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Vishy misses his ticket to London, the biggest ever event on Indian soil comes to an end

by Sagar Shah - 27/11/2019

The penultimate event of the Grand Chess Tour 2019 - Tata Steel Chess India came to an end with Magnus Carlsen showing his best ever GCT performance, scoring 27 points out of a total 36. The World Champion dominated right from the start, reclaimed his world no. 1 position in rapid ratings and has moved to number two in blitz. Levon Aronian finished last at the event, but it was good enough to qualify for the GCT finals in London starting from 2nd of December. Bitter heartbreak awaited Vishy Anand and his fans where Vishy was close to qualifying for the finals, but a score of just one point out of the last five rounds, pushed him out of the top four. MVL gets the fourth spot. We bring you the detailed report of the action on the final day from Kolkata.

The final day of the Tata Steel Chess India was going to witness nine rounds of blitz chess. This is how things stood:

The standings after nine rounds of rapid and nine rounds of blitz, with final nine rounds to be played

Magnus Carlsen with a lead of five points looked untouchable. As Wesley So's chances of winning the tournament were close to nil, Levon Aronian had already confirmed his spot for the Grand Chess Tour finals in London! Ding Liren had also booked his spot to London. The most exciting part of the day was whether Vishy Anand could make it to the finals or not. Vishy needed to finish minimum sixth in order to be the fourth qualifier. If he finished lower than sixth, then MVL would go through. 

In the first game of the day Magnus offered a draw after just five moves. Being black, Vidit accepted it! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The game Magnus vs Vidit went 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 5.Ng5!? As he moved his knight to g5. Magnus offered a draw. Vidit was confused, smiled, and accepted the draw. Later it was revealed that the World Champion was suffering from stomach issues and hence couldn't continue the game.

The game began at 13.00 hours and by 13.01.31 it was already over! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
The shortest game of Carlsen's chess career!

In the next round it was Anish, who was pitted against Magnus | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Trying to better what Carlsen did against Vidit, Anish offered a draw to Magnus after just four moves in the game! Well, Magnus was perhaps already feeling better and he declined the draw offer. The game eventually ended in a draw.

Anish knows how to lighten up the mood! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Carlsen, as could be seen, was not at all feeling well. He would finish his game and lie down on a sofa in the balcony! In spite of this he scored three wins in the day against Harikrishna, Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ding Liren didn't have the best of events, but he managed to beat Magnus Carlsen twice in their blitz encounters! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ding Liren's mother trying to capture as many memories as she could from the event! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vishy Anand's narrow miss

For Anand the start to day two of blitz wasn't the best. He lost his game to Nepomniachtchi, and then drew the next one against Levon Aronian. But very quickly found his stride when he scored two wins in two games against Harikrishna and Wesley So.

Against Harikrishna, Anand dominated the game right from the word go and gave his opponent, no real chances. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Wesley So played the entire event well and has been in great form recently. But against Anand, he slumped to a 3-0 score by losing in the rapid as well as both the blitz games! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Things were looking bright for Vishy and a couple of more wins would have cemented his qualification to the GCT finals. However, he simply overlooked a move against Vidit.


Vishy Anand vs Vidit Gujrathi

White's last move is a blunder. Can you see why?

For Vidit, beating Anand for the first time in his chess career, was a big achievement | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Even this loss didn't dampen Vishy's spirits. He came out fighting hard in the next game against Anish Giri. Very soon he built up a winning position! This is when Vishy began to lose the thread of time in the game. He started to consume a lot of time for his moves, and even in the final position where he was winning, he had run out of time!

A loss to Carlsen was the final nail in the coffin for Anand's qualification to the finals.

The game between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand

Hikaru Nakamura suffered only one loss at the entire event. He lost to Magnus Carlsen in the rapid and was unbeaten in the entire 18 rounds of blitz scoring 12.0/18. An excellent result for the American. | Photo: Amruta Mokal
One of Hikaru's cleanest wins from the event was against P. Harikrishna. Have a look at how he makes things look quite effortless!

