Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin are clear in the lead as the race to the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge knockout stage has reached its climax. Four players face elimination from the second Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour tournament tomorrow when the 11-game round-robin comes to an end.
But Nakamura and Karjakin, the former World Championship challenger, will not be among them after they both secured places in the top 8.
Photo: Justin Kellar
Meanwhile, an out-of-sorts Magnus Carlsen, the classical World Champion and world number 1, had an extremely disappointing day scoring just 1.5/4. The Norwegian should still, however, comfortably make the next stage.
Carlsen faced immediate drama in a wild first game of the day when Yu Yangyi caught him in a vicious mating net. After a strong first day, it was an unexpected blow for the champ.
He tweeted in the break: "Did all the right things strategically, then missed everything and got mated. On to the next one, I guess #oldandwashed"
Nakamura, meanwhile, cooly beat Armenian Levon Aronian to move into pole position. He followed that with three draws to secure his high spot in the standings. Carlsen did briefly bounce back - as he does so often - demolishing the youngster Wei Yi in his next game. Wei, who has struggled, is now in serious danger of being eliminated tomorrow. Ding, who was a hot tip before the tournament started, has - like Carlsen - not hit top form yet and had already had a disappointing start losing to Alexander Grischuk.
China's world number 3 lost again to his countryman Yu Yangyi to leave him going into the final game of the day on 0.5/4 and in ninth place overall. However, Ding did pick up a much-needed win against Wei to steady his qualification hopes. Meanwhile, Carlsen's bad day reared its ugly head again as he found himself sunk against the 22-year-old Jan-Krzysztof Duda, exciting Polish fans in the process. Carlsen finished with a draw against the solid Wesley So, leaving him on -1 for the day. Carlsen and So are both on 4.5/8 and qualification for the knockout should still be comfortable tomorrow.
After three straight draws, the "Minister for Defence" Karjakin lifted himself in the mix alongside Nakamura in his final game with a timely win over Alireza Firouzja. Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian scored the same 50% as on the first day and found themselves tied for the 5th place with Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi.
Tomorrow will all be about the scrap at the bottom as Duda and the other two young hotshots Daniil Dubov and Firouzja fight for places in the knockout. Nobody is completely out of the race for the next playoff stage.
The event, which runs until June 3, is being put on in association with the Lindores Abbey Heritage Society, which maintains the historic site. Coverage begins with commentary in 10 languages at 16.00 CEST tomorrow.
Standings after 8 rounds:
You can watch it live here
New files at around 23.00 CEST.
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