David Antón has passed a great trial by fire: not to lose to the world champion, the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, eager to succeed after a couple of failures. It was the first time they faced each other in classical chess, and the Spaniard will never forget it: the tie came after six hours of great suffering, due to the strenuous attempts of the Norwegian, who exhausted the tricks offered by the position. Swede Nils Grandelius is the surprising and only leader with two points in two rounds.
Antón spoke with EL PAÍS as soon as he arrived at the hotel: “It has been more or less even, but in the time constraint I have not been fine and I have reached an end that should be draws but it is not easy at all. He squeezed me very well, and I was close to losing but I managed to defend myself. I think it has merit because it is the typical ending that Carlsen wins one out of two times. “
Except in very special circumstances, and even less so when he is thirsty for triumphs as now, Carlsen never gives up draws without his rival sweating blood to achieve them. Antón took it on and adapted over and over to the same process: he hit the mark with good defensive plans and achieved positions that tended to distribute the point; But Carlsen pulled a new rabbit out of the hat, complicated things and forced the Murcia-born Madrilenian to spin very fine again to balance. And so on until, finally, and because there was no material left on the board to continue risking, the tables were signed.
Such a titanic effort will force Antón to sleep well because tomorrow he will have another very demanding game: with the black pieces against the Iranian prodigious Alireza Firouzja, 17, another who always goes to death. After the defeat that he conceded yesterday against an excellent Carlsen, the Persian did not cut a hair to risk today with black against the third seed of the tournament, the Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who came out of the opening with a clear advantage. But Firouzja once again exhibited his tremendous talent and managed to draw.
Carlsen shares second place with the two serious contenders, along with Vachier-Lagrave, from taking it when the thirteen-round league ends. They are the Dutch Anish Giri and the American Fabiano Caruana, who won a spectacular fight against the German Alexander Donchenko, last-minute replacement for the Russian Danil Dúbov, whose absence is due to a close relative with covid.
Results (2nd round): Vachier Lagrave – Firouzja, tables; Anton – Carlsen, tables; Tari – Wojtaszek, tables; J. Van Foreest-Giri, tables; Donchenko 0 – Caruana 1; Doubt 0 – Grandelius 1; Harikrishna – Yesipenko, tables.
Classification: 1º Grandelius 2; 2nd-4th Carlsen, Giri and Caruana 1.5; 5th-10th Anton, Vachier-Lagrave, Wojtaszek, J. Van Foreest, Harikrishna and Yesipenko 1; 11-13 Firouzja, Tari and Duda 0.5; 14th Donchenko 0.
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