Fedoseev, Ju Lead World Rapid After Day 2
After scoring two wins and three draws on day two, Vladimir Fedoseev still leads the World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ju Wenjun also managed to keep her lead in the women's segment.
Although the local organization is on a high level, there's one aspect that didn't go so well on both the first and second day of the tournament. The relay of the live games has been quite unreliable, to the extent that the official commentator, GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko, couldn't hide his frustration anymore. "We are again stuck with the moves," and "It's not possible to follow the game like that," were some of the complaints he shared with the online spectators.
His frustration is understandable, as is the choice at the start of the rounds to focus mostly on Magnus Carlsen's games. It cannot be denied that, as in any event where he plays, the world champion is the real star.
VG's Ole Kristian Strøm, Magnus Carlsen
Unlike on the first day, Carlsen was sharp from the start this time. He was one of the first to win his game in round six, as Black against Sergei Movsesian, despite a suspicious-looking middlegame that arose from a Nimzowitsch Defense (1.e4 Nc6).
A strong counter from Carlsen on the queenside. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Speaking of Nimzowitsch, the old master would have been proud of Baadur Jobava's 34...e5!! against Vladimir Fedoseev in what was the clash of the leaders. It seemed that Jobava, who had managed to bring a novelty on the board as early as move five, was grabbing the initiative there. However, Fedoseev was extremely resourceful in the remainder. A great game from both sides.
A lovely fight between the leaders after day one, Fedoseev and Jobava. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
In round seven Carlsen won another quick and smooth game against Wang Yue, who used to be known as one of the most solid players. Nine years ago he played 85 consecutive games without a loss, but today he didn't stand a chance against the Norwegian player:
A smiling Carlsen before his game with Wang Yue. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Fedoseev just kept on winning. He beat Kuzubov convincingly after getting a promising position out of the opening and then stayed tactically alert till the end. How strong has this man become in such a short time!
Vladimir Fedoseev is playing superb chess in Riyadh. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
With this, Fedoseev moved to 6.5/7, which was a full point more than Carlsen, Wang Hao, Svidler
Anand noted that McShane saw the mate in two as soon as he touched his queen but the piece has no squares to prevent it. He also said that he's not really preparing in between rounds because it's not clear how much time is available. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Svidler had beaten Jobava, grinding him down in the endgame and catching one of his opponent's knights using his king:
Svidler talking to FIDE's Nastja Karlovich.
Svidler's reward for this one was facing Carlsen in the next round; a solid game from both players that ended in a draw. Anand couldn't pose serious problems in his white game with Fedoseev, who thus kept his unbeaten status. His lead got smaller as one player managed to get to 6.5/8: Wang Hao.
Meanwhile, Sergey Karjakin wasn't doing well. Sitting on 4.5/7, he got crushed by the 15-year-old Andrey Esipenko, one of the players who came straight from the Nutcracker tournament. The rising star of Russian chess played the move of the day:
@ChesscomNews) December 27, 2017
Round nine saw the clash between world champions Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, a Nimzo-Indian that was about equal all the time until Carlsen blundered a nasty tactic.
Anand telling Carlsen it took him a while before he spotted that Bf3+ works. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
Anand talking with FIDE's Nastja Karlovich.
Wang Hao and Fedoseev drew their game, and so the latter was still leading by half a point. Anand, Svidler
In today's final round the first three boards ended in draws, and so little changed at the top. Fedoseev is still undefeated, which is a huge achievement over 10 rounds.
Fedoseev talking with FIDE's Nastja Karlovich.
Carlsen is in shared fifth place, a point behind the leader, after beating Nepomniachtchi. The faces the Russian made on camera after his 40th move were priceless, but right there he threw away the draw he thought he had in his hands.
In spite of all the entertaining chess being played, the award for entertainment highlight of the day has to go to Nepo's face for its reactions to @MagnusCarlsen playing 40. Qe8. #riyadhchess #nrksjakk pic.twitter.com/fxJwcObzA7— Ridiculousaurus Rex ( @ridiculosaurus) December 27, 2017
With a disappointing 4/10, the reigning rapid champion Vassily Ivanchuk (middle) is already out of contention. Other pre-tournament favorites with a disappointing score, Levon Aronian
NRK's Kaja Snare interviewing Carlsen. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
2017 World Rapid Championship | Round 10 Standings (Top 20)
(Full standings here.)
In the women's section, Ju Wenjun played four draws before winning her last
The Vietnamese player could easily have been the sole leader as she was a more than healthy pawn up, but then fell for a nasty trick:
Ju Wenjun, now sporting glasses, still leads the pack. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.
One of Pham's victims today was the former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova, who allowed mate in one in round six—a truly horrific blunder:
Poor Nino Batsiashvili experienced something similar. Perhaps out of nerves she put her king on the wrong square, and the position turned from completely winning to utterly lost:
@LawrenceTrentIM) December 27, 2017
2017 Women's World Rapid Championship | Round 10 Standings (Top 20)
|5||36||IM||Pham Le Thao Nguyen||2390||7||0||2457||61||4|
(Full standings here.)
Games via TWIC.
The full broadcast of round two.
The World Rapid Championship takes place December 26-28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It's a 15-round Swiss with a prize fund of $750,000 for the open section and $250,000 for the women's section. You can follow the games in Live Chess.