World Rapid Day 1: Magnus Carlsen channels the spirit of Bobby Fischer

by Sagar Shah
12/27/2022 – The World Rapid Championships 2022 kicked off on the 26th of December 2022 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Five rounds were played in the open section and four rounds in women. We have four leaders in the open with 4.5/5 and they are Magnus Carlsen, Arjun Erigaisi, Vladimir Fedoseev and Jorden van Foreest. Meanwhile in the women's section we have a sole leader after four rounds on 100% score - Valentina Gunina. We bring you the full day one report along with pictures, analysis, videos and much more.

Master Class Vol.8 - Magnus Carlsen 2nd Edition Master Class Vol.8 - Magnus Carlsen 2nd Edition

Let our authors show you how Carlsen tailored his openings to be able to outplay his opponents strategically in the middlegame or to obtain an enduring advantage into the endgame.


Magnus Carlsen in his element in Almaty

Work shouldn't feel like work! It should feel like play. That's when you are able to bring out your best. That is exactly the sense you get by watching Magnus Carlsen at the World Rapid Championships 2022. The World Champion is moving around freely in the playing hall, watching games, interacting with his friends, doing interviews for NRK and crushing his opponents by playing 1.b3!

Magnus Carlsen entering the tournament hall in a very pleasant mood

Magnus with a different hairstyle and a smile on his face! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The day started with Magnus playing the French defence against Samvel Ter-Sahakyan. The position was complex, when the Armenian GM committed an inaccuracy:


Magnus was right on the ball and played the move 20...e5. Turns out that White's position is extremely brittle, with the knight on g4 attacked, the bishop on h6 hanging. When you find a move like ...e5 in the first round, when you are just beginning to get into the groove, you know that you are in good form.

Samvel Ter-Sahakyan vs Magnus Carlsen, Round 1


In the second round Carlsen opened his game with 1.b3 against Eric Hansen. The position was around equal, but when the time went low, it was Eric who started making sub-standard moves. Very soon, the Canadian GM landed in a lost position.

Magnus Carlsen vs Eric Hansen, Round 2


In the third round Carlsen's back was pushed to the wall by Evgeny Tomashevsky. The Russian GM was in his element and found a very nice combination to put Carlsen's dubious Hippo opening into question.


Tomashevsky found 20.Bb5! and after 20...axb5 21.axb5, the queen could no longer support the knight on d7. White was clearly better. But as often happens with players against Magnus, Tomashevsky started to play a bit without purpose. Very soon, the initiative started to change hands. Carlsen took over the initiative and finished off the game with a flourish.

Magnus found the very nice Re2! dislodging the bishop from e5. After Bd4 he went g4 and with g3 coming up the game was over. 

The game that everyone was looking forward to - the reigning classical world champion Magnus Carlsen vs the reigning rapid world champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In 2021, Magnus Carlsen was leading the World Rapid Championships by dominating day one and two. It seemed like he would run away with the title. However, in the first round on day three, he was halted by the Uzbek super prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Abdusattorov not just beat Carlsen, he also went on to win the tournament and become World Rapid Champion. It is quite natural that sitting opposite each other after a year, once again at the World Rapid Championships, Magnus wanted to be Abdusattorov. The game started off with 1.b3 and very soon we reached a position, where Magnus' move reminds us of an old classic. Let's have a look.


Magnus Carlsen (white) surprised one and all with his next move g4!?

How did Magnus arrive at this move? What was his inspiration? Turns out, it was Bobby Fischer.

Bobby Fischer showing the way, 42 years ago!


A lot of people said that in terms of the way in which he played chess Fischer was ahead of his times. This is one such example. He tucked his king in on h1 and prepared Rg1 and g4. Carlsen did exactly that in his game against Abdusattorov. 


A lot of people said that in terms of the way in which he played chess Fischer was ahead of his times. This is one such example. He tucked his king in on h1 and prepared Rg1 and g4. Carlsen did exactly that in his game against Abdusattorov.

Wasn't that an amazing game?!

Magnus Carlsen vs Nodirbek Abdusattorov, World Rapid 2022 Round 4

After losing his 4th round game to Carlsen, Nodirbek made a strong comeback to beat Vahap Sanal and end the day with 4.0/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The final game of the day for Magnus ended in a draw against Indian talent Arjun Erigaisi | Photo: Anna Shtourman

The entire game between Magnus Carlsen and Arjun Erigaisi

A short interview with Magnus Carlsen

Arjun Erigaisi had a great day one. He drew with the top seed Magnus Carlsen and beat the second seed Richard Rapport. | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Arjun Erigaisi speaks about his game against Rapport and Magnus Carlsen

One of the leaders of the event - Jorden van Foreest with 4.5/5. Jorden beat Sindarov and Artemiev in rounds 3 and 4 and has been playing some great chess. | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Also on 4.5/5 is Vladimir Fedoseev

