Grand Chess Tour - Paris: Hikaru Nakamura closes in on lead

by Alex Yermolinsky
6/25/2017 – Day four, the first of the blitz phase, looked like it would be a runaway express by Magnus Carlsen as he charged with 4/4, but a distraction leading to a loss on time broke his rhythm. Fabiano Caruana, who had played very badly in the Rapid games, made a remarkable comeback and was the second best of the day in blitz. However, the name of the day was Hikaru Nakamura, who scored 7/9 and narrowed the gap with the leader to just one point. Illustrated report by GM Alex Yermolinsky.

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The Paris tournament of the Grand Chess Tour is running from June 21-25. It is a combination of Rapid and Blitz games. The ten participants are Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin, Veselin Topalov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Etienne Bacrot. They will play nine rapid games, three a day, from June 21–23. The games start at 14:00h, 15:30h and 17:00h European Standard Summer Time. The Blitz tournament is on June 24 and 25, with nine rounds on each day, starting at 14:00h. The total prize fund is $150,000!

Note that the event is using the Bronstein mode: the players have 25 minutes for all the moves of a rapid game, and a ten second delay per move. This means that the clock does not run for ten seconds – the point is that you cannot accumulate time by playing very quickly in the Bronstein Mode.

Day four

All photos by Lennart Ootes

At the start of the first day of Blitz the winner of the rapid tournament, World Champion Magnus Carlsen was simply unstoppable. He won his first four games in a very convincing fashion.

Magnus Carlsen started very strong with four convincing wins

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Magnus Carlsen

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "4"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2800"] [BlackElo "2832"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Qc2 g6 $1 {The best answer. In the Schlechter the white queens is not well placed on c2.} 5. g3 ({The most practical solution is} 5. cxd5 {but I'm not sure White anything after} cxd5 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Bf4 Bf5 8. Qb3 Na5 $1 9. Qd1 a6 10. e3 Rc8 11. Ne5 {Kamsky-Volkov, 2013.}) (5. Bf4 Bg7 6. e3 O-O 7. Nc3 c5 $1 {Despite a loss of time on c7-c6-c5, Black stands well, as was confirmed in Van Wely-Giri, 2013:} 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. Rc1 Nc6 { etc.}) 5... Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Nbd2 $2 {Call me dogmatic, but I really hate moves that stunt one's own development.} Bf5 8. Qb3 Qb6 9. O-O Rd8 10. Qa3 (10. c5 Qc7 {and Black has breaks in b7-b6 and e6-e5.}) 10... Na6 11. c5 Qb5 12. e3 Nb4 13. Qc3 a5 $15 14. a4 Qa6 15. b3 {[#]} Nd3 ({Both} 15... b6 16. cxb6 Qxb6) ({and} 15... Nd7 {also looked quite good.}) 16. Rd1 (16. Nh4 {was White's best, but won't slow Black down:} Bc8 17. Ba3 e5 $5 18. dxe5 Nxe5 19. Qxe5 $140 $2 Ne4 20. Qc7 Rd7 21. Qf4 Nxd2) 16... Ng4 ({perhaps, Magnus rejected the more natural} 16... Ne4 {on account of a possible exchange sac,} 17. Nxe4 dxe4 18. Bf1 Bg4 19. Rxd3 exd3 20. Bxd3 Qa7 $17 {I don't think White can keep Black from opening some files for his rooks. Not for long.}) 17. Rf1 Bh6 18. Nb1 e5 19. Bd2 $2 {Shak isn't the only guy whose game disappears when facing Magnus.} (19. h3 Nf6 20. Nxe5 Nxe5 21. dxe5 Ne4 22. Qd4 Bf8 23. Ba3 {with a whole lot of game still ahead.}) 19... Bg7 20. Na3 Nf6 21. Ne1 $2 (21. Nxe5 Nxe5 22. dxe5 Nd7 23. Nc2 Nxe5 24. Nd4) 21... Ne4 22. Bxe4 dxe4 23. Nxd3 exd4 24. Qb2 Qxd3 0-1

Suddenly, when the tournament seemed all sealed up, Magnus hit a snag. It all started with a brain lock at the end of the following long game.

