Round one of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss opened with a big surprise as Vishy Anand, one of the favorites for the first place at this event, suffered a loss to Evgeniy Najer in only 30 moves. Following a strong attack in which Russian GM Evgeniy Najer sacrificed a piece, Anand was struggling and eventually conceded defeat.
World Champion Magnus Carlsen and No 2 Fabiano Caruana won their games and confirmed their lead starting positions in the tournament, while the fifth-seated Yu Yangyi is now third after securing a victory in the opening round. Altogether, 30 out of 154 players have won their first game at the Grand Swiss.
There was almost another upset of Round 1, on the first board where the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who was playing white, struggled against Ukrainian GM Yuriy Kuzubov. Although after the opening Carlsen had a more comfortable position, however, as the game developed it got worse. In a very direct game, Kuzubov managed to advance his pawn all the way to d2 and at one point had strong prospects of winning. The Ukrainian, however, ended in time trouble as he couldn’t find the right approach to breach Carlsen’s blockade. In the end, the World Champion got the better of the Ukrainian and won.
On the second board, World No 2 Fabiano Caruana secured an extra pawn early in the opening and went on to win. What is interesting about this game is that until move 16 Caruana had seven of his pawns which did not move from their original position.
One of the last games to finish among the elite was that of Sergey Karjakin who tried to edge a victory over Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan. Abasov, however, managed to withstand the pressure from the Russian and after 90 moves the game ended in a draw. Fifth seated Yu Yangyi, who is now marking a decade since becoming a GM, defeated the Argentinian GM Sandro Mareco, after securing an extra pawn in a rook ending. Current European champion and 10th seated at the Isle of Man, Vladislav Artemiev won against Venezuela’s Eduardo Iturrizaga.
Overall, on the top 20 boards, ten games ended in a draw, while white was victorious in seven, and black in three games.