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🏆 Clutch International (2020)

  PARTICIPANTS (sorted by highest achieved rating; click on name to see player's games)
Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexander Grischuk, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Jeffery Xiong Chess Event Description
Clutch International (2020)

The $265,000 Clutch Chess International was an 8-player online knockout tournament taking place from 6-14 June 2020, with World Champion Magnus Carlsen as the top seed. Each match consisted of 12 games, with the twist that games 5-6 were worth double the points and games 11-12 triple. These four "clutch" games had an extra $10,000 at stake in each match, with prizes rolled over if the games ended in draws. The time control was 10 minutes per player for all moves, with a 5 second per move increment from move 1. No draw offers allowed before move 60. The event was organised by the Saint Louis Chess Club with the games played on Chief arbiter: Christopher Bird.

Magnus Carlsen beat Caruana in the final and netted $50,000 plus the clutch game prizes.

Quarterfinals, June 6-9 Semifinals, June 11-12 Final, June 13-14

Carlsen 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 1½ 3 11½ Xiong 0 0 0 ½ 2 1 1 ½ 0 0 1½ 0 6½ Carlsen 1 1 ½ ½ 2 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1½ 1½ 12 Aronian 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 1½ 1½ 6 Aronian 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 2 ½ 0 1 ½ 0 3 10 Grischuk 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 3 0 8 Carlsen ½ ½ 1 0 2 0 1 ½ 0 1 0 3 9½ Caruana ½ ½ 0 1 0 2 0 ½ 1 0 3 0 8½ Caruana 0 ½ 1 1 2 1 0 1 0 1 1½ 1½ 10½ Dominguez 1 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1½ 1½ 7½ Caruana 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 1 0 1 3 1½ 9½ So 1 1 ½ ½ 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1½ 8½ So ½ ½ ½ 1 2 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 3 3 13 Vachier-Lagrave ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 0 5

Official site:

The first event in this format was Clutch Champions Showdown (2020).

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 84  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Xiong vs Carlsen 0-1682020Clutch InternationalD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Carlsen vs Xiong 1-0592020Clutch InternationalB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
3. Vachier-Lagrave vs So  ½-½572020Clutch InternationalA28 English
4. So vs Vachier-Lagrave 1-0442020Clutch InternationalD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
5. Xiong vs Carlsen  ½-½582020Clutch InternationalD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Carlsen vs Xiong 0-1502020Clutch InternationalB41 Sicilian, Kan
7. Xiong vs Carlsen  ½-½532020Clutch InternationalB30 Sicilian
8. So vs Vachier-Lagrave  ½-½262020Clutch InternationalD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. Vachier-Lagrave vs So  ½-½732020Clutch InternationalE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
10. So vs Vachier-Lagrave  ½-½702020Clutch InternationalD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
11. Carlsen vs Xiong 1-0442020Clutch InternationalB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
12. Vachier-Lagrave vs So 0-1452020Clutch InternationalE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
13. Aronian vs Grischuk  1-0432020Clutch InternationalD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Grischuk vs Aronian 0-11332020Clutch InternationalC67 Ruy Lopez
15. Aronian vs Grischuk  ½-½822020Clutch InternationalD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
16. Caruana vs Dominguez Perez  ½-½442020Clutch InternationalE46 Nimzo-Indian
17. Dominguez Perez vs Caruana  0-1352020Clutch InternationalB12 Caro-Kann Defense
18. Grischuk vs Aronian  ½-½582020Clutch InternationalE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
19. Caruana vs Dominguez Perez  1-0432020Clutch InternationalE51 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
20. Dominguez Perez vs Caruana  0-1452020Clutch InternationalC67 Ruy Lopez
21. Caruana vs Dominguez Perez  ½-½952020Clutch InternationalE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
22. Grischuk vs Aronian  ½-½592020Clutch InternationalE49 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Botvinnik System
23. Aronian vs Grischuk 0-1732020Clutch InternationalD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
24. Dominguez Perez vs Caruana 1-0492020Clutch InternationalB12 Caro-Kann Defense
25. Vachier-Lagrave vs So  ½-½652020Clutch InternationalA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 84  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-13-20  Pedro Fernandez: Serious time troubles in the first game Carlsen-Caruana. By one reason unknown for me, Magnus is taking much care vs Fabi. However at the end, it will happen what has to happen. A contrary outcome would be a true rarity that no one expects.
Jun-13-20  jith1207: Aronian is what, a couple of months, away from losing his wife to an accident?

I'd not look much into the games seriously about his form while being constrained to stay at home all the time with only the memory and loneliness, and not being able to travel and take his mind completely off.

I'd say the fact that he's playing games at this stage is heart-warming enough and hope it helps him cope.

Jun-14-20  Pedro Fernandez: Yeah dear <jith1207>. A really difficult trauma to overcome. Hopefully he recovers soon from such a painful loss. Greetings my friend!

PS. BTW, how did Caruana hold up? Don't asking me!

Jun-14-20  jith1207: Greetings my friend, <Pedro>. It was going as a great tournament for Wesley So, beating MVL and winning 4 times against Fabi until Caruana fought back.

I just would like to see Caruana to be the First ever World Chess Clutch Champion (WCCC).

Jun-14-20  Sokrates: The first mini-match (day 7) gave an equal result (4-4) so today's 6 games match will decide who is going to win this.

If anything, the first mini-match showed that those two great players are as equal in strength as one can get. Minimal factors are likely to tip the balance.

Bearing the first match in mind, we should expect very entertaining games at the highest level, the chess world can offer today (the format taken into consideration, of course).

Jun-14-20  Ulhumbrus: <jith1207: Aronian is what, a couple of months, away from losing his wife to an accident?

