Caruana upset MVL, so scores in the quarterfinals


GM Fabiano Caruana defeated GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with a score of 13.5-12.5 in the final game of the first round of the Speed ​​Chess Championship Main Event 2021. In the quarterfinal game that starts on, he faces GM Wesley So Monday, December 9th at 10:00 a.m. Pacific / 7:00 p.m. Central European Time.

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The live broadcast of the game.

The former challenger for the world title took a break from his job as a commentator for the current FIDE World Chess Championship Match to compete with Vachier-Lagrave (MVL), who had a 78% chance of winning against Caruana’s clear favorite before the game was 22% loud SmarterChess game prediction. At almost no point in the game, however, was it certain that these predictions would come true. It was a pretty close game that could go either way.

It started with two wins for both players in the 5 + 1 segment. The third game was particularly curious, as the French grandmaster played the game with 1.e3 !? opened. Commentators GM Daniel Naroditsky and GM Aman Hambleton wondered if this was a mouse mistake or a serious move during the broadcast, but it was very likely the former, as Vachier-Lagrave two fields behind the e-pawn in almost all of his remaining fields pushed forward has white games. Be that as it may, after about 15 moves White got a position that Naroditsky described as: “One of those positions in which the black player stepped down in the 1960s, took a cigarette out of his mouth and applauded.”

Caruana evened the score in game six, but the game was marked by an unusual mutual error in a position that both players had enough time to see.

We didn’t see a draw until the seventh game after MVL failed to implement a winning final. Then Caruana took the 5 + 1 segment with a very stylish win in game eight. He continued this form into the 3 + 1 segment and took the lead 7-4 after 11 games. Things looked bad for MVL at the time, but he made a brilliant comeback that started with a nice win with black checkers in Game 12.

In his next game as White, MVL switched to the Italian game instead of the usual Ruy Lopez, which earned him immediate dividends as he won in a convincing position. In games 14 and 15 he repeated the recipe for success: the French defense with black and the Italian game with white, and voilà – he was one point ahead!

He completed the turnaround when he won the final game of the lightning segment and carried a solid 9.5-7.5 lead into the ball segment. With this great form, and especially after winning the first Bullet game, MVL was certainly seen by many as a big favorite to win, but Fabiano thrilled his fans when he fought back and never let the match go by.

After some nice wins by Fabiano, Game 23 may have been the game’s turning point. He was on the verge of losing, but managed to turn the game around completely in Time Scramble and level the score at 11.5-11.5.

With the time limit for the ball segment expired, Vachier-Lagrave took another lead when Caruana made a mistake in front of the move in a completely drawn rook and bishop endgame.

In the penultimate game of the match, Caruana reminded us of his mental resilience, which he demonstrated so well in the recently concluded US championship. In a must-win game with Black, he showed fantastic technique in a very sharp endgame and evened the result again.

So the match got to the point and it was decided either in the final, 26th game or in the tie-break if the game ended in a draw. It was a thrill as the American masterfully built himself a winning position and got a big head start on the clock, but MVL defended valiantly and repeatedly posed practical problems.

With this game Caruana had won the match! He is not considered to be a specialist in rapid chess, but he has proven that he has made great strides in this area of ​​his game and is able to beat one of the fastest and strongest players in the world in one match.

When asked about his result in the post-game interview, Caruana said: “I didn’t have a lot of expectations today. I didn’t think I would do very well in the openings, but I actually became quite playable.” Positions with black. The big surprise is that I did above average in the one-minute segment, which is usually not my forte. “

Caruana has promised that he will continue to travel to Danny Rensch’s office for future SCC games because it is his lucky charm

MVL also shared his opinion on the match: “Overall it was a deserved win for Fabi because I made way too many mistakes in all segments, but especially on the floor, where I just didn’t play well. But Fabi played very persistently and saved a few very difficult positions. I just made too many mistakes and that cost me the game. “

Caruana agreed that “a few moments in the one-minute section” mattered, mostly referring to the “crunch” game 23, which he admitted was “dead lost and I somehow won when my pawns went off”. “. He now has his sights set on the quarter-final against Wesley So, which he thinks is” a small favorite but hopes it will have his chances too “.

Vachier-Lagrave made $ 961.54 based on his score percentage, while Caruana got $ 2,000 for the win plus $ 1,038.46 percentage ($ 3,038.46 total). He will reach the quarterfinals where he will play against GM Wesley So.

All games

The Main Event of the Speed ​​Chess Championship 2021 is a knockout tournament between 16 of the best grandmasters in the world, who play for prize money of 100,000 US dollars. The tournament will take place on from November 8th to December 19th, 2021. Each individual match consists of 90 minutes 5 + 1 Blitz, 60 minutes 3 + 1 Blitz and 30 minutes 1 + 1 ball chess.

Here you will find all information about the Speed ​​Chess Championship.

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