New in Chess Classic, Quarterfinal, Day 1: Aronian, Mamedyarov and Nakamura start with wins

by Johannes Fischer
4/28/2021 – The first day of the quarterfinal at the New in Chess Classic Online Tournament brought a number of interesting games and match wins for Levon Aronian (3-1 against Wesley So), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (3-1 against Alireza Firouzja) and Hikaru Nakamura (2.5-1.5 against Le Quang Liem). Magnus Carlsen and Teimour Radjabov drew all four games and the match. | Photo: Levon Aronian | Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes

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New in Chess Classic, Day 4 - Quarterfinal

16 players have started in the New in Chess Classic Online tournament, and the best eight of the preliminaries round now face each other in knockout matches. They play two four-game matches over two days, and if the score after these two matches is 2:2, two blitz games and, if necessary, an Armageddon game will force a decision.

Magnus Carlsen 2-2 Teimour Radjabov

World Champion Magnus Carlsen dominated the preliminaries: he didn't lose a single game and finished clear first with a score of 10.5/15. But the quarterfinal against Teimour Radjabov went less smoothly. Carlsen remained undefeated, but was unable to put Radjabov, who played in his usual solid and confident style, under any serious pressure in the four games of the first match and had to settle for four draws in a row.

All in all, Radjabov even had the better chances of winning the match, because in the second game he stood much better, but found no way to crack Carlsen's stubborn defence.


The four games of the first match


Hikaru Nakamura 2.5-1.5 Le Quang Liem

Hikaru Nakamura had far less trouble to win the first match against Le Quang Liem. Nakamura is not only a specialist in games with  short time-control, he is also a safe and solid player. Nakamura won the first game of his match against Le Quang Liem with good technique and in the following three games he did not show any weakness and won the match 2.5:1.5.


The four games of the first match


Shakhryar Mamedyarov 3-1 Alireza Firouzja

Shakhryar Mamedyarov and Alireza Firouzja had a lively exchange of blows. However, it was Mamedyarov who was able to land more hits. He was also the winner of the very first game, in which Firouzja misplayed the opening.


In the following three games Firouzja kept looking for chances, but Mamedyarov kept kept his cool and in the end he won the match 3-1.

The four games of the match


Levon Aronian 3-1 Wesley So

The most exciting games on Day 1 of the quarterfinals, however, were played by Levon Aronian and Wesley So. Unfortunately, the match was marred by a mouse slip by Wesley So in game 1:


In this position So was to move with White and he wanted to play 20.Re3 to let his rook join a possible attack. Unfortunately, due to a mouse-slip th rook only made it to e2 where it was snatched by the bishop on h5. After 20.Re2 Bxe2 So made a few more moves and then resigned in a hopeless position.

In the second game So tried to strike back, but in a highly complicated battle it was again Aronian who had the better of it:


That gave Aronian a 2-0 lead and the match seemed practically. But in the third game So hit back and scored a win - again in a highly tactical game.


But in game four Aronian recovered with another win that brought him the first match.



New in Chess Classic 2021


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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