Carlsen Wins 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic, Niemann Takes Open

Carlsen Wins 3rd GRENKE Chess Classic, Niemann Takes Open

| 100 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen scored a brilliant win, then pulled off a great escape, to beat GM Richard Rapport 1.5-0.5 and win the GRENKE Chess Classic for a third time. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat GM Vincent Keymer in blitz tiebreaks to take third place, while World Champion Ding Liren eased to fifth by beating GM Daniel Fridman. GM Hans Niemann took clear first with 8/9 in the GRENKE Chess Open, while 12-year-old Turkish IM Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus became the fourth youngest grandmaster of all time.   

Once again Magnus Carlsen came out on top. Photo: Oliver Koeller/

The final day of the GRENKE Chess Classic saw 45-minute, two-game matches to decide the final places, with first in the round-robin taking on second, third vs. fourth, and fifth vs. sixth. Most of the attention was on the title clash between Carlsen and Rapport, and it didn't disappoint! 

Carlsen Beats Rapport To Clinch 1st Place 

Since blundering and losing the first game in Karlsruhe to Rapport, Carlsen had been on a roll, scoring an unbeaten 7/9. He carried that momentum into the final day, with the first game a sumptuous, if not flawless, win against Rapport's Winawer French. Although Carlsen said he didn't know his opponent's 14...g6, he noted, "I sort of assumed it’s operation dark squares after that!" The watching GM Anish Giri guessed the same.

There were twists and turns ahead, but in the end the world number-one crashed through to win in real style. 

That "marvelous game" is our Game of the Day, with analysis by GM Rafael Leitao below.

GM Rafael Leitao GotD

That meant that Carlsen only needed a draw to wrap up his third GRENKE Chess Classic title, after winning in 2015 and 2019, but although he eventually got that draw it was only after an epic struggle. The Norwegian admitted "honestly I might as well resign" instead of playing 14...Ng6?!, as he did in the game, since he saw too much trouble ahead after his intended 14...g5!.  

From there on Rapport took over, with 25.d6! a star move that split the board and left Carlsen's hopes in tatters. 

For huge swathes of what followed, Carlsen was simply lost, but he kept calculating and hunting chances to complicate the game. Somehow he managed to equalize, then let things slip again, but in the end Rapport's nerves failed as his time ran out. He panicked and ultimately had nothing better than taking a draw by repetition. 

What a game to seal the title! 

As in Weissenhaus, Carlsen had been on top form after a shaky start, and he's now won the last six events he's played. 

"I'm rooting for chess—it's going to be fun!" said Carlsen afterward about the Candidates Tournament. Asked if the presence of ambitious youngsters in the tournament had made him consider taking part, he responded:

"For the ambitious youngsters, it’s good that there’s not one more unambitious older player playing! It makes no sense for me to take spots away from people who want to be there."

There were also matches for the remaining places.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Wins The 3rd Place Battle

Vachier-Lagrave snatched third place in the longest match of the day, which went to 10+2 games after the first two games were tightly-fought draws. Keymer missed a great chance in the third game, when he was winning with the black pieces.

Then in the fourth Keymer overextended with the white pieces and got into tactical trouble. He decided to go all-in, but Vachier-Lagrave defended accurately and, when the dust had settled, was simply winning. 

A tough finish for the German number-one, but his heroics the day before had already meant that he could end the event with his head held high. 

Ding Liren Takes 5th Place

The world champion playing to avoid last place for a second tournament in a row is not something we expect to see, but at least in this match normal service was resumed. Ding was sharp in the opening in the first game and then flawlessly exploited one loose move by his opponent to win a pawn and then the game. Giri declared that second win in a row for Ding a turning point.

That might be going too far, but the second game was also a textbook example of how to hold a draw when that's all you need to win a match. Ding finished fifth, while Fridman took the last spot, as you would have predicted before the tournament began, but he in no way looked out of place during the event. 

Hans Niemann Wins Open As 12-Year-Old Erdogmus Becomes GM

Hans Niemann stays in the limelight. Photo: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess.

The GRENKE Chess Open also came to an end on Monday, with Niemann beating GM Velimir Ivic with the black pieces while his rivals on seven points drew against each other. That meant he'd finished in clear first place on 8/9 and a 2813 performance rating, fully justifying his decision to make two quick draws against prodigies GM Christopher Yoo and Erdogmus.

