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World Championship Challenger Reclaims Titled Tuesday

World Championship Challenger Reclaims Titled Tuesday

NathanielGreen
| 20 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi returned to Titled Tuesday on September 12 and won it for the first time in 17 months, taking the early tournament on tiebreaks with 9.5 points. GM Dmitry Andreikin, who has won more Titled Tuesdays in the last three years than any player not named GM Hikaru Nakamura, took home the late tournament outright with a 10/11 score, half a point ahead of GM Magnus Carlsen.


Early Tournament

Nepomniachtchi, a late replacement for GM Ding Liren in the ongoing Speed Chess Championship, started out his early Tuesday tournament with a 6/6 score in the field of 635. However, eventual runner-up GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda toppled him in the seventh round after a hard-fought endgame.

Duda retained a perfect score through nine rounds. In the 10th round, however, he faced off with GM Benjamin Bok, and his run at perfection ended. Bok himself ended up on 9.5/10 points after a tough victory. Duda gave up a queenside pawn for a short-lived attempt at a kingside attack, but Bok withstood the pressure and won the endgame.

Although it looked unlikely after his ninth-round draw with GM Levon Aronian, Nepomniachtchi stayed within range of tournament victory by beating GM Maxim Matlakov with the black pieces in round 10. Nepomniachtchi won a pawn tactically in the middlegame and held on through the end.

The stage was set for a final-round showdown between Nepomniachtchi and Bok. Nepomniachtchi not only needed to win his game, but he also needed at least a draw from Duda to have a chance. Fortunately for Nepomniachtchi, Duda's opponent was GM Alireza Firouzja, and a draw is indeed what happened there.

Meanwhile, in his must-win situation, Nepomniachtchi launched the King's Gambit against Bok. The gamble paid off, and, in fact, Nepomniachtchi was already up a pawn by move 12. After an eventual 39-move victory, the tiebreaks also went Nepomniachtchi's way for a triumphant return to Titled Tuesday.

September 12 Titled Tuesday | Early | Final Standings (Top 20)

Number Rk Fed Title Username Name Rating Score Tiebreak 1
1 8 GM @lachesisQ Ian Nepomniachtchi 3095 9.5 79
2 12 GM @Polish_fighter3000 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 3086 9.5 78
3 25 GM @GMBenjaminBok Benjamin Bok 3026 9.5 74.5
4 15 GM @amintabatabaei Amin Tabatabaei 3074 9.5 73
5 16 GM @FairChess_on_YouTube Dmitry Andreikin 3055 9 75.5
6 17 GM @LevonAronian Levon Aronian 3064 9 69.5
7 24 GM @vi_pranav Pranav V 2997 9 69.5
8 9 GM @Firouzja2003 Alireza Firouzja 3078 9 69
9 34 FM @artin10862 Artin Ashraf 2961 9 67
10 13 FM @Sina_Movahed Sina Movahed 3058 9 63
11 580 GM @HansOnTwitch Hans Niemann 3074 9 45.5
12 3 GM @Jospem Jose Martinez 3105 8.5 72
13 18 GM @BillieKimbah Maxim Matlakov 3034 8.5 71
14 78 GM @OK97 Ori Kobo 2858 8.5 62.5
15 4 GM @Parhamov Parham Maghsoodloo 3100 8 72.5
16 27 GM @Duhless Daniil Dubov 2985 8 72
17 40 GM @sergoy Sergey Drygalov 2932 8 70.5
18 22 GM @Andreikka Andrey Esipenko 3013 8 70
19 290 FM @Lion-Al-Messi Ward Al-Tarboush 2641 8 70
20 14 GM @artooon Pranesh M 3042 8 69.5
81 311 WCM @hongnhung1234 Nhung Hong Nguyen 2540 7 54.5

(Full final standings here.)

Nepomniachtchi earned the $1,000 first-place prize, while Duda ended up in second place for $750 and Bok in third for $350. Also reaching 9.5 points was GM Amin Tabatabaei, who finished fourth for $200. The $100 prizes went to Andreikin in fifth place and WCM Nhung Hong Nguyen, who scored seven points and won the women's prize.

Late Tournament

Andreikin, who had earned a bit of cash in the early tournament, won the whole thing in the late event, surviving a sixth-round loss at the hands of GM Bogdan Daniel Deac. It ended up the only blemish on Andreikin's performance against the field of 485 players.

