Jobava Stays Up Late, Routs Chess.com's First Titled Tuesday
What would you do if it were midnight and you were a last-minute replacement to compete for world championship qualification? If you're GM Baadur Jobava, you log on to Chess.com and crush the field in the first "Titled Tuesday."
For the top Georgian player, it was actually "Titled Wednesday." As Jobava was taking a break from the FIDE Grand Prix in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the online tournament for titled players began at midnight local time.
By the time Jobava (username LexySexy) had finished 90 minutes later, he pocketed $500 by winning 8/9, dropping only the meaningless final round.
He had clinched clear first place over the other 51 players by that point, and had raised his blitz rating from 2200 to 2757 over those eight games.
Round seven was a jaw-dropper. Even those that saw it live will want to relive the finish.
The point is that 27...f6 is met by 28. Rh8+ Kf7 29. Nd6+ and 27...Kg8 by the simple 28. Rah1. The elegance of two pieces defeating an army and extra queen left the in-game chat buzzing for several minutes.
The eccentric openings player (see his game a few hours previous in Tashkent!), Jobava relied on the Caro-Kann mostly as Black, but there was no predicting his play as White.
Jobava's resourcefulness and creativity was on full display a few minutes later. After the opening 1. b3 d5 2. Bb2 Bg4 (a Nimzowitsch-Larsen Reverse Trompowsky?), he walked into the abrupt tactical shot 26...Bxd4. After a few seconds of thought, he followed with an exchange sac that left Black's pieces in knots. (28...Nxc2 would have given Black less frustration -- a move that Jobava's opponent said after in the chat that he saw but "didn't calculate to the end.")
Fittingly, a killer knight prowled again, this time posting on e5 instead of f5. The win put the tournament out of reach.
Was this endgame triumph more unlikely than in round four? Back then, he beat GM Jose Carlos Ibarra Jerez (username jcibarra) down two exchanges and a few pawns!
The tournament was played at the time control of 3+2 (three minutes plus a 2-second increment) over nine rounds. Of the field of 52, 10 GMs competed, one WGM, and seven IMs.
Jobava had quite a difficult draw. Having only played one lifetime game on Chess.com, his low starting rating meant he had to play a strong GM in round one (GM Robert Hess, who went on to tie for third). The winner went on to face five more GMs and two IMs in the remaining eight games.
Jobava at the 2012 ACP Golden Classic (photo: Lennart Ootes).
Clear second and $250 went to IM Daniel Baratosi of Romania (username Danesz2014). Although he dropped two games to GMs Nouki (anonymous) and Georg Meier, Baratosi wiped out Jobava in the critical final round.
For once, the attack was so strong that even the Georgian magician couldn't extricate himself. 22. Ng6+ left Black with no good options.
Finishing in the four-way tie for third at 6.5/9 was IM Andrey Gorovetz (username GorovetS), who started 4/4 along with Jobava.
Also in the mix was GM Georg Meier (username GeorgMeier), GM Arturs Neiksans (username arturchix), and GM Robert Hess (username RLH2). They split the 3rd-5th place prizes and therefore take away $62.50 each.
There is no entry fee for the event.
Here's all the players that finished on a plus score:
Chess.com used advanced cheat detection and scrutinized all games played in the event. No suspicious games were found.
The next Titled Tuesday event will be Tuesday, November 25 at 11 am Pacific (GMT -7), 2 pm Eastern (GMT -4), 8 pm CET (GMT +1). All players with any FIDE title are invited to attend.
If you are not verified yet as a titled player with Chess.com, please send a message to either Patzer24 or Monitor with your name, title, FIDE or USCF ID#, FIDE url, and a picture of yourself holding a sign that says "Chess.com" on it.