2015 World Rapid Day 2: Carlsen rises to the top

by Albert Silver
10/11/2015 – Day two of the World Rapid Championship lived up to the expectations with action galore on all fronts. Sergey Karjakin fell from grace after a great start, while Magnus Carlsen rose steadily to the top, but to end the tale there would be to miss the surprises such as Sergei Zhigalko sharing first or Igor Kovalenko’s brilliant attack and miracle save.

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The grand leader of day one had been Sergey Karjakin, with 4.5/5, but his tank ran out of gas
on day two and his momentum came to a screaming halt as he finished with 6.5/10. These
competitions are all adrenaline and snap decisions, and it is quite likely that fatigue after the
marathon World Cup is finally exacting its toll.

Guseinov - Karjakin

Black has played superbly and reached this key moment in a rook
endgame. Black is in check, and only one move wins, can you find it?

Gadir Guseinov - Sergey Karjakin (annotated by IM Sagar Shah)

[Event "World Rapid 2015"] [Site "Berlin GER"] [Date "2015.10.11"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Guseinov, Gadir"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/6p1/8/2kRK2p/4p2P/6r1/8 b - - 0 68"] [PlyCount "16"] [EventDate "2015.10.10"] [EventType "rapid"] {Black has to decide where to go with his king - to c5 or to c3.} 68... Kc5 $2 {This costs the half point.} (68... Kc3 $1 69. Rd3+ {Karjakin might have not liked that White can take the pawn on e3 with the rook and defend his h3 pawn. But he is simply winning after} Kc2 $1 70. Rxe3 Kd2 $1 {The king will slowly inch towards h2 and there is absolutely nothing that White can do about it.} 71. Ra3 Ke2 72. Kf4 Kf2 73. Ra2+ Kg1 74. Rxg2+ (74. Ra1+ Kh2 75. Ra3 Rg3 76. Ra2+ Kxh3) 74... Kxg2 75. Kg4 g5 $1 76. Kxg5 Kxh3 77. Kf4 Kg2 $19) 69. Kxe3 { Now it is just a draw.} g5 (69... Rg3+ 70. Ke4 Rxh3 71. Rd5+ Kc4 72. Rg5 $11) 70. Rd8 {And now it's just a draw.} Rg3+ 71. Ke4 Kc4 72. Kf5 Kc3 73. Rd7 Rxh3 74. Kxg5 Rh1 75. Kg4 h3 76. Kg3 1/2-1/2

Admittedly the win was far from easy to see, and both players were down on time, but it was very much the type of day Sergey had.

The World Champion’s rise to the top might appear to be the picture of consistency, since he scored
4.0/5 on day one, and repeated the performance on day two. However, it was not quite such smooth
sailing when he found himself facing imminent death on the board versus 19-year-old Daniil Dubov.

Magnus Carlsen - Daniil Dubov (annotated by IM Sagar Shah)

[Event "World Rapid 2015"] [Site "Berlin GER"] [Date "2015.10.11"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Dubov, Daniil"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D10"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2rr2k1/1b2qpp1/pp2p3/3n3Q/P1BP4/1P6/1B3PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 26"] [PlyCount "32"] [EventDate "2015.10.10"] [EventType "rapid"] 26... Qf6 {Black has a clear advantage with threats like Nf4 in the picture. The World Champion was also short on time.} 27. Qe5 Qg6 $1 {The g2 point is soft and White has to be careful.} 28. f3 Nb4 $1 {With a double threat of Bxf3 and Nc2.} 29. Rac1 Bxf3 {Dubov wins a pawn without any real compensation.} 30. Qh2 Rxc4 $5 (30... Bd5 {was a normal way to continue but I like Dubov's incisive continuation.}) 31. Rxc4 Nd3 32. Rb1 (32. Re3 Nxb2 33. Rxf3 Nxc4 34. Qc7 Rf8 (34... Rxd4 $2 35. Qc8+ Kh7 36. Rh3+ $18) 35. bxc4 Qc2 $17 {was the best defence available to White.}) 32... Bd5 33. Rc2 {[#]} Nf4 $6 {This is a pretty natural move but Dubov simply had a killer blow at his disposal!} (33... Ne5 $1 {With an attack on c2 and b1 and also a knight fork on f3.} 34. dxe5 Qxc2 $19) 34. Rbc1 Qe4 35. Kh1 Qe3 (35... Bb7 $1 $17 {stopping Rc8.}) 36. Qh4 f6 37. Rc8 Rxc8 38. Rxc8+ Kf7 39. Rc7+ Kg8 40. Rc8+ Kf7 41. Rc7+ Kg8 42. Rc8+ { As they say, it's always difficult to beat the World Champion.} 1/2-1/2

