FIDE World Rapid Team 2023 R1-4: Aravindh and Nihal shine
India's first triple crown champion, GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack) had the best start among Indians. He defeated GM Wesley So (WR Chess) and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz) in Round 2 and 4 respectively. In both games, Aravindh played some sharp chess, the latter win being his best so far at FIDE World Rapid Team Championship 2023. GM Nihal Sarin (MGD1) also had a great day as he defeated GM Levon Aronian (Kompetenzakademie Allstars) and drew against GM Daniil Dubov (Freedom). GM Raunak Sadhwani (MGD1) won against GM Richard Rapport (Freedom) which featured four pawn promotions into a queen. Among the Women, WGM Priyanka Nutakki (Six-pack) held GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (WR Chess) to a draw. She was on the verge of holding GM Kateryna Lagno (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz) until she blundered at the last moment. WR Chess currently leads with a perfect 8/8, followed by Team MGD1 and Freedom at 7/8 each. Round 5 starts today at 1:30 p.m. local time, 5 p.m. IST. Photo: FIDE/Niki Riga
WR Chess makes a perfect start
WR Chess has gained an early sole lead 8/8. However, they are yet to register a whitewash victory. Their best victory by biggest margin was against Ashdod Elit Chess Club in the third round when they won 5.5-0.5 against them.
Round 1: A smooth start for the top seeds
18-year-old FM Siem Van Dael (Blerickse Schaakvereniging, 2233) held FIDE World Cup 2023 Bronze medalist, GM Fabiano Caruana (Kompetenzakademie Allstars, 2763) to a draw.
Round 2: Aravindh Chithambaram beats Wesley So, Team MGD1 scores a dominating win over Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V.
The biggest result among the Indian players in the second round is undoubtedly GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack) scoring a victory over GM Wesley So (WR Chess). Although Six-pack lost to WR Chess 2-4, Aravindh's teammates, GM Pranesh M and WGM Priyanka Nutakki drew against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda and GM Alexandra Kosteniuk respectively.
Aravindh - So
In a sharp position, GM Wesley So (2789) captured the knight which improved GM Aravindh Chithambaram's (2553) rook's position and made some deadly threats on the back rank as well as attack the e4-knight. 30...Bxe5? 31.Rxe5 Nf6 32.f3 Qxe1+ 33.Rxe1 Rb8 34.Rc1 Be8 35.b5 h6 36.Bxd4 Bxb5?? 37.Rb1 Black loses an exchange and the game too.
Replay Six-pack vs WR Chess games
Round 3: Nihal beats Aronian, Harikrishna draws against Caruana
The only rapid rated game played between GM Nihal Sarin (MGD1, 2671) and GM Levon Aronian (Kompetenzakademie Allstars, 2763) was won by Aronian at Tata Steel India 2018. The next three games - two blitz and one classical ended in draws.
Nihal - Aronian
White is completely winning the above position. However, he cannot afford to rush as 39.Rd8 allows Black back in the game Ne7. Thus White needs to zugzwang Black 39.Ke1! e5 40.Kf2 e4 41.fxe4 Ng3 42.Kf3 and it's over.
Caruana - Harikrishna
GM Pentala Harikrishna (MGD1, 2630) got himself a decisive advantage against GM Fabiano Caruana (Kompetenzakademie Allstars, 2763). 30...gxf4 31.Kxe4 Ng5+ 32.Kd4 Nf3+ led to a forced draw by repetition. However, 30...Ree8 would have given Black a great opportunity to push for a win.
Replay Kompetenzakademie Allstars vs MGD1 games
Round 4: Raunak beat Rapport, Aravindh gets the better of MVL
GM Raunak Sadhwani (MGD1) defeated GM Richard Rapport (Freedom) in a complex endgame which featured a total four pawn promotions.
Raunak - Rapport
45.Nxf8 Kxf8 the humane reaction of recapturing the knight was not the best idea as 46.Qd8+ Kf7 47.Qc7+ dropped Black's bishop. Computer recommends 45...Be4 46.Ng6 Ke8 to be the better choice. Black might be down by a knight, however both White's minor pieces are not being useful.
Replay Freedom vs MGD1 games
Aravindh - Vachier-Lagrave
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's (ASV AlphaEchecs Linz, 2762) invited the interesting 23.Nxg6!? by GM Aravindh Chithambaram (Six-pack, 2553). 23...Kxg6 24.Qd3+ Bf5 25.h5+ Nxh5 26.Bxh5+ Kf6 27.Qe3 e5 28.Bxh6 Bxh6 29.Qxh6 and White went on to win the game convincingly.
Replay Six-pack vs ASV AlphaEchecs Linz games
Each team will consist of at least six and maximum nine players. Apart from having to include at least one female player, for the first time in a high-level team event, teams will have to include a recreational player, who has never achieved a Standard, Rapid or Blitz FIDE rating of 2000 or more. It is not mandatory for the teams to have board order as per rating. For more details, please check the tournament regulations, link provided at the end of the article.
The 12-round Swiss League team event has a time control of 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment from move no.1. There is no default time. No penalty shall be imposed on a player if he/she is late for any of his/her games. Scoring is usual for a team event. Match points: Win = 2, Draw = 1 and Loss = 0.
Replay Round 1-4 games
Round 4 results
|2||12||Six-pack||4||2||:||4||4||ASV AlphaEchecs Linz||4|
|4||6||Ashdod Elit Chess Club||4||3||:||3||4||Rishon LeZion Chess Club||15|
|5||10||Germany and Friends||4||3½||:||2½||4||Kompetenzakademie Allstars||7|
|6||18||Schachverein Hemer||4||3||:||3||4||Chess Pensioners||28|
|7||9||Chessbrah OFM||3||5||:||1||3||Heilbronn Hustlers||19|
|8||23||Doppelbauer Kiel||3||2½||:||3½||3||Berlin Chess Federation||11|
|9||8||Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków||6||1||:||5||6||WR Chess *)||2|
|10||21||Deutsche Schachjugend 1||3||2||:||4||3||Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V.||13|
Standings after Round 4
|5||4||ASV AlphaEchecs Linz||4||3||0||1||6||53||18||14|
|6||8||Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków||4||3||0||1||6||45,5||15||17|
|7||10||Germany and Friends||4||2||2||0||6||44||14,5||14|
|10||6||Ashdod Elit Chess Club||4||2||1||1||5||43||14,5||17|
Round 5 pairings
|1||3||Team MGD1||7||:||6||ASV AlphaEchecs Linz||4|
|2||5||Armenia||6||:||6||Columbus Energy KingsOfChess Kraków||8|
|3||6||Ashdod Elit Chess Club||5||:||6||Germany and Friends||10|
|4||15||Rishon LeZion Chess Club||5||:||5||Chessbrah OFM||9|
|5||11||Berlin Chess Federation||5||:||5||Schachverein Hemer||18|
|6||13||Düsseldorfer Schachklub 1914/25 e.V.||5||:||5||Chess Pensioners||28|
|8||24||Mitropa Chess Association||4||:||4||Six-pack||12|
|9||2||WR Chess *)||8||:||7||Freedom||1|
|10||31||Kenya Commercial Bank Chess Club||4||:||4||Team Chessemy.com||14|
The venue for the event will be Rheinterrasse, Düsseldorf by Stockheim
The total prize fund is €250000. There are six prizes in total - top five and one rating category. The top three prizes are: €100000, 60000 and 40000 each respectively. Best U2400 will earn €12500.