World Blitz Championship: strong start for Anand and... Karpov

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Blitz World Ch 09 - day 1After the first day of play in Moscow, World Champion Viswanathan Anand has become the favourite to win the World Blitz title as well. The Indian started with a fine score of 12 out of 14 and is 2 points ahead of Magnus Carlsen. On third place after 14 rounds we find... 12th World Champion Anatoli Karpov!

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.

Vishy Anand immediately took revenge for his disappointing play in the last round of the Tal Memorial round-robin tournament. The World Champion won no less than 10 out of 14 games today and took a clear lead at the World Blitz. Anything can happen in a tournament that runs no less than 42 rounds, but Anand's power play on this first day makes him the clear favourite. The Indian finished with a winning streak of five games today.

A very nice surprise is that on third place in the standings, behind Anand and Carlsen, we see Anatoli Karpov, who started his first day with 9/14. After his disappointing perfomance in his recent matches against Kasparov and Anand, we had almost written off the 12th World Champion.

But it's great to see him proving us wrong - at least in blitz he can still beat the world's best players! Karpov finished his first day by beating Carlsen with the black pieces. Besides, he drew eight times, he defeated Gashimov, Gelfand, Tkachiev and Mamedyarov, and only lost to Bareev.

Unfortunately many of the games were not transmitted correctly by the digital boards, and so the PGN file contains many incorrect games. The reason was often that the players played too quickly in the opening or final phase for the boards to keep track. But since we're used to filtering PGN files anyway, you'll find a selection of games below and the full PGN (as always sorted out nicely by Mark Crowther) as a link futher down.

World Blitz 2009 | Round 14 Standings
World Blitz 2009

World Blitz 2009 | Round 14 Standings (Crosstable)
World Blitz 2009
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