Carlsen Wins World Rapid Championship Ahead of Caruana & Anand
Magnus Carlsen won the FIDE World Rapid Championship in Dubai on Wednesday, finishing on 11.0/15. Fabiano Caruana had the best tiebreak of four players who finished on 10.5; Vishy Anand came third, Levon Aronian fourth and Alexander Morozevich fifth. On Thursday and Friday the FIDE World Blitz Championship will be played.
All photos © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE
The third and final day of the rapid tournament started with an absolute cracker: Aronian vs Carlsen; number 1 and 2 of in the world classical chess and in the standings after 10 rounds. It was a great game that started as Ragozin and became a middlegame with White having an isolated queen's pawn. Carlsen's 18th move spiced up the game, and for another ten moves the game was played at a very high level.
Carlsen was the first to make a big mistake, and using much time on the clock he made another one. He played 31...g5 with 4 seconds on the clock - Aronian had more than two minutes there but soon he used three quarters of that. Around move 34 the Armenian GM was winning, but it wasn't easy and he made the practical choice of going for a line that provided at least a perpetual. As it turned out, there was not more than that either.
Aronian-Carlsen was a nice pairing, but what about Jobava-Morozevich? Two of the most creative players around facing each other, that could really only produce a nice game. And it did.
In an IQP position Jobava maneuvered his rook to g4, and two moves later he sacrificed it on g7. Like Mikhail Tal, the Georgian is capable of seeing tactics in the position that nobody else has seen yet! But Morozevich found the small path through the complications, and won the ending.
Fabiano Caruana won a good game against Peter Svidler, who has been returning to one of his favorite weapons as Black against 1.e4: the Sicilian with 2...e6. This time he went for a Taimanov.
Nepomniachtchi had no chance against Anand, who completely outplayed his opponent in a 6.h3 Najdorf. It's not exactly clear where it went wrong for Black, but around move 20 he's completely busted positionally.
After he went down against Aronian, Nakamura also lost to Radjabov. In a Sämisch Nimzo-Indian, White's attack looked dangerous but in fact Black could grab material and defend his monarch easily.
Round 12 saw the big game between Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen - most probably the last but one (they will surely meet in the blitz tournament as well) before their return match for the world title. The Exchange Slav didn't surprise Anand at all, althoug the Indian said he needed some thought “to find the right move order”. He had a tiny edge out of the opening, which quickly became an endgame.
White managed to find some counterplay and at some point Anand gave two pieces for a rook, but he won White's a-pawn. It was probably still a draw because Black's own pawns were weak, but suddenly Carlsen blundered a piece and Anand could keep his a-pawn. White had a few pawns, but it just wasn't enough for a fortress. Another nice boost for Anand for the match, after winning the Candidates?
Caruana still must have been “having fun” as he moved back to shared first place with Anand. The Italian GM beat Tomashevsky in one of the most topical lines of the Closed Ruy Lopez these days (although the novelty was a deviation from a 1978 game!). White got a strong knight on f5, won a pawn and quickly won the ending.
Yu Yangyi has been the surprise of the tournament so far. He had Aronian on the ropes, but let it slip away and even had to be careful himself at the end:
Then, as the two leaders with three rounds to go, Anand and Caruana met on top board. The opening was a Classical French where both castled kingside and Black seemed to be equalizing quickly. Caruana even got a slight initiative on the kingside, but Anand held things together and as soon as an opposite-colored bishop ending appeared on the board, they asked one of the arbiters, and agreed to a draw.
This allowed Carlsen to catch the leaders in first place; the Norwegian quickly won a pawn against Yu to reach a technical win, then allowed too much complications but in the end he won anyway.
Aronian and Radjabov drew their game, and so they dropped back half a point to go into shared fourth with Karjakin (who beat Tomashevsky), Grischuk (who beat Naiditsch) and Bacrot. The Frenchman beat beat Movsesian, who blundered a mate in one in a drawn position:
And so the situation with two rounds to go was Anand, Carlsen and Caruana leading with 9.5/13; Aronian, Radjabov, Karjakin, Grischuk & Bacrot on 9.
Caruana played Aronian on board one, and played 4.d3 against the Berlin. White seemed to be doing well with a good knight versus bad bishop, but Black won a pawn and kept it. The ending was perhaps draw, but Aronian found a lot of tricky moves and eventually his h-pawn was too strong.
Having bad memories about Astana two years ago, where things went wrong starting with Grischuk, Carlsen didn't get a good position out of the opening. He got into serious trouble and was just lost (e.g. 30...f5) but somehow survived and then even won.
Karjakin fought himself to the top by grinding down Bacrot from an ending that looked like a dead draw (and probably was).
And so Carlsen went into the last round with a half-point lead over Anand, Aronian and Karjakin. The first tiebreak was “ARCO” (Average Rating of Opponents Cut 1), and Carlsen and Peter Heine Nielsen (and the arbiter) had calculated that he only needed a draw in the last round against Radjabov. That last game did end in a draw, but the tiebreak wasn't relevant anymore when Anand and Aronian drew their game and Karjakin even lost:
Played ok in the rapid, except the last round. It is bad idea to play on win in a worse position;-).— Sergey Karyakin ( @SergeyKaryakin) June 18, 2014
Four players finished half a point behind Carlsen and it was Caruana who earned the silver medal on the aforementioned tiebreaker - thanks to this win:
In an excellent press conference after the tournament, Carlsen said:
“It means a great deal. Of course the extremely strong playing field gave me extra motivation. It's clearly the strongest Swiss tournament ever held and I'm absolutely thrilled to have won it.”
Full press conference:
Carlsen had “no idea how [he] would be ready for the blitz tomorrow” and that he would follow his father's advice to take some exercise, and so later in the evening he joined in an indoor football match with a group of players!
Played decent chess in the 1st day, moderate in the 2nd and absolutely disgusting in the 3rd. Step by step...— Yan Nepomniachtchi ( @lachesisq) June 18, 2014
Well, at least it was a fun event. I finished 2nd but it could've been a lot more. This guy Lev - he's tricky! http://t.co/XexyBUS1di— Fabiano Caruana ( @FabianoCaruana) June 18, 2014
Congrats to Magnus on a fine win. What, one world champion title isn't enough?!— Fabiano Caruana ( @FabianoCaruana) June 18, 2014
World Rapid Championship 2014 | Final Standings (Top 40)
|15||49||Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son||VIE||2660||9||2719||124||2764|
|16||57||Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo||VEN||2652||9||2717||116||2766|
|19||18||Le Quang Liem||VIE||2724||9||2688||120,5||2750|
|23||80||Antipov Mikhail Al.||RUS||2576||9||2642||106||2687|
|27||65||Salgado Lopez Ivan||ESP||2630||8,5||2701||117,5||2736|
|33||23||Vallejo Pons Francisco||ESP||2709||8,5||2660||114||2704|
|40||43||Van Wely Loek||NED||2674||8||2713||119,5||2713|
(Full standings here)
The World Blitz starts on Thursday at 3pm local time (GMT +4) which is 1pm CET, 7am New York and 4am Los Angeles. The championship will be broadcast live on the tournament’s official website with online games and commentary.