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Rapid Chess Championship Week 8: Maghsoodloo Wins Swiss And Knockout

Rapid Chess Championship Week 8: Maghsoodloo Wins Swiss And Knockout

JackRodgers
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Parham Maghsoodloo was the winner of the eighth week of the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship tournament presented by Coinbase, emerging victorious from an action-packed final against GM Jeffery Xiong.

Maghsoodloo was also able to top the Swiss event ahead of the other qualified players, GMs David Paravyan, Hikaru Nakamura, Daniil Dubov, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Dmitry Andreikin, and Amin Tabatabaei

Participating in the event were 36 players from the top-100 list, top 10-women, top-10 juniors, as well as 10 wildcards. The event continues next weekend, April 9-10, starting at 9 a.m. PT/18:00 CEST.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Rapid Chess Championship presented by Coinbase on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com/ChesscomLive.
Live broadcast of this weekend's tournament, hosted by GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Robert Hess


The Rapid Chess Championship is a weekly tournament held by Chess.com. It is a nine-round Swiss event with a 10+0 time control held every Saturday, followed by a knockout event on Sunday between the top eight finishers and a 10+2 time control. If players draw, they play another 3+2 game; if drawn, they play a 1+1 game; and if that is drawn, a single armageddon game is played.


Swiss

21-year-old Maghsoodloo and Xiong were the victors in this week's Swiss, with the two unable to outdo each other after a series of electrifying wins over numerous top-10 players.

The Iranian Maghsoodloo was able to edge out Xiong on tiebreaks after managing to win against Caruana, Dubov, Giri, and reigning world rapid champion Abdusattorov. Xiong was the sole participant who went undefeated throughout to join his rival on 6.5/9.

This week's Swiss winner. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Interestingly, the winners were not the only players born after the turn of the millennium to finish in the top eight and qualify for the knockout. Abdusattorov and recent Grand Prix semifinalist Tabatabaei were also impressive, losing only a single game each and conceding several draws over the nine rounds.

Nakamura, a mainstay in almost all tournament finals this year was involved in a close shave after an upset in round one by GM Alexander Grishuk and again by GM Anton Demchenko in round two, leaving him on an unexpected score of 0/2. 

Nakamura was able to bounce back in classic style, claiming five of his next seven games and drawing the other two. The American superstar was perhaps spurred on in the pursuit of defending a potential fifth title in as many appearances. 

The commentators were truly in sync for today's coverage.

Viewers were also treated to an instructive moment in round one when commentators Hess and Naroditsky pointed out that zugzwang was possible in a rook and knight ending that seemed winning for GM Anish Giri but amazingly, was not.

Blitz and bullet specialist GM Oleksandr Bortnyk was unable to find the fascinating idea under pressure and Giri stole the point. As Hess pointed out, "chess is beautiful sometimes."

Chess is beautiful sometimes.
— GM Robert Hess

With only half a point splitting first and seventh place, the knockout was destined to be a blockbuster event where more "beautiful" chess was sure to be played.

Saturday Swiss | Final Standings (Top 20)

Number Rk Fed Title Username Name Rating Score SB
1 19 GM Parhamov Parham Maghsoodloo 2694 6.5 33.5
1 15 GM jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 2719 6.5 33.5
3 11 GM dropstoneDP David Paravyan 2693 6 27.25
4 1 GM Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 2841 6 26.5
5 8 GM ChessWarrior7197 Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2726 6 24
6 7 GM Duhless Daniil Dubov 2748 6 23.75
7 6 GM FairChess_on_YouTube Dmitry Andreikin 2738 6 20.5
8 17 GM amintabatabaei Amin Tabatabaei 2651 5.5 28.5
9 10 GM BillieKimbah Maxim Matlakov 2705 5.5 24
10 4 GM AnishGiri Anish Giri 2773 5.5 22.75
11 5 GM lachesisQ Ian Nepomniachtchi 2749 5.5 22
12 18 GM Grischuk Alexander Grischuk 2632 5 22.5
13 20 GM vladislavkovalev Vladislav Kovalev 2618 5 18
14 30 GM TigrVShlyape Gata Kamsky 2482 5 14
15 13 GM Tesla37 Sergei Movsesian 2658 4.5 21.25
16 16 GM Bigfish1995 Vladimir Fedoseev 2648 4.5 18.75
17 9 GM mishanick Alexey Sarana 2699 4.5 17.25
18 28 GM igorkovalenko Igor Kovalenko 2531 4.5 15.5
19 33 GM Jumbo Rinat Jumabayev 2389 4 11
20 12 GM dalmatinac101 Ivan Saric 2648 4 10.5
20 29 GM erichansen Eric Hansen 2531 4 10.5

(Full final standings here.)

