It's a tournament with 158 players where 125 of them are above 2500 Elo! The World Rapid and Blitz championships are here and it is one of the biggest chess extravaganza that we can witness as a chess fan! The 15 round rapid event with a time control of 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment began on Saturday. Five rounds took place on day one. Before we get to the chess part and how the Indians fared, here's a picture gallery just to give you an idea as to how strong this tournament really is!
The World Champion is here to defend his Rapid and Blitz title that he won in Dubai 2014
India's Vishy Anand, five time World Champion, proving that age is just a number!
Push the h-pawn, sac, sac, mate! The stylish Levon Aronian rehearsing the ideas before the games begin
In a league of his very own is Vasily Ivanchuk
Arguably one of the best blitz players in the world - Ian Nepomniachtchi
Is this guy a chess machine? After 25 days of relentless games at the World Cup in Baku Sergey Karjakin is back on the chess board!
"Let's call it a day!" Boris Gelfand proposes a truce!
The Shak attack!
Always a force to reckon with: Teimour Radjabov
The Polish team of Bartel, Gajewski, Wojtaszek and Swiercz
The Russians have sent their best guys - Nepo, Karjakin, Rublevsky, Kramnik
One of my favourite authors and the lovely commentator Yasser Seirawan. But he was not the only legend in the playing hall...
....the tenth World Champion Boris Spassky speaks with his old friend Fridrik Olafsson
Now that you are aware of the stars participating in the event, you would be in a better position to appreciate the performance of the 21-year-old Indian youngster Vidit Gujrathi!
Vidit is currently on 4.0/5 and in the second position
At 2534 rapid rating, Vidit is clearly under-rated. Thanks to his great calculating abilities, he is already gaining 57 Elo points. So let's have a look as to how he performed in the first five rounds.
Round 1 Gadir Guseinov vs Vidit
White to play, how should White regain his pawn?
It's Gadir's turn to move. He played the atrocious move 13.h3? After 13...Nxe4 14.Rxe4 Bxg5 15.Ng5 Bf5 Black was just a pawn up and clearly better. So what should have White played in the above position? There was a very nice tactical variation starting with 13.Nxf6! Bxf6 14.Nxe5! So why did White give up his bishop on g5? Because after 14...Bxg5 15.Nxf7! Rxf7 16.Qxg5! and the queen on g5 is taboo as Re8 is a mate. Of course here Black can go 16...Qf8 and the position is round about equal. But you can understand how tactically alert White had to be in order to maintain the balance. Once 13.h3 was played, Vidit had very little difficulty in converting this into a win.
Round 2 Vidit vs Andrei Volokitin
Black to play, what do you think about 50...Rd5?
Volokitin is a piece down but has excellent drawing chances because of the reduced material. All he needs to do is exchange the rooks. But the Ukrainian was in great hurry and played the move 50...Rd5?? Vidit was extremely alert as he went 51.Ng7+! Ke5 52.Ng4+ Kd4 (Ke4 loses to Nf6+) 53.Nf5+ Ke4 (Kc4 would lose to the nice trick any knight to e3 check!) 54.Nf6+ and the rook was lost and so was the game!
With this win Vidit was on 2.0/2. Of course Gadir Guseinov and Andrei Volokitin were strong, but nowhere near his next opponent's strength. Vidit now faced the formidable Alexander Grischuk with the black pieces.
With a rating of 2846, Grischuk is the second seed in the event
Vidit played a fantastic game to beat the top Russian player. Here's the entire game with some express analysis:
After a sparkling start with 3.0/3, Vidit showed that he is class act by not losing any of his next two games. He drew with white against Nepomniachtchi and with black against Peter Leko.
A screen capture from Vidit's fourth round game against Ian Nepomniachtchi
Vidit's performance was simply amazing, but what about India's ace player Viswanathan Anand? How did he fare? Things started pretty well for Vishy. He beat Kateryna Lagno in the first round and followed it up with a win against Alexander Onischuk. In the third round he drew his game against Salem Saleh in a completely crazy battle. Here's the last part of the game annotated by Albert Silver taken from the ChessBase report.
2.5/3 was not all a bad start. But then things started to fall apart for the Indian. In the fourth round he was caught by some excellent preparation done by Russian Danii Dubov.
Round 4, Dubov - Anand
In the above position which has been seen many time in tournament praxis, Dubov came up with the novelty 12.a3!? It did not seem to deter Anand as he played quickly. After 15 moves we reach the follwing position.
How should White continue?
Dubov was clearly in his preparation as he blitzed out the move 16.g4! This created some big problems for Anand with g5 coming up. He tried to stop it with 16...f6 but the g6 square had been weakened terribly and he ended up with a bad position after 17.Nd6
Danii Dubov showed some amazing preparation to beat Vishy
In the fith round Vishy faced another Russian Pavel Ponkratov with the white pieces. In a French defence, Black got a very comfortable position in the early middlegame. Although the evaluation fluctuated a bit, by the time we reached the endgame Ponkratov was clearly better.
Round 5, Anand - Ponkratov
How should Black increase his advantage?
With such a dominating knight on e4, it's time to open up the position and Pavel did just that with the move 44...f4!
White to play. How do you evaluate 48.Nxd5
Vishy was already in big trouble and tried to complicate matter with 48.Nxd5 but after Kxd5 49.Rxe4 Rh3+ 50.Kg4 Kxe4 51.Kxh3 Rxf4. All the pawns remained on one side and the white king was sidelined on h3.
When the following position was reached, Vishy found nothing better but to throw in the towel
So a bad day for Vishy Anand who is now on 2.5/5 but Vidit more than made it up with his sizzling 4.0/5 performance. This is how the other Indians stand right now:
Surya Shekhar Ganguly: 3.0/5
(It must be mentioned that Surya has drawn with two very strong players: Kramnik and Andreikin)
Krishnan Sasikiran: 2.5/5
S.P. Sethuraman 2.5/5
Check out Adhiban's interesting video inside the confession box over here
In the sixth round Vidit faces Wojtaszek on the seventh board.
You can find the pairings and standings on chess-results website.
Karjakin, who is seen here with his friend Kateryna Lagno, is the sole leader with 4.5/5
There were so many top level contests taking place at the same time that...
... you could simply feel lost!
We look forward to five more exciting rounds on the day two of the World Rapid 2015
The beautiful pictures that you saw in this report have been taken from the official website. The photographers are Elena Kashirskaya, Gregor Anthes, Nailya Bikmurzina.