St. Louis Blitz and Rapid 2019 – Magnus Carlsen with a bad first half

Today I thought I’d start doing some news updates on what’s going on in the chess world, and mainly I will be focusing on the biggest events. Therefore, it is only natural to take a look at what’s going on in St. Louis, USA.

It’s easy to focus on Magnus in these events, both as I am a norwegian myself, and as the chess world in general want to know how the world champion is faring. With that said, let’s have a look at the ongoing tournament!

 

St. Louis Rapid and Blitz 2019

The ten players in this tournament are:

Pre-tournament favorite was – as he always is – GM Magnus Carlsen, but as we will see, this would be far from a walk in the park…

 

Part 1: The rapid stage

To start this tournament, they first play nine rounds of rapid chess, with three rounds each day for three days. Magnus got off to a bad start here, by losing to GM Ding, but then came back strong, beating both GM Rapport and GM Dominguez. GM Aronian claimed the first day lead, as he won all his games.

On the second day, Magnus had one of his worst days ever in rapid, as he only managed one draw in the scope of three games. GM Aronian followed up his excellent first day with 2/3 on the second day, for the sole lead with 5/6 points.

On the third and last rapid day, Magnus recovered a tiny bit, by a 50% score. This is still below his usual standards, and a total of 4/9 is not at all what he is used to, especially in rapid. Until his first rapid loss in this tournament, he hadn’t lost a rapid game so far this year.

On the final rapid day, GM Aronian also scored 50%, allowing GM Vachier-Lagrave (aka. MVL) to catch up to him, as they both scored 6.5/9 in the rapid section. In these rapid&blitz-tournaments, the rapid games always pays double, so that you get two point per victory. This means Aronian and MVL has 13 points entering the blitz part, while Magnus has 8. This will most likely break Magnus’ tournament streak of 8, as he has too much ground to cover in the last 18 games.

Part 2: The blitz stage

In two days the whole tournament will have come to an end, and we will know who ran away with this tournament. Right now GM Aronian and GM Vachier-Lagrave are the clear favorites, but they will still have to fight to get those last points needed to claim the title.

The players will now play a double round-robin, with each game rewarding the players with a single point, as opposed to the rapid part, where a win equals to two points.

Magnus will always be the favorite in a blitz tournament, but many of these guys are fierce blitz players, especially the two leaders of the tournament. Aronian is in third place on the live world ranking, whilst MVL is number four, so it seems likely that one of these two will be the last man standing in St. Louis.

We will come back with more in two days, so until then, enjoy your own games!

 

See you soon,

Joachim

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