GCT Superbet Day 1: Anish Giri takes the early lead

by Johannes Fischer
11/7/2019 – Anish Giri started well among ten world-class players, at the Superbet Rapid Tournament of the Grand Chess Tour in Bucharest: He is in the lead after the first three rapid games with 2½ out of 3, half a point behind them are Vishy Anand, Anton Korobov and Levon Aronian on positions two to four. | Photos: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

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Rapid, Day 1

The Grand Chess Tour pits ten of the star chess players in the world contesting rapid and blitz chess in Bucharest, but the star of the opening event was tennis legend Boris Becker. Becker is a chess aficionado the Stejarii Country Club owned — the tournament venue— is owned by Ion Tiriac, Becker's former manager.

The tennis start was invited to play against US number one, Fabiano Caruana and as his "serve" he tried an early queen sortie with 1.e4 e5 2.♕h5?!

Boris Becker in the fight against Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour


After this light prelude, on Wednesday, November 6th the serious chess began with three rounds of rapid chess (25 + 10). Against his peers Caruana had to settle for 50%, ending the day with 1½ points from 3 games.

Fabiano Caruana | Foto: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

The player with the best start to the tournament was Anish Giri. He scored 2½ out of 3 and ended Day 1 as the sole leader.

In the first round, Giri beat Wesley So, the newly crowned World Champion in Chess960, in a minor piece endgame:


Giri searches for a way to win | Photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

His feeling for dynamism proved an asset for Giri in round 3: He outplayed Sergey Karjakin with black in a Najdorf to grab the tournament lead.


Standings after three rounds


All games of Rounds 1-3


On Thursday, November 7th, and Friday, November 8th, three more rapid chess games (4 to 6 and 7 to 9) will follow, with nine blitz games each day set for Saturday and Sunday. Each day's play begins at 13:00 UTC (14:00 CET, 8:00 EDT).

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


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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