Despite having been seeded into the main tournament already, GM Anish Giri decided to play Tuesday’s Speed Chess Open Qualifier, and duly won it. Runner-up GM Zaven Andriasyan qualified for the 2018 Speed Chess Championship.
Alongside 14 seeded grandmasters, last week Leinier Dominguez qualified for the Speed Chess Championship in a four-player knockout. Yesterday the last spot was battled out in a 10-round Swiss (3 minutes + 1 second increment) open for players with a Chess.com Elo of at least 2500.
With a prize fund of $3,500 ($2,000 more than our monthly Titled Tuesdays!) it was no surprise to see a super strong field, which included 2700+ players in classical chess such as Anish Giri, Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Fedoseev.
Top seed Giri won the tournament convincingly, as his 8.5 out of 10 was a point more than the rest of the pack. Giri reached the same score in our May Titled Tuesday tournament, but on that day it was only good for second place as Tigran L. Petrosian was in fantastic shape.
Anish Giri came, saw and conquered yesterday’s open SCC qualifier. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Despite a bumpy start, Giri (24) remained undefeated, scoring seven wins and three draws. His second-round game vs 21-year-old GM Rasmus Svane of Germany was quite exciting, showing that even the most solid top GMs can play super sharp dynamic chess if they feel the position asks for it. The game actually has a lot of mistakes, but that’s that happens in online blitz.
Giri told Chess.com he wasn’t happy with his play in the first half. His round five opponent GM Jaime Santos, who once again impressed in Leon this year, definitely should have won with a full extra piece:
With a strong finish of 4.5/5 Giri eventually cruised to victory. He scored a good win vs Petrosian, who had managed to stay ahead of him back in May.
Giri played a nice 28th move against Russian grandmaster Grigoriy Oparin in the penultimate round. White was caught between a rock and a hard place as he was either losing another pawn, or ending up in a lost pawn endgame.
“It fits my prep for Dortmund, and I turned out free,” Giri told Chess.com the next morning. (The Dutchman is a participant in this year’s Sparkassen Chess Meeting which starts in just a few days.) “And Daniel was already being put to bed,” the young chess father added. “So it was all magic and it worked out.”
Andriasyan was awarded the Speed Chess Championship qualification spot when the initial runner-up of the event was disqualified for fair play violations.
Thus, the Armenian GM basically moved up a place, from third to second. That might have come as a slight surprise to him, because after starting with 5.5/6 he had drawn his last four games!
Here’s his win over Fedoseev in round six:
Andriasyan scoring the decisive win for the Armenia Eagles in the 2018 PRO Chess League earlier this year. | Photo: Eric Rosen.
Special mention goes out to IM Robby Kevlishvili of the Netherlands, who finished among many grandmasters with a score of 6.5/10. That included a win over none other than Grischuk.
1. Anish Giri — $1,000
2. Zaven Andriasyan — $480 + qualifies for the SCC main bracket
3-6. Tigran Petrosian, Haik Martirosyan, Jaime Santos Latasa, Alexander Moskalenko — $480 each
7-10. Grigoriy Oparin, Maxim Matlakov, Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Hrant Melkumyan — $25 each
Speed Chess Open Qualifier | Final Standings (Top 20)
(Full final standings here.)
Watch the live broadcast with GM Robert Hess & IM Danny Rensch.
Now that all 16 participants of the Speed Chess Champions were known, right after the tournament the pairing numbers were determined, based on the new Chess.com ratings of the players. Participating in the open qualifier, Giri raised his rating to 2956, leapfrogging Nepomniachtchi and Caruana.
These are the full pairings:
1. Hikaru Nakamura vs. 16. Hou Yifan
2. Wesley So vs. 15. Wei Yi
3. Sergey Karjakin vs. 14. Jan-Krzysztof Duda
4. Anish Giri vs. 13. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
5. Fabiano Caruana vs. 12. Levon Aronian
6. Ian Nepomniachtchi vs. 11. Alexander Grischuk
7. Zaven Andriasyan vs. 10. Vidit Gujrathi
8. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. 9. Leinier Dominguez Perez
The date and time for the first match of this first round is already confirmed. Caruana vs Aronian will be played July 24, 2018 at noon Pacific (9 p.m. CET) with live commentary on Chess.com/TV and Twitch.tv/Chess.
Games via TWIC.