Airthings Masters, Day 1: Five players share the lead, Carlsen starts with four draws

by Johannes Fischer
12/26/2020 – The first day of the Airthings Masters was rather peaceful: 17 of the 24 games ended in draw, only seven had a decisive result. Magnus Carlsen also finished the day without a win and drew all his four games. After the first four rounds five players share first place with 2½/4 each: Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Teimour Radjabov, and Daniil Dubov. They all won one game and drew the other three. | Photo: Lennart Ootes (Archive)

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Airthings Masters, Day 1

The Airthings Masters starts with a preliminary round robin tournament, in which the eight best players qualify for the knock-out stage. This may explain why the players were rather careful on day 1 – after all, finishing among the first eight is more important than half a point more or less.

Round 1

Name Elo Result Name Elo
Daniil Dubov 2699 ½ - ½ Teimour Radjabov 2765
David Anton Guijarro 2681 ½ - ½ Wesley So 2770
Magnus Carlsen 2863 ½ - ½ Levon Aronian 2767
Anish Giri 2764 ½ - ½ Ian Nepomniachtchi 2784
Alexander Grischuk 2777 0 - 1 Hikaru Nakamura 2736
Pentala Harikrishna 2732 ½ - ½ Maxime Vachier Lagrave 2784

The only winner in round 1 was Hikaru Nakamura who defeated Alexander Grischuk with Black in a theoretically interesting game.

 

The rapid games of the world's best players often have an astonishingly high quality, but occasionally they are also marred by grave mistakes. In round 1 Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian both suffered from a mutual and sudden attack of chess blindness (or Amaurosis scachistica, as Dr. Tarrasch, a medical practitioner by profession, called it): 

 

In this position Aronian, who had less than a minute on the clock, played 42...Rd4??, which throws the game away. Immediately after making his move, Aronian realized what he had done but Carlsen missed his chance to win the game and returned the compliment. 43.f4+! wins immediately but Carlsen played 43.Rxd4?? and after Kxd4 44.Rb3 Rh2+ 45.Kb1 Rh3 46.Ka2 Kc4 47.Rc3+ Kb5 48.Kb3 d4 49.Rd3 Kc5 50.Kc2 Rg3 51.a4 Rg2+ 52.Rd2 Rg3 53.Rf2 Kb4 54.b3 g4 55.fxg4 d3+ 56.Kd2 Rxg4 57.Kxd3 Rg3+ 58.Kc2 Rc3+ 59.Kb1 Rxb3+ 60.Rb2 Rxb2+ 61.Kxb2 Kxa4 the game ended in a draw. ½–½

Round 2

Name Elo Result Name Elo
Maxime Vachier Lagrave 2784 ½ - ½ Hikaru Nakamura 2736
Ian Nepomniachtchi 2784 0 - 1 Alexander Grischuk 2777
Levon Aronian 2767 1 - 0 Anish Giri 2764
Wesley So 2770 ½ - ½ Magnus Carlsen 2863
Teimour Radjabov 2765 1 - 0 David Anton Guijarro 2681
Pentala Harikrishna 2732 ½ - ½ Daniil Dubov 2699

His lucky escape in round 1 might have inspired Aronian and in round 2 he won a fine game against Anish Giri. After the opening Aronian was in trouble but in a complicated and double-edged position he then made better use of his chances.

 

Round 3

Name Elo Result Name Elo
Daniil Dubov 2699 ½ - ½ Maxime Vachier Lagrave 2784
David Anton Guijarro 2681 ½ - ½ Pentala Harikrishna 2732
Magnus Carlsen 2863 ½ - ½ Teimour Radjabov 2765
Anish Giri 2764 0 - 1 Wesley So 2770
Alexander Grischuk 2777 ½ - ½ Levon Aronian 2767
Hikaru Nakamura 2736 ½ - ½ Ian Nepomniachtchi 2784

After the defeat against Aronian in round 2 Giri suffered another setback in round 3 when he fell victim to a textbook attack by Wesley So.

 

Round 4

Name Elo Result Name Elo
Maxime Vachier Lagrave 2784 0 - 1 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2784
Levon Aronian 2767 ½ - ½ Hikaru Nakamura 2736
Wesley So 2770 ½ - ½ Alexander Grischuk 2777
Teimour Radjabov 2765 ½ - ½ Anish Giri 2764
Pentala Harikrishna 2732 ½ - ½ Magnus Carlsen 2863
Daniil Dubov 2699 1 - 0 David Anton Guijarro 2681

Daniil Dubov started the tournament with three draws but in round 4 he played a typical Dubov-game:

 

After day 1 of the Airthings Masters five players share the lead but as there are still seven rounds to play, nothing is decided yet, and all twelve players can still qualify for the knock-out stage. 

Standings after round 4

 

Games

 

Links


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".

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