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Shankland and Assaubayeva get eliminated from the Armageddon Grand Finale

Author: Maria Fragaki

On Day 3 of the World Chess Armageddon Grand Finale, the tournament took a decisive turn as it entered the elimination phase. In two exciting encounters, GM Sam Shankland and IM Bibisara Assaubayeva were defeated by GM Wesley So and GM Richard Rapport, respectively, marking the end of their participation in this prestigious competition.

Photo by Max Avdeev

Wesley So vs Sam Shankland

In Game 1, the French Defense set the stage for a smooth evolution of the game, contrasting with Wesley’s heart rate, which surged to 170! Sam displayed unwavering confidence, pushing relentlessly until Wesley’s critical error allowed a queen exchange, ultimately resulting in a losing pawn ending.

Game 2 saw Wesley facing a must-win scenario and opting for the Queen’s Gambit to intensify the struggle for the crucial point. Sam strategically focused on exchanges, maintaining a sense of calm in the position. However, serenity eluded both players as the clock ticked down while they navigated a knight and bishop against two knights endgame. In a spectacular comeback, Wesley capitalized on every opportunity in this endgame, securing a pawn and propelling the match into a thrilling Armageddon showdown!

In the Armageddon, Sam made a critical mistake by playing his moves in the wrong order, leading to an early exchange blunder. From that point on, there was no turning back as Wesley seized control and left no room for counterplay, ultimately securing victory in both the game and the match.

Richard Rapport vs Bibisara Assaubayeva

In Game 1 of this exciting match, Bibisara chose the Sicilian, featuring the unusual move 5...Nh5, which granted Rapport a central advantage. Bibisara had to invest significant time to navigate the position, courageously grabbing a pawn and intensifying the complexity of the game, all while having one minute less on the clock. Despite her efforts, she eventually sacrificed an exchange and couldn’t maintain the position, ultimately losing the game as her clock dwindled to seconds.

In the second game of this engaging match, an unconventional choice was made with the Dutch Defence, an opening not frequently seen among top players. Following a series of exchanges, Richard found himself in possession of an extra pawn. However, Bibisara’s active knights added complexity to the position as they targeted multiple pawns, ultimately equalizing the game. This intense maneuvering pushed Richard’s clock down to under 30 seconds while elevating his heart rate to 145 pulses! Nevertheless, the resourceful grandmaster skillfully orchestrated his pieces to establish control and secure a critical pawn, ultimately clinching the match.

Day 4 pairings, 19:00 CEST

Gukesh – Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Nodirbek Abdusattorov – Humpy Koneru


Find all you need to know about the Armageddon Grand Finale, here.

Watch the games on a chessboard, here.

Rewatch Day 3 broadcast

 58   14 d   Armageddon   Main feature

Abdusattorov and Koneru Triumph in Thrilling Armageddon Battles

Author: Maria Fragaki

On the second day of the World Chess Armageddon Grand Finale, Nodirbek Abdusattorov emerged victorious against Richard Rapport, winning the match thanks to his speed and composure in the Armageddon game. In the Humpy Koneru vs. Bibisara Assaubayeva matchup, Bibisara secured a win in the first game but fell short in the second. The Armageddon game featured a captivating over-the-board checkmate, ultimately granting Humpy victory in this thrilling competition.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov vs Richard Rapport

The opening match of the day featured the young prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov locking horns with the charismatic GM Richard Rapport. In a symmetrical pawn structure, the ticking clock compelled both players to make rapid decisions, with their heart rates soaring up to 130 pulses!

As the tension mounted, IM Jovanka Houska astutely remarked, “He loves to massage those positional advantages,” precisely at the moment when Rapport succumbed to time pressure, blundering a devastating fork and ultimately resigning! The match delivered a thrilling start to the Day 1 proceedings.

The second game quickly evolved in Rapport’s favor, having a slight center advantage and more time on his clock. “Patience pays off” IM Jovanka Houska noticed as Nodirbek found himself in a precarious situation with a trapped knight in the center. This critical moment marked the beginning of his downfall. Rapport capitalized on the opportunity, staging a remarkable comeback and securing a place in the Armageddon showdown!

A calm and peaceful mentality by both players unveiled at the first Armageddon of the Grand Finale. However, the tranquility was disrupted when Nodirbek suddenly miscalculated, resulting in a costly blunder, surrendering an entire piece!

Despite the initial setback, time eventually caught up with Rapport, forcing him to relinquish the gained material advantage. In a surprising turn of events, he found himself in a checkmate position, with a significant deficit—a queen and rook down.

Humpy Koneru vs Bibisara Assaubayeva

In the opening game of the Humpy vs. Assaubayeva showdown, the King’s Indian Defense set the stage, accompanied by a double fianchetto setup for White. As the game progressed into an intriguing phase with two pieces against a rook for White, the queens were eventually exchanged.

Bibisara showcased her strategic prowess by creating a lethal a-file pawn. Employing precise endgame technique, she emerged victorious in the first game, setting the tone for an exciting clash.

In game 2 of the matchup, Bibisara displayed her characteristic style, drawing praise from GM Simon Williams. Instead of opting for a drawish mindset, she embarked on an aggressive path, launching an early attack on the center right from the opening moves.

Humpy, on the other hand, opted to seize two pawns, a decision that came at the expense of her piece coordination and valuable time. The game unfolded like a rollercoaster ride, with Bibisara’s clock ticking down to a mere 10 seconds. In a tense climax, she missed a four-move checkmate, leading to her defeat in the second game.

In the Armageddon showdown, Bibisara found herself in the driver’s seat with the White pieces, enjoying a valuable one-minute advantage on the clock. However, the high-stakes nature of the format meant that she was in a must-win situation, as a draw would favor Black.

In a curious turn of events, Bibisara grappled with overthinking and saw her precious seconds dwindling even faster than her opponent’s. Nevertheless, the evaluation bar remained dead even throughout the tense encounter. It resembled a bullet game, with both female players navigating a treacherous path of extreme time pressure and intricate tactics.

In the end, it was Humpy who seized the initiative, orchestrating a checkmate on the board and clinching victory in this nail-biting Armageddon showdown!

Day 3 pairings, 19:00 CEST

Wesley So – Sam Shankland
Richard Rapport – Bibisara Assaubayeva


Find all you need to know about the Armageddon Grand Finale, here.

Watch the games on a chessboard, here.

Rewatch Day 2 broadcast

Watch Armageddon Series: Grand Finale Day 2

Go! Go! Go! It’s about to get ludicrous on the board. Armageddon Championship Series: Grand Finale Day 2 starts at 19:00 CEST today. Don’t miss it!

Nodirbek Abdusattorov vs Richard Rapport,
Humpy Koneru vs Bibisara Assaubayeva

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