Houdini Act Carlsen in Zurich, Beats Nakamura
Magnus Carlsen survived what should have been a deadly attack and even defeated Hikaru Nakamura in the third round of the Zurich Chess Challenge on Saturday. The World Champion grabbed the lead in the tournament as both other games ended in a draw.
A very exciting round in Zurich started with a quick draw between two good friends, Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand. The game started as a very symmetrical Fianchetto Grünfeld and for a moment it seemed that Aronian had something, but Gelfand quickly equalized. In fact, in the final position White cannot really improve his position while Black can.
In Zurich (or rather: in events sponsored by Oleg Skvortsov) there is always a special rule in effect: in case of a draw before move 40, an additional rapid game will be played (which does not count for the overall result). And so, for the first time in this tournament, a rapid game was played indeed! This is how it went:
Before the rapid game, at the press conference, both Aronian and Gelfand were very much interested in the other two games. And indeed, each was very exciting! The encounter between Caruana and Anand saw some great energetic play from the Indian, in typical Vishy style. But White was active as well; it wasn't even clear who had the initiative! Even the ending was deceptive; at first Caruana thought he was better but then he had to play for a draw. It was the kind of draw Anand needed perhaps to regain some confidence.
But, obviously, the game of the day was Nakamura-Carlsen. In the latest New in Chess Magazine the American calls himself “the biggest threat to Carlsen” at the moment, and in the game he was well on his way to support that claim! “I played pretty badly. I sort of underestimated his attack. The whole setup is a little bit risky,” said the World Champion, who was as close to defeat as you can get. Another quote from the winner: “It's a bit of a freak occurence that he doesn't win.”
Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 | Results & 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|
Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 | Round 3 Standings
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.