Houdini Act Carlsen in Zurich, Beats Nakamura

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 2/1/14, 12:26 PM.

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.

Yannick Pelletier, Levon Aronian & Boris Gelfand in good spirits at the press conference

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:

Some familiar faces in the audience

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.”

A tough defeat for Nakamura
Carlsen: “I was lucky today”

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

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2872 ½ 1 1 5.0/3
2 Aronian,Levon 2812 ½ ½ 1 4.0/3
3 Nakamura,Hikaru 2789 0 ½ 1 3.0/3
4 Caruana,Fabiano 2782 ½ ½ ½ 3.0/3
5 Gelfand,Boris 2777 0 ½ ½ 2.0/3
6 Anand,Viswanathan 2773 0 0 ½ 1.0/3

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. 

36384 reads 102 comments
6 votes


  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    1. Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Nakamura, Caruana, etc. are all humans which means they make mistakes just like any patzer but, less often than the patzer.  (Yes, even Capablanca, Fischer, Kasparov, and Karpov made mistakes.)

    2. Just as all chess players get fatigued and "chessed out", these elite players suffer the same problem, at which point blunders and weak moves are made.

    3. So accept them as fellow chessplayers with the same problems as patzers.  They are simply a microcosm of the macrocosm of chess.

  • 3 years ago


    A true measure of greatness...

    In his entire chess career, Capablanca suffered fewer than 40 losses in serious games. He was undefeated for over eight years of active, world-class competition, from February 10, 1916

  • 3 years ago


    @Mooner01 carlsen forever!!! U see that exclamation mark? So that was an overstatement, so it does seem that your brain cells r too weak to analyze the statement correctly

  • 3 years ago


    Hahaha Magnus-Nakamura is like Kasparov-Karpov?????? No way Jose. The last two were the best of their time, and I do not see Nakamura in the second place in the ratings, how is he the other great of this time?? (maybe just because he is the only US player there???).

    To be the best at chess has nothing to do with play agresively or nicely for that matter, but to get results, and results should put you in the second place of the ratings, or the third? (in the live ratings this moment Naka is 7th).

    Only a personal opinion of course.

  • 3 years ago


    @priteshrp87 what happens when he dies?

  • 3 years ago


    at least Naka plays exciting chess.. 

  • 3 years ago


    Lucky. Lucky. Lucky.  

  • 3 years ago


    mark my words, nobody can hope to win more than one or two games from carlsen, the guy plays like a machine & he is the best ever!!no naka, no fabiano, no aronian, no nothing, it will forever be carlsen!!!!

  • 3 years ago


    @ enian_biti: You are very right indeed.

    People seem to forget what Magnus brings to the chessboard and that is an unprecedented determination to win every game he plays. You can love him or hate him for that, but the fact is that he nowadays is the one that makes the chessworld go round. Just for that we should be thankful to Magnus.

    I am a Magnus fan but can also imagine that people do not like him, for whatever reasons they might have (and I often do not understand). I myself do not like the attitude of Nakamura when saying the things he does, but that is also just my opinion (nothing more).

    We need to appreciate that they are both great chess players and so are a number of others. Everybody liked the rivalry between Kasparov and Karpov and I think this is much of the same. You are with one side or the other for your own reasons, but you should never forget that THIS IS ABOUT CHESS and the beauty of the game is what should attract us. It should not and actually can't hardly be something personal (how many of you know both of them personally?).

    I'm rooting for Magnus but such games like the one yesterday against Nakamura is what creates the buzz in chess that we need. I'm looking forward to the Candidates already!

    Choose whoever you want to support, but BE NICE AND OBJECTIVE!

  • 3 years ago


    Another great day ahead today...Aronian v Nakamura looks good & a fast improving Fabiano Caruana against Carlsen will be interesting.

  • 3 years ago


    Damn! Carlsen won! He really is a great player. Last I checked I thougth he was a gonner. Well done. Well done.

