Magnus Carlsen won a brilliant game against Ian Nepomniachtchi, thus taking the sole lead in the tournament. The World Champion sacrificed a pawn in order to further advance his connected passed pawns, one of which later became a queen. It is quite an unusual sight to see three queens on the board at such a high level! Bassem Amin suffered his second loss in a row, this time against Wei Yi, due to his king not being able to find a safe home without suffering material loss. Hikaru Nakamura tried until move 103 to win with his extra pawn in a knight ending, but Sergey Karjakin defended relentlessly. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Wesley So drew Ding Liren and Veselin Topalov respectively in very balanced games.
The big match-up of the day was between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura. There was one moment in the game when Nakamura had to calculate a complicated piece sacrifice which would have given him a big advantage. The US Champion opted for a safer choice, which would have lead to trouble for him had Magnus found the precise continuation. The back and forth battle eventually ended in a draw. In the longest game of the round, Wei Yi was able to defeat Ding Liren in a minor piece endgame, thus joining Carlsen in the lead. Bassem Amin failed to retrieve the pawn he sacrificed against Wesley So, thus ending the day with three losses. Ian Nepomniachtchi had a great opportunity to bounce back from his round 2 loss, but blundered into a perpetual against Veselin Topalov. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s pet opening, the Najdorf, once again proved to be a great choice, as he drew Sergey Karjakin without any difficulties.
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Day 1 Report Courtesy of Grand Chess Tour
All Photos Courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes and Spectrum Studios
Credits available on Flickr.