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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014: Magnus Carlsen wins Tournament despite Collapse in Rapid Section

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2014

Hello everyone,

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen begins the rapid section, at the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014, with a win over Boris Gelfand. He managed to score only 2/5, but won the tournament thanks to super performance in the classical section and some crazy results in the rapid section! Photo: Maria Emelianova

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has won the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 despite being "outplayed by Aronian and Caruana" on the final day in the five-game rapid section. Carlsen had come into the rapid section after winning the five-game classical section with a two-point lead over Aronian.  

The Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 had a unique format: Five rounds of classical games over five days and five rounds of rapid games (15 minutes +10 seconds increment) on the final day. Each win in the classical section was worth two points and draw was one point. In the rapid section, each win was worth one point and draw was half-point. 

Today, in the rapid section, the world #1 scored 2/5 with Caruana playing extremely well to score 4/5 including wins over Carlsen, and Nakamura. The Zurich title nearly slipped out of the World Champion's hands.

Rapid Standings
1. Fabiano Caruana 4.0
2. Hikaru Nakamura 3.5
3. Levon Aronian 3.0 
4. Magnus Carlsen 2.0
5. Boris Gelfand 1.5
6. Viswanathan Anand 1.0

Final Standings (on a max of 15 points)
1. Magnus Carlsen 10.0
2. Fabiano Caruana 9.0
3. Levon Aronian 9.0
4. Hikaru Nakamura 7.5
5. Viswanathan Anand 5.0
6. Boris Gelfand 4.5

But, it was a crazy situation in the rapid section. Hikaru Nakamura did a huge favour to Magnus Carlsen by beating Levon Aronian in after Magnus himself lost to both Caruana and Aronian. Nakamura also lost to Caruana, but drew with Magnus. 

This held Aronian back from catching up with the World Chess Champion! Aronian scored 3/5 and could not cover up the two-point lead Carlsen had obtained over him in the classical section.  

This was the Magnus Carlsen's first tournament (and first tournament victory) after winning the world chess champion title in November 2013 by beating Viswanathan Anand in Chennai.

Fabiano Caruana was the youngest player at the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014. He was also the defending champion. This year's edition of the event was also the highest-average rating tournament in chess history.

Replay all the games of the rapid section at the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 with Chess King.

Here is the closing ceremony video:

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