After spacing out and losing on time against Alexander Grischuk, the world champion had trouble maintaining his equilibrium

Magnus Carlsen vs Alexander Grischuk

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "5"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A11"] [WhiteElo "2832"] [BlackElo "2761"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "171"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bf5 5. c4 e6 6. d3 dxc4 7. dxc4 Qxd1 8. Rxd1 Bc2 9. Rf1 Nbd7 10. Nc3 Bb4 11. Bd2 a5 12. a3 Bxc3 13. Bxc3 a4 14. Rac1 Be4 15. Rfd1 Ke7 16. Bf1 c5 17. Ne1 Bc6 18. f3 Rhd8 19. Nd3 b6 20. Kf2 Ne8 21. e4 Bb7 22. Ke3 Ba6 23. h4 Rac8 24. Nf4 f6 25. Rd2 Nd6 26. Nh5 Ne8 27. Rcd1 Ne5 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Rxd8 Kxd8 30. Bxe5 fxe5 31. g4 Ke7 32. Kd2 g6 33. Ng3 Nd6 34. Kc3 Nb7 35. Bd3 Na5 36. Nf1 Bc8 37. Nd2 Bd7 38. Bc2 h6 39. g5 hxg5 40. hxg5 Nb7 41. Nf1 Nd6 42. Ne3 Nf7 43. Ng4 Bc6 44. Kd2 Kd6 45. Ke3 Nxg5 46. Nf2 Nh7 47. Nd1 Nf6 48. Nc3 Nh5 49. Bxa4 Bb7 50. Bd1 Nf4 51. Be2 Ng2+ 52. Kf2 Nf4 53. Bf1 Bc6 54. b4 cxb4 55. axb4 Be8 56. Ke3 g5 57. b5 Kc7 58. Na4 Bh5 59. Be2 Ng2+ 60. Kf2 Nf4 61. Bf1 g4 62. fxg4 Bxg4 63. Ke3 Bd1 64. Nb2 Bc2 65. Bd3 {[#] Pretty level game up this point.} Bb3 (65... Bxd3 66. Nxd3 Ng6 {looks completely safe for Black.}) 66. Kd2 Kd6 $2 ({and so is this one.} 66... Nxd3 67. Kxd3 Ba2) 67. Kc3 $2 (67. Bb1 {would trap and win the black bishop.}) 67... Ba2 $11 68. Nd1 Kc5 69. Nf2 Kd6 70. Kb4 Kc7 $2 ({Just take that thing already!} 70... Nxd3+ 71. Nxd3 Bb1 72. c5+ Kc7 73. cxb6+ Kxb6 74. Nc5 Bc2 {White can never make any progress here.}) 71. Bf1 $1 Kd6 72. Nd1 (72. Kc3 Kc5 73. Nd3+ Nxd3 74. Bxd3 { Black is in Zuzwang and must give up the bishop}) 72... Bb1 73. Nf2 Kc7 (73... Bc2 74. Kc3 Ba4 $11) 74. c5 bxc5+ 75. Kxc5 Bc2 76. b6+ Kb7 77. Bb5 {New stage of this protracted battle.} Bb1 78. Bc6+ Ka6 79. b7 Ka7 80. Kd6 Kb8 81. Kxe5 Ne2 82. Kxe6 ({Sending the knight to d7 would be the way to win this.} 82. Ng4) 82... Kc7 (82... Nd4+ 83. Kd6 Nb3 84. e5 Na5 $11) 83. Bd5 Nc3 84. Ke5 Nxd5 85. exd5 Kxb7 86. d6 {And Magnus forfeited on time, something that should never happen in delay time controls. He must have forgotten about time.} 0-1

This year the Grand Chess Tour rapid and blitz games do not use increments. Instead they are emplying the Bronstein clock, also known in the U.S. as “delay”. The difference is that instead of having a few seconds added at each move and that you can accumulate if you play in less time than the increment, here the extra seconds simply give a grace period after the opponent's move before your clock starts ticking. The total time on your clock can never increase though, and at best will remain static.

In Blitz the time control is 5 minutes with a 3 second delay, which is quite generous by modern standards. Yet, while the shorter games today were of reasonably high quality, players would still get tired and begin to blunder when the games went the distance.

