By Peter Doggers for chess.com
After winning the rapid, Hikaru Nakamura has good chances to also take the first prize at the blitz part of the Tata Steel Chess India tournament in Kolkata. The American grandmaster scored 6.5/9 and is half a point ahead of Wesley So.
Monday was a rest day in the tournament, but the players did pay a brief visit to the tournament hall. A one-hour Q&A was organized for the many chess fans that are visiting each day, followed by an autograph session. Although it's only the first time that this event is being organized, the turn-up is great. It's clear that the presence of top grandmasters is something special in this city.
In the evening, almost all players joined for a dinner party thrown by the owner of the organizing company Gameplan, and some of them even warmed up a little for some friendly blitz. It should be mentioned that co-commentator IM Lawrence Trent is a very decent blitz player, and one of his scalps was none other than former world blitz champion Sergey Karjakin.
Stick to 1...e5 today, Seryozha! :) The blitz portion of @tschessindia kicks off in 20 minutes on https://t.co/Pu5cY8bp13 where I'll be bringing you all the action with the delectable @TaniaSachdev. Also welcome @rpragchess - he's determined on causing a few upsets! @chesscom pic.twitter.com/pp7bK2dxN6â€” Lawrence Trent (@LawrenceTrentIM) November 13, 2018
On Tuesday the first set of nine rounds of blitz was played, and during the first half, it was the Nakamura show. Scoring 4.5/5, the American player was already 1.5 points ahead of the pack. Finishing with four draws was enough to keep the sole lead, but the gap has decreased to half a point going into the final day.
With his pet system 1.Nf3 and 2.e3, Nakamura didn't get too much against Surya Shekhar Ganguly but just one inaccuracy by the latter was enough to get into trouble, and lose quickly: