With a surge of 4.5 points on Day 2 of the competition, Ivanchuk is now the sole leader.
Anton Korobov, the leader after Day 1 of the World Rapid Championship faded on Day 2, falling into a tie for fourth. But one of his compatriots, Vassily Ivanchuk, replaced him at the top of the leaderboard after scoring 4.5 points in five rounds.
Ivanchuk now has 8 points after 10 rounds. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, who lost to Ivanchuk in Round 10, and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, trail Ivanchuk by half a point. Seven other players, including the defending champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who was beaten by Ivanchuk in Round 8, are a further half point back.
Levon Aronian, back to camera, and Ian Nepomniachtchi during Round 9. The game ended in a draw.
The Rapid Championship, which is being held in Doha, Qatar, is 15 rounds over three days and has a prize fund of $200,000, with $40,000 for first.
Korobov was knocked from the lead in Round 6 when he lost to Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Aronian, Levon vs. Korobov, Anton
World Rapid |Doha, Qatar |Round 6 |27 Dec 2016 |1-0
38. Kxe3Kf7?!A step in the wrong direction
( 38... c4Black should be able to easily hold a draw in this position because White does not win the pawn on e4. 39. Kxe4c340. Bc1Bxe2 )
( 39... c4After this move, I think that Black would still be able to hold a draw. 40. bxc4Bxc441. Kf3g642. e4h5And Black should be able to construct an opposite-colored bishop fortress since White cannot create connected passed pawns without a ton of exchanges. For example: 43. f5Ba644. Kf4Bb745. h3Bc646. g4hxg447. hxg4Bb748. e5gxf549. gxf5Bc8And Black draws by playing Bc8 and Bd7. )
40. Kd5White will win both queenside pawns and have a passed pawn on both sides of the board. Black should lose. 40... Bd141. Kc4g642. Bc1Ke643. Be3Kf544. Bxc5Kg445. Bxb4Kh346. Be1Kxh247. b4Bf348. b5Kg249. b6h550. Kc5Kf151. Bc3Kg252. Be5Kh353. Kd6Kg454. Ke6Be455. Bd6Bf5+56. Ke7Be457. Kd8
Aronian’s win vaulted him into first, but his standing atop the leaderboard was short-lived as he scored only a half point in the next two games, including a loss to Mamedyarov in Round 8. With the victory, Mamedyarov took over the top spot in the standings.
Aronian, Levon vs. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
World Rapid |Doha, Qatar |Round 8 |27 Dec 2016 |0-1
a414. Rfe1?!The start of a bad plan. 14... axb3!15. axb3Ra2!White has trouble holding his position together here since Ra1 is not possible. 16. exd5
( 16. Ra1Rxa117. Rxa1dxc4 )
16... cxd517. Rxe6Presumably this was Aronian's plan when he played Rfe1, but Black's pieces are too active for it to work.
( 17. c5Nc6 )
17... fxe618. Bh3Qb6!19. Re1e5!20. cxd5
( 20. dxe5dxc4and Black has a huge edge. )
20... Qxd4!Forcing an exchange of queens after which Black will simply be up an exchange. Mamedyarov should won easily. 21. Bxd4Rxd222. Be3Rd323. Be6+Kh824. Nf3Na625. Rc1Nb426. Rc5b627. Ng5h628. Nf7+Kh729. Rb5Nc230. Bxb6Rb831. Bd7e432. Bd8Rxb533. Bxb5Kg834. d6exd6
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov playing Vassily Ivanchuk in Round 10, as Ian Nepomniachtchi walks by.
Mamedyarov held onto the through Round 9 by beating Korobov. But he was then outplayed and beaten by Ivanchuk.
Ivanchuk, Vassily vs. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
World Rapid |Doha, Qatar |Round 10 |27 Dec 2016 |1-0
37. Rb3This is a difficult position for Black, but he can hold on with precise play. But this is very hard to do in a complicated endgame with little time on the clock. 37... Rc1?
( 37... Ne2+!38. Kg4Rd5!And Black would be fine. White has a hard time coordinating his pieces; the rook on b3 looks really silly, for example. ... )
38. Kf4!The White king penetrates and his d-pawn will become far more dangerous than it looks. With precise calculation, Black could advance his pawns, but White would still be much better. 38... a439. Rb2
( 39. Rb4?Nd5+ )
39... b4!40. axb4
( 40. Rxb4?Nd5+ )
40... a3This position looks very scary for White, but he is doing well. I'm sure Ivanchuk had calculated this before he played Kf4. 41. Rd2!Nb5A sad necessity, but now a2 is no longer a
( 41... a2Black's pawn is not quite fast enough. 42. d7+Kd843. Nc6+And White promotes his pawn first. )
42. Ke5Kd843. Na6?
( 43. Ke6This move was more accurate. )
( 43... Rh1!By some miracle Black is holding on, but this is almost impossible to calculate in a rapid game. )
44. d7Rb245. Rd5!Rxf2Black resigned instead of waiting for Nc5
( 45... a246. Nc5a1=QWhite is very fortunate that the rook on b2 prevents check. 47. Ne6+Ke748. d8=Q+Kf749. Qf8# )
One thing I like about the rapid time control is that it can punish slow players. A couple times on Day 2, players with huge advantages faltered because of getting into time pressure. It was a good reminder that time management is part of chess, too. That is something that Zdenko Kozul of Croatia was reminded of in his Round 10 game against Sandro Mareco of Argentina.
Kozul, Zdenko vs. Mareco, Sandro
World Rapid |Doha, Qatar |Round 10 |27 Dec 2016 |0-1
Bc6White has a huge advantage and should be able to win easily, but, in time pressure, he begins to make mistakes. 51. Qc3
51... Ke852. Ba2Rf853. Ba3Qe254. Qe3+?Panicking and letting Black escape into an ending in which both sides have chances. There was no need to allow this.
( 54. Bb3Simple and easy White prevents Qxa2 and Qd1+ after which Black should lose. )
( 54. Bxf8Even this move should win -- White wins material and Black has no major threats. 54... Qd1+55. Kh2Qh1+56. Kg3Qg2+57. Kf4 )
54... Qxe355. fxe3Rh8Black's chances are not worse, and, after further mistakes by White, he even goes on to win. 56. Bf7+Kd857. Bxg6Rxh458. Bxf5Rxa459. Bd6Ra1+60. Kf2Rd161. Bc5a462. e4Rc163. Bb6+Ke864. Ke3a365. Be6Bb566. Kd4Rc267. Bf7+Kd768. e5a2
Rapid chess also produces gorgeous checkmates that are seldom seen in slow chess. I quite enjoyed this simple but brutal one executed by Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine against Pavel Tregubov in Round 8:
Tregubov, Pavel vs. Moiseenko, Alexander
World Rapid |Doha, Qatar |Round 8 |27 Dec 2016 |0-1
22. Rxd5Qh3!Black was much better, but White's last move was a terrible that immediately leads to defeat. The threat of Rg6 on the next move is decisive no matter which piece White takes. He resigned instead of facing 23. gxh3
( 23. gxf3Rg6+24. Kh1Qxf3# )
23... Rg6+24. Qg4fxg4And White cannot prevent both gxh3# and Bxd5.
There is only one more day of competition and it will start with Ivanchuk facing Nepomniachtchi in Round 11. With five rounds to go, the tournament is still far from decided and it should be an exciting finish.
The venue for the World Rapid and Blitz Championships on Day 2 of the competition.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players