Aronian & Carlsen Tie For First at Zurich Blitz

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 29.01.14, 15:08.

Wednesday evening Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen tied for first place at the short, opening blitz event of the Zurich Chess Challenge. In his first tournament since winning the world title, Norway's Carlsen made a rusty impression but eventually scored 3.0 points out of 5 games, just like Tata Steel winner Levon Aronian of Armenia.

It was the Tal Memorial in Moscow that introduced the idea, and a few tournaments are following suit: a blitz tournament instead of a drawing of lots to determine the color distribution for the main tournament. And so, with a number of distinguished guests watching in the ballroom of the Savoy, including chess legend Viktor Kortchnoi (82), the players played their moves: Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Viswanathan Anand (India), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Boris Gelfand (Israel).

The tournament started with a surprise, as the fresh World Champion immedialely lost his first game! (Apparently it's not just common to lose your first game after becoming IM or GM, but also after reaching the chess Olympus!) He was just outplayed as White against Caruana:

Gelfand won a good game with White against Nakamura, while Aronian beat Anand, who lost a piece early on:

The next round Anand survived a lost position and even won when both players had little time on the clock:

Nakamura won a nice game against Aronian and even checkmated his opponent:

After drawing with Gelfand in the second round, the turning point for Carlsen was his game against Aronian. The world champion was on the verge of defeat, but held the draw:

The next round Carlsen crushed his opponent of his world title match, Vishy Anand, in a mere 21 moves. The opening is typically something that Baadur Jobava or Richard Rapport would try in a real game! (Or maybe Carlsen will do that too, who knows...)

To the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), who travelled to Zurich to report on the tournament, Carlsen said about this game: “It was great! It was a real knockout, so it was fun.”

Before the last round, Nakamura and Aronian were leading the tournament with 2.5/4. The Armenian GM drew with Caruana, and Carlsen caught him by beating Nakamura concinvingly:

Afterwards Carlsen said to NRK: “I was probably rusty. I hardly ever played as badly as I did in the beginning.”

Zurich Chess Challenge Blitz 2014 | Final standings

# Name Rtg 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2872 ½ 1 0 1 ½ 3.0/5 7.25
2 Aronian,Levon 2812 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 3.0/5 6.75
3 Nakamura,Hikaru 2789 0 1 1 ½ 0 2.5/5 6.75
4 Caruana,Fabiano 2782 1 ½ 0 0 1 2.5/5 6.00
5 Anand,Viswanathan 2773 0 0 ½ 1 1 2.5/5 5.25
6 Gelfand,Boris 2777 ½ 0 1 0 0 1.5/5

These final standings have led to the following pairings (as was confirmed by Tarjei J. Svensen).

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 | Pairings

Round 1 30 January 15:00 CET Round 2 31 January 15:00 CET
Carlsen - Gelfand Gelfand - Caruana
Aronian - Anand Anand - Nakamura
Nakamura - Caruana Carlsen - Aronian
Round 3 1 February 15:00 CET Round 4 2 February 15:00 CET
Aronian - Gelfand Gelfand - Anand
Nakamura - Carlsen Carlsen - Caruana
Caruana - Anand Aronian - Nakamura
Round 5 3 February 13:00 CET
Nakamura - Gelfand
Caruana - Aronian
Anand - Carlsen

Tomorrow the real tournament starts. Five rounds of classical chess will be played from Thursday to Monday (30 January to 3 February), followed by a rapid tournament with reversed colors on the last day (4 February). You can follow the live games here on the official website. 

14204 Aufrufe 27 Kommentare
5 Stimmen


  • vor 3 Jahre


    i enjoyed watching their moves,, really amazing. in fact i copied  every URL here in my homepage lol,,, this is not the battle of originality (because given they have their own unique tactical patterns), but the battles of Grandmasters. Win or Loss thats the concept here :) Go Carlsen! u r on the top!!!! 7.25pts. good job. Have a good rest idol lol :) Keep winning and finish this tournament in an devastating moves. crushed them out of your way to top! lol.... AND GOOD LUCK EVERYONE lol :)

  • vor 3 Jahre


    I have to wonder what the time controls are for the blitz play - anybody know?

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Any idea what is the prize money?

  • vor 3 Jahre


    How on earth did Nakamura checkmate Aronian? I always considered it rare for a top flight game to end in mate, although it was a Blitz game...

  • vor 3 Jahre


    well remeber this is blitz, so it won't mean anything in classical. Example Gelfand could win, though he lost the blitz.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Loved this! A few surprise results too! I'm still backing Aronian to win the classical though.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Go Lev! 1-0 against Anand today! 3,5/5 for the whole tournament!

  • vor 3 Jahre



  • vor 3 Jahre


    BTW, I propose to call that opening from Carlsen-Anand the Magnus attack or similar :)

  • vor 3 Jahre


  • vor 3 Jahre


    حقا ابطال نقلات لاتخطر فى بال احد متل نقلات الكسندر اليخين السحريه

  • vor 3 Jahre


    lol @ magnus copying rich's openings

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Going to be a great tournament...5 rounds of the highest level of chess.

    and the Swiss really know how to organize to excellence.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Tax very good

  • vor 3 Jahre


    It's a bit funny that all the reports from the blitz tournament point out that Carlsen was rusty, and still he won what is the strongest tournament to date with regards to average rating (even if it was "only" blitz). His first three games were far from good but the last two looked much better.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    This is an epic tournament, must be very thrilling , 5 rounds , a slip will do everything , Hope , Levon will show his best chess. Carlsen and Aronian must be favourites I guess.

  • vor 3 Jahre


  • vor 3 Jahre


    Glad to see Naka doing pretty well :)

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Caruana beats Carlsen again, Carlsen beats Nakamura again, Nakamura beats Caruana again. It's interesting how even the best have opponents they're "weak" and "strong" against.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    First time for Magnus as a world champhion to follow the tournament,very split decision, Magnus just won tiebreak from Levon Aronian,hope Levon can sleep in his house when arrives home. Great tournament even though no Kramnik.

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