Jobava, Ibarra, Harutjunyan Win Record-Smashing Titled Tuesday

Jobava, Ibarra, Harutjunyan Win Record-Smashing Titled Tuesday

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The May Titled Tuesday was a colossal affair that tallied 269 entries and a whopping 72 GM entries in the early and late events. The event featured a doubled prize fund of $4,000 to make up for technical difficulties that waylaid the April event.

GM Baadur Jobava scored an impressive 8.0/9 to finish alone atop the early event and claim his fifth Titled Tuesday victory. GM Jose Ibarra and GM Gevorg Harutjunyan shared first place in the late event with 7.5/9 each. For Ibara, this was his second victory as he shared first with Jobava in the sixth Titled Tuesday. This was Harutjunyan's first victory.

Special mention should be made of new US Women's Champion IM Nazi Paikidze, who was in stellar form and led both events for various portions of the way. She finished tied for third in the early event and tied for fifth in the late event. In both, she claimed the top female prize.

Featuring more nutritional value than a KFC Double Down, the doubled May Titled Tuesday prize fund attracted a bevy of GMs to play. (Photo: Michael Saechang courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

The early event started strong as many big names turned up to play. Favorites such as Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Georg Meier were all in the lists. However, the most exciting first-round game may have been turned in by IM Yaacov Norowitz. Can you find his selected move here?

Jobava also got off to a roaring start as he demonstrated his vast expertise in launching assaults on the h-file. Watch for this theme to recur in spectacular fashion later

How about a lesson on the dangers of early advanced queen deployment? GM Conrad Holt will make you think twice about such ventures.

Moving into round two, Vachier Lagrave demonstrated that he doesn't only like to attack. His defensive skills were on full display as he gradually consolidated against a scary Sicilian assault.

After eking out a win in a drawn endgame, Nakamura delivered the goods in his second-round game. Faced with a growing kingside buildup by Nakamura, Black flinched and went down in flames.

Fan favorite GM Simon Williams (AKA the Ginger GM) essayed an exciting attack against GM Axel Bachman, but with the endgame nigh, Bachman fled with his king. The harassment continued, but when the queens came off, Williams couldn't adjust to the need to go pawn grabbing, and the queenside pawns that he let live came back to haunt him.

In round three it was Meier who displayed another great lesson for beginners. Chess is not checkers and captures are not obligatory.

The first cracks in Nakamura's generally excellent blitz form appeared in round three, Nakamura overpressed in a drawn position against IM Kacper Drozdowski and paid the price.

Back with more lessons, Conrad Holt demonstrated the importance of calculating one move further in all positions.

It was in round four that Paikidze's incredible play really began to show through. She had a perfect 3.0/3 score and was paired against Drozdowski who had just upset Nakamura. Paikidze demonstrated the excellent endgame technique that would serve her well time and again in both the early and late events. Paikidze also won her next game and became the only player to reach 5.0/5.

IM Nazi Paikidze.

Nakamura and Harutjunyuan engaged in a real slugfest in round six. It wasn't clear whether Harutjunyuan sacrificed his queen or whether Nakamura sacked it for him. However, either way the position was thorny for Nakamura. After a small misstep, Harutjunyean forced his way to an equal endgame.

After her incredible start, Paikidze ran into a Vachier Lagrave-sized buzzsaw. Paikidze put up tremendous resistance, but Vachier-Lagrave improved the position and won a fine endgame.

Although Simon Williams' kingside pawns fell short earlier against Bachman, he decided to place his faith in them again and was justly rewarded.

As incredible as Paikidze's performance had been, WGM Adriana Nikolova had kept pace and leveled with Paikidze in round six. They faced off in round seven and it was Nikolova who got the better of Paikidze with instructive aggression in an IQP position.

Sadly for Nikolova, her reward was to be on the receiving end of one of the most incredible h-file attacks that you are likely to see courtesy of Jobava.

Jobava the Jackhammer? Opener of lines and closer of escape squares!

Meanwhile, Paikidze bounced back in round eight with a pretty piece of tactics.

In the final round, everything came down to Jobava and Vachier-Lagrave who were each a point ahead of the field. Jobava was to be the only one to bring home the point and first place as he squeezed and squeezed against Meier until the latter was forced to concede. I'll let Jobava's technique do the talking.

In the final tally, Jobava logged clear first place while IM Sophiste2 finished in clear second. There was a pretty sizable tie for third with Paikidze cheerfully leading on tiebreaks. She and Nikolova both entered the tie and split the $100 top female prize.

Chessbrah, IM, and possessor of fabulous hair, Aman Hambleton commented for the early event with his trademark style of bemused detachment. Full replays are available on

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Titled Tuesday, Early Event | Final Standings (7 Points And Up)

Place Seed Fed Title Username Name Score
1 4 GEO GM LexySexy Baadur Jobava 8
2 2 FRA IM Sophiste2 7.5
3 102 USA IM NaziPaiki Nazí Paikidze 7
3 51 FRA IM Boryboy Borya Ider 7
3 24 ARM GM Gevorg_Harutjunyan Gevorg Harutjunyan 7
3 9 USA GM ShimanovAlex Aleksandr Shimanov 7
3 3 FRA GM LyonBeast Maxime Vachier Lagrave 7
3 35 USA IM Yaacovn Yaacov Norowitz 7
3 118 BGR WGM WGM_Adriana_Nikolova Adriana Nikolova 7
3 103 VEN IM jsdbv Jorge Bobadilla 7
3 33 COL FM Torre42 Esteban Valderrama Quiceno 7

The typically slightly smaller late event still had over 100 entrants and favorites Nakamura, Meier, Jobava, and Paikidze were back to try to double dip and bring home extra prize money.

Our experienced participants got straight to the action. In round three, Harutjunyan demonstrated his designs on a high prize as he landed a bone-crunching blow against Holt.

After struggling in the early event, Nakamura managed a good start in the late event. In round three, he faced GM Cristian Chirila and brought home the point with a beautiful positional win.

It was not Nakamura's best day, but he still had his moments.

In part two of the lesson "Capturing Is Not Obligatory," Jobava snagged another point in round four.

Chess instructors should take note of Paikidze's excellent good bishop vs. bad bishop endgame win in round three. The sacrificial finish was just the well-earned cherry on top.

Paikidze's fourth-round game saw her playing with her back against the wall against GM Daniel Naroditsky. The game had its flaws, but it was chock full of creativity from both sides. Who could ask for more from a blitz battle?

In round four, Ibarra also announced his good form with a quick tactical victory.

One could teach an endgame seminar with all of Paikidze's endgames from this event. However, not all of them went her way. In addition to Vachier-Lagrave's earlier success, GM Eltaj Safarli delivered a great rook endgame victory in which his superior pawn structure carried the day.

Nakamura was being steadily outplayed by the Vietnamese wunderkind IM, Minh Tran, when he made a tactical oversight.

In the hunt for first, Meier pushed too hard against in round eight NM Antonio Arencibia and received a painful reminder that sometimes you just have to settle for the draw.

One doesn't often get to see Boden's mates, but Harutjunyan found a nice variation on the theme as Black against GM Bassem Amin.

GM Bassem Amin.

In yet another fine endgame, Paikidze found a way to keep playing just as it looked like her advantage had dissipated against GM Laurent Fressinet. She even managed to finish with some pleasing tactics.

Both Ibara and Harutjunyan delivered convincing final round victories (against Paikidze and Safarli respectively) to reach a share of first. Tran tried for over 150 moves against Jobava to convert rook and bishop vs. rook, but Jobava's technique was excellent, and the game was drawn by the 50-move rule. They each shared a strong third.

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Titled Tuesday, Late Event | Final Standings (6.5 Points And Up)

Place Seed Fed Title Username Name Score
1 24 ESP GM jcibarra José Carlos Ibarra Jerez 7.5
1 13 ARM GM Gevorg_Harutjunyan Gevorg Harutjunyan 7.5
3 14 VNM IM MinhGTrAn Minh Trần 7
3 1 GEO GM LexySexy Baadur Jobava 7
5 12 AZE GM EltajSafarli Eltaj Safarli 6.5
5 21 FRA GM Zlatan56 Laurent Fressinet 6.5
5 2 USA GM Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 6.5
5 28 USA GM AlexanderL Alex Lenderman 6.5
5 11 USA IM NaziPaiki Nazí Paikidze 6.5
5 40 RUS GM E-Shaposhnikov Evgeny Shaposhnikov 6.5
5 37 CAN IM attack2mateU 6.5
5 52 INT NM Arencibia84 Antonio Arencibia 6.5

For his clear first place in the early event, Jobava collected $800. Sophiste2 notched clear second and $400. All of the players (Paikidze, Ider, Harutjunyan, Shimanov, Vachier-Lagrave, Norowitz, Nikolova, Bobadillo, and Quiceno) on seven points tied for third through fifth and collected $55.55. Paikidze and Nikolova shared the Top Female prize; each collected an additional $50.

In the late event, Ibarra and Harutjunyan collected $600 each for shared first place. Tran and Jobava each received $200 for shared third. The eight-way tie for fifth (Safarli, Fressinet, Nakamura, Lenderman, Paikidze, Shaposhnikov, attack2mateu, and Arencibia) assured each player of a cool $12.50. Paikidze refused to share top female this time; she collects the full $100.

Big winners across both events were Jobava who won an even $1,000 in both events and Paikidze who won $217.05 for placements and top female prizes in both.

NM Sam Copeland

I'm the VP of Chess and Community for I earned the National Master title in 2012, and in 2014, I returned to my home state of South Carolina to start Strategery: Chess and Games. In late 2014, I began working for and haven't looked back since.

You can find my personal content on Twitch , Twitter , and YouTube where I further indulge my love of chess.

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