Knockout

The first quarterfinal matchup saw Maghsoodloo go head-to-head against fellow countryman Tabatabaei. In a quiet version of the Nimzo-Larsen attack, the players looked to be heading toward a balanced ending. Central piece activity proved paramount to the position though and Maghsoodloo was able to dismantle his opponent after an inaccuracy, steamrolling through the center.

The moment where things began to go wrong for Tabatabaei (Black).

Abdusattorov took on Nakamura in a clash of the titans where the freshly minted rapid champion opted for an Accelerated Dragon, showing his intent to win with the black pieces.

The Uzbek GM had clearly done his homework and gained a positional edge and never looked back. At 17 years old, Abdusattorov continues to prove his strength at the highest level.

Abdusattorov takes on GM Magnus Carlsen at the World Rapid Chess Championships in 2021. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

Second place getter from the Swiss event Xiong was able to overcome last week's winner Andreikin in an exciting game where he launched a scintillating kingside attack, ripping open Black's position. Andreikin was caught with too many pieces on the queenside and, consequently, could not defend his king adequately.

Dubov was able to demonstrate the power of a minority attack in his quarterfinal match against Paravyan, isolating his opponent's a-pawn and piling pressure on it. 

The lone soldier was able to find a materially fair exchange but the resulting tempi gained allowed Dubov to galvanize his pieces and build enough initiative to convert the game.

The future of chess certainly promises ample excitement if today's semifinals games were anything to go by. Players kept up the "no-draw" trend, and Maghsoodloo was the first to draw blood in his match against Abdusattorov. In a tricky queenless Grunfeld middlegame, the players poked and prodded, attempting to outmaneuver each other. The critical error came on move 22 when Abdusattorov played the tenous 22.f5, allowing Maghsoodloo to pounce, liquidate the position, and win a knight.

In Xiong and Dubov's semifinal, the players left the book on move six of a Grunfeld, a rare sight in such a well-studied opening. White's development eventually carried a likeness to the Yugoslav Attack in the Sicilian Defence which, by reputation, carries an air of danger for Black's castled king.

This reputation held true in this case and Dubov was forced to exchange a number of pieces that allowed Xiong to plant his e-pawn on the fifth rank, shutting out Dubov's bishop and setting up a commanding knight outpost. The pressure proved too much and with precise play, Xiong instigated the collapse of Dubov's position and booked his spot in the finals.

A fitting final took place this week with the two players who could not be split in the Swiss event reaching the knockout final! Maghsoodloo took the white pieces against Xiong and started the game with 1.d4. Xiong responded with the Kings Indian Defence but the position quickly transposed into a Benko-like position.

The Benko transposition. A king on f1 is not uncommon in these systems.

After a typical queenside grapple, it was Maghsoodloo who was the first to gain a tangible advantage with a passed a-pawn which shot up the board and nestled itself on a7 on the 24th move. The Iranian GM, with mere seconds on his clock, missed a great opportunity to win the game several moves later but only had five seconds to find the response.

The evaluation bar could have been mistaken for two dancers tangoing for several moves as the players stepped around the clock and each other. The passed a-pawn eventually proved too much to handle though and with four seconds left on the clock, Xiong resigned.

Maghsoodloo was a worthy champion after winning both the Swiss and knockout events and was delighted to win his first RCC while speaking to commentators Naroditsky and Hess during the post-match interview.

Standings, Results, Prizes

The winner of both the Swiss and knockout events this week was Maghsoodloo. Below are the full standings and prizes of the knockout.

Sunday Knockout | Final Standings

# Fed Player Place Prize
1 Parham Maghsoodloo Winner $7,500
2 Jeffery Xiong Finalist $3,500
3-4 Nodirbek Abdusattorov Semifinalist $2,500
3-4 Daniil Dubov Semifinalist $2,500
5-8 Hikaru Nakamura Quarterfinalist $1,000
5-8 Dmitry Andreikin Quarterfinalist $1,000
5-8 Amin Tabatabaei Quarterfinalist $1,000
5-8 David Paravyan Quarterfinalist $1,000

Rapid Chess Championship 2022 Bracket Week 8


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