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Magnus Carlsen wins GRENKE Chess Classic for the third time

by Shahid Ahmed - 02/04/2024

Magnus Carlsen (NOR) defeated Richard Rapport (ROU) 1.5-0.5 in the Playoffs win GRENKE Chess Classic 2024. This is the third time Magnus won this in his career. His previous wins were in 2015 and 2019. In the first Playoff game, Rapport made a tactical error. Magnus had no trouble seizing his opportunity. The finish might have taken slightly longer but then again the time control is only 10' + 2". So time played a role in a prolonged finish. In the second game, Rapport had quite a few chances to deliver the equalizer. He missed them all and it ended up in a draw. Thus, the Artist finished second. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) defeated Vincent Keymer (GER) 2.5-1.5 in the Playoffs to finish third. Hans Niemann (USA) scored sole 8/9 to win the Open A. Photos: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess Classic

Magnus makes a Houdini escape

"Yeah it's really tough and I think it sort of speaks to how challenging the format is. There was a really tough first game. Then you like immediately have to go sit down and play a tough second game. I made it very difficult for myself with a poor opening choice. He was playing brilliantly. Somehow managed to save it, feels very good now." - Magnus Carlsen on the Playoff games. "No, I think it's fair enough. I think Rapport played a really good tournament. So it's fair that I had to beat him again." - The three-time GRENKE Chess Classic winner on the format of this edition.

Magnus Carlsen is the winner of GRENKE Chess Classic
Magnus Carlsen Wins the GRENKE Chess Classic 2024 | Video: GRENKE Chess Classic

Carlsen - Rapport, Playoff Game 1

Position after 27...Rg8?

27...Rg8? allowed Magnus Carlsen (NOR) to go for a tactical shot 28.Nxf4! Black cannot take it with the knight due to Bxg5. Defending d5-pawn by Bc6 is also pointless as Nxe6 will be followed by Rxg5. Thus, 28...Rxf6 is the only choice 29.exf6 Nxf4 30.h6 here 30.Qxf4 would have been a quicker and apt for the position. White won the game after a prolonged battle.

Rapport - Carlsen, Playoff Game 2

Position after 49...Kf7

After 48...c6 49.Rg4+ Kf7 50.Rf4+ Ke7 51.Rfe4 is how Richard Rapport (ROU) needed to continue. Instead, he played 51.Rf4. 20 moves later, he got his final opportunity.

Position after 70...Kb1

White needed to push his g-pawn and follow the old adage of passed pawns must be pushed. Instead, he went for checks with his rooks and the game ended in a draw. Thus, Magnus won the tournament. Rapport finished second.

Magnus Carlsen analyzes his games with IM Lawrence Trent | Video: GRENKE Chess

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) defeated Vincent Keymer (GER) 2.5-1.5 in the Playoffs to finish third

Winner of A-Open - Hans Niemann (USA) 8/9
Hans Niemann Wins the GRENKE Chess Open 2024 | Video: GRENKE Chess

Anish Giri, one of the official commentators, congratulated both GRENKE Chess Classic and Open A winners

Replay Playoff games

Playoff results

Magnus Carlsen - Richard Rapport: 1.5-0.5

Vincent Keymer - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave: 1.5-2.5

Ding Liren - Daniel Fridman: 1.5-0.5

Final Standings

1st Magnus Carlsen

2nd Richard Rapport

3rd Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

4th Vincent Keymer

5th Ding Liren

6th Daniel Fridman


6 players, double round robin (two games with reversed colors against each player)

Time control: 45 minutes per game, with a 10 sec increment from move 1

No draw offers before move 40

Places 1, 3 and 5 will be decided in 2 games with reversed colors. In the case of a score of 1-1, a tiebreaker decides: 2 games 10+2 (10 minutes + 2 sec increment per move), if necessary 2 more games 5+2, if then necessary: Armageddon (6 minutes for White, 5 minutes for Black, in case of a draw the Black player wins).


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