Magnus Carlsen vs Sergey Karjakin

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "2832"] [BlackElo "2781"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "126"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. Nb5 Na6 7. c3 O-O 8. a4 Bd7 9. Ne5 Be8 10. Bd3 Nb8 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. O-O Nc6 13. Qf3 a6 14. Nxc6 Bxc6 15. Nd4 Bd6 16. Bxd6 Qxd6 17. Qg3 Qxg3 18. hxg3 Rfc8 19. a5 Ne8 20. e4 Nd6 21. e5 Nc4 22. Bxc4 dxc4 23. g4 Be4 24. Rfe1 Bd3 25. Ra4 Rc7 26. f4 Rd8 27. Kf2 Rd5 28. Ke3 g5 29. g3 h6 30. b4 Rc8 31. Rh1 Kg7 32. Ra2 Rh8 33. Rd2 Rh7 34. Nf3 Rh8 35. Rhh2 Rhd8 36. Nd4 Rh8 37. Rh1 Rh7 38. Nf3 Rh8 39. Rhd1 Rhd8 40. Ne1 Be4 41. Rxd5 Bxd5 42. Nf3 Rh8 43. f5 h5 44. Nxg5 hxg4 {[#]} 45. Kf4 $2 {We are so used to Magnus taking advantage of his chances in the endgame.} ({It was strange not see him play} 45. Rd4 Rh1 46. fxe6 fxe6 47. Rxg4 $18) 45... Rh2 46. fxe6 fxe6 47. Ne4 Kg6 48. Rd2 Rh1 49. Nf6 Rf1+ 50. Ke3 Rf3+ 51. Kd4 Rxg3 52. Nxd5 exd5 {[#]The tables have turned big time.} 53. Kc5 $2 {Carlsen didn't react correctly.} (53. Rc2 $8 Rd3+ 54. Kc5 g3 55. Kb6 Kf5 56. Kxb7 {and White's counterplay is just in time.}) 53... Rxc3 $2 {Karjakin returns the favor.} ({ He could have landed a heavy blow with} 53... Kf5 54. Kd6 ({Black still had time to eliminate the pawns after} 54. Kb6 Rxc3 55. Kxb7 Rb3 $19) 54... Re3 55. Rf2+ Ke4 56. e6 d4 57. e7 Kd3 58. cxd4 c3 {and wins.}) 54. Re2 Rf3 55. e6 Rf8 56. e7 Re8 57. Kxd5 c3 $2 {Another twist in the plot.} (57... Kf7 58. Kd6 g3 $11) 58. Kd6 $2 (58. Ke6 g3 59. Rg2 $18) 58... g3 $11 59. Re3 g2 60. Rg3+ Kf7 61. Rf3+ Kg6 62. Rg3+ Kf7 63. Rf3+ Kg6 1/2-1/2

Clearly, Magnus was reeling, and the next round brought him another loss.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave delivered Magnus Carlsen's second loss of the day

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Magnus Carlsen

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "7"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2796"] [BlackElo "2832"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "140"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O d6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Re1 O-O 9. h3 h6 10. Nbd2 Re8 11. b4 Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6 13. Nf1 Ne7 14. Ng3 Ng6 15. d4 Qd7 16. d5 Ree8 17. a5 c6 18. c4 cxd5 19. cxd5 Rac8 20. Qd3 Rc7 21. Bd2 Rec8 22. Nf5 Rc4 23. Rac1 Rxe4 24. Rxc8+ Qxc8 25. Nxd6 Rxe1+ 26. Nxe1 Qd7 27. Ne4 Nxd5 {[#]} 28. Bxh6 $1 Bd4 29. Qc4 $4 Qc6 $4 (29... f5 {wins a piece and the game.}) 30. Qxc6 bxc6 31. Bd2 f5 32. Nd6 Nge7 33. Nf3 Ba1 34. Nb7 e4 35. Ng5 Nc7 36. Nc5 Bd4 $2 (36... Be5 37. g4 g6 38. Nge6 Nxe6 39. Nxe6 Bd6 $11) 37. Nge6 Nxe6 38. Nxe6 {Suddenly White is about to win a pawn.} Ba7 (38... c5 { would offer better drawing chances.}) 39. Nc7 Nd5 40. Nxa6 Kf7 41. Nc5 Bxc5 42. bxc5 Nc7 {[#]} 43. h4 (43. g4 fxg4 44. hxg4 Ke6 45. Kg2 Kd5 46. Kg3 Kxc5 47. Kf4 Kd5 48. Kf5 {would be a routine way to victory.}) 43... Na6 44. Be3 g6 45. g4 $2 (45. Kh2 Ke6 46. Kh3 Ke5 47. g3 $138 {would put Black in Zugswang and either force him to move the knight away from the c5-pawn or the king from supporting f5-f4.} ({Also, the direct} 47. g4 f4 48. Bd2 Nxc5 49. h5 gxh5 50. gxh5 Kf5 51. Bxf4 $1 {should get the job done.}) 47... Nb4 48. Bf4+ Kd5 49. g4) 45... fxg4 46. Kg2 Ke6 47. Kg3 Kf5 48. Bd4 Nb4 49. Kg2 Na6 50. Be3 Ke5 51. Kh2 Ke6 52. Kg3 Kf5 53. Bd4 Nb4 54. Bb2 Na6 55. Ba3 Nc7 56. Kg2 Na6 57. Kf1 Ke5 58. Ke2 Kd4 59. Bb2+ Kxc5 60. Ke3 Kd5 $2 ({releasing the knight with} 60... Kb5 { would have given Carlsen sufficient counterplay.} 61. Kf4 Nb4 62. Kg5 Nd3 63. Bd4 c5 64. Be3 c4) 61. Kf4 Nc5 62. Kxg4 Kc4 63. Ba3 Kb5 64. Bxc5 $1 {Decisive.} Kxc5 65. Kf4 Kb5 66. Kxe4 Kxa5 67. f4 c5 68. h5 gxh5 69. f5 h4 70. f6 h3 1-0

