Tactics Abound As Tani Puts USA Ahead in Match Against UK
Tani Adewumi won his match in thrilling fashion over CM Shreyas Royal to give USA draw odds in Sunday's Rising Stars Chess Match.

Tactics Abound As Tani Puts USA Ahead in Match Against UK

MikeKlein
FM MikeKlein
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33 | Chess Event Coverage

In a fantastic display of tactics and speed from both players, USA's Tani Adewumi bested UK's CM Shreyas Royal in Thursday's opening contest of the UK vs. USA Rising Stars Chess Match.

The match was tied 1-1 after the rapid portion but Adewumi won the first game of the tiebreak in the closing seconds. If you missed it, you can re-watch the entire action on ChessKid.com here.

With the win, the American squad now has "draw odds" in Sunday's 10-on-10 battle. Like this match, that will also be broadcast on Chess.com/TV and will start at 9 a.m. Pacific / 12 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. UK / 18:00 CEST.

Tani Adewumi Shreyas Royal

This marquee match was jointly hosted by ChessKid and the UK's Chess in Schools and Communities with FM Mike Klein and IM Malcolm Pein providing commentary. This not only opened the Rising Stars Match but also was a sort of prelude to July's ChessKid Youth Speed Chess Championship, where Adewumi and Royal are two of the eight invited players.

Adewumi explained in the interview segment that his style resembled Paul Morphy more than GM Fabiano Caruana (the two players he mentions heavily in his new book "My Name is Tani and I Believe in Miracles"). But he opened much more conservatively than the 19th-century hero, placing his pieces on modest squares and not launching any attacks.

Tani Adewumi Shreyas Royal

Both commentators wondered if Black's control of the center refuted the opening, but suddenly after 16. Qa5 it was clear that White's control of the dark squares put Royal on the defensive. Still, Adewumi saved his best for later, with the sparkling (and very much Morphy-style) 28. Rxe6! tactic. The move exposed the black king too much and Adewumi even got to mate with a pawn.

Royal struck back in game two with an even more crushing attack. He also used some tactical wizardry to see the multi-move combination beginning with 14. Bxh6! which took advantage of the overworked queen. By capturing the "hook" pawn, White ate four pieces in a row before his knights galloped in to finish things off.

In a funny twist, had Black defended the mate on h7 with 18...f6, then 19.Nxe6 Qxe6 20.Bd5 is a carbon-copy of Adewumi's trick in game one!

There was a small delay going into the tiebreaker game, as this author/commentator had to go find a coin to flip. It seems no one is using real money these days!

Abraham Lincoln proved to be a home-currency advantage as Royal called "tails" but the penny showed "heads." Interestingly, choosing white was not automatic. Adewumi verbally wavered on the air before choosing to move first (in his two-game mini-match with me in St. Louis last year, and actually preferred to play black in both games—you can see game one here and game two here).

Tani Adewumi

Adewumi's reaction after winning the final game. Perhaps no chess player has jumped so high on a live broadcast before!

The tiebreak game, played at 3+1, was dominated by Royal for all but the final few moves. After winning the exchange, both players dwindled down to only a few seconds. Instead of trading queens, then trading rooks, the British player inverted the exchanges and lost to an in-between move, the final move of the match.

To watch the exciting conclusion of the UK vs. USA Rising Stars Match, tune in to Chess.com/TV on Sunday, June 28 at 9 a.m. Pacific / 12 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. UK / 18:00 CEST with commentary from FM Mike Klein and other top coaches.

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