Paris: Nakamura and Carlsen dominate

by Johannes Fischer
6/11/2016 – After the first day of the blitz tournament Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen continue to dominate the field. After 9 of 18 rounds Carlsen leads with 7.0/9, Nakamura follows with 6.5/9. But in the table with the combined results of rapid and blitz Nakamura is half a point ahead of Carlsen. He even could have had a dominating lead had he not lost a better position against Carlsen in the last round of the day.

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Rapid and blitz, these are the two time-limits at the Grand Chess Tour in Paris. But in the end the two disciplines are combined to establish an overall winner. However, the rapid games count more: winning a rapid game brings two points and a draw is rewarded with one point. The blitz games count half as much: one point for a win, half-a-point for a draw. But because the blitz tournament goes over 18 rounds while the rapid had only nine rounds the same number of points are awarded in both disciplines.

Hikaru Nakamura, the winner of the rapid tournament

Nakamura  began the blitz tournament with one win and three draws but then turned up the heat, and after eight rounds he was leading the field with 6.5/8.

Magnus Carlsen was the only one who could keep pace. After eight rounds he
had 6.0/8 and was half-a-point behind Nakamura.

The other players gradually fell behind.

Wesley So finished the first half of the blitz tournament with 3.0/9

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave scored 4.5/9...

... as did Vladimir Kramnik, who here takes up some easier opponents...

... and Anish Giri.

Things were really hard for Laurent Fressinet: the French player finished the day with 2.0/9

Veselin Topalov scored 2.5/9, Fabiano Caruana 5.5/9

In the ninth round Carlsen and Nakamura finally met and a dramatic fight ensued:


Magnus Carlsen

Hikaru Nakamura

A brutal loss for Nakamura. If he had managed to convert his advantage into a win he would have scored 7.5/9 in the first half of the blitz tournament, 1.5 more than Carlsen would have had, and then Nakamura would have been clear favorite to win the rapid, the blitz and the overall tournament. But now Carlsen won the first half of the blitz and Nakamura is only half a point ahead of Carlsen in the table combining blitz and rapid.

Standings after day three of the Grand Chess Tour Paris

Blitz games rounds 1 to 9


Games of the rapid tournament


Ratings refer to ratings in classcial chess

Photos: Grand Chess Tour

Tournament page Grand Chess Tour...

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Tournament page Paris...

Tournament page Bruxelles...


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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DJones DJones 6/12/2016 06:18
Nakamura wins. Carlsen melts down completely. I was totally right. Next time listen to wisdom of the underdog sensei.
hserusk hserusk 6/12/2016 12:20
Nice grand tour. Blitz chess is the real chess!
Way to go.
akhilcr666 akhilcr666 6/12/2016 11:33
missing vishy"!!!
vladivaclav vladivaclav 6/12/2016 10:39
obviously nakamura is stronger at fast time then the rest of a field. why then didn't he play recent handicap matches vs computers at time controls under 5 minutes?
ledgar ledgar 6/12/2016 09:01
I agree with TMMM, Nakamura was lucky in many games : he was lost against Topalov, Caruana, Aronian. Carlsen games are more fluid.
MJFitch MJFitch 6/12/2016 05:54
DJones DJones 6/12/2016 05:52
No he wont. Life favors the fighter. Carlsen has no adversity and Nakamura has always been small, the little brother, the victim, his worm will turn. His name means. Inner Light. That light will shine greater than the Magnus starting in 6 hours.
chessstudent007 chessstudent007 6/12/2016 04:16
Luck favors the brave. Magnus “Calm”sen will win the tournament.
TMMM TMMM 6/12/2016 03:03
I suppose you are a Nakamura fan and you are allowed to be, but you're clearly not objective.

Against Caruana, Topalov, and Nakamura the position had hovered around +/-1 for a while, but the position was complicated and not easy to convert. If you claim that is "losing" then Carlsen should also have beaten MVL for instance, and Nakamura should have lost to MVL and Aronian having similar bad positions. And Nakamura was completely busted against Topalov, and got a full free point on a technicality.

If you put the threshold of "winning" at +2 or +2.5, then Carlsen's score of 7/9 is justified while Nakamura should have had 5.5/9.

And Carlsen was undefeated in the rapid as well, except for losing on time in a winning position against So. Nakamura's luck will run out eventually, and Carlsen will stop losing on time.
DJones DJones 6/12/2016 12:14
TMMM showing your bias.

Carlsen got lucky in lost positions to:

Caruana, Topalov, Nakamura and one other that slips my mind in just the first 9 rounds of the blitz.

There is no luck in chess. It's a perfect information game with defined rules and that is that. Were you saying the same thing when Aronian claimed touch move in Candidates and won because of it when the alternative move led to a technical draw? Probably not. Anyway Tomorrow Nakamura will play at least as well as today and win his 4th event of the year, this time with Carlsen in the field.

He can own Nakamura as much as he wants (Nakamura drew him with blank and won the rapid undefeated fyi) but it won't change the outcome of this event.
tom_70 tom_70 6/11/2016 11:59

You are correct.
Rinzou Wilkerson Rinzou Wilkerson 6/11/2016 11:32
Carlsen owns Naka
hserusk hserusk 6/11/2016 11:00
Nice circus
TMMM TMMM 6/11/2016 10:44
"Brutal loss" for Nakamura, but he also got extremely lucky against Topalov in the blitz (illegal move for Topalov in a winning position) while Carlsen was extremely unlucky with a loss on time in the rapid against So in a winning position. Overall Carlsen has had more winning positions than Nakamura, so Nakamura should be happy he is leading at all...