I'd not look much into the games seriously about his form while being constrained to stay at home all the time with only the memory and loneliness, and not being able to travel and take his mind completely off.

I'd say the fact that he's playing games at this stage is heart-warming enough and hope it helps him cope.> I did not know that. If that is so, I stand corrected: you could be right.

Jun-14-20  jith1207: <Ulhumbrus:> I didn't intend my comment towards you, just in general.

I actually thought about what you said earlier when the on-line tournaments started. It's a very fair point, the difference in time zone isn't fair unfortunately, with many of them in different continents, not just countries.

Jun-14-20  Sokrates: I don't think the word "fair" is the right one here. Since the Earth is round (unless you belong to the Flat Earth Society) any chosen time for a simutaneously arranged online tournament will favour some players more than others. That is not an unfair treatment of the "others", but inevitable by nature.

Besides, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, police officers and countless other people often work around the clock and although it's tough, I don't think they'd call it unfair.

Jun-14-20  Pedro Fernandez: My great <Sokrates>, FES is the maximum anarchic madness that a society of deranged has never conceived. Greetings.
Jun-14-20  Pedro Fernandez: And I thought that ... fxe6, opening column f for the black rook, was a tremendous move, but it was Caruana's downfall. Regardless, I think no one imagined this tremendous performance by Fabi vs The Chess' Emperor.
Jun-14-20  Pedro Fernandez: $ 75,000 is good money for Magnus from home. This is not Forex or similar, nor mining.
Jun-14-20  MordimerChess: Just finished my last analysis of this event. Produced 11 videos. It was pretty good tournament with many really exciting games.

My video analyses:

Thanks for the support, enjoy!

Jun-15-20  Sokrates: Dear <Pedro>,

After I mentioned FES I thought I'd make a five minutes research on it and behold, a funny, entertaining story appeared on Wiki. The "Society" seems to have deep historical roots. Originally from England, exported to the U.S. and then back again, even to my country :-) Unbelievably, there are still followers today.

Congratulations to Carlsen are in order, but he didn't beat Caruana without getting wounds and bruises. Caruana showed what a super chessplayer he is.

A few blunders occurred, that's unavoidable given the format, but overall a great finale between those two.

The great rivalry between Karpov and Kasparov comes to my mind, when I think of Carlsen and Caruana. I wouldn't be surprised if Caruana won the infamous, paused Candidates, once it's resumed.

Jun-15-20  JustAnotherMaster: Greatest Player ever is MR Clutch...shocking!!!!! Bravo Magnus...shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Jun-15-20  Pedro Fernandez: Good post <Sokrates>. Despite the fact that many of our folks do not like this type of tournament, one has to admit that it is exciting. The Carlsen thing is incredible; I thought that Caruana had already won, but the champion put that pawn up to the sixth rank causing Fabi's fatal mistake. Take care with that Bicho so-called SARS-Cov2.
Jun-15-20  Jambow: Congrats to Magnus for fighting it out. Ditto on <Sokrates> post. I think Caruana represents the best challenge to Magnus and also I think the fighting spirit he displayed here is what gives him the best shot at the champion. Playing to hold the line as I see it diminishes the odds of dethroning Magnus if you are good enough to win. (before twenty posts condemning me for saying Caruana is better than Magnus that is not what I said in advance).

I will say in K vs K compared to C vs C the order in which they appeared on the scene is juxtaposed.

One more thing that bodes well for Caruana on the whole is his improvement at faster time controls. Something Magnus has always excelled at.

Jun-15-20  jith1207: In case anyone doesn't get it, <JustAnotherMaster> says:. SHHHHHHHHHHHH
Jun-15-20  siamesedream: Magnus also praised Fabiano in post final interview:

Magnus: <"Fabi’s made incredible strides in rapid & blitz. He’s playing the next Magnus Tour tournament & I think he’s very much a force to be reckoned with... Judging by the way we played today he was as deserving a winner as I was & he deserves credit for a very good match">

And finally well timed "Hush" ;)

Kudos to <GM Fabiano Caruana> for great fight in the final.

Congratulations to <GM Magnus Carlsen> on winning Clutch Chess International!

Jun-15-20  Sokrates: Thanks for these refs <siamesedream>. Nice to see MC pay credit to FC. A world champion should show generosity, and here he actually did it.

Thanks, <Pedro>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  boz: Magnus shows more respect for Caruana, than any other player. Clear number two.
Jun-17-20  starry2013: Carlsen has a better natural ability to assess positions.

They should really try and do longer time controls online, at least 30 minutes. Conservatives like Svidler say you can't, but I disagree, these tournaments don't have to be all at blitz or near-blitz.

Jun-17-20  Sokrates: I agree with you, <starry2013>. Time-caused blunders increase by very quick formats, as we have seen in these mini-matches.

What is Svidler's argument for saying you can't have a 30 minutes format? Those who follow ordinary, physical tournaments online are used to both classical time-control and 30 minutes rapids.

If a chess-fan can't sit still on his derriere for an hour, he won't get far in his own chess career. Particularly when watching the two best players in the world.

Jun-17-20  WorstPlayerEver: The clarity of this format never will be forgotten 😀
Jun-17-20  savagerules: Perhaps more chances for a network error that causes a forfeit by disconnection, etc. or maybe there are more temptations for players to cheat at a longer online time control. Maybe the top tier of players won't be tempted but lower down the player list there might be a devil on their shoulder whispering.
Jun-18-20  Sokrates: Valid points, <savagerules>

I am not sure how exactly they deal with the threat of cheating in the present elite tournaments. Since there is a lot of money at stake, trust is really paramount.

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