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Opera Euro Rapid Tournament

Magnus Carlsen9.5/15(+6 -2 =7)[games]
Anish Giri9.5/15(+5 -1 =9)[games]
Wesley So9/15(+5 -2 =8)[games]
Levon Aronian8.5/15(+5 -3 =7)[games]
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave8.5/15(+4 -2 =9)[games]
Jan-Krzysztof Duda8/15(+4 -3 =8)[games]
Teimour Radjabov8/15(+1 -0 =14)[games]
Daniil Dubov7.5/15(+4 -4 =7)[games]
Hikaru Nakamura7.5/15(+3 -3 =9)[games]
Samuel Shankland7/15(+4 -5 =6)[games]
Ian Nepomniachtchi7/15(+3 -4 =8)[games]
Vidit Santosh Gujrathi6.5/15(+2 -4 =9)[games]
Leinier Dominguez Perez6.5/15(+4 -6 =5)[games]
Alexander Grischuk6.5/15(+1 -3 =11)[games]
Matthias Bluebaum5.5/15(+2 -6 =7)[games]
Ding Liren5/15(+3 -8 =4)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Opera Euro Rapid (2021)

The Opera Euro Rapid was the third event of the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2020-2021. The games were played online from 6-14 February 2021 on the chess24 Playzone. It started with a 16-player round robin on the first three days (time control 15 minutes for all moves with 10 seconds added per move from move one), from which the eight best players qualified for an elimination (knockout) phase on the last six days (9-14 February). The action each day began at 16:00 GMT (17:00 CET, 11:00 ET). Prize fund: $100,000, with $30,000 to the winner. Tournament directors: Arne Horvei and Sotiris Logothetis. Chief arbiter: Panagiotis Nikolopoulos. N games played 120 + 64 = 184.

Carlsen, Giri, So, Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave, Duda, Radjabov and Dubov qualified for the knockout stage:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 Carlsen * 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 9 2 Giri * 1 0 1 1 1 1 9 3 So 1 * 0 1 1 1 0 1 9 4 Aronian 0 * 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 8 5 Vachier-Lagrave 0 1 0 * 1 1 1 8 6 Duda 0 * 1 0 0 1 1 1 8 7 Radjabov * 1 8 8 Dubov 0 1 0 0 * 1 0 1 1 7 9 Nakamura 0 1 * 0 0 1 1 7 10 Shankland 0 0 0 0 0 1 * 1 1 1 7 11 Nepomniachtchi 0 0 1 1 * 0 1 0 7 12 Vidit 0 0 1 0 * 1 0 6 13 Dominguez 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 * 1 0 6 14 Grischuk 0 0 0 * 1 6 15 Bluebaum 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 * 5 16 Ding Liren 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 * 5

In the knockout each match consisted of two mini-matches of up to four games each (Rapid 15 + 10), and if 1-1 a tiebreak match of two games (Blitz 5 + 3) plus if necessary an Armageddon game (5 vs 4). Wesley So beat Magnus Carlsen 1- in the final.

Quarterfinals (9-10 February) Semifinals (11-12 February) Final (13-14 February)

So 011 11-- -- - 2 Duda 100 00-- -- - 0 So 101 1- -- - 2 Radjabov 010 0- -- - 0 Radjabov 10 1 - 2 Giri 01 0 - 1 So 01 1 -- - 1 Carlsen 10 0 -- - Carlsen 11- 00- 10 1 2 Dubov 00- 11- 01 0 1 Carlsen 11- 00 10 1 2 Vachier-Lagrave 00- 11 01 0 1 Vachier-Lagrave 1 10 -- - 1 Aronian 0 01 -- -

Match for 3rd place (13-14 February): Radjabov 101 11-- -- - 2 Vachier-Lagrave 010 00-- -- - 0

So netted 46 tour points. Carlsen got 35 points, Radjabov 17 and Vachier-Lagrave 14. Standings after three events: So and Radjabov 108 points each, Carlsen 85, Aronian 65, MVL 50.

