World Rapid: Carlsen, Fedoseev and Yu co-leaders

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
12/28/2023 – Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Fedoseev and Yu Yangyi are sharing the lead in the open section of the World Rapid Championship after nine rounds. Carlsen and Fedoseev could have gone into the third and final day of action a half point ahead of Yu had them converted superior endgame positions in round 9. In the women’s tournament, Anastasia Bodnaruk climbed to sole first place after scoring 3½/4 points on Wednesday. | Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

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Carlsen and Fedoseev falter at the end

Three experienced grandmasters are sharing the lead after two days of action in the open section of the World Rapid Chess Championship. Magnus Carlsen and Yu Yangyi, who both finished day 1 sharing the lead, are now joined by Vladimir Fedoseev atop the standings. Fedoseev scored 3½/4 points on Wednesday.

Curiously, both Fedoseev and Carlsen could have ended the day with an extra half point, had they made the most of superior endgame positions. In the case of Fedoseev, what prevented him from grabbing a perfect 4/4 was a mistaken king move in his round-9 game against Yu.

White is clearly winning here, as Black has no way to deal with the pin along the eighth rank in the long run. To keep the advantage, though, Fedoseev needed to continue protecting his pawn on f5 with 60.Kf4 — if Yu continues checking from behind, the king will simply approach the rook, which needs to keep an eye on the e8-knight.

A sample line is 60...Re2 61.Kf3 Re1 62.Kf2 Re7 63.Ra8, and Black is in zugzwang, since the rook is out of squares on the e-file!

Placing the rook on e5 fails to Nd7+, with a fork, so Black is forced to enter the line 63...gxf5 64.Nxh5, and the h-pawn will win the game for White.

None of this was seen on the board, though, as instead of employing this method to convert his advantage, Fedoseev apparently saw ghosts and played 60.Kd4 in the first diagrammed position. Yu captured the pawn on f5 and eventually escaped with a draw, keeping his undefeated score and his spot atop the standings.

Vladimir Fedoseev, Yu Yangyi

Magnus Carlsen following the final stages of the game between Vladimir Fedoseev and Yu Yangyi | Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

Carlsen, on his part, was visibly upset when he realized he had played the wrong knight jump in his game with white against Vincent Keymer.

Here 43.Nf5 gains a tempo and prevents Black from getting the counterplay he got in the game. After 43.Nd5, Keymer quickly and correctly replied by 43...f5, gaining space and opening lines for his long-range minor piece.

The German prodigy found a couple more precise moves to completely equalize and a draw was signed on move 69.

Vincent Keymer

Vincent Keymer | Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

With four rounds to go in the open, a total of 13 players stand a half point behind the leaders, including two very young rising stars: Bharath Subramaniyam (16 years old) and Volodar Murzin (17).

On Wednesday, Bharath scored 2½/4, with wins over Chanda Sandipan (rated 2602), Sabino Brunello (2651) and a draw against his compatriot Praggnanandhaa (2706).

Murzin, meanwhile, in fact managed to beat Pragg and Ian Nepomniachtchi (2778) before signing draws with Daniil Dubov (2712) and Teimour Radjabov (2691).

The chasing pack also includes pre-tournament favourites Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dubov Radjabov and Vidit Gujrathi.

Bharath Subramaniyam

Bharath Subramaniyam | Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

Vidit kicked off the day playing white against Carlsen, and was outplayed by the world number one in a technical knight ending, here analysed by GM Karsten Müller.

Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi | Photo: FIDE / Anastasia Korolkova

Standings after round 9

Rk. SNo Name Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4 
1 Carlsen, Magnus 7 47
2 Fedoseev, Vladimir 7 46
3 Yu, Yangyi 7 44,5
4 Bharath, Subramaniyam H 6,5 49
5 Erigaisi, Arjun 6,5 49
6 Cheparinov, Ivan 6,5 47,5
7 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 6,5 47
8 Dubov, Daniil 6,5 46,5
9 Murzin, Volodar 6,5 46
10 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi 6,5 45,5
11 Shevchenko, Kirill 6,5 42,5
12 Radjabov, Teimour 6,5 42
13 Keymer, Vincent 6,5 42
14 Idani, Pouya 6,5 41
15 Andreikin, Dmitry 6,5 40,5
16 Korobov, Anton 6,5 39
17 Nesterov, Arseniy 6 45,5
18 Anton Guijarro, David 6 44
19 Chigaev, Maksim 6 44
20 Xu, Xiangyu 6 44
21 Grigoriants, Sergey 6 43,5
22 Nihal, Sarin 6 43,5
23 Caruana, Fabiano 6 43
24 Matlakov, Maxim 6 43
25 Grischuk, Alexander 6 42

...202 players

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Bodnaruk sole leader in the women’s section

Three different sole leaders were seen on Wednesday in the women’s tournament, with the Chinese duo of Zhu Jiner and Zhai Mo losing the top spot in the standings one round after reaching it. In the end, however, 31-year-old IM Anastasia Bodnaruk grabbed the sole lead after beating Zhu in round 8.

Bodnaruk scored 3½/4 on both days of action, and now has a half point lead over Zhai and Humpy Koneru.

The group standing a full point behind the leader includes seven players, including Lei Tingjie, Aleksandra Goryachkina and Kateryna Lagno, three participants who entered the event among the top-10 favourites by rating.

Lei Tingjie

Lei Tingjie | Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

In round 5, Bodnaruk made the most of Umida Omonova’s king weakness.

19.Bxf6 is considered to be a mistake by the engines, as 19.Rad1 was a more precise way to up the pressure. However, breaking through with the bishop sacrifice both kept some of White’s advantage and turned out to be an effective path to victory.

Bodnaruk, in fact, got to checkmate her opponent thirteen moves later.

32.Qe3# ended the game.

Anastasia Bodnaruk

Anastasia Bodnaruk | Photo: FIDE / Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 8

Rk. SNo Name Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4 
1 Bodnaruk, Anastasia 7 36,5
2 Koneru, Humpy 6,5 35
3 Zhai, Mo 6,5 35
4 Zhu, Jiner 6 42
5 Salimova, Nurgyul 6 38
6 Goryachkina, Aleksandra 6 35,5
7 Garifullina, Leya 6 35,5
8 Lei, Tingjie 6 34,5
9 Lagno, Kateryna 6 33,5
10 Priyanka, Nutakki 6 29
11 Muzychuk, Anna 5,5 37,5
12 Assaubayeva, Bibisara 5,5 36,5
13 Lu, Miaoyi 5,5 34,5
14 Ju, Wenjun 5,5 32,5
15 Beydullayeva, Govhar 5,5 31,5
16 Stefanova, Antoaneta 5,5 31,5
17 Narva, Mai 5,5 31
18 Tan, Zhongyi 5,5 30,5
19 Yu, Jennifer 5 35,5
20 Nurgaliyeva, Zarina 5 34
21 Munkhzul, Turmunkh 5 33,5
22 Vaishali, Rameshbabu 5 33,5
23 Pourkashiyan, Atousa 5 33,5
24 Nurgali, Nazerke 5 33
25 Gunina, Valentina 5 33

...117 players

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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.