Half-Point Lead for Carlsen After First Day World Blitz | UPDATE: Video

Half-Point Lead for Carlsen After First Day World Blitz | UPDATE: Video

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

After winning the World Rapid title Magnus Carlsen is also doing well at the FIDE World Blitz Championship in Dubai. Going into the second and last day of the tournament, the Norwegian has a half-point lead after scoring scored 9.0/11 on Thursday. Blitz (or rather, bullet) specialist Hikaru Nakamura is trailing by half a point and so is Georg Meier. On Friday ten more rounds will be played.

All photos © | Update: A video of the Carlsen-Nakamura has been added to the report!

With almost the same playing field as in the rapid tournament, the FIDE World Blitz Championship started on Thursday in the Dubai Chess & Culture Club. No less than 11 rounds were played (10 will follow on Friday) at a time control of 3 minutes plus 2 seconds increment. And immediately in the first round this fast time control resulted in big mistakes.

For exampe, none other than Vishy Anand, who hadn't lost a single game in the first three days, got into trouble against Yuriy Kryvoruchko; the ex-World Champion had to defend the infamous RB-R ending, did that flawlessly for about 40 moves (each time using only a few seconds)... and then he blundered his rook.

Favorites such as Nakamura and Carlsen won their first game relatively smoothly, and they continued to win in round 2. Carlsen faced the renowned blitz player from Azerbijan Gadir Guseinov and managed to outplay his opponent from a drawn rook ending - Guseinov should have just given his b-pawn and draw the Philidor position:

Gadir Guseinov
This game was in fact not broadcast live, and so the moves never reached the chess fans. However, it kind of helped that a video camera was pointed at this game! This way the moves could be entered manually and you're able to play through them; for the others games, as always, TWIC comes in handy. 

Nakamura himself showed his resilience against Wang Hao, who put the American under serious pressure. After the move 34.a4 Nakamura was shaking his head, probably thinking he shouldn't have allowed that white knight to b5, from where it would trade his knight. He was about to end up in a bad bishop vs knight position, but there U.S. #1 took a deep think and then bashed out his next couple of moves quickly. Before you knew it the position was highly unclear. The Chinese GM got confused, missed that his opponent blundered (allowing 46.Rxe4+-) and then totally lost the thread.

Hikaru Nakamura

Nakamura's next game was another very tough fight. After about 15 moves both players asked one another not to bang the clock so hard, and from that point it was war time! White's positional Exchange sac worked out well, but objectively it wasn't good (e.g. 37...Rd6! 38.Qxc7 Qf6 should win). Nakamura got a winning ending, got a bit frustrated about not winning it easily, then blew it, but decided to play for a win anyway, got two knights and a pawn for a queen, and then... Savchenko put his king on a square protected by one of the white knights. Nakamura stopped the clock and claimed the win because of the illegal move. Dramatic!

On second board Fressinet and Carlsen faced each other - two good friends who sometimes work on chess together. Perhaps that was the reason why Carlsen did something out of the ordinary: 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ng8?!?, and whereas Fressinet managed to draw his game with the Norwegian in the rapid tournament, this time he got slowly outplayed.

Carlsen: 2...Ng8?!?

Nakamura drew with Wojtaszek in round 5, but Carlsen kept his 100% score thanks to a smooth win over Eduardo Iturrizaga. 

Meanwhile, Judit Polgar was having a good start. She defeated Yu Yangyi in a way that reminded of her games from twenty years ago, crushing her opponent as White in a Sicilian:

Anand started badly; after his first-round loss he beat Aleksej Aleksandrov but then lost again, to Vladimir Fedoseev. Wins against Salem, Bologan and his former second Kasimdzhanov, in Caplanca style, got him back to plus one:

Vishy Anand

Anand then drew with Caruana which was followed by another loss, against Markus Ragger. Not good! However, the Indian would finish with three wins in a row, against Bassem, Vitiugov and Dreev. The Egyptian number one clearly miscalculated something in the opening.

Carlsen was the only player left on 100% after five rounds. Nepomniachtchi, another good friend of his, was one of the players on 4.5 after catching Svidler in an opening trick:

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Then Carlsen dropped his first half point against Nepomniachtchi and it was Le Quang Liem, the reigning World Blitz Champion, who caught him in first place by beating Nakamura.

Le Quang Liem is defending his title

Carlsen immediately grabbed the sole lead again by beating the reignign champ in a bishop ending. Le in fact resigned 51 moves after the last pawn move had been played - in this blitz event it's virtually impossible to claim a draw based on the 50-move rule.

