Reigning World Champion in classical chess Magnus Carlsen is on track for another crown, as Tan Zhonyi comes on top of a three-way tie for first place in the Women’s Rapid
The second day of the World Rapid and Blitz championships saw four rounds played in both the Open and the Women’s section.
The Open Rapid
Magnus Carlsen is solely in the lead in the World Rapid with 7,5 points out of nine games. Just half a point behind is a trio made up of Vladimir Fedoseev, Nodirbek Abdusattorov and the young German GM Vincent Keymer.
Carlsen began day two with a convincing victory over Jorden Van Foreest with white pieces. He was then slowed down by Vladimir Fedoseev and Daniil Dubov, who held him to a draw but broke through again in the ninth round against Giga Quparadze of Georgia. The ‘always motivated’ Norwegian occasionally displayed annoyance at his inability to always find the best lines. But even with this in mind, his confidence and vigour seem unshaken as he edges closer to yet another world title.
The 18-year-old German GM Vincent Keymer, who is competing in his first World Rapid Championship, put on a fantastic performance on the second day of the rapid. Keymer scored three victories over formidable opponents, including Fabiano Caruana, Yu Yangyi, and Arjun Erigaisi, before drawing with Fedoseev in the ninth round.
On the final day of the World Rapid, Keymer will be up against Magnus Carlsen on board one in Round Ten.
The next tier of players, sitting on 6,5 points, includes former world rapid champion Daniil Dubov, reigning Indian champion Arjun Erigaisi, the former contender for the title of world champion in classical chess, Fabiano Caruana, as well as Anish Giri, Vladislav Artemiev and Yu Yangyi.
The current challenger for the title of world champion, Ian Nepomniachtchi, is on six points, as is the Polish star Jan-Krzysztof Duda.
Things don’t seem to be going that well for the double bronze medallist in rapid, Hikaru Nakamura. He is on 5,5/9 and finding it difficult to end the five-round-long streak of draws.
The Women’s Rapid
The Women’s section’s second day came to a close with a three-way tie for first place. Former Women’s World Champion Tan Zhongyi came on top with 6,5/8. She is joined by Aleksandra Goryachkina and the young Indian star Shri B Savitha.
Tan Zhongyi started day two swinging as she delivered a blow to the leader from the first day of the Women’s Rapid, Valentina Gunina. Following two draws – with Elina Danielian and Bela Khotenashvili – Zhongyi finished the day on a high note with a convincing victory against Alina Bivol, securing first place.
In the post-round interview, Tan Zhongyi was more modest about her performance, just saying it is going “pretty well and acceptable for now” but added that “this time it’s my best shot” for the world rapid chess title.
Aleksandra Goryachkina secured her place among the leaders with a draw and two wins, including a victory against Elina Danielian, who suffered her first defeat in Almaty.
Shri B Savitha (pictured above), a young, talented Indian player, is the day’s biggest surprise. She won all four games, including a victory over former women’s world champion Antoaneta Stefanova.
Valentina Gunina, the only leader at the beginning of the day, seemed to have lost her way after suffering setbacks in the opening two matches. Gunina then bounced back later in the day, winning both games to move to 6/8.
Alexandra Kosteniuk, the 2021 Women’s Rapid champion, is on 5,5/8 and appears to be having some difficulty catching up to the top players. It was a successful day for the birthday girl Kateryna Lagno who scored 2,5/3 and now has five points. Lagno – who turned 33 – will still need to do more if she wants to claim the second World Rapid gold in her career.
The final rounds of the Open and Women’s Rapid Championships take place on Wednesday, starting at 3 PM local time.
The organisation of the event and support
The World Rapid and Blitz championships are held by the Kazakhstan Chess Federation together with the International Chess Federation and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as well as the Akimat of the city of Almaty.
The event is made possible thanks to the agreement with Freedom Finance, which becomes a General Sponsor of the event. Freedom Broker is an investment company and a stockbroker. Provides access to NYSE, NASDAQ, LSE, HKEX and other largest stock exchanges on the planet.
Text: Milan Dinic
Photo: Lennart Ootes and Anna Shtourman