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World Rapid 2022 Day 1: Magnus Carlsen channels the spirit of Bobby Fischer

by Sagar Shah - 27/12/2022

The World Rapid Championships 2022 kicked off on the 26th of December 2022 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Five rounds were played in the open section and four rounds in women. We have four leaders in the open with 4.5/5 and they are Magnus Carlsen, Arjun Erigaisi, Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden van Foreest. Meanwhile in the women's section we have a sole leader after four rounds on 100% score - Valentina Gunina. We bring you the full day one report along with pictures, analysis, videos and much more.

Magnus Carlsen in his element in Almaty

Work shouldn't feel like work! It should feel like play. That's when you are able to bring out your best. That is exactly the sense you get by watching Magnus Carlsen at the World Rapid Championships 2022. The World Champion is moving around freely in the playing hall, watching games, interacting with his friends, doing interviews for NRK and crushing his opponents by playing 1.b3!

Magnus Carlsen entering the tournament hall in a very pleasant mood

Magnus with a different hairstyle and a smile on his face! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The day started with Magnus playing the French defence against Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. The position was complex, when the Armenian GM committed an inaccuracy:

Ter-Sahakyan vs Carlsen, Round 1

White's last move was Bf3. But that was an inaccuracy. How did Carlsen punish it?

Magnus was right on the ball and played the move ...e5. Turns out that White's position is extremely brittle, with the knight on g4 attacked, the bishop on h6 hanging. When you find a move like ...e5 in the first round, when you are just beginning to get into the groove, you know that you are in good form.

Samvel Ter-Sahakyan vs Magnus Carlsen , Round 1

In the second round Carlsen opened his game with 1.b3 against Eric Hansen. The position was around equal, but when the time went low, it was Eric who started making sub-standard moves. Very soon, the Canadian GM landed in a lost position.

Magnus Carlsen vs Eric Hansen, World Rapid 2022 Round 2

In the third round Carlsen's back was pushed to the wall by Evgeny Tomashevsky. The Russian GM was in his element and found a very nice combination to put Carlsen's dubious Hippo opening into question.


Tomashevsky vs Carlsen

How does White take advantage of Black's lack of coordination?

Tomashevsky found Bb5! and after axb5 axb5, the queen could no longer support the knight on d7. White was clearly better. But as often happens with players against Magnus, Tomashevsky started to play a bit without purpose. Very soon, the initiative started to change hands. Carlsen took over the initiative and finished off the game with a flourish.

Magnus found the very nice Re2! disloding the bishop from e5. After Bd4 he went g4 and with g3 coming up the game was all but over.

The game that everyone was looking forward to - the reigning classical world champion Magnus Carlsen vs the reigning rapid world champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In 2021, Magnus Carlsen was leading the World Rapid Championships by dominating day one and two. It seemed like he would run away with the title. However, in the first round on day three, he was halted by the Uzbek super prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Nodirbek not just beat Carlsen, he also went on to win the tournament and become World Rapid Champion. It is quite natural that sitting opposite each other after a year, once again at the World Rapid Championships, Magnus wanted to be Abdusattorov. The game started off with 1.b3 and very soon we reached a position, where Magnus' move reminds us of an old classic. Let's have a look.


Carlsen vs Abdusattorov, Round 4

Magnus Carlsen (white) surprised one and all with his next move g4!?

How did Magnus arrive at this move? What was his inspiration? Turns out, it was Bobby Fischer.

Bobby Fischer showing the way, 42 years ago!

Fischer vs Andersson, 1971

What did Fischer do in this position as White?

A lot of people said that in terms of the way in which he played chess Fischer was ahead of his times. This is one such example. He tucked his king in on h1 and prepared Rg1 and g4. Carlsen did exactly that in his game against Abdusattorov.

Wasn't that an amazing game?!

Magnus Carlsen vs Nodirbek Abdusattorov, World Rapid 2022 Round 4

After losing his 4th round game to Carlsen, Nodirbek made a strong comeback to beat Sanal Vahap and end the day with 4.0/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The final game of the day for Magnus ended in a draw against Indian talent Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Anna Shtourman
The entire game between Magnus Carlsen and Arjun Erigaisi
A short interview with Magnus Carlsen

Arjun Erigaisi had a great day one. He drew with the top seed Magnus Carlsen and beat the second seed Richard Rapport. | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Arjun Erigaisi speaks about his game against Rapport and Magnus Carlsen

