World Rapid 2022 Day 1: Magnus Carlsen channels the spirit of Bobby Fischer
The World Rapid Championships 2022 kicked off on the 26th of December 2022 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Five rounds were played in the open section and four rounds in women. We have four leaders in the open with 4.5/5 and they are Magnus Carlsen, Arjun Erigaisi, Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden van Foreest. Meanwhile in the women's section we have a sole leader after four rounds on 100% score - Valentina Gunina. We bring you the full day one report along with pictures, analysis, videos and much more.
Magnus Carlsen in his element in Almaty
Work shouldn't feel like work! It should feel like play. That's when you are able to bring out your best. That is exactly the sense you get by watching Magnus Carlsen at the World Rapid Championships 2022. The World Champion is moving around freely in the playing hall, watching games, interacting with his friends, doing interviews for NRK and crushing his opponents by playing 1.b3!
The day started with Magnus playing the French defence against Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. The position was complex, when the Armenian GM committed an inaccuracy:
Ter-Sahakyan vs Carlsen, Round 1
Magnus was right on the ball and played the move ...e5. Turns out that White's position is extremely brittle, with the knight on g4 attacked, the bishop on h6 hanging. When you find a move like ...e5 in the first round, when you are just beginning to get into the groove, you know that you are in good form.
In the second round Carlsen opened his game with 1.b3 against Eric Hansen. The position was around equal, but when the time went low, it was Eric who started making sub-standard moves. Very soon, the Canadian GM landed in a lost position.
In the third round Carlsen's back was pushed to the wall by Evgeny Tomashevsky. The Russian GM was in his element and found a very nice combination to put Carlsen's dubious Hippo opening into question.
Tomashevsky vs Carlsen
Tomashevsky found Bb5! and after axb5 axb5, the queen could no longer support the knight on d7. White was clearly better. But as often happens with players against Magnus, Tomashevsky started to play a bit without purpose. Very soon, the initiative started to change hands. Carlsen took over the initiative and finished off the game with a flourish.
In 2021, Magnus Carlsen was leading the World Rapid Championships by dominating day one and two. It seemed like he would run away with the title. However, in the first round on day three, he was halted by the Uzbek super prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Nodirbek not just beat Carlsen, he also went on to win the tournament and become World Rapid Champion. It is quite natural that sitting opposite each other after a year, once again at the World Rapid Championships, Magnus wanted to be Abdusattorov. The game started off with 1.b3 and very soon we reached a position, where Magnus' move reminds us of an old classic. Let's have a look.
Carlsen vs Abdusattorov, Round 4
How did Magnus arrive at this move? What was his inspiration? Turns out, it was Bobby Fischer.
Fischer vs Andersson, 1971
Wasn't that an amazing game?!
In her third round game against Fataliyeva, Gunina went wrong with her opening and very quickly landed in a lost position. A critical moment was reached here:
Gunina vs Fataliyeva, World Rapid 2022 Round 3
White's queen is attacked and the knight on c7 is not so well placed. Also Nc4 is coming up! What did Gunina do? She took the pawn on d5. Looking for some tricks. Her idea was - that if Black were to take exd5 then after Rxc8 Nxc8 Qe8+! picks up the piece on c8. However, after Nxd5 Black had an amazing resource up her sleeve. Try to think and if you want to checck the answer in the annotations below.
Humpy vs Gong Qianyun, Round 4
Standings in open after round 5
|4||17||GM||Van Foreest Jorden||NED||2693||4,5||13||15||2632||0||2998|
|19||62||GM||Martirosyan Haik M.||ARM||2575||3,5||13||14||2590||0||2739|
Standings in women after round 4
Performance of Indian players
Vidit Gujrathi vs Volodar Murzin, Round 5
Vidit, with the white pieces, had to take the knight on f3 and he is a piece up and winning the game. The key point is that after gxf3 Kc2, there is no way to make a queen because Na4+ and Ra5 is a mate! So you have to waste time when White is winning. Instead Vidit played Bf1 and after Nd4+, he lost his c3 knight. It was still a draw, but he lost that equal position.
The thing about this game between Arjun Erigaisi and Raunak Sadhwani is that Raunak was substantially better throughout, but he couldn't find the killer blow. And Arjun, like he usually does, was so accurate in his defence, that it put his opponent in big trouble.
Salem Saleh vs Nepomniachtchi
Standings of Indian players after day 1 of Rapid
|22||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||2659||IND||1||½||1||½||0||3||40||2620||Open|
|26||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||2646||IND||1||0||1||½||½||3||56||2590||Open|
|61||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||2576||IND||1||½||0||1||½||3||43||2632||Open|
|36||WIM||Savitha Shri B||2311||IND||1||0||1||½||2,5||33||2360||Women|
Follow all the action at the World Rapid and Blitz 2022 through ChessBase India. If you are looking for LIVE commentary, you can follow Niklesh Jain's commentary on Hindi ChessBase India.