GRENKE Chess Day 5: Carlsen Wins Round-Robin As Ding Suffers


World number-one Magnus Carlsen beat GM Vincent Keymer to wrap up victory in the 2024 GRENKE Chess Classic round-robin. He now faces GM Richard Rapport in Monday’s title match, while GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave takes on Keymer for third place. World Champion Ding Liren suffered as he lost to Keymer, then lost two games of a three-player tiebreak, before finally grabbing a first win in 27 games. He’ll play the man he beat, GM Daniel Fridman, for fifth place.  

The final matches start on Monday at 10 a.m. ET / 15:00 CET / 7:30 p.m. IST.


Day five of the GRENKE Chess Classic got off to an unusual start as IM Ilja Schneider successfully proposed to his girlfriend Olga Ivanova, who was also playing in the Open tournament.

Then it was down to business, with Carlsen and Rapport, the two players who had made the running for the first four days, sealing the top spots and a match for the title. Vachier-Lagrave booked a match for third place, but the final spots would only be decided in a gruelling tiebreak tournament. 

GRENKE Chess Classic | Standings After Round 10

The most keenly-anticipated game in round nine was Rapport vs. Vachier-Lagrave, where a win for the Frenchman would have seen him catch his opponent in the standings. It was a tense game, but Rapport held firm, so that Carlsen knew that a draw would be enough to guarantee him a match for the title.

He got off to a great start against Keymer, impressing our commentators with a rare idea of playing g3 but then developing his bishop to d3 instead of g2. Keymer’s 13…Ba6? released the pressure on e4, which invited trouble. 

14.f4! left the former world champion close to strategically winning, but when the position became closed it was a question of whether he would settle for the draw he needed or push for more. To no one’s great surprise, he took the maximalist approach.

After 48.h4! he went on to win in sparkling style. 

An easy draw against Vachier-Lagrave in the final round meant he finished on 7/10, scoring five wins and four draws after his round-one loss to Rapport.

Carlsen could relax with a round to spare. Photo: Oliver Koeller/Chess.com.

Rapport could still theoretically be caught by Vachier-Lagrave, but the Frenchman made a quiet draw against Carlsen, so that there was no pressure on Rapport as he held an 81-move draw against Fridman.

Rapport held on against Vachier-Lagrave to take second place. Photo: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess.

The drama in round 10 was in Keymer vs. Ding, which, after many near misses, saw last-placed Keymer pick up a first win of the event. That’s our Game of the Day, with analysis by GM Rafael Leitao below.

GM Rafael Leitao GotD

During the game, GM Anish Giri reflected on how brutal top-level chess can be. 

If that game had been drawn the day would be over, with Ding playing Vachier-Lagrave for third place, while Fridman would take on Keymer for fifth.

Instead, we had a three-way tie for fourth place, which, it turned out, meant a potentially six-round-long double round-robin tiebreak at a 10+2 time control. In the end, five rounds were needed, with Keymer scoring 2.5/3 to win the battle to face Vachier-Lagrave.

The long tiebreak felt like torture for Ding Liren. Photo: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess.

GRENKE Chess Classic | 4th Place Tiebreak

It felt like cruel and unusual punishment for a clearly out-of-form and dispirited world champion. Ding missed a decent chance to play for a win as he drew the first game vs. Keymer, blundered and lost to Fridman, then lost on time in a miserable position to Keymer.  

The only glimmer of light was that, after a remarkable 27 games across different formats and time controls without a win, Ding finally beat Fridman in the final game of the day. It was a close-run thing, however, since the Chinese star had spoiled a good position and then allowed Fridman a chance to win on the spot with a sacrifice on c5.

Ding’s win did little for his own situation, since he’ll now play a match to avoid last place for a second tournament in a row, but it did mean that Keymer had clinched victory to complete a remarkable turnaround on the final day of the round-robin.

Monday will be the final day of the huge chess festival in Karlsruhe. Photo: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess.

The final matches on Monday will be played over two 45-minute games with a 10-second increment, with two 10+2 games, then two 5+2, then an armageddon game possible in case of ties. We’ll also see the final two rounds of the GRENKE Open, which is currently led by GMs Ivan Saric, Vladimir Fedoseev, and Velimir Ivic on 6.5/7, but with 14 players just half a point behind.





















Seed

Name FED Rating Points TB
1 7 GM Saric, Ivan 2670 6.5 36
2 3 GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2690 6.5 33
3 22 GM Ivic, Velimir 2582 6.5 32.5
4 12 GM Svane, Rasmus 2623 6 36
5 19 GM Maurizzi, Marc`Andria 2602 6 35.5
6 10 GM Kollars, Dmitrij 2629 6 35
7 5 GM Niemann, Hans Moke 2676 6 34.5

16 GM Svane, Frederik 2617 6 34.5
9 8 GM Shevchenko, Kirill 2670 6 33

15 GM Chigaev, Maksim 2617 6 33

32 IM Erdogmus, Yagiz Kaan 2540 6 33
12 6 GM Anton Guijarro, David 2671 6 32.5
13 1 GM Erigaisi Arjun, 2748 6 32

17 GM Kamsky, Gata 2616 6 32

34 IM Horvath, Dominik 2534 6 32
16 31 GM Hong, Andrew 2542 6 31
17 33 GM Vavulin, Maxim 2538 6 28.5

The winner of the Open will qualify for next year’s Classic.


The 2024 GRENKE Chess Classic takes place from March 26-April 1 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The six-player double round-robin features two rounds per day played at a 45-minute time control with 10 seconds added per move. On the last day, two-game matches will be played to decide the final places, with 1st vs. 2nd, 3rd vs. 4th, and 5th vs. 6th. 

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