World Rapid Chess Championship Day 2: 7-Way Tie; Anand, Carlsen Close Behind
The playing hall on day 2. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

World Rapid Chess Championship Day 2: 7-Way Tie; Anand, Carlsen Close Behind

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

After the second day of the World Rapid Championship in St. Petersburg, seven players are tied for first place. Despite losing one more game, Magnus Carlsen is among the players trailing by half a point together with e.g. reigning champion Vishy Anand.

"One point behind? It's so undeserved that it's not even funny," said Carlsen to the Norwegian TV channel NRK after the ninth round, when he heard that he was only a point behind the leaders. A round later, it was only half a point. 

As always, Carlsen was the first to admit that he hasn't been playing well—on day two as well.

Carlsen NRK interview World Rapid 2018Magnus Carlsen interviewed by NRK. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

After a smooth win against Ivan Salgado Lopez, Carlsen returned to the struggling form he showed on Wednesday and lost to the 35-year-old GM Alexander Zubov of Ukraine.

Zubov told that this is the strongest tournament in his career. He didn't set himself any objectives here and only wishes to "have some fun."

About the game, he said that when the players exchanged the first couple of rooks, he knew that his position was good but not better and he was ready to repeat moves. Carlsen avoided repetitions looking for chances and eventually spoiled his position:

Eteri Kublashvili interviewed Carlsen after the first game of the second day, which he won.

In round eight Carlsen needed some endgame magic to convert the full point. The 22-year-old GM Nikita Petrov from Moscow put up a good fight and was super close to a draw.

Carlsen vs Petrov World Rapid 2018The start of Carlsen vs Petrov. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

And what happened to Carlsen in the next round was just absolutely crazy. Against the strong Armenian grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan, he lost an exchange and was just lost. This would basically have meant the end for Carlsen's tournament, but his opponent allowed him to come back and reach a drawn rook endgame, and then Carlsen even won it. If he ends up winning the tournament, this was a serious Houdini act!

Carlsen then scored an easy win against Farrukh Amonatov, and was very fortunate to see the four leaders draw their games: Yu-Artemiev and Wang Hao-Nepomniachtchi. As a result, Carlsen is just half a point behind, in a group with e.g. Anish Giri, Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand.

The second seed Hikaru Nakamura is half a point further behind, as he lost a second game today. It was Tigran Petrosian who started with 1.g3, played a King's Indian Attack and didn't have much after the opening but then won as Nakamura forgot about a certain tactic.

Tigran Petrosian World Rapid 2018Tigran Petrosian. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

The fun didn't last long for the Armenian player, as Giri scored a nice win against Petrosian in round seven. The Pirc has seen better days.

Anish Giri World Rapid 2018Anish Giri. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

After the game, which was the same round when Carlsen lost, Giri was interviewed. "Whenever Magnus is doing very badly, I am kind of his spokesperson.," Giri said. "I'm his spokesperson when he loses, as if I'm kind of responsible for it!"

The Dutchman continued: "He shouldn't be kidding around. I know his opponent, Zubov, he is a beast at speed chess. Magnus has probably underestimated his opponent, as usual."

The interview with Giri.

Anand, the reigning world rapid champion, is on seven points with just one loss. He won an instructive game in round six against 19-year-old IM Semen Khanin of Russia, showing what can happen in the Giuoco Pianissimo (which does mean "very quiet play"!) when Black can castle queenside and open the g-file.

Anand World Rapid 2018Vishy Anand, last year's winner of the world rapid. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Meanwhile, there was a nice pairing in round seven for the older chess fans among us: Gata Kamsky vs Alexei Shirov. The two have played each other more than 30 times in their career (first in 1986!) with a better score for Shirov, but Kamsky showed that he is still a fierce force in rapid, especially with his non-theoretical repertoire:

Gata Kamsky World Rapid 2018Gata Kamsky, still a force to be reckoned with. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

After eight rounds, Dmitry Andreikin of Russia and Anton Korobov of Ukraine were sharing the lead, but both of them lost in round nine. As said, the top boards drew in the final round which allowed Carlsen to come to half a point while Russians Andreikin, Daniil Dubov and Alexander Matlakov won their games to catch the leaders. 

Andreikin did so with a wonderful attack against Peter Svidler, finished off with a brilliant queen sacrifice combination that ended with a silent rook move:

Svidler himself was impressed as well, and later tweeted about it:

Svidler-Andreikin World Rapid 2018Svidler-Andreikin. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Anand finished his day with a good win against GM Vladimir Potkin:

2018 World Rapid | Round 10 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts TB1 TB2 TB3 rtg+/-
1 9 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2771 7,5 2902 61,0 67,0 33,8
2 22 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2725 7,5 2873 60,0 63,5 39,6
3 7 GM Wang Hao 2782 7,5 2870 57,5 62,0 21,8
4 11 GM Yu Yangyi 2758 7,5 2864 58,5 62,0 28,4
5 3 GM Artemiev Vladislav 2812 7,5 2843 58,0 63,5 9,2
6 25 GM Dubov Daniil 2723 7,5 2819 56,5 61,5 24,8
7 35 GM Matlakov Maxim 2690 7,5 2779 51,5 55,5 23,4
8 49 GM Timofeev Artyom 2668 7,0 2829 59,5 64,0 44,6
9 16 GM Giri Anish 2739 7,0 2819 56,0 60,5 21,4
10 15 GM Korobov Anton 2740 7,0 2801 58,0 62,0 18,2
11 28 GM Gelfand Boris 2715 7,0 2800 55,0 59,0 22,6
12 31 GM Oparin Grigoriy 2701 7,0 2790 54,0 58,0 24,6
13 29 GM Anton Guijarro David 2708 7,0 2746 53,0 56,5 11,2
14 39 GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2682 7,0 2746 52,0 56,0 18,4
15 24 GM Anand Viswanathan 2723 7,0 2740 55,0 60,0 5,6
16 51 GM Saric Ivan 2661 7,0 2728 52,0 56,5 20,6
17 1 GM Carlsen Magnus 2903 7,0 2722 48,0 51,0 -33,4
18 169 GM Firouzja Alireza 2412 6,5 2824 59,5 64,0 100,4
19 6 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2786 6,5 2805 60,0 64,5 5,6
20 40 GM Zubov Alexander 2681 6,5 2786 56,0 59,5 29,0

(Full standings here.)

Ju Wenjun continues to lead the women's section. With four rounds to go, the 27-year-old Chinese player is half a point ahead of eight players, including the Muzychuk sisters, Tan Zhongyi and Kateryna Lagno, the 2018 world championship finalist.

Katerya Lagno birthday World Rapid 2018Kateryna Lagno received flowers for her birthday.| Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

Ju defeated an important rival at the start of the day: the 2016 rapid and blitz champion Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, who was worse, fought back but then erred in a rook endgame:

After draws with Tan (her opponent earlier this year in their title match) and Mariya Muzychuk, Ju then defeated compatriot Zhao Xue:

Ju Wenjun vs Zhao Xue World Rapid 2018Ju Wenjun vs Zhao Xue. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Former classical world champion and 2012 world rapid champion Antoaneta Stefanova was the victim of a checkmate on the board against Tan:

2018 Women World Rapid | Round 8 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 rtg+/-
1 2 GM Ju Wenjun 2584 7,0 2756 38,5 42,0 27,2
2 8 GM Muzychuk Mariya 2493 6,5 2651 39,0 43,0 30,8
3 1 GM Muzychuk Anna 2595 6,0 2605 39,0 43,5 3,8
4 16 GM Tan Zhongyi 2442 6,0 2605 36,0 38,0 33,8
5 95 FM Assaubayeva Bibisara 2153 6,0 2597 38,0 42,5 88,8
6 25 IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat 2402 6,0 2533 34,0 36,5 28,2
7 15 IM Abdumalik Zhansaya 2444 6,0 2529 39,0 42,5 18,0
8 11 GM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2477 6,0 2522 37,5 41,0 10,0
9 5 GM Lagno Kateryna 2539 6,0 2503 35,5 38,0 -4,8
10 30 IM Saduakassova Dinara 2381 5,5 2540 38,0 41,5 34,6
11 14 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2466 5,5 2513 34,0 37,5 10,2
12 26 GM Gunina Valentina 2396 5,5 2511 35,5 38,0 26,8
13 29 IM Mammadova Gulnar 2382 5,5 2506 36,0 39,5 27,6
14 10 GM Koneru Humpy 2479 5,5 2481 35,0 37,0 0,8
15 4 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2540 5,5 2460 34,0 37,5 -14,0
16 20 GM Khotenashvili Bela 2428 5,5 2459 32,0 35,0 10,4
17 34 IM Galliamova Alisa 2363 5,5 2454 34,5 38,0 22,4
18 3 GM Lei Tingjie 2545 5,5 2450 33,5 36,0 -15,8
19 56 WGM Nguyen Thi Mai Hung 2268 5,5 2426 29,5 32,5 35,6
20 46 WGM Bivol Alina 2314 5,5 2421 33,0 35,5 23,6

(Full standings here.)

Replay the broadcast of the second day.

Playing hall World Rapid 2018The playing hall seen from the far end of the stage. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Manderin World Rapid 2018Some biological weapons are allowed. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Karjakin Shirov World Rapid 2018Karjakin and Shirov chatting. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Magnus Carlsen autograph World Rapid 2018Carlsen, with his father, giving autographs. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Kids chess World Rapid 2018The youngest fans often prefer to play themselves. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

Top boards World Rapid 2018A side view of the top boards. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

Zubov-Carlsen World Rapid 2018Zubov-Carlsen as seen from the spectators' area. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

Andrew Tang family World Rapid 2018Andrew Tang and his family. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

Spaniards World Rapid 2018Ivan Cheparinov, Paco Vallejo, David Anton and Ivan Salgado in between rounds. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/FIDE.

Miroshnichenko Leko World Rapid 2018Commentators Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Peter Leko. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/FIDE.

Yury Solomatin contributed to this report.

Earlier reports:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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