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Carlsen with double victory, Rapport with double defeat

GRENKE Chess Classic

Day 3 of the GRENKE Chess Classic was very successful for Magnus Carlsen. The Norwegian took the lead in the GRENKE Chess Classic after two successes against Vincent Keymer and Richard Rapport. Before the games could begin, the organizers had to cope with the 2,551 players who streamed into the venue, the Schwarzwaldhalle Karlsruhe, to play in the GRENKE Chess Open. 


round 5

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Richard Rapport 1:0

The game opened with the Winawer Variation of the French Defence, which led to imbalances and a chaotic position. Rapport defended MVL's mate-in-1 threat (on a7)  with 49 ... d4? instead of playing 49...Nxa1. The evaluation bar then made a few more swings, but in the end the Frenchman managed to bring the game home. 

Vincent Keymer vs. Magnus Carlsen 0:1 

Carlsen surprisingly opted for the Benoni Defence with Black. Keymer responded with his Benoni main line, for which Carlsen had obviously prepared. The two not only engaged in a theoretical debate on the board, but also in a duel of glances.

Keymer had three extra pawns in the meantime, but a rather unpleasant position. Carlsen then took advantage of a tactical mistake by White. With... Nd5 he attacked the knight and the rook (using the bishop on g7) at the same time. That was enough to win. 

The two opponents were observed by their respective girlfriends, who apparently get along well with each other.

This time, Wolfgang Grenke, the founder of GRENKE AG and long-time promoter of chess, had the honour to make the symbolic first move:


Daniel Fridman vs. Ding Liren 0,5:0,5

Fridman and Ding both played a rock-solid game in which neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage. Ding saw that his extra pawn would be of no use to him in the opposite-coloured bishop endgame, and agreed to a draw. 

round 6

Daniel Fridman vs. Vincent Keymer 0,5:0,5

In an absolutely dominant position, Keymer - as he did yesterday against Carlsen - unexpectedly found himself in an "only move" situation in which he could not find the only winning move. ... Kxh4 allowed White to drive away the well-placed black rook with Kc1. The right (computer) move would have been... g5. 

A few moves later, the valuation bar again showed a winning opportunity for Keymer. But Fridman managed to lure Keymer into perpetual check, which eventually resulted in a draw. 

Magnus Carlsen - Richard Rapport 1:0

And another Benoni - but this time for Carlsen with the white pieces! Carlsen played very accurately and finally got a queen against two rooks, but was able to achieve a safer king and a dangerous center pawn. The victory for Carlsen was therefore inevitable in the end, and Rapport had to resign. 

Ding Liren vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 0,5:0,5

The sixth draw in the sixth game for Ding! The world champion is obviously trying to regain his recently lost self-confidence through solid play. He seems to be succeeding in this, because he is playing much more stable than recently. In the game, none of the players was able to develop a clear winning plan, and so the game ended in a draw by repetition. 

Table and outlook

Carlsen's double victory and Rapport's double zero caused a lot of confusion in the standings. Magnus Carlsen is now at the top with a one-point lead. The rest of the field is close together. 

Friday, March 29 is a day off for the players. On Saturday, it will continue again from 3 p.m. Spectators in the Schwarzwaldhalle Karlsruhe are very welcome. 


GRENKE Chess Open

For the players of the Open, the tournament started today with the first round. On Friday, rounds two and three will continue at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

Several top players are on the list. There are some well-known names such as Hans Niemann (pictured), Arjun Erigaisi or the German national players Blübaum and Kollars. 

On the top boards, the favorites won. For some amateurs, the game against a well-known grandmaster will have been a career highlight. Felix Gerlach of Schachfreunde Brackel, for example, kept up well against former European champion Matthias Blübaum until Blübaum captured the knight on f4 with his rook. Gerlach replied with gxf4, overlooking the fact that ...Qd2+ would cost his rook. The correct reply would have been to capture the opponent's knight with the rook himself - a nice motif.



