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Topalov Gambles, Leads Champions Showdown

Topalov Gambles, Leads Champions Showdown

The Saint Louis Chess Club has delivered another innovative tournament in the Champions Showdown, which started today. Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Viswanathan Anand, and Veselin Topalov are playing a five-day standard, rapid, and blitz tournament in the chess capital of the U.S.

Photo courtesy official Twitter page.

Today, they played two rounds of game-60 with a five-second delay. They will play another two rounds on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday will feature six rounds of rapid (game-15 with a five-second delay) and Monday will feature 12 rounds of blitz (three minutes with a two-second delay).

In the first of the day's rounds, Topalov made a major gamble and offered a piece to Caruana. The engine was most disapproving, but Caruana's problems were real and after a bit of an oops, the full point came to Topalov. As this was the only decisive game of the day, Topalov holds first place, but there are many many games to go, and to win Topalov will need to perform much better in the blitz than he did in Paris/Leuven.

In the same round, Anand pressed Nakamura slightly, but he was probably never near a win.

Caruana's misfortunes continued in the second round when he played a beautiful positional game, but with only three seconds on the clock, and a win still hanging about on the board, Caruana had to settle for a draw.

Caruana doesn't seem to be handling the delay format well.

Thus Caruana was winning in both of his games, but he is dead last after day one.

Topalov and Anand played a balanced affair in which Topalov maintained his edge, but was never near a win.

You can follow the games from the Champions Showdown starting at 1 p.m. CST each day and watch the commentary with IM Tania Sachdev and GM Yasser Seirawan.

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