Anand Leads Champions Showdown, Nakamura Misses Incredible Resource

Anand Leads Champions Showdown, Nakamura Misses Incredible Resource

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

The most consistent player in Saint Louis by far today was five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, who now leads the 2016 Champions Showdown with a total of 8.0/12. After the classical portion ended yesterday, the players played a double round-robin in rapid, with a time control of fifteen minutes with a five-second delay. A very topsy-turvy Hikaru Nakamura stands at clear second with 6.5/12, while Veselin Topalov (5.0/12) and Fabiano Caruana (4.5/12) are well behind.

All photos courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Even though four days are now complete in this five-day event, the tournament is only halfway through! This is because the players will be playing another 12 games in the blitz portion tomorrow, which are scored equally to the classical and rapid events. With that, let's take a look at some highlights of the day's action:

In the first round of rapid, Vishy found a startling endgame combination to queen his b-pawn, but he missed a key detail. Luckily for him, Hikaru missed it too!

In the very next round, Hikaru's luck switched, as Caruana blundered a pawn to an elementary tactic:

Hikaru Nakamura defended well and took his chances. 

Vishy continued to play well with this smooth win over Topalov:

In Rround 10, Fabiano finally scored his first win of the event, converting a technical advantage in a position with opposite-color bishops:

Fabiano has yet to find his form in Saint Louis, but he can still catch up with a strong performance in the blitz tomorrow.

In the same round, Vishy again outplayed Nakamura in a Nimzo-Indian, but this time he couldn't get the job done to score the full point.

For most of the day, Hikaru would save bad or even lost positions, but he showed good technique when he had the advantage, like in this game against Caruana:

A rough day for Veselin Topalov, who'll surely be looking to strike back tomorrow.

One of the most impressive games of the day was this one in which Vishy displayed the power of rooks in his second win against Topalov:

And the last game of the day to finish was this chaotic time scramble between Topalov and Nakamura, ending in a finger-fehler for the former FIDE world champion:

Tomorrow the players will play the blitz portion of the event, which will feature 12 games of game in three minutes with a two-second delay. You can follow the games from the Champions Showdown starting at 1 p.m. CST each day.

IM Kostya Kavutskiy

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IM Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess author, journalist, coach, commentator, and player. As a part of's content team since 2009, Kostya has recorded many video lectures, covered elite tournaments, written instructive articles & blogs, and has done many live commentary shows for Chess TV. Kostya has also written a number of articles for Chess Life magazine and Chess Life Online, and is currently an instructor for Chess University. In 2015, Modernized: The Open Sicilian was released, which Kostya co-authored with IM Zhanibek Amanov. Kostya's tournament accomplishments include winning the 2014 Southern California Closed Championship, as well as achieving his IM title in November 2016. In April 2017, he placed 6th in the star-studded 2017 Reykjavik Open. He currently resides in Mountain View, CA, and his plans are to pursue the GM title while working actively as a coach.



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