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King Salman Rapid World Championship Day 1 Report

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King Salman Rapid World Championship Day 1 Report

The King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Championships got off to an excellent start on day one.

Rami Altassan, the President of the Saudi Chess Federation, made the first move at board one in the Open section.  Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE President, on the other hand, made the first move in the Women’s section.

Rami Altassan makes the ceremonial first move between World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Azamat Utegaliyev of Kazahstan. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
Rami Altassan makes the ceremonial first move between World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Azamat Utegaliyev of Kazahstan. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.

After five rounds in the Open Rapid, there are five players at the top, but all are half a point shy of a 100% score.  

Wang Hao from China is leading the top group. He was the player who surprisingly won the Isle of Man Grand Swiss to secure a place at the upcoming Candidates. Wang is joined at the top by Shakhriyar MamedyarovJan-Krzysztof Duda and Leinier Dominguez. Immediately behind them is Magnus Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen in round 1 defeated Azamat Utegaliyev of Kazakhstan in the shortest game of the day which took only 27 minutes and 26 moves!

Carlsen got off to a poor start in round two but managed to extract a draw against Hrant Melkumyan of Armenia.  In round three the World Champion defeated Boris Savchenko and then drew  against Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan in round four.

The playing hall. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
The playing hall. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
GM Carlsen Magnus v GM Hrant Melkumyan

The popular Alexander (Sasha) Grichcuk with some of his fans. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
The popular Alexander (Sasha) Grichcuk with some of his fans. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.

Players from Africa

GM Bassem Amin of Egypt was on 3 points out of 4 rounds. His only loss of the day was to GM Levon Aronian of Armenia in round 2.

GM Bassem Amin v GM Levon Aronian

Carrying Africa's hopes at the King Salman World Chess Championship GM Amin Bassem (left) takes on GM Levon Aronian of Armenia. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
Carrying Africa’s hopes at the King Salman World Chess Championship GM Amin Bassem (left) takes on GM Levon Aronian of Armenia. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.

GM Adly Ahmed of Egypt was on 2.5 points out of 4 rounds. He lost to GM Valentin Dragnev of Austria and drew against GM Yinglun Xu of China.  

GM Adly Ahmed v GM Valentin Dragnev

IM Tissr Mohamed of Morocco found the going tough. He only had one point at the end of round 4. He drew against GM Sergey Grigoriants of Russia and GM Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan of Mongolia.

The Women’s tournament

Alexandra Kosteniuk lost to Baira Kovanova who is 280-points lower-rated which was a major upset in round 1!  Round two saw another dramatic moment as Monika Socko (Poland) defeated the 2016 Women’s World Rapid winner and the top-rated player at this tournament, Anna Muzychuk. By round four both Muzychuk sisters were on 50% – a surprising result for the Ukrainian sisters. 

Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine with 2 points at the end of day 1. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine with 2 points at the end of day 1. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and former World Ladies Champion with 2 points at the end of day 1. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and former World Ladies Champion with 2 points at the end of day 1. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.

Seven players finished round three with a maximum score. FM Ekaterina Goltseva from Russia was leading the pack.  Dinara Dordzhieva (Russia), Meri Arabidze (Georgia), Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia), Batkhuyag Munguntuul (Mongolia), Olga Girya (Russia) and Irina Bulmaga (Romania) were also on 3 points.

Olga Girya from Russia being interviewed. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.
Olga Girya from Russia being interviewed. Photo credit Lennart Ootes & David Llada.

Article

Article adapted from Milan Dinic.

Links

Official website and LIVE broadcast: https://wrbc2019.com