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Round 11 Report

John Saunders reports: the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss ended in a tie for first place between Wang Hao (China) and Fabiano Caruana (USA) on 8 points out of 11. Wang Hao, who defeated David Howell in the final round whilst other leading games were drawn, was placed first on tie-break and he qualifies for a place in the 2020 Candidates’ tournament in Ekaterinburg. Six players tied for third place on 7½: in tie-break order, Kirill Alekseenko (Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia), David Antón Guijarro (Spain), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Nikita Vitiugov (Russia). The top women’s prize was shared by Harika Dronavalli (India) and Dinara Saduakassova (Kazakhstan) who both scored 5½ points, with the Indian player receiving the trophy on tie-break. A fuller report will follow.

Round 10 Report

John Saunders reports: the penultimate round of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss had everything. The eight boards with players still having an interest in qualifying for the Candidates’ tournament featured seven decisive results, with the only draw being a well-contested game between Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian. A sole leader emerged in the form of world number two Fabiano Caruana, who defeated David Antón Guijarro to reach 7½ points, while the world champion Magnus Carlsen beat Maxim Matlakov via an overwhelming position which became a much more problematic one before he found a way to win and equal Ding Liren’s record of 100 top-level classical games without a loss. Carlsen thus progressed to 7 points along with Nakamura and Aronian, and they were joined by Wang Hao, Kirill Alekseenko, David Howell and Nikita Vitugov who won their games to reach the same score. Thus there are eight players left to contest first prize and/or the Candidates’ qualifying place in the eleventh and last round.

Round 9 Report

John Saunders reports: the ninth round featured the much-anticipated clash of the world rated numbers one and two, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, which ended in a draw, as did the game between two of the three joint leaders Levon Aronian and David Antón Guijarro, though this lasted considerably longer. The one significant change at the top of the tournament was that Hikaru Nakamura won his game with Vladislav Kovalev and became the fourth member of the leading score group on 6½ going into the last two rounds.

Round 8 Report

John Saunders reports: round eight of the 2019 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, played at the Comis Hotel, Isle of Man, on 18 October, was a livelier affair than round seven, with rather more decisive results on the higher boards. Even so, a car crash of players is building up at the top as the tournament reaches the sharp end and three rounds remain. The two leaders, Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Levon Aronian (Armenia), drew their game, which allowed Spanish GM David Antón Guijarro to catch them on 6/8 by beating Alexander Grischuk (Russia). Other players on 5 drew, and now the second score group on 5½ has swelled to ten: Wang Hao (China), Kirill Alekseenko (Russia), Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran), Vladislav Kovalev (Belarus), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Nikita Vitugov (Russia), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Vishy Anand (India) and Boris Gelfand (Israel).

Round 7 Report

John Saunders reports: Until well into the sixth hour it appeared as there would be no decisive games at all on the top twelve boards in round seven of the 2019 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, played at the Comis Hotel, Isle of Man, on 17 October. Then came a fateful moment for Wang Hao: in what had seemed a drawn endgame he faced a tough decision, went wrong and Levon Aronian emerged with a win and a share of first place with Fabiano Caruana. Going into round eight on Friday, Aronian and Caruana have 5½ out of 7, while seven players are on 5 points: Wang Hao (China), Kirill Alekseenko, Alexander Grischuk, Nikita Vitugov (all three Russia), Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran), David Anton Guijarro (Spain) and Magnus Carlsen (Norway). The leading round eight pairings are Caruana-Aronian, Wang Hao-Carlsen, Anton Guijarro-Grischuk and Maghsoodloo-Vitiugov, with Alekseenko receiving a downfloat to Wesley So.

Round 6 Report

John Saunders reports: The FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss is now just beyond its halfway stage and the leadership has thinned down to two players, Fabiano Caruana (USA) and Wang Hao (China), as round six concluded at the Comis Hotel, Isle of Man. Caruana and Wang Hao defeated Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia) and Luke McShane (England) respectively to move to a score of 5 points. Seven players are tucked in behind them on 4½: Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran), David Anton Guijarro (Spain), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Nikita Vitugov (Russia), Kirill Alekseenko (Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and world champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway). Wednesday is a rest day and the battle is rejoined on Thursday.

