Giri In First After Day One Of Skilling Open
GM Anish Giri takes the lead after the first day of the Skilling Open.

Giri In First After Day One Of Skilling Open

PedroPinhata
PedroPinhata
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35 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Anish Giri had a great first day after scoring four points out of five at the Skilling Open. GM Magnus Carlsen recovered from a tragic mouse slip to share second-third with underdog GM David Anton Guijarro.

How to watch?
The games of the chess24 Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open can be found here as part of our live events platform. IM Levy Rozman and IM Anna Rudolf are providing daily commentary on GM Hikaru Nakamura's Twitch channel starting from 9:00 a.m. Pacific / 18:00 Central Europe.


Round 1

The first round started with one of the most anticipated encounters of the event, as the world's number-four, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, faced world champion GM Magnus Carlsen.

Carlsen chose to deviate from the main line of the Ruy Lopez after playing 3...Nge7 (the Cozio Defense). This move did not catch Nepo off guard, and the Russian was able to grab the initiative and slowly build an advantage. However, the world champion still managed to equalize and later get a better position after exchanging some pieces.

Skilling Open Day 1
Carlsen lost his first game after a devastating mouse slip. Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.

All seemed to be going well for Carlsen when destiny struck in the form of a terrible mouse slip that hung his queen. The Norwegian grandmaster resigned before Nepomniachtchi even had a chance to understand what had happened.

"I decided that one thing I didn't want to happen was him to think, 'Should I offer a draw since he slipped in a winning position?'" Carlsen later revealed. "I just resigned so he wouldn't have to make any of those decisions"—another fabulous display of fair play by Carlsen.

I decided that one thing I didn't want to happen was him to think, 'Should I offer a draw since he slipped in a winning position?' I just resigned so he wouldn't have to make any of those decisions.
— GM Magnus Carlsen

Besides Nepo, GM Levon Aronian was the only player to score a full point after defeating GM Quang Liem Le in the first round.

Round 2

The second round of the day featured a great win from young prodigy GM Alireza Firouzja against GM Wesley So. Here is the full analysis of the game by GM Dejan Bojkov.

Skilling Open Game of the Day - Day 1

GM Anish Giri also earned his first full point in round two after facing GM Sergey Karjakin. Giri converted a favorable endgame after exchanging most of the pieces to force Karjakin to create multiple pawn islands.

Aronian, Nepomniachtchi, and Anton Guijarro also won their games in the second round.

Round 3

It was in round three that Anton Guijarro showed his true strength. After Nepo started the game with an off-beat opening and ignored chess lore by not castling, Anton Guijarro harshly punished the Russian super grandmaster.

Anton Guijarro spotted the impressive 15...Nh5 that made life very hard for the white monarch. After closing down the queenside and playing with surgical precision, the Spanish grandmaster won a pawn, the exchange, and a full knight, forcing Nepo to resign.

On the other boards, Carlsen scored his first win against GM Teimour Radjabov, and So beat Aronian.

Round 4

Round four put Firouzja and Nepomniachtchi in the spotlight again. The young Iranian got in a winning position after 20.Nf5 Rd7 (instead of the engine-approved 20...Rxe4). At one point, the position was evaluated at +15.6 by Stockfish 12.

Skilling Open Day 1.
Firouzja missed the chance to win against Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.

Unfortunately for Firouzja, he found himself in a dramatic race against the clock. Nepo took advantage of that fact to swindle his opponent to get a miraculous draw.

Attention also turned to GM Hikaru Nakamura as he got his first win of the day playing the black pieces against Karjakin. The Russian chose to play the Vienna opening, and Nakamura quickly exchanged his dark-squared bishop for Karjakin's c3-knight.

Karjakin charged with his g-pawn to try to create trouble for Nakamura, who defended well. The game's turning point came after White blundered and allowed 20...c4, trapping his bishop. Nakamura went on to win the game.

Radjabov, Carlsen, So, and Giri also won their respective games.

Round 5

The last round was decisive to determine the tournament's leader for the day. Le got his first victory against Karjakin, who was clearly not on his best day. Carlsen beat Firouzja, while Anton Guijarro defeated Radjabov, enabling both players to reach 3½ points and temporarily tie for first place.

Meanwhile, friends Giri and GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit faced each other. After 43 moves, they reached a knight, rook, and two pawns against a bishop, rook, and two pawns endgame.

Stockfish valued the position as a dead draw, but Vidit slipped 40 moves later with 83.Kd1, missing his opportunity to tie the game. Giri eventually found the winning idea starting with 89...Rd2+, forcing Vidit to resign in a few moves. With this victory, Giri took the lead of the tournament.

"The score is good, obviously. Two more days to go, so it's early to count the eggs, or whatever they say," Giri commented about his results. "Positions were very good. Could've been more, maybe, but it's a very good result for me, for sure," he added.

Skilling Open Day 1.
Giri was satisfied with his results for the day. Photo: Chess.com/Maria Emelianova.

All games rounds 1-5

Prelims Standings

Pos Fed Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 R Pts
1 Giri, Anish 2731 - - - - - ½ - - - 1 - ½ - 1 1 5 4
2 Carlsen, Magnus 2881 - 1 - 0 - - 1 - - - - ½ 1 - - 5
3 Anton Guijarro, David 2667 - 0 ½ 1 - - - - - - 1 - 1 - - 5
4 So, Wesley 2741 - - ½ - 1 - 0 ½ 1 - - - - - - 5 3
5 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2778 - 1 0 - ½ - ½ - - - - - 1 - - 5 3
6 Aronian, Levon 2778 - - - 0 ½ - - - - 1 ½ - - 1 - 5 3
7 Nakamura, Hikaru 2829 ½ - - - - - - ½ ½ - - ½ - - 1 5 3
8 Firouzja, Alireza 2703 - 0 - 1 ½ - - - - - ½ - - ½ - 5
9 Ding, Liren 2836 - - - ½ - - ½ - - ½ - - - ½ ½ 5
10 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2774 - - - 0 - - ½ - - ½ ½ - - ½ - 5 2
11 Le, Quang Liem 2774 0 - - - - 0 - - ½ ½ - - - - 1 5 2
12 Svidler, Peter 2742 - - 0 - - ½ - ½ - ½ - - ½ - - 5 2
13 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2860 ½ ½ - - - - ½ - - - - - 0 - ½ 5 2
14 Radjabov, Teimour 2758 - 0 0 - 0 - - - - - - ½ 1 - - 5
15 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 2636 0 - - - - 0 - ½ ½ ½ - - - - - 5
16 Karjakin, Sergey 2709 0 - - - - - 0 - ½ - 0 - ½ - - 5 1

The chess24 Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open runs November 22-30. The preliminary phase is a 16-player rapid round-robin (15 + 10). The top eight players advance to a six-day knockout that will consist of two days of four-game rapid matches, which may advance to blitz (5 + 3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if the knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $100,000 with $30,000 for first place.

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