One of the leaders of the event - Jorden van Foreest with 4.5/5. Jorden beat Sindarov and Artemiev in rounds 3 and 4 and has been playing some great chess. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Also on 4.5/5 is Vladimir Fedoseev

The winner of Tata Steel Chess India Rapid Nihal Sarin is in fine form and is on 4.0/5 | Photo: Lennart Ootes
A short interview with Anish Giri after he scored 4.0/5 on day one

With three draws and two wins, Nakamura has been slightly slow off the blocks, but a couple of wins and he will be back on the top. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

3.5/5 for Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Daniil Dubov is also on 3.5/5, with two wins and three draws just like Nakamura and Caruana | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Another top player on 3.5/5 - Alexander Grischuk | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The reigning World Blitz champion, Maxime Vachier Lagrave is also on 3.5/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

With 1 win and 4 draws Hans Niemann is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The talented German youngster Vincent Keymer lost to Artemiev, but by scoring three wins is on 3.5/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Top Kazakh player Rinat Jumabayev is on 2.5/5. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Boris Gelfand ended day one with a score of 3.0/5, but he didn't get to play two games as he was paired against two Iranian opponents - Daneshvar Bardiya and Idani Pouya and they didn't turn up. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Just before the start of round one | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The top seed of the event Alexandra Kosteniuk is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

One of the tournament favourites Kateryna Lagno has lost 2 of her games and is on 2.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Valentina Gunina (right) has been perfect in this tournament. She has a 4.0/4 score. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In her third round game against Fataliyeva, Gunina went wrong with her opening and very quickly landed in a lost position. A critical moment was reached here:

Gunina vs Fataliyeva, World Rapid 2022 Round 3

White's queen is attacked and the knight on c7 is not so well placed. Also Nc4 is coming up! What did Gunina do? She took the pawn on d5. Looking for some tricks. Her idea was - that if Black were to take exd5 then after Rxc8 Nxc8 Qe8+! picks up the piece on c8. However, after Nxd5 Black had an amazing resource up her sleeve. Try to think and if you want to checck the answer in the annotations below.

In absolutely scintillating form is Koneru Humpy. She is on joint 2nd position and is on 3.5/4. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Humpy vs Gong Qianyun, Round 4

While White has a completely dominating position and many ways to win, Humpy found the very nice Ne6! sacrificing her knight and crashing through.

The game between two Indians Savitha Shri and Harika ended in a draw. Harika has been her usual solid self with 3 draws and one win. Meanwhile Savitha is also on 2.5/4. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It's wonderful to see GM Bela Khotenashvili on the chess board after a long time. Bela lost her first game, but came back strongly and is now on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Standings in open after round 5

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 Rp
GMCarlsen MagnusNOR28344,51518260802974
GMFedoseev VladimirFID27414,51416257502941
GMErigaisi ArjunIND26284,51415,5263102997
GMVan Foreest JordenNED26934,51315263202998
GMGiri AnishNED270841518264402884
GMDuda Jan-KrzysztofPOL279141518262402864
GMNihal SarinIND262841517,5259902839
GMAbdusattorov NodirbekUZB267641315259502835
GMYu YangyiCHN274341314,5259102831
GMQuparadze GigaGEO253841314,5254202782
GMNepomniachtchi IanFID276641214260702847
GMSarana AlexeyFID262941213,5248902729
GMMurzin VolodarFID253441213252402764
GMMamedyarov ShakhriyarAZE2746411,513,5255502795
GMArtemiev VladislavFID27273,514,517259002739
GMYakubboev NodirbekUZB25733,513,515,5259002739
GMCaruana FabianoUSA27473,51315,5258402733
GMDubov DaniilFID27123,51315,5256402713
GMMartirosyan Haik M.ARM25753,51314259002739
GMTer-Sahakyan SamvelARM25313,51313254402693

Standings in women after round 4

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4 
114GMGunina ValentinaFID2389489,500
23GMTan ZhongyiCHN25023,589,500
333IMGarifullina LeyaFID23163,57,5900
47GMKoneru HumpyIND24683,57,58,500
526GMDanielian ElinaARM23313,57800
617IMMammadzada GunayAZE23833,56,5800
719GMBatsiashvili NinoGEO237039,511,500
827GMGirya OlgaFID232839,59,500
989WIMSultanbek ZeinepKAZ1834391100
1043IMZatonskih AnnaUSA226838800
115GMDzagnidze NanaGEO247537,5900
1240WGMBalajayeva KhanimAZE228437800
1348WGMPourkashiyan AtousaUSA2256377,500
144GMGoryachkina AleksandraFID248436,58,500
1520GMPaehtz ElisabethGER236936,5800
161GMKosteniuk AlexandraFID253736,57,500
35WGMVoit DariaFID231236,57,500
188GMAbdumalik ZhansayaKAZ2448367,500
18GMUshenina AnnaUKR2371367,500
2044IMBuksa NataliyaUKR226036700