At this moment the tournament seemed wide open, but in later rounds Carlsen managed to right the ship before it capsized. His overall score of 6.0/9 allowed him to keep his lead, although Nakamura, who was the top blitz scorer with 7.0/9 today, was able to bridge the gap.

It won't have much impact on the overall results, but to me the story of the day was the sudden and much-awaited resurgence of Fabiano Caruana. He did it by simply letting his game flow, instead of over-thinking which had plagued him throughout the rapid part. Suddenly, it was his opponents who began to make mistakes.

Fabiano Caruana vs Sergey Karjakin

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "2"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A30"] [WhiteElo "2782"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. O-O e5 5. c4 d5 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Qa4 Nb6 8. Qc2 Be7 9. b3 Be6 10. Bb2 f6 11. d3 Rc8 12. Nbd2 Nd4 13. Qd1 Qd7 14. e3 Nxf3+ 15. Nxf3 O-O 16. Qe2 Bd5 17. Rfd1 Rfd8 18. Rac1 Bf8 19. h4 a5 20. Bc3 Ra8 21. Rb1 Qc6 22. h5 Nc8 23. Rbc1 Qe6 24. e4 Bc6 25. Nh4 Nd6 26. f4 Nb5 27. Ba1 a4 28. Nf5 axb3 29. axb3 Nd4 30. Bxd4 exd4 31. Qc2 Ra3 32. Bh3 Qf7 33. Qc4 b5 34. Qxf7+ Kxf7 35. b4 Rc3 36. Ra1 cxb4 {[#]} 37. Ra7+ Kg8 38. h6 $1 gxh6 39. e5 fxe5 40. fxe5 Bd5 $2 {An unnecessary precaution.} ({There was no need to slow down:} 40... b3 41. e6 b2 42. e7 Bxe7 43. Nxe7+ Kh8 44. Nxc6 Rxc6 45. Ra2 Rc1 $19) 41. e6 Re8 $2 (41... Bxe6 {wouldn't lose a piece because of} 42. Ne7+ Kh8 43. Bxe6 Re8 $1 {albeit White can save the draw with} 44. Nd5 Rxe6 45. Ra8 Kg7 46. Ra7+ Kg8 47. Rf1 {etc.}) 42. e7 Bg7 43. Nd6 $18 Bf7 44. Nxe8 Bxe8 45. Be6+ Kh8 46. Ra8 1-0

Fabiano was even able to slow down MVL's own surge, albeit with a bit of luck again. Hey, no shame in that. Fabiano had given away a lot in the rapid – what goes around comes around.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Fabiano Caruana

