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Thursday, February 27, 2014

I have Hunger to Play Good Chess: Anand

Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand on his preparation for the Candidates 2014 in an interview to Ashok Venugopal for Sunday Standard - The New Indian Express
How are you preparing for the Candidates tournament? A lot of strong players will be in action. Who do you think is a tough opponent?
The Candidates will be a tough event — strong players and a grueling format. I think there is no one particular favourite. It depends on who is in top form. I have been preparing for the event since January.

Have you made any change in the style of preparation?

Again, can’t say much.

Have you changed your seconds from the World Championship?

I can’t really talk about it right now.

Have you overcome the World Chess Championship defeat?

That is over. I don’t think about it anymore. It seems like it happened ages ago. As a sportsperson you have to learn to let go and move on.

In the London Chess Classic you began to win again, but managed to reach only till quarterfinals. When you won the first match (after the World Championship loss) in the tournament did you get over a psychological barrier? How do you rate your performance?

At this level of the game, there are no barriers. You have good games and bad ones. I would say moderately happy. I was very proud of my games in the qualifying. I could feel myself like a six-year-old again, just playing very fast and confidently. That is the way I would really love to play.

At Zurich, in perhaps the strongest field in the history of the game, you came fifth overall. How do you rate this performance? You are known for your rapid skills, but lost three games?

Well, I am going through a phase of changing my game. So there will be some hits on the way before you reach your optimum form. So, Zurich was a good learning experience.

Is there a mental block when playing Carlsen? You are yet to beat him in the classical format in the last two years or so.

This is something I hope to correct. It is his (Carlsen) style, which is very different to what many players have grown up with.

How do you recollect the match against Carlsen at Zurich Chess 2014?

It was a normal game. You can’t base each encounter on the match. That is over. You have to just look forward and play a normal game.

How eager are you to go through the grind, win the Candidates and take on Carlsen again in the World Championship in November?

I am looking to do well in Khanty right now. If that leads to a match in November I would definitely try and do things differently.

Despite having nothing left to prove do you still have the hunger to be the world champion?

I would say I have hunger to play good chess.

What motivates you now to give your best? Is it pride, reputation or just simple love for the game?

I would just say that I love the game. If something gives you a lot of pain, it also gives you a lot of enjoyment. That is why you love it and is passionate about excelling in it.

How do you handle pressure, not just expectations of fans from the country, but also that from the Western media, players and officials who cannot digest an Indian ruling the world of chess?

You do have some amount of pressure being the outsider. But I have always tried to keep a small circle of friends and just enjoy the chess. I don’t really read much chess news. But there are also many people who show their support especially since you had to work doubly harder to reach the top.

Does the attitude (running down Anand) of some former Russian greats like Garry Kasparov motivate you to prove them wrong?

I don’t waste my time on petty chess politics. Chess was clearly Kasparov’s strongest point.

-- Team Chess Magazine Black and White would not have asked the last two questions in there. Ah well. More on that later ;)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Play Chess with World Champion Magnus Carlsen Anytime, Anywhere!

This is a dream app for every single chess player on the planet. We're just glad iTunes hasn't crashed with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen unveiling his special branded official app 'Play Magnus'. Here's what the intro states:
Play Magnus
Want to test your chess skills against the World Champion of Chess? Now you can! Play Magnus offers you the opportunity to play chess against the official Magnus Carlsen-tuned chess engine, train your chess skills with exclusive Magnus Carlsen training content and earn points towards qualifying to play Magnus Carlsen Live!

 

Stats

Free
Category: Games
Released: 25 February 2014
Version: 1.1
Size: 54.1 MB
Language: English
Seller: Play Magnus AS
© 2014 Play Magnus AS
Rated 4+

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Ad-Free Upgrade$1.29

Here's the official website of Play Magnus with its own dedicated twitter account. You can download the app there: http://magnuscarlsen.com/playmagnus

The World Champion's YouTube video states: "I spent some time over the past few months creating something to give back to the chess community. As many of you know, I want to help the chess community spread the game we love to more people around the world, with a special focus on young people. The Play Magnus app is my first step in helping make that happen."

