Two big names took a tumble and are out of the tournament.
Malcolm Pein on…The Dramatic Finale
In a dramatic finale to the Opera Europe Rapid preliminaries on Chess24, speed chess supremo Hikaru Nakamura and Candidate Ian Nepomniachtchi failed to make the final eight. The main beneficiary was Daniil Dubov, who finished strongly and ended with 7.5/15 to come ahead of Nakamura on tie-break.
Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri ended equal first on 9.5/15, with Wesley So on 9/15. These results set up another quarter-final Carlsen-Dubov clash. The Opera Europe Rapid is the third leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and has a prize fund of $100,000 (£74,000), with $30,000 going to the winner.
In round 12, Dubov crushed Ding Liren with his patent gambit line of the Catalan where he foregoes castling and storms the kingside with his king in the centre.
D. Dubov – Ding Liren
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Nbd2 dxc4 6.Bg2 a5 7.a3 Bxd2+ 8.Bxd2 0–0 (Magnus Carlsen avoided castling, but still got into trouble and lost after 8…b5 9.a4 c6 10.Qc2 Bb7 11.h4 Nbd7 12.h5 h6 13.Ne5 Nd5 14.Rh4, Dubov- Carlsen, Airthings Masters, Chess24.com 2020) 9.Qc2 b5 10.a4 c6 11.h4 Nbd7 12.h5 h6 13.g4!!
(Igniting the kingside attack while also creating threats on the long diagonal. Ding feels obliged to take, as g4-g5 will be very strong) 13…Nxg4 (It was better to hold the queenside with 13…Bb7 14.g5 hxg5 15.Nxg5 Qb6 and try to defend after 16.h6 g6 17.Rg1 Kh8 although 18.Be4 threatens Bxg6 and if 18…Nxe4 19.Qxe4 c5 20.dxc5 Qc7 21.Qh4) 14.axb5 Bb7? (14…Ndf6 15.bxc6 Qb6 was a better defence) 15.Nh2! (With a double attack on g4 and c6) 15…Nxf2 16.Kxf2 Qh4+ 17.Kf1 Qf6+ 18.Bf3 1-0 18…cxb5 19.Ng4 Qf5 20.Qxf5 wins.
Test Your Strength
How did White secure the advantage?
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
33.Qxg8+!! Nxg8 (33…Kxg8 34.d7!) 34.e8Q Bf6 35.Qh5+ Kg7 36.Rd1 Nh6 37.d7 Nf7 38.Qg4+ Kf8 39.Qe6 c4 40.Rd5 b4 41.Rf5 Kg7 42.Kg2 b3 43.axb3 cxb3 44.Qxa6 b2 45.Qb6 Bd8 46.Rxf7+ Kxf7 47.Qxd8 Qc6+ 48.f3 b1Q 49.Qe8+ Kg7 50.Qe5+ Kh7 51.Qh5+ Kg7 52.Qg4+ Kh6 53.Qf4+ Kh5 54.g4+ Kg6 55.d8Q Qcc2+ 56.Qdd2 1–0