Round 5 Report

John Saunders reports: after another pulsating round of play at the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss, the leadership has expanded to seven players, including all four of the overnight leaders who drew their games. Only another Houdini-like escape act, this time by Fabiano Caruana (USA), prevented us from having a sole leader. England’s Luke McShane came within an ace of beating him. The traffic jam on 4/5 consists of Fabiano Caruana (USA), Wang Hao (China), Luke McShane (England), Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Alexei Shirov (Spain) and Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran). Magnus Carlsen won against Surya Ganguly so is now breathing down their neck amongst the chasing pack on 3½.

Round 4 Report

John Saunders reports: after four rounds of the 2019 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss at the Comis Hotel, Isle of Man, the leadership has swelled to four players: Fabiano Caruana (USA), Wang Hao (China), Luke McShane (England) and Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran) all have 3½ from a possible 4 points. Caruana drew with Wang Hao, while McShane defeated Baskaran Adhiban (India) and Parham Maghsoodloo beat Vidit Gujrathi. Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen’s struggles continued as he narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus. He remains a point behind the leaders.

Round 3 Report

John Saunders reports: The five leaders were whittled down to two by the end of round three in the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss. One of them is world number two Fabiano Caruana, who defeated Alexei Shirov, while the all-Chinese clash between Wang Hao and Bu Xiangzhi ended in a victory for the former. Meanwhile, world champion Magnus Carlsen is now languishing a full point off the lead after conceding another draw to former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

Round 2 Report

John Saunders reports: after two of the 11 rounds played, there are five joint leaders of the inaugural FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss tournament to decide a qualifier for the 2020 World Championship Candidates’ tournament. The five on 2/2 are Baskaran Adhiban (India), Fabiano Caruana (USA), Wang Hao, Bu Xiangzhi (both China) and Alexei Shirov (Spain). A glaring omission from their number is world champion Magnus Carlsen, who only secured a draw with Alexey Sarana of Russia after being caught in opening preparation and being obliged to play with extreme accuracy to escape a worse fate.


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FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss: Round 11 Report and Prizegiving
Published: 21 Oct 2019

Round 11 Report

John Saunders reports: the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss ended in a tie for first place between Wang Hao (China) and Fabiano Caruana (USA) on 8 points out of 11. Wang Hao, who defeated David Howell in the final round whilst other leading games were drawn, was placed first on tie-break and he qualifies for a place in the 2020 Candidates’ tournament in Ekaterinburg. Six players tied for third place on 7½: in tie-break order, Kirill Alekseenko (Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia), David Antón Guijarro (Spain), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Nikita Vitiugov (Russia). The top women’s prize was shared by Harika Dronavalli (India) and Dinara Saduakassova (Kazakhstan) who both scored 5½ points, with the Indian player receiving the trophy on tie-break. A fuller report will follow.


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FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss: Round 10 Report
Published: 21 Oct 2019

Round 10 Report

John Saunders reports: the penultimate round of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss had everything. The eight boards with players still having an interest in qualifying for the Candidates’ tournament featured seven decisive results, with the only draw being a well-contested game between Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian. A sole leader emerged in the form of world number two Fabiano Caruana, who defeated David Antón Guijarro to reach 7½ points, while the world champion Magnus Carlsen beat Maxim Matlakov via an overwhelming position which became a much more problematic one before he found a way to win and equal Ding Liren’s record of 100 top-level classical games without a loss. Carlsen thus progressed to 7 points along with Nakamura and Aronian, and they were joined by Wang Hao, Kirill Alekseenko, David Howell and Nikita Vitugov who won their games to reach the same score. Thus there are eight players left to contest first prize and/or the Candidates’ qualifying place in the eleventh and last round.


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