Carlsen Wins World Rapid Championship Ahead of Caruana & Anand

Carlsen Wins World Rapid Championship Ahead of Caruana & Anand

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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 missed the win against Carlsen

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?

Anand beat Carlsen, for the first time since September 2011

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:

Yu Yangyi made a very good impression in the rapid

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:

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!

Carlsen playing as #1

World Rapid Championship 2014 | Final Standings (Top 40)

Rk. SNo Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 Rp
1 4 Carlsen Magnus NOR 2827 11 2730 131 2899
2 2 Caruana Fabiano ITA 2840 10,5 2741 131 2884
3 9 Anand Viswanathan IND 2770 10,5 2723 127,5 2866
4 7 Aronian Levon ARM 2785 10,5 2717 128 2852
5 15 Morozevich Alexander RUS 2732 10,5 2696 117,5 2831
6 31 Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2693 10 2728 128,5 2840
7 8 Karjakin Sergey RUS 2781 10 2727 133 2845
8 3 Grischuk Alexander RUS 2828 10 2708 128 2825
9 13 Radjabov Teimour AZE 2750 10 2705 123 2816
10 6 Svidler Peter RUS 2787 10 2685 123 2804
11 32 Bacrot Etienne FRA 2692 10 2680 113,5 2790
12 45 Yu Yangyi CHN 2668 9,5 2717 128,5 2790
13 25 Mamedov Rauf AZE 2705 9,5 2619 106 2706
14 33 Jobava Baadur GEO 2688 9 2725 122 2782
15 49 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2660 9 2719 124 2764
16 57 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2652 9 2717 116 2766
17 28 Movsesian Sergei ARM 2696 9 2711 124 2762
18 44 Guseinov Gadir AZE 2671 9 2709 119 2760
19 18 Le Quang Liem VIE 2724 9 2688 120,5 2750
20 40 Efimenko Zahar UKR 2677 9 2672 112,5 2727
21 20 Wang Hao CHN 2716 9 2654 109,5 2721
22 19 Eljanov Pavel UKR 2716 9 2643 111,5 2708
23 80 Antipov Mikhail Al. RUS 2576 9 2642 106 2687
24 11 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2768 8,5 2735 124 2778
25 36 Fressinet Laurent FRA 2681 8,5 2733 122,5 2743
26 68 Yudin Sergei RUS 2626 8,5 2712 112,5 2748
27 65 Salgado Lopez Ivan ESP 2630 8,5 2701 117,5 2736
28 73 Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2597 8,5 2698 116,5 2720
29 1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2841 8,5 2697 124 2736
30 75 Bartel Mateusz POL 2593 8,5 2682 113,5 2710
31 34 Naiditsch Arkadij GER 2687 8,5 2678 115 2711
32 41 Meier Georg GER 2677 8,5 2665 116 2699
33 23 Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2709 8,5 2660 114 2704
34 59 Matlakov Maxim RUS 2649 8,5 2659 112,5 2674
35 27 Moiseenko Alexander UKR 2699 8,5 2652 117,5 2691
36 24 Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2708 8,5 2637 112 2681
37 54 Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2656 8,5 2634 106,5 2658
38 39 Zhigalko Sergei BLR 2679 8,5 2624 108,5 2662
39 16 Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2727 8,5 2616 109 2655
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.

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