Too fast, too furious: Russian reigns supreme to win $45,000 top prize



Too fast, too furious: Russian reigns supreme to win $45,000 top prize

Russian hot-shot Daniil Dubov is chess24's 2020 Rapid Challenge champion after winning one of the best online super-tournament finals ever seen today.

The 24-year-old former World Champion in rapid overhauled fan favourite Hikaru Nakamura in an intense winner-takes-all battle that finished in an Armageddon tiebreak.

Dubov takes home the $45,000 top prize and has booked his place in the $300,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Grand Final.

It was a phenomenal end to what has been a fascinating tournament as two noted speed chess specialists vied for supremacy.

Dubov went into the event having got to the final of the FIDE Steinitz Online Memorial where he was beaten soundly by World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

However, in the preliminary stage of the Rapid Challenge Dubov exacted sweet revenge on his friend - despite only just scraping into the last 16. Carlsen, meanwhile, was eventually knocked out by Nakamura.

Now in the knockout, Dubov went on to hit top form as he destroyed countryman Sergey Karjakin in the quarters and after that Chinese number 1 Ding Liren in the semis.

On the first day of the final against Nakamura, however, Dubov - as in the Steinitz event - appeared outclassed and nervy as he suffered a nightmare start.

But on the second the super-sharp young Russian recovered his composure to take the match to a decider.

Going into today, Nakamura had looked refreshed and well prepared having revealed he had taken the night off from streaming chess to his army of fans.

Nakamura's preparation showed. In Game 1, the American neutralised his opponent and Dubov's attack fizzled out to a quick draw.

But Game 2 served up the shock that fired the match into life.

Nakamura appeared better out of the opening and Dubov was behind on time in a dangerous position.

But then at the key moment in the endgame Nakamura appeared to lose concentration.

A series of small inaccuracies followed and Nakamura lost the thread and then the game.

Game 3 was vital. Nakamura could not lose and had to bounce back with the Black pieces. And - showing incredible poise under pressure - he did it.

Commentating, Peter Svidler said: "This is tremendously impressive from Hikaru considering what happened in Game 2. This is an unbelievable level of mental fortitude being displayed."

Game 4 was another draw that took the final - and $45,000 top prize - to an Armageddon play-off and it was Dubov who kept his cool when it mattered.

Dubov said "its a relief" and described the tournament as a "wonderful journey".

"Throughout the match I had the feeling that he's [Nakamura is] absolutely sure he'll win the Armageddon with Black," he added.

"Today was not our typical match. Normally he plays better and I'm better prepared, but today was the opposite."

It was a fitting end to a phenomenal contest.

The event, part of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, has been put on in association with the Lindores Abbey Heritage Society, which maintains the historic site in Scotland. 

Under the tournament’s social media hashtag #HeritageChess fans have been able to learn more about a participating player and his country’s chess history every day in an effort to show the rich heritage of chess on which the players’ careers have been built. 

The remaining schedule for the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour is as follows:

June 20 – July 5Online Chess Masters | $150,000

July 21 – August 5Legends of Chess | $150,000

August 9 – 20Grand Final | $300,000

Highlights English:

New files at around 23.00 CEST.

Highlights Audio Multitrack:

New files ready around 1 or 2 AM CEST.

Highlights Norwegian:

New files ready between 23.00 and 2.00 AM CEST

Leon Watson

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Nina D. Jean
Nina D. Jean

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