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Grand Chess Tour Paris 2016 (1-5)

Carlsen and Nakamura lead at the end of the Paris Grand Chess Tour Day 1

Magnus Carlsen had a successful first day in spite of losing on time in game 1. Photo © Spectrum Studios.

Magnus Carlsen had a successful first day in spite of losing on time in game 1. Photo © Spectrum Studios. | http://grandchesstour.org/photos-paris-2016

Magnus Carlsen recovered from another astonishing loss on time to share the lead with Hikaru Nakamura at the end of day 1 of the Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz in Paris. The four day event sees 9 rounds of rapid chess on the first two days and 18 rounds of blitz chess on the next two.

Carlsen and Nakamura drew their indvidual game in round 5 to share the lead on 3.5/5. These points will count for double over the blitz games. Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are on 3/5.

Day 1 standings: Carlsen, Nakamura 3.5pts, So, Vachier-Lagrave 3pts Kramnik 2pts Giri, Aronian, Fressinet, Caruana 2pts Topalov 1.5pts

Day 1

Stage

The stage on day 1. Photo © Spectrum Studios

The day started with a minute of silence to mark the passing of Viktor Kochnoi on Monday.

The organisers decided on a policy diametrically opposite to that of AGON for the Candidates. They offered move feeds to everyone who wanted them and also four video commentary feeds two in English (chess24 and the US commentary team), French and Spanish for embedding in web pages.

Stage

The stage on day 1. Photo © Spectrum Studios

The first round of the rapid event saw Magnus Carlsen play a fine game pressurising Wesley So and sacrificing a piece for a running pawn that eventually queened. So threatened perpetual check but either 59.Qh2 or the forcing 59.Qxb7+ returning the piece would have won for Carlsen. Instead Carlsen just froze for what seemed like an age but was probably about 20 seconds and he lost on time. The time control for the rapid event is 25 minutes plus 10 seconds a move making the loss all the more surprising.

Carlsen was under pressure after throwing away a win in the first game but he scored a crushing win with black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round. Veselin Topalov lost his second game in a row (losing to Caruana in round 1) and Hikaru Nakamura in round 2. Levon Aronian used his three pieces vs Rook and Bishop to grind down Laurent Fressinet.

Magnus Carlsen won again this time beating Levon Aronian in a fine game where he squeezed for a long time with Queen and Knight and eventually broke through with running pawns. MVL struck straight back in round three against Wesley So where he converted an extra pawn in a Queen and Pawn endgame. Laurent Fressinet won an interesting endgame where Fabiano Caruana queen first after sacrificing his rook but could not prevent Fressinet Queening in turn leaving him a rook up. Veselin Topalov lost his third game in a row, this time to his bitter rival Vladimir Kramnik. The passive 17.N3h2 seemed to be the cause of all white's problems.

Nakamura shares the lead after day 1

Nakamura shares the lead after day 1. Photo © Spectrum Studios

In round 4 all the games were decisive Fabiano Caruana lost a pawn early on to Magnus Carlsen to a small tactical trick and was ground down. Vladimir Kramnik blew a huge winning advantage against MVL and even went on to lose. Hikaru Nakamura won a couple of pawns against Laurent Fressinet and converted them. Wesley So gradually outplayed Levon Aronian with the black pieces and won in 52 moves. Veselin Topalov got a nice position out of the opening against Anish Giri and won his first game. Giri had drawn all his games so far.

In round 5 all the games were drawn, the players seemed a little tired. The battle of the leaders saw Magnus Carlsen take a lot of risks against Hikaru Nakamura but only seemed to be putting himself in danger. Nakamura was happy enough to draw by perpetual check though.

GCT Rapid Paris 2016 Paris FRA (FRA), 8-14 vi 2016 cat. XXII (2784)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2855 * ½ 0 1 . . 1 . 1 . 2937
2. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2787 ½ * . . ½ ½ . 1 . 1 2928
3. So, Wesley g USA 2770 1 . * 0 ½ . 1 . ½ . 3 2882
4. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2789 0 . 1 * 1 . ½ ½ . . 3 2855
5. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2812 . ½ ½ 0 * ½ . . . 1 2777
6. Giri, Anish g NED 2782 . ½ . . ½ * ½ . ½ 0 2 2719
7. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2792 0 . 0 ½ . ½ * 1 . . 2 2704
8. Fressinet, Laurent g FRA 2687 . 0 . ½ . . 0 * 1 ½ 2 2714
9. Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2804 0 . ½ . . ½ . 0 * 1 2 2699
10. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2761 . 0 . . 0 1 . ½ 0 * 2625
Round 1 (June 9, 2016)
Carlsen, Magnus - So, Wesley 0-1 58 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Nakamura, Hikaru - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 37 D35 QGD Exchange
Giri, Anish - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 36 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Fressinet, Laurent - Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½ 44 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Topalov, Veselin - Caruana, Fabiano 0-1 29 C45 Scotch Game
Round 2 (June 9, 2016)
Nakamura, Hikaru - Topalov, Veselin 1-0 83 A29 English Four Knights
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 26 C78 Ruy Lopez Moeller Defence
Kramnik, Vladimir - So, Wesley ½-½ 56 D78 Gruenfeld 3.g3
Aronian, Levon - Fressinet, Laurent 1-0 49 A20 English Opening
Caruana, Fabiano - Giri, Anish ½-½ 45 C80 Ruy Lopez Open
Round 3 (June 9, 2016)
Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon 1-0 68 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
So, Wesley - Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 0-1 52 D83 Gruenfeld 4.Bf4
Giri, Anish - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 35 A14 Reti Opening
Fressinet, Laurent - Caruana, Fabiano 1-0 78 D78 Gruenfeld 3.g3
Topalov, Veselin - Kramnik, Vladimir 0-1 31 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Round 4 (June 9, 2016)
Nakamura, Hikaru - Fressinet, Laurent 1-0 54 D31 Semi-Slav Defence
Kramnik, Vladimir - Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 0-1 62 A04 Dutch System
Aronian, Levon - So, Wesley 0-1 52 D15 Slav Defence
Caruana, Fabiano - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 48 C78 Ruy Lopez Moeller Defence
Topalov, Veselin - Giri, Anish 1-0 44 C24 Bishop's Opening
Round 5 (June 9, 2016)
Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 35 E21 Nimzo Indian 4.Nf3
So, Wesley - Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ 43 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime - Aronian, Levon ½-½ 56 C65 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Giri, Anish - Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ 44 A14 Reti Opening
Fressinet, Laurent - Topalov, Veselin ½-½ 45 D58 Queens Gambit Tartakover

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