Half-Point Lead for Carlsen After First Day World Blitz | UPDATE: Video
After winning the World Rapid title Magnus Carlsen is also doing well at the FIDE World Blitz Championship in Dubai. Going into the second and last day of the tournament, the Norwegian has a half-point lead after scoring scored 9.0/11 on Thursday. Blitz (or rather, bullet) specialist Hikaru Nakamura is trailing by half a point and so is Georg Meier. On Friday ten more rounds will be played.
All photos © Chess.com | Update: A video of the Carlsen-Nakamura has been added to the report!
With almost the same playing field as in the rapid tournament, the FIDE World Blitz Championship started on Thursday in the Dubai Chess & Culture Club. No less than 11 rounds were played (10 will follow on Friday) at a time control of 3 minutes plus 2 seconds increment. And immediately in the first round this fast time control resulted in big mistakes.
For exampe, none other than Vishy Anand, who hadn't lost a single game in the first three days, got into trouble against Yuriy Kryvoruchko; the ex-World Champion had to defend the infamous RB-R ending, did that flawlessly for about 40 moves (each time using only a few seconds)... and then he blundered his rook.
Favorites such as Nakamura and Carlsen won their first game relatively smoothly, and they continued to win in round 2. Carlsen faced the renowned blitz player from Azerbijan Gadir Guseinov and managed to outplay his opponent from a drawn rook ending - Guseinov should have just given his b-pawn and draw the Philidor position:
@PlayMagnus) June 19, 2014
Nakamura himself showed his resilience against Wang Hao, who put the American under serious pressure. After the move 34.a4 Nakamura was shaking his head, probably thinking he shouldn't have allowed that white knight to b5, from where it would trade his knight. He was about to end up in a bad bishop vs knight position, but there U.S. #1 took a deep think and then bashed out his next couple of moves quickly. Before you knew it the position was highly unclear. The Chinese GM got confused, missed that his opponent blundered (allowing 46.Rxe4+-) and then totally lost the thread.
Nakamura's next game was another very tough fight. After about 15 moves both players asked one another not to bang the clock so hard, and from that point it was war time! White's positional Exchange sac worked out well, but objectively it wasn't good (e.g. 37...Rd6! 38.Qxc7 Qf6 should win). Nakamura got a winning ending, got a bit frustrated about not winning it easily, then blew it, but decided to play for a win anyway, got two knights and a pawn for a queen, and then... Savchenko put his king on a square protected by one of the white knights. Nakamura stopped the clock and claimed the win because of the illegal move. Dramatic!
On second board Fressinet and Carlsen faced each other - two good friends who sometimes work on chess together. Perhaps that was the reason why Carlsen did something out of the ordinary: 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ng8?!?, and whereas Fressinet managed to draw his game with the Norwegian in the rapid tournament, this time he got slowly outplayed.
Nakamura drew with Wojtaszek in round 5, but Carlsen kept his 100% score thanks to a smooth win over Eduardo Iturrizaga.
Meanwhile, Judit Polgar was having a good start. She defeated Yu Yangyi in a way that reminded of her games from twenty years ago, crushing her opponent as White in a Sicilian:
Anand started badly; after his first-round loss he beat Aleksej Aleksandrov but then lost again, to Vladimir Fedoseev. Wins against Salem, Bologan and his former second Kasimdzhanov, in Caplanca style, got him back to plus one:
Anand then drew with Caruana which was followed by another loss, against Markus Ragger. Not good! However, the Indian would finish with three wins in a row, against Bassem, Vitiugov and Dreev. The Egyptian number one clearly miscalculated something in the opening.
Carlsen was the only player left on 100% after five rounds. Nepomniachtchi, another good friend of his, was one of the players on 4.5 after catching Svidler in an opening trick:
Then Carlsen dropped his first half point against Nepomniachtchi and it was Le Quang Liem, the reigning World Blitz Champion, who caught him in first place by beating Nakamura.
Carlsen immediately grabbed the sole lead again by beating the reignign champ in a bishop ending. Le in fact resigned 51 moves after the last pawn move had been played - in this blitz event it's virtually impossible to claim a draw based on the 50-move rule.
@ChessVibes) June 19, 2014
By then the surprise of the tournament, 18-year-old Lu Shanglei, had fought himself all the way up in the standings. In round 7 the Chinese talent defeated Peter Svidler, who blundered and got his king stuck in a mating net:
The whole world got to know Lu when he scored a sensational win over Carlsen the next round! The tournament leader outplayed his young opponent in the opening but then spoilt it completely on move 22, missing a strong queen check. His king needed to flee to the center, but it wasn't safe there.
Carlsen eventually emerged as the sole leader thanks to a 2.5/3 finish: wins against Ragger and Mamedyarov, and a draw with Nakamura. A game between these two players always has some extra flavour but this time it was quite an even game; a good draw for both players. Well, more for the American, who was playing Black.
Another big surprise on the first day of the tournament was Georg Meier, who is sharing second place with Nakamura, only half a point behind Carlsen! He defeated Karjakin, Bacrot, Vitiugov, Fressinet and in the 10th round Nepomniachtchi (who was clearly tired by then).
Dutch GM Loek van Wely, who also started well on the first day of the rapid, could be seen on the top boards. In round 6 he defeated the number five in the rapid:
Drawing with Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov and Dubaov, Van Wely reached 6.0/9 but then the fun was over; he lost two in a row.
Judit Polgar, already mentioned, had an excellent first day and finished on plus for - shared 8th place - despite losing in 11 moves to Mamedyarov in round 9!
Sergey Karjakin, who was tweeting a lot in between games, couldn't hold his laughter:
Mamedyarov-Polgar was nice;-)!— Sergey Karyakin ( @SergeyKaryakin) June 19, 2014
But two rounds later Karjakin was punished by Caissa (or rather, by Polgar herself!)
After 10 rounds of fighting it was a very "tasty" finish off the day with a win against Karjakin with black pieces!:) pic.twitter.com/YEtBrY0A67— Judit Polgar ( @GMJuditPolgar) June 19, 2014
So +2 at the end, absolutely deserved to finish so badly!— Sergey Karyakin ( @SergeyKaryakin) June 19, 2014
Even though his girlfriend Arianne Caoili had arrived, and cheered for him in the playing hall wearing a sports shirt with “Aronian” on her back, Levon Aronian had a disappointing first day. Five wins, three draws and three losses meant only plus two and so the Armenian needs to do a lot better on Friday to keep a chance for a good prize.
World Blitz Championship 2014 | Round 10 Standings (Top 40)
|6||8||Le Quang Liem||VIE||2817||8||2717||76|
|28||23||Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo||VEN||2722||6,5||2645||62|
|37||64||Vallejo Pons Francisco||ESP||2628||6||2729||62,5|
(Full standings here)
The World Blitz Championship is held Thursday, June 19th and Friday, June 20th, 2014. Play starts 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.
- Day 3: Carlsen Wins World Rapid Championship Ahead of Caruana & Anand
- Day 2: World Rapid: Half-Point Lead For Carlsen After Day 2 | UPDATE: Video
- Day 1: World Rapid: Caruana, Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi Shared First After Five Rounds | UPDATE: Video
- Preview: FIDE World Rapid Championship Takes Off Today