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "3"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2796"] [BlackElo "2808"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "106"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. exd5 Qxd5 7. Nb5 Qd8 8. Bd3 a6 9. Nc3 Nc6 10. O-O Ne5 11. Be2 b5 12. Nf3 Qxd1 13. Rxd1 Nc6 14. Bf4 Bb7 15. a3 Bc5 16. b4 Be7 17. Ne5 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 O-O 19. a4 bxa4 20. Nxa4 Nd5 21. c4 Nxb4 22. Rd7 Be4 23. Rxe7 Nc6 24. Bd6 Nxe7 25. Bxe7 Rfb8 26. c5 Rb3 27. f3 Bc6 28. Nb6 Ra7 29. Bd6 a5 30. Bd1 Rb4 {[#] Maxime had played a really good game up to this point.} 31. Ba4 $2 ({Hard to believe he missed} 31. Nc8 $18 { followed by Ne7+}) 31... Bxa4 32. Rxa4 $2 {This move conrtadicts one fo the basic rules of this material configuration - White must keep his remaining rook on the board.} f6 33. Kf2 Kf7 34. Ke3 e5 35. Rxb4 axb4 36. c6 (36. Kd3 Ke6 37. Kc4 Ra2 {I'm not sure White can win this game any more.}) 36... b3 $1 37. Kd3 Ra1 38. Nc4 ({On} 38. Ba3 {Black has} Rxa3 39. c7 b2+ 40. Kc2 Rc3+ 41. Kxc3 b1=Q {[#] and here White must find the incredible} 42. Nc4 $3 {just to save a draw.} (42. c8=Q Qxb6 43. Qd7+ Kf8 44. Qc8+ Ke7 $17)) 38... Ra6 39. c7 Rc6 $2 ( 39... b2 40. c8=Q b1=Q+ {and it's Black who's playing for a win.}) 40. f4 $2 ({ They both missed} 40. Bxe5 {which forces} b2 41. Bxb2 Rxc7 42. f4 $16) 40... b2 $19 41. Nxb2 Rxd6+ 42. Ke4 Rc6 43. fxe5 Rxc7 44. Nd3 Rc2 45. exf6 Rxg2 46. fxg7 Rxh2 47. Nf4 Kxg7 48. Kf5 Ra2 49. Ne6+ Kh6 50. Nf4 Ra5+ 51. Kf6 Rg5 52. Ne6 Rg6+ 53. Kf5 Rxe6 0-1

Caruana's incredible comeback could have been even better, had he found just one move in the following game.

Both Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura have been exchanging streaks in standard chess, but in blitz, Nakamura has a clear edge

Fabiano Caruana vs Hikaru Nakamura

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "4"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2808"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "108"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Be6 7. Nb3 Bb6 8. Qe2 Qe7 9. Bd2 a5 10. Bc3 Nd7 11. d4 a4 12. Nbd2 a3 13. b3 exd4 14. Bxd4 O-O 15. O-O Ba5 16. Rad1 Rad8 17. Qe3 Bg4 18. Nc4 Bb4 19. h3 Bh5 20. Qf4 Rfe8 21. c3 Bd6 22. e5 Bc5 23. g4 Bg6 24. Ne3 Bxd4 25. Rxd4 f6 26. exf6 Qxf6 27. Qg3 Nc5 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Qxc7 Rf8 30. Nd4 Bd3 31. Nef5 Bxf1 32. Kxf1 h6 33. h4 Re8 34. Kg2 Kh7 35. b4 Ne4 36. Qd7 Rd8 37. Qxb7 Nxc3 38. Ne6 Rg8 39. Qxc6 {[#] Big time scramble.} Qe5 $2 (39... Ne2 40. Nxh6 Nf4+ 41. Kg1 Nxe6 42. Nxg8 Qa1+ 43. Kg2 Qxa2 $1 {Down two pawns, Black nevertheless stands better} 44. Ne7 Nf4+ 45. Kg3 Ne2+ 46. Kg2 Qe6 $1) 40. Nc5 $4 ({Look what Fabiano had:} 40. Ne7 $1 $18 Re8 41. Ng5+ hxg5 42. Qg6+ Kh8 43. Qh5#) 40... Qd5+ 41. Qxd5 Nxd5 {Black should win this endgame.} 42. b5 Rb8 (42... Rc8 43. Nb3 Rc2 $19) 43. Nd4 Nc3 44. Na6 Rb6 45. Nb4 Nxb5 46. Nxb5 Rxb5 47. Nc2 Ra5 48. f4 h5 49. Kf3 hxg4+ 50. Kxg4 Kg6 51. Nd4 Kf6 52. h5 Rc5 53. Kf3 Rc1 54. Nb5 Rc2 0-1

At the end of the day, the best score belonged to Hikaru Nakamura, and deservingly so. Hikaru survived a 107-move battle with Magnus, and went through nine games without a single loss. Many of his games are worth mentioning, but I like this one the most.

