Radjabov refuses to celebrate as battle for 2nd heats up

Just half a point separates Teimour Radjabov and Wesley So going into the final day of the Tour tomorrow
Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov refused to celebrate after leapfrogging Wesley So into second place in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals today.

The Azerbaijani star showed all his super solid skills as he secured a 2.5-1.5 win over fellow countryman Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov in a final game thriller.

But in an interview after, Radjabov said: “Thank you, but this is the only day I didn’t enjoy my win.”

Radjabov explained that as Shak hails from the same country and the two are long-time friends, “we do not celebrate any victories against each other”.

Radjabov picked up three points to go half a point in front of Wesley So, the winner of three Tour events, on the overall Tour leaderboard.

It meant So was forced to surrender second place just a day after the disappointment of seeing his challenge for the Tour title evaporate.

The reigning US champ beat Poland’s 23-year-old World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda in tiebreaks, which meant the American only picked up two points.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen, meanwhile, has had a lot to celebrate after being named Tour Champion yesterday.

Today, not so much though he lost a second match in a row – this time 3-1 to Armenia’s Levon Aronian.

The Norwegian said after: “Obviously, I should play better than I have the last few days, but that’s the way it is.”

Aronian said later he could tell that Carlsen was “very relaxed” after winning the Tour and as a result he “didn’t have much trouble winning today”.

Carlsen faces So tomorrow in the final round of the tournament and the final day of the year-long Tour. So will be desperate to take advantage of Carlsen being relaxed. Radjabov faces French number 1 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Results

In the other matches, Anish Giri won without needing tiebreaks for the first time in the event, beating MVL 2.5-1.5.

Hikaru Nakamura took full advantage of his Russian opponent Vladislav Artemiev losing on time in the first of the blitz tiebreakers that decided their match. In the second, Nakamura got the draw he needed to take the two points.

The Finals of the 2021 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour sees the world’s best chess players face off across nine rounds of rapid chess from September 25 to October 4.

Tune in on www.chess24.com, YouTube or Twitch starting at 17:00 CET each day.