Opera Euro Rapid: Carlsen Leads, Nakamura Not Qualified Yet
Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Opera Euro Rapid: Carlsen Leads, Nakamura Not Qualified Yet

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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47 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen still leads the Opera Euro Rapid tournament after GM Hikaru Nakamura missed a tactic in their game in the 10th round. The American GM has yet to secure qualification for the knockout phase.

How to watch?
The games of the Opera Euro Rapid 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 8:00 a.m. Pacific / 17:00 Central Europe.


GM Anish Giri had the best second day as the only player to score 3.5/5. The Dutchman now ties for second place with GM Wesley So, and both are pretty sure of advancing to the knockout phase.

The relatively high number of wins on the first day was not repeated; this time 17 out of 40 games ended decisively. After 10 rounds, only GM Teimour Radjabov, the winner of the Airthings Masters, is still undefeated.

Opera Euro Rapid Preliminaries | Round 10 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Carlsen 2881 2884 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 7.0/10
2 So 2741 2861 1 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 6.5/10
3 Giri 2731 2894 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 6.5/10
4 Nepomniachtchi 2778 2856 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 6.0/10
5 Aronian 2778 2795 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 0 1 1 5.5/10
6 Vachier-Lagrave 2860 2767 1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 5.5/10
7 Radjabov 2758 2760 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 5.5/10
8 Nakamura 2829 2774 0 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.0/10
9 Duda 2774 2766 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.0/10
10 Grischuk 2784 2783 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.0/10
11 Dubov 2770 2694 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 4.5/10
12 Vidit 2636 2730 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 0 1 4.5/10
13 Shankland 2609 2690 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 1 1 ½ 4.0/10
14 Bluebaum 2562 2671 0 0 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 3.5/10
15 Ding 2836 2580 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 1 3.0/10
16 Dominguez 2786 2602 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 3.0/10

Carlsen had won four games in a row on Saturday but slowed down after that with four consecutive draws on Sunday. He was expecting to draw his fifth as well when he played 32.Bc2 in his game with Nakamura because after 32...Nd4, he didn't see anything better than going back with 33.Bd3.

However, after thinking for 2 minutes and 19 seconds, Nakamura played the erroneous 33...Re1?, completely missing Carlsen's reply.

"I didn't quite think that he would go for 33...Re1," said the world champion. "When you spot such a move, especially when you have a couple of minutes like he actually had, you sort of want to check that it actually works."

Carlsen called it a "massive relief" as with this win, he secured qualification with a day to spare.

"I feel pretty much every game has been exciting," Carlsen summarized the day. "It's been fun and not always correct, but fun to play and hopefully fun to watch!"

Magnus Carlsen Opera Euro Rapid
Carlsen: "I feel pretty much every game has been exciting." Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The top form isn't there yet for the world champion, who was "unbelievably lost" (in his own words) vs. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who probably would have scored the full point if he had spent a bit more time on his moves.

Carlsen started his game with Giri with the move 1.e3, which raised the question of whether we were looking at a mouse-slip once again. That wasn't the case.

"I thought, 'Why not?'" said Carlsen, who just wanted to get a game without much theory. He was annoyed that he allowed his opponent to draw quickly: "At the first opportunity, I give him a chance to give a perpetual check. That really bugged me because I wanted to win that game obviously."

Among the players on a plus-one score, GM Levon Aronian holds the best cards at the moment because he has the best tiebreak in that score group. The criteria are mutual score, number of wins, and then Sonneborn-Berger, in that order.

Aronian won an interesting game against GM Sam Shankland with, at one point, two passed pawns for White and four for Black in a rook endgame.

Skilling Open: Knockouts Day 2.

In a game between two Candidates for the world championship, Giri defeated GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Dutchman won an excellent attacking game and once again showed that his "safety-first" reputation is highly exaggerated.

Meanwhile, MVL is still hesitant to play the Najdorf after his three losses in this opening in Wijk aan Zee, although the fact that the Frenchman is switching to other openings probably means he is saving his reloaded weapons for the Candidates Tournament.

Anish Giri Opera Euro Rapid
Anish Giri. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The starting time is tough for GM Ding Liren; for him it is midnight when the games begin. Especially disappointing for the Chinese player is his game with GM Alexander Grischuk, who blundered an exchange but managed to win anyway after more blunders by both players. Fans of high-quality, over-the-board chess should not be checking out this game.

The third and final day of the preliminaries is on Monday. The top eight players immediately continue with the knockout phase on Tuesday, while it will be an early exit for the bottom eight.

All Games Day 2

The Opera Euro Rapid runs February 6-14. 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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