2018 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz Recap – Rapid Day 2
Day two of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz brought a lot of exciting action but only few changes in the standings. After three more rounds of exhilarating rapid games, Fabiano Caruana still leads the tournament by two points. Caruana drew all his games but none of his rivals were able to surpass him. Coming into the day, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Sergey Karjakin were two points behind the leader and at the end of the day they were joined by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Hikaru Nakamura. Tomorrow will be the final day of the rapid and ideally Caruana would like to extend his lead going into the blitz as the wins will only be worth one point.
Standings after round 6. In the rapid a win is worth 2 points, a draw is 1 point and a loss is 0
The round saw peaceful results but a lot of action! The only decisive result came from Maxime Vachier-Lagrave who had a very comfortable ten minute edge on the clock and a better position against Alexander Grischuk. This critical win put him only a point behind the leader and a point ahead of Sergey Karjakin. The Russian is not only notorious for his poor time management but he also arrived the night before the first round due to travel issues and doesn’t seem to have adjusted to the time difference. The game between Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was the only other encounter that was likely to have a decisive result after the Armenian decided to get creative in a normal position and sacrifice his queen. The decision wasn’t very sound but luckily for him he escaped with a draw.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was all smiles at the beginning of the day
The key matchup of the round was between Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave. It was a topsy turvy affair where the Frenchman had the upper hand for most of the game but allowed his opponent one chance to get a winning edge. The opportunity was missed and the game eventually ended in a draw. Wesley So suffered his third loss of the event when his blunder on the 50th move allowed Leinier Dominguez’ pawn to queen. Viswanathan Anand started the tournament with a brilliant win over Nakamura and was also winning against Aronian in this round, but he lost the thread of the game and eventually blundered the game away. The all Russian match up of Grischuk and Karjakin, as well as Mamedyarov vs Nakamura, were drawn.
Tough day in the office for Wesley So
The day ended with an action packed round that brought a lot of changes to the standings. First, Vachier-Lagrave found himself in a completely lost position after 10 moves with the white pieces against Mamedyarov. The game lasted longer than expected, but the Azeri grandmaster got the job done. Aronian clearly came to fight as he chose one of the most dangerous lines against Nakamura’s Najdorf. The game was extremely double edged, but after Aronian missed a win on move 30, things went downhill for him. With this win, Nakamura joined joined the tie for second place. Caruana drew one of his closest rivals, Sergey Karjakin, thus securing his first place position. The leader of GCT, Wesley So, finally scored his first full point of the event but defeating Viswanathan Anand.
Hikaru Nakamura is looking to repeat his Paris result