Champions Showdown Tactics


At the end of the Champions Showdown, a 24 game marathon between Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and Veselin Topalov in classical, rapid and blitz chess, the 13th World Champion showed that experience can still prevail.

During the 6 classical games, Anand tied for first with Topalov. In the rapid portion, Anand took over the sole lead, echoing his 2003 World Rapid Championship victory. During the blitz finale, although Nakamura was able to reach within half a point, Anand refused to relinquish his lead. His impressive performance netted 15 points out of 24 games and reminded us of why Anand is a five-time World Champion.

Can you solve tactics the event's fascinating games?

Tactic #1

Nakamura vs. Caruana

How did Nakamura gain a significant advantage?


White to move.

Level: Intermediate

Show Solution

[pgn][Event "Champions Showdown (Rapid)"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2016.11.13"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Hikaru Nakamura"] [Black "Fabiano Caruana"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D39"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2823"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b2rk1/pppnqppp/4p3/4N3/2BP4/2P5/P4PPP/R2QR1K1 w - - 0 13"] [PlyCount "3"] [EventDate "2016.11.13"]13. Nxf7 $1 Nb6 ({If} 13... Rxf7 14. Rxe6 Qd8 15. Re3 Nf6 16. Qb3 Qf8 17. Rae1 Bf5 18. Re7 Bg6 19. Qxb7 a5 20. Rxc7) 14. Ne5 *[/pgn]



Tactic #2

Anand vs. Topalov

White to move.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution

[pgn][Event "Champions Showdown (Rapid)"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2016.11.13"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Viswanathan Anand"] [Black "Veselin Topalov"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C78"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2760"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4rk1/1bp2p1p/pb3p2/4N3/PP2p3/8/BP3PPP/3R1RK1 w - - 0 20"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "2016.11.13"]20. Nxf7 $1 {Anand's combination begins with the same move as Nakamura's, but the follow up is even more impressive.}Rxf7 21. Rd7 Raf8 22. a5 $3 {Using resources on the queenside to add to White's attack.} Ba7 23. Rc1 Bb8 24. Rcd1 (24. Rc3 {was strongest, taking advantage of Black's open kingside:} Bc8 25. Rg3+ Kh8 26. Rxf7 $18) 24... Kg7 25. Rxf7+ Rxf7 26. Bxf7 Kxf7 27. Rd8 e3 (27... Ba7 {loses quickly:} 28. Rd7+ Ke6 29. Rxc7 e3 30. Kf1) 28. fxe3 {and Anand went on to convert his advantage into a win:} Ba7 29. Kf2 Ke7 30. Rg8 Be4 31. g4 Kd7 32. h4 Ke7 33. h5 Kd7 34. Rg7+ Kc6 35. Re7 Bc2 36. h6 Kd6 37. Rf7 Be4 38. Rxf6+ Ke7 39. Rxa6 Bb8 40. g5 1-0[/pgn]


More information on the Champions Showdown is available on the Official Website.