Zurich 04: Musical Inspiration!

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/2/2014 – The Zurich Chess Challenge had the visit of Charles Aznavour, one of the most famous and enduring singers of the world. His music inspired the players as it was a beautiful bloodbath on the board. Aronian played like a machine against Nakamura, Carlsen's creative sacrifice vanquished Caruana and Anand won a complex game against Gelfand. Annotations of inspired games!

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The «Zurich Chess Challenge 2014» will be the first encounter between the newly crowned World Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, and the former title holder, India’s Viswanathan Anand after their recent match in Chennai. From Wednesday, 29 January to Tuesday, 4 February 2014, they will compete in the 3rd Zurich Chess Challenge along with four other great chess stars: Levon Aronian (Armenia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Fabiano Caruana (Italy) and Boris Gelfand (Israel).

Charles Aznavour

The guest of honor today in Zurich was the legendary Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian, better known by his stage name Charles Aznavour. French and Armenian singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Besides being one of France's most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known singers in the world. Aznavour is known for his unique tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes.

Levon Aronian was certainly happy to meet one of his idols

Charles Aznavour has been described as "France's Frank Sinatra"

Sofia Leko, Peter Leko's wife, wasted no time in getting an autograph

This guy is 89?! no way!

Charles Aznavour delivering his signature song "She" in his prime...

...and still quite stunning in his eighties

He has appeared in more than sixty movies, composed about a thousand songs (including at least 150 in English, 100 in Italian, 70 in Spanish, and 50 in German, and sold well over 100 million records. In 1998, Aznavour was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. He was recognized as the century's outstanding performer, with nearly 18% of the total vote, edging out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. He has sung for presidents, popes and royalty, as well as at humanitarian events, and is the founder of the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia along with his long-time friend impresario Levon Sayan. In 2009, he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia's permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva. He started his new Aznavour en Toute Intimité tour in 2011.

Round Four

Round 4 – February 02, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2777
0-1
Anand, Vishy 2773
Carlsen, Magnus 2872
1-0
Caruana, Fabiano 2782
Aronian, Levon 2812
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789

Nakamura fell prey to excellent play from Aronian

Aronian, pictured with Oleg and Natasha Skvortsov, was certainly inspired today

Aronian's game today was very clean. He played a good opening, obtained a comfortable advantage and never let the American super star off the hook.

