Nihal Sarin and Aravindh Chithambaram steal the show on day one of the World Rapid 2019
The first day of the World Rapid Championships 2019 proved to be quite a successful one for Indian players. Nihal Sarin showed his class as he outwitted three strong grandmasters and with a performance rating of 2758, is gaining 56 Elo points. The only other Indian to have performed better than him on day one was Aravindh Chithambaram, the reigning national champion of India who managed to not only beat Boris Gelfand, but also Alonso Alvar, and Bartosz Socko. Aravindh has an Elo performance of 2800+! In the women's section, we have only two players taking part - Humpy and Harika, but both of them have played extremely well and are on 3.5/4, a half a point behind the leaders. We bring you an illustrated report from day one of the event taking place in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow!
I have been to some of the most important events in the world of chess - World Youth, World Juniors, Candidates, the Olympiad, super tournaments etc. However, as a journalist I have never felt so lost as I felt at the first day of the World Rapid Championships 2019! It was the first time I was witnessing this event in person. In a day, you have five rounds in the open section and four rounds in the women's section. That's a total of 750 games! As I walked inside the playing hall, I could see hundreds of different openings, so many tactical ideas being executed, theoretical endgames being played, some perfectly well, while many being botched up! An absolute constant was the sound of chess clocks being pressed by hundreds of players every second. I never felt overwhelmed by chess to the extent I felt today!
In the open section, there were five rounds of rapid with a time control of 15 minutes plus 10-second increments. As per the schedule, the gap between two rounds was one hour fifteen minutes. However, almost every round went past the schedule. Sometimes a player would be trying hard in a queen vs queen and pawn endgame, or sometimes in a rook and knight vs rook endgame! Day one proceedings were supposed to end by around 9 p.m., but it went all the way until ten and beyond. As one of the players pointed out, "What is extremely tiring for me are not five rounds in a day, but the wait in between the rounds!" Here is how the players spent their free time:
On the first day, after five rounds, we have five players on 4½/5 points — Wang Hao, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Jan Krzysztof Duda and Lenier Dominguez leading the event is not such a big surprise. However, the one player who has stunned everyone with his play is Israeli GM Ilya Smirin.
Standings after round 5
|5||9||GM||Dominguez Perez Leinier||USA||2755||4,5||11,0||13,0||2646||0,0|
|9||21||GM||Le Quang Liem||VIE||2740||4,0||12,5||15,0||2610||0,0|
|19||60||GM||Vallejo Pons Francisco||ESP||2636||3,5||13,5||14,5||2666||0,0|
How are the Indians performing?
Currently we have two Indians in the open section who are on 3.5/5 and two in the women who are on 3.5/4.
Standings after round 4
Overview of Indian performances
|48||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||2668||½||1||½||0||½||2,5||102||Rapid Open|
|72||GM||Adhiban B.||2607||0||1||1||1||0||3,0||65||Rapid Open|
|81||GM||Sasikiran Krishnan||2601||1||0||1||½||½||3,0||70||Rapid Open|
|91||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||2592||1||0||½||1||½||3,0||79||Rapid Open|
|111||GM||Sethuraman S.P.||2560||½||0||1||½||1||3,0||73||Rapid Open|
|130||GM||Narayanan Srinath||2526||½||0||1||½||1||3,0||62||Rapid Open|
|138||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||2508||1||½||0||1||1||3,5||31||Rapid Open|
|164||GM||Vishnu Prasanna. V||2438||1||0||0||1||½||2,5||105||Rapid Open|
|170||GM||Harsha Bharathakoti||2418||0||1||1||0||0||2,0||134||Rapid Open|
|180||IM||Sadhwani Raunak||2358||0||1||1||0||1||3,0||74||Rapid Open|
|189||GM||Nihal Sarin||2292||1||0||½||1||1||3,5||38||Rapid Open|
|207||GM||Gukesh D||1799||1||½||0||0||½||2,0||150||Rapid Open|
|13||GM||Koneru Humpy||2438||1||½||1||1||3,5||5||Rapid Women|
|16||GM||Harika Dronavalli||2425||1||½||1||1||3,5||9||Rapid Women|