Chessable Masters: Le takes the lead against Firouzja

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/4/2021 – The first sets of the quarterfinals at the Chessable Masters were played on Tuesday. Le Quang Liem and Levon Aronian took the lead in their matches against Alireza Firouzja and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov respectively, while Wesley So vs Jorden van Foreest and Hikaru Nakamura vs Vladislav Artemiev finished drawn. | Photo: Austin Fuller / Saint Louis Chess Club

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Van Foreest inflicts So’s first loss

In the knockout stage of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, each encounter is decided over two days. On day 1, there are four rapid games, and if the match ends 2-2 it is left simply as a draw (there doesn’t have to be a winner). On day 2, another 4-game match takes place. If both matches are drawn, or the players have traded wins, then shortly after the second match there is a playoff: two blitz games followed, if needed, by Armageddon.

On day 1 of the quarterfinals at the Chessable Masters, Le Quang Liem and Levon Aronian took the lead in their matches. Meanwhile, Jorden van Foreest inflicted Wesley So’s first defeat of the tournament, to which the American responded by winning the next game to level the score. In Hikaru Nakamura vs Vladislav Artemiev, all four games finished drawn.

Chessable Masters 2021

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Van Foreest 2 - 2 So

Endgame specialist Karsten Müller analysed two positions from this match. First, one in which Van Foreest could not convert with two minor pieces against a rook.


Instead of 43...Be5, the Dutchman needed to act quickly with 43...Kf4, leaving the defence of the h6-pawn to get activity. After the text, So continued to show the right defensive technique until securing a draw.

Van Foreest won game 2, but So bounced back immediately. The following position was reached after 52 moves in game 3.


Again, activating the king should have been the priority for Van Foreest, as his 52...f4 only weakened his pawns while 52...Kh6 would have held the draw. Take a look at GM Müller’s instructive analyses in the replayer below (games 1 and 3).


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Le 3 - 1 Firouzja

The Vietnamese grandmaster defeated Firouzja — who is now representing France — the two times he played with the white pieces. 


It is mate in 3 here, with the connected passers giving White the win before Black finds a way to create an attack with his queen and rook: 54.h7+ Kxh7 55.Qh5+ Kg8 56.Qh8+ and Firouzja resigned.


Aronian 2½ - ½ Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov was a pawn up in an endgame with rooks and minor pieces in game 1. The Azerbaijani could not convert that position into a win and went on to lose the next two encounters. Aronian got two queens in game 3, and showed the proper technique to score the all-important win.


Nakamura 2 - 2 Artemiev

Twice in this match Nakamura got the kind of small advantages that have served him so well to become one of the top stars during the era of online events. He was facing another strong endgame grinder, though — let us not forget that Artemiev reached the final of the Goldmoney Asian Rapid on his debut in the tour

Hikaru Nakamura, Vladislav Artemiev



Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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