Vladimir Kramnik (right) was able to outplay Daniil Dubov and stands tied for 3rd with 7.5/10

Mamedyarov has had an irregular tournament so far, and despite beating Vidit Gujrathi, one
of the revelations of day one, found himself on the receiving end of others...

Mamedyarov - Kryvoruchko

Can you see how the Ukrainian concluded his game to beat one
of the world's best? Black to play and win.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Yuriy Kryvoruchko (annotated by IM Sagar Shah)

[Event "World Rapid 2015"] [Site "Berlin GER"] [Date "2015.10.11"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Kryvoruchko, Yuriy"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E17"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/p4p1k/1p2P2q/3R1P1r/6K1/P7/5Q2/8 b - - 0 48"] [PlyCount "11"] [EventDate "2015.10.10"] [EventType "rapid"] {It's Black to play. How would you finish off your opponent?} 48... Qg5+ $1 49. Kf3 Qxf5+ $1 50. Rxf5 Rxf5+ 51. Ke3 Rxf2 52. e7 {Did Black miss this?} Rf6 $1 { Of course not! Mamedyarov had to resign since} 53. e8=Q Re6+ {is game over.} 0-1

Igor Kovalenko was without a doubt one of the stars of the second day. Not just by virtue
of the scalps he scored, but in how he scored them.

Watch this spectacular and imaginative demolition of Levon Aronian:

Levon Aronian - Igor Kovalenko (annotated by IM Sagar Shah)

[Event "World Rapid 2015"] [Site "Berlin GER"] [Date "2015.10.11"] [Round "8.5"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Kovalenko, Igor"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A29"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2015.10.10"] [EventType "rapid"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Nd4 5. Bg2 Nxf3+ 6. Bxf3 Bb4 7. O-O O-O 8. Qb3 a5 9. Rd1 Re8 10. d3 h6 11. Bg2 {[#] A normal person would play d6 in this position but not a creative genius like Igor Kovalenko.} Ra6 $1 {A very interesting rook lift.} 12. h3 {I don't quite understand if there was a need to weaken the kingside with h3, but Aronian wanted to develop his bishop on e3 without Ng4 bothering him.} Rae6 13. Be3 d6 14. Na4 b6 15. a3 Bc5 16. Bd2 Nh5 { The bishop on c5, knight on h5, rook on e6, bishop on c8 and queen on d8 all are ready to get into the attack. It makes sense to get rid of the c5 bishop.} 17. Nxc5 dxc5 18. Bf3 Nf6 (18... Nxg3 19. fxg3 Rg6 20. Kh2 $18 {repels the attack.}) ({But it is surprising that Igor Kovalenko missed this move.} 18... Nf4 $1 19. gxf4 Rg6+ 20. Kh2 Qh4 $19) 19. Qc2 Qe7 20. Bg2 e4 21. Re1 $2 {[#]} ( 21. dxe4 Nxe4 22. Be1 {was relatively safer.}) 21... e3 $1 22. Bc1 (22. Bxe3 Rxe3 23. fxe3 Qxe3+ 24. Kh2 Nh5 $19 {The problems of playing h3 now become apparent, with g3 is just too weak to fend for itself.}) 22... Nh5 23. Rf1 exf2+ 24. Rxf2 Nxg3 {Black has compensation for his extra pawn.} 25. e4 Rg6 26. Qd1 f5 $1 27. exf5 Nxf5 28. Kh2 Qh4 29. Qf3 Bb7 30. Qxb7 Qxf2 {An inspired game by Igor Kovalenko.} 0-1

