Duda Leads In Aimchess Rapid Final

GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda took a big step towards winning the Aimchess Rapid tournament as he beat GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 3-1 on Thursday. 24-year-old Duda, who eliminated GM Magnus Carlsen in the semifinals, dominated the first of two matches in the final and won both his white games.

The results speak for themselves, but Duda’s play has been very impressive as well. He hardly allow Mamedyarov to play his usual, reckless and imaginative chess, and especially with the white pieces he was in full control.

After a quick draw in a Nimzo-Indian, Duda’s win in game two was kind of special as he followed a positional concept almost from start to finish: keeping the e5-square under control. Even the surprising push of his h- and g-paws in front of his king was part of it. 

Afterward, Duda immediately mentioned this game in his interview: “I really liked the second game, also from the aesthetic point of view.”

Jan-Krzysztof Duda Aimchess 2022
Duda liked the second game, “from the aesthetic point of view.” Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Only in the third game, Mamedyarov had some chances after he tricked his opponent into a Queen’s Gambit Declined, where he castled queenside. Objectively speaking, that was quite a bad move but Duda did not take advantage of it.

“I am very satisfied with the way I played, actually with both colors,” said Duda, who denied that he played specifically to not allow Mamedyarov his preferred play. “My strategy is always the same: to try to squeeze with white and be very solid with black. I think it’s a very efficient strategy, especially in the matches.”

In the second match on Friday, Duda needs to score two game points to win the tournament, which would be his second victory in the tour after winning the Oslo Esports Cup in April. If Mamedyarov wins the second match, the players will immediately play a tiebreaker.

All games final, match 1

The Aimchess Rapid, the seventh event in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, takes place October 14-20, 2022 on chess24. The preliminaries consisted of a round-robin among 16 players, from which the top eight advanced to the knockout stage. There, they play a match of four rapid games (15+10) in each round and if necessary, a blitz + armageddon tiebreak. The prize fund is $150,000.

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