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Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open R1-5: Anish Giri takes sole lead

by Shahid Ahmed - 23/11/2020

Anish Giri takes the sole lead with 4.0/5 at the conclusion of Day 1 at Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open. Despite arriving almost four minutes late to his game against Nakamura, Giri managed to get a good position and eventually made a draw. At least rating-wise the underdog of the tournament Spanish GM David Anton Guijarro made the most of his opportunities by beating Svidler, Nepomniachtchi and Radjabov. His only blemish was against Carlsen who made a good recovery after losing to Nepomniachtchi in the first round of the game due to mouse slip. Both Anton and Carlsen ended Day 1 with 3.5/5 at the shared second spot. Round 6 continues tonight Monday 23rd November from 10:30 p.m. IST. Photo: chess24 Live stream

Anton makes a brilliant start

Anish Giri is the sole leader with 4.0/5 at the end of Champions Chess Tour Skilling Open - Day 1. However it was Spanish GM David Anton Guijarro who made a brilliant start in the tournament. He scored wins over Svidler, Nepomniachtchi and Radjabov, drew with So. The only loss was against Carlsen with whom Anton shared the second spot with 3.5/5 at the conclusion of the first day. Vidit made solid draws against Firouzja and Duda, salvaged a half point from a difficult position against Ding Liren. Carlsen made a good recovery after losing the first game against Nepomniachtchi due to a mouse slip.

Carlsen loses due to mouse slip against Nepomniachtchi | Photo: chess24 live stream

Round 1: Nepomniachtchi beats Carlsen, Vidit misses a win

Carlsen's choice of a side-line in Ruy Lopez resulted him in getting a bad position out of the opening.

Nepomniachtchi - Carlsen

Position after 18.h4

It is evident that white got a better position out of the opening.

Position after 33...c6 | Photo: chess24

Nepomniachtchi squandered his advantage with 33.Rd5 which Carlsen immediately punished with 33...c6 and after this the world champion should have won the game but fate had something else planned for him.

Carlsen mouse slips 38...Qb4 and loses the game | Photo: chess24 live stream

Vidit got a winning position with a material advantage but he decided to equalize the position by returning the extra material which dwindled his advantage.

Vidit - Firouzja

Position after 32.Re1

32.Re1 allowed black to bounce back and equalize the completely lost position. What should have white played instead 32.Re1 ?

Svidler misses a good chance in the endgame against Radjabov.

Svidler - Radjabov

Position after 32...f5

At a first glance, it might not seem much but 32...f5 is a big mistake. Why?

Round 2: Five decisive games

Spain no.2 David Anton Guijarro might be the biggest underdog of the tournament but he can surely pack a strong punch. He showed that by punishing Svidler when he made a mistake early in the game.

Anton - Svidler

Position after 11...c6

Find out why 11...c6 gives white the upper hand and what black should have played here instead.

Position after 24...Bf8

White got a winning opportunity after 24...Bf8. How can white seize it? Anton wrapped up the game in the next eight moves.

When Svidler realized it's all over | Photo: chess24 live stream

So misplayed in a complex position which Firouzja initially missed but later capitalized on his advantage with a beautiful combination.

Firouzja - So

Position after 26...Ra6

26...Ra6 is not the best move. Black should have gone with 26...f5 instead. Firouzja missed his chance and played 27.Nb1 here. What did he miss?

Position after 32...Qa3

Find out the winning combination for white after 32...Qa3

Vidit lost to Aronian as the Armenian's double bishop proved to be menacing which cost the Indian his pawns on the queenside. Eventually that led to his loss.

Aronian - Vidit

Position after 21.Be5 | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Vidit played 21...g6 very quickly, although 21...f6 would have made little difference, still the position is much easier to play as white than black.

Position after 22...Rac8

22...Rac8 may seem like a harmless move, but there is something for white. Find out if you think can like Aronian here.

Karjakin made an incorrect recapture which allowed Giri to get decisive advantage in the endgame. Rest was just a matter of technique and we all know that Giri is quite solid in that matter.

Giri - Karjakin

Position after 25.Nxd5

Karjakin made the incorrect recapture with 25...exd5. Giri retreated with 26.Bd3 and slowly consolidated his advantage to score the victory.

Round 3: So, Anton and Carlsen score a win each

Despite arriving almost four minutes late to the game (probably connectivity issues?), Giri was in complete domination against Nakamura. However practically Giri was unable to convert it into a full point.

Nakamura - Giri

Position after 27.b3

It is evident that black is in firm control of the position. How should black continue after 27.b3 ?

Giri was late for some reason but he still managed to gain the upper hand | Photo: chess24 live stream

Vidit made a solid draw with Duda in a 79-move long battle where neither player made any substantial mistake.

Both Vidit and Duda played solid throughout the game | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Aronian lost one pawn too many after making an inaccuracy and lost the game in a similar fashion he won against Vidit in the previous round.

So - Aronian

Position after 33...Ra6

Black thought 33...Ra6 is a good trick but in fact it's just the opposite, it helps white to get decisive advantage.

