Nihal And Dzagnidze Leaders After Six Rounds

GM Nihal Sarin and GM Nana Dzagnidze are in the sole leads of their respective groups with an identical 4.5 points from six games in the 2022 Tata Steel Chess India Open Rapid and 2022 Tata Steel Chess India Women’s Rapid.

Overnight leader GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had a tough day with two losses and a draw, but joined GM Arjun Erigaisi to follow the leader on 3.5 points, giving Nihal a full-point lead going into the final day of the rapid tomorrow. In the women’s section, Dzagnidze is trailed by GM Humpy Koneru, GM Mariya Muzychuk, GM Anna Ushenina, and IM Vaishali Rameshbabu, all just half a point behind.

The event continues on Dec 01 at 22:30 p.m. PT/Dec 01 at 07:30 CET.

How to watch the Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Tata Steel India Chess Women’s Rapid

You can keep up with all the details of the tournament on our live events platform by following separate links for open and women’s sections. 


After scoring two and a half points out of three games on the second day and capturing the sole lead, Nihal appeared on the live commentary and was asked which was his favorite among the wins against GM Gukesh D and GM S P Sethuraman. He replied with characteristic modesty, “I didn’t play very well in either of the games, but probably the first one (against Gukesh) was sounder,” prompting GM Viswanathan Anand to quip with a chuckle: “He didn’t play very well in either of the games—what do you do with him?!” 

IM Tania Sachdev, Anand, and IM Shah Sagar—entertaining live commentary. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

So how does a typical Nihal “not very well played” game look like? Let’s have a look:

It was a day of resurgence for GM Hikaru Nakamura, who scored two wins and a draw, and his win in the very first game of the day against the former leader Mamedyarov earned very high praise from Anand.

Anand assessed 28.e5 as the pivotal moment of the game and remarked: “Full marks to Hikaru. Almost trademark Hikaru: … Some quiet position he plays. And he converts efficiently. After e5 he managed the position just brilliantly. Improved the position with the same pace as Shakhriyar and never let him back into the game.”

And that crucial game is our Game Of The Day:

After the end of the day’s play, when Anand quizzed Nakamura about his path to a comeback after a difficult first day in the tournament, the American grandmster came up with a jaw-dropping revelation: “[After the game yesterday,] I fell asleep at eight [p.m.], … woke up at … 2.40 [a.m] and Titled Tuesday began at 3.00 [a.m.] and I decided to play this! … I continued my very poor form for a couple of games and I played myself into a good form … And then I just played blitz for about seven hours[!] … I went to sleep at 11 [a.m.] and slept till the round. So, … interesting 24 hours!”

An interesting 24 hours in India for Nakamura. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Anand further asked him: “Is that the secret of modern chess?”

“It’s just two things. Obviously, I am jet-lagged. And it’s a little bit like a car—when you are trying to start a car, and it won’t start. I just felt that after yesterday … I thought that playing blitz would help me get into form if anything, and it seems to have worked!”

He further added: “When you play blitz … you make split-second decisions. … When we play more and more, I think it helps the reactions. … When I played like five to six hours (of blitz), eventually you find your form and figure out how to make better decisions. Normally I won’t do this, but it seemed something to try out, so why not.” Why not, indeed!

 …When I played like five to six hours [of blitz], eventually you find your form and figure out how to make better decisions.

—Hikaru Nakamura

All Games Open – Day 2



Overnight leader Dzagnidze had a similar course as on the first day, bringing all her defensive skills to the board and putting her best foot forward when the chips were down. She was severely tested in her game against Koneru in the sixth round where she seemed to be in trouble right out of the opening:

This eventful game enabled her to keep her slender half-point going into the final day.

Dzagnidze has been under varying levels of pressure in almost all her games in the tournament so far, and what is the secret of her defense? She was amused by this question during the press conference: “Secret of my defense? [Chuckles] I don’t know! I am just trying to play the best moves which I can see during the game. I don’t have any special secret,” a pragmatic reply.

I am just trying to play the best moves which I can see during the game. I don’t have any special secret.

—Nana Dzagnidze

A relieved Dzagndize with Sachdev at the post-game interview. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

Another curious incident happened in the game between GM Anna Muzyuchuk and Vaishali:

While the game was on, spectators in the auditorium were puzzled as it wasn’t clear what exactly happened. To her credit, Vaishali freely admitted at the press conference: “I just made an illegal move! … I played [59…]Nd6 and pressed the clock. I didn’t realize it was an illegal move!”

Vaishali: producing an impossible spectacle on the board. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Tata Steel Chess India.

All Games Women’s – Day 2


The 2022 Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Women’s Rapid are two of India’s most prestigious rapid chess events. Players compete in a 10-player round-robin in rapid games with a 15+10 time control. The prize fund for each event is $24,000.

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