For a nice press conference update on the release check out ChessVibes.

Here are two more screen grabs. Damn Cool we would say!




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Candidates 2014 R1 Anand vs Aronian

Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand of India will face World No. 2 Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first round of the Candidates in Khanty Mansisysk this March. The winner of the Candidates will earn the right to challenge World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in November, 2014 for the world title. 

There were conflicting reports earlier this year whether Viswanathan Anand would take part in the Candidates in a bid to meet Carlsen again and regain the world title. At least his fans hoped so. But, before the deadline for confirmation, Anand asserted that he would go for it and said aye for Khanty Mansiysk.

The World Chess Championship 2014 Khanty Mansiysk Candidates will begin with the arrival of players on March 11. The opening ceremony will be a day later. There will be one round a day from 13-15, 17-19, 21-23, 25-27 and 29-30. Intervening days would be utilised as rest days. March 31 would be utilised for tiebreaks / Closing ceremony.
Here are the complete pairings as released by FIDE:


Round 1 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7

Round 2
SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 67 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5

Round 3 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6

Round 4
SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4

Round 5
SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 62 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7

Round 6 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 25 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4

Round 7 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 64 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8

Round 8 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6

Round 9
SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 85 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7

Round 10 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5

Round 11
SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
3 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 6

Round 12
SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 15 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Svidler Peter RUS 3
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4

Round 13 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
1 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Aronian Levon ARM 7
2 GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Anand Viswanathan IND 63 GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 5
4 GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS - GM Topalov Veselin BUL 8

Round 14 SNo. Name FED Res. Name FED SNo.
7 GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS 2
6 GM Anand Viswanathan IND - GM Svidler Peter RUS 35 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS 4
8 GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 1

Meanwhile, FIDE has already initiated the bidding procedure for the World Chess Championship 2014. FIDE and its commercial partner AGON are looking for potential venues for the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship match to host Magnus Carlsen and his challenger. 


The World Chess Championship Match 2014 shall take place from 6 November (game 1) to 25 November 2014 (possible tiebreaks/closing ceremony). 

If Viswanathan Anand makes it... 

Friday, February 7, 2014

World Chess Champ Ignored for Strong Chess Event. Discrimination?

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has not been invited to this very strong chess tournament. Do you think this is discriminatory to humans? ;)

The next season of the computer chess championship TCEC starts in a few hours from now: February 7 at 20:00 CET. 


All the big guns are going to be there: Komodo (3232), Stockfish (3240), Houdini (top seed at 3247), Rybka (3159) along with 32 other top chess engines of the planet to battle through four stages and a Superfinal for the title of the world's best chess 'chip' champion. 

The computer chess championship can be followed live via a brand new website, that will show the games in real time, together will all information about pairings, standings, and statistics.

Meanwhile, we believe the Norwegian World Chess Champion has not taken "being ignored" to heart and was busy launching his YouTube Channel

So, here are all the details of the world computer chess championship and system of play.

The TCEC Season System

TCEC (Thoresen Chess Engines Competition) is a computer chess tournament organized and maintained by Martin Thoresen, in cooperation with Chessdom Arena. The goal is to provide the viewers with a live broadcast of long time control, quality chess – played strictly between computer chess engines created by different programmers. One Season is divided into several Stages and lasts about 3-4 months. The winner of the Season will be the TCEC Grand Champion.

As soon as a Stage starts, it will run 24/7 until all games have been played. One game is played at a time – the next one starts automatically. There will be a short break between the Stages, to make sure everything is ok with the TCEC game server and to prepare for the next Stage.

Stage 1

A Season starts off with Stage 1 which consists of roughly 36 engines. This can vary from Season to Season, as can the format (Swiss / round robin etc). Then the top X (varies) will move on to Stage 2, while the rest is out of TCEC for the current Season.

Stage 2


Stage 2 consists of the engines that qualified from Stage 1. It is usually a single round robin. The top X move on to Stage 3 while the rest is out of TCEC for the current Season.

Stage 3


Stage 3 consists of the engines that qualified from Stage 2. The format for Stage 3 is usually a double round robin so that each engine will play both sides of the same opening against each other. The top X will move on to Stage 4 while the rest is out of TCEC for the current Season.

Stage 4


Stage 4 consists of the engines that qualified from Stage 3. It is a multiple round robin and the openings are chosen randomly per pair so that each engine will play both sides of the same opening against each other. The top 2 will qualify to play the Superfinal, while the other engines are out of TCEC for the current Season.

Superfinal


After Stage 4 has finished, the top 2 engines will meet in a Superfinal of 64 (previously 48) games. This match is played with 32 different openings so that each engine plays both black and white of the same position. The match will be presented with opening 1 used in games 1 and 2, then opening 2 used in games 3 and 4 etc. If the match is theoretically won for one side before game 64, the match will still continue until all 64 games have been played. In the case of a drawn match there will be a Rapid match of 16 games with a time control of 25′ + 10″. In case it is still tied there will be a Blitz match of 8 games with a time control of 3″ + 2′. When the Superfinal is over, the current Season ends.

The TCEC Grand Champion


The winner of the Superfinal will be crowned the TCEC Grand Champion and will keep this title until there is a winner in the next Superfinal. There is no automatic qualification for the reigning Grand Champion, it will have to go all the way through the next Season for it to be able to defend the title.

Time control


The time control of this season is 120 minutes + 30 seconds added per move for the whole game, in all events. If an engine loses on time, the game will not be replayed. If the TCEC game server locks up at any time during a game (BSOD, freeze etc), that game will be restarted unless the last position was a 6-man or less tablebase position, then it will be manually adjudicated.

Game adjudication


A game can be drawn by the normal 3-fold repetition rule or the 50-move rule. However, a game can also be drawn at move 40 or later if the eval from both playing engines are within +0.05 to -0.05 pawns for the last 5 moves, or 10 plies. If there is a pawn advance, or a capture by any kind, this special draw rule will reset and start over. In the website this rule is shown as “TCEC draw rule” with a number indicating how many plies there are left until it kicks in. It will adjudicate as won for one side if both playing engines have an eval of at least 6.50 pawns (or -6.50 in case of a black win) for 4 consecutive moves, or 8 plies – this rule is in effect as soon as the game starts. In the website this rule is shown as “TCEC win rule” with a number indicating how many plies there are left until it kicks in. Cutechess will also adjudicate 5-men or less tablebase endgame positions automatically.

Opening Book


TCEC uses openings put together by Nelson Hernandez and Adam Hair. All of them are 8 moves deep. If you click the Help menu and then “The Season 6 opening book” you can read in detail how they prepared for this challenge.

Engine Ratings


All new engines will receive an initial elo rating based on the CCRL 40/40 single CPU list. If an engine isn’t found here, or if it has played very few games, the CEGT 40/20 single CPU list is used instead but the rating difference between Houdini 3 64-bit in the two rating lists will be added to the rating. If an engine isn’t found in either list, an approximate elo rating will be given to that engine based on tests from the programmer. If an engine is updated to a new version, this new version will inherit the rating of the old version. When you enter “Archive mode” in the File menu, you can see the official TCEC ratings at the bottom right corner – they are updated after each Stage or Superfinal.

Engine Updates


The engine programmers can provide updates only before an event starts, not during. However, there will be no extra testing meaning that this is a gamble if the engine could be unstable. The deadline for engine submission is the last game of the current Stage – the goal is to be able to start the next Stage as soon as possible without any significant delay.

Critical Engine Bugs


In the case of a serious, play-limiting bug (like crashing or interface communication problems) not discovered during the pre-Season testing, the engine can be updated once per Stage to fix this/these bug/bugs only. If this update still doesn’t fix the problem(s) or if there is no update available, the engine might have the number of cores reduced, have the hash size reduced or have the tablebase access disabled – these changes will remain for the rest of the Stage.

Tiebreaks


If necessary, tiebreaks can be used to determine advancement. For all Stages, the first tiebreak criteria is the “crash” tiebreak, meaning that if an engine has crashed once or more during the Stage, it will fail qualification versus another engine that has not crashed if both of them has the same amount of points. The Sonneborn-Berger criteria is the second. If still a tie, the greatest number of black games decides. The next criterion is the greatest number of wins, then the greatest number of wins with black. In case of still being tied, then the direct encounter between the tied engines decides. If they are still tied, then the tournament director decides which engine gets the promotion.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Carlsen wins Zurich Chess, Anand 5th

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 final report: Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand continued to struggle with his form and had to be content with a fifth-place finish after a poor show in the rapid section of the Zurich Chess Challenge that concluded here on Tuesday.


Magnus Carlsen wins Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 despite self-destructing in the rapid section. Viswanathan Anand finished the tournament at fifth place. Photo: Maria Emelianova

Staying joint fourth spot on four points after the classical games, Anand could manage just one point out of a possible five in the rapid section that has always been his forte and finished with an overall score of just five points out of a possible 15 in the six-player event.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen got a scare, in the rapid section, but still managed a clear first place on 10 points despite scoring just two points in the rapid section that was dominated by Fabiano Caruana of Italy.

Carlsen ended the tournament with 10 points in all, a point ahead of Caruana and Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Hikaru Nakamura of United States also came up with a decent show in the rapid to finish clear fourth on 7.5 points while Anand ended fifth, half a point ahead of his former world championship challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel.

The rapid section turned out to be worse than the classical one for Anand wherein the Indian had started with two losses.

In rapid, Anand lost the first three games against Aronian, Nakamura and Caruana to end hopes of finishing in the first half. In the last two games, the former world chess champion played out draws with Gelfand and Carlsen.

Anand was beaten by Aronian in the first round of rapid in 44 moves after losing a rook for a minor piece earlier.

Against Nakamura, he simply blundered a piece in the opening to go down rather tamely and against Caruana it was a long grind wherein Anand missed his chances in the queen and knight endgame.

Interestingly, the game against Carlsen was an exact replica of the eighth game of the last world chess championship till move 29. The draw was inevitable thereafter.


Carlsen too was not at his best as he lost to Aronian and Caruana in the rapid games. However, a victory against Gelfand and draws with Nakamura and Anand were enough to stay clear of the field.

The 23-year-old Carlsen did not show the rustiness that was expected post a break after the world championship triumph in November last in the Classical games and his score there was enough to help secure first place in his first tournament as the world champion.

The loss to Caruana in the final classical game proved costly for Aronian as he missed out on a clear second spot. In the rapid Aronian scored three points in all.

Nakamura's 3.5 points out of last five did not help his cause as he still could finish only fourth. However, with the form coming back, the American can look up to coming events positively now.

For Anand, it will be a test of time ahead of the Candidates tournament to be held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia in mid-March. In what is expected to be his bid for the world chess championship match against Carlsen, the Indian will have to recover very quickly from the results here in Zurich. -- PTI

Final Standings (Classic and Rapid Tournament)
Rank Name Pts. elo
1. Magnus Carlsen 10 2872
2. Fabiano Caruana 9 2782
3. Levon Aronian 9 2812
4. Hikaru Nakamura 7½ 2789
5. Viswanathan Anand 5 2773
6. Boris Gelfand 4½ 2777
Closing ceremony video













Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Zurich Chess R5: Anand - Carlsen Draw

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 Classical Games round 5: Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand mantained his composure and played out an easy draw against reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the fifth and final round of classical section at the Zurich Chess Challenge on Monday. 
 
Magnus Carlsen vs Viswanathan Anand: It's Zurich and a draw. Photo: Maria Emelianova

Anand finished the classical section on four points with one win, two draws and two losses and the Indian will have to do some recovery act in the rapid section that follows.

Carlsen continued to lead the tables handsomely as his nearest rival Levon Aronian suffered a defeat at the hands of Fabiano Caruana of Italy. Carlsen, on eight points, enjoys a two-point lead over Aronian who remained on six points.

Carauana moved to sole third spot on five points under the unique scoring system in place that gives two points for a win and one for a draw. Anand and Hikaru Nakamura of the United States share the fourth spot on four points each.

In the other game of the day, Boris Gelfand of Israel played out a draw against Nakamura to take his tally to three points in the six-player round-robin tournament.

The rapid leg of the event will now begin with five games to be played with reverse colours on the final day. For each win here, however, only one point will be awarded and this makes Carlsen a huge favourite for the title.

Anand played it very safe against Carlsen. Up against the Berlin defense, the Indian went for a quite anti-system that led to exchange of pieces at regular intervals. The pawn structure was symmetrical, giving no hopes to either player and the exchanges led to a opposite colour Bishops endgame in fairly quick time.

The game went on for 40 moves before the duo signed peace. Aronian was subdued by Caruana out of the Marshall Gambit. Caruana gave his extra pawn in the middle game to reach a slightly better ending and then forcibly won a pawn.

The technicalities remained for a long time and Aronian crumbled under pressure in the end, making a blunder when he could have still posed resistance. The game lasted 66 moves.

Gelfand and Nakamura played a quite draw in a closed Sicilian. Nakamura with white did not get any complications favouring him and the two decided to repeat moves early in the middle game. The game was drawn in 21 moves and the two played a compensatory rapid game that was won by the Israeli.

In the five rapid games to follow, Anand will have the advantage of playing three whites and while, chasing Carlsen may be out of question, the Indian ace can surely back himself to be in top bracket of this highest category tournament. -- PTI

Results after Round 5: Vishwanathan Anand (IND, 4) drew with Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 8); Fabiano Caruana (ITA, 5) beat Levon Aronian (ARM, 6); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 4) drew with Boris Gelfand (ISR, 3).
 



Monday, February 3, 2014

Zurich Chess R4: Anand beats Gelfand

Zurich, Feb 2: Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand tasted his first success in Classical Chess this year after defeating his former challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel in the fourth round of the Zurich Chess Challenge here today.

With his first win in four games, Anand jumped to joint third spot on three points. This victory also served as a morale-booster after an indifferent start that involved two losses and a draw in the first three rounds.



Boris Gelfand heading for a meltdown against Viswanathan Anand in Round 4 at the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014. Photo: Maria Emelianova

All three games in the highest category event ended decisively.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen avenged his pairings chess blitz loss against Fabiano Caruana of Italy with a comprehensive win, while Levon Aronian of Armenia played like a machine to beat Hikaru Nakamura of the United States.

Carlsen scored his third victory in four games to take his personal tally to seven points in all under the unique scoring system that gives two points for a win and one for a draw in the Classical games.

The recently-crowned World Chess Champion is making most of the opportunities here and was seen at his technical best against Caruana.

Aronian remains on the heels of Carlsen a full point behind and he enjoys a huge three points lead over his nearest rivals Anand, Caruana and Nakamura -- who all are on three points.

Gelfand is on the last spot with two points in his kitty.

One game in Classical and five rounds in rapid still remain in the tournament. -- PTI
 



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Zurich Chess: Carlsen wins Lost Game

ZURICH, Feb 1: Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand opened his account after signing the peace treaty with Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the third round of Zurich chess challenge now underway here at the Savoy. 


Anand - Caruana set for a draw and (below) Peter Leko, Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana witness the Drama that's going on on the board of the game Hikaru Nakamura - Magnus Carlsen and is mirrored in Hikaru Nakamura's desperate expression. Photos: Maria Emelianova


After two uncharacteristic defeats coming against Levon Aronian of Armenia and Hikaru Nakamura of United States, Anand put an end to his losses with a solid draw wherein he had to defend for a while in the early stages. World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway was the lucky one in the third round as he not only escaped from a certain defeat at the hands of Nakamura, but also turned the tables upside down to score a victory.

