Nakamura Almost Perfect At Titled Tuesday
Yesterday, GM Hikaru Nakamura was almost perfect in Chess.com's Titled Tuesday blitz tournament. The American grandmaster finished on 10.5/11 and a full point ahead of GM Gadir Guseinov, the only player he drew with.
Nobody has won Titled Tuesday more often than Nakamura, who scored his eighth tournament victory. It was only his third unshared victory though: He finished on 8.0/9 both in July 2015 and March 2016.
In most cases the tournament has ended in a tie for first, and often lower prices had to be cut into very small amounts for multiple winners. That's why Chess.com experimented by adding two rounds for this month's edition.
And it was that very last, 11th round that made the difference. After 10 rounds Nakamura was leading the tournament together with the only player he had "dropped" half a point against: GM Gadir Guseinov of Azerbaijan. But whereas Guseinov lost his last game, Nakamura added yet another win.
Gadir Guseinov came second.
The tournament winner played 1.b3 in five of his six white games. This usually led to fairly normal middlegame positions where he had a slight edge, as in the next game. Look how White profits from the oddly placed rook on a5.
Here's another example, with Nakamura winning the pawn on c7 and then finishing off the game with good technique. Especially 26.Bd7 is kind of cool.
Nakamura was in excellent shape this time, and won by a point.
The only time Nakamura played 1.e4 was against GM Alexander Fier. The Brazilian grandmaster was still in Amsterdam as he had just finished playing the Batavia Tournament. He managed to reach the infamous f+h rook endgame and could have drawn it somewhere, but in practice (and with little time!) it's extremely hard.
As said, Guseinov could have actually tied for first with Nakamura if he had won instead of lost in that final round. The Azeri blitz specialist lost to the eventual number three in the tournament, GM Maksim Chigaev.
32nd seed Maksim Chigaev came third. | Photo courtesy Russian Chess Federation.
In the final standing below you'll notice two former top grandmasters. It's very nice to see the legendary Icelandic GM Johann Hjartarson playing some online blitz, and GM Gata Kamsky should be mentioned here too.
Kamsky could also be seen in the Aeroflot Blitz (after playing the regular open), and he joined Titled Tuesday for the first time, scoring 7.5/11. Here's his win vs GM Simon Williams (who might have been impressed by Kamsky's cool handle!).
The Titled Tuesday tournament delivered about a thousand games, so there's bound to be quite a few funny moments. Let's look at some examples. For starters, a typical breakthrough combination that's nonetheless instructive for many of our readers:
Chess.com tried 11 rounds for the first time, and it might actually be a bit too long, at least for some players. GM Georg Meier allowed a pretty mate in one in the final round:
Something similar happened in the following game, but this time it was White really setting it up, and Black missing the idea:
And now that we've discovered an actual theme here, let's add a last example with a double-knight checkmate:
Final Standings (all players with 7.5 points or more)
|4||5||GM||Genghis_K||Federico Perez Ponsa||8.5||48.25||$62,5|
227 players started in this edition of Titled Tuesday, including no fewer than 67 GMs. Nakamura won the $500 first prize, Guseinov got $400 and Chigaev $250. Four players shared the fourth and fifth prize.
Note that the entire month of April will see Titled Tuesday tournaments every Tuesday. The dates are April 4, April 11, April 18 and April 25.
The winners will qualify for the 2017 Speed Chess Championship. Find more about this here!