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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will contest the Riga Grand Prix final from Monday after winning their semifinals without the need for tiebreaks. Mamedyarov unleashed a quiet novelty on move 14 and just one move later was winning against Wesley So, who was unable to mount a comeback in the second game. MVL-Grischuk witnessed two thrillers, with Alexander Grischuk describing their second clash as a “fantastic game” by the French no. 1.
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Leinier Dominguez swept aside defending champion Ian Nepomniachtchi in just 25 moves to not only take the sole lead in Dortmund but climb above Nepo into the world no. 7 spot on the live rating list. Going into the final three rounds this weekend he has a half point lead over fellow 2700 stars Radek Wojtaszek, Teimour Radjabov and Richard Rapport, who have all scored one win and three draws.
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That was a headline we thought we’d only get to write with heavy irony, but after six instantly forgettable draws So-Karjakin exploded into life in 5-minute blitz with a heady mix of blunders and brilliant comebacks that really should have gone to Armageddon. The other tiebreaks ended in rapid chess, with Jan-Krzysztof Duda’s ambition backfiring against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, while Alexander Grischuk found the perfect time to play a novelty against Yu Yangyi. It’s Mamedyarov-So and MVL-Grischuk in the semifinals.
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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was the first player to reach the semifinals of the Riga FIDE Grand Prix after scoring the only classical win in the quarterfinal classical games. He beat Veselin Topalov with Black in a complex first game and then accepted a shocking draw offer on move 12 in the next to seal victory. The other matches go to tiebreaks, with only Mamedyarov-Duda so far having come close to producing decisive action.
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Magnus Carlsen will be back to play more blitz against chess24 Premium users this Tuesday 16th July at 18:30 CEST. The World Champion ended the last session, “I’ll be back at the board soon in Croatia, trying to play some better chess than I did today” (a mere 14 wins in 15 games), before going on to crush a field of the world’s best chess players in Zagreb. Now it’s your chance to take on the World Chess Champion and highest rated player of all time!
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Anish Giri, Levon Aronian, Peter Svidler and Hikaru Nakamura are all out of the Riga FIDE Grand Prix after chess followed the Wimbledon final and the Cricket World Cup in going all the way to Armageddon in two of the matches. Those ended with Yu Yangyi beating Aronian and Sergey Karjakin getting the better of Giri. It’s Karjakin-So, Duda-Mamedyarov, Grischuk-Yu Yangyi and Topalov-MVL in the quarterfinals.
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Richard Rapport beat defending champion Ian Nepomniachtchi as the first Dortmund tournament of the post-Kramnik era got off to a dramatic start on Saturday. Leinier Dominguez continued his exceptional form since returning to classical chess to re-enter the Top 10 on the live rating list with a victory over German no. 1 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. Daniel Fridman beat Kaido Kulaots in the day’s other win, with only Radjabov-Wojtaszek ending in a draw despite featuring a spectacular piece sacrifice.
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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won his first classical game in 22 attempts as he beat David Navara to grab the only win of Day 1 of the Riga FIDE Grand Prix. It may have owed something to the Igors Rausis cheating case, since Navara said he’d overlooked a line in his preparation as he was busy checking the chess news. Alexander Grischuk was in “a very good mood before the game because Rausis finally got caught cheating”, which led him to go for a risky line. It almost paid off against Nikita Vitiugov, but it the end that was one of a number of lively games that finished drawn.
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Two-time French Champion and Magnus Carlsen coach Laurent Fressinet shows us his Top 5 novelties from the recently finished Croatia Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb. Unsurprisingly his boss Magnus unleashed a couple of them – to beat Ding Liren and test Levon Aronian to the limit – but there were also fine ideas by Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana.
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In this exclusive opinion piece Garry Kasparov gives his verdict on Magnus Carlsen's campaign to get the Norwegian Chess Federation to accept almost $6 million in sponsorship from a gambling company in return for lobbying for the breakup of Norway's state monopoly on gambling. On the same day Magnus triumphed in Zagreb the vote went 132:44 against him in Norway, but Garry describes himself as "compelled to speak out as a veteran of these conflicts".

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