The second win in his third game gave Carlsen a full point lead over nearest rivals as the Norwegian took his tally to five points. Under the unique scoring system that gives two points for a win and one for a draw in Classical games, Aronian slipped to second spot on four points and he is now followed by Nakamura and Caruana on three points each.


Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan giving a simul as a special guest at the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014. Photo: Maria Emelianova

Israeli Boris Gelfand stands sole fifth in the six-player tournament on two points while Anand with a sole draw is at the bottom of the tables with two rounds in Classical and five rounds in Rapid chess still to come in the tournament. It may be recalled that in rapid, the usual point scoring system with one point for a win and half for a draw will be used and the winner will be the one who scores maximum points based under both scoring systems.

Anand went for the Slav defense as black and the game went in to uncharted territories early. Caruana was looking for some advantage with his pair of bishops in the ensuing middle game but Anand came up with a pawn sacrifice to neutralise white's initiative.

The Italian himself came under pressure after returning the pawn and many experts believed that Anand could have played for more. However, after an indifferent start, the Indian played it safe and settled for his first point in the highest category tournament.

Nakamura chose the Saemisch variation in the Nimzo Indian defense against Carlsen. The opening is known for its uncompromising play and Carlsen did not disappoint in going for something which is not very common at top level chess. Nakamura, however, proved his point by getting a dangerous attack on the king side and Carlsen had to keep pace with a piece sacrifice in the middle game.

However, when it looked all over for Carlsen, the American came up with an inexplicable blunder that sealed the fate of the game. Gelfand held on to his own to get a draw with Aronian.

The two later played a rapid game to enthrall the audience wherein Aronian came out victorious. This victory in rapid, however, will not be counted for overall standings. -- PTI

Results round 3: Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 3) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1); Levon Aronian (Arm, 4) drew with Boris Gelfand (Isr, 2).









Hikaru Nakamura - Magnus Carlsen 0-1: Python Explodes after Eating Alligator at Zurich Chess 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Zurich Chess R2: Anand - Nakamura 0-1

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 Round 2: Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand struggled with his form for the second consecutive day as he suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura of the United States in the second round of Zurich Chess Challenge on Friday.
Viswanathan Anand - Hikaru Nakamura in Round 2 at the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 and (below) Main Sponsor Oleg Skvortsov playing Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan in a friendly game. Photos: Maria Emelianova



Having lost to Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first round, this turned out to be a double blow for Anand who now finds himself at the last spot in the highest category event.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway played out a draw with Aronian while Fabiano Caruana of Italy hung on to get his draw with Boris Gelfand of Israel in the other games of this six-player round-robin tournament.

With three rounds in Classical and five rounds in rapid chess still remaining, Carlsen, Aronian and Nakamura share the lead on three points under the special scoring system that gives two points for a win in Classical and one in the rapid format.

With two draws in two games, Caruana is in fourth spot on two points while Gelfand now has one point. Anand is yet to open his account.

Nakamura opted for the Berlin defense as black, a choice of Carlsen in the last World Chess Championship match against Anand last year, and got a complicated middle game that favoured Anand.

However, just while it looked Anand was pressing, Nakamura spotted a tactical resource with a piece sacrifice that was hard to meet over the board.

Not playing the best defense that he is known for, Anand succumbed to the pressure on the king side as Nakamura launched his attack and Anand's two pieces against rook did not prove sufficient. The game lasted 36 moves.

Carlsen went for the English opening against Aronian who chose the reverse Sicilian structure with black pieces. The game did not involve many fireworks as Aronian kept pace with Carlsen throughout and matched him move for move.

A few pieces changed hands in the middle game and the players reached a queen and knights endgame in quick time. Carlsen gave up his knight to force a draw through perpetual checks.

Caruana was pushed to the wall by Gelfand. It was a Dutch defense game where the Israeli played white and won a pawn in the endgame. Caruana had to find some difficult defense but in the end succeeded in keeping his position together. The draw was agreed to in 56 moves. -- PTI

Results Round 2: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 3); V Anand (Ind, 0) lost to Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 3); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 1) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 2).





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