Nakamura’s Nearly Perfect Knockout Claims Arena Kings Season 9 Week 8

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The March 30 Arena Kings featured one of the more entertaining knockout rounds of the season, although it ended fairly predictably with a victory for GM Hikaru Nakamura. He defeated IM Le Tuan Minh in the final in a 3-0 sweep. The semifinalists were IM Renato Terry and GM Gata Kamsky.

56 streamers and 1329 players in total played in Arena Kings this week. 

How To Watch?

This week followed the typical format: a two-hour arena followed by a 16-player knockout with the highest-scoring streamers of any rating. 


Arena

FM James Canty III handled today’s broadcast solo during the first two hours, showcasing players GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Robert Hess, @ChessheroesComp, GM Benjamin Finegold, @MatiMatic, IM Le Tuan Minh, @chessbrainiac, and GM Gata Kamsky. Nakamura, playing from his Berlin hotel room soon after drawing a game in the FIDE Grand Prix, won the arena portion with 83 points on a score of +24 -2 =3.

Arena Kings isn’t always strictly about the chess, however:

Knockout

GM Irina Krush joined Canty on commentary for the knockouts (reminding some people of a popular mobile game), and it proved to be a strong pairing. 

The round of 16 left the quarterfinals with eight players on a 2800+ blitz rating. Even then, the quarterfinals saw a mini-upset, with Kamsky coming back from down 1.5-0.5 to defeat last week’s Arena Kings winner GM Jose Martinez in bullet tiebreaks.

Their 1+1 tiebreak was another interesting game.

Le’s quarterfinal match vs. GM Vugar Rasulov was another intriguing one, beginning with a draw by perpetual check despite three queens on the board.

However, Le won two games after that to advance to the semifinals. Along the way he inspired topical, albeit implicit, pop culture references:

In the first semifinal, Terry held Nakamura to a draw in the second game, but it was only a short roadblock on Nakamura’s path into the final. The second semifinal was a tough go for Kamsky, who lost both games on time, first in a winning position and then in a drawn one as Le advanced.

The stage was thus set for the Nakamura-Le final. Terry’s draw the round before turned out to be a great accomplishment, as it ended up being the only game Nakamura did not win during the entire knockout. 

After easily dispatching that opening choice, Nakamura had more tricks up his sleeve in the second game:

The third and final game was another Nakamura victory, as he scored a total of 9.5/10 (with matches of 2-0, 2-0, 2.5-0.5, and 3-0) in the knockout section of the tournament.

Week 8 Final | All Games

Standings, Results, Prizes

Nakamura won $500 for first place while Le took $350 for second. The $200 prize went to semifinalists Terry and Kamsky, while the four quarterfinalists took in $100 each, and ninth place through 16th received $50 (pending confirmation of fair play). The full standings of the knockout field are below:

 Arena Kings Season 9 | Week 8 | Final Knockout Standings




















Rk Country Player Rating
1 @Hikaru 3195
2 @wonderfultime 3015
3-4 @MITerryble 2893
3-4 @TigrVShlyape 2875
5-8 @Jospem 2946
5-8

@Zhigalko_Sergei 2893
5-8 @vugarrasulov 2845
5-8 @Sattarov_Bobur 2844
9-16 @DamianoLew95 2666
9-16 @FritziSchach_Twitch 2484
9-16 @DragonB70 2406
9-16 @LordGigantics 1919
9-16 @ChessheroesComp 1904
9-16 @siddharthsarma_2003 1628
9-16 @Ram_MS 1249
9-16 @LoLsuppAddict 1241

Full arena standings here.

All prizes are published in the results report here. 

Arena Kings is a weekly tournament held by Chess.com to showcase streamers. A two-hour Arena is followed by a knockout featuring the top 16 streamers from the arena, with both sections using a 3+0 time control. The games begin at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time/18:00 Central European every Wednesday.

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