Wednesday was one of those rare days when World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen lost two games. The Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge might see a knockout phase without the 16-year-old star GM Alireza Firouzja, who is not among the top eight with three rounds to go.
GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin are currently leading the tournament followed by Carlsen and GM Wesley So, who both are a point behind. There are three more rounds today when the top eight will qualify for the knockout phase.
Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge | Round 8 Standings
“Did all the right things strategically, then missed everything and got mated. On to the next one I guess #oldandwashed,” Carlsen tweeted during the break after his loss to GM Yu Yangyi. It was a painful one indeed, as the Norwegian had built a kingside attack in such a nice way earlier in the game.
Furthermore, from the start of the endgame only Black was playing for a win. However, perhaps losing the sense of danger for a moment, Carlsen allowed his king to get caught in a mating net.
Carlsen bounced back with an interesting win against Wei. After sacrificing a pawn, he wanted to avoid a trade of queens, and to do so, he played the AlphaZero-esque maneuver Qd4-d1-a1. Wei was then still doing OK, but giving up his b-pawn without a fight was the start of his problems.
Carlsen’s second loss saw a similar finish as in his game with Yu: a mating net. However, Duda had been playing a superb game and basically outplayed the world number one in an endgame with rooks and opposite-colored bishops. The pawn structure along the d-file was remarkable as well.
Here’s Carlsen’s comment on Norwegian TV, as translated by Tarjei Svensen: “I am really pissed that I played so badly today. My good feeling over playing well on Tuesday is gone now. I am no longer following my intuition. It’s frustrating. Completely unacceptable.”
Two other storylines come together in the following game. Although Firouzja is in danger of elimination, Karjakin is doing very well so far. The FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup, where he scored a mediocre 4/8, was the Russian GM’s first tournament in five months. He is warmed up now.
All games of day 2
The Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge runs May 19-June 3 on Chess24 in association with the Lindores Abbey Heritage Society. The prize fund is $150,000 with a first prize of $45,000. The time control is 15 minutes for all moves with a 10-second increment after each move. No draw offers are allowed before move 40.