Airthings Masters, Day 2: Six leaders, lots of draws

by Johannes Fischer
12/27/2020 – The Airthings Masters starts with a 12-player round robin preliminary tournament, in which the eight best players qualify for the knock-out stage. This mode of play invites caution, and on day 2 of the prelimary tournament only three of the 24 games were decided. Now, after eight rounds no less than six players share the lead with 4.5/8, and though tailenders Anish Giri and David Anton will need a strong finish on day 3, theoretically all twelve players can still qualify for the knock-out stage. The most entertaining player on day 2 was Daniil Dubov (pictured). | Photo: Lennart Ootes (Archive)

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Airthings Masters, Day 2

Round 5

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

In round 5 Dubov played with Black against Magnus Carlsen who was eager to win a game after starting day 1 with four draws. After an interesting opening and a lively middlegame Carlsen managed to reach an endgame with a pawn up, which, however, was hard to win. But with his fine technique Carlsen managed to pose Dubov problem after problem and in the end Dubov cracked and lost.

 

With 1.0/4 Anish Giri had a disastrous day 1 and on day 2 he was determined to do better - which he showed in his energetic and fine win against Pentala Harikrishna.

 

The other four games of the round were all drawn, after more or less fighting. Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So played the shortest and quickest game of the round by following a well-known line of the Berlin that leads to a repetition.

 

Round 6

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

But in round 6 Giri suffered another setback by losing directly out of the opening against Dubov.

 

The other games of the round all ended in a draw. In fact, this was the last win of day 2 - the remaining twelve games in round 7 and 8 all ended peacefully.

Round 7

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

Round 8

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

But despite the high number of draws, some of the games were still interesting, e.g. the theoretical duel between David Anton and Alexander Grischuk.

 

The game between Carlsen and Giri was also interesting. After all, these two enjoy a long-standing rivalry that both like to keep alive on Twitter. In this game Giri had no problems with Black but missed a chance to put Carlsen under more pressure.

 

After eight of eleven rounds six players share the lead with 4½/8 each but all twelve players can still hope to qualify for the knock-out stage. This might lead to an exciting day three, and though only 18 games will be played, the number of wins will be probably higher than on day 2.

Standings after round 8

 

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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