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World Champion Magnus Carlsen is the winner of the «Zurich Chess Challenge 2014»

Rapid Tournament

Befitting his status as a World Champion, Magnus Carlsen won on Tuesday the «Zurich Chess Challenge 2014». Though he lost against Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana in the closing Rapid Tournament, he was even able to afford an easy draw in the last round against Viswanathan Anand who took 5th place. Because Levon Aronian lost to Hikaru Nakamura in round 4, he could not close in on Magnus Carlson and finished third, behind Fabiano Caruano, who scored also a total of 9 points. With 7½, Hikaru Nakamura finished 4th and missed due to his unfortunate loss to Magnus Carlsen a better result.  Boris Gelfand finished in sixth place with 4½ points.

 

Final Standings (Classic & Rapid Tournament)
Rank Name Pts. Elo
1 Magnus Carlsen 10 2872
2 Fabiano Caruana 9 2782
3 Levon Aronian 9 2812
4 Hikaru Nakamura 7½ 2789
5 Viswanathan Anand 5 2773
6 Boris Gelfand 2777

 

Picture by Maria Emelianova

Fabiano Caruana sole winner in round 5

Round 4: Three convincing wins

In round five, only one game was played beyond move 40. Against the Marshall-Gambit, Levon Aronian's home territory, the US-Italien Fabiano Caruana had a well defined plan up his sleeve. And Levon Aronian seems to have underestimated the danger of this plan. Caruana gave up his bishop pair in return to a pawn, installed his remaining black bishop ideally on d4 and increased steadily the pressure on the black position till Aronian had to resign.

In the game between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, already after move 18 there was a position on the board that neither side could win. So they played on till move 40 only to avoid the rapid game which would have been obligatory to play according to the rules of the «Zurich Chess Challenge 2014».

Boris Gelfand, with the black pieces, was well prepared against Hikaru Nakamura's 1. e2-e4. A draw by repetition on move 21 forced the two players into a rapid game, which was won by the Israeli.

With a 2-point lead over Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen has now the best chances to clinch victory in the «Zurich Chess Challenge 2014» in the Rapid Tournament of the last day on Tuesday.

 

Standings
Rank Name Pts. Elo
1 Magnus Carlsen 8 2872
2 Levon Aronian 6 2812
3 Fabiano Caruana 5 2782
4 Hikaru Nakamura 4 2789
5 Viswanathan Anand 4 2773
6 Boris Gelfand 3 2777

 

Picture by Maria Emelianova

Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Viswanathan Anand decide their games convincingly

Round 4: Three convincing wins

Leaving the playing hall in round three as the lucky winner, Magnus Carlsen won in round four convincingly against Fabiano Caruana. With an unexpected exchange sacrifice on move 22, the World Champion complicated matters and Fabiano Caruana could not always find the best answers.

Just one point behind the leader, Levon Aronian consolidated his second rank with a win against Hikaru Nakamura. He outplayed the US-American and improved his already impressive statistics against his opponent.

His first victory in the «Zurich Chess Challlenge 2014» scored Viswanathan Anand against Boris Gelfand. In a complex game he secured his win by a coldblooded counterattack against the Israeli challenger of his penultimate World Champion match.

On Monday, the last round in the classical tournament, Viswanathan Anand will get his first chance after Chennai to take revenge on Magnus Carlsen for the loss of his World Champion title.

 

Standings
Rank Name Pts. Elo
1 Magnus Carlsen 7 2872
2 Levon Aronian 6 2812
3 Hikaru Nakamura 3 2789
4 Fabiano Caruana 3 2782
5 Viswanathan Anand 3 2777
6 Boris Gelfand 2 2773

 

Picture by Maria Emelianova

Hikaru Nakamura misses a win and goes on to lose the game against Magnus Carlsen

Round 3: Drama in the game between Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen

With his victory over Hikaru Nakamura in the 3rd round of the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014, the Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen moved into the sole lead. But the 23-year old Magnus Carlsen was not entirely happy about his victory. The US-American Hikaru Nakamura missed in the highly tactical melee a subtle winning move and went on, after some more inaccurate moves, to even lose the game.

The decisive position after 36. ... Dg6, so the commentator Werner Hug, will find it's way into the books. And co-commentator Peter Leko added that the correct move 37. Df1 was not easy to find, even when a diagramm was pointing out that this was a winning position.

Viswanathan Anand earned his first point by a draw against Fabiano Caruana. They both didn't know exactly who of them had the better position and therefore a better chance for a win.

The first Rapid Game was played between Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand because they didn't reach move 40 in their game. The Armenian won this Show Game with the black pieces convincingly.

 

Standings
Rank Name Pts. Elo
1 Magnus Carlsen 5 2872
2 Levon Aronian 4 2812
3 Hikaru Nakamura 3 2789
4 Fabiano Caruana 3 2782
5 Boris Gelfand 2 2777
6 Viswanathan Anand 1 2773

 

Picture by Maria Emelianova

Levon Aronian on a par with Magnus Carlsen

Levon Aronian on a par with Magnus Carlsen

All thre games were very interesting, with a plethora of nuances and subtleties. Prominently among them the most anticipated game between Magnus Carlsen with the white pieces and Levon Aronian with the black pieces. The Armenian had to solve several tricky problems in order to avoid a lost position, but at the end he obtained the even more comfortable position to play.

Also a draw was the result between Boris Gelfand and Fabiano Caruana. This time, luck was on Boris Gelfand's side. After an oversight, which would have cost him a pawn, Fabiano Caruana returned the favor and missed his chance.

The second time in a row, Viswanathan Anand scored a loss, this time against Hikaru Nakamura. An optically good loking move of the ex world champion provoked Hikaru Nakamura to a strong piece sacrifice. At the end of the resulting complications the Indian cracked under the pressure and made a decisive mistake (31. Nge-Ne2).

Picture by Maria Emelianova

Round 1: Magnus Carlsen - A true World Champion

Magnus Carlsen - A true World Champion

Already the first round of the ZCC on Thursday lived up to the expectations. On all thre boards there were going on hard fought games, full of interesting ideas. And with Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian the first and second seeded on the FIDE rating list won their games with White according to their reputation.

Magnus Carlsen, the 23 year old Word Champion from Norway explained after his victory to several TV- and Internet companies that, after his long absence from chess, he needed to play several moves till he knew how to play chess again. But thereafter he succeded to overcome the high-quality defence of Boris Gelfand to obtain the full point.

Levon Aronian capitalized despite an inaccuracy in time trouble on his part on a mistake from Viswanathan Anand before move 40 and went on to win on the 73rd move.

The most unhappy of all of them was Fabiano Caruana. He missed an excellent opportunity against Hikaru Nakamura and was thereafter forced to defend tenasciously for a long time, before his compatriot acquiesced in a draw.

Picture by Maria Emelianova