Carlsen leads by a point after 2nd day World Blitz

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Blitz World Ch 09 - day 2Magnus Carlsen has taken over the lead from Viswanathan Anand on the second day of the World Blitz Championship in Moscow. The Norwegian scored 11/14 today (no draws!) while Anand 'only' managed 8/14, but he's is still 2nd in the standings. Day 2 saw excellent scores for Karjakin, Mamedyarov and Kosteniuk.

The World Blitz Championship, the second stage of this year's Tal Memorial, takes place 16, 17 and 18 November in the Main Department Store GUM on Red Square, Moscow. The time control is 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment per move. The 22-player, double round-robin has 42 rounds which are devided over three days.

The participants are: Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Morozevich, Peter Svidler and Ruslan Ponomariov (the players of the Tal Memorial round-robin); invited players Anatoli Karpov, Alexandra Kosteniuk, reigning Blitz World Champion Leinier Dominguez, former Blitz World Champion Alexander Grischuk, Dmitry Jakovenko and Judit Polgar and five of the six winners of the qualifying blitz “Aeroflot Open”: Sergey Karjakin, Vugar Gashimov, Shakhryiar Mamedyarov, Evgeny Bareev and Vladislav Tkachiev. The sixth winner, Zhou Jianchao, was replaced by Arkadij Naiditsch.

Day 2

There seemed to be a few dubious moments of Magnus Carlsen yesterday (some takebacks and forgetting to shake hands, mentioned in the comments), but these were clearly overrated. We learnt that after for instance the Carlsen-Kosteniuk game, Henrik Carlsen approached Alexandra's husband Diego with some sort of apology, but it was unnecessary, Diego said. She didn't think anything out of the ordinary, despite the fact Magnus was clearly upset.

In any case, the top seed drew the attention today for much better reasons. With a strong score of 11 out of 14, almost as good as Anand's 12/14 yesterday, Carlsen surpassed the Indian to grab first place in the standings after 2/3 of the tournament.

If we only look at the second day, then Sergey Karjakin ends on second place with a score of 10.5/14. Among others the now Russian defeated Aronian, Grischuk and his former compatriot Ivanchuk today. Speaking of Ivanchuk - he played terribly today and scored only 4.5/14. Mamedyarov did much better than yesterday; his aggressive playing style with especially the white pieces, often going for the black king right out of the opening, earned the Azeri GM a 9.5/14 score.

We would also like to mention Alexandra Kosteniuk, who did very well today. In the overall standings she's still 20th, but over rounds 15-28 she ended on a fine 12th place, beating Morozevich, Grischuk, Tkachiev, Anand, Polgar and Aronian today (after e.g. Carlsen yesterday). Anatoli Karpov couldn't continue his fantastic play of the first day and got a much weaker 5/14 on the leaderboard.

Tomorrow the fight for first place will probably be a tough one between the reigning (classical) World Champion and the top seed (and probable future world champion), with Karjakin as a dangerous outsider. Whoever you consider title holder, Dominguez for winning last year's World Blitz in Almaty or Ivanchuk who won last year's Tal Memorial Blitz (which had a stronger field), neither of them will keep his title.

Some players we expected to do better, for instance Levon Aronian and Vugar Gashimov. However, we were told that Aronian is clearly under the weather, sniffling audibly and looking sick. And what about Gashimov, currently the world's number 6 player? His second day wasn't very good either, on which he forfeited his first game against Svidler. According to one of our sources Gashimov went out until 5:00 AM...

Don't forget that the tournament can be followed by a video stream provided by the tournament website.

World Blitz 2009 | Round 28 Standings
World Blitz 2009

World Blitz 2009 | Round 28 Standings (Crosstable)
World Blitz 2009
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Big selection of games day 2

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