Champions Chess Tour Final, Round 2: Carlsen continues to lead

by André Schulz
9/27/2021 – After two days of play Magnus Carlsen leads the final of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour - which he, thanks to the 16.5 bonus point he received because of his successes in the previous tournaments of the tour - did from the very start of the event. But in round 2 the World Champion had to overcome serious problems before beating Shakhryar Mamedyarov in a tense and eventful match that went into Armageddon. | Graphics and photos: Tournament Site

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The final of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is the tenth and last tournament of the series and it is played in a slightly different mode. The previous tournaments started with a round-robin, which was followed by knockout matches. There are no knockout matches in the final, but each round consists of a four-game mini-match, followed, if necessary, by a tiebreak of two blitz games and a possible armageddon game.

However, the allocation of points is somewhat unusual, because the players started the final with bonus points they had gathered in the nine previous tournaments. Therefore, Magnus Carlsen, who had scored best in the previous tournaments, began the finals with 16.5 points, four points ahead of Wesley So, who started with 12.5 points in second place.

In the first round on Saturday Carlsen convincingly defeated Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2.5-0.5.

On Sunday, in round 2, the World Champion had to play against Shakhryar Mamedyarov and this match turned into slugfest in which the Azeri managed to land plenty of blows.

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White won in all four games of the rapid match. In the blitz-tiebreak both players also won their games with White. Here's Mamedyarov's win with White:


In the armageddon game Carlsen had White and won the match with a quick victory.

Wesley So suffered a setback and lost outright 0.5-2.5 to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Jan Krzysztof Duda bounced back from his opening loss against Magnus Carlsen and beat Anish Giris 2.5-0.5, while Levon Aronian won by the same score against Vladislav Artemiev.

No enthusiam was generated by the match between Teimour Radjabov and Hikaru Nakamura. The two players quickly played four short draws, all under 20 moves, a behaviour Howell called "disrespectful" to spectators and chess fans. After this non-match Nakamura won blitz-tie-break 1.5-0.5.

Results of round 2

Standings after round 2



Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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Michael Jones Michael Jones 9/29/2021 01:13
@lajosarpad: The players are playing for the prize money. Who puts up the prize money? The sponsors. Do you think the sponsors are funding the tournament because they want to see the players making short draws? I seriously doubt it. Sure, in some cases the short draws are to the player's own benefit, but they certainly aren't going to attract sponsors (or spectators) to the game. Most of the measures against short draws have been a rule that players can't agree a draw before move 30, 40 or whatever - but those haven't helped because if they want to make a short draw, they'll just follow a line which leads to a repetition so they don't have to "agree" it. The only effective measures would be to apply penalties to the players involved - whether it's both scoring 0 for the game in question, a reduction in prize money or not being invited to future tournaments. Saying that if we stopped whining about short draws, there would be no measures against them is like saying that if we stopped whining about people getting killed in road accidents, no-one would have invented seatbelts. If something is generally viewed as bad then of course measures will be taken against it.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 9/28/2021 12:45
@Mr Toad first, there are no classical games in this tournament. Second, there are two players at each game (match in this case) and whatever the game turns out to be like is the result of the decisions of both players, so, if short draws are "disrespectful", then both of them are "disrespectful". However, I agree with you that they are not "disrespectful", because all players are playing in order to achieve some results. They are not playing for us, spectators, but for themselves. If their match strategy involves short draws, that's fine in my opinion. If one plays short draws and earns no results whatsoever, then he will drop out of the elite. However, if the results at the end justify the match strategy, then the person will be successful. My problem is not related to short draws, but with the aim to avoid short draws whatever the cost. These anti-draw measures are damaging for chess, in my opinion and if we stop whining about short draws, then the radical (and destructive IMHO) measures against short draws will lose motivation.
Mr Toad Mr Toad 9/27/2021 10:38
I fail to see why Hakamura is called 'disrespectful' because he headed for the blitz tie breaks - he was playing to win. other players do this eg Carlsen. It was entirely up to Radjabove to play for the wins in the classical games - any criticism should be directed at him.