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Opera Euro Rapid Day 1: Carlsen takes sole lead 4.0/5

by Shahid Ahmed - 07/02/2021

Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Opera Euro Rapid Day 1 of the prelims witnessed a staggering 60% decisive games, out of which 79.17% games were won by white. Carlsen took sole lead at the end of day 1 with 4.0/5, however he did not have the perfect start as he lost against So in the very first round. The world champion is trailed by So and Nepomniachtchi at 3.5/5 respectively. Vidit scored 2.0/5, he bounced back quickly and defeated Leinier in Round 2 after starting the event with a loss against Shankland. Day 2 starts tonight from 9:30 p.m. IST. Photo: chess24 Live stream

Carlsen starts with a loss against So

World champion Magnus Carlsen's tough form continued as he started Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Opera Euro Rapid with a loss against Wesley So. Although Carlsen made a good recovery by winning the next four games and taking the sole lead at the conclusion of Day 1. However, against Leinier he had a shaky moment as he was completely lost at one point. So and Nepomniachtchi are trailing behind him by a half point at 3.5/5

Leinier had a golden opportunity against Carlsen | Photo: chess24 live stream

Round 1: Carlsen starts with a loss

Vachier-Lagrave beat Dubov in his first game of the event after Dubov made plenty of mistakes.

Vachier-Lagrave - Dubov

Position after 24...h5

Dubov made an unforced error with 24...h5. Find out why it is a mistake and what black could have played instead.

Position after 46...f4

White is completely winning here. Find out the correct continuation after 46...f4

Position after 56.h5

Black has an opportunity to save the game after 56.h5. Find out how. He probably missed it due to time trouble.

Carlsen's first big mistake against So would be to allow his opponent's rook to gain a free entry on the seventh rank.

So - Carlsen

Position after 37...Qg6

37...Qg6 allowed white to gain an entry with 38.Rc7. Instead black could have gone with 37...Rf6

Position after 46...Kg7 | Photo: chess24 live stream

Find out the finish for white after 46...Kg7

Aronian played in his unique way to beat Ding Liren in the first round.

Aronian - Ding Liren

Position after 17...Kh8

Time for a typical thematic sacrifice of Sicilian Defence for white. What is it?

Position after 25...Kh7

Black's final mistake in the game was 25...Kh7. Why? Find out the better continuation.

In a seemingly equal position, Vidit made an irrevocable mistake after which Shankland's onslaught became insurmountable.

Shankland - Vidit

Position after 31...Nb4

After 31...Nb4 the game completely turns into white's favor as black has no good way to defend the f7-pawn after 32.Bc4. Black should have gone with 31...Ne5 instead.

Leinier got a decent advantage in the opening against Nakamura but he couldn't capitalize on it and the game eventually turned out to be a draw.

Duda lost from a completely winning position against Nepomniachtchi.

Duda - Nepomniachtchi

Position after 50.Bf4

The obvious continuation for black 50...Qxg2 saves the day. However the game continued with 50...Qh4 and white got decisive advantage.

Grischuk-Giri had an uneventful draw. However Grischuk's 4.Kf1 (mouse slip) in the Berlin drew a lot of criticism from the chess universe.

Round 2: Five white wins

Dubov was better for the majority of the game against Giri. He was completely winning in the endgame but settled for a draw via perpetual check.

Dubov - Giri

Position after 47...Kf8

White is completely winning after 47...Kf8. How?

Nepomniachtchi showcased how to convert an advantage into a win. However, he missed a quicker win.

Nepomniachtchi - Grischuk

Position after 48...Ke8

The game went on with 49.Kf2 which gave black some drawing chances. What was the winning continuation for white here?

Position after 54.Bd5

Well it looks like a very simple opposite color bishop ending so it should be a draw right? Except that did not happen in the game, black played 54...Kd4 and eventually lost the game. Find the correct plan for black to hold a draw.

Vidit beat Leinier in Round 2 after capitalizing on his opponent's positional mistake correctly.

Vidit - Leinier

Position after 29...Rc8

Black's 29...Rc8 is a positional mistake as it allows white to launch a relentless attack and gain a decisive advantage.

Vidit Gujrathi's WOW! Opening Preparation | Video: Sagar Shah

Radjabov showcased fine technique and scored a victory over Shankland.

Ding Liren got a fantastic chance against Bluebaum but he was unable to seize it as he was pretty low on time.

Ding Liren - Bluebaum

Position after 34...h5 | Photo: chess24 live stream

Find out the best continuation for white after 34..h5

Carlsen won his first game of the tournament against Aronian in his signature style of endgame squeeze.

Carlsen - Aronian

Position after 31...c2 | Photo: chess24 live stream

White is completely winning here as c2 pawn lacks venom and white's connected central passed pawns are extremely strong.

In a seemingly equal Rook and Pawn endgame, So made a positional blunder which cost him the game.

Vachier-Lagrave - So

Position after 37...Rc4

Find out why 37...Rc4 is a big mistake and what black should have played instead.

Round 3: Five decisive games again

So had quite a topsy-turvy encounter with Dubov. The former world rapid champion was completely winning but he squandered his opportunity.

So - Dubov

Position after 30.Rb8

Instead of pushing for further advantage, Dubov made a strange decision and lost the initiative.

