Aronian leads by 1½ points in World Blitz

11/17/2010 – Levon Aronian started the second day with a loss and a draw. After that came seven wins, two draws and a loss, to put him way ahead on the scoresheet. But two losses in the final rounds, one against his closest rival Magnus Carlsen, brought the Armenian uberflieger crashing down to earth – still a point and a half ahead of the field! You can watch the action in five hours of streaming video.

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The World Blitz Championship is being held from 16 to 18 November at the GUM Department Store on Red Square in Moscow. It is a double round robin with twenty players, eight of whom are participants of the Tal Memorial, with others who qualified from the 2010 Aeroflot tournament and seeded players. Starting time is 15:00h local (= 13:00h CET; 07:00 a.m. NY), the rate of play three minutes for all the moves plus a two second increment per move. There is live game coverage and video on the official site.

Second day: Aronian takes the lead

Levon Aronian, Armenian uberflieger [from the German "Überflieger", high-flyer, as in zugzwang, zeitnot and schadenfreude], started the second day with a loss to Vladimir Kramnik, and then a draw to Maxim Vachier-Lagrave. After that came seven wins, two draws and a loss, to put him way ahead on the scoresheet. But two losses in the final rounds, against his closest rival Magnus Carlsen and against Rauf Mamedov brought Levon crashing down to earth – still a point and a half ahead of the field!

Magnus Carlsen started with a win (against Mamedyarov) and then two losses (to Savchenko and Eljanov) and had just 3½ points from the first nine games of the day. After that he picked up three wins – against Aronian and the two rival "kids" Vachier and Caruana – to finish in second place with 17/28 points. That's a full point ahead of the rest of the field. In his chess blog Magnus wrote: "My head more or less went on strike today. A head functioning at half speed doesn’t work too well in a blitz tournament. Oddly several of the other players with plus scores from day one seemed to play below par as well, and I managed to stay in contention for tournament victory despite a poor 7/14 and 50% score. Looking forward to an exiting finish."

Teimour Radjabov started with two wins, against Eljanov and Grischuk, and scored a total of eight points from 14 games, which included a 20th round black win against Aronian and a 27th round win over Kramnik. He shared equal 3-5 with 16.0/28 points.

Ian Nepomniachtchi, just twenty years old, started with two wins, beat amongst others Kramnik, Svidler, Mamedyarov and scored 8½/14 ton land on the 3-5th berth.

Vladimir Kramnik started with two wins, against Aronian and Mamedov and had 4½ out of the first five games. Then came two losses (to Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura) and later on three more to Karjakin, Svidler and Radjabov. But a final round win against Mamedyarov kept him within striking distance of the leaders.

Hikaru Nakamura, the secret favourite with a disappointing start yesterday, scored one point in the first three games, but then found his pace and took full points from Magnus Carlsen (sweet revenge for the round one game), Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Eljanov to climb to place six on the table.

Boris Gelfand started with an incredible 1.0 points from the first seven games on day two, but then won an even more incredible 6½ from the next seven. Did anyone spot what he took or did after the first half of play?

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was doing okay, keeping an eye on the leaders with 4½ points in the first eight games, but then suffered a premium train wreck with six consecutive losses to descend from place three to place eight. Wonder what he did after round 22...

Standings after the second third (28 games)

#
Name
Fed.
rtng
pts.
wins
S.B.
1 Aronian, Levon ARM 2801
18.5
15
244.75
2 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2802
17.0
14
234.25
3 Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2744
16.0
11
223.50
4 Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2720
16.0
12
212.75
5 Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2791
16.0
13
222.25
6 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2741
15.5
12
220.75
7 Gelfand, Boris ISR 2741
15.5
13
211.50
8 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2763
14.0
12
196.50
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2703
14.0
9
201.50
10 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 2771
14.0
9
186.00
11 Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2742
14.0
12
187.50
12 Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2760
13.5
9
196.75
13 Savchenko, Boris RUS 2632
13.0
12
179.25
14 Svidler, Peter RUS 2722
13.0
8
175.00
15 Movsesian, Sergei SVK 2721
12.5
11
164.00
16 Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2709
12.0
11
160.25
17 Grachev, Boris RUS 2654
12.0
7
169.50
18 Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR 2744
11.5
7
157.25
19 Mamedov, Rauf AZE 2660
11.0
8
149.50
20 Andreikin, Dmitry RUS 2683
11.0
7
144.75

Streaming video coverage

If you feel like it you can follow the entire action of the round, from 14:55 p.m. to 19:43 p.m. – you are right, almost five hours of streaming video coverage – in this service provided by the organisers. Note that there is a maximize button which you can use for a spectacular view on a high-res monitor. Get beer and pretzels. And learn Russian!


Links

The games were broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


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