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Paris Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour: Three-Way Tie With More Exciting Chess
Day 2 of the Paris Rapid & Blitz. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Paris Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour: Three-Way Tie With More Exciting Chess

PeterDoggers
| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

After another day of exciting chess, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, and GM Wesley So are sharing the lead at the Paris Rapid & Blitz tournament. One more day of rapid will follow and next will be two days of blitz.

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

Paris Rapid Blitz results

Day two saw hardly any theoretical move repetitions, lots of attacking games, and many big fights deep into the endgames. The players seem to be enjoying the return of over-the-board rapid chess, and the fans cannot complain either.

Yesterday GM Levon Aronian mentioned that it's also a nice change from the tough classical Superbet tournament: "It is a lot of fun because there is not much pressure, something we need after some difficult days in Bucharest."

Also yesterday, we noted that GM Etienne Bacrot usually works as GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's second, but in the fourth round, he had to play his "boss" and good friend.

"It's always special for us," said Bacrot, who had lost the rapid game as well as the two blitz games against MVL four years ago when he also played in Paris. This time, it went better for the older of the two French GMs.

Etienne Bacrot Paris 2021
Etienne Bacrot. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Bacrot admitted he was "lucky to survive for many moves" but due to a mistake deep in the rook endgame by MVL, it was Bacrot who ended up winning. Note that Vachier-Lagrave had three minutes and 47 seconds on the clock vs. 28 seconds for Bacrot when the mistake 64.Ke5 happened:

This was in fact the only decisive game of the fourth round, but there was lots of action elsewhere—especially in GM Alireza Firouzja vs. Caruana. Yesterday's birthday boy called it "an insane game," and it surely was:

"I am really honored to be playing here," said Firouzja. "It's always tough to play the best in the world, but I try to play some good games and exciting chess." If he can improve a bit more in converting promising positions, Firouzja can still be a force to reckon with three more rapid rounds and 18 rounds of blitz.

Alireza Firouzja Paris Grand Chess Tour
Alireza Firouzja. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

It was world championship contender Nepomniachtchi who stole the show in round five with a lovely combination against Aronian:

Nepomniachtchi Aronian Paris 2021
A very nice win for Nepomniachtchi vs. Aronian. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Only Bacrot and Caruana got a plus score on the second day. The latter beat GM Peter Svidler in round five, after not getting much in the opening but eventually profiting from a blunder by the Russian grandmaster.

"On the first day I kind of left some chances on the table, and today I compensated by basically getting lucky in at least two games," said Caruana. "I could easily have lost the first game to Alireza and could have easily not won the second against Peter, so today was fortunate."

Nepomniachtchi could (perhaps should) have been the sole leader at this point as he got a winning position out of the opening but ended up losing:

Vachier-Lagrave Nepomniachtchi Paris 2021
Vachier-Lagrave vs. Nepomniachtchi. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Paris Rapid & Blitz 2021 | Day 2 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Caruana,Fabiano 2820 2820 1 1 1 1 2 1 7/12 10.5
2 Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2792 2820 1 1 0 2 2 1 7/12 10.5
3 So,Wesley 2770 2820 1 1 1 1 1 2 7/12 9.5
4 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2760 2756 1 2 2 0 0 1 6/12 9.25
5 Aronian,Levon 2781 2765 1 0 1 1 2 1 6/12 9
6 Radjabov,Teimour 2765 2767 1 1 0 1 1 2 6/12 9
7 Svidler,Peter 2714 2758 0 1 2 1 1 1 6/12 9
8 Bacrot,Etienne (R) 2678 2761 0 2 0 1 1 2 6/12 7.75
9 Firouzja,Alireza 2759 2694 1 1 0 1 1 1 5/12
10 Rapport,Richard 2763 2637 1 0 1 1 0 1 4/12

All games day 2

The Paris Rapid & Blitz takes place June 18-22, 2021 in Paris. The time control in the rapid is 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 second leg of the Grand Chess Tour and has a $150,000 prize fund with a first prize of $37,500.


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