The win over Levon Aronian would have been enough, but watch how he saved a game against
Vladimir Kramnik no less

Igor Kovalenko - Vladimir Kramnik

[Event "World Rapid-ch 2015"] [Site "Berlin"] [Date "2015.10.11"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Kovalenko, Igor"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D41"] [WhiteElo "2700"] [BlackElo "2777"] [Annotator "Albert Silver"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] [EventCountry "GER"] [TimeControl "900+10"] 1. d4 {(0s)} Nf6 {(0s)} 2. Nf3 {(0s)} d5 {(0s)} 3. c4 {(0s)} e6 {(0s)} 4. Nc3 { (1s)} c5 {(0s)} 5. cxd5 {(17s)} Nxd5 {(0s)} 6. e4 {(21s)} Nxc3 {(1s)} 7. bxc3 { (1s)} cxd4 {(2s)} 8. cxd4 {(1s)} Bb4+ {(1s)} 9. Bd2 {(0s)} Bxd2+ {(2s)} 10. Qxd2 {(3s)} O-O {(2s)} 11. Bc4 {(20s)} Nd7 {(4s)} 12. O-O {(4s)} b6 {(2s)} 13. Rfe1 {(4s)} Bb7 {(5s)} 14. Rad1 {(4s)} Rc8 {(6s)} 15. Bb3 {(1s)} h6 {(14s)} 16. Qf4 {(86s)} Qc7 {(31s)} 17. Qh4 {(106s)} Rfd8 {(62s)} 18. h3 {(84s)} b5 {(40s)} 19. d5 {(82s)} exd5 {(40s)} 20. e5 {(1s) During the game, Jan Gustafsson, the official commentator, quipped that this sacrifice was reminiscent of a famous game between Polugaevsky-Tal that had inspired thousands of poor patzers to blunder away their d-pawns in the hopes it was equally brilliant.} Re8 {(21s)} 21. Qh5 {(42s)} a5 {(60s)} 22. Rd4 {(283s)} a4 {(28s)} 23. Bd1 {(17s)} Re6 { (51s)} 24. Rf4 {(25s)} Nc5 {(151s)} 25. Be2 {(74s)} Ne4 {(2s)} 26. Bxb5 {(7s)} a3 {(123s)} 27. Ba4 {(15s)} Rf8 {(71s)} 28. Bb3 {(9s)} Qc5 {(12s)} 29. Nh4 { (195s)} Qc3 {(55s) White has been struggling with a worse position against the former World Champion for most of the game, and now the black queen is attacking both the pawn on e5 and the rook on e1. Is it game over?} 30. Rexe4 $1 {(32s) Not quite! This is not a sacrifice of desperation but a bona fide brilliancy that saves the game.} dxe4 {(50s)} 31. Rxf7 $1 {(1s)} Rxf7 {(77s)} 32. Bxe6 {(2s)} Qc1+ {(4s)} 33. Kh2 {(1s)} Qf4+ {(1s)} 34. Kh1 {(4s)} Bc8 $1 { (110s) All this had to have come as a bit of a shock to Kramnik, but he responds well, and makes sure that White, with only seconds left, shows he has really all the answers.} 35. Bb3 {(85s)} ({The point is simply that after} 35. Bxc8 Qc1+ 36. Kh2 Qxc8 {Black is winning.}) 35... Qxf2 {(52s)} 36. Ng6 {(15s)} Kh7 {(48s)} 37. Nh4 {(7s) The rook on f7 is attacked twice, so Black must respond.} Qf1+ {(36s)} 38. Kh2 {(0s)} Qf4+ {(3s)} 39. Kh1 {(5s)} Rf8 {(81s) Show me! Black asks White once more.} 40. Qg6+ {(30s)} Kh8 {(1s)} 41. Qd6 {(4s) In spite of being down to literaly seconds, Kovalenko finds all the right moves. This is the only saving move once again. Everything else loses for White.} Qf1+ {(33s)} 42. Kh2 {(1s)} Qf4+ {(17s)} 43. Kh1 {(0s)} Qf1+ {(14s)} 44. Kh2 {(1s)} Qf4+ {(7s) Kramnik smiled, obviously in respect and admiration for the superb last-minute save, and extended his hand. Draw!} 1/2-1/2

