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Zurich Chess Challenge Round 1

  • SonofPearl
  • on 23.02.13 13:51.

Zurich Chess Challenge logo 2013.jpgThe pairings for the opening round of the Zurich Chess Challenge pitted Fabiano Caruana against Vishy Anand, and Vladimir Kramnik against Boris Gelfand.

Italian-American Caruana had already faced the world champion twice this month in Baden-Baden with neither man being able to land a decisive blow.  Anand once again chose the Sicilian Najdorf in response to Caruana's favourite 1.e4. but varied with 9...Nc6 to take the game down a different path.

Caruana burned up a lot of time trying to gain the upper hand, but by avoiding a repetition just before the time control at move 40 he lost a pawn, and then missed 42.Qf3 which would have levelled the material with no harm done.

Instead, Anand tried his best to make the most of the gift, but the exposed position of his King allowed enough counterplay for Caruana to hold the balance.

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Boris Gelfand was clearly surprised by Vladimir Kramnik's offbeat choice of opening and sank into deep thought for half an hour before making his fourth move! Kramnik pointed out in the post-match press conference that he had played the same set-up to win against Gawain Jones in round 8 of the London Chess Classic last year!

Kramnik achieved an advantage thanks to his better co-ordinated pieces, but precise defence from Gelfand ensured that all players scored half a point on the opening day.

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Vladimir Kramnik will have white again tomorrow against Vishy Anand, while Boris Gelfand will have the white pieces against Fabiano Caruana.  The pairings in full are:

Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 pairings.jpg

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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)

Sat Feb-23 15:00 Round 1
Sun Feb-24 15:00 Round 2
Mon Feb-25 15:00 Round 3
Tue Feb-26 Rest Day
Wed Feb-27 15:00 Round 4
Thu Feb-28 15:00 Round 5
Fri Mar-01 13:00 Round 6

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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.


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Games via TWIC.

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  • vor 20 Monate

    Davenik

    Certainly Kramnik and Gelfand would be restrained on showcasing there opening repertoire's, with the view of London looming on the horizon. Caruana is young and will be eager to find form. As for Anand, it is an opportunity to keep an eye on players he may be fighting against in the World Championship. All in all, I find it amusing that the perception for 3 out of the 4 players is to get 40 moves at all costs then draw, so they are not obligated to play a blitz game, as scheduled should games finish before 40 moves. Some games would have been agreed draws earlier, (eg Kramnik vs Anand Rd2), but for the notation of playing another game. Makes for very dull chess.

  • vor 20 Monate

    Brazda

    I do not feel the timing of the whole tournamnet perfect. Kramnik and Gelfand, focusing on London, obviously hold back all novelties before the Candidates' Tournament. Caruana is a shadow of himself (see TataSteel games). And Vishy is back to the grey zone, covering all his ideas, after his fireworks against Aronian.

  • vor 20 Monate

    thegrreatdon

    anand has got winning chance as he was position up and also caruana was down in time maybe caruana could blunder under time trouble so anand continue to play.

  • vor 20 Monate

    petererkkij

    Vishy on the comeback!!!

  • vor 20 Monate

    Davenik

    Remember Tata Steel earlier. Anand as black vs Aronian. Vishy is far from done.

  • vor 20 Monate

    Boka7

    Kramnik is the best.

  • vor 20 Monate

    Estragon

    As one who has also bemoaned Anand's poorer tournament performances since winning the title, I would like to note that he is still within 37 points of his lifetime peak of 2817 the last time he was #1 in the world.  That's not a huge difference, only barely of statistical significance. 

    He certainly remains in the handful of elite players, and should not be considered an underdog against Kramnik, Aronian, Radjabov, or Karjakin (the four just ahead of him).  Even Carlsen, who alone sets the standard now, has yet to definitively show he can beat Anand with the sort of consistency to claim superiority. 

    But this is a prime opportunity for him to follow up on Baden-Baden.  He (and also Caruana) can play without restraint, whereas Kramnik and Gelfand probably have some preparation they will not reveal before the Candidates' next month.  (Kramnik may be avoiding main lines altogether, but I can't say that for sure after a single game).

    Part of Anand's slight decline may be due to his family, it is quite natural to attend to your children in their youth, he worked hard to attain and defend the title, so it was the tournament play which suffered.  This year he has the opportunity to reasset himself as Champion in tournament play before the next title match.

  • vor 20 Monate

    sunandthreestars

    It is not because Anand doesn't win tournaments or as good as he is used to be, it is because I felt like he is playing too safe, he is hugging drawish opening and positions.

    He is the world champion and he should try harder than he does, fans expects it too, it is not only in sports of chess that the world champion is expected to demolish his opponents.

  • vor 20 Monate

    SJFG

    Just because someone isn't playing as good as they used to doesn't mean they should retire.  He is still one of the best players in the world.  Also, he might simply be "out of form".  Perhaps he can get "in form" soon.

    I like other super GMs better than Anand, but I don't understand all of the bashing I've seen.  Saying that a chess player like Anand, who is well over 500 points better than you, plays bad or should quit seems somewhat silly to me.

  • vor 20 Monate

    Abhishek2

    I agree, I'm not sure why he's still playing, if he loses the world champ title then he might quit. 

  • vor 20 Monate

    chandrashekar24

    vishy one of the finest player in the world!

  • vor 20 Monate

    chandrashekar24

    vishy different player!

  • vor 20 Monate

    abiogenesis23

    I wonder how Kramnik will open against Vishy tomorrow.  

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