GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the Aimchess Rapid tournament on Friday after beating GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a blitz tiebreak, necessary because Mamedyarov had levelled the score in the second match. It was Duda’s second tournament victory in the tour this year.
Duda won, as the best player in the event according to commentator GM David Howell, but the scenario on the final day was rather unexpected. Having played excellent chess until this point, the Polish GM somehow showed a much lower level. He lost two rapid games in a row, and then agreed to a draw quickly, deciding to settle things in the blitz.
Afterward, Duda said: “I’m extremely happy and joyful that I’ve managed to win the tournament, but today’s performance was very, very bad I think and I would like actually to forget about the games I played in rapid.”
Mamedyarov’s second win was spectacular:
In the third game, normally speaking a must-win for Duda, he allowed a move repetition early in the opening and headed straight to the blitz. A remarkable decision, but it worked: Duda won the first blitz game and then also the second as his opponent blundered.
Here’s the first:
“After the rapid I played two very bad games in blitz,” said Mamedyarov. “I don’t know why, but it was really very bad. The second game with white was OK but with black it was a very bad game.”
Mamedyarov also said that Duda’s decision to go for a quick draw in the third rapid game was perhaps psychologically smart: “I was preparing to play all rapid games. It was maybe a little bit of a shock for me.”
The 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour will conclude with its final event, to be held in San Fransisco next month, with the knowledge that GM Magnus Carlsen has already secured first place.
All games final, match 2
The Aimchess Rapid, the seventh event in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, took place October 14-21, 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 played a match of four rapid games (15+10) in each round and a blitz tiebreak after the second match. The prize fund was $150,000.