Russia’s newest chess star Vladislav Artemiev scored three wins to storm into the lead in the Aimchess US Rapid today.
The 23-year-old, playing in only his third Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, underlined yet again why he’s widely-considered the breakout star of this year’s series.
Artemiev made the knockouts of both his first two Tour appearances. He looks odds-on to make the last eight again after stretching yesterday’s unbeaten run to 10 games today.
The 2019 European Champ even had World Champion Magnus Carlsen on the ropes in the final round of the day and had to settle for a draw. Artemiev eventually finish on 7.5/10.
Carlsen said afterwards: “I was trying to win, but he played well and I wasn’t even close, I just had to defend.”
There was a huge shock in the first round of the day as the American streamer Daniel Naroditsky, who sits #156 in the world, took down Wesley So with a brilliant finish.
Naroditsky, who also beat Liem Quang Le, now sits ninth with a real chance to force his way into the quarters.
Meanwhile Wesley, the only player able to overhaul Carlsen’s lead at the top of the overall Tour rankings, has had a disappointing start to the 9th leg.
However, the Filipino-American pulled himself up to 6/10 and looks good to qualify for the knockouts.
Levon Aronian, who led overnight, scored two wins and the FTX Crypto Cup winner now sits joint-second in the table alongside Carlsen on 7/10.
Aronian is playing from Yerevan, Armenia, for perhaps the last time before his move to the US. He said in his interview after the match that he plans to fly out as soon as the tournament ends.
The race to make the knockouts ends tomorrow as eight go home and eight progress after the final five rounds. Play starts again at 17:00 CEST.