Sevian beats Kasparov and Caruana to win Chess 9LX tournament

by ChessBase
9/11/2023 – Sam Sevian won the 2023 Champions Showdown after a brilliant final day, where he defeated both Garry Kasparov and Fabiano Caruana to finish with 7/9 points and take home the $37,500 first place prize. Sam Shankland, Wesley So and Levon Aronian shared second place with 6/9 points each. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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By IM Kostya Kavutskiy

Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The event features Chess 960 (aka Fischer Random), a chess variant where the starting position of the pieces is randomized along the first rank. The tournament format is a 10-player round-robin, with a time control of 20 minutes per side plus a 5-second increment added every move.

Round 7

Chess 9LX 2023

Going into the final day Sevian and Aronian were tied for the lead with 4½/6. While Aronian could only manage to draw against So, Sevian was able to defeat Kasparov, after the former World Champion overstepped the time limit while trying to defend a pawn down.

Also winning was Caruana, who defeated Xiong from the black side in nice positional style:

Xiong - Caruana: final position after 32...Ng5 0-1

Fabiano Caruana

Two wins by Fabiano Caruana would give him a clear shot at first in the final round | Photo: Crystal Fuller

Round 8

Chess 9LX 2023

In the penultimate round Sevian drew with Xiong, maintaining his lead but allowing others a chance to reach him. Aronian, just a half-point behind Sevian, lost to Caruana after flagging in a difficult position, leaving Caruana in second place going into the final round.

Also winning to enter the tie for second was Shankland, who refuted a faulty Greek Gift sacrifice from Kasparov to win his second straight game as well:

Shankland - Kasparov: after 22.Nf4 Black was forced to resign, as h5 is falling next

Sam Shankland

Sam Shankland | Photo: Crystal Fuller

Round 9

Chess 9LX 2023

The final round featured the crucial match Caruana-Sevian, with Caruana needing to win in order to overtake first place. A sharp battle ensued, with the critical moment occurring when Sevian went all-out for an attack, finding a stunning bishop sacrifice in order to get his heavy pieces in front of White’s king. Caruana was simply unable to defend the position and Sevian clinched tournament victory as he was soon to deliver mate.

Caruana-Sevian: 18...Bxb2!! was a stunner, with the idea 19.Kxb2 Rgg6!-+, lifting the second rook in order to hunt down White’s king

Shankland would go on to draw against Xiong, leaving him in second place with 6/9, while Aronian and So both managed to win their final games, as So converted an extra pawn in the endgame against Robson while Aronian took down Nakamura thanks to a vicious counterattack on the queenside.

Sam Shankland, Sam Sevian

Good prep pays off! Shankland chose the right player to analyse with | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Wesley So

So scored 2½/3 to sneak into the tie for second | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Levon Aronian

A second-place finish for Levon Aronian as well | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Final standings

All games


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