Nodirbek Abdusattorov, a Great master Uzbek, only 17 years old, dethroned in Warsaw (Poland) a Magnus Carlsen as world champion of rapid chess by beating the Russian in the tiebreaker Ian Nepomniachtchi, who had to settle for the silver medal 18 days after bowing to the Norwegian champion at the World Classical Chess Championship in Dubai. Carlsen, the No. 1 in the ranking, finished 3rd.
Although four players, the three mentioned and Fabiano Caruana, they finished with the same 9.5 points after the 13 rounds played, the tiebreaker was reserved only for the two with the best statistics, a norm ´that Carlsen described as “completely stupid” at the end of your participation.
A win in the second of the two 3-minute tiebreak games (the first had ended in a draw) awarded the title and the $ 60,000 first prize to the young player from Tashkent, who in the 13 rounds of the tournament had seven victories, including the one that played against Carlsen, lost only one (against the Ukrainian Anton Korobov) and tied the other five, until reaching a score of 9.5 points.
The Rapid World Cup, which was played at a rate of 15 minutes per side with a 10-second increase per move, reached the thirteenth and final round with almost everything to be decided: Abdusattorov, Nepomniachtchi, Magnus Carlsen and the American Fabiano Caruana were tied to 9 points.
The four had a chance of winning the crown, and therefore it was surprising that Nepo and Caruana signed a draw in just six moves, which could be enough for the Russian (as it happened, indeed), but for the American, with a worse tiebreaker than the other three , was equivalent to giving up the title.
Carlsen faced the last day as the leader with a half point advantage, but had a dire start that ended up costing him the crown. In his first game, against young Abdu, he made a serious mistake in a draw finish with time constraints for both of them.
It was the Norwegian’s first defeat, who then drew with his old rival Nepo, giving the lead to the Uzbek. But the champion immediately returned to the shared top spot thanks to his victory over Armenian Levo Aronian.
In the decisive last round, Carlsen was lucky enough to have another American, Hikaru Nakamura, who despite not being in top form is an always dangerous opponent in rapid chess, especially if, as now, he was leading White.
Carlsen managed to reach an ending of rooks with an extra pawn, a theoretical draw but in a position prone to precipitating errors in the player who has the least time on the clock. Indeed, the Norwegian had in his hands a winning line, which would have given him the title, but did not see it and Nakamura found the antidote to force a tie.
The draw left the champion the consolation of the bronze medal, outside of the tiebreaker for the title, which was to be decided in a tiebreaker between Nepo and Abdu, for whom a draw with the local Polish idol, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, was enough. to access the final battle for the title.
Three minute games
The title was going to be elucidated in two 3-minute games per side with a 2-second increase per move, and if necessary in an Armageddon (5 minutes for White and 4 for Black, but for these it is enough to draw) .
Nepo, who started with White in the first game, stayed true to his open Spanish opening. Neither made serious mistakes and the duel ended in a draw.
The Uzbek, who did not shrink from the world runner-up, had the initiative in the second and chose an English opening with 1.c4. The teenager subjected the Russian to strong pressure and, although in the rush he missed a mate twice in two, he ended up dismantling Nepo, who in 18 days lost his second chance to reach a world title.
This Wednesday the Blitz World Championship (blitz, 3-minute games) begins at the same venue, in which, for two days, Carlsen will also defend the title.