RECAP DAY 3 CHAMPIONS SHOWDOWN: CHESS 9LX
Day three saw two matches become closer while the others saw the leaders continue their winning ways. Fabiano Caruana clinched his match against Garry Kasparov by winning three of the four games. Wesley So didn’t quite finish off Veselin Topalov, but the Bulgarian would have to win all his games tomorrow to tie it up. Leinier Dominguez got a plus score today, closing the gap slightly on Peter Svidler, but he’ll still need to have an unbelievable final day to catch the Russian. The closest match is most definitely between Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura. The American is only a point back going into the final day’s eight blitz games. Let’s recap the action.
Fabiano Caruana vs. Garry Kasparov
Kasparov has had no shortage of promising positions in this match, but converting them against the world #2 has proved difficult. The 5th rapid game was a topsy-turvy affair in which both sides had their chances. In the end, Garry ran out of time in a position where he was winning. In the final rapid game, Fabiano took care of business and won the game decisively. The American clinched the match by winning with black in the 5th blitz game. Despite this, the combatants will play eight blitz games tomorrow, and there is no doubt the former World Champion will be out for revenge.
Kasparov continued to fight, but Caruana proved to be too strong a foe in this matchup
Wesley So vs. Veselin Topalov
Similar to Kasparov, Topalov’s point total doesn’t reflect the positions that he’s received. The Bulgarian seemed to be on his way to victory in the 5th rapid game when the American found a way to get counterplay with his e-pawn, allowing him to draw the game. The 6th rapid game was quite tragic, as Veselin tried to castle after he had already moved his king, a common mistake in the confusion of Chess960. As his only king move would give up buckets of material, he chose to resign, and to his credit he showed good humor about the whole incident. Wesley scored 1.5/2 in the blitz games, and thus brought his lead to 13-5. One draw on the final day is all he needs to clinch it.
The Topalov-So match was under much scrutiny today after Veselin played an illegal move
Leinier Dominguez vs. Peter Svidler
Unlike some of the other players who were trailing, Dominguez seemed to have good fortune on his side. He got a terrible position in the 5th rapid game against Svidler, but the Russian went astray and allowed Leinier to score a victory in the endgame. The final rapid game went very poorly for the Cuban-American, however, when he went on an ill-advised king walk on the queenside. While Dominguez didn’t get checkmated, he had to pitch too much material to avoid that fate, and ended up throwing in the towel in a dead lost position. Leinier recovered well, and played a very nice game to win the 5th blitz game. He had chances to win the 6th blitz game as well, but Peter defended well and was able to draw. This leaves the Russian ahead 11 - 7 going into the last 8 blitz games.
Dominguez is still far behind, but is keeping his eye on Svidler going into the last day
Hikaru Nakamura vs. Levon Aronian
Similar to day two, Hikaru continued to claw his way back into the match. He was slightly worse in the 5th rapid game, but defended well to navigate it towards a draw. The American won the final rapid game when Levon parted with too many pawns and didn’t get enough compensation. Levon also got a nice edge in the 5th blitz game, but once again Hikaru navigated it successfully to a drawn endgame. The 6th blitz game was complex, but the American got the better of it, and brings himself to within a point of Aronian. The Armenian leads 9.5 - 8.5 going into the final day.
Hikaru continues to close the gap with Levon, and is only a point behind now
Tomorrow the games will begin at 1pm local time. The live broadcast with GMs Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade starts at 12:50. GMs Alejandro Ramirez and Cristian Chirila will be doing live commentary at Kingside Diner next to the chess club.