Links to all the games of the day: GRENKE Chess Classic and Open 2024 - Chess.com

GRENKE Chess Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

photos: Angelika Valkova

Screenshots: chess24 / chess.com 

"This is the rescue maneuver of the decade" | Keymer unlucky, Rapport expands his lead

On day two of the GRENKE Chess Classic in Karlsruhe the spectatores saw top-class games again. In rounds three and four, we saw brilliant attacking moves, forced exchange sacrifices, tricky queen endgames and, last but not least, "the rescue maneuver of the decade". 

The English-language commentary alongside the German national coach Jan Gustafsson was taken over by IM Lawrence Trent, who stood in for the ill Peter Leko. Gustafsson and Trent are a well-rehearsed team from their time together at chess24.   

Here are the short reports about the individual games:

round 3

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. Daniel Fridman 0:1

Fridman managed an important and, with Black, unexpected victory against the number three in the rapid world rankings. In this position, he found ... Rb3!, which is the right move. After the provoked exchange of rooks, White can no longer stop the b-pawn. 


Magnus Carlsen vs. Ding Liren 0,5 : 0,5

GRENKE CEO Sebastian Hirsch symbolically opened the "Battle of the Kings" (Rapid World Champion vs. World Champion in classical chess) with the move 1.d4. Carlsen simply left the pawn and pressed the clock. Both players neutralized each other. Ding Liren was forced to give up the exchange at first, but forced Carlsen to return it later. The game ended in a draw.  

Richard Rapport vs. Vincent Keymer 0,5 : 0,5

Queen endgames often end in perpetual check, and so it was in this game. The German number 1 did not allow any danger with the black colors. Leader Rapport will have been satisfied with half a point after the balanced course of the game. 

round 4

Richard Rapport vs. Daniel Fridman 1:0

With this victory, Rapport consolidated his lead in the standings. Fridman's move 20...Rc1 looks dangerous at first glance, but in retrospect it turns out to be overambitious. After 21.Qd2 Nc6 22.Ra3! the black rook and the black knight are not sufficiently anchored in the opponent's fortress. 

Magnus Carlsen vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 0,5 : 0,5

Britta Wirtz, CEO of the host Messe Karlsruhe, had the honour of making the first move in this game:

A short time later, Carlsen convinced with the move Nc7!! After... Nxc7, Rxd6 with the threats Rxh6# and e5 comes to board. However, Carlsen later lost his advantage, allowing Vachier-Lagrave to score a draw. 

Ding Liren vs. Vincent Keymer 0,5 : 0,5

"Keymer's unfinished masterpiece," chess24 wrote about the game. In a complete winning position, the young German with Black finds himself in a situation where the natural-looking move ... Ke4 suddenly leads to a draw. The black king prevents the queen, which emerges from the black f-pawn, from giving checks on the long diagonal. In addition, White's pawn on a4 prevents Black from using Qb5+ to force the white king in front of his pawn.

GM Ilja Zaragatski, commentator in the German-speaking Chess.com stream, could hardly believe that this position did not result in a win, and described Ding's lucky draw as the "rescue maneuver of the decade". And world-class player Anish Giri tweeted: "Next time they tell you luck doesn't exist in chess show them this."



Table and outlook:  

After two days, Richard Rapport leads the standings by a full point, followed by three players with two points each: Ding Liren, Keymer and Carlsen. They are closely followed by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Daniel Fridman. 


Tomorrow the big GRENKE Chess Open starts, with 2,774 players currently registered. The stars from the GRENKE Chess Classic will start their games at the same time as the players from the Open. The schedule is 6:30 p.m. as the starting time, but delays cannot be ruled out due to the enormous number of participants. The organizers around tournament director Sven Noppes are looking forward to all participants and welcome them warmly. The Schwarzwaldhalle in Karlsruhe has already been prepared for the large number of chess fans: 



Link to the games of the day: GRENKE Chess Classic and Open 2024 - Chess.com

GRENKE Chess Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Screenshots: chess24 / chess.com 


Online Check-In

Once again we will have an online check in for the GRENKE Chess Open. This wednesday evening we will send out emails explaining the process to all participants who have already paid their starting fee. If you have received an email about the online check-in, please participate in the process. If you have participated in the online check in, do not use the in-person check-in at the venue. This will save us work, and will allow you to only arrive at the venue for the start of the first round.

Should anything about your participation change after you have checked in, please answer the email we will send out about the online check-in with all relevant information.

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