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Croatia Rapid & Blitz: Slim Lead For Nepomniachtchi Before Kasparov Joins
Garry Kasparov will be joining the competition on Saturday and Sunday. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Croatia Rapid & Blitz: Slim Lead For Nepomniachtchi Before Kasparov Joins

PeterDoggers
| 9 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi came in first in the rapid part of the Croatia Rapid & Blitz. The Russian grandmaster finished a point ahead of the pack, with 18 rounds of blitz to go on Saturday and Sunday. GM Garry Kasparov will now be taking over from GM Ivan Saric, who finished in a tie for second place.

How to watch?
The games of the Zagreb Rapid & Blitz can be found here on our live events platform.

Croatia Rapid Blitz Garry Kasparov

The standings didn't change much on the third day in Zagreb after both the seventh and eighth rounds saw five draws—something quite rare for a speed chess event.

This way, the tournament leader could hold on to a slim lead despite drawing, in his case, three times. Against GM Jorden van Foreest, he apparently wasn't too happy with the position he got out of the opening:

Ian Nepomniachtchi Croatia Rapid & Blitz
Ian Nepomniachtchi finished the rapid segment with three draws. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Van Foreest will be the one playing The Boss first on Saturday afternoon in a game between the youngest and the oldest player and one between two former Wijk aan Zee winners. The 22-year-old Dutch grandmaster hadn't been born when Kasparov scored his first of three victories in the famous Dutch tournament in 1999, the last one that was still called "Hoogovens," when he played his brilliant game against GM Veselin Topalov.

After those two peaceful rounds, the ninth and last round of rapid was a great one with two games fighting for Game of the Day status. GM Alex Yermolinsky chose GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's win against Van Foreest, saying: "Couldn't miss this one!"

Game of the Day Alex Yermolinsky

Van Foreest Mamedyarov Zagreb 2021
Van Foreest-Mamedyarov. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

"It was a really very nice game," said Mamedyarov. "I think there were many mistakes, but it's normal when there are time problems. But not every day we see three queens."

The other wild game was GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda's win vs. GM Anton Korobov in a very sharp Samisch King's Indian with opposite castling:

GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda portrait
Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Also in the ninth round, GM Anish Giri joined the players on plus one. He beat GM Vishy Anand in a Catalan with several key moments in one game.

"I have a feeling the worse I play, the luckier I get," said Giri. "Sometimes I play quite well and then I get really unlucky, and whenever I play horribly, I get really lucky."

Giri-Anand Zagreb 2021
Giri-Anand. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Zagreb Rapid & Blitz 2021 | Day 3 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts
1 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2791 2812 0 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 11
2 Ivan Saric 2650 2788 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 1 10
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2831 2769 1 1 2 1 0 2 1 1 1 10
4 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2774 2774 1 1 0 1 2 1 1 2 1 10
5 Anish Giri 2731 2779 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 10
6 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2761 2738 0 1 2 0 1 1 1 1 2 9
7 Viswanathan Anand 2751 2739 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 2 2 9
8 Alexander Grischuk 2784 2697 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
9 Anton Korobov 2781 2657 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 2 7
10 Jorden van Foreest 2543 2641 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 6

All games day 3

The Zagreb Rapid & Blitz takes place July 7-11, 2021 in Zagreb, Croatia. The time control in the rapid was 25 minutes for each player with a 10-second increment per move, starting from move one. The time control in the blitz is five minutes for each player with a two-second increment per move, starting from move one. The rapid counts double for the final standings. The tournament is the third leg of the Grand Chess Tour and has a $150,000 prize fund with a first prize of $37,500.


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