2019 Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz: Day 2 Recap

For World Champion Magnus Carlsen and India #1 Viswanathan Anand, day two began not on the chess board, but at Eden Gardens for the Cricket Test Match between India and Bangladesh. They partook in the ceremonial bell ringing to kick off day two of the test match, which has an audience of approximately one billion viewers.

Back on the chess board, many decisive and exciting games were seen in the second day of Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz. After a strong performance yesterday, Carlsen continued to steal the show today with dominating play. 

Round 4

The day began with Carlsen sitting clear first place, and Hikaru Nakamura trailing closely behind in clear second. The round 4 matchup between Carlsen and Nakamura was the obvious center of attention for chess fans. With the white pieces, the reigning world champion chose to play an English opening which quickly transposed into a reverse variation of the Sveshnikov Sicilian. On move 6, Nakamura committed an inexplicable mistake which gave Carlsen a clear advantage. Despite some slight complications and time pressure, Carlsen went on to win a relatively lopsided game. 

Magnus Carlsen defeated Hikaru Nakamura in round 4

Round 5

Carlsen did not take his foot off the gas in round 5. He extended his lead even further by defeating Anish Giri. The Dutch grandmaster regrettably overpushed his center pawn which created an irreparable weakness. This left Giri with a significantly worse position as play transitioned into the endgame. Carlsen managed to convert his advantage without much trouble. As an additional bonus, this victory allowed Carlsen to take over the world #1 spot on the rapid live ratings list, passing Maxime Vachier Lagrave, who is not playing in this event. (https://2700chess.com/rapid).

Carlsen defeated Giri in round 5 to reclaim his spot as the top rapid player in the world.

Round 6

In round 6, Carlsen faced off against Indian wildcard Vidit Gujrathi. Vidit surprised chess fans by winning a pawn early on and spent most of the game pressing for a win. However, Carlsen defended his position precisely and held on for a draw. With 4 victories and two draws so far, the world champion now sits comfortably on top of the leaderboard with 10 points. 

Vidit vs Carlsen

The American grandmasters are tied for second place with 7 total points. After a slow start in the first day, Wesley So displayed strong play today by defeating Ding and Vidit and drawing Nepomniachtchi. Nakamura managed to rebound from his round 4 loss, by drawing Anand in round 5 and defeating Hakrishna in round 6. With one more day of rapid chess and two days of blitz, the tournament is still very much up for grabs. Be sure to catch all the action with GM’s Peter Svidler, Maurice Ashley, WGM Jennifer Shahade, and IM Tania Sachdev on GrandChessTour.org 

Standings after 6 rounds. Players receive 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss