Lindores Abbey Final: Nakamura Wins 1st Match Vs. Dubov
Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Lindores Abbey Final: Nakamura Wins 1st Match Vs. Dubov

| 37 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Hikaru Nakamura took the lead in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge final. The American grandmaster defeated GM Daniil Dubov 2.5-1.5 on Monday and is now a match victory away from clinching the whole tournament.

How to watch?
The games of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge can be found here as part of our live events platform. GM Robert Hess and WFM Alexandra Botez are providing daily commentary on Nakamura's Twitch channel, embedded on

The player who knocks out GM Magnus Carlsen in a speed chess event is most likely the new favorite for victory, and definitely if his name is Nakamura. Playing from Sunrise, Florida, Naka started off with a relatively smooth match win, this time watched by up to 64K viewers across different Twitch channels.

As pointed out before, a win in the very first game is most welcome, especially if it happens with the black pieces. Super-grandmasters who need 1.5/3 with two white games can usually get to that score without problems.

Shortly after Nakamura equalized out of the opening (his favorite Queen's Gambit), the game reached a critical point on move 17. Dubov decided to push his pawn to b5, which gave Black access to the c5-square. According to Nakamura, that was only playable if he had followed up with 18.Nc6.

As it went, Nakamura was better and won a pawn. Because Dubov could trade lots of pieces, he was still quite close to the draw until he allowed 29...d4.

For game two, Dubov chose the Philidor Defense, a line he plays often but which is not very popular at the highest level. It showed his creativity and the need to complicate matters a bit, but Nakamura didn't allow that.

Afterward, the American GM noted that he planned to play "boring and solid chess" and it worked to his favor as it didn't allow a lot of creativity in this game. After 13.e5 Dubov was not only looking at a dull middlegame, but also one in which he was worse.

He lost a pawn, and after missing 39.f5! another one.

Hikaru Nakamura Lindores Abbey
Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Dubov switched from 1.d4 to 1.c4 for game three, and in an English Four Knights, the players followed theory for no less than 21 moves—longer than Nakamura might have known because by then he was already a bit worse. 

The Russian player got the more active piece play, and suddenly a pawn was gifted to him as well. He won a good game and was still in the match.

Daniil Dubov Lindores Abbey Final
Daniil Dubov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The importance of that first-game win showed in the last game, where Nakamura had white, played super-solid, and easily got the half point he needed to secure the win.

The second clash between the players is on Tuesday. Dubov needs a match win to secure a third and final match on Wednesday.

The Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge runs May 19-June 3 on Chess24 in association with the Lindores Abbey Heritage Society. The prize fund is $150,000 with a first prize of $45,000. The time control is 15 minutes for all moves with a 10-second increment after each move. No draw offers are allowed before move 40. 

Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge bracket final

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