  • 3 years ago


    I think some people are high on METH. Kasparov couldn’t beat Magnus when he was 13. He made the right choice to retire because there like the rest he would have been watching Magnus win. I can see people hate Magnus but that is good. Nakamura had a winning position but he is not a computer for all of you "great" spectators writing here. They had 3 commentators LIVE, 2 GM’s and one IM saying that YES d6 is the best move and you can tell from Nakamura anticipation he wanted to play that as well. Watch the video here http://new.livestream.com/chess24/events/2727830they all insisted that d6 is also the best move but according to computer with d6 the game equalized and knowing the end game was coming… let me put it this way, nobody wants to go to end game with Magnus. go to  video that says Round 3 - Part 21 hour and 33 minutes and listen when they say "And here it is, the final blow" for d6 which was the most terrible move to be played. 
    Oh wait but you the great chess players here think it’s so easy to calculate so precisely, forgetting that Nakamura was almost being checkmated 2 moves before and on time running down. Nakamura got there by playing 100% perfect. But it is extremely difficult to play 100% perfect against Magnus the whole game because he also plays 98%+ and you have to play the whole time 100% and it increases your chances of winning by 0.1 points if you play 99% perfect he will capitalize on that. Remember end game is his field of expertise, by the time players get there they are depleted. Kasparov played too aggressive to win against Magnus who will play you tooth for tooth, which means playing agrasive makes room for major mistakes, and for players like Magnus that thrive and grind for one move at a time, it won't cut it. I personally believe that the closest chess player to him today is Kramnik. I read someone write that they should have 16 players hahaha which is good so he can increase his score more. nakamura loses against Magnus and wins points, he must be happy not sad. 





    I think one must be very very arrogant to say publicly I am the greatest threat to Magnus for never winning one single game against him. It's ok you all can hate him, and you will for a long long long looooong time until you are all old and dead. Besides your opinion does not matter, what matter is actual FACTS and STATS not bla bla blla. Yes if my aunt had b@#$ she would be my uncle. Pigs fly too. 

  • 3 years ago


    Ptol4o ...what? e4 drops immediately in that line. You don't know what you're talking about.

  • 3 years ago


    funny game - Nakamura- Carlsen. FIDE champion played very bad- because he didn't know what to do with WOMEN (he is the boy). Magnus is the best without QUEENS, but with QUEEN - he is weak. Nakamura is too young too- he don't know ,how to make checkmate (WITH QUEEN).I think- they both need girlfriendsEmbarassed

  • 3 years ago


    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1736556 dxc4 e4 look it with a engine it gives white a lot bore then bxc4.

    as i sad magnus is a the best chessplayer in 21 centrury but the worst worldchampion.

  • 3 years ago


    Ptol4o - bit of a silly comment to make. And are you hoping we're not going to check the game to test your idea of sac'ing the c-pawn to play e4? It's rubbish.

  • 3 years ago


    stop defeanding magnus he is a brialliant chess player maybe the third strongest player(1.ficher/kasparov)(2.ficher/kasparov)but he is a terrible world champion.

    1.Candidates he should been 1 and a half point less he was lucky.

    2.Worldchampionship he played like a kid i sleept through all the games

    i mean game one he played the most borring oppening and he could sacrifised the c4 pawn and play e4 with a advantege the game was finnished in 20 minutes.

    evrey game in the world championship shouldf bean a draw.

    he is just too lucky

  • 3 years ago


    Naka could have won the game; he should have played, more defensive.

  • 3 years ago


    as expected! lol :) Carlsen is giving them a sweet memories of losing to HIM lol,,, in fact, how struggled position he has, he can able to defend in a draw, and luckily in a winning endgame,,, what a CHAMP!.. truly, Anand saaid in Chennai,, he has many resources to look for opponent's weakest side, no matter how pieces he lose, HE ALWAYS WIN!... What can u say about this, Kasparov??? Carlsen in his young age of 13 made u scratched your head in a very difficult position, did you remember that? lol.... He is Chess genius - Carlsen...... i smell the title in this tournament, carlsen lol.. IM VERY PROUD OF U DUDE!



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