Lindores Abbey Knockout: Carlsen, Dubov Start With Wins

Lindores Abbey Knockout: Carlsen, Dubov Start With Wins

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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17 | Chess Event Coverage

On the second day of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge's knockout stage, GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Daniil Dubov won their first matches against GM Wesley So and GM Sergey Karjakin respectively. Both battles were over in just three games.

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 Chess.com/TV.


During these quarterfinals, half of the field is alternating with the other half while all duos are playing up to three mini-matches—a new and interesting system for the chess world. The world champion was able to enjoy not one but two rest days, along with the other three players who played in the action today.

Carlsen-So is the first multi-day clash between these players since their Chess960 final last year in Norway which was sensationally won by the American player. Today, that didn't happen.

Carlsen So Chess960 2019
Carlsen and So during their Chess960 match last year. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

For starters, the game started with a glitch as So's internet got disconnected after White's 12th move. Unlike with some disconnects during the Magnus Carlsen Invitational last month, So's webcam also froze this time so it was clearly a local internet issue.

After about 1.5 minutes, with Carlsen wondering what was going on, "1-0" suddenly appeared next to the game, and the problem truly revealed itself. That result was set automatically and removed when the players resumed their game about 15 minutes later from the position after 12.Qc2.

So played a novelty straight away, deviating from an earlier Carlsen game, and a sharp middlegame was ensured as White's king lost its right to castle. A key moment was move 18, when the world champion found the most forcing way to continue and So responding badly a move later.

The next game was highly interesting, but it also saw what was probably a slightly tilted So at the very end. As he had a beautiful, positional edge in the middlegame and also a winning position later on, it was probably hard to accept that the game was petering out to a draw. He gambled, and lost again:

So can't have felt too great at that point, and in fact, in the third game he allowed a move repetition at move 18, seemingly to get the match over with. Carlsen won the first match 2.5-0.5, and So now needs to win the second match on Tuesday to stay in the competition.

Commentator IM Lawrence Trent went as far as calling So's decision "unsporting," followed by the following clarification: 

"I want to make something clear, I am a big Wesley fan," Trent said. "I've known Wesley for a very long time, and I think he's a great chess player and great ambassador, but what I think he did today is not in the spirit of the competition, to be brutally honest."

Carlsen replied: "I would say, let the man redeem himself in the next few days! I'm not going to sit and dwell too much on that, but it was obviously a pleasant surprise for me. I guess he just figured there are two more matches, and he'll try to win both."

The all-Russia match between Dubov and Karjakin also saw some irregularities, with a wrong clock setting in game two and another disconnect in game three.

Starting off, Dubov won his white game from a complicated Catalan endgame that... turned out to be all theory. It remained a difficult fight, and the difference between a draw and a loss for Karjakin was only a matter of a difference in move-order, it seems.

Game two, as mentioned by Karjakin, was played without the 10-second increment. It was a disaster for Karjakin as he got into a bad position and then lost on time, possibly still not aware that the clocks had been set up wrongly.

The game is also memorable for the one moment when Dubov played a cool knight move, and Karjakin could have replied with an even cooler one.

As said, in the third game, it was Karjakin who got disconnected, after White's 55th move. The game was resumed later, and after a lot senseless shuffling, Dubov eventually started to play for a win successfully.

Daniil Dubov
Daniil Dubov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Tomorrow the players of the first two matches will be in action again. GM Levon Aronian and GM Ding Liren have to win against GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Yu Yangyi.

All games of day 5

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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