No one doubts that Magnus Carlsen is the best, even in fast mode. Furthermore, some of their games are from another galaxy, they could be signed by the best chess computers. But, in spite of everything, you must try very hard to fulfill the predictions. Today, Lindores Abbey, the second on the circuit named after the world champion, failed to take off on the first day of the fast online tournament.
Carlsen’s attitude before the cameras of the virtual club Chess24, organizer of the tournament, already indicated from the first round that he wants to remove in this tournament the bad taste that was left in the previous one, the Memorial Steinitz, where on Sunday he triumphed, yes, but discontent, “with poor time management and poor tactical precision,” in his own words. ” And that was seen not only on the screens but in his plays, which served to dispatch the Russian Alexánder Grischuk, triple world champion of rapids, as if he were any rival.
In case the Scandinavian needed any additional encouragement, it was given by the Armenian Levon Aronian, committing suicide in the second round in a way that can only be explained by the fast pace of play (initial 15 minutes plus ten seconds after each move). Carlsen was relentless in punishment.
But at the top of chess there are several very tough bones, even for Carlsen. One of them is Chinese Liren Ding, despite the fact that the consequences of COVID-19 (he had to undergo two quarantines, one in China and the other in Russia) prevented him from shining in the Yekaterinburg Candidates Tournament as he had done throughout the year. 2019. But Ding is still Ding, as he demonstrated in the third round by squeezing Carlsen as few others can and forcing the Norwegian to give a defensive recital to start half a point.
But the best of the day was yet to come. Carlsen faced the American Hikaru Nakamura, probably his most dangerous rival in fast modalities, in the fourth round. The world champion exhibited his most refined concepts, those that define the 21st century because the best humans have learned them from the best machines. Resisting his pressure when playing like this borders on the impossible in any modality, but Nakamura did it with great brilliance, and managed to sign a draw that should be rewarded with more than half a point.
Sergey Kariakin, during one of the World Cup games against Carlsen in New York, 2016 L.G.
There were more protagonists on the first day who deserve to be named. Russian Sergei Kariakin, 2016 world runner-up after the tiebreaker with Carlsen arrived in New York, lost the initial round to Nakamura, but then consecutively beat the Chinese Yangyi Yu and Yi Wei, as well as the Polish Jan Duda. And the American Wesley So, whose style – very dry and technical – is not attractive to the average fan, but he is very effective when he is in shape: victories over the two Chinese and table with Duda and Grischuk.
That the four youngest participants close the ranking is, for the moment, only anecdotal. But it is worth highlighting the special case of the 16-year-old Iranian Alireza Firouzja, highly praised only two days ago by Carlsen: his games are almost always among the most interesting, given his inexhaustible thirst for learning and fighting, although the results do not accompany, as today. Something similar happens to the process of whiskey Lindores Abbey, sponsor of the tournament: it still cannot be fully enjoyed, because it must continue to take shape, at least until 2021.
All results: here
Classification: 1st-4th Carlsen, Nakamura, So and Kariakin 3; 5th Ding 2.5; 6th-7th Grischuk and Aronián 2; 8th Yu 1.5; 9-12 Duda, Dúbov, Firouzja and Wei 1.
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