First day of the preliminaries

Vincent Keymer dominates

Are the jacks the true kings?

Vincent Keymer dominated the first day of the preliminary round of the WEISSENHAUS Freestyle Chess G.O.A.T. Challenge. After defeating world champion Ding Liren, world number two Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian, the 19-year-old leads the field with 3.5 points from 4 games. Only against Magnus Carlsen, the G.O.A.T., did Keymer concede half a point.

The eight grandmasters are assigned eight playing cards at Schloss Weissenhaus: four kings for the four veterans, four jacks for the four young guns. After the first four rounds of rapid chess, commentator Tania Sachdev is not the only one to ask: “Are the jacks the true kings?”

Freestyle Chess

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The first four places are occupied by the youngsters, and the established players have to take a back seat. “Maybe we younger players are trickier,” speculated Gukesh after the first four battles had been fought. And then qualified: “But maybe we just had a good day.”

What is true will become clear on Saturday and as the tournament progresses. One thing is certain: Carlsen, Ding, Caruana and Aronian did not win a single game against Keymer, Abdusattorov, Gukesh and Firouzja. Levon Aronian and even more so Ding Liren got off to the worst start, losing all four games.

In a shark-infested arena like Weissenhaus’s chess battleground, any sign of weakness can incite a feeding frenzy among opponents. This was evident in the third-round clash between Ding Liren and Vincent Keymer.

Germany’s top player, Keymer, had previously bolstered his confidence with a comfortable draw against Magnus Carlsen, followed by a victory over Levon Aronian. “I sensed that I was in good form,” Keymer disclosed. But he noticed more than just his own performance. Observing the other boards, he perceived that Ding Liren was not at his peak. “That’s why I took risks and sought complications.”

His strategy paid off:

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