Zurich Rd4: Anand topples Nakamura, leads!

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/17/2015 – Viswanathan Anand is here to show that he can still win tournaments! After a very bad Baden-Baden he is now leading the Zurich Chess Challenge with half a point over Hikaru Nakamura, who he defeated today in the same variation he used to beat Magnus Carlsen in last year's World Championship Match. With two draws on the other boards the Indian is comfortably in first place.

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Round Four

Round 04 - February 17, 2015, 15:00
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Anand, Viswanathan 2797
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Aronian, Levon 2777
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2811

Indian Chess journalist Vijay Kumar brings us a glimpse of the events in Zurich, a small tour of the town and footage from round four:

Vijay Kumar reporting live from Zurich to his audience of, literally, millions of people

Kramnik, Vladimir ½-½ Karjakin, Sergey
A rather odd opening choice from Kramnik, as after a very, very unusual transposition the players reached a variation of the 3.g3 Paulsen Sicilian, one in which Black was up a tempo as he did not have to waste time going e7-e6 and only then e6-e5.

Somehow Kramnik's four draws are good enough for clear third

Black did not experience any serious difficulties from the opening. He was able to equalize comfortably with his break on d5, and even though White had aggressively expanded on the kingside his attack there was halted. Kramnik had to be careful not to over-extend his position as his king did not have the pawn cover to protect him anymore.

Sergey Karjakin will finish his classical portion with white against the current leader

After a series of trades down the e-file and the simplification of most of the queenside the players reached time control. Black was active, but he had no targets while White's king was too weak for his pieces to leave him undefended. Since neither side could make progress the draw was agreed.

Anand, Viswanathan 1-0 Nakamura, Hikaru
The same battleground in which Anand obtained his sole victory against Carlsen in last year's World Championship match. There was a significant twist to it as Nakamura chose to eliminate the f4 bishop as soon as possible, but the ideas of the position were similar: White's space advantage guaranteed him good chances on the queenside, While Black hoped to hold down the position on that flank, not having to worry with the locked up kingside and center.

Hikaru Nakamura dips slightly below 2800 with this loss

Nakamura might have played too passively today. His decision to trade the knights on e5 and pull back with the bishop to g7 left him basically down a piece in the important queenside battle. Anand took full advantage of the situation, penetrating first with his major pieces and then bringing his knight to finish off the attack. Nakamura tried to lash out in the kingside with g5, but was quickly stopped by a nice sequence by Anand, forcing the American to close down the kingside again! With that battleground closed the immense pressure from White's pieces on the queenside proved too much; Nakamura's position simply collapsed.

Viswanathan Anand goes into the last day of classical chess with a half point lead

[Event "4th Zurich CC Classical"] [Site "Zurich SUI"] [Date "2015.02.17"] [Round "4"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Nakamura, Hi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2797"] [BlackElo "2776"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2015.02.14"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 Nh5 (7... c6 {was Carlsen's choice last year.}) 8. Bd3 Nxf4 9. exf4 b6 10. b4 a5 11. a3 c6 12. O-O Qc7 13. g3 Ba6 14. Re1 Bf6 15. Kg2 {Even though this move is new, it probably doesn't change the position much. The move Ne5 has been seen more than a few times.} Bxd3 (15... bxc5 $6 16. bxc5 Nxc5 {These kinds of tactics are always up in the air, but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily good. } 17. dxc5 Bxc3 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 (18... Kxh7 19. Qc2+ Kg8 20. Qxc3 {is simply bad for Black. White's knight on e5 or d4 will dominate the position, attacking c6, while the remaining bishop for Black is completely useless. On top of that Black's king is somewhat weak.}) 19. Bc2 {Now Black has a choiec of which rook to take, and he can even do that on a later move, but his weak king position and useless remaining bishop should be cause for alarm. Only White can play for the advantage from here, and in many cases Black is simply getting mated.}) 16. Qxd3 Rfb8 17. h4 Qa7 18. Ne2 g6 19. Rab1 axb4 20. axb4 {The control of the a-file from Black is traditional in this variation. White is trying to open lines on the c and b files, hopefully getting a passed pawn, and has no time to deal with the a-file yet. If Black closes down the position with b5, then things might change.} Qa2 (20... b5 21. h5 {is uncomfortable. Black has to retain this balance of keeping his options open on the queenside to counterattack an incoming kingside intiative.}) 21. Rec1 (21. b5 Rc8 $1 $11) 21... bxc5 {Somewhere around here Nakamura starts to go wrong. With a quick analysis delivered within the hour on chessbase.com it is not easy to see what on earth he should have done different. White's pressure doesn't seem like it is anything special just yet, but somehow it grows out of proportion very quickly.} 22. bxc5 h5 (22... Ra3 $5 {was perhaps better, but also here after} 23. Qd1 $1 {White seems to be a little better, threatening Ne5 type of ideas.}) 23. Ne5 Nxe5 24. fxe5 Bg7 $2 {This however is quite serious. Nakamura underestimates the invasion to b6.} (24... Bd8 $14) 25. Rb6 $1 Rc8 (25... Rxb6 26. cxb6 {is not playable, the b-pawn survives in every variation and creates enormous problems.}) 26. Nc3 Qa7 27. Rcb1 {White's progress is obvious. He is targetting the weak c6 pawn and his knight is now coming into play.} Qd7 28. R1b4 Bh6 29. Na4 Qd8 30. Ra6 Kg7 31. Rb7 Rxa6 32. Qxa6 g5 {There is no choice for Nakamura but to try to do something active, but it is too late.} 33. Qe2 $1 {This seems like a brilliant practical decision to me. Since Black cannot afford to lose the pawn on h5 as his kingside collapses, Anand forces the kingside to close down.} (33. hxg5 $2 Qxg5 $1 (33... Bxg5 34. f4 $18) 34. Rxf7+ Kxf7 35. Qxc8 Qf5 {is probably winning, but why allow so much counterplay?}) ( 33. Qa7 $5) 33... g4 34. Qa6 Qg8 (34... Rc7 {was more resilient, but this is just torture.}) 35. Nb6 Rf8 36. Nd7 Qh7 37. Nxf8 Qe4+ 38. Kh2 Kxf8 39. Rb8+ Kg7 40. Qc8 Kg6 41. Qh8 {A very nice performance from Anand, still showing that he is a dangerous rival to anyone.} 1-0

