Recap Article

2019 Cote D’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz Recap Day 3

Magnus Carlsen had another successful day scoring 2.5/3 and thus winning the rapid portion of Abidjan. With this result, he extended his lead to three points ahead of the field and crossed 2900 in rapid. Hikaru Nakamura remains in second place. Today was also the comeback day for Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Wesley So, both of whom are tied for third place, four points behind Carlsen. Tomorrow, is the first day of the blitz with a total of 9 games.

Round 7

The day kicked off with four convincing wins. Magnus Carlsen completely annihilated local favorite Bassem Amin with the black pieces. His closest rival, Hikaru Nakamura, miraculously escaped with a draw against Wei Yi, thus allowing Carlsen to extend his lead to three points. Ding Liren’s bishop pair penetrated Sergey Karjakin’s kingside, leaving the Russian grandmaster’s long king defenseless. Ian Nepomniachtchi’s tournament went from bad to worse with another loss against Wesley So in an Italian. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s superb handling of the Najdorf secured him a full point against Veselin Topalov in under 30 moves.

Round 8

Carlsen’s draw against world number three Ding Liren was enough to clinch the win of the rapid portion. Nakamura was unable to defeat his countryman Wesley So in a knight endgame, thus losing all hope of catching him with one round remaining. Vachier-Lagrave won his second game with a tactical sequence, delivering Nepomniachtchi his second loss in a row. The game between Topalov and Amin was a roller coaster, with the former World Champion winning for most of the game, but his inexplicable blunder on move 71 turned the tables. Amin described his win as lucky but ultimately was happy about the turn of event. Karjakin is still looking for his first win of the event, as his attempt against Wei Yi didn’t prove to be fruitful.

Round 9

Carlsen was slightly worse out of the opening, but Wei Yi’s’ impatient pawn grab allowed a lot of counterplay. Several moves later, the Chinese grandmaster found himself in a dire situation and gave up his queen for two pieces; he resigned 30 moves later. With a win over Nepomniachtchi - who lost all his games today - Nakamura maintained his second place, three points behind Carlsen. Vachier-Lagrave moved up in the rankings with his third win of the day over Amin. The African Champion failed to find the only defensive resource at the criminal moment and was left defenseless when the Frenchman’s rook penetrated down the f file. Karjakin self-destructed against So and the win allowed the American to join Vachier-Lagrave in a tie for third place. Ding Liren had a miraculous save against Topalov down two pawns in an endgame.


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