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Caruana “Steals” First Place From Rapport at the 2021 Gashimov Memorial

The 2021 Vugar Gashimov Memorial finished in an unexpected way, with GM Fabiano Caruana “stealing” first place from GM Richard Rapport, and former World Champion Vishy Anand having a disappointing tournament and losing 66 rating points.

Photo: Gashimov Chess

Starting the final round, Rapport and Caruana were in a tie, with their positions clearly showing that it was Rapport’s time to shine. The Hungarian GM attempted a sharp King’s India against GM David Navara, which led them to a slightly better endgame for Rapport. On the other hand, Caruana’s position was collapsing against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, until the Azerbaijani GM blundered terribly and gifted his opponent the game along with the tournament.

Rapport and Caruana faced each other in Armageddon, and the Italian-American GM showed the value of being emotionally stable and deadly accurate during critical games, and that’s what earned him the first place.

On the other hand, former World Champion Vishy Anand had a very disappointing tournament, lost 66 rating points, and became the second-rated Indian player in blitz behind GM Arjun Erigaisi.

The 2021 Vugar Gashimov Memorial is an 8-player tournament taking place from December 17 to 24 in Baku. The tournament consists of a Rapid and a Blitz tournament with a double round-robin system for each.

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