Magnus Carlsen laid on the pressure against his neared rival, Hikaru Nakamura, but was unable to break him

Hikaru Nakamura vs Sergey Karjakin

[Event "Paris GCT 2017 Blitz"] [Site "Paris"] [Date "2017.06.24"] [Round "9"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E14"] [WhiteElo "2785"] [BlackElo "2781"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "123"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "blitz"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. e3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. b3 Be7 5. Bb2 O-O 6. d4 b6 7. Bd3 Bb7 8. O-O Nbd7 9. Nbd2 c5 10. Rc1 Rc8 11. Qe2 cxd4 12. Nxd4 dxc4 13. Nxc4 Rc5 14. Rfd1 Qa8 15. f3 Re8 16. Ba3 Rxc4 17. Rxc4 Bxa3 18. Nb5 Bd5 19. Ra4 Bc5 20. Nc7 Qb8 21. Nxe8 Nxe8 22. Bb5 Ndf6 23. Kh1 g6 24. e4 Bb7 25. b4 Bd6 26. g3 Be5 27. Ba6 Kg7 28. Bxb7 Qxb7 29. b5 Qb8 30. Rc4 Bd6 31. Rc6 Bc5 32. Qb2 e5 33. Kg2 h5 34. h4 Kg8 35. Qd2 Bd4 36. Qb4 Qb7 37. Qc4 Kg7 38. a4 Qe7 39. Rxd4 exd4 40. Qxd4 Qd7 41. Qc3 Qd1 42. Qc2 Qd4 43. Rc4 Qa1 44. Qd2 Nd6 45. Rc1 Qe5 46. Qc3 Qxc3 $2 {A huge error. Black should keep the queens on no matter the cost.} (46... Qe6 {with the idea of} 47. e5 $2 Nd5 48. Qd2 Nf5 $19) 47. Rxc3 Nfe8 {[#]} 48. e5 $1 Nb7 49. Rc8 Kf8 50. Ra8 Na5 51. Rxa7 Nc4 52. f4 Ng7 53. a5 $1 bxa5 54. Rc7 Ne3+ 55. Kf3 Nd5 56. Rc5 Nb6 57. Rc6 Nd7 58. b6 Ne6 59. Rc8+ Ke7 60. b7 Nd4+ 61. Kf2 a4 62. Rc7 1-0

Hikaru Nakamura does a quick consultation with Maurice Ashley to know what the standings are

Going into the last day of competition, Carlsen still stands alone in the lead with the combined score of 20 points, although his lead over Nakamura is down to the precarious one point only. 17.5 points for Grischuk (failed to impress today) and 17.0 for Vachier-Lagrave, who both retain an outside chance to win it all.

It was a disappointing day for Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who had started with the same score as Hikaru Nakamura

A very disappointing day for Mamedyarov, who dropped out of contention for top places, and worse yet for Wesley So, who only managed three draws, repeating Caruana's dreadful performance in the rapid. Still, they have nine games left in which to redeem themselves.

Final Rapid standings

(click for full-size)

Blitz standings after nine rounds (of eighteen)

(click for full-size)

Combined standings after Day 4

Links

You can use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.



Yermo is enjoying his fifties. Lives in South Dakota, 600 miles way from the nearest grandmaster. Between his chess work online he plays snooker and spends time outdoors - happy as a clam.
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FernandoG FernandoG 6/26/2017 06:26
How you Grischuk win the game on time if he didnt have material to check mate?
Malcom Malcom 6/25/2017 03:50
Amator... what is this a soap opera!? Grow up, this is a CHESS site!
Amat0r Amat0r 6/25/2017 03:30
I hear "Carlsen playing badly, because he has a girlfriend". And somehow I see no info who is this girl. And no pic. Pic or it did not happened? Hehe. Anybody knows something ? Picture or name ? Or both?
fons fons 6/25/2017 12:19
Really getting annoyed with the US commentary from Saint Louis.

Watched 5 minutes from the first blitz game and they mentioned smooth this, smooth that about 3, 4 times in the span of a few minutes. Give it a rest already, jesus christ. Had to stop watching, just too annoying. Ashley acted like a passive aggressive ... and he got called out on it.

I'm done with those guys, don't like the way they cover events anyway.
ConwyCastle ConwyCastle 6/25/2017 10:52
In the cross-tables you have the players' standard ratings, rather than their blitz and rapid ratings.
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