Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Out of Focus
This post was possible thanks to Mr Andrew Crosby’s help. Andrew is an expert in chess gambits and successfully plays them in his games. He is also an active member of our virtual Chess.com club where he frequently plays in online tournaments and team matches.
The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021 was an online competition played on chess24. It is one of those ubiquitous online tournaments prompted by the COVID pandemic. In the 10-day period September 25-October 4, 2021, 10 super-GMs competed for a prize fund of $300,000 in a round-robin system of play with a mixed format. The ten players faced each other in a four-game rapid match with a time control of 15 minutes plus a 10-second increment and in the case of a tie, a blitz playoff determined the winner. However, mixing time controls had the effect of relaxing the attention of the players who eventually lost the thread of what was happening in their actual games.
In particular, the match between Armenian GM Levon Aronian against Polish GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda was an astonishing case in point. In their first game, Duda played the sharp Winawer variation in the French Defense. With the clear intention of checkmating his opponent, Aronian played 18.Ba3. However, he didn’t notice that Duda had the chance to checkmate him on his turn. Really unfortunate for Aronian, but a great gift for Duda!
See below how the game unfolded and its unexpected outcome.
Because of this unfortunate outcome, I am absolutely sure that Aronian will never forget this game. In a previous post, I referred to a similar case of “Chess Blindness” suffered by the Russian GM Alexandr Grishuk, again in a tournament of mixed format.
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