Reports | July 06, 2012 16:28

Carlsen & Karjakin lead World Rapid Championship after day 1 (VIDEO)

Carlsen & Karjakin lead World Rapid Championship after day 1 (VIDEO)

After five rounds of play, Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin are sharing the lead at the World Rapid Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan. Both players scored 4.5/5, and are followed by Veselin Topalov, Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov, who have a point less.

The playing hall on the third floor of the Radisson Astana | All photos © ChessVibes

Event World Blitz and Rapid Championships | PGN (rapid) via TWIC
Dates July 2-10, 2012
Location Astana, Kazakhstan
System Rapid: 16-player single round robin | Blitz: 16-player double round robin
Players Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Viktor Bologan, Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Anuar Ismagambetov, Pavel Kotsur and Rinat Jumabayev 
Rate of play Rapid: 15 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1 | Blitz: 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move, starting from move 1.
Extra The players are not allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Any draw claim will be permitted only through the Chief Arbiter and accepted in case of a triple-repetition of the position or the 50-move rule
Prize fund US $200,000 for each tournament; first prize US $40,000

The first games of the World Rapid Championship were played on a national holiday in Kazakhstan: Day of the Capital. It is also the birthday of the first and current President of Kazakhstan, whom we mentioned in our previous report.

The first move of the tournament was performed by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who had left the hotel early morning to attend the start of another event: an open tournament in Karaganda, about 100km south-east of Astana. Back in Astana, he started the game between Murtas Kazhgaleyev and Magnus Carlsen.

The playing hall is quite spacious, and contains two rows of eight boards. Each board has its own arbiter who writes down the moves. It's rapid, but a faster form than normal: 15 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.

There were about fifty spectators today, who could follow the games reasonably well thanks to two big electronic screens left and right of the players, However, there was something wrong with the resolution so the pieces were actually not that easy to recognize. 

The best way to follow the games is of course to stand next to the board, and this was actually possible. The playing area is roped off with about a meter and a half distance, so you can actually come closer to the players than normal.

Although the players are playing for a US $200,000 prize fund, the atmosphere is quite relaxed. There were no incidents on this first day, although some players had to get used to the fact that they couldn't just offer a draw. (Is the Corsica/Sofia rule really necessary in rapid chess?)

Here's our video report on the first day:

After the first day Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin are sharing the lead with 4.5/5. Especially Karjakin can be satisfied with that result, because he arrived in Astana only a few hours before the start of the tournament! He had missed his flight the day before. (He tells about this in the video.)

Afterwards Carlsen said that he was especially happy with his game against Alexander Morozevich, which he won "quite easily".

PGN string

Magnus Carlsen started with 4.5/5

Karjakin felt that his best game of the day was against Grischuk. He could finish it off with a queen sacrifice:

PGN string

Karjakin actually started with 4/4 and then drew quickly with Black against Veselin Topalov. Carlsen won his last game to catch Karjakin in first place. He came up with a devilish trick against Igor Kurnosov, trapping White's knight. The Norwegian told us that had seen this already when he liquidated to the knight ending.

PGN string

Sergey Karjakin: also 4.5/5, despite an unfortunate travel experience

Anuar Ismagambetov (2471) is having a tough time and started with five zeros. Alexander Morozevich's 1/5 is quite disappointing but he has still ten more rounds to finish on a decent score. Tomorrow at 15:00 Astana time (11:00 CET) play resumes!

Games day 1

PGN file

World Rapid Championship 2012 | Round 5 standings


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


NN's picture

4.5/5 ?! What great performances!

bronkenstein's picture

Additionally, Karjak´s S-B 9.75 , while MC has only 6.75 (!) , the huge difference coming from Magnus having played the bottom of the table mostly so far.

S3's picture

TPR wise he is better

Anonymous's picture

That's right, Carlsen had 'must win's mostly so far. Still his rating performance exceeds Karjakin's because highly rated Moro performed rather unfortunately today. But with only one third of the games played, almost anything could still happen ...

S3's picture

And the unsuccesful Moro of today isn't necessarily the Moro of toMoro.

Thomas's picture

Yep, and the bottom of the table includes those whom we would generally expect there - plus Morozevich who has a bad tournament or at least a bad first day. Karjakin already beat Grischuk (shared leader before their game) and Gelfand who shouldn't be underestimated.

Septimus's picture

Giuoco Piano is one of my favorite openings! Nice winning streak by Carlsen.

zenta's picture

Videos! Videos!

redivivo's picture

Mamedyarov-Kurnosov will be interesting :-)

Barone's picture

When you come across (by chance ONLY) a world event such as this one, with the best and most entertaining rapid games humans can produce, which is missing a live commented coverage of any kind: that's when it become particoularly sad to keep listening about how Chess is not interesting enough for sponsors.

Lee's picture

There was english language commentary at for yesterdays play. Scroll down on the live broadcast tab.

Thomas's picture

Whychess also has GM commentary (Robert Fontaine in English, Sergey Shipov in Russian).

Barone's picture

I tried there before posting my comment, and it shoved a video feed of the same board you could follow live in the same page and no voice.
Maybe they started later?
Anyway, I didn't see the competition advertised anywhere, and no mention about live video commentary can be found as explicitly promoted on the official site (you probably noticed how often they write "live video" when they feed on the net a cam pointed at the playing all, and no sound).

MamedyarovFan's picture

Thanks to Peter Doggers and Chessvibes for wonderful coverage. It is great that you made the trip. Keep up the great reports, insights etc.

S3's picture

I'd wish chessplayers would show a bit of respect and not sit in their chairs sideways yawning while playing. It's distracting, not polite, and can even be offensive. What kind of father doesn't teach his kid to sit in a chair normally anyway?

Johnnie's picture

What kind of father didn't teach you to behave on Internet anyway?

Anonymous's picture

Who is the 2nd English commentator?

Anonymous's picture

50 spectators? Fantastic to see how the PR geniuses at FIDE have finally figured it out!

redivivo's picture

Six draws in a row for Svidler now, I winder what the record is for number of drawn rapid games.

moo's picture

Nice video summary!

redivivo's picture

It's Karjakin and Carlsen and then nothing nothing nothing.

Anonymous's picture

Age does matter too, or so it seems. Would have been nice if there had been a few more youngsters.

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