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GM Joel’s Chess Week Recap - Episode 145

Opening: D02, A90, D37, D44, C13:

Player(s): Carlsen, Anand, Ding, Vidit, Nakamura, Salgado, Shirov, Adams, Harvey

Magnus Carlsen showed some mortal weakness in the blitz event in Kolkata, tying for first with Nakamura on 12/18, still winning first place overall by a comfortable margin. The champ was reported to be suffering a stomach bug that clearly affected him, as Magnus offered quick draws in a couple of games down the stretch. He found himself fighting in the 17th round in a game with larger implications than just this tournament. Vishy Anand missed a sudden chance - actually two chances - to turn the tables before going down in defeat. Though Ding Liren did not win either segment in Kolkata, he did deal the World Champ two defeats in the Blitz Championship. Should Ding make it to a title match, it will be another event, on top of Ding's victory in the Sinquefield Cup playoff, that may affect the mutual confidence levels of the two combatants. Let's not forget about Hikaru Nakamura, who tied for first in the blitz after taking second in the rapid. With the exception of his U.S. Championship victory, Hikaru has not produced much in classical chess this year. He finds himself down on the rating list and out of the race for the Candidates Tournament. In faster chess, however, his results have been stronger. He now finds himself top-rated in blitz (Magnus takes over first on the rapid ratings). In slower games, he is finding it difficult to generate momentum for wins, but in blitz, he can press his opponents into mistakes in simple positions, like he did versus the Indian grandmaster Vidit. In the strongest Spanish Championship to date, the veteran Alexey Shirov found himself first among equals, topping the tiebreaks of a six-way tie for first. The main event in London doesn't include the stars of the home country anymore, so they get their chance in the British Knockout Championship. The top seed had an easy time in the first round, winning in the first round and coasting to easy victories. That is, with the exception of Michael Adams, who found his hands full with qualifier Marcus Harvey. The 23-year-old FM took Adams to the Armageddon stage and held a dominating position for portions of the game before reaching a dead drawn endgame. But somehow, the draw did not materialize. Blunders can be surprisingly easy to come by when there are few pieces on the board to move.

Download Joel's annotated games HERE!

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