Aronian wins World Blitz Championship
Levon Aronian today won the 2010 World Blitz Championship in Moscow, Russia. The Armenian scored 24.5 points out of 38 games and finished half a point ahead of Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan. Third came Magnus Carlsen from Norway, who won the title in 2009. First video, audio clip Aronian and many photos.
The World Blitz Championship took place at the GUM department store on Red Square in Moscow, from 16 to 18 November. It was a 20-player, double round-robin tournament with 14 rounds on the first day, 14 on the second and 10 on the final day. The rate of play for all games was 3 minutes plus 2 seconds increment.
Since last year's winner Magnus Carlsen picked lot number 20 at the drawing of lots, and Hikaru Nakamura got number 1, the two big favorites already met in the very first round. The American grandmaster had never played in the World Blitz before, but is known to be very strong in quickplay and in fact defeated Carlsen in a tournament in Norway last year. However, this time it was Carlsen who won this psychologically important first game.
Carlsen finished on 10/14 on the first day, the same score as Levon Aronian. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also had an excellent first day, and finished only half a point behind the two leaders. Hikaru Nakamura, a favourite to win the title for many, had a terrible start with three losses in the first three games (against Carlsen, Kramnik and Vachier-Lagrave). Eventually the American finished on a decent 7.5/14 to stay in the race.
On the second day, just before the end, Nakamura seemed to be on his way back with a convincing victory against Levon Aronian. Here's his summary of the game as an audio clip, followed by the game itself:
We have much more high-quality video material and we intend to publish more material at a later stage. In the mean time, besides the awesome video stream on the Russian Chess Federation's website (don't miss the hyperlinks on the right hand side) we refer to the channel of bumblebee1607 on YouTube - a friendly Russian we met in the playing hall. He was filming many of the games with a handheld camera and had some problems with the white balance, but at least you can follow some of the action already.
After the second day Levon Aronian was in sole lead with a score of 18.5/28, followed by Carlsen with 17 points and then Radjabov, Nepomniachtchi and Kramnik on 16 points. Aronian continued strongly on the third and last day, and at some point built up a margin of three points. Despite losing his last two games to Karjakin and Svidler, he still ended clear first, half a point ahead of Radjabov.
Here's an audio clip with Aronian after the tournament:
On a personal note, we found the atmosphere at the World Blitz quite thrilling. The round 'arenas' in which the boards are placed work quite nicely, as the spectators can stand literally around the board without getting too close. However, at the games of 'popular' players such as Carlsen or Aronian often there were just too many spectators, so that it was quite difficult to follow the games at all (let alone film them).
A good solution would be to project the games on a large screen along one of the walls, or with separate TV screens, but this wasn't the case. In the corridor one TV was showing the video stream that was also shown online - game fragments in excellent quality, but never more than one game at the same time.
And so, if you really wanted to follow a certain game, it was important to check the pairings and board numbers, and arrive early at the particular board. A number of spectators even stayed at board 1 (where Carlsen played many games in a row) even during the breaks, as they didn't want to give up their good spot...
Games via TWIC
Game viewer by ChessTempo
Again the GUM department store was the venue
Speeches from officials before the event
Head of the Supervisory Board of the Russian Chess Federation Arkadij Dvorkovich
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
Ex-World Champion Anatoly Karpov
Dvorkovich and a representative of E4 Group signing a new sponsor agreement
Former political opponents Ilyumzhinov and Karpov chatting
Fabiano Caruana and his father Lou, before the tournament started
Levon Aronian, getting ready too
Pavel Eljanov, photographer Anastasia Karlovich and Sergei Movsesian
World Junior Champion Dmitry Andreikin
Magnus Carlsen interviewed just before the tournament
Sergei Karjakin, Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk
Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand
Rauf Mamedov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
Hikaru Nakamura, a bit tense before the first round
Ian Nepomniachtchi, Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk
Teimour Radjabov and one of the arbiters in Moscow, his compatriot Faik Gasanov
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave chatting with spectator GM Joel Lautier
Spectator and World Senior Champ GM Anatoli Vaisser
Carlsen, in a good mood, talking with his father Henrik
Chief arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz interviewed before the tournament
Fabiano Caruana in action
Carlsen-Svidler inside one of the round 'arenas'
Aronian-Ponomariov with young and old spectators
A handshake before the game Carlsen-Nakamura: Hikaru takes revenge in their second encounter
Spectator GM Dennis Khismatullin
Boris Gelfand trying to find concentration before a game
Scores added by one of the arbiters
Levon Aronian interviewed for Russian TV just after the last round
President of the Russian Chess Federation Alexander Zhukov spoke at the closing ceremony
Levon Aronian with the World Blitz cup
The traditional family picture - Karjakin holds the Tal Memorial trophy; Aronian will get his sent to his home in Berlin
After the ceremony a few exhibition matches were held, here with Carlsen and Zhukov vs Kramnik and Dvorkovich
Kramnik and Dvorkovich
Carlsen and Zhukov
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