December 20, 2012 17:10

World Mind Games: Aronian & Hou Yifan win the blindfold

Levon Aronian and Hou Yifan win the blindfold event in Beijing

Levon Aronian won the third and final chess event at the World Mind Games in Beijing: blindfold chess. The Armenian grandmaster scored 5.5/7 which was half a point more than Hikaru Nakamura. The bronze medal went to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Hou Yifan won the women's section ahead of Viktorija Cmilyte and Anna Zatonskih.

Levon Aronian and Hou Yifan win the blindfold event in Beijing | All photos by Anastasia Karlovich © FIDE for the official website

Event World Mind Games chess website by FIDE, official website
Dates December 12th-19th, 2012
PGN Men: rapid | blitz | blindfold | Women: rapid | Women blitz | blindfold via TWIC
Location Beijing, China
System 16-players. Rapid: 7-round Swiss, Blitz: single round robin
Players Men: Aronian, Radjabov, Karjakin, Nakamura, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Fressinet, Kamsky, Leko, Bologan, Jobava, Mamedyarov, Wang Hao, Giri, Ding Liren
Women: Hou Yifan, A.Muzychuk, Koneru, Zhao Xue, Lahno, Cmilyte, Zatonskih, Stefanova, Khotenashvili, Harika, Paehtz, Zhu Chen, Cramling, Socko, Danielian, Kosteniuk
Rate of play

Rapid: 20 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Blitz: 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move. Blindfold: 20 minutes plus 20 seconds per move.

At the World Mind Games chess consisted of three separate quickplay tournaments, and after rapid and blitz the same 32 players moved to blindfold chess. The format was, like in the rapid, a 7-round Swiss played on Tuesday and Wednesday. The time control was 20 minutes plus 20 seconds increment per move. We might add that in all three events draw offers were only permitted through the arbiter.

The gold medal went to Levon Aronian, three times winner of the Amber Rapid & Blindfold tournament (and also winner of the blindfold in the last edition). In the first round he nicely converted an ending with opposite-coloured bishops:

PGN string

At blindfold tournaments one always sees a number of blunders which would be inexplicable during a regular event. One of Aronian's wins finished like this:

PGN string

Levon Aronian wins his "speciality", the blindfold

The following game finished with a big mistake (blunder?) as well, but this time the Chinese had set a devilish trap:

PGN string

Hikaru Nakamura won silver. The American played a spectacular game against Baadur Jobava, who played 1.b3 in all his games in Beijing:

PGN string

Both Gata Kamsky and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov finished on 4.5/7 but it was the latter who received the bronze medal. The tie-breaks were as follows:

1. Direct Encounters
2. Greater number of wins
3. Greater number of games with Black (unplayed games counted as White)
4. ARCO (Average Rating of Opponents Cut 1)

World Mind Games 2012 | Blindfold | Final standings

Rank SNo.   Name Rtg FED Pts Res. vict MBl RtgØ
1 2 GM Aronian Levon 2815 ARM 0 4 3 2741
2 6 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2760 USA 5 0 4 3 2744
3 5 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2760 AZE 0 4 4 2736
4 4 GM Kamsky Gata 2762 USA 0 3 3 2730
5 9 GM Leko Peter 2732 HUN 4 1 2 4 2780
6 16 GM Ding Liren 2669 CHN 4 1 2 4 2769
7 7 GM Radjabov Teimour 2755 AZE 4 1 2 4 2741
8 14 GM Bologan Viktor 2693 MDA 0 3 4 2755
9 10 GM Morozevich Alexander 2725 RUS 0 3 3 2764
10 15 GM Wang Hao 2691 CHN 0 2 3 2768
11 11 GM Giri Anish 2720 NED 3 1 2 3 2753
12 8 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2744 UKR 3 0 1 3 2714
13 1 GM Karjakin Sergey 2830 RUS 1 2 3 2731
14 3 GM Grischuk Alexander 2771 RUS 0 1 4 2738
15 12 GM Jobava Baadur 2711 GEO 2 0 1 4 2759
16 13 GM Fressinet Laurent 2700 FRA 1 0 0 4 2756

The prizes were as follows for all three events:

