GCT Zagreb: Round 11

by ChessBase
7/7/2019 – We saw history in the making, as Magnus Carlsen won his eighth tournament in a row at the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb. The world champion defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from the white side of a Grüenfeld to finish in clear first place a full point ahead of his closest pursuer with a 'plus five' score. Carlsen's official rating in August will equal his own peak rating of 2882 points — the highest ever achieved. Wesley So finished in sole second place. Express report. | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour

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Hats off to the champ

We can already talk of a perfect semester, but it remains to be seen how far Magnus Carlsen can go during the second half of a mind-boggling 2019. The Norwegian won his eighth tournament in a row in Zagreb, where his 8 out of 11 score left him a full point ahead of second-placed Wesley So. Not only did he score five wins with no losses (his undefeated streak has reached 79 games, in fact) but he also missed a couple of winning chances in the meantime. 

In the post-tournament interview, Carlsen talked about how he had never had a chance to show his strength at a lengthy elite event, with most first-class competitions lasting nine rounds. His commanding performance added 9.7 points to his rating, which means he will reach the 2882 mark in the next official list, the highest-ever published rating in history (his own). The world champion also gained 20 GCT points and $90,000 in prize money.

Besides the Norwegian's victory, one more game finished decisively in round eleven — Anish Giri showed better preparation than Ian Nepomniachtchi to get a closing win in Zagreb with the black pieces.

Replay the games with engine comments and evaluations. Full report will follow shortly. 

Results of Round 11
Final standings

Click or tap any result to open the game via Live.ChessBase.com

Games and commentary 

Players have 130 minutes for the entire game, with a 30-second delay (not increment) from move one.


Live commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan, IM Jovanka Houska and GM Alejandro Ramirez

Classical chess joins the 2019 tour

Following the rapid and blitz tournament in Côte d'Ivoire, the Grand Chess Tour continues today with a classical round-robin. Twelve of the world's best chess players come together in Zagreb to play the second of a total of eight tournaments in this series, including the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen, his predecessor Viswanathan Anand and the last two challengers Sergey Karjakin and Fabiano Caruana. The other eight players are of course the crème de la crème of the chess world as well.

Round reports

  1. A red-hot start
  2. A second win for Nepomniachtchi
  3. Three out of three for Nepomniachtchi
  4. A fighting round
  5. Ding Liren beats Giri
  6. Carlsen and So catch up with Nepomniachtchi
  7. Carlsen grabs the lead
  8. Carlsen's impressive year continues
  9. Top-notch draws
  10. Playing it safe

Pairings and Results

Games each day, June 26th to July 7th at 16:30 CEST (14:30 UT / 10:30 AM EDT).
Tuesday July 2nd is the lone rest day. In case of a tie for first place, a rapid and, if necessary, blitz playoff will be held on July 8th.

Round 1 - Wednesday, June 26th
Round 2 - Thursday, June 27th
Round 3 - Friday, June 28th
Round 4 - Saturday, June 29th
Round 5 - Sunday, June 30th
Round 6 - Monday, July 1st
Round 7 - Wednesday, July 3rd
Round 8 - Thursday, July 4th
Round 9 - Friday, July 5th
Round 10 - Saturday, July 6th
Round 11 - Sunday, July 7th

The players


Preview via the Saint Louis Chess Club on YouTube

Start of the GCT in Croatia

The goal of the tour is to collect the most GTC points and of course a lot of prize money along the way. In Zagreb the prize fund is USD $325,000.

The opening ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 25th, at the Mimara Museum. The tournament will be played in the historic Novinarski Dom building, the seat of the Croatian Journalists' Association.

 Perkovčeva ul. 2, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was in attendance, as was Garry Kasparov who, when the need arose to leave his native Russia as a result of his political activism against the government of Vladimir Putin, was granted Croatian citizenship in 2014, where he owns a house, although he primarily resides in New York.

Magnus Carlsen participated in a training session at Kasparov's Croatian home in 2009. Ten years later, he's back as World Champion currently in the best form of his life.

Carlsen currently leads the tour after one event with 13 points followed by Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in joint second with 9 points.

