Carlsen & Aronian Start With Wins in Zurich

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 1/30/14, 12:41 PM.

The two 2800s started with wins in the first round of the Zurich Chess Challenge. Magnus Carlsen defeated Boris Gelfand in an incredibly tactical queenless middlegame, while Levon Aronian won against Vishy Anand after 73 moves in an ending with a knight against two pawns. Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana drew a Grünfeld game after 67 moves.

On Wednesday night Magnus Carlsen was still a bit rusty after not having played chess for almost two months. “It showed that I hadn't played for a long time. I couldn't make decisions. After a few moves I remembered how to play chess again,” said the World Champion today, after winning a fine game against Boris Gelfand.

In a Fianchetto Grünfeld Gelfand chose the solid move 4...c6, and then Carlsen avoided most of the theory with his queen sortie two moves later. Soon after the position became extremely interesting, despite an early queen trade. With 15.g4 Carlsen started a long series of tactics that eventually gave him a winning advantage.

“It was really just a very fun game. Lots of tactical and positional stuff and from move 15 it was all tactics on every move and this is fun, especially if you're calling the shots,” said Carlsen.

Carlsen explaining his game, next to commentators IM Werner Hug & GM Yannick Pelletier

In an English Opening with Catalan tendencies, Vishy Anand made a big mistake on move 17 which was based on a calculation error. Then, to avoid getting into a cramped position, he took a good practical decision and sacrificed a piece for two pawns. The former World Champion got some chances to draw the game just before the time control, but didn't use them and then ended up in a very difficult ending.

Levon Aronian thought the game was heading towards a draw, but then, on move 41, he had enough time to dive into the position and indeed found a way to make progress.

Aronian & Anand at the press conference

Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana drew a very tense and interesting game. The Italian seemed to have a slight advantage in the opening, but then gave it away and after some more inaccuracies he was worse. Nakamura won a pawn, but didn't think the ending was ever winning. “I was better for most of the game and that's certainly a good thing,” he said.

Commentator Yannick Pelletier, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 | Results & pairings

Round 1 30 January 15:00 CET Round 2 31 January 15:00 CET
Carlsen 1-0 Gelfand Gelfand - Caruana
Aronian 1-0 Anand Anand - Nakamura
Nakamura ½-½ Caruana Carlsen - Aronian
Round 3 1 February 15:00 CET Round 4 2 February 15:00 CET
Aronian - Gelfand Gelfand - Anand
Nakamura - Carlsen Carlsen - Caruana
Caruana - Anand Aronian - Nakamura
Round 5 3 February 13:00 CET
Nakamura - Gelfand
Caruana - Aronian
Anand - Carlsen

Photos © Maria Emelianova. The Zurich Chess Challenge consists of five rounds of classical chess, 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. 

11846 reads 23 comments
8 votes


  • 3 years ago


    i was dumbstruck at the position in the ending after the magnus carlsen gameSurprised

  • 3 years ago


    When in norwegian time they play todag, Iam in Norway.

  • 3 years ago


    Very well put Magnutized, all these ' groundless quips ' at Carlsen are rather silly to say the least..... Well it's on to today and the 2 best players in the world currently & 2 of the 3 highest rated ever go head-to- head.

    Expect overload on the viewing figures ...

  • 3 years ago



    "Carlsen won a fun tactical game, he was a bit lucky though, he also missed several superior continuations as well."

    Magnus played very well, and if he didn't play the best move all the time, he played good or strong moves. And the most important thing is that he didn't make a single bad move. You should also keep in mind that Magnus is a pragmatic player.

    Calling him lucky has become a tired cliche, it seems that no matter how he wins, some people always call him lucky. Besides, calling him lucky makes no sense here: You imply that he was in trouble, but that was not the case at all.

    "I know Carslen had fun on this one, but thats not how he wants to win against Nakamura or Levon in a tactical slugfest."

    That statement only goes to show how little you know about Carlsen and his games:

    He has beaten Naka several times in tactical slugfests (just look up Carlsen's wins against Naka in classical games: Most of them are tactical). That's the reason why Naka has tried a more positional approach against Carlsen in their more recent games. He's learned that going for tactics against Carlsen can be very risky. Aronian has also learned not to rely on tactical play against Carlsen.

  • 3 years ago


    Good coverage!

  • 3 years ago


    Whipping boys? There are no whipping boys in this tournament. These guys are great. 

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen won a fun tactical game, he was a bit lucky though, he also missed several superior continuations as well. But again he risked 15. ...g4! awakening a sterile position.

    I know Carslen had fun on this one, but thats not how he wants to win against Nakamura or Levon in a tactical slugfest.

  • 3 years ago


    "If NxN as Glefand's 26th move then 27. Bg5 check and black gets mated with white's dark bishop after being forced to move his king to h8 or if black moves his rook off the back rank then white plays Ra1 leading to mate."

    Close. Actually the computer line is

    26.Nc2 Nxc2
    27.Bd5+ Rfe6
    28.Rc1 Bf3
    29.Bxe6 Rxe6

    Leaving white up an exchange and still with some pressure on the black king.

    But yeah, Nc2 tempts Nxc2 which allows the white bishop to check at d5, which is very strong in that position.

  • 3 years ago


    To answer an earlier question, 26. Nc2 was a great move offering the night for a mate and should clearly have an exclamation mark after it.  g5 was the only saving move to prevent an immediate mate.  If NxN as Glefand's 26th move then 27. Bg5 check and black gets mated with white's dark bishop after being forced to move his king to h8  leading to mate and also the variation with white playing Ra1 if black ever tries to defend by moving his rook off the back rank.

  • 3 years ago


    there are no "easy points" this tournament, 6 amazing players, who should have some really great dogfights!

  • 3 years ago


    Anand and Caruana could just as easily be whipping boys of this event. We really dont know. I would say the blitz results forshadow the final results of the event and that idea appears to be holding perfectly through one round.

  • 3 years ago


    Just further proof 1.c4 is BEST

  • 3 years ago


    It's so nice to have the player's comments in the notes !

  • 3 years ago


    Lol just looking at the pairings Nakamura and Gelfand are the whipping boys of the turney.

  • 3 years ago


    Carlsen VS Aronian Fire should spark tommorow!

  • 3 years ago


    Awesome game by Carlsen, easy to get lost in the variations:

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    26. Nc2  omg what is going on???

  • 3 years ago


    wow I had no idea what was going on in the Carlsen Gelfand game!

  • 3 years ago


    "The most amusing game I have played for a long time", Magnus told Norwegian press after the match Cool

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