Chessable Masters: Artemiev beats Nakamura in Armageddon

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/5/2021 – Day 2 of the Chessable Masters quarterfinals saw Wesley So, Vladislav Artemiev, Le Quang Liem and Levon Aronian securing a spot in the semifinals. In the most exciting match of the day, Artemiev and Hikaru Nakamura went all the way down to Armageddon after trading wins with the white pieces both in rapid and blitz — fittingly, the Russian grandmaster won with white in the sudden-death decider to move on to the semis. | Photo: Eric Rosen / FIDE World Cup

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Barely any draws

There was no lack of decisive games on day 2 of the quarterfinals at the Chessable Masters online tournament. Out of the 15 games played on Wednesday, only 3 finished drawn. 

The first player to make it into the semifinals was Le Quang Liem, who impressively scored back-to-back wins to leave Alireza Firouzja out of contention. The Vietnamese had beaten Firouzja on day 1, so 2 points were enough to secure at least a draw and win the match. Levon Aronian followed suit, as his 2-1 advantage over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was also enough to get match victory.

Wesley So, who had a strong performance in the preliminaries and surprisingly only managed a draw against Jorden van Foreest in the first set of the quarterfinals, kicked off the day with two wins. A draw with black in game 3 gave him a ticket to the next round.

The one match that saw the contenders playing 4 rapid games in the second set went all the way down to Armageddon. An expectedly tense confrontation between Vladislav Artemiev and Hikaru Nakamura saw all 5 decisive games of the match favouring the player with the white pieces. Artemiev was the one landing the last blow, though, as he won the Armageddon decider to set up an exciting semifinal matchup against So.

Chessable Masters 2021

Click to enlarge

Artemiev* 2 - 2 Nakamura

*Won the tiebreaker 2-1

In the first game of the day, Artemiev displayed good technique to outplay his opponent in a bishop vs knight endgame. 


Nakamura had the black pieces and, as Karsten Müller points out, missed a study-like defence here. Instead of 54...Rd1+ — which entered a losing ending with White’s g-pawn deciding the game — Black had 54...Kc8, and he draws after 55.Rxd6 both with 55...Rxc5 and 55...cxd6.

Find GM Müller’s instructive annotations in the replayer below.


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

So 2½ - ½ Van Foreest

The second set would have certainly changed character had Van Foreest found the right continuation with the white pieces in the following complex position.


This was a case in which the most forcing move was also the correct one — 37.dxc6 Kxe6 38.Qh3+ Kf6 39.cxb7 left White in the driver’s seat. The Dutchman’s 37.Qh3 followed by 37...Bd7 38.Qh4+ Kg6 39.Nxd8 Nxd8 40.Qxd8, on the other hand, was not enough as So went on to convert his material advantage after White’s attack fizzled out.


Le 2 - 0 Firouzja

The first game was also crucial in this match. Firouzja had a better position with white in a strategic battle out of a Ruy Lopez.


Exchanging the rooks, which are Black’s main trump in the position, was called for here. Firouzja, aware of the fact that he needed a win in this set to remain in contention, tried to keep things as complicated as possible, though. Unfortunately for him, the plan backfired, as Le not only equalized soon after but also went on to win the game in 49 moves.


Aronian 2 - 1 Mamedyarov

The top seeds in the tournament traded wins with the black pieces on Wednesday. Not surprisingly, they played sharp games from beginning to end.



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.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register