The winner of Tata Steel Chess India Rapid Nihal Sarin is in fine form and is on 4.0/5 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

With three draws and two wins, Nakamura has been slightly slow off the blocks, but a couple of wins and he will be back on the top. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

3.5/5 for Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Daniil Dubov is also on 3.5/5, with two wins and three draws just like Nakamura and Caruana | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Another top player on 3.5/5 - Alexander Grischuk | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The reigning World Blitz champion, Maxime Vachier Lagrave is also on 3.5/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

With 1 win and 4 draws Hans Niemann is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The talented German youngster Vincent Keymer lost to Artemiev, but by scoring three wins is on 3.5/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Top Kazakh player Rinat Jumabayev is on 2.5/5 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Boris Gelfand ended day one with a score of 3.0/5, but he didn't get to play two games as he was paired against two Iranian opponents - Daneshvar Bardiya and Idani Pouya and they didn't turn up. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Just before the start of round one | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The defending World Rapid Women's champion Alexandra Kosteniuk is on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

One of the tournament favourites, Kateryna Lagno has lost two of her games and is on 2.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Valentina Gunina (right) has been perfect in this tournament. She has a 4.0/4 score. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

In her third round game against IM Ulviyya Fataliyeva, Gunina went wrong with her opening and very quickly landed in a lost position. A critical moment was reached here


White's queen is attacked and the knight on c7 is not so well placed. Also Nc4 is coming up! What did Gunina do? She took the pawn on d5. Looking for some tricks. Her idea was - that if Black were to take exd5 then after Rxc8 Nxc8 Qe8+! picks up the piece on c8. However, after Nxd5 Black had an amazing resource up her sleeve. Try to think and if you want to check the answer in the annotations below.


In absolutely scintillating form is Koneru Humpy. She is on joint 2nd position and is on 3.5/4. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

While White has a completely dominating position and many ways to win, Humpy found the very nice Ne6! sacrificing her knight and crashing through. 

It's wonderful to see GM Bela Khotenashvili on the chess board after a long time. Bela lost her first game, but came back strongly and is now on 3.0/4 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Standings in Open after Round 5

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Carlsen Magnus 4,5 15
2 Fedoseev Vladimir 4,5 14
3 Erigaisi Arjun 4,5 14
4 Van Foreest Jorden 4,5 13
5 Giri Anish 4 15
6 Duda Jan-Krzysztof 4 15
7 Nihal Sarin 4 15
8 Abdusattorov Nodirbek 4 13
9 Yu Yangyi 4 13
10 Quparadze Giga 4 13
11 Nepomniachtchi Ian 4 12
12 Sarana Alexey 4 12
13 Murzin Volodar 4 12
14 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 4 11,5
15 Artemiev Vladislav 3,5 14,5
16 Yakubboev Nodirbek 3,5 13,5
17 Caruana Fabiano 3,5 13
18 Dubov Daniil 3,5 13
19 Martirosyan Haik M. 3,5 13
20 Ter-Sahakyan Samvel 3,5 13

Standings in Women after Round 4

Rk. SNo     Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3   TB4 
1 14   GM Gunina Valentina FID 2389 4 8 9,5 0 0
2 3   GM Tan Zhongyi CHN 2502 3,5 8 9,5 0 0
3 33   IM Garifullina Leya FID 2316 3,5 7,5 9 0 0
4 7   GM Koneru Humpy IND 2468 3,5 7,5 8,5 0 0
5 26   GM Danielian Elina ARM 2331 3,5 7 8 0 0
6 17   IM Mammadzada Gunay AZE 2383 3,5 6,5 8 0 0
7 19   GM Batsiashvili Nino GEO 2370 3 9,5 11,5 0 0
8 27   GM Girya Olga FID 2328 3 9,5 9,5 0 0
9 89   WIM Sultanbek Zeinep KAZ 1834 3 9 11 0 0
10 43   IM Zatonskih Anna USA 2268 3 8 8 0 0
11 5   GM Dzagnidze Nana GEO 2475 3 7,5 9 0 0
12 40   WGM Balajayeva Khanim AZE 2284 3 7 8 0 0
13 48   WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa USA 2256 3 7 7,5 0 0
14 4   GM Goryachkina Aleksandra FID 2484 3 6,5 8,5 0 0
15 20   GM Paehtz Elisabeth GER 2369 3 6,5 8 0 0
16 1   GM Kosteniuk Alexandra FID 2537 3 6,5 7,5 0 0
  35   WGM Voit Daria FID 2312 3 6,5 7,5 0 0
18 8   GM Abdumalik Zhansaya KAZ 2448 3 6 7,5 0 0
  18   GM Ushenina Anna UKR 2371 3 6 7,5 0 0
20 44   IM Buksa Nataliya UKR 2260 3 6 7 0 0

Follow all the action at the World Rapid and Blitz 2022 through ChessBase India. If you are looking for LIVE commentary, you can follow Niklesh Jain's commentary on Hindi ChessBase India.

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.