  Men Women
1 $ 20,000 $ 10,000
2 $ 15,000 $ 9,000
3 $ 12,000 $ 8,000
4 $ 9,000 $ 7,000
5 $ 7,000 $ 6,000
6 $ 6,000 $ 5,000
7 $ 5,000 $ 4,000
8 $ 4,000 $ 3,000
9 $ 3,000 $ 2,000
10 $ 2,000 $ 1,000
11 $ 1,000 $ 1,000
12 $ 1,000 $ 1,000
13 $ 1,000 $ 1,000
14 $ 1,000 $ 1,000
15 $ 1,000 $ 1,000
16 $ 1,000 $ 1,000

This way we can produce the following table of players in order of prize money won. Nakamura took home the biggest amount of money, and especially Laurent Fressinet and Ding Liren performed better than expected:

# Name Rapid Blitz Blindfold Total
1 Nakamura Hikaru $ 17,500 $15,000 $ 15,000 $ 47,500
2 Aronian Levon $ 1,000 $ 9,333 $ 20,000 $ 30,333
3 Fressinet Laurent $ 17,500 $ 9,333 $ 1,000 $ 27,833
4 Karjakin Sergey $ 1,000 $ 20,000 $ 1,000 $ 22,000
5 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar $ 1,000 $ 9,333 $ 10,500 $ 20,833
6 Ding Liren $ 10,500 $ 1,000 $ 6,000 $ 17,500
7 Grischuk Alexander $ 10,500 $ 5,500 $ 1,000 $ 17,000
8 Morozevich Alexander $ 6,500 $ 5,500 $ 3,000 $ 15,000
9 Kamsky Gata $ 3,500 $ 1,000 $ 10,500 $ 15,000
10 Radjabov Teimour $ 6,500 $ 1,000 $ 6,000 $ 13,500
11 Leko Peter $ 3,500 $ 2,500 $ 6,000 $ 12,000
12 Wang Hao $ 3,500 $ 2,500 $ 3,000 $ 9,000
13 Ivanchuk Vassily $ 1,000 $ 4,000 $ 1,000 $ 6,000
14 Jobava Baadur $ 3,500 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 5,500
15 Bologan Viktor $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 3,000 $ 5,000
16 Giri Anish $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 3,000

Hikarua Nakamura took home $ 47,500 from Beijing

In the women's section Hou Yifan was in great shape. The Chinese scored 6/7 after finishing with 3/3 on the final day. This is how she won against Humpy Koneru:

PGN string

The winner in the women's section, Hou Yifan, here playing against Harika Dronavalli

Viktorija Cmilyte (who won silver) vs Anna Zatonskih (bronze)

World Mind Games 2012 | Blindfold (women) | Final standings

Rank SNo.   Name Rtg FED Pts Res. vict MBl RtgØ
1 2 GM Yifan Hou 2606 CHN 6 0 6 3 2548
2 13 GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2462 LTU 0 4 3 2550
3 10 IM Zatonskih Anna 2504 USA 0 4 4 2570
4 1 GM Koneru Humpy 2606 IND 4 0 4 4 2546
5 9 GM Zhao Xue 2511 CHN 4 0 3 3 2550
6 5 GM Muzychuk Anna 2577 SLO 4 0 2 4 2514
7 3 GM Lahno Kateryna 2592 UKR 0 2 4 2552
8 11 GM Zhu Chen 2489 QAT 0 2 3 2566
9 12 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2478 GER 0 2 3 2498
10 8 GM Harika Dronavalli 2529 IND 0 1 4 2545
11 14 GM Danielian Elina 2450 ARM 0 1 4 2537
12 6 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2572 RUS 3 0 2 3 2515
13 4 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2580 BUL 1 1 3 2485
14 7 GM Cramling Pia 2546 SWE 0 2 4 2524
15 16 IM Khotenashvili Bela 2405 GEO 0 0 4 2547
16 15 GM Socko Monika 2440 POL 1 0 0 3 2543

Afterwards Aronian posted the following message on his Facebook page:

This Mind Games event in Beijing which has just finished is an interesting one, after the amazing Melody Amber tournament was discontinued all of the players missed big rapid - blindfold tournaments. In the first couple of days I was fighting with the lack of sleep due to the jet lag (i came straight from the London Classics), but then I recovered and won my favorite - the blindfold event!

Another great and surprising thing happened here in Beijing! On the day of the opening of the Mind Games I have received a call from the Armenian Ambassador to China, Mr. Armen Sargsyan inviting me to be present at the embassy during Charles Aznavour's visit.

