Uzbek wonderkid Nodirbek Abdusattorov clung onto a narrow lead in the $150,000 Aimchess Rapid as World Champion Magnus Carlsen suffered a shock defeat. Having dominated on Day 1, Abdusattorov bounced back from a loss in the first game today to score two more wins and finish top of the leaderboard on 17/24 – one point ahead of the pack.
Carlsen, meanwhile, is still in the hunt but after yesterday’s near-miss against Aditya Mittal he found himself in deep trouble again against another Indian young gun, 19-year-old Arjun Erigaisi.
The shock defeat happened in Round 7 with Erigaisi breaking through with the brilliant 27.Qf7+ counter-attack, bravely ignoring Carlsen’s apparent queen and rook threat down the b-file. The young Indian star went on to close out the win – his first against the world number 1.
It was a measure of revenge for the talented teenager after his defeat to Carlsen in the Julius Baer Generation Cup final. That final was something of an anti-climax as Erigaisi collapsed, but this time the “Iceman” stayed cool and calm. Erigaisi said afterward: “That felt really good, I was really happy with the game.”
Carlsen, playing from a log cabin in Are, Sweden, immediately bounced back to beat Erigaisi’s fellow Indian Vidit Gujrathi in Round 8 and end the day in joint-second on 16/24 with the exciting Azerbaijani Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov.
Carlsen said: “I thought my performance yesterday was maybe the worst I’d played on one day on the Tour… Today wasn’t great either, but it was a little bit better.” See the complete interview here
The first round of the day, Round 5 of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event’s prelim stage, was “savage”, according to IM Lawrence Trent in the commentary box, as all eight games ended with wins.
Vincent Keymer got off to a great start with a win against Mamedyarov. Azerbaijan’s number 1 overextended himself by placing his queen deep into Keymer’s position before the young German activated his own queen and went on the attack himself.
Mamedyarov then went on a run scoring three straight wins – including a quickfire 16-move win over Richard Rapport. Mamedyarov ended the day level with Carlsen and looking a shoe-in for the quarter-finals.
Abdusattorov, the World Rapid Champion and overnight leader, lost his first game of the day to the Indian Vidit Gujrathi. With Carlsen winning, it allowed the champion to briefly draw level on the leaderboard.
In Round 6, Abdusattorov capitalised as another young Indian star Gukesh D threw away a winning position. As Carlsen lost to Erigaisi, Abdusattorov dispatched Pentala Harikrishna to retake the sole lead. A draw in the final round of the day against Anish Giri secured the lead for the second day running.
The award-winning Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the world’s leading year-round chess circuit, reaches its penultimate tournament with the Aimchess Rapid. The event features 16 players in a round-robin prelim stage before the field is cut to eight and knockouts begin. The Aimchess Rapid is the last “Regular” tournament of the 2022 season with a prize pot of $150,000 before the end-of-season final event starts on November 14.