Houdini Act Carlsen in Zurich, Beats Nakamura

Houdini Act Carlsen in Zurich, Beats Nakamura

| 83 | Chess Event Coverage

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. 

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

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