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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Candidates Chess R8: Aronian, Anand Draw, Lead: Kramnik 1/2 Point Behind

Khanty Mansiysk : Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand on Saturday, gave jitters to his fans before signing an early draw with top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia in the eighth round of Candidates chess tournament here.

Levon Aronian in joint lead after eight rounds. Both have 5 points. Vladimir Kramnik has 4.5 points. Photo: FIDE/Kirill Merkuriev

The draw against Aronian was important for Anand as the Indian ace not only maintained his joint lead with the Armenian but now also has four white games to come in the last six rounds that gives him an edge over others.

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia could not get past the solid defences of a resurgent compatriot Dmitry Andreikin and had to settle for a draw and the game between Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan was also drawn after showing promise of an intense battle.

In the other game of the day, Peter Svidler was fighting hard to salvage a half point against Russian team-mate Sergey Karjakin.

With six rounds still to go, Anand and Aronian have five points apiece and they are followed by Kramnik on 4.5 points. Svidler on 3.5 has an extra ongoing game in hand compared to Topalov, Andreikin and Mamedyarov, who all inched themselves up to the same score.

Karjakin on 2.5 is on the last spot. The stakes are high in the candidates as the winner takes home 135000 Euros as prize money apart from the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen in the world championship match later this year.

It was a very unusual start to the game between Anand and Aronian. Playing white, Aronian came up with a less played manoeuvre on the third move by moving his queen while Anand threw caution to the winds with his next move that could not be found in any existing chess database.

If this was not enough, Anand sacrificed a pawn on his fourth move for sheer compensation and many in fact believed that the Indian had blundered. However, as Anand pointed out in the post-game conference, he had seen the pawn sacrifice and thought it gave sufficient compensation.

Aronian, though a pawn up, did not like his position. "I think I was worse," he conceded later.

As it happened after some routine manoeuvres, the players decided to repeat and the game was drawn in just 19 moves.

Kramnik showed aggression out of an irregular opening once again but Andreikin was up to the task in his defense. With some cold-water treatment, Andreikin even stood slightly better for a while when he captured a pawn and Kramnik had to liquidate to a level endgame at the first opportunity.

Mamedyarov played the Sicilian defense and the game took shape in a variation akin to the Dragon variation. Topalov did not get much and Mamedyarov came up with a piece sacrifice to complicate matters. Not wanting to take any undue risk, Topalov returned the material in time to reach a drawn endgame. The game lasted 32 moves. -- PTI

Results round 8: Levon Aronian (Arm, 5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 3.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3.5) playing Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2.5).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Candidates Chess R7: Aronian, Anand in Joint Lead in Khanty Mansiysk

Khanty Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand the signed peace with Peter Svidler of Russia in the seventh round to play out his fourth consecutive draw at the Candidates Chess tournament.

But, Aronian played a fantastic game to beat Sergey Karjakin and drew level with Viswanathan Anand. 
Levon Aronian looks on as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov sips some coffee on his way to losing to Vladimir Kramnik. Photo: official website.

In other games, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria was outdone by Dmitry Andreikin in the big upset of the day while Russian Vladimir Kramnik played a wild, wild game to beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
At the halfway stage, Anand took his tally to 4.5 points out of a possible seven and will have an easier second half wherein he has four white games lined up out of seven. Levon Aronian too now has 4.5 points.

Round 8  
GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS  - GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS
GM Svidler Peter RUS - GM Karjakin Sergey RUS
GM Topalov Veselin BUL - GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE
GM Aronian Levon ARM - GM Anand Viswanathan IND

Svidler was a bit tentative in the closed Ruy Lopez after Anand went for the Berlin defense - the flavour of the season.

The Indian got in to the groove pretty fast with his knights moving to the King side for some rapid action in the early stages of the middle game. Svidler felt the heat but did not give much away.

The critical moment was when Anand could win a pawn which was also suggested by all chess engines albeit hard to judge for a human mind. Anand in the end concluded that it was all a bit "messy", a sentiment echoed by Svidler.

However, the game was far from over as Anand came up with a positional queen sacrifice to liven things up. Svidler knew his chances of holding were high with pawns exchanges and the Russian wasted no time in pushing his brigade forward.

Anand could do little after a timely exchange sacrifice that left him with two rooks for a queen.

"In fact his draw offer was useful, it helped me with my evaluation. Peter (Svidler) is not a devious guy, there are people who will offer a draw in a worse position," Anand said in the post-game conference.

