Reports | February 23, 2013 15:16

Caruana wins blitz drawing of lots at Zurich Chess Challenge

Zurich Chess Challenge

Fabiano Caruana won a blitz event on Friday in Zurich of which the results were used for the drawing of lots for the Zurich Chess Challenge which begins today. The pairings for the first round are Caruana-Anand and Kramnik-Gelfand.

The Zurich Chess Challenge has begun | Photo Vladimir Barsky courtesy of the Russian Chess Federation

After last year's successful Aronian-Kramnik match, chess has returned to Zurich thanks to sponsor Oleg Skvortsov. Four players will play a double round robin: World Champion Viswanathan Anand, his most recent challenger Boris Gelfand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and rising star Fabiano Caruana. The Zurich Chess Challenge runs 23 February-1 March 2013 at the Savoy Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville, where on the first floor the tournament takes place

The games will be played with a classical time control of 2 hours for 40 moves, 1 hour for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes plus a 30-second increment for the remainder of the game. In case of a draw before move 40, an additional exhibition (rapid) game will be played (result not counting).

On Friday a drawing of lots blitz tournament was held, and won by Fabiano Caruana. Before the last round the Italian was on 4 points and tied for first with Vladimir Kramnik. In their mutual game in the final round, the former World Champion got a promising position, but somehow Caruana managed to turn it around.

Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 | All blitz games

PGN file

Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 | Drawing of lots blitz | Final standings


Afterwards Caruana told Macauley Peterson:

It's always nice to win and to beat the top players in the world, even if it's just four minute games. As for the games, of course they all kind of turn into a mess when you get down to five seconds but... honestly I don't even remember what's happening at the end!

On the question whether he prepared for this small blitz event, Caruana replied:

Before this I played a bit on ICC. I was mainly just playing 5-minute games on an anonymous account. Maybe I play about an hour every day. I don't know if it helped; I was actually doing it for fun, not to prepare for anything. 

You can watch a lot of the action at this Livestream page

Among the guests at the opening ceremony: Genna Sosonko, Viktor Kortchnoi and behind him his wife Petra

Main sponsor Oleg Skvortsov of International Gemological Laboratories (Moscow) is a real chess lover. He also made possible the Aronian-Kramnik match and the recent friendly match between Dmitry Andreikin and Ian Nepomniachtchi. IGC is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification, man-made/synthetic diamonds and imitation detection as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation.

The 2013 tournament marks the 60th anniversary of the legendary Zurich 1953 Candidates' Tournament. It was the strongest tournament of the 1950s, with the best grandmasters in the world, with the exception of world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. Sixty years ago the fight for first place was also mainly between four players: Smyslov, Keres, Bronstein and Reshevsky. Smyslov won the tournament, and Bronstein would write a book which is still considered to be one of the best chess books ever written.

For Kramnik and Gelfand the super tournament in 2013 in Zurich will be a kind of "dress rehearsal" for the highly important London Candidates Tournament a month later, which will select a challenger for the Anand in the next World Championship match. With the participation of the World Champ himself and rising star Fabiano Caruana, the Zurich Chess Challenge promises to be one of the highlights of the upcoming chess year.

Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 | Pairings

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


Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


ShockeR's picture


Achtie's picture

Great to see Victor attending. Even though he does not look too great...

RG13's picture

The real news is that Vishy Anand finished tied for last in a fast event. A first?

Thomas Oliver's picture

A first? No, in the last full edition of Mainz (including a separate four-player event) 2009 he also finished shared third of four players, drawing all four games of the match for third place against Naiditsch. In the final, Aronian beat Nepomniachtchi.

RG13's picture

O.K but I think scoring even is very different than -3.

evgeny's picture

It is really remarkable that Anand had no chance in blitz against Kramnik and Caruana. The only draws between Gelfand and Anand are probably due their WC match, and deep preparations. Maybe they still avoid any risk when playing each other))

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