Aronian & Carlsen Tie For First at Zurich Blitz
Wednesday evening Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen tied for first place at the short, opening blitz event of the Zurich Chess Challenge. In his first tournament since winning the world title, Norway's Carlsen made a rusty impression but eventually scored 3.0 points out of 5 games, just like Tata Steel winner Levon Aronian of Armenia.
It was the Tal Memorial in Moscow that introduced the idea, and a few tournaments are following suit: a blitz tournament instead of a drawing of lots to determine the color distribution for the main tournament. And so, with a number of distinguished guests watching in the ballroom of the Savoy, including chess legend Viktor Kortchnoi (82), the players played their moves: Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Viswanathan Anand (India), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Boris Gelfand (Israel).
The tournament started with a surprise, as the fresh World Champion immedialely lost his first game! (Apparently it's not just common to lose your first game after becoming IM or GM, but also after reaching the chess Olympus!) He was just outplayed as White against Caruana:
Gelfand won a good game with White against Nakamura, while Aronian beat Anand, who lost a piece early on:
The next round Anand survived a lost position and even won when both players had little time on the clock:
Nakamura won a nice game against Aronian and even checkmated his opponent:
After drawing with Gelfand in the second round, the turning point for Carlsen was his game against Aronian. The world champion was on the verge of defeat, but held the draw:
The next round Carlsen crushed his opponent of his world title match, Vishy Anand, in a mere 21 moves. The opening is typically something that Baadur Jobava or Richard Rapport would try in a real game! (Or maybe Carlsen will do that too, who knows...)
To the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), who travelled to Zurich to report on the tournament, Carlsen said about this game: “It was great! It was a real knockout, so it was fun.”
Before the last round, Nakamura and Aronian were leading the tournament with 2.5/4. The Armenian GM drew with Caruana, and Carlsen caught him by beating Nakamura concinvingly:
Afterwards Carlsen said to NRK: “I was probably rusty. I hardly ever played as badly as I did in the beginning.”
Zurich Chess Challenge Blitz 2014 | Final standings
These final standings have led to the following pairings (as was confirmed by Tarjei J. Svensen).
Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 | Pairings
|Round 1||30 January||15:00 CET||Round 2||31 January||15:00 CET|
|Round 3||1 February||15:00 CET||Round 4||2 February||15:00 CET|
|Round 5||3 February||13:00 CET|
Tomorrow the real tournament starts. Five rounds of classical chess will be played from Thursday to Monday (30 January to 3 February), followed by a rapid tournament with reversed colors on the last day (4 February). You can follow the live games here on the official website.