World Rapid Chess Championship 2021: Carlsen gets joint lead.

World Rapid Chess Championship, Day 1: Duda.

World Rapid Chess Championship 2021, Warshaw: The World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, lead the Rapids at a 4.5/5 score with Duda, and Jobava as joint leader.

The home favorite was perfect after four rounds at a 4/4 score, however, other leader Baadur Jobava played a draw with him in the fifth round which enabled Magnus to catch up as a joint leader.

World Rapid Chess Championship 2021: Magnus faces his own prep.

In the first round, GM Merab Gagunashvili was against Magnus Carlsen. He chose to open with Anti-Marshall which Magnus recently used in the World Chess Championship against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

World Rapid Chess Championship 2021, Warshaw:  GM Gagunashvili and GM Magnus Carlsen.
GM Gagunashvili and GM Magnus Carlsen.

The trick, however, was working for Merab as Magnus was held for the entire game until he blundered a rook vs rook and bishop endgame on move 103.

Recent World Chess Championship runner-up, Ian Nepomniachtchi, played a quick 38 move victory to enter the second round.

The second round was where it got shuffled. Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura suffered a draw against Jorden Van Foreest and Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, respectively.

On the other end, Duda was sacrificing like crazy. This time an exchange down for White’s damage center and his active minor piece. It was an exciting game from the Polish GM.

There were about 20 players who had a perfect 2/2 points. Ian Nepomniachtchi, Duda, Grischuk, Caruana and many more.

World Rapid Chess Championship 2021, Warshaw:  GM Alireza Firouza.
GM Alireza Firouza.

Magnus Carlsen still in his World Chess Championship mood.

Carlsen blitz out the Catalan, which he used in his recent World Chess Championship match. After 8.b3, the world champion committed to a pawn sacrifice, and after the second pawn sacrifice 10.d5!, one must wonder how much of the game was prepared beforehand. He went on to win a pawn-up rook endgame. 

While Duda was cruising away with a win in the third round as well. Jon Ludvig Hammer: “Playing in front of his local Polish crowd, he is the hope for Polish chess and he now confirms that even when the pressure is high, when he is playing at home with the hopes of a nation, he is getting off to a fantastic start.”

Jobava, who also won three consecutive games by the point, also demonstrated a nice win after finding 18. a5 and 19.Nxe6.

World Rapid Chess Championship 2021, Warshaw:  GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.
GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Round 4 saw interesting games. the toughest matchups were Duda vs. Alekseenko and Nepomniachtchi vs. Abdusattorov. Nepo was unable to prove his advantage and neither was Abdusattorov playing a quick 33 move draw.

Meanwhile, Duda went on to win his fourth game in a row creating a dangerous passed d-pawn with 24…c4!

The biggest turnaround in this round was in the game of Anish Giri and Rasmus Svane. Svane was two pawns up in a queen endgame but blundered the game to not draw but lose the game.

In the last round of the day, the two perfect scorers collided and as expected played a draw. GM Timur Gareyev nearly turned the game in his favor before giving it up for a draw against Fabiano Caruana.

The World Chess Champion was playing against GM Alexie Shirov, who was playing his best. It should have ended up as a draw, however, Shirov lost on time and Magnus caught the leaders with 4.5/5.

FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship 2021, Day 1 highlights.