For every Armenian Mr. Aznavour is like a saint, and meeting him was a great experience. I was a bit shy to ask him to take a photo with me, but someone took a group photo, so I have a proof! Mr. Aznavour was answering questions (I asked him if he will ever translate his songs to Armenian language) and the evening was spent in a great atmosphere.

So next step - Christmas and New Years in the Philippines, and then Wijk Aan Zee in 2013! Merry Christmas and Happy New Years, stay safe and enjoy the holidays!

Highlights from day 5 from the official Mind Games YouTube Channel:

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


bronkenstein's picture

Aznavour is an Armenian? Everyday you learn something.

And OFC, bravo Levon! This might be nice prelude to another Wijk trophy =)

Ray's picture

Yes, he's French of Armenian descent.
Was born Shahnour Vaghenag Aznavourian!

valg321's picture

go Lev! i hope he's got something lined up for tata 2013, he's got to win back those lost points

Anonymous's picture

The future of chess indeed looks bright with the outstanding results of Laurent and Ding. It's like a new generation of players are entering the fold, along with Magnus. Carlsen is just the first young gun to arrive and take on the older generation. But is he so special? In time, he may end up standing in Ding's shadow.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen will NEVER be in anyone shadows

Anonymous's picture

You're not comprehending what's he's written. Carlsen has demolished all who were born in the 70's and 80's. There are new players born 1990 and afterwards who can make their mark against him. We have no idea how Carlsen will measure to the up and commers.

Anonymous's picture

Like Karjakin ? Wang ho ? Caruana ? Or you mean born in 2057 ?

Anonymous's picture

There is no such player on record named "Wang ho". There is a Wang Hao but he was born in 1989, which comes before 1990. If you meant one, you were mistaken, if you meant the other, you were also in err.

Carlsen has an unimpressive record against such players born after 1990:

Caruana - 2 to 1 with 4 draws
Giri - 0 to 1 with 3 draws
Karjakin - 1 to 1 with 10 draws

Not yet played:

To say that as of now, he will not be under anyone's shadow is speaking much too early. We have to wait for "his generation" of players to rise to the top before we can draw that conclusion.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen - Wang Hao 4 - 0

Anonymous's picture

Hao is older than Magnus. He misses the cut-off. Sorry for your maths ability, but that's four strikes and you're out.

As it stands, Carlsen's record against such players is unimpressive.

Thomas's picture

Caruana's and Giri's current ratings are roughly comparable to Carlsen's when he was maybe one year younger than they are now - why should it be impossible to catch up (at least in Caruana's case)? There is also the possibility of a late bloomer - like Aronian who crossed 2700 at the age of 22, almost 23 and 2800 when he was 28. So it isn't "hopeless" yet even for Wang Hao.

Carlsen may remain out of everyone's shadow, or maybe not.

Corrector's picture

Thomas, why are you misrepresenting the numbers? Caruana reached 2786 Nov 1st 2012 at the age of 20. Carlsen was 2786 already back in October 2008, at 17, not to mention that he also was no 1 on the live rating at 17! For both players reaching 2786 happened at the end of a year-long strong rating ascent. Yes, it took Carlsen another year to reach 2800, but that might well be the case with Caruana as well, time will tell. Carlsen was no 1 on the official rating list at 19 yrs 1 mth. Caruana at 20 yrs 5 mths are nowhere near the no 1 spot. Within such a short time frame as 5 years ratings are fairly comparable but world rank is maybe an even better meassure. At 18 Giri has not been ranked (officially) higher than no 23 in the world. Carlsen was no 21 already at 15. I'm not saying that Caruana or Giri may never overtake Carlsen. You just got the numbers wrong thats all.

Thomas's picture

First, I made one mistake: I looked at Carlsen's last ratings to find that he crossed 2786 in November 2009, and didn't look further back to see that he had already been there a year earlier.