The Indian ace conceded that he was not at his best on Friday.

"I needed a lot of time and calm moves before I can threaten 'f3', I can't do it," he said.

Andreikin caused a sensation at the expense of Topalov who was a pale shadow of himself.

It's been a roller-coaster ride for Topalov in the last three rounds as he lost one against Svidler, bounced back to beat Kramnik and now suffered a disastrous loss against Andreikin.

Topalov went for the Queen's gambit declined as black and faced a side variation. The Bulgarian got a decent opening with a temporary pawn sacrifice but missed the thread as he gave too much weightage to an optical attack against the king.

Andreikin steered his king to safety with a long walk to the queen side and the extra pawn did the damage thereafter. -- Agencies
Standings1 GM Anand Viswanathan 2770 IND 4½
2 GM Aronian Levon 2830 ARM 4½
3 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2787 RUS 4
4 GM Svidler Peter 2758 RUS 3½
5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2757 AZE 3
6 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2709 RUS 3
7 GM Topalov Veselin 2785 BUL 3
8 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 RUS 2½



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Magnus Carlsen Video Chat on World Chess Candidates 2014


World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen just posted on his Facebook Page:
You've asked, I've answered. Here are my thoughts thus far on the FIDE World Candidates Tournament. I sat down with my Manager, Espen Agdestein to discuss. Check it out on the link below:

Candidates Chess: Anand at Crucial Juncture; Play Resumes Tomorrow

Khanty Mansiysk: Placed comfortably on top of the table with a half point lead, five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand will enter the crucial phase of the Candidates chess tournament, taking on Peter Svidler after the second rest day in Khanty Mansiysk on Friday.

Viswanathan Anand: Can he set up a second date with Magnus Carlsen? Photo: Kirill Merkuriev/FIDE

From a great beginning to some cautious play, Anand, with four points in his bag from six games, enjoys a half point lead over nearest contender Levon Aronian of Armenia.

It's a closely matched field as almost everyone except the lowest seed Dmitry Andreikin of Russia seems to be in the race for the challenger of the next world championship match against Magnus Carlsen to be played later in 2014.

The eight-player double round-robin tournament has seen a lot of excitement and there are no clear favourites as yet but surely Anand has an edge thanks to his half point cushion.

The stakes are high as apart from a match against Carlsen, the winner will take home 1,35,000 Euros (a little over Rs one crore) as cash prize. The Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan follow Aronian a half point behind on three points apiece and they all have reasons to fancy their chances as the tournament nears the completion of the first half.

Not far behind is Sergey Karjakin on 2.5 points who can not only play the spoiler but also has it in him to pull a few victories to match leaders.

Anand has been in lead from day one. It was the day when Anand showed to the world that he is not finished yet. No one could have asked for a better start than a victory over Aronian. Next followed a draw with Topalov with the Indian ace in absolute control and in the third round was an inspiring performance when Mamedyarov was crushed in all departments of the game.

However, since then it has been a cautious approach by Anand. In the fourth round Kramnik played the Vienna variation wherein the Indian would fancy his chances on another day. The Russian showed better preparation and got an easy draw.

Andreikin struggled a little in the fifth round but did not face many difficulties before drawing with the Indian and then in the previous round, Sergey Karjakin again suffered just momentarily before steering himself to safety.

If the first three games showed Anand in great spirits, the last three have dampened them a little. And the next two games will be most crucial as Anand first meets Svidler with black and then has another black game lined up against Aronian in the eighth round. Should he come out unscathed in the next two, Anand will become a huge favourite for title in Khanty Mansiysk.

After an insipid start that involved four draws and a loss, Topalov came back with a bang scoring over Kramnik in the previous round. The result changed many equations and Kramnik who had looked almost invincible thus far suddenly turns vulnerable.

It was a similar story for Svidler who had come up with some sterling chess till the fifth round. Had Svidler been on track in each round, he would have had at least one point more till the fifth round itself. And the way he lost the sixth round game against Mamedyarov goes to prove that nerves play a major role in big games.

Kramnik crushed Karjakin in round two, missed a winning continuation against Aronian and got the easiest of draws as black against Anand. Things were shaping out well till he met Topalov. The Russian will have to do the hard work over again.

Mamedyarov was written off in the first three rounds that resulted in two losses and just one draw. Thereafter the Azeri has seen a reversal in fortunes complementing his uncompromising style. He will surely want to carry on with the momentum. -- PTI

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Candidates Chess R6: Anand Draws Karjakin, Leads in Khanty Mansiysk

Sergey Karjakin - Viswanathan Anand draw in Round 6. Photo: FIDE (Thursday is a rest day)

Khanty Mansiysk, Russia: Viswanathan Anand remained in sole lead with a third straight draw, signing peace with Russian Sergey Karjakin in the sixth round of Candidates Chess tournament here on Wednesday.

After scoring two victories in the first three rounds itself, Anand did not get many chances for the third day running even as Karjakin had to work hard for the half point. It turned out to be another high-tension round in the candidates that will select the challenger to Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next World championship match later this year.

Bulgarian Veselin Topalov reacted like a wounded tiger after losing the previous round to Peter Svidler and defeated second seed Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in a fine display while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan put it across Peter Svidler of Russia to announce his arrival as a contender in the tournament.

Anand remained in sole lead with a third straight draw, signing peace with Russian Sergey Karjakin in the sixth round of Candidates Chess tournament.

If this was not enough, top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia spoiled all the hard work of the first few hours and mishandled a winning position to let Russian Dmitry Andreikin off the hook with a draw. 

After the lopsided round, Anand took his tally to four points and remained a half point ahead of Aronian. While Kramnik and Svidler slipped to joint third spot along with Topalov and Mamedyarov who came back to a fifty percent score.

Karjakin moved to 2.5 points and is now on seventh spot, a half point clear of Andreikin who was simply lucky to survive today. For the first time in Candidates, the main line of the Berlin defense came on board. Anand has not been able to crack it since the last world championship match and today was no different even though Karjakin had to find some right way to equalise.

After the usual trading of queens, Anand got the typical breakthrough on the king side but while that gave him a better control in the king side, Karjakin punctured the other flank by parting with his bishop. Even as Anand's king walked to the center, black's position remained impregnable and the draw was agreed to after 33 moves. -- PTI 


Results Round 6: V Anand (Ind, 4) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 3); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 2).

Candidates Chess R5: Anand Draws Andreikin, Keeps Lead with 3.5!

Khanty Mansiysk (Russia): Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black against lowest-seeded Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in the fifth round, but kept the lead at the Candidates chess tournament here.
Viswanathan Anand draws comfortably with Dmitry Andreikin. Photos: FIDE

It turned out to be a no-hassle day for Anand as the Indian was seen pressing for an advantage towards the end of the game. The draw took Anand to 3.5 points out of a possible five and he keeps his half point lead with the end of the first half now approaching near.

Anand chose the Berlin defense, an opening he has not been able to break himself as white for some time and Andreikin employed the closed set up that was on expected lines. The Russian got a slightly favourable position in the middle game but was made to sweat hard for more by Anand who played at a good speed.

It was a mild time pressure for Andreikin that led him into difficulties and Anand was fighting for an advantage towards the end of the first time control. The Russian, however, got his act together just in time to find the path to equality after trading the queens. The peace was signed in 42 moved.

"I was trying but I didn`t see anything concrete, my hope was when his king came out but after the queen exchange its just a draw," said Anand in the post-game conference, adding, "I was very happy with my position in the middle game but it did not become more".

In other games of the day Peter Svidler of Russia defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria while Sergey Karjakin of Russia played out a draw with Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Russian Vladimir Kramnik was close to winning against Levon Aronian of Armenia, but after a long struggle the latter was able to hold his fort together.

With Anand in front on 3.5 points, Svidler, Kramnik and Aronian follow him a half point behind. Topalov, Karjakin and Mamedyarov are on two points each from their five games while Andreikin remains at the bottom on one and a half points.

Svidler came out with a sterling performance to beat Topalov. From a Ruy Lopez Moller, Svidler opted for the variation he had popularised some years back and did not get any advantage.
Topalov`s opening preparation may have worked in his favour, but the Bulgarian did not handle the intricacies as well as he wanted. Svidler got a small advantage first and then his wily manoeuvres ensured that white`s advantage grew in the rook and opposite colour Bishops endgame.

As the position became more difficult, Topalov lost track and blundered in to a hopeless position.

Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played out a regulation draw. Karjakin did not get anything with his white pieces against the Sicilian defense and the pieces kept getting exchanged at regular intervals. In almost no time, the players reached a heavy pieces endgame where the final result was only a matter of time.

