Gukesh vs Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Game 1 in this high-stakes encounter kicked off with the Catalan opening, a familiar battlefield for both players, having previously faced off with reversed colors earlier in the year. The middle-game witnessed a harmonious equilibrium until the relentless march of time forced Gukesh into a precarious situation, culminating in the forfeiture of an exchange and a Game 1 loss against Duda.
The second game unfolded with Duda grappling with early-stage strategic decisions, devouring precious minutes on his clock in the opening moves. Manifestations of discomfort were evident in Duda’s expressions as he contemplated his moves. Gukesh seized the opportunity, capitalizing on the position to secure an exchange and clinch the victory, ultimately propelling the match into the electrifying Armageddon phase.
In the crucial Armageddon showdown, Gukesh, armed with the White pieces and an extra minute on his clock, facing a must-win scenario. Fuelled by this imperative, he embarked on a strategic journey to seize control of the center and initiate a decisive assault on his opponent’s king. Duda, displaying remarkable resourcefulness, managed to secure a pawn and deftly counteracted Gukesh’s king-side attack. In the end, Gukesh conceded, relegating him to the losers’ bracket to face Wesley So in the next phase of this high-stakes tournament.