame.

Meanwhile Bologan suffered from a miscalculation in the opening, which gave his opponent Movsesian a clear advantage. Though Movsesian let some of this advantage slip and gave Bologan more chances than he might have hoped for, Bologan returned the compliment in mutual time trouble, by missing the most stubborn defense and allowing Movsesian to score.

With 1 out of 4 Bologan really had to get going. And that’s exactly what he did by defeating Levon Aronian in a well played game. Meanwhile, Nakamura and Movsesian continued the strange gambit they like to employ in their games. As Nakamura said in the press conference: “Every time we play, the player who has an advantage after the opening, seems to lose.” Which led Movsesisan to remark: “next time I know what I have to do. I will give him the better position.” In Mainz, however, Movsesian lacked this wisdom. He was clearly better after the opening but suddenly Nakamura’s pieces came into play and in an attempt to bail out Movsesian sacrificed a piece to achieve a perpetual. But Nakamura’s king found a way to escape the checks and secured his boss the second win of the day.

Thus, with one round to go, Movsesian and Bologan had 2 out of 5 while Aronian and Nakamura had 3 out of 5. But because Bologan had to play against Nakamura and Movsesian had to play Aronian all four players still had a chance to qualify for the final.


Levon Aronian vs Sergei Movsesian

Probably Aronian needs a rush of adrenaline to play his best. At any rate, when his place in the final seemed to be in danger, he suddenly rediscovered the form he had shown on day 1 and scored a fine win against Movsesian. Going back to the form he had shown on day 1 was exactly what Nakamura did not want to do. So he continued to play in the same determined fashion he had shown in the two previous games and won quickly against an overly aggressive Bologan – and “got the job done” as he put it in the press conference.

Thus Aronian and Nakamura both finished with 4 out of 6 to qualify for the final while Bologan and Movsesian will fight for place three.

Mainz 2009 | Chess960 Wch preliminaries

Mainz 2009 | Chess960 Wch preliminaries

Today, the players did their best to make it difficult to name a clear favorite for the matches. While Aronian dominated day 1 by scoring 3 out of 3 Nakamura did the same on day 2. But if the preliminaries are anything to go by, we can expect a wonderful and exciting final. Twelve games were played in the preliminaries, none ended with a draw. Not to mention the many interesting motifs and fine combinations the spectators saw.

Game viewer

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Game viewer by ChessTempo

The final will begin today, Thursday, 30th July, 18:30. Games will be transmitted live on the internet – and should not be missed. The same counts for Chess.FM's Macauley Peterson (video) blogging from Mainz!

All photos courtesy of the Mainz Chess Classic.


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