Zurich: Anand Joins Nakamura; Kortchnoi-Uhlmann 1-1

Zurich: Anand Joins Nakamura; Kortchnoi-Uhlmann 1-1

Feb 15, 2015, 12:00 AM |
25 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday GM Viswanathan Anand joined GM Hikaru Nakamura in the lead at the Zurich Chess Challenge. The Indian beat GM Levon Aronian.

The games Kramnik-Nakamura and Karjakin-Caruana ended in draws. In the morning, chess legends GM Viktor Kortchnoi and GM Wolfgang Uhlmann started their 4-game rapid match, and both won one game.

When GM Viktor Kortchnoi suffered a stroke in September 2012, it was feared that he would never play chess again. At the moment he's not in great shape, but under the circumstances the 83-year-old chess legend is doing well. And certainly well enough to play chess.

On Sunday at 11am in the morning, Viktor the Terrible could be found behind the chess board again. Now permanently in a wheel chair, Kortchnoi faced an opponent from the old days: 79-year-old GM Wolfgang Uhlmann.

The two had been invited for an exhibition match, consisting of four rapid games; two on Sunday and two on Monday. The time control is 25 minutes plus 20 seconds increment.

In the first game Kortchnoi got an excellent position as Black (strong knight vs bad bishop), but he allowed Uhlmann to get back in the game. On move 27 White suddenly threatened a battery on the b1-h7 diagonal, and Kortchnoi had to give up material.




A good start for Kortchnoi, but then things went completely wrong. | Photo Zurich Chess Challenge.

However, in the second game Kortchnoi came back with a vengeance. He refuted an incorrect pawn sac by Uhlmann in the opening, and never let go:


Revenge for Kortchnoi in game 2. | Photo Zurich Chess Challenge.

A few hours later, six of today's top grandmaster entered the playing hall for round 2 of the Zurich Chess Challenge. Hikaru Nakamura was defending his lead as the only winner of the first round.

The round started with a surprisingly quick win for GM Viswanathan Anand against GM Levon Aronian. From the speed with which the Indian played his moves, it was clear that he made use of some excellent preparation. He had played the same variation of the Grünfeld against Magnus Carlsen only three months ago.


The start of round 2. | Photo Zurich Chess Challenge.

Already on move 20 Aronian made a decisive mistake, and with accurate and strong moves Anand secured the full point.

Anand spoke in excellent German for most of the press conference with commentators GM Yannick Pelletier and IM Werner Hug. He had an interesting explanation: “19.Bxa6 Rb8 20.Qc6 Bd7 is what Fritz3 showed some twenty years ago. A few months go we looked again at this position with better machines.”

The Indian also showed the way to play for Black, and said that it should lead to equality. The strange thing was that Aronian had seen the crucial pawn push 19.d7! in his preparation too, but he had forgotten how to play after.



An opening disaster for Aronian meant a quick win for Anand. | Photo Zurich Chess Challenge.

And so Anand was virtually in the lead with 1.5 out of 2, but soon GM Hikaru Nakamura “rejoined” him by drawing his game with GM Vladimir Kramnik. Instead of a King's Indian or Dutch, Nakamura chose a much more solid opening against the Russian this time, and that worked out well.

After a more or less forced sequence White got a queen and rook against two rooks and bishop, and with a few more accurate moves Nakamura made sure that it was indeed a fortress.



Very solid play by Nakamura. | Photo Zurich Chess Challenge.

The third game of the day, Karjakin-Caruana, was also the most complicated. From a 4.d3 Berlin, the players reached quite an original middlegame position. The question was if White could successfully push d3-d4.

He did play it in the game, and then played an interesting exchange sacrifice. Caruana realized he couldn't really take the rook, and at that point he felt he was clearly worse. But maybe it wasn't that bad?


The players after the game; Yannick Pelletier on the left. | Photo Zurich Chess Challenge.


2015 Zurich Chess Challenge | Pairings & Results

Round 1 14 February 15:00 CET   Round 2 15 February 15:00 CET
Anand 1-1 Kramnik   Kramnik 1-1 Nakamura
Aronian 1-1 Karjakin   Karjakin 1-1 Caruana
Caruana 0-2 Nakamura   Anand 2-0 Aronian
Round 3 16 February 15:00 CET   Round 4 17 February 15:00 CET
Aronian - Kramnik   Kramnik - Karjakin
Caruana - Anand   Anand - Nakamura
Nakamura - Karjakin   Aronian - Caruana
Round 5 18 February 13:00 CET        
Caruana - Kramnik        
Nakamura - Aronian        
Karjakin - Anand        


2015 Zurich Chess Challenge | Round 2 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Anand,Viswanathan 2797 2970 phpfCo1l0.png   1     2 3.0/2 1.00
2 Nakamura,Hikaru 2776 2987   phpfCo1l0.png 1   2   3.0/2 1.00
3 Kramnik,Vladimir 2783 2786 1 1 phpfCo1l0.png       2.0/2 1.50
4 Karjakin,Sergey 2760 2794       phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2.0/2 0.50
5 Caruana,Fabiano 2811 2578   0   1 phpfCo1l0.png   1.0/2 0.50
6 Aronian,Levon 2777 2588 0     1   phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/2 0.50

The tournament consists of five rounds of classical chess played from Saturday, February 14 till Wednesday, February 18. On the last day, Thursday February 19, the players will play five rounds of rapid chess with reversed colors.

During the first five days, a winner of a classical game earns 2 points for the overall standings; the loser 0. In case of a draw each player earns 1 point. In the rapid games the winner earns 1 point, by a draw each player half a point and the loser 0.

On Monday at 11am Viktor Kortchnoi (83) and Wolfgang Uhlmann (79) will play the last two games of their 4-game rapid match. phpfCo1l0.png

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