Zurich Chess Challenge Round 2
Vladimir Kramnik enjoyed the white pieces for the second day in a row at the Zurich Chess Challenge, this time taking on the world champion Vishy Anand.
With one eye on the crucial Candidates tournament in London starting in less than 3 weeks time, Kramnik once again sidestepped well-trodden paths to avoid showing his rivals any of his opening preparation.
After an early Queen exchange, the battle centred around Kramnik's isolated advanced c-pawn, until further exchanges left Anand defending against an outside passed pawn in a rook ending. The champion had no problems, and the draw was agreed just after the first time control.
The encounter between Boris Gelfand and tournament young-gun Fabiano Caruana proved to be much more entertaining! Gelfand responded to Caruana's choice of the Gruenfeld with aggressive intent, pushing his h-pawn to crack open the h-file in preparation for a direct attack!
Gelfand then sacrificed a pawn to close down the diagonal of Caruana's fearsome fianchettoed bishop, in preparation for the kingside assault. But the young Italian-American was wise to the danger, immediately returning the pawn to seize back the initiative for himself.
By the time Caruana's fianchettoed bishop emerged from its incarceration the game had reached move 40 and the players shook hands on a draw.
So the deadlock has still to be broken after two completed rounds in Zurich. In round three Vishy Anand will have his first opportunity with the white pieces, against Boris Gelfand, while Vladimir Kramnik will play his first game with black, against Fabiano Caruana. The pairings in full are:
The time control is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for the next 20 moves, and 15 minutes plus a 30-second increment for the remainder of the game. If a game is drawn before move 40, the players will play an additional rapid exhibition game (not counting towards the scores).
Playing Schedule (times = GMT+1)
The tournament is being staged by the Zurich Chess Club and the main sponsor is Oleg Skvortsov of International Gemological Laboratories. The venue is the Savoy Hotel, Paradeplatz.