2 More Draws In London Grand Chess Tour Playoff
A small camera used by the St. Louis crew in London. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

2 More Draws In London Grand Chess Tour Playoff

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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9 | Chess Event Coverage

On Tuesday, the Grand Chess Tour playoff saw two more draws in the standard games.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Magnus Carlsen quickly played until bare kings were left on the board. Ding Liren and Levon Aronian repeated moves after a bit less than three hours of play.


Programming note: The Grand Chess Tour will be broadcast on Twitch.tv/Chesscomevents on Wednesday, December 4 and will return to regular programming for the remainder of the event.
The Grand Chess Tour playoff starts each day at 17:00 CET, which is 11 a.m. Eastern and 8 a.m. Pacific. You can follow the games here as part of our live portal. Commentary is provided by GM Robert Hess & IM Danny Rensch at Chess.com/TV.


The second day of the London playoffs was not too exciting as both draws had relatively little content. Both matches will now be decided in the rapid and blitz segments on Wednesday.

Again trying to surprise his opponent in the opening, Carlsen played 6...Be7!? in the Open Ruy Lopez, a sideline that he also played against Fabiano Caruana in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour earlier this year. Caruana himself then played it against Hikaru Nakamura in the Sinquefield Cup; both games ended in draws.

With 11.b3, MVL chose Nakamura's safe way of playing, and Carlsen said he got "easy play," so much that it was Vachier-Lagrave who was trying to equalize after the opening due to his bad knight. 

"I got surprised in the opening and I couldn't figure out what to do," MVL admitted. "It's actually very tough to play if you don't remember your analysis." 

Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave 2019 Grand Chess Tour playoff London
The players finishing their game quickly. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Ding and Aronian played a bit longer, but in their second game not much happened either. White's early pawn trade on d5 is not the most critical, and already after 9...Bg4 Ding felt Black was doing OK. The Chinese GM said his play was "bad" but he didn't know how to play otherwise.

Ding Aronian 2019 Grand Chess Tour playoff London
Aronian was still not in great physical shape. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

The standard games gave each player six points for his total of two draws. Tomorrow will see two rapid games (25 minutes plus a 10-second delay) and up to four blitz games (five minutes plus a three-second delay). The rapid games give four points for a win and two point for a draw; the blitz games give two points for a win and one point for a draw.

Each match has 28 possible points and so a total of 15 points will be required to win each match.

2019 Grand Chess Tour playoff semifinals
The scores after the two standard games. Image: Spectrum Studios.

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