Chessable Masters: Caruana and Nakamura reach winners’ bracket final

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/5/2023 – Day 2 of the Chessable Masters saw Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana advancing to the winners’ bracket final in Division I, thanks to victories over Wesley So and Vladislav Artemiev, respectively. In the losers’ bracket, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian scored wins to remain in contention for first place. In Division II, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Vladimir Kramnik are set to face each other in the next phase.

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Naka and So meet again

The fashionable double-elimination format will be used at the Champions Chess Tour throughout the year, but is also featured in the Armageddon Series and was recently seen at the American Cup. Players getting two ‘lives’ diminishes the luck factor in the long run, albeit at the expense of asking more of the spectators, who need to keep an eye on two brackets — in this case, with two slightly different sets of rules.

Another feature of this format is the possibility of two participants playing matches against each other more than once in the same event. At the American Cup, for example, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So played three matches: Nakamura beat So in the winners’ bracket, So went on to win the losers’ bracket and reached the tournament’s final, where he first defeated Nakamura — but since Nakamura had not lost a single match up to that point, he got a second chance against the same opponent and ended up winning the event.

In the second round of the winners’ bracket in the Chessable Masters, the two US grandmasters met again. Nakamura won what would turn out to be the only game that finished decisively in the match. It was game 2 and he had the black pieces.


In this endgame with queens and knights, White has an extra pawn, but Black, more importantly, has the outside passer on the a-file. Nakamura made the most of his a-pawn, which promoted into a queen on move 48. Note that when Black got a second queen, White still had the knight and three extra pawns.


So tried 49.Nxh5, hinting at a potential perpetual check, but resigned after 49...gxh5, since the pair of queens will have little trouble preventing the triple repetition.


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Caruana beats Artemiev in Armageddon

After beating Magnus Carlsen on Monday, Vladislav Artemiev had the difficult task of facing Fabiano Caruana. Following a draw in the first game of the match, the Russian GM failed to make the most of a big advantage in an endgame in the following encounter. The contenders then traded wins with white, taking the match to Armageddon.

Artemiev had white in the sudden-death decider, and overlooked a good retreating move by his opponent in a double-edged position.


To deal with the threat of a potential ...Qxf2, White here played 34.Qc7, preparing to transfer the queen to f4. Unfortunately for Artemiev, the queen manoeuvre was replied by the winning 34...Bc8, attacking the rook on a6.

(The correct way to deal with the threat for White was with the active 34.Ra8 Qf6 35.Qb8, both doubling on the eighth rank and placing the queen on the b8-f4 diagonal.)

After 35.Qf4 Qxf4 36.exf4 Bxa6 37.gxh4, Black had a bishop for a pawn and a better structure to boot.


Artemiev continued fighting until move 52, when Caruana agreed to a draw from a position of strength, since that is all he needed to win the match in the Armageddon.


In the losers’ bracket, Carlsen drew three games with Le Quang Liem (the third one with black in Armageddon) to remain in contention for the title. In a stellar matchup, he will face So on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Levon Aronian got the better of Vladimir Fedoseev and will face Artemiev in his next match.

All games - Divsion I


Division II: Giri, Pragg, Keymer, Arjun in losers’ bracket

A very strong Division II saw the likes of Anish Giri and Arjun Erigaisi losing their matches on Tuesday, thus falling to the losers’ bracket. Among the winners, Vladimir Kramnik and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave both won two matches in a row and will face each other in the next phase. Kramnik and Daniil Dubov — who is in the losers’ bracket of this division — are both playing in the Armageddon series in Berlin.

Dubov will, in fact, face Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa on Wednesday. Certainly there is no lack of exciting matches in this year’s elite online series.

All games - Divsion II


Division III: Tabatabaei and Vokhidov in winners’ bracket final

Shorter matches are played in the 32-player Division III knockout. After two days of action, Amin Tabatabaei (Iran) and Shamsiddin Vokhidov (Uzbekistan) reached the final of the winners’ bracket. Meanwhile, in the lower bracket, Alexey Sariana, Wei Yi, Matthias Bluebaum and Gata Kamsky remain in contention.

Azerbaijani star Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was knocked out on Tuesday, as he lost to Wei after having lost to Tabatabaei on the first day of play.

Replay all games from Division III at


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.