Which was the best game of day one?

by Nisha Mohota
2/14/2016 – There were six games in the new classical two-hour format, and a two-game exhibition match on the side. Following our full report from day one of the Zurich Chess Challenge 2016 we ask you to tell us which of the eight games you considered the best. Here's your chance to win a ChessBase DVD signed by the author himself, immediately after the end of the round. Go for it!

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From 12 to 15 February 2016 world chess elite players will be in Zurich, for the fifth edition of the Zurich Chess Challenge at the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville. It is organized by the oldest chess club in the world, the Schachgesellschaft Zürich, and sponsored by Oleg Skvortsov, owner of the International Gemological Laboratories in Moscow, who is experimenting with a new classical time control: 40 minutes per game with a 10 second increment for each move. In addition an exhibition match with the new time controls between Boris Gelfand and Alexander Morozevich was played on the first day.

5th Zurich Chess Challenge 2016 – Best game of day one

By Nisha Mohota

In our Day One poll we ask you which game of the first two rounds do you consider the best. Before we get to it we bring you a short, as far as possible neutral, description of the games in question. Of course you can play through them and study the analysis and commentary in the extensive report posted by GM Alejandro Ramirez soon after the rounds had ended.

The playing hall on the first day of the Zurich Chess Challenge

Round One

Alexey Shirov-Vladimir Kramnik (draw)
Kramnik’s Berlin continued to be his loyal friend as he drew comfortably against Shirov with black. After the regular exchange of pieces an opposite coloured bishop ending arose that was clearly drawn.

Vladimir Kramnik drew both his games on the first day

Hikaru Nakamura-Anish Giri (draw)
Giri had the upper hand in the opening and the middlegame, but missed a computer like win on move 25 against the recent Gibraltar champion, Nakamura.

Yannick Pelletier discussing the game with Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura in the press conference

Viswanathan Anand-Levon Aronian (1-0)
Anand started the event with a bang by crushing Aronian in just 19 moves after the latter blundered on move 14 in a worse position. Lev resigned when he was threatened with mate.

Anand chatting with the always charming Judit Polgar

Round two

Vladimir Kramnik-Levon Aronian (draw)
Kramnik went for an interesting exchange sacrifice in the opening, and although the position was quite imbalanced for a major part of the game, it petered out into an opposite coloured bishop ending where Kramnik’s extra pawn was insufficient to win.

Deep thought: the second round game between (read the cards)

Anish Giri-Viswanathan Anand (0-1)
Anand seems like specialising in doubled pawns along the e-file and the semi open f-file in this tournament, as this method once again proved useful for him. Giri got too ambitious on the kingside and Anand was quick to rip open White’s king, winning in 45 moves.

Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand in full action

Alexei Shirov-Hikaru Nakamura (0-1)
Nakamura surprised Shirov by playing the French Defense and got a comfortable position out of the opening. In a rather difficult position, Shirov sacrificed an exchange, which did not give him any compensation and he resigned soon after.

Alexei Shirov in a tough struggle against Hikaru Nakamura

Exhibition match

Alexander Morozevich-Boris Gelfand (draw)
Gelfand adopted the Grunfeld in the first game with the black pieces. Morozevich got the more comfortable game after he introduced an interesting idea with h3 and g4 and got a passed d-pawn on the seventh rank. But Gelfand managed to neutralize the initiative on move 26 after which the game was soon drawn.

Boris Gelfand vs Alexander Morozevich in their second game

Boris Gelfand-Alexander Morozevich (1-0)
In a Bogo-Indian Gelfand won a pawn on move 32 and got the better position with the white pieces. However, after some inaccuracies by him, Morozevich seemed to be back in the game and was very close to maintaining the balance by move 43. A costly blunder on move 44, overlooking an important pawn move, cost Morozevich the game and he found himself in a mating net. Gelfand won the game and the match.

Boris Gelfand explaining his win to commentators Yannick Pelletier and Werner Hug

Pictures by Frederic Friedel for ChessBase

Replay all the games from rounds one and two

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Vote for the Game of Day One

This is the prize you can win if you participate in the poll for round one in Zurich – a DVD produced for ChessBase by five times World Champion Viswanathan Anand as part of his series "My Career". It was signed by Anand immediately after the round.

This very entertaining and instructive DVD traces his career starting in 2000, when he became FIDE World Champion, and it ends with his victory in the 2007 World Championship in Mexico.

Anand not only analyses his best games, but casts a look back at the World Championshp in Delhi/Teheran in 2000 and the years before, he discusses the situation in the Bundesliga and Kasparov's retirement from tournament chess. 4:28 hours playing time.

In order to vote for the game of the day and possibly win the above prize you need to have a ChessBase Account. You can vote only once, until the end of the event. The prize will be awarded by randomly selecting a reader who has participated. Whether this reader voted for the game that ultimately won is irrelevant, so you can vote for the game you personally liked the best – and not for the one you think most people will choose.

You are welcome to post your opinion in the feedback section at the bottom of this page.



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, Zurich 2016

Nisha Mohota became India’s youngest WIM in 1995 and India’s fourth WGM in 2003. Since February 2011 she has been a full IM – her highest ever Elo rating was 2416. She has represented India in 25 countries, playing for India in the 2004, 2008 and 2010 Olympiads. Her first love, chess, helps her continue her other passion: writing, photography and travelling.
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yogeshkumkar yogeshkumkar 2/15/2016 08:21
psamant psamant 2/15/2016 08:27
I liked Giri - Anand more. Anand was black here and still employed the motif from the King's gambit! He opened up the f file and then... didn't attack at once. He occupied the file with two major pieces (Q and R and then with two Rooks) while simultaneously blockading Giri's pawns. He kept control throughout the game. I really liked this game the most.
Bellona Tribe Bellona Tribe 2/15/2016 03:11
Naka beating Shirov would be my game of the day.
Queenslander Queenslander 2/14/2016 09:34
Easy, Anand-Aronian
tom fox tom fox 2/14/2016 08:41
It is a mistake to call this time control the 'new classical' - it is in fact the new rapid
kumar437 kumar437 2/14/2016 07:50
19 moves......tells the story in this level of chess...
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 2/14/2016 07:30
shirov's sacrifice reminded me of vishy's sacrificing his rook in the final game he lost against carlsen in the II WCC...(in both cases, i'm afraid the exchange was sacrificed unnecessarily!)
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 2/14/2016 07:28
in my opinion....giri--anand is the best ... for it went full length ....giri's ambitious play was punished by vishy!
woodshifter2016 woodshifter2016 2/14/2016 07:28

Giri - Anand gets my vote
lbtr74aao lbtr74aao 2/14/2016 07:19
the match Giri - Anand is more interesting than Anand - Aronian cause Aronian blundered with Kh7 ? Aronian dont find any conter attack or plan to control annads piece -

The quality game of giri seems a little better - its on Razor edge!
MHBChessFan MHBChessFan 2/14/2016 06:46
Voting for the best game is a far better experiment than this "new classical" (read "rapid") time control. I vote for voting (!) games in slow-paced tournaments, and eventually an analysis by Daniel King for the game of the day who had the most votes.

With the Zurich time-control, one can alas expect a lot of miniatures by the way.
Balthus Balthus 2/14/2016 06:03
mcarpinetti, I second that!
KevinC KevinC 2/14/2016 05:38
Giri-Anand easily. It was an excellent positional game ending with some nice tactics. The Anand-Aronian was just too much cooperation by Aronian. He played horribly, so by definition, it was not a good game.
geeker geeker 2/14/2016 05:35
Have to say Anand-Aronian. How many miniatures does one find at this level?
olann olann 2/14/2016 05:09
Every games lost by Giri are great ! (because so rare !!)... ;-) So, Anand-Giri for me !
SkipsPa SkipsPa 2/14/2016 04:52
Anand -Aronian for me too. It's good to see different tries against the Berlin.
Tanmay Srinath Tanmay Srinath 2/14/2016 04:45
Giri vs Anand for me as Vishy accurately demonstrated how to punish players who overextend
Offramp Offramp 2/14/2016 04:27
The idea of voting is very good and I hope you try it again.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 2/14/2016 04:25
Why vote on obvious things?
aggelos3000 aggelos3000 2/14/2016 04:18
Anand-Aronian was the best!
vinniethepooh vinniethepooh 2/14/2016 04:10
Anand-Aronian for sure!
mcarpinetti mcarpinetti 2/14/2016 02:56
Nakamura playing a "slow paced defense" as the French (which he almost never does) and beating an attacking player as Shirov is, because of the whole context, the game of the day. Anand's attacking games are great, but look too "obvious", specially his Nh6 sacrifice against Aronian, which is kind of tematic.