Having completed 3 rounds of All Play All, the Opera Euro Rapid event has reached the knockout stages. With half of the original field of 16 already eliminated it come as no surprise that some very big names have already heard the fat lady sing. Amonst those eliminated are Nakamura, Grishuk, Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren!

The quarter-final line up is :

Magnus Carlsen    v    Daniil Dubov

Levon Aronian    v    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Jan Krzysztof Duda    v    Wesley So

Teimour Radjabov    v    Anish Giri

This position is from yesterday’s game between Carlsen (White) v Nakamura (Black)

Nakamura has just played Re1, attacking the White Queen and if Carlsen plays Rxe1 then Qxf2+ is highly dangerous

Can you find the winning move played by the World Champion?

Today was another exciting day at The Opera Euro Rapid tournament

After 10 rounds Magnus Carlsen is leading, closely followed by most of the higher rated players. The 5 rounds to be played tomorrow will decide who qualifies for the knockout stages.

There is a group of players in danger of heading to the exit door, including Nakamura, Dubov, Duda and Grishuk so the remaining games will be full of fighting chess.

Here is an interesting position from today’s game between Shankland and Aronian

Shankland (White) played Qa7+ and soon lost

He did have a trick, which may have worked, especially in a Rapid game

  1. Kc3  d1=Q  2. Qa3+  Kxa3 with stalemate

The Opera Euro Rapid tournament started yesterday, 16 of the world’s top players compete for a huge prize fund. The first 3 days cover All play All, so fifteen rounds in total. After the 3rd day the top 8 players progress to a knockout and the others go home, which isn’t as bad as it sounds as this is an online event and the players are most likely at home anyway.

Day one saw plenty of exciting chess, Carlsen lost his first game against Wesley So but then won four in a row to take an early overnight lead. Most of the other top players are within the top 8 comfort zone, but Ding Liren, Aronian and Grishuck all need points to force their way into the KO stages, so we should see plenty of fighting chess today.

In case you think the top players just memorise move after move of opening preparation here is the position after White’s second move in Carlsen v Shankland


White to move

The game continued with 1. Ng5+  Kh6  2.Nf7+ Kh7 and a draw by repetition. Instead White has the simple win 1. fxg6+ Kg8  2. Rd8