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was involved in a heated battle against Levon Aronian. The Russian did everything right to attain a dangerous attack with his white pieces but could not force matters as Aronian came up with a stupendous Queen sacrifice.

The position remained better for Kramnik but the Aronian just found the right defense to equality. The longest game of the day lasted 60 moves.

Results round 5: Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 1.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 3.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) beat Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 2) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5) playing Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5). -- PTI

Monday, March 17, 2014

Candidates Chess 2014 R4: Anand Draws Kramnik, Leads with 3 Points

Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw with Vladimir Kramnik in the fourth round but remained in sole lead to stay in contention in the Candidates chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk.

Anand - Kramnik Draw in Round 4. Official website

Kramnik’s Vienna variation has been analysed extensively and Anand went for a variation which is conclusively drawn. 


The draw took Anand to three points out of a possible four and the Indian remained in sole lead. Kramnik remained in second place on 2.5 and was joined by top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia on 2.5 points. Aronian scored a remarkable victory over Russian Peter Svidler. 

Former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria signed peace with Sergey Karjakin of Russia while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijain scored his first victory at the expense of Dmitry Andreikin of Russia.

With 10 rounds still to come, it's an early call yet. Anand, Kramnik and Aronian might be fighting at the top for a berth as the finalist for the next world chess championship, but the likes of Svidler, Karjakin and Topalov are fighting it through.

Topalov had no difficulties in keeping the momentum against Karjakin in an English opening game while Mamedyarov was at his best for once in crushing Andreikin with white pieces.

Anand is on course to one of the best performances of his life. The field is open yet. Stay tuned to the action in Khanty Mansiysk! -- Staff Writer with PTI inputs

Standings
1 GM Anand Viswanathan 2770 IND 3
2 GM Aronian Levon 2830 ARM 2½
3 GM Kramnik Vladimir 2787 RUS 2½
4 GM Svidler Peter 2758 RUS 2
5 GM Topalov Veselin 2785 BUL 2
6 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2757 AZE 1½
7 GM Karjakin Sergey 2766 RUS 1½
8 GM Andreikin Dmitry 2709 RUS 1

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014 R3: Anand Crushes Mamedyarov, Takes Leads

Khanti Mansiysk, Russia: Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanthan Anand continued his fine form and crashed through the defences of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to notch up his second successive win in the Candidates Chess tournament.

Viswanathan Anand picks up a crushing victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 3. Photo: FIDE 

Not many experts had given Anand a chance coming in to candidates after he lost the World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in November last year.


However, the 'Tiger from Madras' has not only proved his critics wrong but has also emerged as a serious contender even though it is still early days in the 14-round tournament.

With 2.5 points in his kitty from the first three games, Anand is now in sole lead. The other games in the eight-player double round robin tournament ended in draws. 

Former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria missed out on his chances against top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia while Dmitry Andreikin signed peace with fellow Russian Sergey Karjakin after playing solidly as white. Peter Svidler had the upper hand in the game versus Vladimir Kramnik, but the latter managed to draw.

The fact that Anand's victory came with black pieces was icing on the cake for the Indian. Playing the Modern variation in the Slav defense, Anand had little trouble equalising out of the opening and Mamedyarov was also looking at dynamic possibilities after losing the previous round.

It was in the early middle game itself that Anand sensed his chances. Mamedyarov could not find any way to improve other than king side pawn advances and that met with a timely breakthrough by Anand leaving weaknesses on white's king side.

On move 24 Anand deployed his queen in an attacking position and Mamedyarov realised that he was already much worse. The pressure got to the Azeri Grandmaster sooner than expected as he caved in through a blunder on the 26th move itself. Anand wrapped the issue in 31 moves. -- PTI

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014 R2: Anand Keeps Joint Lead with Kramnik, Svidler

World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw with black against former World Chess Champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the second round of the Candidates Chess 2014 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, on Friday.

Not missing anything after his fantastic opening round victory against top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia, Anand came up with another emphatic display of positional chess.

The Indian ace moved to 1.5 points out of a possible two, a tally now matched by the Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler.

While the opening day saw only Anand winning and rest of the games ending in draws, the second round was in contrast, as only Anand drew. Vladimir Kramnik cut through the defences of compatriot Sergey Karjakin in great style while Peter Svidler made his 'wild card' look worthy with a crushing victory over Dmitry Andreikin.
Khanty Mansiysk World Chess Candidates 2014: Anand draws with Topalov, stays in joint lead with Kramnik and Svidler. Photo: FIDE/official website

Making sure he won't be far behind after the first round defeat, Levon Aronian struck back with vengeance as he made mince meat of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.

