Carlsen & Aronian Start With Wins in Zurich

Carlsen & Aronian Start With Wins in Zurich

| 21 | Chess Event Coverage

The two 2800s started with wins in the first round of the Zurich Chess Challenge. Magnus Carlsen defeated Boris Gelfand in an incredibly tactical queenless middlegame, while Levon Aronian won against Vishy Anand after 73 moves in an ending with a knight against two pawns. Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana drew a Grünfeld game after 67 moves.

On Wednesday night Magnus Carlsen was still a bit rusty after not having played chess for almost two months. “It showed that I hadn't played for a long time. I couldn't make decisions. After a few moves I remembered how to play chess again,” said the World Champion today, after winning a fine game against Boris Gelfand.

In a Fianchetto Grünfeld Gelfand chose the solid move 4...c6, and then Carlsen avoided most of the theory with his queen sortie two moves later. Soon after the position became extremely interesting, despite an early queen trade. With 15.g4 Carlsen started a long series of tactics that eventually gave him a winning advantage.

“It was really just a very fun game. Lots of tactical and positional stuff and from move 15 it was all tactics on every move and this is fun, especially if you're calling the shots,” said Carlsen.

Carlsen explaining his game, next to commentators IM Werner Hug & GM Yannick Pelletier

In an English Opening with Catalan tendencies, Vishy Anand made a big mistake on move 17 which was based on a calculation error. Then, to avoid getting into a cramped position, he took a good practical decision and sacrificed a piece for two pawns. The former World Champion got some chances to draw the game just before the time control, but didn't use them and then ended up in a very difficult ending.

Levon Aronian thought the game was heading towards a draw, but then, on move 41, he had enough time to dive into the position and indeed found a way to make progress.

Aronian & Anand at the press conference

Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana drew a very tense and interesting game. The Italian seemed to have a slight advantage in the opening, but then gave it away and after some more inaccuracies he was worse. Nakamura won a pawn, but didn't think the ending was ever winning. “I was better for most of the game and that's certainly a good thing,” he said.

Commentator Yannick Pelletier, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura

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

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. 

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