Nakamura, Yu Start With Match Victories As Lindores Abbey Knockout Begins
The knockout bracket of the Lindores Abbey tournament.

Nakamura, Yu Start With Match Victories As Lindores Abbey Knockout Begins

| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Yu Yangyi won their first matches in a series of best-of-three as they defeated GMs Levon Aronian and GM Ding Liren respectively. Both matches, at the start of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge's knockout stage, were decided in the armageddon game. 

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 is providing daily commentary on Nakamura's Twitch channel, embedded on

As the winner of the round-robin, Nakamura was paired against Aronian, who had finished in eighth place—a standard way of setting up a knockout bracket. The match got off to a great start with the best game on this Saturday.

Nakamura stuck to his Queen's Gambit Declined repertoire while Aronian followed the (once again) trendy 5.Bf4 line. With the inventive Bc7-a5 maneuver, the Armenian GM won a pawn but soon allowed his opponent to come back in the game. 

Then Aronian was on top again, but all he could get was the theoretically drawn RB vs. R endgame, which will always be tricky, though. The highest-rated players who have lost it are GM Vladimir Kramnik (rated 2811) vs. Ian Nepomniachtchi at the Zurich 2017 tournament and Aronian himself (2809 at the time) against Fabiano Caruana at the 2017 Sinquefield Cup.

Levon Aronian
Levon Aronian. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

After two draws, Nakamura leveled the score just in time in game four. Aronian never managed to achieve full equality in the Petroff, his new "weapon" versus 1.e4. The loss of a tempo in the middlegame was suddenly decisive:

That meant that an armageddon was necessary as each of these matches is the best of four. Nakamura chose the black pieces and ended by winning when Aronian incomprehensibly allowed Black's d-pawn to run to d2.

Hikaru Nakamura Lindores Abbey
Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Peter Doggers/

The clash between two of China's top GMs, Ding and Yu, was a quiet affair in the regular games. All four ended in draws without fireworks, so let's head straight to their armageddon.

That game was going Ding's way, who was fully in control and at one point completely winning... until he suddenly was flagged. A heartbreaking finish but luckily it didn't mean elimination.

Ding Liren Lindores Abbey
A dramatic loss for Ding Liren. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

These four players will now play an identical match on Monday, when Aronian and Ding need to win to secure a third, decisive match on Wednesday.

On Sunday we'll see the first clashes by GM Magnus Carlsen vs. GM Wesley So and GM Daniil Dubov vs. GM Sergey Karjakin, who will play their second matches on Tuesday.

All games of day 4

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. 

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