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GRENKE Classic R1-2: Magnus Carlsen blunders against Richard Rapport

by Shahid Ahmed - 27/03/2024

Magnus Carlsen (NOR) made a paltry mistake in the first round of GRENKE Chess Classic 2024 against Richard Rapport (ROU). Rapport made a quick 18-move draw aaginst the reigning world champion - Ding Liren (CHN) to gain an early sole lead 1.5/2. Daniel Fridman's (GER) nearly five years long wait got over and he finally played his games in the GRENKE Classic. He drew the first game against compatriot Vincent Keymer (GER). In the second round, Fridman was up against Carlsen for the first time in his career. Fridman certainly put up a good fight against the World no.1. Keymer missed a great opportunity to beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA). Classic Round 3 and 4 will be played today from 3 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. IST. Photos: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess Classic

The wait is certainly worth it

How long would you be willing to wait for something that you earned? Daniel Fridman won the GRENKE Chess Open 2019 nearly five years ago. He qualified to the Classic but the tournament could not take place in 2020 due to pandemic. Finally it did in 2024 and Fridman definitely played a good game against Magnus Carlsen. The final result obviously does not indicate Fridman's efforts. Speaking of waiting, Vincent Keymer will have to wait a little longer to score his first-ever win against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. He will get another opportunity against MVL with the black pieces at this very event. 

Magnus Carlsen blundered his knight against Richard Rapport in Round 1

Rapport - Carlsen, Round 1

Position after 40.Rd3

The rook and minor piece endgame is equal. Ideally it should end in a draw. However, Carlsen blundered 40...Nd2+?? 41.Rxd2 and he resigned as Rxd2 runs into Be3+ fork.

Final moments: Richard Rapport - Magnus Carlsen | Video: GRENKE Chess

Vincent Keymer (GER) - Daniel Fridman (GER): 0.5-0.5

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) - Ding Liren (CHN): 0.5-0.5

Round 1 in progresss

Spectators observing the games at the venue

Round 2: Fridman - Carlsen: 0-1

Daniel Fridman (GER, 2575) faced the World no.1 Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2823) for the first time in a rated game. The 2019 GRENKE Open winner nearly waited five years to play in the GRENKE Classic. He was facing a wounded Carlsen as he suffered a surprising defeat in the first round.

Position after 22...Nxg4

Magnus sacrificed his knight for two pawns. 22...Nxg4 23.fxg4 Bxg4 24.Bh3 Qd7 25.Bxg4 Qxg4+ 26.Kf2 and things were not easy for Black.

Position after 32.Rxa7

32...Bh6 is the correct way for Black. Instead, the game continued 32...g3 33.Ra8! White forced the rook exchange Rxa8 34.Qxf3 Qh3 35.Rh1 Rf8 36.Rxh3 Rxf3 37.Bxf2 White returned the extra material to prevent pawn promotion Rxf2+ 38.Kb3 g2 39.Rg3 and Black had to fight for another 29 moves to win the game.

Daniel Fridman (GER) put up a good fight against Magnus Carlsen (NOR)

Keymer - Vachier-Lagrave: 0.5-0.5

Vincent Keymer (GER, 2738) has never beaten Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA, 2728) in a rated game in any format. Yesterday, he had a great opportunity to improve that statistic slightly in his favor. Out of the seven rated games they played against each other, the Germany no.1 got white pieces only once. This was the second time in their eighth encounter.

Position after 40...Kf6

Vachier-Lagrave made an incorrect rook exchange which resulted in White getting a decisive advantage in the resultant knight endgame. The question is, how should white proceed here? The game continued 41.h5 and it eventually ended in a draw.

Vincent Keymer (GER) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) analyze their game | Video: GRENKE Chess

Vincent Keymer (GER) missed a great opportunity to score his first-ever win over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) in a rated game

Ding Liren (CHN) made a quick 18-move draw against Richard Rapport (ROU)

Round 2 in progress

Magnus Carlsen with his father Henrik Carlsen

Ding Liren with his mother
Interview with World Champion, Ding Liren | Video: GRENKE Chess
Day 1 impressions | Video: GRENKE Chess

Replay Round 1-2 games

Round 3 pairings

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Daniel Fridman

Richard Rapport vs. Vincent Keymer

Magnus Carlsen vs. Ding Liren

Round 4 pairings

Richard Rapport vs. Daniel Fridman

Magnus Carlsen vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Ding Liren vs. Vincent Keymer


6 players, double round robin (2 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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