Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Take Over On Levitov Chess Week Day 2

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Take Over On Levitov Chess Week Day 2


GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi and Peter Svidler are the new leaders at Levitov Chess Week after nine rounds. The two Russian grandmasters are tied with six points, half a point more than GMs Viswanathan Anand and GM Levon Aronian. The tournament will continue on Monday, September 25.

Because it was a Saturday and the first report on the tournament had promoted the tournament, the second day at Levitov Chess Week saw many more spectators than on the first day. They sometimes had to wait in a corridor outside before they could enter, where a big TV screen showed the live positions and where, at one point, the legendary GM Judit Polgar made an appearance too.

Tournament leader Aronian continued his winning ways in round six against GM Boris Gelfand, but Anand initially fell behind due to a loss against GM Alexander Grischuk. Svidler was in a bit of trouble against GM Vladimir Kramnik, and the 14th world champion’s exchange sacrifice was interesting. However, he next lost the thread. With 3/9, Kramnik looks rusty so far.

So Kramnik Levitov 2023
As the playing hall lacks space, spectators get up close and personal with the players. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Remarkably, Nepomniachtchi hasn’t played a single draw yet in these first nine rounds. He needed to warm up a bit, with two wins and three losses on Friday, but on Saturday, the two-time world championship runner-up won all his games and jumped to the top of the standings. In round six, Nepo was helped by a huge blunder from GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov:

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov black and white
A serious miscalculation by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

In a clash between two Muscovites, Nepomniachtchi defeated Grischuk during the last round of the day. It was quiet for a while, but suddenly became very sharp, as GM Rafael Leitao shows below:

Ian Nepomniachtchi Levitov 2023
Nepomniachtchi, the tournament winner in 2019, has good chances once again halfway through the tournament. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

After two draws with the white pieces against Gelfand and Mamedyarov, Svidler finished the day with an important win as Black against Aronian, who was still the sole leader at that point. For 13 moves, Svidler was following a game he had played as White. 

Peter Svidler Letivov 2023
The other good news for Peter Svidler is that, after a delay of three days, his suitcase has finally arrived. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Levitov Chess Week.

Sunday is a rest day for the main tournament. The players will still get together for an informal Hands & Brains event hosted by Polgar. The two remaining days of play are Monday and Tuesday.

Round 9 Standings

Levitov Chess Week 2023 Round 9 Standings

All Games Day 2

The 2023 Levitov Chess Week takes place September 22-26, 2023, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is a 10-player, double round-robin. The time control is 10 minutes for the whole game plus a five-second increment. The prize fund is 130,000 euros, with a first prize of 40,000 euros.

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