Jeffery Xiong and Hikaru Nakamura Among Leaders at IOM - 2 Rounds to Go!

American prodigy Jeffery Xiong is having one of the strongest tournament performances of his life, currently tied for the lead at the Isle of Man Masters with two rounds to go. To give us some perspective on how incredible his performance has been so far, let's compare his results to many of the world's best in the standings.  Xiong (rated 2656 FIDE) is tied with six super-GMs for the lead, including fellow American Hikaru Nakamura and World #7 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. In addition, he's a half point ahead of World #5 Levon Aronian, World #6 Anish Giri, the 15th World Champion Vishwanathan Anand, and the 2016 World Championship Challenger Sergey Karjakin.  It isn't everyday that you see a 17-year-old able to match and even surpass that many players from the Top 10 list! The two leading Americans faced off today, and the prodigy seemed, not only to be holding his own, but pressing until the very end of the game.

Puzzle #1

Hikaru Nakamura vs. Jeffery Xiong

"We liquidated into this rook and queen endgame where already it's not so easy, and I have a lot of ideas." -Jeffery Xiong after the game
How did Nakamura secure a draw?
White to move and draw.
Level: Warm-Up
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Chess.com Isle of Man Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.10.26"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/5Rpk/p3p2p/P3P3/3Pq3/4r3/5QPK/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "4"]1. Rxg7+ Kxg7 2. Qf6+ Kh7 {and the American players agreed to a draw.} ({If}
2... Kg8 3. Qxe6+ Kf8 4. Qf6+ Ke8 5. Qe6+ Kd8 6. Qd6+ Kc8 7. Qe6+ Kb7 8. Qb6+ {
and the Black king cannot escape check.}) 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

Puzzle #2

Hikaru Nakamura vs. Abhijeet Gupta

Nakamura joined the leaders the previous round with a critical victory against Abhijeet Gupta. Can you find the clever tactic he used to win?
White to move and win.
Level: Intermediate
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Isle of Man Masters"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2018.10.25"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Black "Abhijeet Gupta"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2763"]
[BlackElo "2588"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r5k1/2p2pp1/5n1p/1N1p1b2/8/1P2rPP1/P2QPqBP/R3R2K w - - 0 26"]
[PlyCount "7"]
[EventDate "2018.10.20"]26. Rf1 $1 Qxe2 27. Qxe2 Rxe2 28. Nd4 {and Black resigned. If} Re5 29. f4 {and
White gains material. As I tell my students, always look out for tactics
until the dynamic play in the position is completely resolved. Sometimes
looking just one move further makes a world of difference.} 1-0[/pgn]

Puzzle #3

Richard Rapport vs. Jeffery Xiong

How did the American prodigy defeat the person he considers to be "the most creative player in the world"?
Black to move and win.
Level: Intermediate
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Isle of Man Masters"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2018.10.24"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Richard Rapport"]
[Black "Jeffery Xiong"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A45"]
[WhiteElo "2725"]
[BlackElo "2656"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/4Rpk1/p5rp/1p1Qpq2/8/2NppP1P/PP4P1/6K1 b - - 0 38"]
[PlyCount "15"]
[EventDate "2018.10.20"]38... b4 $1 39. Nb1 e2 40. Qxe5+ Qxe5 41. Rxe5 Rc6 $1 {and Rapport resigned. If
} 42. Kf2 Rc1 43. Nd2 Rd1 44. Rxe2 (44. Nc4 {loses viciously to} Rf1+ 45. Kg3
Rc1 46. b3 Rxc4 47. bxc4 d2) 44... dxe2 45. Kxe2 Ra1 0-1[/pgn]

Puzzle #4

Wesley So vs. Samuel Sevian

Another key American elite vs. American prodigy match-up today was Wesley So vs. Samuel Sevian. So obtained the two bishops, but Sevian's active play in the center and kingside was enough to compensate. After some exciting tactical play, their game also ended with a perpetual check. Can you find the dynamic idea Sevian used to maintain equality?
[pgn][Event "Chess.com Isle of Man Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.10.26"]
[Round "?"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Sevian, Samuel"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A28"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4r1k1/pB3pp1/3p2np/2p2q2/2P1n3/2P1B1PP/P1Q2P2/5RK1 w - - 0 21"]
[PlyCount "1"]
[SourceDate "2018.10.26"]21. Bxc5 $5 {A fascinating idea that requires precise play to maintain the
balance. How did Sevian respond?} *[/pgn]
Black to move.
Level: Advanced
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Chess.com Isle of Man Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.10.26"]
[Round "?"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Sevian, Samuel"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A28"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4r1k1/pB3pp1/3p2np/2B2q2/2P1n3/2P3PP/P1Q2P2/5RK1 b - - 0 21"]
[PlyCount "14"]
[SourceDate "2015.11.12"]21... Nh4 $1 {An incredibly clever defense.} ({If} 21... dxc5 22. Re1 {gives
White an edge:} Qxh3 (22... Nd6 $4 23. Rxe8+) 23. Rxe4) 22. gxh4 dxc5 23. Re1
Qg6+ 24. Kh2 {Two different potential discovered attacks limit the white
king's options.} (24. Kf1 $4 Ng3+) 24... Qd6+ 25. Kg2 (25. Kh1 $4 Ng3+) 25...
Qg6+ 26. Kh2 Qd6+ 27. Kg2 Qg6+ 28. Kh2 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

Puzzle #5

Liem Le Quang vs. Swapnil Dhopade

To finish, can you find the clever mating net Le Quang created in this rook and bishop ending?
Black to move and win.
Level: Intermediate
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Isle of Man Masters"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2018.10.25"]
[Round "6.19"]
[White "Le Quang Liem"]
[Black "Sunil Dhopade Swapnil"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2715"]
[BlackElo "2493"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4k3/R7/1p2B2p/4PP2/3P4/r7/2K5/2b5 w - - 0 71"]
[PlyCount "5"]
[EventDate "2018.10.20"]71. Rh7 Be3 72. Rh8+ Ke7 73. d5 {and Black resigned due to the duel threats of
d6# and f6#.} 1-0[/pgn]
  Watch round the penultimate of the Isle of Man Chess International live starting at 8:30 AM ET, featuring commentary from GM Danny King, IM Anna Rudolf and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni. The Isle of Man Masters takes place from October 22-28 with rounds everyday at 8:30 AM ET, except for the last round, which is at 7 AM ET.   
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa West is a regular writer and digital assistant for US Chess News. She won the 2017 Chess Journalist of the Year award. Follow her on Twitter: @Vanessa__West  

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] more information on the Isle of Man Masters, check out our previous tactics report, “Jeffery Xiong and Hikaru Nakamura Among Leaders at IOM Masters – 2 Rounds to Go!” and visit the Official […]

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.