Croatia Rapid and Blitz Day 4: A nightmarish start for Kasparov
Kasparov has sporadically played some blitz or chess960 event since his retirement, but yesterday's blitz at Croatia Rapid and Blitz GCT was the most horrifying start he has ever had in recent times. Not only because he is not in competitive shape, but also he is playing against the best of the best world who are at their prime. Playing blitz is certainly not an easy task against the players who are in regular touch. Thus, he managed to make only one draw and suffer eight losses. He came very close to winning against Giri and Vachier-Lagrave but he was not able to convert them. The entire chess universe is eagerly waiting for Kasparov to show a glimpse of what he used to do in his heydays on the final day of the event which starts today at 6:30 p.m. IST. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour
Nepomniachtchi still in the sole lead
Nepomniachtchi scored 6.0/9 to maintain his sole lead after the first day of blitz with 17.0/27. His only two losses were against Mamedyarov and Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman scored the highest in the first nine rounds of blitz 6.5/9, taking his total score to 16.5/27. Both Giri and Anand scored 5.5/9, but the Dutch no.1 is full point ahead of Anand at 15.5/27.
Round 1: Nepomniachtchi - Korobov: 1-0
Nepomniachtchi and Korobov had an interesting endgame where both players missed a bit, naturally because it's blitz.
48...Qd3 is a blunder because after 49.f5+ Kh5 50.Qf4 and White promotes either b or f-pawn to win the game. Instead, Black could have played either 48...Kf5 or Kf3 to prolong the fight.
White made the mistake of taking the e-pawn instead of playing 50.Qf4 to win immediately. Black once again made another mistake of taking the e6-pawn 50...Qe2+ 51.Kg1 Qxe6. Instead 50...Qe3+ and Black should have gone for a perpetual check to salvage a draw.
Giri - Anand: 1-0
Giri once again beat Anand for the second consecutive day.
In the final moments of the game, Anand blundered 35...Kg7, instead 35...Nf8 would have been fine for Black. White continued the attack 36.Rg8+ Kh6 and we get the following position:
Find out the winning continuation for White in the above diagram.
Vachier-Lagrave - Mamedyarov: 1-0
Vachier-Lagrave scored a comfortable victory after Mamedyarov went wrong early in the game.
11...Qa5 or Rc8 would have been better, as 11...Nxd5 is met with 12.Nxd5 Bxd4 13.Nxe7+ and now Black has a weak isolated d6-pawn.
Jorden - Kasparov: 1-0
Jorden van Foreest scored probably his biggest win of the career against Kasparov.
Kasparov started the day with a loss which would end with seven more.
Jorden shared his happiness of playing against the legend in a tweet
Round 2: Kasparov - Grischuk: 0.5-0.5
No one could have fathomed that Kasparov's only scoring game of the day would be a draw against Grischuk.
Mamedyarov - Nepomniachtchi: 1-0
Mamedyarov handed Nepomniachtchi his first loss of the day as he made positional mistake in the middlegame from which he could not recover for the rest of the game.
Giri - Vachier-Lagrave: 1-0
Vachier-Lagrave defended the incorrect pawn when three of them were under attack by Giri's knight.
Black has three pawns under attack - b7, c4 and f7. Which one should Black defend and how? This was Vachier-Lagrave's sole loss of the day.
Anand - Duda: 1-0
Duda misjudged Anand's counter-attack and had to pay a heavy price for it.
20...Nc2 is a big mistake. Find out why. 20...Nd3 would have been a better idea.
Korobov - Jorden: 1-0
Jorden went wrong early in the opening and could not make a comeback.
9...e4 was not required as it invites trouble 10.Ng5. Instead 9...b5 would have been fine for Black.
Grischuk - Korobov: 1-0
Korobov went for an incorrect break against Grischuk which imploded his position.
15...f5 completely wrecked Black's position. Instead 15...Na5 would have been fine.
Vachier-Lagrave - Anand: 0.5-0.5
Vachier-Lagrave and Anand had a roller-coaster of a draw where the balance kept shifting often between them. The Frenchman had more chances though.
Duda - Kasparov: 1-0
Duda scored a fine victory over Kasparov in the Najdorf 6.Bg5 line.
Duda tweeted his thoughts about getting to play against the legend, Kasparov.
Round 4: Anand - Kasparov: 1-0
One of the most anticipated match of the day and the tournament is between Anand and Kasparov for the rich history they share. Anand won this encounter.
Vachier-Lagrave - Nepomniachtchi: 1-0
Nepomniachtchi lost his second game of the day, this time against the France no.1 Vachier-Lagrave.
22...Bc7 is a big mistake because after 23.Rxf6 gxf6 24.d6 Bd8 25.d7, White is completely winning. Black made another blunder, 25...Rc6 and after 26.Nxe5 it's all over.
Korobov - Duda: 0-1
Korobov lost in just 17 moves against Duda.
11.Qb4 is uncalled-for. 11.Rd1 and everything would have been fine for White.
Round 5: Kasparov - Korobov: 0-1
Kasparov is undoubtedly not in his best shape because he missed something against Korobov which he wouldn't have usually.
What is the intermediate move white should play before taking on g3?
Nepomniachtchi - Anand: 1-0
Nepomniachtchi outplayed Anand after the opening.
Duda - Mamedyarov: 1-0
Duda scored a fantastic victory over Mamedyarov.
Round 6: Mamedyarov - Kasparov: 1-0
Mamedyarov beat Kasparov in a 14-move miniature after the latter went terribly wrong in the opening.
Anand - Korobov: 1-0
Anand scored a clinical victory over Korobov.
Vachier-Lagrave - Grischuk: 1-0
Vachier-Lagrave scored a nice technical win over Grischuk after the latter made an error in the endgame.
Round 7: Kasparov - Giri: 0-1
Kasparov perhaps put up his best fight of the day against Giri.
30...h3 actually turns things in White's favor. Find out how. White made a bigger mistake 31.a5 and Black got back into the game 31...Rg8 and it was all over for White.
Duda - Vachier-Lagrave: 0.5-0.5
The must-see match of the day was played between Duda and Vachier-Lagrave.
One of the most interesting moment of the game is 29.d6. You are bound to be perplexed in a blitz game whether to take or not. Turns out 29...Qxd6 was much better and safer than the text 29...e4.
It is difficult to imagine that White did not win this game, but Vachier-Lagrave did manage to salvage a draw.
Round 8: Nepomniachtchi - Duda: 1-0
Nepomniachtchi slowly outplayed Duda with a brilliant showcase of technique.
Vachier-Lagrave - Kasparov: 1-0
Kasparov played a wild game against Vachier-Lagrave and got very close to scoring his first win of the day, but it wasn't meant to be.
Round 9: Kasparov - Nepomniachtchi: 0-1
Kasparov went wrong in the opening and lost the game in just 18 moves.
Duda - Jorden: 1-0
Jorden van Foreest won an exciting encounter against Duda.
Scoring for the Rapid section: Win - 2 points, Draw - 1 and Loss - 0.
Scoring for the Blitz section will be usual, Win - 1 point, Draw - 0.5 and Loss - 0
Replay Round 1-9 games
Replay the livestream
Standings after Round 9 Blitz
Grand Chess Tour official site