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GargleBlaster's Year in Review

GargleBlaster's Year in Review

GargleBlaster
Dec 31, 2013, 1:27 PM 9
2013 was an eventful year in chess.  Carlsen won the World Championship, Kramnik won the World Cup, Gelfand won the Tal and Alekhine Memorials, Karjakin won that thing in Norway, Kamsky won the U.S. Championship, a 9-year old made National Master, and, perhaps most improbably of all, I made National Master as well.

Anyhow, to celebrate the coming new year, let's look at the ten most notable games from 2013:

***

#10: Beware of Tiger

2013 was at times less than kind to Anand, he but still managed to produce one of the very best games of the year against Aronian at Wijk, er, Corus, er, Tata...

 

#9: Svidler Raises the Roof

Svidler had a pretty decent year, especially in terms of interesting games.  Here's a wonderful win of his in Norway against the eventual tournament winner.


#8: Gelfand is Rubinstein Redux
Gelfand's career has in recent years picked up a strong second wind.  His wins in the Tal and Alekhine Memorials combined with runner-up at the London Chess Classic make him arguably the most successful tournament player of 2013.  In this game we see him at his best: unpretentious, positional, and profound.

 

#7: The Spider Returns

Adams has also enjoyed something of a renaissance in 2013, including a fantastic win in Dortmund ahead of Kramnik.  In this game we can see just how sharp the "Berlin Endgame" can become.

 

#6: Erroneous Aronian

Aronian tied for first with Gelfand in the Alekhine Memorial, but this disaster in the London Candidates Tournament all but ended his 2013 World Championship aspirations.



#5: MVL is the real Biel

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, or "MVL", narrowly missed qualifying for the next World Championship cycle, but is nevertheless clearly on his way to becoming the best French chess player since La Bourdonnais.  He had an amazing amount of brilliant games this year, but since this list is focusing more on significance than sparkle, we'll go with a game from the Biel tournament at which he shared first place.





#4: Tomashevsky's Tromso Tussle

In terms of sheer drama, this game is clearly the game of the year - Tomashevsky, needing a win against Morozevich to force a blitz tiebreak, grinds his way through 169 nail-biting moves to finally emerge victorious.  An unforgettable fight.

 

#3: Vlad's Revenge

Kramnik had an up and down year, to put it mildly: heartbreak at the Candidates, disaster at the Tal Memorial, victory at the World Cup, and absurdity at the London Classic.  This game was a highlight, however, as Vlad takes revenge on Andreikin for his terrible loss against him a few months earlier in the Tal Memorial.

 

#2: The Immortal Refusal

Carlsen, needing only a draw to win the Sinquefield Cup, gets a bad position against Aronian.  Buckling down, he doggedly digs himself out of trouble.  Eventually Aronian, seeing the handwriting on the wall, decides to offer a draw, thus handing Magnus the tournament.   And what happens?  Magnus DECLINES!  ZOMG.  OK, perhaps I'm overstating things, but it was a gesture that will probably go down in chess lore as symbolic of what makes Carlsen great - his relentless, fighting spirit and his ability to create chances out of seemingly any situation.

 

#1: Vishful Thinking

This already famous game features Anand, back against the wall, attempting to storm the fortress, to scale the ramparts, to once more the breeches, and so forth.  Alas, in the end all he succeeded in was pulling Superman's cape, but, hey, at least he tried, and for that, we're grateful.  Thanks, Vishy, Magnus, Boris, Vlad, Mikey, MVL, and everyone else for a memorable 2013!

 

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