Armageddon: So and Rapport knock out Humpy and Gukesh

by ChessBase
9/19/2023 – Day 5 of the Armageddon Championship Series witnessed intense battles, culminating in Wesley So and Richard Rapport advancing to the Armageddon semifinals. Unfortunately, this also meant bidding farewell to Humpy Koneru and Gukesh, both of whom exited the competition. | Photos: Max Avdeev / World Chess

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Press release by World Chess

Wesley So — Humpy Koneru

Game 1 kicked off with the Queen’s Gambit, with both players maintaining heart rates exceeding 140, setting the stage for an intense battle. Humpy’s remarkable ability to perform exceptionally well with less than 20 seconds on the clock, a situation she frequently found herself in during this game, was noteworthy. However, as Grandmaster Simon Williams pointed out, the question remained, “How long can she do it?”

India’s top-ranked female player found it challenging to hold her position, ultimately blundering a pawn and defending what appeared to be a completely lost game. Wesley capitalized on this advantage and secured the first point of the match.

Facing a must-win situation, Humpy attempted to introduce complexities into the game, but Wesley adeptly maintained a balanced position, ultimately transitioning to an endgame featuring queens and opposite-coloured bishops. Humpy’s decision to retain the queens on the board in pursuit of greater winning prospects, however, did not yield the desired outcome. Instead, this strategy backfired, leading to her defeat as a result of a devastating king’s attack by Wesley.

Wesley So

Wesley So

Richard Rapport — Gukesh D

The highly anticipated match of the day between Rapport and Gukesh certainly lived up to expectations in terms of technical prowess and chess excellence. The battle, characterized by opposite-coloured bishops, typically favours the player who can initiate a successful king's attack. In this case, it was Gukesh who seemed to hold the upper hand. India’s top-ranked player continued to press for a marginal advantage, but as the game progressed into a frantic time scramble, he gradually lost control of the position, resulting in his defeat.

In Game 2, Gukesh found himself in a must-win situation. Rapport opted for a more conservative approach, steering the game towards a knights versus bishops endgame — a highly intricate scenario with both players operating under the 30-second mark. Gukesh, with the knights in his arsenal, chose a tactical path, but unfortunately, it didn’t yield the desired results. He ultimately lost the game, resulting in his elimination from the competition.

Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport with commentators Jovanka Houska and Simon Williams

Video webcast

Day 6 pairings

Jan-Krzysztof Duda – Nodirbek Abdusattorov
Wesley So – Richard Rapport

The broadcast starts at 19:00 CEST.


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