Weissenhaus Chess Challenge: Gukesh loses to Caruana; Firouzja beats Carlsen


Indian Grandmaster D. Gukesh fumbled again and went down fighting against World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the first game of the quarterfinals in the Weissenhaus Freestyle Chess challenge here.

Gukesh had a slight advantage in the middle game against Caruana but that slipped off quickly and the American Grandmaster pounced on his opportunity thereafter to take the full point home. The game lasted 39 moves.

With just one game under the classical time control, Gukesh needs to win the return game to stay in contention to go to the semifinals. After three losses under rapid time control, this was Gukesh’s fourth straight loss in the event.

On a day when Alireza Firouzja scored an upset victory over World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Nodirbek Abdusattarov of Uzbekistan made most of his chances to beat world champion Ding Liren of China.

Alirezaa won a pawn against Carlsen in the middle game and then efficiently converted in to a rook and pawns endgame. It was all over in just 37 moves.

The other first game of the quarterfinals between Levon Aronian of United States and Vincent Keymer of Germany was drawn.

Abdusattarov had the upper-hand in the match against Ding Liren whose form continued to desert him for the third day running. The Uzbek, like Caruana, needs a draw in the next game to make it to the semifinals.

For Liren, this was his seventh loss besides a lone draw in the eight games played thus far in the event.

Winning on demand is not everyone’s forte, but Carlsen has done it several times. Also in the return game against Firouza, the Norwegian will play white and those who have seen him topping the charts in several events know that Carlsen will come back firing on all cylinders.

It could be anyone’s match in the Aronian vs Keymer contest. On current form Keymer, who finished in the tie-break play-off, might hold the edge but Aronian is renowned Chess 960 player known for his creativity.


Quarterfinal Game 1: Fabiano Caruana (USA) beat D Gukesh (IND); Nodirbek Abdusattarov (UZB) beat Ding Liren (CHN); Alireza Firouza (FRA) beat Magnus Carlsen (NOR); Levon Aronian (USA) drew with Vincent Keymer (GER).

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