Shakhriyar Mamedyarov surged ahead today in the Champions Showdown, winning all three of his games to finish tied for first with Alireza Firouzja, both on 4.5/6. Yesterday’s leader Ian Nepomniachtchi slipped to third place with 4.0/6, while former World Champion Garry Kasparov was unfortunately once again shut out from scoring any points.
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Continuing his run from yesterday, Nepomniachtchi managed to trick Caruana in a drawn knight endgame to move to 4/4, while Nakamura outplayed Dominguez to reach a winning rook and knight against rook and bishop ending.
In the ‘clash of generations’, Kasparov sacrificed an exchange and established a strong knight on e6, but patient play by Firouzja allowed him to first trade off White’s rook, and then the knight, before overtaking the initiative and winning the game. And in another turnaround, the game between So and Mamedyarov ended abruptly as in a winning position So blundered into a brutal tactical counter:
The crucial match-up of the round took place between Firouzja and Nepomniachtchi, who quickly exchanged everything, resulting in an equal double-rook endgame. Things looked quite drawish until Nepomniachtchi suddenly got his king stuck on the back rank, and Firouzja used his active king to win the endgame.
Mamedyarov and Nakamura also picked up their second straight wins, defeating Kasparov and Svidler. In Mamedyarov’s case the task was simpler, as Kasparov spent too much time in the opening phase and ended up flagging in a difficult middlegame. In the meantime Nakamura out-developed Svidler and used a textbook rook sacrifice to decimate the enemy king:
Nepomniachtchi’s run came to a full halt in his Round 6 game against Mamedyarov, after the latter found a nice zwischenzug to strand White’s king in the center of the board. Nepo tried to survive as long as he could, but the result was never in doubt, and the game finished with a nice underpromotion by Mamedyarov, as he scored his third straight win.
VIDEO: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov promotes Knight to defeat Nepo in style
Read more: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: It’s much better to play Fischer Random Chess
Meanwhile Firouzja had excellent chances to win against Dominguez and take the sole lead, but missed a narrow path to win in the rook endgame, and Dominguez managed to hold the draw.
Read more: Alireza Firouzja: It is weird for me to analyze with other players before the game
The 2022 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX concludes Friday, September 16, starting at 1:50 PM CT. Tune in to watch WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, GM Yasser Seirawan, & GM Cristian Chirila provide live commentary.