With Anand, Kramnik and Svidler in front, Aronian holds the fourth spot on one point along with Topalov and these two have Mamedyarov, Karjakin and Andreikin right behind them with a half point each.

On what turned out to be an easy day as black, Anand opted for a set-up akin to the Slav defense and had apparently done a lot of home-work in the variation. Topalov sank in to a long thought early in the opening while he went about capturing a pawn in the center and Anand was simply on top in preparation as he played much faster.

After winning the pawn, Topalov could not think of anything better than converting to a endgame with Rooks and Bishops still on board but Anand had worked out that this ploy will also lead to a draw only.

Further liquidations led to a drawn rook and pawns endgame and the peace was finally signed with only Kings left on the board. The game lasted 54 moves.

Kramnik showed he is in fine fettle with a brilliant attacking victory over Karjakin, known as the youngest ever Grandmaster in the world. The Queen's gambit accepted by Karjakin as black resulted in a lively position and Kramnik went about his execution with an exchange sacrifice. It was all over in just 39 moves.

If Aronian felt the pressure after losing to Anand, he did not show it and squeezed out a nice victory against Mamedyarov. It was a Ragozin variation wherein Aronian came up with a fine new idea and Mamedyarov's early blunder led to loss of his queen for two pieces. The rest was easy as Aronian won in 44 moves.

Peter Svidler came up with an inspired performance in a Sicilian Accelerated Sveshnikov against Andreikin. Winning a pawn with precise technique, Svidler had little troubles in converting the ensuing rook endgame in to a full point.

Results Round 2: V Topalov (Bul, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 0.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1.5) beat Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 0.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1) beat Shakhriayar Mamedyarov (Aze, 0.5). -- PTI

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chess Candidates 2014: Anand begins with Win Over Top Seed Aronian

Levon Aronian crumbles versus Viswanathan Anand in Round 1 at the Khanty Mansiysk World Chess Candidates 2014. Photo: FIDE

Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand displayed top form to beat top seed and rating-favourite Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first game of the first round of the Candidates chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk (Russia) on Thursday.

Anand made most of the offered opportunities and came on top as Aronian proved no match in the complexities that ensued. The Indian ace was seen at the top of his game for the major part of the high intensity game. 

After attaining equality, Anand obtained and edge. The Queens were exchanged on the 22nd move. Eventually, Anand pulled off a nice trap for his opponent's Knight and took home a most valuable point.

The other games were all drawn: GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS - GM Kramnik Vladimir RUS, GM Karjakin Sergey RUS - GM Svidler Peter RUS and GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE - GM Topalov Veselin BUL.

Earlier, the opening ceremony of one of the most important chess tournaments of the year took place on Wednesday. Eight top Grandmasters of the world are competing over three weeks for a 600,000 Euro prize fund and the chance to challenge World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway).

The line-up consists of the former World Champion Vishy Anand (India), who lost his title only a year ago, 2013 World Cup winner Vladimir Kramnik, 2013 World Cup runner-up Dmitry Andreikin (both Russia), 2012-13 FIDE Grand Prix winners Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), two players qualified by rating Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia), and the player nominated by the organizers – Peter Svidler (Russia).
 
The opening ceremony took place at the concert hall Ugra-Classic and was attended by Natalia Komarova, Ukra Governor and Vice-President of Russian Chess Federation, and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President.

“We are just as nervous as the candidates, – said Natalia Vladimirovna. – A chess board has 64 squares. The candidates tournaments are also played for 64 years. Each square of the board saw thousands of combinations, but we nevertheless expect more brilliance and ingenious games from our players. Chess teaches honesty, fairness and respect to the opponent. I’d very much like to see these rules universally accepted,” concluded the Governor.Kirsan Ilyumzhinov noted that Khanty-Mansiysk continues to bring pleasant surprises: “This tournament and its opening ceremony is a great gift to the players. Since 2005 Ugra is recognized as Chess Mecca. Three great champions gathered here today, and together with five other outstanding players they will have to determine a new title contender”.

He also drew attention to the fact that chess in Ugra is not only a professional sport, but a mass sport, and sport in Ugra is highly developed. Ugra representatives recently won four Olympic medals in Sochi, including two gold medals.