Official site:
chess24 1:
chess24 2:

Previous Champions Chess Tour event: Airthings Masters (2020/21)

 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 184  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Nepomniachtchi vs Nakamura 1-0642021Opera Euro RapidC67 Ruy Lopez
2. Ding Liren vs L Dominguez  1-0512021Opera Euro RapidA36 English
3. Radjabov vs Duda  ½-½642021Opera Euro RapidD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
4. V S Gujrathi vs Grischuk  ½-½452021Opera Euro RapidE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
5. Nakamura vs A Giri 1-0602021Opera Euro RapidC67 Ruy Lopez
6. Dubov vs Nepomniachtchi ½-½812021Opera Euro RapidB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
7. A Giri vs Nepomniachtchi 1-0372021Opera Euro RapidB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
8. Grischuk vs Nakamura  ½-½522021Opera Euro RapidC70 Ruy Lopez
9. Duda vs V S Gujrathi  ½-½1102021Opera Euro RapidD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
10. Carlsen vs S Shankland 1-0332021Opera Euro RapidA11 English, Caro-Kann Defensive System
11. Vachier-Lagrave vs Bluebaum  ½-½672021Opera Euro RapidD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. A Giri vs V S Gujrathi 1-0362021Opera Euro RapidD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
13. Grischuk vs Radjabov  ½-½492021Opera Euro RapidB31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
14. Duda vs Ding Liren  1-0482021Opera Euro RapidD38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
15. L Dominguez vs Carlsen 0-1722021Opera Euro RapidB75 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
16. S Shankland vs Vachier-Lagrave ½-½412021Opera Euro RapidD97 Grunfeld, Russian
17. Bluebaum vs W So 0-1662021Opera Euro RapidD04 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Aronian vs Dubov 0-1362021Opera Euro RapidB50 Sicilian
19. W So vs Aronian  ½-½532021Opera Euro RapidE39 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation
20. L Dominguez vs Radjabov  ½-½842021Opera Euro RapidB33 Sicilian
21. S Shankland vs Ding Liren 1-0542021Opera Euro RapidE12 Queen's Indian
22. Grischuk vs A Giri  ½-½522021Opera Euro RapidC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
23. Duda vs Nepomniachtchi  0-1592021Opera Euro RapidD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
24. L Dominguez vs Nakamura  ½-½482021Opera Euro RapidC70 Ruy Lopez
25. S Shankland vs V S Gujrathi  1-0382021Opera Euro RapidD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 184  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-14-21  GreenLantern: Congratulations to Wesley So.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: I made screenshots after Wesley won. So funny.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: That guy who used to play so and so has gotten's Magnus gonna do?
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: It sure would be nice to see games more recent than Rd. 3, SIX DAYS ago.
Feb-14-21  AngeLa: Congrats to GM Wesley So..

(when do we see magnus get beastmode again?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Round 3 was eight days ago. Round 15 was six days ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: I don't know. All I know is the last games posted were played on February 8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Oh well, hope I can make a financial contribution to the site later this year.

I'm very motivated to quit some bad habits which will save me a lot of money.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: Congratulations, Wesley So. Bravo!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Agreed. Congratulations to Mr So are called for. It's a very respectable achievement to beat the world champ in rapid matches, even if it's "only" by one point.

It seems that WS has gained some edge against MC of late. Unfortunately for him, he didn't qualify for the Candidates, so he won't get a chance to face Carlsen this time, and many things can happen until the next WC match (assuming Carlsen keeps the title, which I still consider very likely).

Carlsen has not performed to his usual optimum of late, but I don't think we can draw any conclusions on that. Yes, he did not win in Wijk and now he lost to So, but every world champion has had highs and lows and none of his predecessors has played nearly as many games as he has.

The corona and the many restrictions in its wake has had and still has an enormous impact on chess life and chess players, and a long time will pass before we'll be able to analyze and assess it from a distance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Lol they never made more money than now!

Even though guys like Fischer and Kaspy tried to killl chess with their egos.


Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: <every world champion has had highs and lows>

This was a low for Carlsen, but he did finish second after missing wins in his last games. But it was an online rapid event, and some conclusions are funny to read :-) At another site the argument is that if Carlsen plays like in this event he is going to lose his title to Nepo in the autumn. It's just that Nepo didn't even finish top eight here, but that is somehow no argument against him beating Carlsen. And he of course also needs to win the Candidates, where MVL is leading on tiebreak.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Well, last WCC matches Carlsen has not been more impressive than, let's say, Carl Schlechter.

The facts.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <WPE> Don't do that to the honourable Carl Schlechter. Besides Capa, he was the only one who ever had Lasker on the ropes. Moreover, his fate was one of the saddest in chess history. A humble talent crushed in a cruel world.

<fabelhaft> Yes, and agreed. Pointing out a low for Carlsen always needs to be followed by a measure of relativity. Most top players would be thrilled by achieving Carlsen's results in Wijk and in this Opera-event.

Feb-16-21  metatron2: <Sokrates: The corona and the many restrictions in its wake has had and still has an enormous impact on chess life and chess players, and a long time will pass before we'll be able to analyze and assess it from a distance>

Very True.

It seems like covid restrictions and lack of standard chess activity, favored the players who tend to work systematically on their chess.

Players that can do productive self training day by day, improving their opening repertoire and work on their weaknesses bit by bit, without getting bored, or feel there is no point doing that because there is no clear target on the horizon.

