Grenke Classic: Rapport widens the gap after eventful pair of rounds

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
3/27/2024 – Two rounds featuring turnarounds and missed chances left Richard Rapport atop the standings of the Grenke Chess Classic with a 1-point lead over Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Vincent Keymer. Rapport drew Keymer and beat Daniel Fridman in rounds 3 and 4, while both Carlsen and Keymer obtained big advantages which they were unable to convert into full points. The marquee matchup of the day saw Ding holding a draw with black against Carlsen. | Photo: Angelika Valkova

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Turnarounds, missed chances

A “fast-classical” time control is in place at the Grenke Chess Classic in Karlsruhe, with 45 minutes for the game and 10-second increments per move. After four rounds of play, it is apparent that this format allows both for interesting theoretical battles and tense-filled tactical sequences (which might lead to game-losing blunders). Naturally, it also tends to deprive us of accurate endgame play or long, intricate middlegames.

Rounds 3 and 4 of the event featured three major turnarounds.

  • Daniel Fridman survived a clearly losing position before turning the tables and beating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in round 3.
  • Vincent Keymer misplayed a winning pawn endgame and thus failed to convert his clear advantage against world champion Ding Liren in round 4.
  • Magnus Carlsen had an extra piece against Vachier-Lagrave, but a single misstep with his knight gave away his advantage, and the round-4 game ended in a draw.

The one player who has managed to avoid making big mistakes is, consequently, the sole leader: Richard Rapport. The Romanian representative scored 1½ out of 2 on each of the first two days of action and now has a 1-point lead over Carlsen, Ding and Keymer.

On Wednesday, Rapport played with the white pieces twice. First, he drew Keymer after getting a slight edge in the middlegame. Then, he took advantage of an early blunder by Fridman to get a 25-move victory.

Vachier-Lagrave 0 - 1 Fridman

Analysis by Johannes Fischer

Daniel Fridman

Daniel Fridman | Photo: Angelika Valkova

Carlsen ½ - ½ Vachier-Lagrave

Analysis by Johannes Fischer

Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave | Photo: Angelika Valkova

Rapport 1 - 0 Fridman

Analysis by Johannes Fischer

Richard Rapport

Sole leader Richard Rapport facing Ding Liren on Tuesday | Photo: Angelika Valkova

Ding ½ - ½ Keymer

Analysis by Johannes Fischer

Standings after round 4

All games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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