Performance of Indian players

Tania Sachdev is on 50% score | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The highlight for the day for Padmini Rout was her draw against GM Aleksandra Goryachkina | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vidit Gujrathi could have easily ended the day with 4.0/5 but instead he slumped to a loss against Murzin from a completely winning position. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vidit Gujrathi vs Volodar Murzin, Round 5

Vidit, with the white pieces, had to take the knight on f3 and he is a piece up and winning the game. The key point is that after gxf3 Kc2, there is no way to make a queen because Na4+ and Ra5 is a mate! So you have to waste time when White is winning. Instead Vidit played Bf1 and after Nd4+, he lost his c3 knight. It was still a draw, but he lost that equal position.

With this win Volodar Murzin moves to 4.0/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Raunak Sadhwani is on 3.0/5. He missed a very promising position against Arjun Erigaisi. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The thing about this game between Arjun Erigaisi and Raunak Sadhwani is that Raunak was substantially better throughout, but he couldn't find the killer blow. And Arjun, like he usually does, was so accurate in his defence, that it put his opponent in big trouble. 

Facing five opponents from Russia, Sankalp Gupta played excellently to down GM Savchenko and Riazentsev and draws against Paravyan and Najer. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Aravindh Chithambaram was completely winning against Ian Nepomniachtchi. He drew that game. He also lost quite a nice position against Richard Rapport. In spite of these setbacks, he is on 3.0/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ian Nepomniachtchi was in trouble not just against Aravindh but also against Salem Saleh. Yet he managed to end the day unbeaten with 4.0/5. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Salem Saleh vs Nepomniachtchi

If White plays Bc3, Black is in huge trouble from the long term perspective. He has less space, and his king is permanently weak. But Salem wanted to mate his opponent instantly. So he went for Bc1. That wasn't good enough as after Rxd4 Black was back in the game and went on to win!

A very solid 3.0/5 for Abhimanyu Puranik, as he lost to just Nodirbek Abdusattorov and drew with Gelfand and Cheparinov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Harikrishna is on 50% score with a win over GM Frederik Svane and a loss to GM Sanal Vahap | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Also on 50% score is GM S.L. Narayanan | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Harsha Bharathakoti is an extremely strong rapid and blitz player. He hasn't got things rolling yet and is currently on 2.0/5. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Making his debut at the World Rapid and Blitz Championships is 16-year-old Pranav V. He is currently on 2.0/5, scoring a win over GM Sychev. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

GM Srinath Narayanan, trainer of Arjun Erigaisi had a tough day at the office and finished with 1.5/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

20-year-old Arjun Kalyan is playing his first World Rapid and Blitz and is gaining invaluable experience. He is on 1.5/5. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings of Indian players after day 1 of Rapid

22GMVidit Santosh Gujrathi2659IND1½1½03402620Open
26GMGanguly Surya Shekhar2646IND101½½3562590Open
27GMHarikrishna Pentala2646IND½1½0½2,5902492Open
37GMErigaisi Arjun2628IND1111½4,532997Open
38GMNihal Sarin2628IND111½½472839Open
48GMNarayanan S.L.2605IND½½01½2,51112447Open
61GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.2576IND1½01½3432632Open
63GMHarsha Bharathakoti2574IND1010021202478Open
75GMPuranik Abhimanyu2549IND101½½3612593Open
80GMAdhiban B.2538IND0½0112,51132326Open
87GMSadhwani Raunak2532IND100113722416Open
99GMNarayanan Srinath2518IND001½01,51422282Open
131GMPranav V2430IND½010½21242510Open
132GMArjun Kalyan2426IND001½01,51522347Open
141GMSankalp Gupta2402IND1½½013482661Open
6GMHarika Dronavalli2475IND1½½½2,5322366Women
7GMKoneru Humpy2468IND11½13,542597Women
32IMTania Sachdev2318IND01102592014Women
36WIMSavitha Shri B2311IND101½2,5332360Women
39IMPadmini Rout2290IND½1½02432138Women


Follow all the action at the World Rapid and Blitz 2022 through ChessBase India. If you are looking for LIVE commentary, you can follow Niklesh Jain's commentary on Hindi ChessBase India.

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