Carlsen began the day by quickly agreeing to a draw with White against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, the former World Champion. (The day before, both players had expressed their concern about starting the final round three hours earlier than usual, so the tame contest perhaps wasn’t quite a surprise.)
As happened in London, Carlsen then waited after his game finished for the tie-breaker, if it was needed. For that to happen, Yu had to win, and he did, pulling off a heroic victory over Wesley So of the United States.
Carlsen then brutally dismantled Yu in the tiebreakers.
The first game showed some incredibly smooth play by the World Champion:
The next game was a dud, as Yu, who was clearly exhausted, walked into a pretty double attack:
Yu has been somewhat overshadowed over the last couple of years by some of his compatriots, and his inconsistency has also held him back a little. But, like last year in Qatar, he showed nerves of steel to mount an incredible comeback after a comparatively slow start.
Katerina Savina, Qatar Masters Open
Yu Yangyi before Round 9 of the Qatar Masters Open
So rarely loses a game and, despite some admirable initial efforts from the young Chinese, it looked like So had things under control in Round 9. Yu’s resolve could not be denied, however, and he pulled off a miracle win at the end:
The last round of a Swiss has a lot more at stake than just the prizes as many players also battled it out for norms toward grandmaster and international master titles. Some players, like Xu Yinglun of China (who had an incredible rating performance of over 2800) and India’s Shardul Gagare were basically guaranteed grandmaster norms as long as they showed up.
Still, they both did not stop impressing in the final round. Xu let Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine off the hook with a draw in a final position where he had little risk of losing. Gagare, who no longer had any worries about a norm, notched up another 2600 scalp against Ildar Khairullin of Russia. The early round evidently wasn’t great for the Russian, as he blundered a pawn just after of the opening:
Others earned grandmaster norms as well. N.R. Vignesh of India, who lost in Rounds 7 and 8, still comfortably cleared the 2600 rating performance for a norm.
And Lin Chen of China, who had demolished his compatriot, and the strongest woman in the world, Hou Yifan, in Round 8, also seems to have made the cut.
Khairullin wasn’t the only one who may have been affected by the early hour. Quite a few blunders were sprinkled across other games:
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan did not technically blunder away his game, but he still seemed in a daze from his collapse in Round 8 against Carlsen. In Round 9, instead of playing calmly with Black, he played in Kamikaze mode. This is not the best strategy when facing a young opponent like Sanan Sjugirov of Russia who is rated 2650:
Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland, who is a long-time second of former World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India, probably did not mind the early round as he played a brilliant tactical game against his countryman, Kacper Piorun. I strongly suspect that a lot of the game was home preparation, but it’s always hard to know when the preparation in such a game ends:
Nino Batsiashvilli, the Georgian international master who held Carlsen to a draw in Round 1 with the black pieces, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov, the 11-year-old prodigy from Uzbekistan who held two 2600 grandmasters to draws in the first two rounds, faced off in Round 9. Neither player could match their dizzying starts in the rest of the event, but they fought well throughout, and ended on a fitting note, with Batsiashvilli pulling off a brilliant save:
The Qatar Masters was a success on many fronts. Many norms were earned, new talents were discovered and there were many entertaining games. In fact, the tournament may even spoil us as rarely, if ever, can the many drab, closed round robins create the drama and tension of an open Swiss with so many of the world’s top players. T
hough some of those players seemed to have some early round jitters, most of them did well in the end and lived up to their rankings, including, notably, the World Champion.
Parimarjan Negi is an Indian grandmaster who is the second-youngest ever to earn the title (at 13 years 4 months and 22 days). Ranked No. 80 in the world, he is currently a sophmore at Stanford University.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players