Which was the best game of day two?

by Nisha Mohota
2/15/2016 – Six exciting games on the second day of the Zurich Chess Challenge 2016 – as reported in full yesterday evening. Today once again you have the chance to win a ChessBase DVD, signed by players immediately after the end of the round, by voting for the game you liked most. But you mustn't be influenced by super-cute little girls rooting for their papa. The polls will be available for the rest of the week.

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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 two

By Nisha Mohota

In our Day Two 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.

Round three

Hikaru Nakamura-Vladimir Kramnik (draw)
In an Anti-Berlin the position remained equal throughout the opening and the middlegame. Nakamura made a critical error on move 29, after which Kramnik won a pawn and was very close to winning. However, he let the win slip away on move 35, and Nakamura survived by sacrificing an exchange, reaching a knight plus three pawns versus rook plus two pawns ending, which was a draw. A marvelous escape by Nakamura!

Deep thought! This is what chess is all about, right?

Viswanathan Anand-Alexei Shirov (draw)
This was a thrilling game from start to end which kept the spectators on the edges of their seats. In a game starting as a Ruy Lopez, Shirov as Black did his trademark “fire on board” thing, sacrificing an early exchange for a lot of initiative. Anand’s position looked quite scary for some time, but he gave back the exchange and managed to defend the inferior position.

Anand trying to put out the fire Shirov had ignited

Levon Aronian-Anish Giri (draw)
In a Semi Slav, Aronian came up with the new idea of centralising his knights in the opening. The queens were soon exchanged with the Armenian having a very slight pull which was really not sufficient against the solid Giri. In a rook versus opposite bishop ending the peace treaty was soon signed.

Anish Giri, easily recognisable by the giant watch

Round four

Anish (right) in good spirits before the game – but the smile did not last long

Vladimir Kramnik-Anish Giri (1-0)
Kramnik’s win against Giri was a fantastic demonstration of developing pressure and squeezing the opponent move by move. From a slow Reti Opening Kramnik kept improving his position and on move 34 went for a wonderful central pawn break d5, after which he was clearly better. It was a model game to understand the power of a pin. However, Kramnik almost let victory slip when he allowed his opponent to unpin on move 40, but Giri’s blunder on move 42 allowed his opponent’s rook to seize the seventh rank with deadly consequences.

Rooting for Papa: Daria with her mother Marie Laure Kramnik

Waiting for Shirov – Levon Aronian gathering his thoughts

Alexei Shirov-Levon Aronian (0-1)
Aronian’s Berlin seemed like a perfect choice against a fierce attacker like Shirov, who continued to play in his usual style, trying to attack on the kingside. Aronian defended well, won a pawn and later proved that it was Shirov’s king which needed cover.

Hikaru Nakamura-Viswanathan Anand (draw)
Anand opted for the reversed Grunfeld a tempo down and showed good preparation, keeping pressure throughout the game. Once again in this tournament Anand showed no reluctance to play with doubled pawns! Nakamura escaped by sacrificing a pawn, reaching a rook and opposite bishop endgame, which has turned out to be the most common ending in this tournament!

Pictures by Nisha Mohota and Frederic Friedel for ChessBase

Replay all the games from rounds three and four

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Vote for the Game of Day two

This is the prize you can win if you participate in the poll for the best games of each day – a DVD produced for ChessBase by top players, signed immediately after the round.

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.

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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