Paris Grand Chess Tour Day 2: So Takes The Lead
Wesley So stops the clock after beating Alexander Grischuk. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Paris Grand Chess Tour Day 2: So Takes The Lead

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jun 21, 2018, 3:43 PM |
52 | Chess Event Coverage

Wesley So has a slim lead going into the final day of rapid at the Paris Grand Chess Tour. On Thursday the Leuven winner scored 2.5/3, and is chased by Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin.

At noon, two hours earlier than the first day, the second triplet of rapid games took off in the Canal+ studio. This way, nobody (but in particular the French TV crew!) had to miss a minute of the French national football team playing Peru at the FIFA World Cup.

Not all the players looked as fresh as they normally do; a round at noon is early-morning for many chess players. But Vladimir Kramnik, who has a reputation for getting up late, was in an excellent mood. Maybe family life has changed his daily rhythm?

What a fourth round it was. The day took off with four decisive games, including wins for two of the leaders after day one. The first to score the full point was Alexander Grischuk, who used his quiet 4.e3 line against the Gruenfeld, which turned into a dream Benoni for White.

He said he had seen the winning idea while Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was still thinking: "When you have an extra pawn, a pin on a piece and the opponent's king is weak, usually it's not hard to find such combinations," said Grischuk.

Grischuk Skripchenko Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Grischuk talking to Almira Skripchenko for French TV.  | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

So won against Kramnik as Black, after the latter didn't sense some of the danger in time. The tactics were favoring So, who won an exchange.

Although it was probably lost anyway, Kramnik blundering a full queen was mate-in-one vs Deep Fritz all over again. "Some kind of blackout," was how he called it at the time.

Wesley So Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

So showed some sharp calculation in this game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

"We're witnessing a complete meltdown of Fabi in these rapid and blitz events," said Yasser Seirawan after Fabiano Caruana's loss to Hikaru Nakamura. And indeed, it was painful to see the world championship contender lose a very equal and very drawish endgame.

Somehow in this Grand Chess Tour, Caruana isn't the same player who won three tournaments in 2018. At the same time, kudos to Nakamura for continuously pressing and eventually breaking through.

Nakamura Caruana  Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Caruana resigning the game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

We're still in the same fourth round, because we cannot skip Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Levon Aronian. There was a moment where White could have held the draw in brilliant fashion:

Aronian Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Aronian, beating Mamedyarov as Black. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Wesley So just kept on winning, and took the sole lead in round five. Grischuk was OK out of the opening, but at some point he made a big mistake. The self-pin with the rook was supposed to be a temporary nuisance, but perhaps for a moment the Russian GM forgot about Nb4?

So Grischuk Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

So: "I try to just be relaxed, to play happy, to play my best chess." | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Round six saw just one decisive result: Sergey Karjakin beating Vladimir Kramnik with a nice attack on the king. He is now tied for second place with Aronian. The latter couldn't win against a very solid So, who thus kept his slim lead going into the third day of rapid.

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Karjakin Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Karjakin: "I feel great. Two wins in a row; it's just brilliant!" | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018 Round 6 Standings

Tomorrow, round seven starts at the normal time of 2 p.m. Paris, 1 p.m. London, 8 a.m. Eastern and 5 a.m. Pacific. So will face Nakamura as White, Karjakin as Black and then Anand as White.

Games via TWIC.

Kramnik Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Kramnik sharing an anecdote about his childhood pets at the start of the fourth round. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nakamura Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Nakamura was enjoying that little story too! | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Karjakin Khismatullin Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Karjakin and his second Denis Khismatullin watching the end of Grischuk vs MVL on a screen above the entrance of the playing hall. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Grischuk Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Grischuk is on 50 percent so far. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nakamura watching Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Nakamura watching other games during play. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Almira Skripchenko makeup Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Almira Skripchenko getting some extra lip gloss. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Caruana Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Caruana, still suffering in speed chess. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Aronian Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Aronian couldn't bring down So either... | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Aronian So Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

...but he was definitely better the whole game. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nakamura Grischuk Paris Grand Chess Tour 2018

Nakamura and Grischuk analyzed their game for quite a bit. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.


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