Day two of the World Rapids and we witnessed five more exciting rounds. After ten rounds we have two leaders. One is the expected world number one and reigning World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the other is the totally unexpected Sergei Zhigalko from Belarus. Both of them are on 8.0/10.
Always in limelight, the reigning World Champion in all formats of the game, Magnus Carlsen
Although Magnus is playing the entire tournament in excellent style not having lost a single game, he was very close to defeat against the young talented Russian Danii Dubov. Let's have a look at the golden opportunity missed by Danii to beat the World number one:
"Want a draw?"
"You missed an easy win, now wait a bit!"
Ok, I don't see anything let's split the point!
The surprise package of the tournament has been Sergei Zhigalko who has set the tournament on fire with scintillating performance
At a rating of 2698 Sergei is already gaining 50 Elo points and has already beaten players like Gelfand and Nepomniachtchi.
Two of the thinnest people in the chess world: Amruta is cheering for Sergei in this tournament!
The two leaders are being followed by a pack of three players on 7.5/10 - Kovalenko, Kramnik and Ivanchuk.
Igor Kovalenko has earned the respect of many with his accurate play in this format
Old is gold: Vladimir Kramnik on 7.5/10
Old is gold 2: Vasily Ivanchuk doing well in the tournament
After acquainting ourselves with the leaders, let's have a look at how the Indians fared yesterday.
Vidit who started superbly with 4.0/5 yesterday was slowed down yesterday with three draws and two losses to Mamedyarov (above) and Bacrot
Although Vidit slowed down a bit, his performance of 5.5/10 is still commendable. He has played all players higher than his rating and is gaining 60 Elo points....
....but one would expect a solid player like Vidit to hold this position with black against anyone in the world.
Vishy Anand has not been able to impress at the World Rapids and currently is on 5.5/10
After 2.5/5 yesterday, Anand picked up speed by beating Belov and Volokitin. But then he lost to Mamedov in a crazily complicated game. He won in the ninth round against Bologan. But tenth round turned into a heartbreak. After playing an opening which completely went his way, Vishy simply faltered.
Khismatulin - Anand
Black to play. What would you do?
Vishy has sacrificed a piece and has a dnagerous initiative. Here the strongest would have been to simply take the pawn on h3 with 14...Bxh3. Now a mate is threatened on g2 and if 15.Ng3 then after Qh4, there are threats like Bf5 or Bf1 which simply cannot be controlled. Instead Vishy chose 14...Qh4 and then Khismatullin could save himself with 15.Nf4! The neat point being that Bxf4 exf4 introduces a weak back rank in black's position. The position was still complicated but Vishy had lost his chance and went on to lose the game.
The man of day two for India is definitely B.Adhiban! He played some excellent chess to be on 6.0/10 at the end of day two.
One of the biggest assets of Adhiban is his fighting spirit. After finishing day one on 3.0/5, he lost the first two games on day two. But he came back strongly to beat Mikhalevksi, Morozevich and Ivansevic in the last three rounds. The fact that he declined the three fold repetition against Morozevich and went for a win shows how ambitious he really is!
Surya Shekhar Ganguly is on 5.0/10 but he scored a huge upset beating....
....Ruslan Ponomariov, who is sporting an extremely weird hair-cut!
Black to play
Ponomariov thought he was in complete control at this point. But Ganguly struck back with the highly orginal tactic 24...Bxd3! The point of this combination is that 25.Nxd3 can be met with Qd7! when one of the knights will fall. To see this tactic in a short time control is really commendable. Ponomariov didn't accept the piece and went 25.Ka1 but after Be4! the bishop had found an ideal location.
Sasikiran is doing pretty well with 5.5/10. He drew against MVL and beat the talented Spaniard Anton Guijarro David. Yet, more is expected of him.
Sethuraman is currently struggling in the tournament with 3.5/10. He mananged to score only one point out of five on day two.
As we go into the last day, it doesn't seem that any Indian has any chances of a medal, but with a finish like 5.0/5 you never know! Till then, I leave you with some of the nice pictorial impressions from Berlin:
Some day I will be like him!
A German, Armenian and two Russians following different games captured in one frame!
That's what dedication is all about
Battle of generations - Fedoseev vs Gelfand
Vishy Anand going out of his way to kibitz the game of his friend Boris Gelfand
" I am the only one who has had Magnus Carlsen on the ropes!"
Chess can be a serious game sometimes....
....and sometimes a lot of fun!
A jam packed playing hall
You can follow the live action from the comfort of your home, but the best place is definitely on your father's shoulders!
A huge thanks to Elena Kashirskaya, Gregor Anthes, Nailya Bikmurzina for these wonderful pictures.