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Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 (3)

Carlsen escapes lost position and beats Nakamura in Zurich Round 3

Nakamura and Carlsen chat straight after their game. Photo ©

Nakamura and Carlsen chat straight after their game. Photo © |

Hikaru Nakamura's interview with New in Chess putting himself forward as the man to challenge Magnus Carlsen (acknowledging in another interview that Aronian was better than him right now) fired up pre-game expectations today. Nakamura chose the f3 Nimzo-Indian which caused Carlsen difficulties in Chennai. Carlsen's original treatment with the black pieces didn't work out and he said he played poorly today. Carlsen thought he was doing alright until Nakamura played 24.Qg4 when he suddenly understood his position was "pretty desperate" because he was now "just too late" with his own play. 26...Bxb2 was "completely desperate but I thought it was my only chance." Carlsen defended tenaciously in this lost position. "That's what it's about, keeping the game one move longer" - Carlsen.

Nakamura obtained a big attack where "there must be so many ways to win" according the Carlsen. However the tempting 37.d6?! (although Carlsen said that "When he played d6 I was very surprised because I thought I'm very happy to get an open line.") wasn't the way and Nakamura's position became difficult and then lost in very short order. Computers like 37.Qf1 b5 38.Rxh7!! which would have given the game legendary status if Nakamura had found it, and in discussion with others they feel he should have found this.

After 39...Qxe4 Carlsen was back in the game but he thought Nakamura could make a draw with 40.Ne3. "I think at this stage he was pretty upset anyway and last move before time control it's pretty hard to find." - Carlsen. After he didn't find this Carlsen had a winning position which he finished efficiently.

Nakamura spoke with Carlsen after being forced to resign on move 61, he must have been incredibly disappointed. Carlsen said that it was "a bit of a freak occurrence" that Nakamura didn't convert such a position.

Viswanathan Anand looked much more like himself in the postmortem to his draw against Fabiano Caruana. This was a very interesting Slav sideline where Anand as black held a draw quite comfortably.

Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand drew a Fianchetto Gruenfeld where Aronian tried for a small advantage but didn't get one and in fact when he repeated he was the one that would have been risking something in continuing. There was an extra rapid game where Aronian sacrificed a piece and somehow won, it didn't look like the players exactly had their heart in this meaningless game.

Round 3 Standings: Carlsen 2.5, Aronian 2, Caruana, Nakamura 1.5, Gelfand 1 and Anand 0.5.

Round 4 Pairings: Gelfand-Anand, Carlsen-Caruana and Aronian-Nakamura

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 Zurich SUI (SUI), 29 i-4 ii 2014 cat. XXIII (2801)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2872 * ½ . 1 1 . 3065
2. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2812 ½ * . . ½ 1 2 2932
3. Caruana, Fabiano g ITA 2782 . . * ½ ½ ½ 2779
4. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2789 0 . ½ * . 1 2809
5. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2777 0 ½ ½ . * . 1 2697
6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2773 . 0 ½ 0 . * ½ 2521
Round 3 (February 1, 2014)
Aronian, Levon - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 27 E60 King's Indian without Nc3
Caruana, Fabiano - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 40 D11 Slav Defence
Nakamura, Hikaru - Carlsen, Magnus 0-1 61 E20 Nimzo Indian

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