Chessable Masters: So on the attack

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/8/2021 – Wesley So convincingly won the first of the finals at the Chessable Masters by twice beating Le Quang Liem after launching successful sacrificial attacks. Meanwhile, Levon Aronian and Vladislav Artemiev drew the first set in the match for third place. | Photo: Meltwater Champions Chess Tour

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A clear win

After stunning Alireza Firouzja and Levon Aronian in the previous rounds of the knockout, Le Quang Liem, the seventh seed in the tournament, had a bad day at the office on Saturday. The Vietnamese later told Kaja Snare that his performance had surpassed everyone’s expectations, including his own. Le explained that he felt no pressure in the match, and that he was certainly lacking focus in the first set. 

Le twice played the Spanish against So’s 1.e4, and twice was ruthlessly attacked on the kingside. So gave up his knight on h6 at just the right time in both games.


Coincidentally, in both cases Le’s sense of danger failed him, as the sacrifice on h6 came shortly after he pushed his c-pawn, going for counterplay instead of dealing with the imminent threat of a kingside attack. In the diagrammed position, the Vietnamese had just blundered with 33...c5 — So went for it with 34.Nxh6+ gxh6 35.Bxh6 and Black was doomed.

In game 3, Black blundered with 27...c3.


So quickly found 28.Rf3, a lethal move. In this case, resignation came much more quickly — there followed 28...Qd8 29.Nxh6+ gxh6 30.Rg3+ Kh7 31.Qg4


Black cannot defend both g7 and g8 without giving up his queen. Le threw in the towel.


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

All square in the match for third place

In a repeat of the final at the Goldmoney Asian Rapid, Levon Aronian and Vladislav Artemiev are fighting for third place at the eighth tournament of the Champions Chess Tour. Aronian won that match, and kicked off Saturday’s set with a win.


Endgame specialist Karsten Müller demonstrated in his detailed annotations below why 61...Kf7 was Artemiev’s losing blunder, when 61...Kd7 would have saved the draw. White queened first and gave his opponent no chance to defend against his queen and rook duo.


The final position. In what GM Müller describes as ‘the fourth phase of the game’, having the safer king is key.

Artemiev missed some winning chances in game 2. A well-played draw followed, and finally the Russian managed to level the score by winning game 4 on demand.


Chessable Masters 2021


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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