Let me open by saying I am not qualified to critique any chess played by GM's in such a classic tournament as Wijk Aan Zee. My comments are that of a very interested observer viewing the
events that are taking place at The Event.
Sounds funny to say that all does not seem right in “Magnus World”, yet there are incidents that have indicated either fatigue or a lack of focus in some of the world champion's games. After having a crushing attack against Dutch #1 Anish Giri and then inexplicably missing a mate in three which ended drawn in round seven, Carlsen followed that up with a loss from an equal position after pressing too hard against Richard Rapport (2702) from Hungary in round eight. It has made Carlsen fans a little squirmy. Not to worry though; Carlsen sits in shared second place with 6.0/10, trailing tournament leader Wesley So of the USA who sits at 7.0/10 and a 2899 TPR.
So has not lost a rated classical game since June of 2016, which encompasses about 50 games. He leads the field with 4 wins and his game with Carlsen was drawn in round one, so Magnus will have to play for a win or two in the final three rounds and hope So falls on hard times in order to overtake the leader. A fantastic tournament in being had by Saskiran Adhiban (2653) from India who is the second lowest rated player in the field, but has three wins. Check out his games, especially round five where he played the French for the first time in his life in a tournament and defeated Sergey Karjakin! Adhiban won the Challengers section in 2016 to earn the right to play with the big dogs this year and he is sitting at 5.5./10.
Other players sharing second with 6.0/10 are Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin, Pavel Eljanov and Chinese prodigy Wei Yi. Thursday the 26th is a rest day and the final three rounds will be Fri, Sat & Sun. Should be a great weekend of chess...........
In the Challengers section, Jeffrey Xiong (2667) of the USA is tied with Markus Ragger (2697, Austria)
and Ilya Smirin (2667, Israel) with a 7.0/10 tally. Xiong has won an incredible SIX games, most of any player in Wijk Aan Zee. Ragger defeated Xiong in their round one encounter and Xiong plays Smirin on Friday in round eleven.
View live commentary by Yasser Seirawan from the link below:
View previous round games from link below: