March 01, 2013 18:12

Caruana wins Zurich Chess Challenge, Anand second

Fabiano Caruana won the Zurich Chess Challenge on Saturday, finishing a full point ahead of World Champion Vishy Anand. The Italian won his last round game against Boris Gelfand, who might have been able to draw a few moves before the end if he had taken with the h-pawn on g4. Vishy Anand finished on 50% as he beat Vladimir Kramnik in the last round; the Russian blundered material on move 21.

Showdown at the Paradeplatz! The Zurich Chess Challenge ended in a fantastic performance by the Italian youngstar. A draw would have been sufficient to win the tournament, but Fabiano wanted more! In a quiet Catalan, he maintained the two bishops and managed to win a pawn after Gelfand´s dubious 21…e5. In the resulting endgame, he kept the pressure high until black eventually caved in.

PGN string

(The Caruana-Gelfand press conference starts at 01:17:00)

The tournament winner, Fabiano Caruana, said:

The organisation was at a very high level. All games were very interesting, they had a lot of content. My result was maybe better than I played but I didn't make any huge mistakes.

Gelfand sad he had "warmed up" for the Candidates tournament in London, which starts in exactly two weeks.

This was a good lesson for me. I learnt a lot from these six games and I hope to do better in London.

Anand-Kramnik was a solid Berlin-Ruy Lopez. Vladimir Kramnik launched an usual pawn attack on the queenside. The position remained balanced until the Russian committed the blunder of the tournament. Instead, he could have drawn quite easily with 20…Nxh3! 21.gxh3 Qd7 and a perpetual. Vishy Anand obviously seized the opportunity and moved up to second place.

The Indian felt that Black's potential initiative on the kingside was so dangerous, that he didn't see a better move than 20.Rc6, even though it allows an immediate draw. He said:

I was really shocked when he went 21...Qb8.

PGN string

It was an eventful last round in this memorable tournament! Hope to see you next year!

Text by GM Yannick Pelletier, photos by Georg Kradolfer

Below is the video registration of the closing ceremony, which includes a small documentary about the 1953 Candidates Tournament in Zurich:

Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 | Results

Round 1 23.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 4 27.02.13 15:00 CET
Caruana ½-½ Anand   Anand 0-1 Caruana
Kramnik ½-½ Gelfand   Gelfand ½-½ Kramnik
Round 2 24.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 5 28.02.13 15:00 CET
Kramnik ½-½ Anand   Gelfand ½-½ Anand
Gelfand ½-½ Caruana   Kramnik ½-½ Caruana
Round 3 25.02.13 15:00 CET   Round 6 01.03.13 13:00 CET
Anand ½-½ Gelfand   Anand 1-0 Kramnik
Caruana ½-½ Kramnik   Caruana 1-0 Gelfand

Zurich Chess Challenge | Final standings



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


harami's picture

Congratulations to Fabiano Caruana for his win in the very strong Zurich tournament ahead of no less than 2 World Champions, and the latest Challenger.

Nice win by Anand against his predecessor in the Ruy Lopez Berlin, to get back to = score :)

RealityCheck's picture

Was it Regan that said to Gorbachev- "tear down this wall"? Referring to the Berlin Wall.

I think Vishy finished the job today. Well done.

chesshire cat's picture

Very impressive mr caruana. Now if you can just get a handle on that Norwegian lad..

Thomas Oliver's picture

I would say Caruana could already compete with Carlsen, both in head-to-head encounters and taking entire supertournaments. As he re-entered the top8, he might now get another chance at the Norwegian event? Nakamura will be kicked out and get a match against Dominguez for compensation :) or :( .

Casey Abell's picture

Actually, I'd like to see Nakamura and Caruana in the candidates instead of Svidler and Gelfand, but that ain't gonna happen.

I was also wrong on both games ending in draws today. Shows what I know.

redivivo's picture

Well that was an unexpected last round. Gelfand and Kramnik may not take this event the least seriously, but it's never good for the confidence to make mistakes and finish in the bottom of the table. I still don't agree about Kramnik showing excellent form in his games here, but was still surprised to see him lose so quickly against Anand. Their games are always prestigious and now Anand has 9-7 head to head in classical games after going 5-1 since 2008. Caruana was in a class of his own and won his minimatches against both title holder and challenger, in spite of having played non-stop the last months. After all an interesting tournament, with some fun games.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Kramnik showed creative chess in unfamiliar positions, if he does the same at the candidates event in familiar structures ... .

Somehow redivivo statistics are always selected to make Kramnik look bad: "5-1 for Anand since 2008" (actually it's even 6-1) includes 4-1 from their WCh match - Anand was obviously better at that occasion. Since then: In Wijk aan Zee 2010, Kramnik left a better overall impression (even if Anand won their direct game). In Bilbao 2010, Kramnik just needed and got draws against Anand to secure first place.

redivivo's picture

"Somehow redivivo statistics are always selected to make Kramnik look bad: "5-1 for Anand since 2008" (actually it's even 6-1) includes 4-1 from their WCh match"

It was 3-1 in wins in their match. If Kramnik "left a better overall impression" in Wijk 2010 is less relevant for their head to head score than the fact that he lost the game to Anand. The draws in Bilbao 2010 are also of little relevance in that respect, so it's 9-7 to Anand in all, 5-1 since 2008 and 6-2 the last decade.

Morley's picture

Kramnik had a pretty bad second half of the tournament. He played several nasty blunders in those three games. Hopefully London wasn't a fluke, and he gets back in form before the Candidates. This definitely is not the Kramnik people were saying was going to beat out Magnus next month.

Celso's picture

Maybe the toilet was in repair and out of order. Who knows...

VL's picture

Some of Toipalov fans still survive.

redivivo's picture

The only game of his last four against Gelfand that Caruana hasn't won was the one he drew with black here (after missing the winning 35. ... Bg4 line).

guncha's picture

Very entertaining tournament without outsiders, lots of classical battles which does not always end decisively.

columbo's picture

glad to see Caruana winning this event. I was watching his games the other day, not only in Zurich, his games in general. It's beautiful when you understand that he is hiding behind a FULL PAINTING. watch Caruana's games as a WHOLE, it is incredibly well knitted ...

Pal Gore's picture

Great tournament, and great comments. Why, as I scroll down to read the comments I often see on the right column 'Hotlist' : "FM Marc Lang sets new blindfold simul record of 46 boards", dated Monday, November 28, 2011"?? Do I have a browser setting to remedy this?

bronkenstein's picture

Nice achievement for Caru, +2 over the rest. Vlad and Gelfy left good impression in the first 5 rounds, and then... Especially Vlad´s ´experiment´ didn´t promise to end on such a low note, quite elementary blunder.

Vishy´s solo second is a successful continuation of his ´tournament recovery´, but let´s hope that his best results in this year are yet to come.

Anonymous's picture

Vlad told anand " you won't see me until we meet again ! " mark my words.

redivivo's picture

"Vishy´s solo second is a successful continuation of his ´tournament recovery´"

That depends on what expectations one is having, here he was a full point behind a Caruana that hasn't been in top form in his last tournaments. Not a bad result, but not amazing either considering that Gelfand and Kramnik have Candidates in two weeks and it only was the last round collapse of the latter that saved Anand from last place.

RealityCheck's picture

redivivo is, statistically speaking, one of the worlds 600+ millions chess players. He plays at least one serious game of schach annually.

trollaras's picture

Get Kasparov back! Those "world class" players don't worth a dime compared to him. Blunders, blunders, blunders...

columbo's picture

TROLL is your name ? fits your perfectly

noyb's picture

Pot-kettle columbo...

columbo's picture

need a spoon ?

JQ's picture

Kramnik made blunders in key positions in the last 2 games. He was actually playing good chess lately; getting good positions against top players. Maybe he got frustrated with getting no decisive results or he is still haunted by the beating he had with Anand.

bronkenstein's picture

Vlad can consider Zurich as semi-successful exercise in aggressive play, he clearly deviated - on purpose obviously - from his trademark style.

Upcoming Candidates will certainly tell us more about it, I expect him to mix ´Zurich approach´ with his standard one, the key thing being to judge well against whom/when he can gamble.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Already for a few years, Kramnik plays aggressive chess at least once in a while - not just what people may still consider his trademark positional style (the one he used from his first WCh match against Kasparov until his, at least for the time being, last one against Anand).

And in Zurich he also mixed different approaches: positional in his first two white games (and the third one against Caruana could have been quiet if he didn't get the chance for a reversed Benoni) and going for complications with black - not even sure if this was planned against Gelfand.

If the blitz tournament before the first round can provide further clues, these were Vlad's openings:
- always 1.c4 with white (and no reversed Benonis)
- Pirc(!) with black against Caruana, 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 g6?! against Gelfand and, well, a Petroff against Anand.

bronkenstein's picture

One can always try to relativise it by pointing out this or that, but Vlad played Zurich quite sharply.

PS another possibility - not so much ´programmed´ - is that he would play safer had he won one of first 2 (both white) games, deciding to play aggressively only after these were drawn. With only 1 white game remaining, in tournament in which final ranking isn´t exactly his top priority, that scenario seems quite possible.

JQ's picture

Aggressive style does not equate to reckless or careless chess. The point is that he is blundering key positions; the same way he did several years ago. If this is going to happen again then I am not betting on him at Moscow.

lolgelfand's picture

i m sorry but the last game caruana-gelfand was just a donation from boris. 50. fxg4 and 55. h4


redivivo's picture

As Anand pointed out after the game Kramnik could have drawn immediately with 20. ... Nxh3 21. gxh3 Qd7 and the perpetual can't be avoided.

Andreas's picture

Yes. Ananad was pretty lucky in this tournament. He could easily have ended -2. Gelfand had him on the ropes and Vlad made a gift... maybe he felt sorry for Anands bad performance as WC for quite a while. Not important, but shocking nevertheless: Anands -3 in the Blitz tournament preceding Zurich Chess Challenge

RealityCheck's picture

Why did not the provacative russian journalist surov at the scene ask GK what his motive was for offering assistance to BG for the 2012 WCC against VA?

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

Finally some wins!

Chess Fan's picture

Anand beat Kramnik who tried to use the Berlin wall against him. This was when Kasparov was visiting Zurich (he was at least there a few days back offering commentary). Whether intended or not, Anand sends a lovely message to Kasparov, who under the santuary of retirement disrespects the World Champion and the other grandmasters of the world. I am happy that this happened.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

How Gelfand said this tournament was a warm up for the Candidates tournament.

Septimus's picture

Not much of a warmup if you are going to be the one legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

Tracker's picture

Bleh.....the result was pretty much what one expected..except por vlads blunder. Mr Anand simply scratched by...Gelfand was an obvious choice for last place..though I expected a little more from Kramnik. Mr Anand has nothing at all to feel proud about. He just lucked out on Kramniks brain fart. Mr Caruanas victory was well deserved. He played solid stuff.Mr Gelfand was exactly where he deserved to be. Last. Pathetic really but great for Mr Caruana....these times..they are a changin

sundararajanganesan's picture

a decent recovery by anand ! one hopes him to play his usual brand of chess least bothering about the discouraging predictions made. congrats Caruana for his going for a win..... just like Fisher and Carlsen

Tracker's picture

Gelfand is a lot like Shirov. Talented sure..but a spent force with no realistic chance to ever be the best..that's probably why people saw the last WCC match as some sort of a fide joke....I'm sure he's a nice man..but c'mon...a WCC? pfft..that's ridiculous. The forces gathering aroud the throne are pretty meaningful. Kerjakin, Radjabov, Aronian, Kramnik, Carlsen.....These are the real sharks....This tourney was a simple tune up for those present. Mr Caruana in my view deserves a place in this months candidates....but they even have players ranked lower than him...It's sort of absurd...Fide needs to get its act together. All that being said..Congrats Fabiano..great result!

Dina's picture

All the players in the candidates deserve their place there.Players were not chosen arbitrarily but by well established rules. Only Rajdabov got wild card entry and even that is well deserved. I don't think there should be any complaint regarding this. We might feel that "this player should have been there or that player should have been there", but that doesn't mean show disrespect to the players who have qualified.

Jambow's picture

All players in the candidates are worthy, some just not as worthy as some who are absent.

Thomas Oliver's picture

How can someone who qualified be less worthy than someone who didn't qualify (while higher-rated)? Even today, Caruana and Nakamura wouldn't get a rating spot for the candidates event - these go to Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik. The other chance was the World Cup: Nakamura didn't participate (his choice), Caruana lost against the eventual winner, Karjakin (as 'worthy' as Caruana and Nakamura) surprisingly lost against Judit Polgar. And if anyone considers Gelfand unworthy: he won many matches in a row in the previous World Cup and previous candidates event, followed by a close WCh match against Anand.

Nima's picture

Well said.

Chess Fan's picture

Well said, Thomas Oliver.

Raj's picture

The typo "Italian youngstar" is apt. The youngster Fabiano Caruana is the Italian young star ! He seems to have the same determination and tenacity of Magnus Carlsen and I wouldn't be surprised if these two face off in future World Championship matches. Nice games by Vishy, Kramnik and Gelfand as well.

RG13's picture

He is also American - having been born in the US.

Thomas Oliver's picture

And Giri is ... ?

Anonymous's picture

Giri is a Russian citizen since he was born there to a Russian mother. He may also have dual citizenship with another country.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

Wesley So will be on the top 10 very soon.

john's picture

its not fair, one of the player in the candidates is 100 elo points above than the current world champion.

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