second day of the rapid tournament brought another series of games full
of excitement, brilliancies and heartbreaks. The leaderboard completely
changed, as Magnus Carlsen reminded everyone why he is considered the
most dominant chess player in the world. He is now leading the
tournament with 10/12. Wesley So’s luck seemed to have ran out and he
was only able to draw two games, falling three points behind Carlsen.
Nakamura and Mamdeyarov had a very successful day and are only one and
two points behind Carlsen respectively.
was the bloodiest round thus far! All eyes were on So-Carlsen as the
leader was facing his closest rival. The World Champion completely
outplayed So the entire game, only giving him one tactical chance to
turn the tables, which was overlooked by the U.S. Champion. This crucial
win put Carlsen in the lead. Hikaru Nakamura’s straight forward attack
with a bishop sacrifice was too overwhelming for Etienne Bacrot, who
found himself down three pawns and forced to resign. Shakhriyar
Mamedyarov’s preparation for Grand Prix paid off in just 28 moves when
Vachier-Lagrave could no longer defend his exposed king.
Topalov-Grischuk was a wild theoretical battle where Black came out on
top due to white forgetting his preparation at the critical point.
Caruana found himself in a winning position yet again, but being in such
a poor form, he could only manage to draw the game against Karjakin.
Carlsen solidified his lead with a win over Topalov who did not play
the most challenging move at the critical moment. Nakamura kept pace
with a wild win over Grischuk. The Russian Grandmaster was winning for
most of the game, but after twists and turn in time scramble found
himself defending a rook vs rook and a bishop endgame. Theoretically,
this endgame is draw, but practically with no time on the clock, it is
quite difficult to draw. Nakamura played very quickly, not giving his
opponent any time to think and find resources. Grischuk made only one
error and found himself in a mating net. Mamedyarov reminded the leaders
that he’s a force to be reckoned with by taking advantage of Caruana’s
poor form and delivering yet another loss to the American. Karjakin
bested Bacrot, another player who is struggling in this event, in only
26 moves. Vachier-Lagrave was close to beating So but surprisingly he
didn’t play the straight forward winning line in the endgame, allowing
is opponent to liquidate into an unwinnable position.
Magnus Carlsen faced his newest closest rival, Hikaru Nakamura with the
black pieces. Historically, Carlsen has been a difficult opponent for
Nakamura, but this time the American was the one with a pleasant
position trying to press for a win. His edge was not enough to harm
Carlsen, who defended patiently and drew the game. Mamedyarov and So
also drew their long game. Caruana’s fortune did not improve as he
blundered a nice sequence and had to resign in yet another game where he
was winning. In another shocking turn of events, Karjakin blundered his
queen. Grischuk seemed quite pleased with this gift after a tough lost
in the previous round. Vachier-Lagrave defeated Topalov in an
interesting struggle, where he found a lot of counter play for the lost
All information is available on GrandChessTour.org.
Live commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Cristian Chirila, and IM
Jovanka Houska will give online spectators even more opportunity to
experience the tournaments. As last year, GM Maurice Ashley will be
on-site in Paris to interview players and will be joined by
GM Romain Edouard. Watch live.
Photo credits: Chess Club and Scholastic Center/Kevin Duggin/Spectrum Studios/Lennart Ootes