The battle has begun…
Our columnist reports on the eagerly awaited tournament of the year and don’t miss the videos.
Players: FabianoCaruana, Viswanathan Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand and Magnus Carlsen
The ongoing Zürich Chess Challenge event has been billed as the strongest tournament in history to date with a rating average of 2801.
If you look at the list of participants, at least four names are missing, Kramnik, Svidler, Grischuk and Ivanchuk, not to mention Morozevich who does not belong to the top in terms of rating, but deserved his place here for having won here before.
While this tournament may not be the strongest, it is a prelude to a greater event, the Candidates’ 2014 scheduled in March this year.
On the positive side we have Carlsen’s first appearance in his new role as the world champion. I believe, he is here to gauge first hand, the form of his current rivals especially, Aronian and Nakamura. Going by his recent interviews he no longer sees Anand as a threat to the crown. He beat the former world champion in no more than 21 moves in the blitz (download pgn) preceding the main event.
But we are anticipating the story ahead. As a matter of fact, Magnus had a terrible start here. In the first round he was shocked by Caruana
Magnus Carlsen – Viswanathan Anand, Zürich CC Blitz 2014
and in the second there followed a narrow escape from Gelfand.
“I have almost never played as badly as I did in the beginning here. It was so bad that I could not even get mad. I just had to laugh. I was probably a bit rusty,” said Magnus.
The turnaround came in his next encounter. He was outplayed Aronian (Levon won the recent Wijk-aan-Zee tournament and is in form-Ed.). Right when everyone expected Magnus to capitulate he fought back and saved the game. “It’s an amazing defence, he shows here. I cannot believe it” exclaimed Peter Leko.
(seen here with Yannick Pelletier, fellow-commentator on the games in this event)
“I fought well from a hopeless position. I am pleased that I managed to reverse the trend,” said a relieved Carlsen.
Then followed the victories against Anand & Nakamura and he shared first place with Levon Aronian, earning him the right of white pieces.
(Sharing a light moment with Peter Heine Nielsen. Dad Henrik Albert Carlsen and sponsor of the event Oleg Skvortsov are in the background.)
To be continued
a)For more info. on the tournament, see the official site.
b)Carlsen shares his thoughts on the ongoing event.
c)Download all the blitz games of the event in pgn.
1) Some of the information here is from the first report filed by
Mads Nybo Støstad and Nils Fredrik Røren for NRK Media House
2)The images are by Ms Anastasiya Karlovich (at ChessPro.ru )
and Maria Emelianova at the official site
Our thanks to all concerned for granting permission to use these materials.