Currently, I would give Caruana relatively more upward potential than Carlsen - after all, he only got to play events like Dortmund, Tal Memorial and Bilbao this year. Such events are learning experiences, yet he could already compete for first place in all three events. With respect to head-to-head score and tournament results where both participated, he is already at or near Carlsen's level (tied in Wijk aan Zee and Bilbao, half a point behind at Tal Memorial).
Rankings may be a bit misleading because the competition got even tougher: Carlsen's final step to be #1 was getting past Topalov, Anand, Kramnik and Aronian. Caruana now has to cope with the same players (including Carlsen) AND with young players that rose together with him: Radjabov, Karjakin and Nakamura. When Carlsen became #1 in January 2010, Radjabov was #16, Karjakin #21 and Nakamura #28.
Karjakin may also leave Carlsen's shadow, he is just a bit of a late bloomer.

Giri is another story: maybe he is, after all, not good or talented enough to reach the absolute world top. Or it's just a crisis as happens to young players. He also isn't or wasn't yet a full-time professional (still going to school); I don't know if he has now made up his mind about becoming one.

Anonymous's picture

"Giri is higher rated than any 16-year-old not named Magnus Carlsen has ever been, and he is climbing faster than Carlsen was at the same age. " Garret Kingman, Chessbase

Ratings By Age:

wiseacre's picture

Carlsen hasn't smashed all who were older than him. Corrector forgot to correct that one, it seems.

He is also cherry picking by the way.
Giri was not that far of Carlsens youth rating around a year ago. Then, however his rating curve went down when he started the final year at a regular school that was not all about topchess. Other young players have been ahead of Carlsen both in rating and world rank at times.
It all depends on what age you compare.

Corrector's picture

Unwiseacre, I don't know if you are joking or not in your post above, but I'll comment anyway. In my post I commented on Thomas saying: "Caruana's and Giri's current ratings are roughly comparable to Carlsen's when he was maybe one year younger than they are now.." Why would I have to correct every other incorrect post on this thread just because I commented on one? You mentioning Giri's rating a year back is cherrypicking. Thomas specifically talked about current ratings and I compared current ratings and best rank of Caruana and Giri with similar achievements by Carlsen.

redivivo's picture

Haha, they just can't stand Carlsen playing so well that they can't help themselves :-) Some made up stats here and some wild speculation there and in their fantasies there's nothing special at all with that incredibly annoying Carlsen :-)

Thomas's picture

Fact is that Caruana and Karjakin are also young with room for further improvement (Giri is even younger and "more improvable"), and the first two could already compete with Carlsen in head-to-head encounters and tournaments. For Andreikin and Ding Liren, they didn't get such a chance yet (lack of invitations).

So Carlsen is "special" at the moment - IMHO based on his results, not his play apart from that or his personality. But two or five years from now, he may well no longer be the only special one? Of course that's speculation, talking about the future is always speculative.

redivivo's picture

Nothing special with Carlsen's chess, OK, if that makes you sleep better :-)

wiseacre's picture

@ Corrector. I was surprised that you chose to "correct" a minor inaccuracy and not flagrant nonsense, that's why. I'd just expect more of a corrector.
I looked up Giri's rating. The difference would have been some 30-50 points. It's a matter of taste but perhaps it is "roughly comparable" after all?

Corrector's picture

Wiseacre, I can to some extent understand your surprise, but keep in mind that Thomas is a frequent poster that I assume tries to be accurate (with mixed success though:-).) Some of the nonsense you refer to is probably said in joke anyhow. At Giri's current age, Carlsen was 2770 and no 3 in the world. Giri is 2720 and no 27 in the world. "Roughly comparable"? No, not in my book. I agree that Giri seems to be highly talented and could well become an absolute top player.

Anonymous's picture

You guys should read this article on the young chess prodigies, with a chart on their ratings. Pay attention to the slopes of rating rise for comparison to Carlsen:

And let's not forget about Illya Nyzhnyk.

Morley's picture

You are really going to discount Wang Hao because he is a few months older than Carlsen? Give me a break.

wiseacre's picture

Exactly Morley. This discussion is pointless anyway. Some people grow at a later age.

elgransenor1's picture

are you on drugs?

elgransenor1's picture

are you on drugs?

Jambow's picture

Fun event for sure I think drop bitz and add 960 chess instead and if you can have blindfolded 360 rapid games for all tie breaks. Ok just my take.

Nakamura took second and played excellent in every event, nice to see him back in form. He took first on payday which is nice.

Looks like Levon is coming around too.

eric's picture

This is funny on the list: "Ivanchuk Vassily $ 1,00" from Rapid section.

Theo's picture

Lolzers :)
So Chucky won 1 dollar? That's awesome!!

btw: does women chess have another world champion every year now?! That's weird. To me Gunina should be world champ!

S3's picture

I wonder what the entrance-fee was for these events. Good prize money..

Anonymous's picture

I certainly hope a separate story on Nakamura's achievement will be published by Chessvibes. It would be a shame to ignore the overall record when it was highlighted in Melody Amber. Just because the Sport Accord does not recognize overall placement, it should not change the importance of his accomplishment.

It's just weird that it is being ignored by Chessvibes and Chessbase bolth.

Thomas's picture

Nakamura and his fans can be happy, and I don't think that Chessvibes and Chessbase "ignored" his achievement: Chessvibes has a separate table for combined prize money, and Chessbase mentions right at the beginning of their article that "Nakamura ... has come second in all three mind game chess disciplines".

The only unfairness might be that Fressinet was mentioned much more prominently for the rapid event - but that's understandable as it was a big surprise and a bigger achievement for the Frenchman.

Off- or cross-topic: when Anand obtained four consecutive second places in supertournaments in late 2010 to January 2011, many people didn't consider it an achievement but just wrote "he hasn't won a tournament in years" ... .

katar's picture

Except that Hikaru's overall performance was not ignored -- ChessVibes bothered to publish a cumulative table of prizewinners showing Nakamura at the top.

Anonymous's picture

Relative to Chessvibes coverage of Aronian's victory at Amber, even when Carlsen won the Rapids, you can safely conclude that Nakamura's outstanding achievement to win "Chess Mindgames 2012" is currently being ignored like a lump of dirt that's been swept under the carpet.

Thomas's picture

At the very least, "ignored" is wrong - I wonder if Chessvibes had added a combined prize money if it didn't highlight a "fourth winner" ahead of the three individual winners. So at most, Nakamura's overall success wasn't mentioned prominently enough - to Anon's taste.

Comparisons with Amber are IMO a tiny bit misleading: Amber was designed as a combined event, with a considerable chunk of the prize money based on combined standings and blindfold plus rapid every single day. Hence combined standings were readily available throughout the event. The Mind Games were designed as three separate events. This also means that if a player hates blindfold he could still enjoy the first four days (while in Amber he had to 'suffer' a bit every single day). Theoretically, for China it might have been possible to accept an invitation only for rapid and blitz, and the organizers might then add a third Chinese player to the blindfold event [I don't know if this had been negotiable, and I don't think anyone did (dared to) try].

P.S.: Aronian's final Amber result still seems to be a bit more impressive than Nakamura's result in China: clear first in blindfold and second in rapid vs. shared first, second and second place.

Jambow's picture

Yes Anon I agree Nakamura put on the best over all performance by a pretty big margin three 2900 performances. I think Nakamura as a chess player is looking much deeper and he seems to have fallen in love with his queen now using her and the bishops so effectively. I love how he is probing positions and getting his opponents to make weaknesses then exploiting them. I see a quiet confidence developing instead of a brash atitude that defined him in his youth to some degree.

I think Caruana will be playing for the U.S. title this year and with Naka and Kamsky in it could prove worth watching.

RG13's picture

The US Championship has too many qualifiers (of course if I qualified I would feel differently). As a fan I think it would be far more interesting to see a quadruple round robin between Caruana, Kamsky and Nakamura and have the odd man each round
do commentary.

Anonymous's picture

I thought Caruana had been denied entry into the US Championship by USCF's Francisco Guadalupe.

AAR's picture

"but this time the Chinese had set a devilish trap"
-- Great mate!!

Anonymous's picture

I find it interesting that the women's prize fund differed from that of the men. Is this common practice in chess?

S3's picture

Yes, as it should be. Otherwise, let them compete with the men who are stronger.

Anonymous's picture

If and when the general chess public (hence the sponsors) follows women's chess as closely as the men, women's prize fund will equal the men's. The same goes for other sports.

Anonymous's picture

Right now, Carlsen is the boss ! Good night and merry christmas

brock's picture

i like that the us championships has a larger field it would be boring just having kamsky naka and caruana who should only be allowed to play if he agrees to be on the US team next Olympiad. something he should prefer to do anyway if he seriously wishes to be in contention. no offense meant to italy.

RG13's picture

re: 10:25 of the video

I didn't realize that Hou Yifan had such an interest in Go!

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