There was a shake up in the standings after day one of the blitz. Magnus Carlsen is still the sole leader, 2.5 points ahead his closest rival, Maxime Lachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman was unstoppable today, winning all his games in the first half of the tournament. This result allowed him to leapfrog Hikaru Nakamura and inch closer to the tournament leader. Tomorrow, at the end of the nine more blitz games, the winner of the tournament will be determined.
Combined rapid and day 1 blitz standings. In the rapid, a win is worth 2 points, a draw is 1 point and a loss is 0. In the blitz, a win is 1 point, a draw is .5 points and a loss is 0
Magnus Carlsen hasn’t been content with the flow of his game even though he dominated the rapid with 7.5/9. Today, he was even more critical of his play, feeling early on that it was going to be “one of those days”. He started the day with a draw against the lowest seed, Bassem Amin, and loss to Vachier-Lagrave. He regrouped by defeating Veselin Topalov and Sergey Karjakin in the middle of the day and drawing the rest, ending the day with 5.5/9. Even with his self-described mediocre play, he still has a commanding lead over the field.
Today was the Maxime Vachier-Lagrave show. The super grandmaster cruised through the field in the first half. After a getting a bit of a lucky break in his first game against Wesley So, he went on to win four more games, defeating Carlsen, Nakamura, Amin and Wei Yi. In the second half of the day he scored 1.5/4, thus ending the day with 6.5/9. He has overcome a two point gap in a previous edition of Paris Grand Chess Tour, and if he can keep up the momentum, he can certainly do it again tomorrow.
Hikaru Nakamura started the day in second place but fell behind after his slow start of .5/3. The reigning US Champion recuperated in the later rounds, but only scored 4.5/9, which is enough for third place, a point behind Vachier-Lagrave. His countryman Wesley So also moved down in the standings with the result of 7 draws and two losses. This result allowed Ding Liren to surpass him, moving to fourth place.
Ian Nepomniachtchi had the second best result of the day, scoring 5.5 points. Due to his poor showing in the rapid, this result only moves him up two spots to 7th place, two spots higher in the standings.
Sergey Karjakin is still looking to find his form in this event. The former World Blitz Champion did not win any games in the rapid portion and only scored four points today. Veselin Topalov only scored 3.5 points in the blitz, but he was the only player who managed to defeat Vachier-Lagrave.
Bassem Amin is the lowest seed of the event and isn’t as used to facing such high class opposition on a regular basis, but that has not stopped him from delivering several upsets. Thus far, he has defeated Nakamura twice, the former World Champion Veselin Topalov, and secured a draw against Magnus Carlsen. He certainly could have had more points had he not spoiled several of his winning advantages.
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