[Event "Zurich Chess Challenge"] [Site "Zürich"] [Date "2014.02.02"] [Round "4"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E63"] [WhiteElo "2812"] [BlackElo "2789"] [Annotator "Chirila Cristian"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2014.01.30"] [EventCountry "SUI"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] {What a round! Three decisive results and a very tough choice for me. I decided to focus on this game because of last round's result, I was way too curious to see how Nakamura will deal with his psych crushing loss. His calm tweets in Italian, as well as his good mood before today's round were a sign of a cured mind, but was that the whole truth?} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 d6 {Nakamura goes for his favorite KID, I don't think Aronian had a hard time preparing for this round, Naka's love for risky and complicated positions is well known} 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. d4 a6 (7... Rb8 8. Bf4 a6 9. Rc1 h6 10. b3 g5 11. d5 gxf4 12. dxc6 fxg3 13. hxg3 b5 {With a good game for black in Carlsen- Nakamura Sinquefield 2013}) 8. h3 Rb8 9. e4 b5 10. d5 {A rare move, but again the top scoring pick in this position, Aronian's theoretical preparation is the best in the world by a large margin and we can see why in this game} (10. e5 Nd7 11. e6 (11. cxb5 axb5 12. Ng5 dxe5 13. Bxc6 exd4 14. Nxb5 Rb6 15. Na7 Ra6 16. Nxc8 Rxc6 $13) 11... fxe6 12. d5 Nce5 13. Nd4 Nb6 14. cxb5 Nxd5 {with a very complicated battle, the type of position in which Hikaru feels like a fish in the water}) 10... b4 (10... Na5 11. cxb5 axb5 12. b4 Nc4 13. Nd4 Bd7 14. a4 bxa4 15. b5 Nb6 16. Qd3 Ra8 17. Nc6 Bxc6 18. bxc6 Qc8 19. Ra3 $1 $146 (19. Be3 {was seen in Matlakov, M- Ding, L 2012, 0-1}) 19... Qa6 20. Nb5 Rab8 21. Nxc7 Qxd3 22. Rxd3 Rfc8 23. Na6 Ra8 24. Nb4 $14) 11. Ne2 Na5 12. Qc2 c6 (12... c5 $5 13. Nf4 Nd7 14. Re1 b3 15. Qd3 bxa2 16. Rxa2 Nb3 $36) 13. Nfd4 cxd5 (13... c5 14. Nb3 Nxb3 15. axb3 e6 {Would have been an interesting alternative, but Hikaru will almost always chose an open center}) 14. exd5 Qc7 $6 {In my opinion this move only helps white develop easier, necesarry would have been} (14... e5 15. dxe6 fxe6 16. b3 e5 $132) 15. b3 e5 ( 15... Nd7 16. Bb2 Nc5 17. Nf4 Re8 18. Rfe1 $16 {White's position is very pleasant, black's knights are stepping on each other's feet, or bucks...}) 16. dxe6 fxe6 17. a3 bxa3 18. Bd2 Nb7 19. Rxa3 e5 20. Nc6 $16 {White already has a crushing advantage, all his pieces are well coordinated while black's pieces are moving back and forth in an attempt to find theor optimal spot} Ra8 (20... Bf5 21. Qa2 Ra8 22. Nb4 a5 {transposes}) 21. Nb4 a5 22. Qa2 Bf5 (22... Be6 { controlling the d5 square is of imperial importance} 23. Nd5 Nxd5 24. cxd5 Bf5 25. b4 h5 26. bxa5 Nc5 {white is in control but the game is not done yet, the bishop on g2 is out of game and if black will be able control the "a" pawn the tides can easily change}) 23. Nd5 Nxd5 24. Bxd5+ Kh8 25. b4 Bxh3 26. Rb1 Bf5 27. Rb2 Bd7 28. bxa5 Bc6 29. Nc3 Nc5 30. Be3 e4 31. a6 {White is simply playing the best moves, black's position is getting worse and worse with every move} Nd3 (31... Rxa6 32. Rxa6 Nxa6 33. Qxa6 Bxc3 34. Rc2 Bxd5 35. cxd5 Qg7 36. Qxd6 $16) 32. Rb7 Qc8 (32... Bxb7 {would have been a more resilient defense, the position remains extremely difficult though} 33. axb7 Rab8 34. Nb5 (34. Nxe4 $2 Nb4 $15) 34... Qd7 35. Bxe4 Nc5 36. Bd5 $16) 33. Nxe4 Bxd5 34. cxd5 Qg4 35. Rxd3 Qxe4 36. Rdb3 (36. Qb1 {would have been a stylish way to protect the d5 pawn} Rxa6 37. Rxg7 Kxg7 38. Qb7+ Rf7 39. Qxa6 $18) 36... Qxd5 37. Qe2 Qc6 38. a7 d5 39. Rxg7 $1 {the most precise} Kxg7 40. Bd4+ Kh6 41. Qe3+ Kh5 (41... g5 42. g4 Kg6 43. Rb7 $18) 42. g4+ Kh4 43. Qh6+ Kxg4 44. Qh3+ Kf4 45. Rf3+ { What a crushing performance from Aronian, it seems like Aronian is being motivated by Carlsen's performance and doesn't want to lose the battle without a fight. So far both title contenders are simply crushing their opposition and playing marvelous chess!} 1-0

Sofia Leko, Arianne Caoili and Peter Leko. Caoili also expressed her excitement at meeting one of the greatest musical legends alive.

Gelfand keeps having a rough time, first Wijk Aan Zee and now here

The game between Gelfand and Anand was quite interesting. The ex-World Champion provides a great example of transformation of advantages: where you give up something you hold in exchange for a different advantage, of a different nature. Gelfand had chances to equalize nonetheless but he misplayed near time control and Anand took all of his pawns.

