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Carlsen’s Clutch show

Magnus Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen.  

Clutch chess makes impressive international debut

The climax to even the most exciting chess tournaments could sometimes be, well, anti-climatic. It could all end with a quick, dull draw. Even a hard-earned victory in the final round — worth a point — may not be enough to stop the overnight leader.

Clutch chess, however, could spice up the finale of a tournament. Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caurana of the United States — the World No. 1 and 2 — showed how last weekend at the Clutch Chess International, organised by the US-based Saint Louis Chess Club. And they took home considerable money, too.

Carlsen won the online event that carried a prize fund of $265,000. The final was played over two days and 12 games.

On Sunday, the World champion won the last game, proving that he cannot be stopped in any format. That victory gave him three points, not one, which is usually the case in chess.

Interesting game

Clutch chess, created by US Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, is interesting because the point for a win varies according to the stage of a match, which has 12 games.

For a victory in the first four games, it is worth one point, while a draw fetches half-a-point. The same system will apply for games seven to 10 as well.

But in games five and six, a win is worth two points and draw one. The last two games will see a victory giving three points and a draw 1.5.

The matches are spread over two days and the last two games of each day are worth more points.

It remains to be seen if this system will find favour in other tournaments, but the fact is that the first two events – there was a US tournament before the international one – provided plenty of excitement.

The Carlsen-Caruana final alone produced nine decisive results, and only three draws. To reach the final, Carlsen had defeated Levon Aronian of Armenia, while Caruana had outwitted fellow-American Wesley So.

Those four had knocked out Jeffrey Xiong (US), Leinier Domingeuz (US), Alexander Grischuk (Russia) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra).

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 8:11:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/carlsens-clutch-show/article31836234.ece

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