Tata Steel Chess Indian Rapid Day 1: Four-Way Tie At Top After Combative 1st Day

Tata Steel Chess Indian Rapid Day 1: Four-Way Tie At Top After Combative 1st Day


GMs Teimour Radjabov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vincent Keymer, and Dommaraju Gukesh lead with two points from three rounds at the end of an intensely fought first day of the 2023 Tata Steel Chess India Open Rapid being held in Kolkata, India. GMs Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, Alexander Grischuk, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov follow the leaders on 1.5 points.

60% of the 15 games ended decisively, which showed the level of fight displayed by the players, with most of the drawn games being hard-fought affairs.

In an imaginative and flawless attacking game, Radjabov impressively outwitted Abdusattorov. In the most entertaining game of the day, GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Vachier-Lagrave were engaged in a game of fluctuating fortunes, where the latter pulled out a thrilling swindle even when down by a whole rook.

The Open Rapid tournament continues on September 6 at 5:30 a.m. ET / 11:30 CEST / 15:00 IST.

A very interesting aspect of the live broadcast of the event is the presence of the ambassador of the tournament and former world champion GM Viswanathan Anand. Commentating on the games on the live broadcast, he remarked, “This year, we have got an interesting mix of players… Everyone’s very ambitious, they will all push their luck a lot”. True to his prediction, the tournament started explosively from the very beginning, producing so many high-voltage games on the very first day.

Anand with Hess and Tania, producing very enjoyable commentary. Photo: Vivek Sohani/Tata Steel Chess India.

Anand enjoyed himself in the commentary box, enthralling audiences with his customary sense of humor, deep knowledge of the game, and inside stories. For example, when asked if he gave any advice to Praggnanandhaa before the game, Anand chuckled, “It’s fair to say he has got advice from everyone else in India over the last week! So I thought I would spare him…”

Praggnanandhaa—no special advice from Anand. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Asked about Praggnanandhaa reaching the Candidates and Gukesh overtaking him in the rankings and thus displacing him as the highest-rated player of India after 37 long years, he came up with a witty quip. 

By format, the tournament pits five of the best Indian players against five of the best quick-play specialists in the world. A familiar narrative of current times is also the experienced hands facing young talents, both from India and abroad. For example, three-time World Blitz Champion Grischuk became champion for the first time in 2006, the same year that Gukesh was born!

Round 1

The very first round brought together youngsters Gukesh and Abdusattorov, who have their history of an important penultimate-round encounter from the 2022 Chess Olympiad. Abdusattorov held the upper hand almost throughout the whole game and Gukesh managed to escape by the skin of his teeth.

Anand also revealed a hilarious detail about the first-round encounter between Vachier-Lagrave and Grischuk: “I think I can probably spill the beans now—so, they borrowed a chess clock yesterday, and played blitz with each other, after (knowing) the pairings!”

Grischuk vs. Vachier-Lagrave, the game after the games. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The game between GM Arjun Erigaisi and Keymer featured an elegant breakthrough.

Round 2

Abdusattorov played his best game of the day, squeezing out a win with impressive play in an ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops.

Abdusattorov’s play was impressive. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

In the best-played game of the day, Gukesh sacrificed his queen against GM Pentala Harikrishna, resulting in fascinating play, which is our Game Of The Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao.

Gukesh sacrificed his queen against Harikrishna. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Round 3

This was the most combative round of the day, producing four decisive results and a 97-move draw. It also produced one of the most interesting games of the day for the spectators, between Vidit and Vachier-Lagrave. The following opening setup of the Yugoslav Attack of the Sicilian Defense, transposing from a Najdorf, invited Anand’s comment: “They are going nuts over there! What kind of chess is this?!”

They are going nuts over there. What kind of chess is this?!

—Viswanathan Anand

Vachier-Lagrave’s queen penetrated deep inside Vidit’s queenside, only to find itself blocked from returning. This is when MVL started weaving his swindling designs.

Radjabov created one of the most flawless and imaginative games of the day, outwitting Abdusattorov in a short and sweet attack.

All Games: Open Rapid Day 1

Open Rapid Standings After Round 3

The Tata Steel Chess India Open Rapid continues on Wednesday with rounds four to six. 

Open Rapid Pairings Round 4

The 2023 Tata Steel Chess India Men’s and Women’s Rapid and Blitz are two of India’s most prestigious rapid chess events. The Women’s event takes place before the Men’s. Players compete in a 10-player round-robin in three days of rapid games with a 25+10 time control, followed by two days of blitz games played at a 3+2 time control. 

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