[Event "Zurich Chess Challenge 2014"] [Site "Zurich SUI"] [Date "2014.02.02"] [Round "4"] [White "Gelfand, B."] [Black "Anand, V."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2777"] [BlackElo "2773"] [PlyCount "72"] [EventDate "2014.01.29"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4 5. Nc3 e6 6. h3 Bh5 {Anand keeps believing in this solid variation, and repeats it after using it against Caruana yesterday. To be fair his position did seem to be acceptable from the opening in that game.} 7. g4 Bg6 8. Nh4 {Capturing the bishop is usually the go-to way of obtaining a slight but stable advantage. The pair of bishops coupled with the extra space promises White long term prospects, but Black is relying on his solid structure and overall better dark-square control.} Bb4 9. Qb3 Qe7 10. Bd2 a5 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. cxd5 exd5 13. f3 $6 {This is possibly where Gelfand starts going wrong. Normally it's a good idea to take control of e4 by putting the structure in this way, but this allows a very quick a4-a3 and remember that Black has the better dark-square control...} a4 14. Qc2 a3 { The queenside is weakened.} 15. b3 Nbd7 16. O-O-O O-O {White's king is safer from a pawn storm because of his pawn shield, but the position is still double edged} 17. Kb1 Rfc8 18. h4 Nb6 19. g5 $6 (19. h5 $1 {seemed more direct and to thepoint. This would be a possible continuation:} gxh5 (19... g5 20. h6 g6 21. e4 $14) 20. g5 Nh7 21. g6 $1 Nf8 22. gxf7+ {with initiative.}) 19... Nh5 {With the kingside locked it's unclear what White is going to do. The knight being out of play is not a major concern in this position.} 20. Bh3 Re8 21. Rhe1 Rad8 22. Bg4 Qd6 23. Ne2 Bxd2 24. Qxd2 Nd7 25. Nf4 Nxf4 26. exf4 f5 $1 {Black forces White into an inferior pawn structure. Gelfand must hurry and prove activity before his position becomes weak and passive.} 27. gxf6 Nxf6 28. Re5 Nxg4 $1 {A transformation of advantages in its purest form! This is a veyr difficult move to play as it completely fixes White's structure, but Anand knows that the pawns can only advance so far because of White's king safety issues and his own passed pawn will give him counterplay.} 29. fxg4 Rxe5 30. fxe5 (30. dxe5 Qe7 {was double edged and it's hard to say who is better.}) 30... Qe7 31. Rh1 $6 (31. Rf1 $1 {was necessary to preserve the open file} Qxh4 32. Qf4 Qe7 $11 {and although Black is up a pawn it is not easily exploited.}) 31... Rf8 {The open file is of real importance, here Black already stands better because of it.} 32. h5 Qf7 33. h6 Qf3 $1 {Black isn't afraid of any ghosts created by the h-pawn, he knows his attack is faster.} 34. Re1 $6 { simply gifiting away a pawn.} gxh6 35. e6 Re8 36. g5 $2 Qf5+ {With two extra pawns and the weakness one e6 the game is an easy wrap. A deceptively simple game!} 0-1

With his face expression you wouldn't guess that this picture was taken when Caruana resigned, putting Carlsen at a full 95 points over third in the world - Kramnik

Carlsen played a beautiful game today against Caruana. A timely exchange sacrifice allowed him to obtain a passed pawn on the d-file which was protected by his bishop. This tied down Caruana's queen and rook and never allowed him any activity. Carlsen used his central pawns coupled with his queen to present problems to the enemy king which was stuck in the line of fire, and the pressure was too much for the Italian's position. Carlsen continues with demolishing results in the tournament.

Daniel King shows the highlights of round 4

Replay round four games

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Cristian Chirila - Guest Commentator

Former World u-16 Champion and currently a grandmaster finishing his studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, Cristian is an ambitious chess player. Find out more about Cristian, including his chess lesson services, biography and games here.