Although this performance was not good enough to fight for the first place and Hikaru had to settled for the second, it was good enough to retain the number one spot in blitz ratings.

Final crosstable of rapid and blitz

1GMCarlsen MagnusNOR***2 ½ ½1 ½ ½2 ½ ½2 0 02 1 ½2 1 11 1 11 1 ½2 1 127
2GMNakamura HikaruUSA0 ½ ½***2 ½ ½2 ½ ½1 ½ ½1 ½ 11 ½ ½2 1 11 ½ 11 1 123
3GMSo WesleyUSA1 ½ ½0 ½ ½***1 1 ½2 ½ ½1 ½ ½0 0 01 ½ 12 ½ ½1 ½ 118½
GMGiri AnishNED0 ½ ½0 ½ ½1 0 ½***1 ½ ½2 0 ½2 ½ 11 ½ ½1 ½ 11 1 ½18½
5GMDing LirenCHN0 1 11 ½ ½0 ½ ½1 ½ ½***2 ½ 11 ½ ½1 1 01 0 ½1 0 118
6GMNepomniachtchi IanRUS0 0 ½1 ½ 01 ½ ½0 1 ½0 ½ 0***2 1 10 0 12 1 ½1 1 ½17
7GMAnand ViswanathanIND0 0 01 ½ ½2 1 10 ½ 01 ½ ½0 0 0***1 ½ 11 ½ 02 1 ½16
8GMHarikrishna PentalaIND1 0 00 0 01 ½ 01 ½ ½1 0 12 1 01 ½ 0***1 ½ ½0 1 ½14½
GMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND1 0 ½1 ½ 00 ½ ½1 ½ 01 1 ½0 0 ½1 ½ 11 ½ ½***0 ½ 114½
10GMAronian LevonARM0 0 01 0 01 ½ 01 0 ½1 1 01 0 ½0 0 ½2 0 ½ 2 ½ 0***13

Magnus Carlsen was able to beat two opponents in all the encounters (one rapid and two blitz) They were Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian. Nakamura managed to score three wins against Harikrishna. Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Vishy Anand in all three games, and Vishy was ruthless against Wesley So.

A video that takes you into the players room and shows you the food arrangements made for them!

Before every round, the enthusiastic spectators gathered near the stage to take pictures of their favourite players! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Can you guess the players? | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Wesley So played consistent chess to finish third with 18.5/36 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Playing strong chess on the last day of blitz helped Anish to finish joint third with 18.5/36 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Closing ceremony:

Magnus Carlsen, the winner of Tata Steel Chess India, receives the glittering champion's trophy from Chanakya Chaudhary, VP Corporate Services, Tata Steel Ltd | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Magnus stands with the other participants at the closing ceremony! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A proud father. Magnus receives US$37,500 (Rs.29 lakh) | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Watch the entire closing ceremony

The four qualifiers for the Grand Chess Tour finals to be held in London presented on the big screen - Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren , Levon Aronian and Maxime-Vachier Lagrave | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Grand Chess Tour finals will be held from the 2nd of December 2019 onwards in London. The total prize fund for that event alone is a whopping US$ 3,50,000. For more information on the event, check here

Graham Jurgensen, the main coordinator for Grand Chess Tour, worked quite hard to ensure that the quality of the organization was up to the Grand Chess Tour standards. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The main organizers of the event were GamePlan. (From left to right standing): Jeet Banerjee, Surendra Sinha, Viraj Kejriwal, Guru Ramabadhram, Supriyo Ghosh. (From left to right sitting): Sukanya Das, Roshni Adhikari, Supratim Majumdar, Pratiti Ganatra. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Spectrum Studios team from the USA | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Three major forces who came together for this tournament to take place in Kolkata - Tata Steel, National Library and Gameplan | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The final standings for Tata Steel Chess India 2019

The final Grand Chess Tour standings!

It was a big honour for the Indian fans that such a huge event came to their country! They cannot wait for it to be back next year! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We leave you with this very special video that was recorded by Sagar Shah after the event ended with Vishy Anand. The legend will turn 50 years old on the 11th of December 2019.


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