Airthings Masters Finals: Radjabov wins first set

by Klaus Besenthal
1/3/2021 – The first day of the Airthings Masters finals was played on Saturday. Teimour Radjabov won the last of the four games against Levon Aronian to bag the first ‘set’. In the match for third place, everything is still tied, as Daniil Dubov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drew their first four-game encounter. | Photo: FIDE

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Airthings Masters

Finals - Radjabov 2½ : 1½ Aronian 

The mini-match started with three draws, with an interesting final position in the second of these games:


Would we see a decisive result in the fourth game? Yes! As Black, Radjabov played solidly and suffered from a lack of space when Aronian lost a pawn in unfortunate circumstances. It was worth seeing how Radjabov then calmly extended his solid position into a win:


So the first set goes to Radjabov. On Sunday, Aronian will be under pressure to win. Such a situation has been a regular occurrence in this tournament — it is definitely good to create tension, but perhaps less so for the quality of the games.

Match for 3rd place - Dubov 2 : 2 Vachier-Lagrave 

In the first two games Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was outplayed by Daniil Dubov. This is how game 2 went, for example:


In the third game Dubov seemed to be completely safe and could have ended the day with a draw, but then he entered into a bad endgame and lost. So the players did play a fourth game. 

And Vachier-Lagrave managed to mount a comeback. When the dust had settled in the fourth game, the Frenchman had two bishops and an extra pawn against Dubov’s rook and knight. Normally this material distribution would give about a half-point advantage for the player with the rook, but in this case Vachier-Lagrave had two passed pawns. Once again Dubov was faced with a difficult endgame to defend, and once again he failed to keep the balance. The duel for third place is thus tied after the first day.

All games



Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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