India's first chess features print magazine published quarterly from Lucknow since 2004 by Aspire Welfare Society.

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).

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