WR Masters: Aronian beats Giri to widen the gap

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/21/2023 – Levon Aronian scored a third win in five rounds to get a full-point lead at the WR Chess Masters in Düsseldorf. Aronian beat Anish Giri with white, breaking the Dutchman’s 28-game unbeaten streak. The other decisive game of the round saw former tail-ender Vincent Keymer defeating Nodirbek Abdusattorov with white, leaving five players in shared 6th-10th place in the standings. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Back in the top 10

Levon Aronian held the second spot in the world ranking, behind Magnus Carlsen, in all but two ratings lists between January 2012 and September 2014. After losing the spot to Fabiano Caruana, Aronian regained his standing as the second-strongest player in the world between October and December 2017, right after winning the World Cup in Tbilisi.

Since then, he never made it back above the 2800-rating mark, hitting his lowest rating since 2005 in November last year. Now, his three victories and two draws at the WR Chess Masters have allowed him to return to the top 10 in the live ratings list.

So far, 9 out of 25 games have finished decisively in Düsseldorf, and all 9 encounters have favoured the player with the white pieces. Aronian, who beat Anish Giri on Monday, has won all three of his games with white, in rounds 1, 3 and 5. The Armenian now representing the United States has a full-point lead over Wesley So and Dommaraju Gukesh. He will play black against the ever-solid So in the next round.

Besides returning to the top 10 in the world ranking, with his round-5 win, Aronian ended Giri’s 28-game unbeaten streak. The winner of the Tata Steel Masters had not lost a single classical game since Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated him in round 7 of the Norway Chess super-tournament on 7 June 2022.

Round 5 in Düsseldorf also saw Gukesh and Ian Nepomniachtchi playing a hard-fought draw, while Vincent Keymer scored a remarkable win over Nodirbek Abdusattorov, his first of the event. Keymer, who was in sole last place before the rest day, is now sharing 6th to 10th place with four other players, all currently on 2 out of 5.

Ian Nepomniachtchi, Dommaraju Gukesh

Ian Nepomniachtchi playing white against Dommaraju Gukesh | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Aronian 1 - 0 Giri


Anish Giri, Boris Gelfand, Levon Aronian

Living legend Boris Gelfand is a guest of honour in Düsseldorf — the Israeli GM is also a good friend of Levon Aronian’s | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Keymer 1 - 0 Abdusattorov


Vincent Keymer, Nodirbek Abdusattorov

FIDE’s Dana Reizniece-Ozola plays the first move in the game between Vincent Keymer and Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Lennart Ootes 

Results - Round 5


Standings - Round 5


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.