Firouzja was winning against Svidler for the better part of the endgame. However he missed his opportunities, completely misplayed and lost his advantage. The position eventually liquidated into an equal rook endgame where draw seemed to be the obvious result.

Svidler - Firouzja

Position after 30.a5

Black has a decent advantage in the position. The game continued with 30...g5. What was the better continuation for black?

Position after 36...Bf6

Firouzja made an uncharacteristic move 36...Bf6 which evaporated his advantage. Find out why it is incorrect and what black should have done instead.

Nepomniachtchi's Larsen opening backfired against Anton as the Russian made some strange moves and got into trouble early in the opening. Anton took sole lead with this win heading into Round 4.

Nepomniachtchi - Anton

Position after 15.Qe2

15.Qe2 is a positional mistake. Find out why.

Position after 23.0-0-0

Black evidently has a huge positional advantage, how should he push forward after 23.0-0-0

Carlsen scored his first victory of the tournament against Radjabov after the latter made an incorrect offer of a queen exchange in a seemingly equal position.

Carlsen - Radjabov

Position after 22...Qe5

22...Qe5 is a mistake is because after trading the queens off the board, white will pick up both queenside pawns of black and attain a huge advantage which is what happened in the game.

Round 4: Anton's dream run gets halted by Carlsen

Anton's fantastic run came to an end at the hands of the world champion when the Spanish GM made an incorrect tactic which turned things into the Carlsen's favor.

Anton - Carlsen

Position after 21.Nb5

Of course white calculated that 21...cxb5 has 22.b4 to retrieve the lost piece but black has a good intermediate move. Can you find it?

Vachier-Lagrave managed to equalize an unfavorable endgame against Radjabov, however he made an irrevocable mistake which allowed Radjabov win immediately.

Vachier-Lagrave - Radjabov

Position after 53.f3

53.f3 is an unforced error on white's part. Find out how black should capitalize on it and what white should have played instead.

Firouzja missed a win after playing fantastic against Nepomniachtchi.

Firouzja - Nepomniachtchi

Position after 31...exf2+

Find out the best way to recapture for white.

Position after 34.Rxg7+

White was still winning despite not playing accurately, however 34.Rxg7+ all winning chances for white just disappeared and Nepomniachtchi's good luck continued as he managed to salvage a draw eventually in what seemed to be completely lost for him for quite some time.

Vidit defended staunchly against Ding Liren to save a difficult position and salvage a draw.

Ding Liren - Vidit

Position after 27...Re8

It is extremely unpleasant to play this position as black.

Position after 64...Kd6

The game continued with 65.e5+ which allowed black to equalize. What was the better continuation instead?

Giri scored a fine win over Liem after the latter misplayed in an equal minor piece endgame to take sole lead heading into the final round of the day.

Giri - Liem

Position after 43...Nd8

Black had already made a mistake by allowing his opponent to get h5 and freeze his kingside pawns. 43...Nd8 is a game losing blunder. Find out why.

Karjakin made a tactical error against Nakamura for which he did not have enough compensation.

Karjakin - Nakamura

Position after 20.gxh6

20.gxh6 is an obvious mistake as white doesn't get as much compensation as he would want it to be. Find out why and also what white should have played instead.

Round 5: Giri maintains his sole lead

Karjakin loses to Liem after the former makes an incorrect breakthrough.

Liem - Karjakin

Position after 24...d5

Find out the best continuation for white after 24...d5

In a highly anticipated match between Vidit and Giri, it was a well fought battle where Giri came out at the top and finished the day as the sole leader.

Vidit - Giri

Position after 32...Rd5

The first key moment of the game was after 32...Rd5. White shouldn't exchange rooks here which is what exactly Vidit did.

Position after 49...Bxa5

Giri showcased brilliant technique to win Rook vs Rook and Bishop endgame in just 44 moves.

The most anticipated game of the tournament in the preliminary stage is between Carlsen and Firouzja.

Position after 17...Ne4

Firouzja made an unforced error with 17...Ne4 after which he could not get back for the rest of the game.

Anton finished the day on a high note by beating Radjabov in a roller-coaster of a game where the balance kept shifting between both players until Anton secured decisive advantage in the endgame.

Tournament leader at the end of Day 1 - Anish Giri tweeted the following

Replay all Round 1-5 games from Day 1

Replay the live stream

Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, and IM Soumya Swaminathan | Video: ChessBase India

Standings after Round 5

Anish Giri is in the sole lead 4.0/5, Carlsen and Anton are at shared second 3.5/5 | Photo: Champions Chess Tour


Everyday game starts at 10:30 p.m. IST


Prelim result Tour Points Prize
1st 10  
2nd 8  
3rd 6  
4th 5  
5th 4  
6th 3  
7th 2  
8th 1  
9-16th 0 $2,500
Knockout result Tour Points Prize
Quarterfinal loser 0 $5,000
Semifinal loser 10 $7,500
Runner-up 20 $15,000
Winner 40 $30,000

Total Prize Fund: US$ 100,000


Official site

Tournament Regulations

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