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GM Joel’s Chess Week Recap - Episode 133

Opening: N/A (Chess 960):

Player(s): Kasparov, Caruana, So, Topalov, Aronian, Nakamura, Dominguez, Svidler

GM Joel is going to devote a whole show to the Champions Showdown in St. Louis. The format is not optimal, where each participant plays a really long match against just one other player. They must get tired of seeing that face across the board so much, and the fans probably wouldn't mind a little more variety. But it has to be said, Chess9LX, as they were calling it, produces pretty exciting chess. The random opening setups eliminate boring, drawish opening variations and take players out of their comfort zones. The major drawback is the inaccessibility of the openings. The elite players have a hard enough time figuring them out, and so most fans probably don't get their bearings until the middlegame. On the other hand, when we get there, usually something interesting happens, and that is certainly a positive for the fans. A rare playing appearance by Garry Kasparov is perhaps the greatest highlight of the match play, though his assignment against Fabiano Caruana proved extremely challenging. Garry must agree with Mick Jagger that it's a drag getting old. We saw the old Kasparov spark in doses, but he wasn't able to close out games as he would have in his younger days. All in all, it was a pleasant event to watch and, as usual, superbly organized by the staff at the St. Louis Chess Club.

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