By then the surprise of the tournament, 18-year-old Lu Shanglei, had fought himself all the way up in the standings. In round 7 the Chinese talent defeated Peter Svidler, who blundered and got his king stuck in a mating net:

Lu Shanglei

The whole world got to know Lu when he scored a sensational win over Carlsen the next round! The tournament leader outplayed his young opponent in the opening but then spoilt it completely on move 22, missing a strong queen check. His king needed to flee to the center, but it wasn't safe there. 

Carlsen resigns against Lu

Carlsen eventually emerged as the sole leader thanks to a 2.5/3 finish: wins against Ragger and Mamedyarov, and a draw with Nakamura. A game between these two players always has some extra flavour but this time it was quite an even game; a good draw for both players. Well, more for the American, who was playing Black.

Another big surprise on the first day of the tournament was Georg Meier, who is sharing second place with Nakamura, only half a point behind Carlsen! He defeated Karjakin, Bacrot, Vitiugov, Fressinet and in the 10th round Nepomniachtchi (who was clearly tired by then).

Dutch GM Loek van Wely, who also started well on the first day of the rapid, could be seen on the top boards. In round 6 he defeated the number five in the rapid:

Drawing with Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov and Dubaov, Van Wely reached 6.0/9 but then the fun was over; he lost two in a row.

Loek van Wely

Judit Polgar, already mentioned, had an excellent first day and finished on plus for - shared 8th place - despite losing in 11 moves to Mamedyarov in round 9!

Sergey Karjakin, who was tweeting a lot in between games, couldn't hold his laughter:

But two rounds later Karjakin was punished by Caissa (or rather, by Polgar herself!)

Even though his girlfriend Arianne Caoili had arrived, and cheered for him in the playing hall wearing a sports shirt with “Aronian” on her back, Levon Aronian had a disappointing first day. Five wins, three draws and three losses meant only plus two and so the Armenian needs to do a lot better on Friday to keep a chance for a good prize.

World Blitz Championship 2014 | Round 10 Standings (Top 40)

Rk. SNo Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2
1 4 Carlsen Magnus NOR 2837 9 2738 73,5
2 43 Meier Georg GER 2663 8,5 2757 72,5
3 1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2879 8,5 2728 75,5
4 9 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2816 8 2742 72
5 39 Lu Shanglei CHN 2668 8 2730 73,5
6 8 Le Quang Liem VIE 2817 8 2717 76
7 32 Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2689 8 2704 69
8 36 Polgar Judit HUN 2673 7,5 2744 63,5
9 49 Laznicka Viktor CZE 2650 7,5 2720 63,5
10 37 Harikrishna P. IND 2669 7,5 2704 67
11 40 Wang Hao CHN 2668 7,5 2679 61,5
12 7 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2822 7,5 2678 69
13 27 Fressinet Laurent FRA 2705 7,5 2661 68
14 31 Caruana Fabiano ITA 2697 7,5 2648 61
15 6 Anand Viswanathan IND 2827 7,5 2645 62,5
16 86 Yudin Sergei RUS 2559 7 2717 60,5
17 29 Dreev Aleksey RUS 2701 7 2700 67,5
18 55 Cheparinov Ivan BUL 2636 7 2675 64
19 21 Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2726 7 2673 64
20 22 Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2725 7 2657 63,5
21 13 Korobov Anton UKR 2758 7 2637 58
22 18 Movsesian Sergei ARM 2730 7 2613 58,5
23 28 Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2703 7 2590 56,5
24 5 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2835 6,5 2700 67
25 74 Moradiabadi Elshan IRI 2599 6,5 2691 62
26 16 Bacrot Etienne FRA 2744 6,5 2660 71
27 14 Svidler Peter RUS 2757 6,5 2658 62,5
28 23 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2722 6,5 2645 62
29 20 Dubov Daniil RUS 2729 6,5 2644 60,5
30 3 Aronian Levon ARM 2863 6,5 2643 59
31 47 Kasimdzhanov Rustam UZB 2657 6,5 2642 58
32 2 Karjakin Sergey RUS 2866 6,5 2641 62
33 10 Grischuk Alexander RUS 2801 6,5 2634 57,5
34 30 Malakhov Vladimir RUS 2700 6,5 2625 59
35 41 Amin Bassem EGY 2667 6,5 2607 54
36 76 Ragger Markus AUT 2587 6 2741 69,5
37 64 Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2628 6 2729 62,5
38 62 Jobava Baadur GEO 2628 6 2723 60,5
39 68 Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan MGL 2616 6 2718 64
40 61 Fedoseev Vladimir RUS 2628 6 2695 62

(Full standings here)

The World Blitz Championship is held Thursday, June 19th and Friday, June 20th, 2014. Play starts at 3pm local time (GMT +4) which is 1pm CET, 7am New York and 4am Los Angeles. The championship will be broadcast live on the tournament’s official website with online games and commentary.

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