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GM Joel’s Chess Week Recap - Episode 140

Opening: B90, D71, E20, C65, B45, E16, D36, B56:

Player(s): Vitiugov, Wang, Howell, Aronian, Carlsen, Paravyan, McShane, Santos Riuz, Praggnanandhaa, Sargsyan, Shtembuliak

This week, a few more games from the completed FIDE Grand Swiss, and the World Junior. For all those players out there that who don't study endgames because they think endgames aren't important, and openings and tactics are all that matter... congratulations, you have your champion in Wang Hao, who triumphed in the FIDE Grand Swiss and qualified for the Candidates Tournament despite fumbling two rook endings in the Isle of Man. The winds of fate can be fickle; this failure might well have worked in Wang's favor, as he was able to win his last two games. Vishy Anand, who had worked his way back into contention after that dramatic first-round loss to Najer, played an awful game and conceded the full point. In the last round, Wang faced David Howell, a strong player but perhaps a good matchup in such a tense situation. Howell's nerves seemed to give out in crunch time. Magnus Carlsen has slowed down from the blistering pace he set earlier in the year. He wasn't in great form in the Isle of Man, but even so, he came pretty close to winning the tournament while extending his unbeaten streak beyond 100 games, besting the mark set earlier this year by Ding Liren. You can't say Magnus was playing not to lose when you examine his last round match with Aronian. It was drawn, but not without a lot of risk-taking by both players. The World Junior in New Delhi, India fielded a number of prominent young GMs. One of the potentially compelling stories would be the 14-year-old Indian GM Praggnanandhaa, who was attempting to win the World Youth Under 18 and World Junior in the same year. He ran into big trouble in round 8 versus the strong but less heralded Spanish GM Miguel Santos Ruiz. India had perhaps greater hopes with Aravind and Karthikeyan, but it was a Ukrainian invader, Evgeny Shtembuliak, who took the title. Evgeny seems quite a patient technician; he needed more than 90 moves to grind out a win in the first round. He finished with 9/11, edging out Shant Sargsyan by half a point.

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