Anand Wins Classical Part In Zurich; Rapid Tomorrow

Anand Wins Classical Part In Zurich; Rapid Tomorrow

Feb 18, 2015, 2:04 PM |
39 | Chess Event Coverage

All three games ended in draws today, and so GM Viswanathan Anand won the classical part of the Zurich Chess Challenge. 

Tomorrow everything will be decided in five rounds of rapid chess.

For the first time in this year's Zurich Chess Challenge, a game ended in a draw before move 30 without a move repetition. According to the regulations, the players were supposed to play a rapid game as the sponsor doesn't like quick draws, but they were “dismissed.”

We're talking about GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Vladimir Kramnik, whose game took about three hours and 45 minutes — much longer than Nakamura-Aronian, which counted 44 moves. And it was definitely an interesting draw, especially if you take into account the variations that did not appear on the board.

Caruana's bishop swap on e6 and pushing a4 and b4 are not supposed to be dangerous according to commentator GM Ian Rogers, but Caruana stated that “many of these positions have been re-evaluated” in recent years. Kramnik agreed that it wasn't so easy. 

The 14th world champion showed lots of interesting variations, but in many of them the computer prefers White. The conclusion is that Kramnik played quite accurately in the game!

An interesting and correct draw between Caruana and Kramnik.

The game between GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Levon Aronian was a rather quiet affair. It started with something unique: Nakamura managed to play a theoretical novelty as early as move 6 in the Berlin!

It was the move a2-a4, protecting the b5-bishop, that somehow had never been tried before. However, there were lots of similarities with other lines, and Aronian decided to follow the beaten track.

“I didn't want to invent something new,” he said.

Aronian playing 5...Nd6, not expecting a completely new move!

And so GM Viswanathan Anand only needed a draw against GM Sergey Karjakin to win the classical part of the tournament. Their game was the longest, and it was a pretty good fight as well.

In what was a sideline of the English opening, Anand got a pawn center (e5-e4) and so at first sight he looked better. However, like the Hypermodernists taught us, White was going to attack that center!

With a long-term pawn sacrifice, Karjakin managed to open up te position. Despite having a worse structure, Black was fine in the ending.

At some point Anand avoided a move repetition, which was interpreted as a winning attempt. A few moves later he was defending a bishop ending a pawn down, so that was confusing. 

However, the Indian played something else because he didn't expect his opponent to continue repeating. At the press conference he said with a smile: “It's a drawing attempt from a position of strength, something like this.”

A good fight between Karjakin and Anand.

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 19, the players will play five rounds of rapid chess with reversed colors compared to the classical games. Play starts two hours earlier, so 13:00 CET (7 a.m. New York, 4 a.m. Los Angeles, 11 p.m. Sydney). The time control will be 15 minutes plus 10 seconds increment. 

The scoring system will be back to normal: a win doesn't earn two points anymore but one, and a draw half a point. This means that Nakamura can catch Anand by winning their mutual game, for example. They meet in the penultimate round.

Anand: “I'll just try and play some good chess tomorrow.” Nakamura: “Last year, I think I was on minus two or minus one, I had nothing to play for so... I didn't care. It will be a bit more interesting this time since I have a chance to play for something. I did quite well in London in the rapid so I'm looking forward also. Hopefully I get to play some interesting games.”

2015 Zurich Chess Challenge | Pairings & Results

Round 1 14 February 15:00 CET   Round 2 15 February 15:00 CET
Anand 1-1 Kramnik   Kramnik 1-1 Nakamura
Aronian 1-1 Karjakin   Karjakin 1-1 Caruana
Caruana 0-2 Nakamura   Anand 2-0 Aronian
Round 3 16 February 15:00 CET   Round 4 17 February 15:00 CET
Aronian 1-1 Kramnik   Kramnik 1-1 Karjakin
Caruana 1-1 Anand   Anand 2-0 Nakamura
Nakamura 2-0 Karjakin   Aronian 1-1 Caruana
Round 5 18 February 13:00 CET        
Caruana 1-1 Kramnik        
Nakamura 1-1 Aronian        
Karjakin 1-1 Anand        


2015 Zurich Chess Challenge | Standings After Classical Games

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Anand,Viswanathan 2797 2928 phpfCo1l0.png 2 1 1 1 2 7
2 Nakamura,Hikaru 2776 2856 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 2 2 1 6
3 Kramnik,Vladimir 2783 2784 1 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 1 5
4 Caruana,Fabiano 2811 2709 1 0 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 4 5.00
5 Karjakin,Sergey 2760 2719 1 0 1 1 phpfCo1l0.png 1 4 5.00
6 Aronian,Levon 2777 2715 0 1 1 1 1 phpfCo1l0.png 4 4.75


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