Nakamura Dazzles in Blitz Section, Wins Showdown in Saint Louis

Nakamura Dazzles in Blitz Section, Wins Showdown in Saint Louis

| 40 | Chess Event Coverage

Hikaru Nakamura defeated Levon Aronian in the match dubbed as the “Showdown in Saint Louis” by winning the blitz section on Tuesday. The American number one earned $60,000 while his opponent took home $40,000.

Photo © Austin Fuller, CCSCSL's number one in our blitz (and bullet) rating list Hikaru Nakamura proved too strong for Levon Aronian in the blitz section of their match in Saint Louis. The U.S. grandmaster beat the Armenian 9.5-6.5 across 16 blitz games played at the standard tempo of 3 minutes plus 2 seconds increment.

This blitz match decided the overall “Showdown in Saint Louis” in Nakamura's favor after their 4 classical games had finished in a 2-2 tie. The two players both won one game, and then games 3 and 4 ended in draws.

Photo © Austin Fuller, CCSCSL.

The scoring of the classical portion was 4 points for a win and 2 for a draw, while the blitz games counted for 1 point each. Thus, Nakamura won with a 17.5-14.5 overall final score.

It was clear that Nakamura felt more comfortable at this fast time control as he used less time on the clock in almost every game, upholding his reputation as one of the chess world’s fastest thinkers. “I've been a world champion at 4+2, but 3+2 is just too fast for me,” said Aronian. “But I enjoyed it — I think it was fun!”

The very first game was a spectacular battle that showed the American's resilience. He lost his queen (a rather nice trick by Aronian!) but kept on fighting and then event checkmated his opponent.

Photo © Austin Fuller, CCSCSL

Nakamura decided the match by drawing game 14, after which the score was 8.5-5.5. He added another win, but Aronian could finish on a positive note with a classic Bxe6 sacrifice in the Sicilian:

Once I got warmed about I was pretty much in the zone; everything was just flow,” said the winner in the post-game interview with GM Maurice Ashley. “From game 3 onwards I played more or less reasonably well. Levon was more prepared but I was able to find the moves quicker. Once I got out of the opening I could just play chess and it felt very natural.” 

Below you can find the live show courtesy of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis — it starts at the interview with Aronian, who spoke to Ashley first.

You can download all PGN games here from TWIC.

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