The tournament turned on the ninth-round contest between Andreikin and Carlsen. Andreikin had the black pieces and employed the Schliemann Defense, or Jaenisch Gambit, to the Ruy Lopez with 3...f5 in a move reminiscent of Nepomniachtchi's choice of the King's Gambit against Bok earlier in the day. Andreikin's decision also paid off for him, leading to a messy position that neither player navigated perfectly, but where Carlsen made the final mistake. Andreikin even had two queens before Carlsen resigned.

But Andreikin was not done as he faced Nakamura next. Against Nakamura's pet Modern Defense, Andreikin established a strong center, and by the time that center could be broken up, he was ahead in material by an exchange and a pawn.

One last test awaited Andreikin in the person of Firouzja. Undeterred, Andreikin demonstrated that perhaps he should be counted among Carlsen, Nakamura, and Firouzja as the very strongest blitz players in the world—he ended the day beating all three of them consecutively. (Unfortunately for Andreikin, however, he has already been nudged out of the Speed Chess Championship by a single point against Firouzja.)

Andreikin needed all of those three big wins, as Carlsen ended up with the better tiebreak score despite finishing a half-point back of Andreikin. Carlsen's wins over FM Artin Ashraf and GM Steven Zierk in the last two rounds kept the pressure on, but not enough to overcome the ninth-round result.

Zierk tried the French Defense against Carlsen, who responded with the notoriously drawish Exchange Variation but still found a path to victory in the game. It just wasn't enough for Carlsen to achieve victory in the tournament.

September 12 Titled Tuesday | Late | Final Standings (Top 20)

Number Rk Fed Title Username Name Rating Score Tiebreak 1
1 16 GM @FairChess_on_YouTube Dmitry Andreikin 3098 10 74
2 2 GM @MagnusCarlsen Magnus Carlsen 3222 9.5 76
3 3 GM @Njal28 Aram Hakobyan 3118 9 71
4 14 GM @mishanick Aleksei Sarana 3078 9 70.5
5 22 GM @dropstoneDP David Paravyan 3041 9 62
6 12 GM @Firouzja2003 Alireza Firouzja 3083 8.5 74.5
7 18 GM @Bigfish1995 Vladimir Fedoseev 3067 8.5 73
8 7 GM @SpeedofLight0 Andrew Hong 3090 8.5 71
9 44 GM @Zkid Steven Zierk 2954 8.5 69
10 35 GM @TigrVShlyape Gata Kamsky 2971 8.5 65
11 21 GM @GMBenjaminBok Benjamin Bok 3016 8.5 64.5
12 41 GM @jcibarra José Carlos Ibarra Jerez 2957 8.5 63
13 23 GM @Oleksandr_Bortnyk Oleksandr Bortnyk 3007 8.5 62.5
14 36 GM @h4parah5 Jaime Santos Latasa 2959 8 72.5
15 4 GM @Msb2 Matthias Bluebaum 3088 8 71.5
16 33 GM @kuli4ik Mikhail Demidov 2956 8 70.5
17 26 GM @rasmussvane Rasmus Svane 2996 8 69.5
18 5 GM @Jospem Jose Martinez 3081 8 69
19 30 FM @artin10862 Artin Ashraf 2951 8 67
20 63 IM @Manticore17 Arystanbek Urazayev 2854 8 66
57 153 IM @TatjanaVasilevich Tatjana Vasilevich 2610 7 59

(Full final standings here.)

Andrekin's $1,000 first-place prize gave him $1,100 on the day. Carlsen won $750 in second place. In a three-way tie on nine points, tiebreaks gave GM Aram Hakobyan third place and $350, GM Alexey Sarana fourth for $200, and GM David Paravyan fifth for $100. The $100 women's prize went to IM Tatjana Vasilevich.

Titled Tuesday

Titled Tuesday is Chess.com's weekly 11-round Swiss tournament for titled players. Every Tuesday, there are two tournaments: the first one at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time/17:00 Central European/20:30 Indian Standard Time, and the second at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time/23:00 Central European/2:30 Indian Standard Time (next day).

NathanielGreen
Nathaniel Green

Nathaniel Green is a staff writer for Chess.com who writes articles, player biographies, Titled Tuesday reports, video scripts, and more. He has been playing chess for about 30 years and resides near Washington, DC, USA.

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