The opening ceremony continued with a concert show peformed by Ugra-Classic creative team. The unique 8 ton pipe organ with mammoth bone keys was the center of attention – and chess, of course!

“Life is like chess, it’s just a clever arrangement of pieces on the black and white board”. This quote by writer Oleg Roy was a theme of the show. Enchanted by mysterious sound of organ, the spectators watched a historical show with elements of dance and theater, filled with quotes about the most intelligent game in the world. -- Report via PTI and Official website



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Viswanathan Anand all set for World Chess Candidates in Khanty Mansiysk

Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia: With odds stacked against him, five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand will look forward to making a grand comeback in the Candidates chess tournament that starts in Khanty-Mansiysk with the first round on Thursday.  
With the weather slated to hit -14 degrees during the week, the heated battles are likely to compensate for them as eight of the world elite compete here to find the next challenger for World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

It may be recalled that Carlsen defeated Anand in the last world chess championship match at Chennai by 6.5-3.5 margin to become the undisputed king of the 64-squares late last year.

The eight-player super tournament will be played under double round robin basis and there will be 14-grueling rounds in all before the winner is determined. After a recent decline in form and rating, Anand starts only as the fourth seed in the tournament.

Levon Aronian of Armenia starts as the rating favourite with his ELO touching 2830 points. Russian Vladimir Kramnik who missed winning the candidates by a whisker last year, is ranked second ahead of former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

Sergey Karjakin of Russia is behind Anand and is seeded fifth ahead of seven times Russian Champion Peter Svidler. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Dmitry Andreikin of Russia complete the line-up.

With his remarkable current form Levon Aronian is a live threat to all participants and Kramnik will hope to give the Armenian a run for his money. The stakes are high as apart from a match against Carlsen, the tournament has a total prize pool of 600,000 Euros (About Rs. 5 crore) out of which 135,000 Euros is reserved for the winner.

The tournament will be played under Classical Chess rules with 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 for the next 20 and then 15 minutes each with a 30 seconds increment from move 61.

How they got here: 

V Anand: Losing finalist of last world championship The World champion is here as the losing finalist of World championship. If Anand does not win it, he will either have to go through a long cycle or take is rating up significantly to be back in hunt next time.

Levon Aronian: By virtue of his high rating. Aronian did not come good in the last world chess cup but otherwise has been in exemplary form. His victory at the Tata Steel tournament earlier this year was a just indication of his great form. Many Chess buffs are rooting for a match between Aronian and Carlsen.
Sergey Karjakin: High rating. Karjakin qualifies as the second player on rating. He holds the record for the youngest ever Grandmaster in history at 12 years and seven months and has won some of the strongest events. His most recent success was in Norway when he came first ahead of Carlsen himself.

Vladimir Kramnik: Winner of the last World Chess Cup. Having never played in the knock-out world cup before, not many believed Kramnik would last the distance in the seven rounds format. However he made it all look too easy. He might have been around even without the world cup victory but this was certainly the way he wanted to come in. The Russian has been out of competitive chess for some time, as he opted out of Tata Steel as well as the Zurich Classic this year.

Dmitry Andreikin: Runners up in World Chess Cup Andreikin?s second place finish in the world cup was no less intriguing. Slowly but steadily, this 2010 world junior champion is making his presence felt in elite chess. The hallmark is solid play, complemented with deep opening preparation. On his day, a real threat to the best in business.

Veselin Topalov: Winner of FIDE Grand Prix. One has not been hearing much about Topalov since he lost the 2010 world championship match against Anand. Yet, if his performance in the Grand prix is anything to go by, Topalov can belittle everyone else with his uncompromising variety of chess that very few possess. It was not long ago when he was the world champion and this tournament gives him another chance.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov: Runners up in Grand Prix. Mamedyarov is the most unpredictable player in this field and can serve as the spoiler of the tournament as well win it by sheer power-play. Grit, determination and fearlessness are words that best describe this Azerbaijani.

Peter Svidler: Organisers wild card. It is not without reasons that the wild card is given to Svidler - the seven times Russian champion. Svidler has won it all in the past including the World chess cup and remains a feared opponent. It was he who jolted Calrsen in the last round of Candidates last year and the Norwegian is world champion because Kramnik also lost his game on the same day against Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk. A draw by Kramnik would have resulted in a match between him and Anand and recent history would not be the same. -- PTI


(For special features and other reports also visit our partner site www.worldchesschampionship2013.com)

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).
 



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