Dominguez and Xiong Win Big Online

When the COVID-19 pandemic exploded across the globe, many - including myself - assumed that top-level chess would come to a standstill. Then the "online wars" (see GM Jon Tisdall's account of the online revolution in the July issue of Chess Life) kicked off, with chess.com and Chess24 hosting multiple elite rapid and blitz events. Still, despite all the online action, fans of classical chess have felt somewhat adrift. Long time controls have not traditionally thought to be a good fit for online play, in no small part due to the inherent risk of cheating or other nefarious actions.

Some intrepid organizers bucked this trend. One of the first was the Sunway Sitges Open, reported on here at CLO by 13-year-old IM Christopher Yoo. The Pacific Northwest Chess Center (PWNCC) has also held multiple longer time control events, including the G/60 Online Masters (reported on by Kirk Ghazarian) and the World Online Open.

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PWNCC wrapup with IM David Pruess of ChessDojo
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PWNCC wrapup with IM David Pruess of ChessDojo

The most recent events put on by the PWNCC were two four-player double round-robins that finished on Friday. The PWNCC Super SOS was a Category 19 event (although not FIDE rated), with GMs Vladimir Fedoseev, Le Quang Liem, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Jeffery Xiong squaring off. The PWNCC Rising Starts 'only' reached Category 16, and included GMs Andrey Esipenko, Awonder Liang, Parham Maghsoodloo, and Amin Tabatabaei. All the games were contested on chess.com, with live coverage for rounds 2, 4, and 6 provided by ChessDojo.

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PWNCC Super SOS xtable

Jeffery Xiong had a tremendous result in the Super SOS, coming back from a round 3 defeat at the hands of Mamedyarov to win the event by a half-point at 4/6. He clinched his victory with a neat win over Mamedyarov in the final round, although he may rue missing the spectacular queen sac that could have finished things a bit more quickly.

[pgn][Event "PNWCC Super SOS"] [Site "chess.com INT"] [Date "2020.07.17"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A57"] [WhiteElo "2764"] [BlackElo "2709"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2020.07.12"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. Nd2 bxc4 5. e4 e6 6. dxe6 dxe6 7. Bxc4 Bb7 8. Ngf3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Qe2 Nc6 11. Rd1 Qc7 12. b3 Nd4 13. Nxd4 cxd4 14. Bb2 e5 15. Rac1 Bb4 16. Bd3 Qe7 17. Nc4 a5 18. a3 Bc5 19. Qe1 Ba6 20. Nxa5 Bxd3 21. Rxd3 Bxa3 22. Nc6 Qe6 23. Bxa3 Rxa3 24. Qb4 Rfa8 25. f3 h6 26. Qb5 Nd7 27. h3 Ra2 28. Nb4 Rb2 29. Qd5 Ra3 30. Rc7 Nf6 (30... Qxh3 $3 31. gxh3 Ra1+ {mates}) ( {The 'mundane'} 30... Ra1+ {also works after} 31. Kh2 Rxg2+ $1 32. Kxg2 Qg6+ 33. Kf2 Qg1+ 34. Ke2 Qg2#) 31. Qd8+ Kh7 32. Kh2 Nh5 33. Nc2 Nf4 34. Rd2 Raxb3 35. Re7 Qf6 36. Qd7 d3 37. Rxf7 Qg6 0-1 [/pgn]

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PWNCC Super Rising Stars xtable

The young Iranian M.amin Tabatabaei took top honors in the Super Rising Stars at 3.5/6, with his countryman Parham Maghsoodloo sharing second with American Awonder Liang.

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Leon 2020 screenshot
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GM Leinier Dominguez interviewed after his victory

Earlier this week GM Leinier Dominguez, who features in the forthcoming August issue of Chess Life Kids, took first place in the Ciudad de León Master Tournament, a four-player rapid knockout featuring Dominguez and GMs Alexei Shirov, Parham Maghsoodloo, and Jaime Santos.

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Leon 2020 crosstable
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Leon 2020 crosstable

Dominguez first defeated Maghsoodloo in the semi-finals, a matchup that many thought might be on tap for the finals, by holding with Black in an armageddon game. He then took down Santos to win the tournament. Here is the key game from the finals, a sparkling strategic game featuring excellent handling of the hanging pawns and a sweet exchange sacrifice.

[pgn][Event "33rd Leon GM 2020"] [Site "chess.com INT"] [Date "2020.07.12"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Santos Latasa, Jaime"] [Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2575"] [BlackElo "2758"] [ECO "E51"] [Opening "Nimzo-Indian"] [Variation "4.e3 e8g8, 5.Nf3 d7d5"] [WhiteFideId "2293307"] [BlackFideId "3503240"] [EventDate "2020.07.10"] [EventType "k.o. rapid"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. Bd2 b6 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Rc1 Bb7 9. Bd3 Re8 10. O-O Bf8 11. Qc2 c5 12. Ne5 Nc6 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. dxc5 bxc5 15. Ne2 g6 16. b3 Ng4 17. Nf4 Qh4 18. h3 Ne5 19. Be2 Rac8 20. Rfd1 d4 21. e4 Rcd8 22. g3 Qf6 23. h4 h6 24. Ba5 Rd7 25. Re1 g5 26. hxg5 hxg5 27. Nd5 Rxd5 28. exd5 Bxd5 29. Qd1 Nf3+ 30. Bxf3 Rxe1+ 31. Bxe1 Bxf3 32. Qd3 g4 33. Qd2 Qf5 0-1 [/pgn]

Chess fans will continue to have plenty of viewing choices in the coming days. The Chess24 Legends of Chess online rapid event begins on Tuesday, July 21st, while over-the-board play returns at the Biel Chess Festival begins on Saturday the 18th, featuring both a GM round-robin and an Amateur Open.

 

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