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Chessable Masters SF: Le, So Through To Finals
Le Quang Liem beat Levon Aronian in the armageddon. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Chessable Masters SF: Le, So Through To Finals

NiranjanNavalgund
| 28 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Levon Aronian bounced back in a must-win situation and forced the tiebreak. After two hard-fought games, GM Le Quang Liem won the armageddon on time and has gained the berth to the finals.

In the other semifinal, GM Wesley So and GM Vladislav Artemiev exchanged blows in the first two games and drew the remaining two games. Since So had already won the match on the first day of the semifinals, he moves on to the finals. 

How to watch?
The games of the Chessable Masters knockout can be found here as part of our live events platform. Daily commentary is provided on GM Hikaru Nakamura's Twitch channel starting at 8:00 a.m. Pacific / 17:00 Central Europe.

Chess.com

After a peaceful draw in the first game, Le excelled in the second game that was filled with complications. 

Aronian tried a novelty on the 13th move, but Le responded naturally and obtained a good position out of the opening:

After the win, Le needed just a half-point to qualify for the finals. At this point, Aronian made an incredible comeback by winning two games in a row to force the tiebreak.

Aronian got a great position in the middlegame, but could not find the accurate continuation. Later he created some chances in a rook endgame and won:

Le dominated the first portion of the game, but everything changed drastically after the 38th move:

Chess.com
Aronian won on demand to force tiebreaks. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The match shifted to the blitz playoff, and both games ended in a draw. Since Aronian won in the preliminary stage, he was asked to choose the color in the armageddon. He chose black and required only a draw. On move 60, he could have picked up the free bishop, but he had very little time on the clock and lost in an equal king-and-pawn endgame:

Chess.com
Le Quang Liem: "Winning the armageddon like this is not ideal!" Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

When asked how he dealt with the new situation before the blitz playoff, Le said: "I calmed myself down and tried to believe that I still have everything under control, although I was panicking a little bit inside because this has happened to me before" (recalling his previous encounter with Aronian in World Cup 2019).

In the other semifinal, Artemiev started strongly with a win against So and held on to his extra pawn in the endgame. So blundered on the 47th move:

Artemiev Vladislav won the first game on demand. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

In the second game, Artemiev tried to create some practical chances on the queenside by shifting his queen to a3. However, a lone queen was not enough to pose many problems. So revealed in the post-match interview that he was able to use his earlier preparation in the second and fourth games.


The next two games ended in a draw. Thus, So punched his ticket to the finals. After the match, So said: "Congratulations to Artemiev for playing really well. He put a lot of pressure on me in simple endgames. He played perfectly in that game. What helped me was that I caught him in preparation in my second game. I forgot my preparation somewhere, but this line [second game] is very dangerous for Black."   

Chess.com
Wesley So: "Today was a very tough day." Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

All Games Day 7

The Chessable Masters runs July 31-August 8, 2021 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players 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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