GCT standings

GCT standings following the first event

group photo

Group photo with the players (click or tap to enlarge)

Carlsen interviewed

Magnus Carlsen sits for a pre-tournament interview


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luixov luixov 7/31/2019 07:55
Quem poderá superar a mente de CArlsen,Magnus atualmente ?
Não vejo ninguém.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 7/8/2019 02:23
Wow, Naka finished dead last. I almost have to feel sorry for the guy. That is, until I remember him claiming to be the only "threat to Magnus". LMAOO
Thesandman Thesandman 7/8/2019 02:04
Magnus = G.O.A.T.
Queenslander Queenslander 7/8/2019 12:15
Great quote ... on besting Carlsen: "Eventually Magnus will be very old" Anish Giri
Jayarama Iyer Jayarama Iyer 7/6/2019 02:17
What a timing to request Chessbase for mention of Vishy! You win Chessbase!!
Karma is a botch! My timing, my mistake!
Jayarama Iyer Jayarama Iyer 7/5/2019 09:23
I created my account and see more visibility. Like Vishy's current ongoing game.
I love this German's site of covering chess topics (otherwise) though.
Jayarama Iyer Jayarama Iyer 7/5/2019 09:20
Dear Chessbase,

As a Vishy fan, can I please request you to cover him also, even if occasionaly? I see scare mention of him or his pictures and there are 1.3 BILLION Vishy fans in India (as a matter of speaking) and others outside India, like moi!

I think there was only one mention of him since the Croatia grand chess tour started (not counting his mention in the cross tables) and fairness (and my bias towards him as a fan) made me create this account and make this request. Please consider it favorably.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 7/5/2019 03:11
"There's something nice about being positionally worse out of the opening...You don't have to worry about making concessions, because you've already made concessions."
This is true. He is not saying that he is not worse, he is saying that there are some pluses even in a worse position.
sedarpl sedarpl 7/5/2019 12:02
Liren vs Carlsen.. OMG, what a stunning game!! Magnus plays like a 3000 elo engine :))
truthadjustr truthadjustr 7/4/2019 04:36
A chess world champion needs to be well-rounded and balanced. This is Magnus Carlsen. Nepo had it strong from the start, but in the long run ... balance is superior than all else.
Keshava Keshava 7/4/2019 12:49
@besler, with all due respect I think that idea is nonsense. Statistically, players who are "positionally worse out of the opening" will score less than those who are positionally better out of the opening. Fischer was another great player who would sometimes spout nonsense.
besler besler 7/3/2019 07:35
"There's something nice about being positionally worse out of the opening...You don't have to worry about making concessions, because you've already made concessions." At first glance, it sounds ludicrous and paradoxical, but that's actually an incredibly insightful observation about chess made by the world champion!
KungFuChess KungFuChess 7/2/2019 04:38
@melante I understand the attractiveness of some mix of variants but I concur. The funding seems to have dictated the game's biggest stars will follow the format we're seeing for the foreseeable future. I'm afraid a third or more of tournaments going forward may well be non classical chess (if not more as time goes on) and of those including classical an 'unhealthy' dose of variants either mixed in or used as tiebreakers following experimental solutions to the so called draw problem. It would appear this is an unavoidable 'sign of the times'.
melante melante 7/2/2019 03:15
Finally a good, exciting tournament. No need for armageddons, apocalypses or any other silly gimmicks!
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 6/30/2019 04:36
You want chess to break through TVs?. These classical, rapid, blitlz are good so far as internet but not good for TVs screens to see. too long classical, too short for blitz, still long for rapid. For TVs, chess must be.something which TV audience can follow with their eyes, not too long, not too short. Here is a proposal, take it or leave it: Make the time, pegged at 1 mnute per move.per player!!!!.
Vojvodic0421 Vojvodic0421 6/27/2019 10:09
This is 2nd time in recent month or two that Carlsen let Vishy of the hook
Aighearach Aighearach 6/27/2019 09:53
Looks like the computer settings aren't quite deep enough to handle Carlsen-Anand lol
White moves and it is nearly +4 but black moves and it is under +2.

Yeah, not. You don't see that as often as you used to, that's for sure. I remember 20 years ago, even I could make a rare move that confused the computer.
Queenslander Queenslander 6/26/2019 11:44
Ah ... proper chess instead of the Mickey Mouse stuff! This will give Nakamura another chance to prove that he is the 'greatest threat' to Carlsen.