I always considered Wasely So, Giri and Caruana to be that type of players, and indeed So and Giri seemed to make clear improvements during covid. Caruana was already very high prior to covid, but we could see clear improvement in his rapid games.

Radjabov also showed significant progress during covid. I used to consider him hard working player as well, but then he had that sudden huge drop and it seems like he disappeared for a few years. He later said that during that time, he actually worked very hard on his chess, rebuilding his opening repertoire to better fit the elite, etc. So he seems to fit that profile as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <Sokrates>

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Schlechter. In fact, I would go so far to say he doesn't get the credit he deserves from many chess fans. After analyzing many of his best games I came to the conclusion that after the unassailable big three (Lasker, Capa, and Alekhine), he was one of the best handful of players of his generation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <metatron2>

Interesting reflections on the top players who have been able to use the covid situation the most. Working discipline helps, for sure, but there may also be unknown private factors involved.

There is also the time format factor. Most of the online tournaments have been in rapid or blitz formats - well weren't all of them, actually? Before the virus it was discussed, whether the classical time format should be replaced with a quicker format.

When all this is over (hopefully this year) it shall be interesting to see whether FIDE and others will make the conclusion that classical chess must be reformed.

I hope they change the format. Another streak of draws in the world championship match will be intolerable, IMO.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <0ZeR0> And I fully agree with your further praise of Schlechter. He deserves much more credit in chess history.

It is almost unfathomable for us today to learn that he died in 1918 of famine and plain poverty. Chess was played in a completely different world, even at top level.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: When are the 58 knockout-round games going to be posted?
Feb-16-21  metatron2: <Sokrates: Working discipline helps, for sure, but there may also be unknown private factors involved>

Indeed the highly unusual situation affects differently on each player, I just thought that players who have the work discipline that is (almost) independent of external stimulations, could benefit the most of that situation.

Carlsen for example, said that while he thinks about chess almost 24/7, he doesn't train systematically on daily bases. Its more like doing the things that he likes to do (including playing online, or reading interesting chess books, etc.).

It seems like he needs a clear target in order to focus on a systematic and productive training. And before covid, he had a lot of those targets (= elite tourneys) along the year. And while the series of online rapid tourneys during covid is great, and does give some training motivation, its not enough motivation to do a serious long and deep training job.

And I think that most professional chess players tend towards Carlsen's attitude. You need a special character to have Alekhine's "I study chess eight hours a day, on principle" attitude..

<Sokrates: There is also the time format factor. Most of the online tournaments have been in rapid or blitz formats>


But of the 4 players that I mentioned, Giri already showed in Tata that his progress was also relevant to classical over the board chess, and Caruana seemed to (successfully) work on his (relative) weakness in quicker time formats.

We are yet to see how W. So and Radjabov will do in classical tourneys, but they played so consistently well in the rapid online format, that it does seem like their overall chess has improved.

<Sokrates: I hope they change the format. Another streak of draws in the world championship match will be intolerable, IMO>

Well, that belongs to the old quality vs entertaining debate..

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Hi, <mt2>,

Seems like we aren't far from each other, so let's not begin to argue about the beard of the prophet.

Yesterday, I learned something more important, and I quote myself from the members' forum:

Mr. Levon Aronian has relocated himself to the U.S. under the sponsorship and support of the honorable Mr. Sinquefield.

Sadly, the new government in Armenia didn't acknowledge the genius of their brilliant artist in chess. I hope the magnificent player and distinguished gentleman Aronian finds peace and support in his new country. Caruana has already come to his aid.

I salute the great Aronian, a friendly chessplayer of great personal calibre. And I still mourn the loss he suffered by the shocking death of his beloved wife. May this new beginning give him hope and solace.

Feb-28-21  Clemens Scheitz:

A most unfortunate move by Aronian, perhaps it even qualifies as a " blunder", and I'm not so happy about the US federation either for encouraging and accepting it...and according to Levon it's mostly because they didn't buy him a supercomputer (?). I would think that he has enough money to buy an adequate computer almost without having to ask for help. How about playing under FIDE as Firouzja does, at least for a while and see what happens ?

My dear Levon, you've come down a bit from the pedestal I had you on, not that you or anyone else cares.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: There might be a very slim chance that
Aronian knows what he is doing.
Just a tiny little one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Clemens Scheitz> The US has always had a lot of top players coming from elsewhere, Steinitz, Reshevsky, Benko, Gulko, Kamsky, Polgar, So, Dominguez Perez, to name a few. You see something wrong with this? On what basis?
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <beat>, yep. For a while, Kaidanov was the top rated American.
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