Karjakin Simul



Detailed analysis of the games on chessbase.com

by Alejandro Ramirez

The festivities started in Zurich with a lecture and simul by one of the participants, Sergey Karjakin. After a brief lecture he played against guests from the Savory Chess Corner and from Bank Vontobel. In sixteen games the amateurs were only able to achieve two draws.

Sergey Karjakin is the 12th rated player in the World

A small lecture...

Followed by crushing people in the simul

Blitz

Vladimir Kramnik with his daughter, Daria, and Nigel Short

Levon Aronian shaking hands with the man that makes the event possible: Oleg Skvortsov

The legend! Viktor Kortschnoj will be playing his own match in Zurich

Yanick Pelletier, the strongest Swiss player, with the sponsor and organizer

Natasha Skvortsov is one of the strong forces behind the tournament

A little musical performance before the battles...

The first round robin in Zurich pitched the grandmasters in a blitz event to determine their pairing order for the Classical. In such a small tournament, only five rounds, it is quite important to be able to have more whites than blacks, and this is the reward for finishing in the top half of the blitz portion. Today's blitz was not a close competition: three players dominated, and after four rounds it was already mathematically impossible for Karjakin, Kramnik or Nakamura to finish in the top half.

Round One

Round 01
Karjakin, Sergey
0-1
Anand, Viswanathan
Caruana, Fabiano
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru
Aronian, Levon
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir

The first round started Anand's early domination of this tournament. He started out strong by defeating Karjakin in a long opposite colored bishop endgame. Karjakin clearly thought too much of his chances and lost in an ending with opposite-colored bishops

With two draws in the games Caruana-Nakamura and Aronian-Kramnik it was the Indian ex-World Champion that came out half a point ahead from the first set of fights.

Round Two

Round 02
Nakamura, Hikaru
0-1
Aronian, Levon
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir
Karjakin, Sergey
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano

Three decisive games, and in what style! First Anand turned a bad position around very quickly against Kramnik and Aronian convincingly outplayed Nakamura, showing that even in blitz simple concepts like pawn islands are very important. He cleanly won a superior endgame and relegated the American player back to 0.5/2, despite being one of the pre-tournament favorites to take the blitz event!

Finally Caruana finished off Karjakin in brutal style with a beautiful (though unnecessary) queen sacrifice.

Round Three

Round 03
Aronian, Levon
1-0
Karjakin, Sergey
Caruana, Fabiano
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Nakamura, Hikaru

Aronian kept strong pace in round three. Caruana-Anand finished rather suddenly, but was still an interesting fight.

Aronian continued an excellent pace by winning his second game in a row. He beat Karjakin in a long, drawn out endgame in which again he entered with a slight advantage. With a draw in Kramnik-Nakamura the lead went to Anand and Aronian, both with 2.5/3.

Nothing more natural than a brief analysis after a blitz game

The big surprise, possibly, was that Karjakin started with 0.0/3! Caruana's 2.0/3 was a comfortable position for him to fight for more whites in the tournament, as from a practical point of view the reward for finishing third or first is the same.

Round Four

Round 04
Karjakin, Sergey
1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir
Caruana, Fabiano
½-½
Aronian, Levon
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Nakamura, Hikaru

Karjakin put himself back into the fight by beating Kramnik... well, it was at least a morale victory as it would have taken a miracle for him to finish in the top three after his disastrous start.

Karjakin getting a small victory against Kramink. Anand beat Nakamura in a great example of transformation of advantages in a rook endgame:

The Caruana-Aronian game had quite the incident! Despite being up a rook in the final position, Aronian grabbed a piece... and flung it across the room by accident! Seeing as this disturbed the peace of the game, a draw was agreed - which guaranteed that both Aronian and Caruana would start with more whites in the classical; it became mathematically impossible for Kramnik, Nakamura or Karjakin to catch Caruana or Aronian, much less Anand.

Round Five

Round 05
Aronian, Levon
1-0
Anand, Viswanathan
Kramnik, Vladimir
0-1
Caruana, Fabiano
Nakamura, Hikaru
1-0
Karjakin, Sergey

Round five was necessary to play, of course, because the exact order of the pairings could not be determined until every result was counted, but it was already clear which players would finish in which half of the table.

After drawing his very first game, Aronian continued his winning streak by beating Anand and finally overtaking him in the standings. He showed, yet again, fantastic understanding of a very technical endgame, converting a slight advantage in the form of two bishops into a clean victory.

Anand lost to Aronian in the last round, but still hahd a great showing

Caruana continued with his excellent shape and defeated Kramnik, proving that there are no "unlosable positions" in blitz. Nakamura was able to get a morale victory by beating Karjakin.

Interestingly second was shared between Caruana and Anand (with the tiebreak going to Caruana based on more blacks), who finished 1.5 points ahead of Nakamura, who was fourth, which is a massive difference in a five round event.

Blitz Final Standings

Schedule

With the blitz finished the pairings are as follows in the classical portion of the tournament, which starts tomorrow:

Round 01 - February 14, 2015, 15:00
Aronian, Levon 2777 - Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Caruana, Fabiano 2811 - Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Anand, Viswanathan 2797 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Round 02 - February 15, 2015, 15:00
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783 - Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Anand, Viswanathan 2797 - Aronian, Levon 2777
Karjakin, Sergey 2760 - Caruana, Fabiano 2811
Round 03 - February 16, 2015, 15:00
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776   Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Caruana, Fabiano 2811 - Anand, Viswanathan 2797
Aronian, Levon 2777 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Round 04 - February 17, 2015, 15:00
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783 - Karjakin, Sergey 2760
Anand, Viswanathan 2797 - Nakamura, Hikaru 2776
Aronian, Levon 2797 - Caruana Fabiano 2811
Round 05 - February 18, 2015, 15:00
Caruana Fabiano 2811 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Nakamura, Hikaru 2776 - Aronian, Levon 2777
Karjakin, Sergey 2760 - Anand, Viswanathan 2797

The Rapid portion will be on February 19th.

Schedule of Commentary

Date   English
13.02.2015 Blitz Daniel King
14.02.2015 Round 1 Oliver Reeh + Dorian Rogozenco
15.02.2015 Round 2 Mihail Marin
16.02.2015 Round 3 Daniel King
17.02.2015 Round 4 Daniel King
18.02.2015 Round 5 Mihail Marin
19.02.2015 Round 6 Daniel King