A fantastic save and one of the key reasons that Igor Kovalenko is the top of the group with 7.5/10, claiming third place on day two.

Vishy Anand leans over to watch the game of his former World Championship rival,
Boris Gelfand. The Israeli has had a solid event with 7.0/10 and a 2799 performance.

The playing halls have had large numbers of fans flocking to see the world's best

Parents have taken advantage of the opportunity to share their love of the game with their children...

... and the kibitzing rooms were full.

Needless to say, if you were watching on Playchess you could watch as many boards as you wanted

Watch it live on Playchess!

If you'd like to see it live in your browser, including the multiple boards, or on a smartphone, the click on the link above. Clicking on the above link will take you to our live broadcast of the World Rapid championship in Berlin. If the game has not yet started you will see the previous two games:

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Standings after ten rounds

1 1 GM Carlsen Magnus NOR 2847 8,0 2696 2912
2 34 GM Zhigalko Sergei BLR 2698 8,0 2674 2900
3 39 GM Kovalenko Igor LAT 2687 7,5 2676 2854
4 7 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 2798 7,5 2665 2850
5 3 GM Ivanchuk Vassily UKR 2835 7,5 2655 2836
6 92 GM Khismatullin Denis RUS 2574 7,0 2755 2861
7 36 GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2694 7,0 2740 2867
8 8 GM Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2789 7,0 2697 2830
9 50 GM Mamedov Rauf AZE 2667 7,0 2693 2822
10 89 GM Bocharov Dmitry RUS 2577 7,0 2689 2814
11 16 GM Radjabov Teimour AZE 2741 7,0 2680 2817
12 12 GM Gelfand Boris ISR 2751 7,0 2658 2799
13 9 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2784 7,0 2638 2777
14 13 GM Dominguez Perez Leinier CUB 2749 7,0 2636 2775
15 53 GM Malakhov Vladimir RUS 2662 6,5 2753 2835
16 71 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam UZB 2619 6,5 2745 2814
17 49 GM Dubov Daniil RUS 2667 6,5 2728 2815
18 5 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2805 6,5 2699 2797
19 38 GM Onischuk Vladimir UKR 2692 6,5 2692 2785
20 54 GM Onischuk Alexander USA 2662 6,5 2685 2773

Click for complete standings

Photos by Gregor Anthes, Nailya Bikmurzina, and Lena Kashirsky for official site


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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algorithmy algorithmy 10/12/2015 07:55
many thx Bertman
Truffaut Truffaut 10/12/2015 07:41
When watching the World Rapid and Blitz Championship games on PlayChess, is there any way to flip the board of live games?????
Bertman Bertman 10/12/2015 03:11
@algorithmy There is live video coverage here: http://livestream.com/accounts/7928738/events/4388214
Denix Denix 10/12/2015 11:30
So Carlsen is poised to win again.
algorithmy algorithmy 10/12/2015 09:27
I still don't understand the picture above of Carlesn and Dubov and the dame official website doesn't give any live coverage. really it sucks this year