The race to conquer the two coveted spots to play in the Candidates later this year started today.
In the first Pool (A), Esipenko drew vs. Grischuk, and Bacrot drew vs. Nakamura. A good result for Esipenko, who has been under the gun for some moves. Nakamura-Bacrot went smoothly, without any danger for the players. It was the first official classic game for Hikaru since 2019. A good start for the American chess wizard.
In Pool B, two decisive results!
Fedoseev defeated Oparin.
Wojtaszek upset Rapport, winning a great game.
In Pool C, Levon Aronian regulated Vidit Gujrathi.
Keymer and Dubov played a long ending, with the 17 years old German GM trying to win a totally draw position. Keymer had an extra bishop, but in a final with K+R+B vs. K+R, you can win only if your opponent blunders.
In Pool D, Wesley So, one of the favorites, drew with Dominguez, and Shirov, the veteran of the event, drew with Harikrishna.
Nothing is lost, not even for those who got defeated today. The pools are Double Round-robin tournaments, and it's a long way to go. Of course, it's "only" six games, so every point is important. And only the first of each pool will access the semifinals.
Tomorrow Round 2 of the pools starts at 9 AM EST - 15:00 local (CET) - 14:00 UTC.