Position after 33.bxc4

The game continued with 33...Qc7. Instead 33...Nc5 followed by Ne4+ could have increased black's chances for a full point. Eventually black exchanged queens and played few inaccurate moves to completely shift the balance towards white and So won the game.

Despite getting a good position against Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave couldn't convert his advantage and eventually ended up in a lost Double Rook and Knight endgame.

Aronian - Vachier-Lagrave

Position after 26.Nf3

The game continued with 26...a4 and black lost the advantage. What were the better continuations for black instead?

Carlsen completely dominated Bluebaum and the German's desperation sacrifice did not work either.

Bluebaum - Carlsen

Position after 31...h5

It is safe to say that the game is almost over for white after 31...h5. Thus he went for a desperado with 32.Nxe5 but unfortunately it didn't work things out for white.

Shankland scored an emphatic victory over Ding Liren. He should have won a bit earlier though.

Shankland - Ding Liren

Position after 32...Rg8

32...Rg8 is a mistake, white needs to strike now. How?

Position after 36.Bxa6

Black went with 36...Rca7 which was absolutely not required. What was the correct plan for black here? Thus the former US champion got an opportunity to make a comeback and won the game eventually.

Vidit made a 110-move long draw with Duda.

Giri scored a fine victory over Nepomniachtchi as the latter misjudged Giri's attack on the kingside.

Giri - Nepomniachtchi

Position after 23...Re5

Black should have played 23...g5 to avoid further damage on the kingside. But 23...Re5 only made things worse.

Round 4: Five draws

Nepomniachtchi had an early advantage against Dubov but he couldn't convert his advantage.

Dubov - Nepomniachtchi

Position after 19.a5

Black has two extra pawns. What he needs to do is to develop the queenside pieces and then rest will be easy. 19...f5 definitely looks promising. Other option was 19...b5.

Position after 40...Bd5 | Photo: chess24 live stream

One of the best chance white had in the entire game was after 40...Bd5. Find out the winning continuation for white here.

In a relatively equal position, Giri made a mistake which Nakamura did not hesitate to pounce upon.

Nakamura - Giri

Position after 50...Rc1+

Find out why 50...Rc1+ is a mistake on black's part and what black could have done instead.

Vidit made a comfortable draw against Grischuk.

Ding Liren scored a clinical victory over Leinier. Although Leinier could have seized some advantage in the opening, later things turned in his opponent's favor.

Ding Liren - Leinier

Position after 16.g4 | Photo: chess24 live stream

White is playing on both wing. Black has plenty of options to capture, which is the correct continuation after 16.g4 ?

Carlsen dominated Shankland and scored a fine victory in 33 moves.

Carlsen - Shankland

Position after 23...Nfd7 | Photo: chess24 live stream

White is completely dominating here. Find out the best continuation for white after 23...Nfd7

Round 5: Carlsen survives a scare

Aronian blundered in an equal position and lost the final round of the day against Dubov.

Aronian - Dubov

Position after 29...Rd7

White played 30.Rxd5 which actually does not work. Find out why and what white could have played instead.

Bluebaum lost to So after he sacrificed a piece with the hope of a pawn promotion against So.

Bluebaum - So

Position after 51.b7

White could have played 51.fxe3 and after Qe1+ 52.Kh2 Qxe3 53.Qa8 Qxd4 54.Qb7+ Kd6 55.Qxf7, white would be okay afterwards. 51.b7 gave black the upper hand, however after a couple of inaccuracy, white got back in the game.

Position after 54...Kc6

White still can try to save the game. How? The game went on with 55.Nxg6, white lost the b7-pawn and eventually the game.

Carlsen got into deep trouble against Leinier after he move the king at the rim.

Leinier - Carlsen

Position after 27...Kh6 | Photo: chess24 live stream

Carlsen ventured his king out in the open with 27...Kf6 which was a huge mistake. Leinier missed his golden opportunity and played 28.Rh1+. What did he miss?

Ding Liren blundered in a Queen-Rook endgame against Duda and lost the game in the next three moves.

Duda - Ding Liren

Position after 45...Rf2

Find out why 45...Rf2 is a blunder and what black could have done instead.

Vidit lost quite a few tempi by moving his king four times (one of them was a forced capture) within 18 moves.

Giri - Vidit

Position after 18...Rhd8

It was all over for black after 18...Rhd8. Find out why.

Anish Giri outprepares Vidit Gujrathi | Video: Sagar Shah

Nepomniachtchi got his revenge from Skilling Open as he beat Nakamura to conclude his Day 1 of Opera Euro Rapid.

Nepomniachtchi - Nakamura

Position after 38...Kf7

The game went on with 39.Ke4 but what was the better continuation for white here?

Replay all Round 1-5 games from Day 1

Replay the live stream

Opera Euro Rapid | Champions Chess Tour Day 1 Live Commentary | Video: ChessBase India

Standings after Round 5

Carlsen is in the sole lead with 4.0/5 | Photo: Champions Chess Tour


Everyday game starts at 9:30 p.m. IST


Total Prize fund is US$ 100000 | Photo: Champions Chess Tour


Official site

Tournament Regulations

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भारत से विदित गुजराती हुए चैम्पियन चैस टूर मे शामिल

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