There are only a few days left until the start of the 2016 Zurich Chess Challenge, so it's just about time to have a closer look at some statistics.

First of all, let's see how the players perform against each other in classical time control. The rows show the results of each player with the white pieces while the columns present the corresponding headups with black.

Classical statistics crosstable

Kramnik
NakamuraAnandShirovAronianGiri
Kramnik ** +2 =4 -3 +7 =32 -4 +10 =15 -3 +5 =9 -1 +5 =0 -0
Nakamura +2 =4 -2 ** +2 =4 -0 +2 =0 -0 +4 =6 -2 +2 =11 -1
Anand +6 =34 -0 +1 =6 -4 ** +12 =9 -1 +2 =10 -4 +0 =5 -0
Shirov +9 =13 -5 +0 =1 -0 +1 =18 -4 ** +0 =7 -2 +1 =5 -1
Aronian +3 =15 -2 +9 =6 -2 +5 =13 -2 +3 =6 -0 ** +1 =4 -0
Giri +0 =4 -1 +1 =7 -1 +1 =4 -0 +3 =2 -0 +0 =5 -3 **

Calculating all individual results together, it's a little surprising to see the Armenian Levon Aronian clearly ahead of his rivals. Four percentage points are quite a gap on that level. On 2th to 4th place, the performance of Nakamura, Kramnik and Anand is almost equal, while Giri and especially Shirov are well below 50%. However, as usual these statistics have to be treated with a little caution: Giri's negative score mainly arises from his desastrous results against Kramnik and Aronian, while Anand can undoubtedly be called Shirov's personal Nemesis, as his overall performance is clearly in the Indian's favour (+13 =27 -2).

Classical ranking according to percentages:

#Player+ / = / -
TotalPercentage
1 Aronian +33 =81 -17 73,5/131 56,1%
2 Nakamura +22 =49 -18 46,5/89 52,2%
3 Kramnik +39 =130 -31 104/200 52%
4 Anand +31 =135 -25 98,5/191 51,6%
5 Giri +7 =47 -14 30,5/68 44,9%
6 Shirov +15 =76 =42 43/133 39,8%

Considering the time control that is applied in Zurich this year, the headups for Rapid are also highly interesting. Not surprisingly, the overall performance sees Anand clearly in front, followed by Aronian and Nakamura. Kramnik is a little below the 50% line, while Giri and Shirov can be found at the bottom of the table again. However, the results are a little distorted, as "old hands" as Anand and Kramnik have more than 100 recorded rapid games in the databases, while Giri has only played 18 "official" encounters so far.

Rapid statistics crosstable

KramnikNakamuraAnandShirovAronianGiri
Kramnik ** +1 =2 -1 +4 =29 -4 +4 =7 -2 +5 =5 -2 +0 =3 -1
Nakamura +1 =2 -3 ** +3 =1 -0 +0 =0 -0 +1 =2 -3 +1 =1 -0
Anand +9 =24 -4 +0 =1 -0 ** +7 =16 -1 +4 =6 -2 +1 =1 -1
Shirov +5 =7 -3 +0 =1 -0 +3 =10 -8 ** +0 =0 -0 +0 =0 -0
Aronian +6 =3 -2 +1 =3 -3 +4 =5 -2 +0 =1 -0 ** +1 =0 -0
Giri +1 =2 -1 +1 =0 -0 +0 =1 -1 +0 =0 -0 +0 =0 -1 **

Rapid ranking according to percentages:

#Player+ / = / -TotalPercentage
1 Anand +36 =93 -22 82,5/151 54,6%
2 Aronian +20 =24 -17 32/61 52,5%
3 Nakamura +10 =13 -9 16,5/32 51,6%
4 Kramnik +27 =84 -32 69/143 48,3%
5 Giri +4 =8 -6 8/18 44,4%
6 Shirov +11 =42 -22 32/75 42,7%

Blitz is and has always been an important part of the Zurich Chess Challenge. The overall winner is determined by the rapid games, where a win is awarded 2 points and a draw one, and the blitz games, where win and draw count one, and half a point respectively.

Not surprisingly, Blitz rather favours the indisputed ICC bullet champion, Hikaru Nakamura, who is clearly ahead of his rivals by scoring a whopping 60,4% out of 48 games. Giri is now in 2nd place, still clearly above the 50% line, followed by Kramnik with 51,3%. One who is probably not expected to be at the bottom of the table is Viswanathan Anand with only 38,6%, which is mainly due to his very bad score against Nakamura and Giri (+2 =3 -7).

Blitz statistics crosstable

KramnikNakamuraAnandShirovAronianGiri
Kramnik ** +1 =0 -1 +2 =5 -1 +2 =3 -0 +2 =1 -0 +0 =0 -1
Nakamura +1 =2 -1 ** +3 =0 -0 +0 =0 -0 +9 =4 -1 +2 =1 -0
Anand +3 =1 -2 +2 =3 -1 ** +0 =1 -0 +1 =1 -0 +0 =0 -1
Shirov +1 =1 -1 +0 =1 -0 +0 =0 -1 ** +0 =0 -0 +0 =0 -0
Aronian +2 =1 -2 +4 =6 -2 +2 =2 -1 +0 =0 -0 ** +2 =2 -0
Giri +1 =1 -0 +1 =1 -1 +2 =0 -0 +0 =0 -0 +1 =0 -0 **

Blitz ranking according to percentages:

#Player+ / = / -TotalPercentage
1 Nakamura +20 =18 -10 29/48 60,4%
2 Giri +7 =5 -5 9,5/17 55,9%
3 Kramnik +12 =15 -11 19,5/38 51,3%
4 Aronian +11 =17 -18 19,5/46 42,4%
5 Anand +9 =13 -13 13,5/35 38,6%
6 Shirov +1 =6 -4 4/11 36,3%

And finally the inevitable: An overall ranking table with all points of all three time controls brutally put together. According to these calculations, the American Hikaru Nakamura is a slight favorite to win the tournament - and indeed that's what he already did last year. But already a short glance at the bottom of the table makes it clear that it's not that simple - the Latvian Wizard Alexei Shirov will definitely not enter the stage of the Savoy Baur en Ville just to be the sacrificial lamb. I wouldn't be surprised if things turn out quite differently in the end...and I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend of world class chess!

Overall ranking according to percentages:

#PlayerTotalPercentage
1 Nakamura 92/169 54,4%
2 Aronian 125/238 52,5%
3 Anand 194,5/377 51,6%
4 Kramnik 192,5/381 50,5%
5 Giri 48/103 46,6%
6 Shirov 79/219 36,1%

In order to further promote the new time control suggested by Mainsponsor Oleg Skvortsov, the well known Grandmasters Boris Gelfand (Vice World Champion 2012) and Alexander Morozevich (Runner-up of the SG Zurich Jubilee-Open 2009) will compete in a two-round match on Saturday, February 13th at the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville. This match will take place simultaneously to the first two rounds of the main event (3pm & 6pm) in the Festsaal.

Zurich Chess Challenge 2016: promotion of a new time control

From 12 to 15 February 2016 the world chess elite will arrive again in Zurich for the fifth edition of the Zurich Chess Challenge at the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville.

The oldest chess club in the world and its honorable member Oleg Skvortsov suggest a most important innovation for the future of new classical chess with a new time control of 40 minutes per game with additional 10 seconds for each move. We think that in the future classical chess could pass to 1 hour control for each player. We have come to the conclusion that the game needs to become faster. We preserve the Zurich system of point control but for another format. There are 2 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw in new classical chess and 1 point for a victory and 0.5 points for a draw in a blitz. All games of our tournament will be commented live and broadcast worldwide live via Internet on www.zurich-cc.com.

Participants: Viswanathan Anand (India), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Alexei Shirov (Latvia).

Schedule: Friday, February 12th, 6 p.m. Opening Ceremony with a concert of the world renowned cellist Boris Andrianov (the first russian cellist to become a laureate at the 6th international Rostopovich competition in Paris). Also invited is the russian classical guitarist Dimitry Illarionov and one of the most bright violinists Alena Baeva. A blitz tournament (not counted) will then determine the colors distribution of the new classical games. Saturday, February 13th, 3 pm first round, 6 pm second round. Sunday, February 14th, 3 pm third round, 6 pm. fourth round. Monday February 15th, 3 pm. fifth round, 6 pm. blitz tournament with inverted colors of the new classical games, 8 pm. Closing Ceremony. Spectators are welcome, entry free.

Sponsors:  Zurich Chess Club (founded 1809), Savoy Chess Corner, "IGC International Gemological Laboratories" (this is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. IGC is the Russsian branch of GCI - a group of gemological laboratories worldwide).

Organisation: Zurich Chess Club

Contact: [email protected]