Nine players finished half a point behind, with the final standings at the top looking as follows:

Seed Title Name FED Rating Points TB Perf.
1 5 GM Niemann, Hans Moke 2676 8 56 2813
2 7 GM Saric, Ivan 2670 7.5 58 2765
3 3 GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2690 7.5 56.5 2774
4 10 GM Kollars, Dmitrij 2629 7.5 56 2752
5 15 GM Chigaev, Maksim 2617 7.5 55.5 2679
6 1 GM Erigaisi Arjun, 2748 7.5 54 2735
8 GM Shevchenko, Kirill 2670 7.5 54 2710
8 6 GM Anton Guijarro, David 2671 7.5 53.5 2709
9 41 IM Tiglon, Bryce 2509 7.5 53 2672
10 9 GM Bluebaum, Matthias 2655 7.5 51.5 2627
11 16 GM Svane, Frederik 2617 7 58.5 2665
12 12 GM Svane, Rasmus 2623 7 58 2690
13 21 GM Yoo, Christopher Woojin 2583 7 57 2672
14 19 GM Maurizzi, Marc`Andria 2602 7 56.5 2692
15 4 GM Sjugirov, Sanan 2690 7 55.5 2662
22 GM Ivic, Velimir 2582 7 55.5 2657
17 2 GM Sarana, Alexey 2699 7 55 2649
18 37 GM Gavrilescu, David 2524 7 54.5 2603
19 17 GM Kamsky, Gata 2616 7 54 2651
32 IM Erdogmus, Yagiz Kaan 2540 7 54 2646
21 23 GM Pultinevicius, Paulius 2575 7 51.5 2630
29 GM Nasuta, Grzegorz 2552 7 51.5 2546
38 IM Vogel, Roven 2521 7 51.5 2576
24 20 GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2595 7 51 2613
87 IM Hrbek, Stepan 2417 7 51 2514
26 28 GM Muradli, Mahammad 2555 7 50.5 2571
31 GM Hong, Andrew 2542 7 50.5 2600
55 IM Buckels, Valentin 2450 7 50.5 2546
29 50 IM Bazakutsa, Svyatoslav 2462 7 50 2543
80 IM Petkidis, Anthony 2423 7 50 2532
31 47 IM Kramer, Julian 2469 7 49.5 2498
62 IM Wachinger, Nikolas 2442 7 49.5 2511
77 IM Divya Deshmukh, 2424 7 49.5 2585
34 53 IM Koellner, Ruben Gideon 2453 7 49 2497
35 52 IM Krastev, Alexander 2457 7 48.5 2501
36 43 GM Gharibyan, Mamikon 2499 7 46.5 2471
37 46 IM Feuerstack, Aljoscha 2471 7 45.5 2563

Full standings | Games

That means Niemann wins €20,000 and, if the same system is applied as in previous events, will get a spot in the 2025 Classic. The U.S. 20-year-old's winning tweet was predictable!

Niemann revealed afterward that he was very close to pulling out of the event with an ear infection, while he vowed to be back to play the Classic in 2025. 

The other absolutely stand-out performance was by Turkish prodigy Erdogmus, who at the age of 12 years, nine months, and 29 days becomes the fourth youngest grandmaster of all time, and the youngest in the world right now.

His performance could have been even better, since he came very close to drawing top-seed GM Arjun Erigaisi in the penultimate round. 

That brings to an end a chess festival featuring well over 2,500 players, with the attention of the chess world set to turn to just 16 players in Toronto, Canada. The 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament starts this Thursday!

The 2024 GRENKE Chess Classic takes place from March 26-April 1 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The six-player double round-robin features two rounds per day played at a 45-minute time control with 10 seconds added per move. On the last day, two-game matches will be played to decide the final places, with 1st vs. 2nd, 3rd vs. 4th, and 5th vs. 6th. 

How to watch?
You can watch the GRENKE Chess Classic on YouTube and Twitch. The games can also be followed from our Events Page.

The live broadcast was hosted by GM Anish Giri and IM Lawrence Trent.

See also:

Colin McGourty

Colin McGourty led news at Chess24 from its launch until it merged with a decade later. An amateur player, he got into chess writing when he set up the website Chess in Translation after previously studying Slavic languages and literature in St. Andrews, Odesa, Oxford, and Krakow.

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