World Rapid: Half-Point Lead For Carlsen After Day 2 | UPDATE: Video
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Magnus Carlsen is the sole leader at the FIDE World Rapid Championship in Dubai with five rounds to go. In round 10 the Norwegian defeated co-leader Fabiano Caruana of Italy in a direct confrontation and is now half a point ahead of Levon Aronian of Armenia, who defeated Hikaru Nakamura in Tuesday's final round. On Wednesday the decisive last five rounds will be played.
Update: here's our video report, which includes interviews with the world's #1 and #2 of classical chess (and currently in the standings!) Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian:
On what was another very hot day for most participants, but a normal one for Dubai standards, rounds 6-10 of the World Rapid Championship were played in the rook-shaped Dubai Chess & Culture Club. Luckily many of the technical problems of the first day were solved, and so the tournament was easier to follow for the chess fans at home.
The tournament is enjoying the luxury of having many of the world's best players among the participants, and even better: none of them is out of form. Not all of them had a good first day, but players like Carlsen, Aronian, Grischuk, Caruana, Anand, Nakamura, Karjakin and Svidler were all moving up to the top of the standings, and together with e.g. Ian Nepomniachtchi, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Yu Yangyi they will fight for the top prizes tomorrow.
Yesterday he told Chess.com that he was playing the tournament “just for fun”, and perhaps it was that mindset that helped Caruana to beat Nepomniachtchi on board one in Tuesday's starting round. He found a healthy set-up against the King's Indian Attack and slowly outplayed his opponent.
Karjakin and Carlsen played a very interesting draw that started as a Sicilian Dragon (!). It's been a while, but Carlsen played that sharp variation four years ago in classical games as well.
Sergei Movesian crushed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave using yet another 6th move against the Najdorf: the innocious-looking 6.a3!?
KingLoek was undefeated after the first day, and continued very well:
Alexander Morozevich won quickly against Judit Polgar using 2.b3 in the Sicilian:
The 7th round saw lots of draws on the top boards: Caruana-Karjakin, Anand-Movsesian, Grischuk-Morozevich, and Carlsen-Fressinet. This time the Frenchman wasn't “too weak, too slow.” :-)
Nepomniachtchi won a good game against Le Quang Liem to join Movsesian and Karjakin in second place, half a point behind Caruana.
Nakamura joined the group of players with 5.0/7 after inflicting the first loss upon Van Wely.
The 7th round lasted about 1.5 hours because of one game: Matlakov-Vakhidov, who reached a RN-R ending. Matlakov tried it for many moves (most probably more than fifty) before giving up his winning attempts, and it was all watched by the other participants on TV screens in the cafeteria.
Caruana maintained his lead in round 8 with a draw againt Movsesian, who was making a very solid impression. Nepomniachtchi and Karjakin also split the point, and the group of players behind Caruana became bigger. One of them was Nakamura, who beat Morozevich in an excellent game as Black. The American had no problems with that 2.b3 move!
Grischuk then defeated his compatriot Tomashevsky from a Bishop's Game/Vienna.
Carlsen outplayed Kryvoruchko from the black side of a 3.Bb5+ Sicilian that looked more like a Closed Ruy Lopez:
Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son managed to hold Vishy Anand to a draw, while Aronian defeated Potkin, who has the tendency to go down in pretty fashion:
Even though there was no long endgame this time, between the 8th and the 9th round there was a break of about 45 minutes anyway - because it was prayer time.
Super long breaks between the games! Possible to go walk, swim in the sea, and make some shopping!— Sergey Karyakin ( @SergeyKaryakin) June 17, 2014
Carlsen had a different way of spending the break, as he posted on Facebook:
In round 9 Caruana-Grischuk and Nakamura-Nepomniachtchi ended in draws. Carlsen caught Caruana in first place thanks to a win against Movsesian, who was very disappointed - he probably thought the ending should have been holdable, and he was probably right.
Karjakin lost his first game in round 9 (!) to Aronian. The Berlin Ending is always tricky.
In an all-Indian match, Anand defeated Harikrishna convincingly:
As in any Swiss event, the tournament leaders get paired against each other and so it was Carlsen vs Caruana in round 10! Via 1.d4 the players reached a Philidor and White was a bit better after the opening. A tactical sequence led to a passed a-pawn for Carlsen and he used more nice tactics to get it to the eighth rank:
On board 2 Nakamura “chose the wrong plan”, according to Aronian, who reached a strategically winning position very early on.
Such a tragedy to confuse lines and go 11...Bd8 not 11...Bd6...oh well. Tomorrow is a new day.— Hikaru Nakamura ( @GMHikaru) June 17, 2014
And so, with five rounds to go, Carlsen is on 8.0/10 and Aronian on 7.5/10. They will play each other on top board on Wednesday, and again the round starts at 15:00 local time (Dubai = GMT+4, so 13:00 Amsterdam, 12:00 London, 07:00 New York, 04:00 Los Angeles).
World Rapid Championship 2014 | Round 10 Standings (Top 40)
|11||49||Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son||VIE||2660||6,5||2731||54||2799|
|18||43||Van Wely Loek||NED||2674||6||2728||53||2768|
|20||57||Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo||VEN||2652||6||2720||53||2757|
|25||18||Le Quang Liem||VIE||2724||6||2675||55||2734|
|33||23||Vallejo Pons Francisco||ESP||2709||6||2650||46,5||2715|
|40||65||Salgado Lopez Ivan||ESP||2630||5,5||2694||51,5||2709|
(Full standings here)
The World Rapid starts today at 3pm local time which is 1pm CET, 7am New York and 4am Los Angeles. The championship will be broadcast live on the tournament’s official website with online games and commentary.