Aronian, Levon ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano
What a traditional battleground! The Lasker variation of the Queen's Gambit Decline has been around, well, since Lasker's time! The variations have received a complete re-do recently as White has found new ways of creating pressure, some of which involve very creative kingside attacks.

Both Aronian and Caruana have 1.5/4, which will be tallied as
three points since classical games count for double

Today’s game was much more positional. Aronian tried to prove that his queenside pressure was sufficient for the advantage, while Caruana turtled inside his solid pawn structure and hoped that his lack of weaknesses would allow him to have enough time to finish his development.

Even though these positions are always more pleasant for White, they are extremely difficult to crack. Aronian was unable to put real pressure on his opponent's position. After the Italian was able to exchange knights it was clear that White's edge had evaporated and the draw was agreed.

Caruana and Aronian casually discussing their game

Photos by Eteri Kublashvili

Replay Round Three Games

Classical Standings

Note: Games played in the Classical will count for double

Blitz Final Standings

Note: Blitz points do not count for the final tally

Schedule

With the blitz finished the pairings are as follows in the classical portion of the tournament, which starts tomorrow:

Round 01 - February 14, 2015, 15:00
Anand, Viswanathan 2797
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Aronian, Levon 2777
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Caruana, Fabiano 2811
0-1
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Round 02 - February 15, 2015, 15:00
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Karjakin, Sergey 2760
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2811
Anand, Viswanathan 2797
1-0
Aronian, Levon 2777
Round 03 - February 16, 2015, 15:00
Aronian, Levon 2777
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Caruana, Fabiano 2811
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan 2797
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
1-0
Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Round 04 - February 17, 2015, 15:00
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
½-½
Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Anand, Viswanathan 2797
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Aronian, Levon 2777
½-½
Caruana, Fabiano 2811
Round 05 - February 18, 2015, 15:00
Caruana, Fabiano 2811 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776 - Aronian, Levon 2777
Karjakin, Sergey 2760 - Anand, Viswanathan 2797

The Rapid portion will be on February 19th.

Schedule of Commentary on www.playchess.com

Date   English
13.02.2015 Blitz Daniel King
14.02.2015 Round 1 Oliver Reeh + Dorian Rogozenco
15.02.2015 Round 2 Mihail Marin
16.02.2015 Round 3 Daniel King
17.02.2015 Round 4 Daniel King
18.02.2015 Round 5 Mihail Marin
19.02.2015 Round 6 Daniel King

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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



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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brendan omalley brendan omalley 2/18/2015 02:32
Fantastic win by Anand, catching a red hot Nakamura. Seeing him play a game like this, against an excellent opponent, all the pre-WC talk speculating that Carlsen would try to stay away from Anand's kinds of positions makes sense. He can really tear the very best to shreds! That said, I hope Naka keeps improving. He plays some very interesting chess.
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