Carlsen Captures Sole Lead In Penultimate Day Of Rapid Chess

Carlsen Captures Sole Lead In Penultimate Day Of Rapid Chess


GM Magnus Carlsen assumed the pole position heading into the third and final day of the 2022 FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship having scored key wins over GMs Jorden van Foreest and Giga Quparadze on Tuesday.

The classical world champion’s 7.5/9 score leaves him half a point ahead of three chasers, including the defending champion GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

The women’s event saw the emergence of a trio of leaders: GMs Tan Zhongyi, Aleksandra Goryachkina, and WIM Savitha Shri, who all finished on 6.5/8.

Five players trail by half a point and the local fans in Kazakhstan will be cheering on GM Zhansaya Abdumalik, IM Dinara Saduakassova, and WIM Amina Kairbekova, who are all among this group.

The 2022 FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship will conclude with rounds 10-13 on Wednesday, December 28, starting at 1 a.m. PT / 10:00 CET.

After a taxing first day in Almaty, the leading players entered the playing hall with renewed energy and plenty to smile about. The four leaders were split in half during round six thanks to clinical play from Carlsen and GM Vladimir Fedoseev against van Foreest and GM Arjun Erigaisi respectively.

Van Foreest highlighted the dangers that a second can pose and garnered a comfortable position with Black after 15 moves. Carlsen once again demonstrated his mastery of clarifying middlegames in his favor and within five moves the world champion found himself poised to liquidate into a completely winning endgame.

Fedoseev, who scored wins against GMs Nodirbek Yakubboev, Jules Moussard, and giant-killer IM Arystanbek Urazayev (who defeated GMs Dmitry Andreikin and Sam Shankland in consecutive rounds), faced Carlsen in round seven and couldn’t crack through the Norweigian’s Bogo-Indian Defense. A draw was agreed in 47 moves as the pair moved to 6/7.

Day two was tough for Urazayev although taking the scalps of Andreikin and Shankland on day one will leave him pleased. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Joining the leaders off the back of a trio of wins was the young Abdusattorov, who saw off GMs Vahap Sanal, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and Ian Nepomniachtchi. The defending champion, who had just won the 2022 Gashimov Memorial with five rounds to spare, has so far proven that his astonishing run in 2021 was no fluke and after six rounds he looked primed to make a play at back-to-back titles. It is worth noting that the title of world rapid champion has only been successfully defended once, by his main rival Carlsen, in 2014 and 2015.

Round seven also saw GM Nihal Sarin‘s title ambitions take a tumble after the Indian maestro was crushed by the ever-creative GM Daniil Dubov in just 18 moves. A one-move blunder on move 17 opened Nihal’s king up to a stunning queen sacrifice leading to a forced checkmate in four moves.

Chessbrah’s GM Eric Hansen failed to show up to his round-six game against Australian GM Bobby Cheng and it was later announced by the Canadian GM via Twitter that he had developed “flu-like symptoms overnight.” Given that Hansen had direct contact with many of the tournament’s leaders on day one only time will tell whether this news will have wider repercussions on the remainder of the tournament and the forthcoming blitz championship.

As it reached 6:15 p.m. local time in Almaty, all eyes turned to the crucial board one and two round-eight matchups which would go a long way to determining a frontrunner heading into the final day of play. Carlsen found himself facing yet another second in Dubov, who floated up as the highest-rated player on 5.5/7, while Abdusattorov was paired as White against co-leader Fedoseev.

Draws on the top boards amongst the leaders allowed German GM Vincent Keymer to catch them on 6.5/8 after he converted a tough rook and pawn endgame against Erigaisi which coincidentally resembled a very similar ending he had won in his previous round against GM Yu Yangyi.

The world number-one wanted more than half a point against Dubov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Keymer showed exemplary endgame technique on day two to join the leaders. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

GM Hikaru Nakamura has had a quiet rapid championship by his lofty standards and four straight draws on Wednesday did little to change his fortunes. The Fischer Random world champion shared unique insights into the mind of an elite chess player, publishing his customary Youtube recap hours after the first day of play reached its conclusion on Tuesday.

The final round of the second day saw Carlsen take the sole lead for the first time in the tournament after conquering the quick-moving Georgian Quparadze with the black pieces. Clearly in Kazakhstan to cement his status as the greatest player in the world, Carlsen dominated his opponent with the French Defense and won in 57 moves.

Draws between co-leaders Fedoseev and Keymer as well as Dubov and Abdusattorov left them half a point shy of the highest-rated player of all time, who will go into the final day having already played most of his closest chasers.

