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Saturday, 11 Sep 2021 12:09
Leinier Dominguez wins  2021 Champions Showdown

Leinier Dominguez secured victory in the 2021 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX after winning a dramatic final round game against Levon Aronian and ending with 6.0/9 points. Finishing in second place were Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Sam Shankland, all on 5.5/9, while former World Champion Garry Kasparov concluded an impressive performance with 5.0/9.

The time control for the event is 20 minutes per side with a 5-second increment starting from move one. Before each round, the players were shown the unique starting position 15 minutes ahead of time and are allowed to prepare using the physical boards.

Round 7

Starting position - Round 7

Despite entering the final day as the clear leader, Dominguez suffered a shock in the first round, losing to Shankland after blundering in the late middlegame and going into a bad endgame.

20.Rxb5! left Shankland with an extra pawn in the rook endgame, which he managed to convert smoothly. | 1-0, 56 moves

 The result allowed Shankland to catch Dominguez in the standings, as did Kasparov, who continued his excellent play from yesterday to defeat Svidler in a trademark attacking style.

20...Nxc4! gave Kasparov a winning attack, with a huge advantage after 21.bxc4 g5! | 0-1, 26 moves


The 13th World Champion finished with a highly respectable 5.0/9

Round 8

Starting Position - Round 8

The penultimate round saw the standings get shaken up even further, as draws by Shankland, Dominguez, and Kasparov allowed So to catch up to the leaders with his win over Svidler.

14.Rc1! won a full piece for So, as the knight on c6 was impossible to defend. | 1-0, 21 moves

This meant that going into the final round there would be four leaders on 5.0/8 - So, Dominguez, Kasparov, and Shankland; with Vachier-Lagrave just a half-point out of first place.


The current Chess 960 World Champion started off the final day with two wins

Round 9

Starting Position - Round 9

The final round was the most dramatic of all, with all four leaders facing different players, making numerous playoff possibilities feasible. Both Shankland and So had chances at various points, but could only draw against Caruana and Nakamura, respectively; while Kasparov got in trouble against Vachier-Lagrave and ended up with a losing position. Only Dominguez could manage to win, taking advantage of a slip by Aronian to collect the full point and ultimately clinch first place.

20...Nb3! secured a powerful initiative for Dominguez, as he followed up with Be6 and Rad8 to win a critical game. | 0-1, 58 moves


Leinier Dominguez turned in a fantastic performance, winning four games in a row earlier in the event.

Coming up next in Saint Louis will be the 2021 U.S. Chess and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships, taking place October 5 - 19 and featuring 24 of America’s top players battling it out for two national titles. Fans can learn more and watch the action live on uschesschamps.com.

Coming up next in Saint Louis will be the 2021 U.S. Chess and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships, taking place October 5 - 19 and featuring 24 of America’s top players battling it out for two national titles. Fans can learn more and watch the action live on uschesschamps.com.

Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy

Photo: Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller


Dates & Location: 
September 8 - September 10, 2021
Saint Louis Chess Club

Livestream:
USChessChamps.Com

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#ChampionsShowdown #Chess9LX #STLChessClub

Press Contact:
Rebecca Buffington
rbuffington@saintlouischessclub.org 

Photo Credits:
Photos and appropriate credits available on Flickr

Saint Louis Chess Club  |  Building Champions

4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108 | (314) 361.CHESS (2437)