The two finalists of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour will be determined in rapid and blitz as both classical games ended in a draw today. The match tomorrow will consist of two rapid and four blitz games, where the wins in rapid are worth four points while the wins in blitz are worth two points. The two players to earn 15 points will become the two finalists competing for the title of 2019 GCT winner. Tomorrow promises to be an exciting day as faster time controls bring out the fireworks on the chessboard.
Standings after two classical games
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Magnus Carlsen ½ - ½
Carlsen wanted to surprise his opponent in the opening again, essaying a rare line in the Open Spanish that he played in Zagreb GCT against Caruana earlier this year. Vachier-Lagrave decided to take the cautious route, recalling the loss Aronian suffered against Mamedyarov in the 2018 Olympiad in the same line after getting careless. The Frenchman had the better pawn structure but a misplaced minor piece. Both players felt that the likely outcome was the game petering out to a draw, playing it out until the lone kings were left on the board.
9 year old Amoako Selikem from Ghana makes the ceremonial first move in Vachier-Lagrave vs Carlsen
Ding Liren vs Levon Aronian ½ - ½
Ding Liren escaped unscathed after finding himself in a worse position with the white pieces. The uncommon line in the Nimzo Indian Defense lead to a symmetrical position which the Chinese star thought should be better for him. However, he was unable to find a way to deal with the Bg4 pin, and started playing “bad and unnatural” moves. Aronian had a comfortable edge but due to still feeling unwell decided to end the day early with a repetition.