Two of the main threats to Carlsen; Fedoseev and Abdusattorov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Erigaisi found himself back in the limelight after paralyzing GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in one of the most exciting games of the event so far. The Indian superstar was so convincing that he made tripled pawns look beneficial! GM Rafael Leitao has unpacked our fascinating game of the day below.

The annotated Game of the Day will be added soon. 

2022 World Rapid Championship | Round 9 Standings (Top 20)

# Fed Title Name Rating Score
1 GM Magnus Carlsen 2859 7.5

GM Vladimir Fedoseev 2688 7
3 GM Vincent Keymer 2696 7
4 GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2713 6.5

GM Daniil Dubov 2708 6.5
6 GM Arjun Erigaisi 2722 6.5
7 GM Anish Giri 2764 6.5

GM Vladislav Artemiev 2701 6.5
9 GM Yu Yangyi 2728 6.5
10 GM Fabiano Caruana 2766 6.5
11 GM Christopher Yoo 2575 6.5
12 GM Nihal Sarin 2670 6
13 GM Giga Quparadze 2470 6
14 GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2729 6
15 GM Haik Martirosyan 2682 6

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 2793 6

GM Alexander Grischuk 2745 6

GM Alexey Sarana 2668 6

GM Evgeny Tomashevsky 2694 6
20 GM Surya Ganguly 2582 6

(Full standings here.)

All World Rapid Chess Championship Games

Following a perfect start on day one in the women’s event, GM Valentina Gunina was stung by Tan in round five. The tournament leader’s position quickly dissipated after the spirited Chinese third seed was able to introduce ample chaos and build a -4 position with Black after 20 moves, which was duly converted by Tan.

Tan started the day with a bang over the previously unbeaten Gunina. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

GM Elina Danielian was also able to leapfrog Gunina and join Tan and 33rd seed IM Leya Garifullina on 4.5/5 after defeating GM Humpy Koneru with a beautiful tactical finish. 

Tumult amongst the top boards continued in round six as local hope Abdumalik overwhelmed Garifullina with the white pieces while GM Bela Khotenashvili dealt Gunina her second defeat of the day. A draw between Tan and Danielian meant that four players would enter the day’s penultimate round as co-leaders on 5/6.

Garifullina went undefeated in her first five games before falling to Abdumalik (pictured). Photo: Maria Emelianova/

As fate would have it, the four-way tie for first would double in the following round, with four decisive results amongst the 10 players on 4.5/6.

The top 10 after seven rounds. Image:

Of the eight players tied for first, Tan, Goryachkina, and Sri would finish the day with wins and move to 6.5/8. The top seed Goryachkina had quietly worked her way back to the top boards after conceding draws in rounds two and three before she swept aside Danielian after the latter missed a clever tactical shot.

The women’s championship will almost certainly come down to the wire on Wednesday with nine players all within half a point of the lead.

2022 Women’s World Rapid Championship | Round 8 Standings (Top 20) 

Number Fed Title Name Rating Score
1 GM Tan Zhongyi 2518 6.5

GM Aleksandra Goryachkina 2584 6.5
3 WIM Savitha Shri 2411 6.5
4 GM Nino Batsiashvili 2493 6
5 WIM Turmunkh Munkzul 2318 6
6 GM Humpy Koneru 2572 6

GM Valentina Gunina 2476 6
8 IM Dinara Saduakassova 2434 6
9 GM Zhansaya Abdumalik 2496 6
10 WIM Amina Kairbekova 2209 6
11 GM Elina Danielian 2431 5.5

IM Alina Bivol 2364 5.5
13 GM Antoaneta Stefanova 2442 5.5
14 GM Bela Khotenashvili 2485 5.5

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk 2520 5.5
16 WGM Qianyun Gong 2299 5.5
17 WIM Zeinep Sultanbek 1891 5
18 IM Gulnar Mammadova 2376 5
19 IM Aleksandra Maltsevskaya 2400 5
20 WGM Khanim Balajayeva 2379 5

(Full standings here.)

All Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship Games

The 2022 FIDE World Rapid Championship is an elite over-the-board event featuring the best speed chess players in the world. Masters and national champions from around the globe gather to compete in a Swiss tournament for their share of the $350,000 prize fund.

Classical world champion Carlsen, followed by speed chess legends Nakamura, Duda, and Vachier-Lagrave head the field and will be challenged by numerous other 2700+ players. 

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