Maria Emelianova - Photographer

Maria Emelianova is 26 years old, born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Women FIDE Master, with a 2113 Elo rating. After finishing school Maria moved to Moscow to study at the university, so chess was forgotten for some time. She worked for about a year with Alexander Roshal in the chess magazine "64". Her carrier as a chess photographer started at the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. "It was just a hobby, but somehow became an interesting job," says Maria, who works with a Canon 1DX. "Now I am finishing my studies at two universities in Moscow, and am looking forward to a future in the big world of chess."

Schedule and Pairings

The event is a six player round robin, with a rate of play of 40 moves in 120 minutes, then 20 moves in 60 minutes and the rest of game in 15 minutes, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61. Special rule: in case of a draw before move 40, an additional rapid game will be played (which does not count for the overall result).

Wed. January 29: 19:00  Opening Ceremony & Blitz
Thu. January 30: 15:00  Round 1
Fri. January 31: 15:00  Round 2
Sat. February 01: 15:00  Round 3
Sun. February 02: 15:00  Round 4
Mon. February 03: 15:00  Round 5
Tue. February 04: 13:00  Rapid Tournament 19:00  Closing Ceremony
  • The blitz will be used to determine the colors
  • The classical time control gives two points to wins, one for draws and none for losses
  • The rapid time control gives one point to wins, half to draws and none for losses

The winner will be the one who scores the most points between the classical tournament and the rapid.

Schedule of Commentary

Date   English German
30.01.2014 Round 1 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
31.01.2014 Round 2 Daniel King Oliver Reeh
01.02.2014 Round 3 Alejandro Ramirez Klaus Bischoff
02.02.2014 Round 4 Daniel King Klaus Bischoff
03.02.2014 Round 5 Alejandro Ramirez Klaus Bischoff

Schedule and results

Round 1 – January 30, 15:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2872
1-0
Gelfand, Boris 2777
Aronian, Levon 2812
1-0
Anand, Vishy 2773
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2782
Round 2 – January 31, 15:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2872
½-½
Aronian, Levon 2812
Gelfand, Boris 2777
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2782
Anand, Vishy 2773
0-1
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
Round 3 – February 01, 15:00h
Caruana, Fabiano 2782
½-½
Anand, Vishy 2773
Aronian, Levon 2812
½-½
Gelfand, Boris 2777
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
0-1
Carlsen, Magnus 2872
Round 4 – February 02, 15:00h
Gelfand, Boris 2777
0-1
Anand, Vishy 2773
Carlsen, Magnus 2872
1-0
Caruana, Fabiano 2782
Aronian, Levon 2812
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
Round 5 – February 03, 15:00h
Carlsen, Magnus 2872   Anand, Vishy 2773
Caruana, Fabiano 2782   Aronian, Levon 2812
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789   Gelfand, Boris 2777

Rapid Schedule

Round 1
Gelfand, Boris 2777   Carlsen, Magnus 2872
Anand, Vishy 2773   Aronian, Levon 2812
Caruana, Fabiano 2782   Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
Round 2
Aronian, Levon 2812   Carlsen, Magnus 2872
Caruana, Fabiano 2782   Gelfand, Boris 2777
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789   Anand, Vishy 2773
Round 3
Anand, Vishy 2773   Caruana, Fabiano 2782
Gelfand, Boris 2777   Aronian, Levon 2812
Carlsen, Magnus 2872   Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
Round 4
Anand, Vishy 2773   Gelfand, Boris 2777
Caruana, Fabiano 2782   Carlsen, Magnus 2872
Nakamura, Hikaru 2789   Nakamura, Hikaru 2789
Round 5
Anand, Vishy 2773   Carlsen, Magnus 2872
Aronian, Levon 2812   Caruana, Fabiano 2782
Gelfand, Boris 2777   Nakamura, Hikaru 2789

Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


Topics Zurich 2014

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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BZH92 BZH92 5/22/2014 07:48
Happy birthday, M AZNAVOUR!(90)
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