Monday, December 16, 2013
Anything can happen in the final day of World Mind Blitz
Day 4 - Men's Blitz Event
Day 2 of the men's blitz tournament, was a very dramatic day, where the lead constantly kept changing. Levon Aronian from Armenia led after day 1 with the convincing score of 8.5/10, but in round 13, fell to his closest rival Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia:
Aronian, playing the black pieces has sacrificed and exchange, and by frst sight it indeed looks like the then tournament leader, had created a dangerous attack, and was about to extend his lead, but the Russian uncorked the brilliant: 24Qc7!! Brilliant, yet simple. The white queen now attacks bot the knight on c5, and the bishop on f7, and the fork nets white a profit of an extra piece. Thus Aronian only chance was a desperate counterattack, but after: 24...Qa1+ 25 Kd2 Nfe4+ 26 Bxe4 Qxb2+ 27 Ke1 Nxe7 28 Qxf7 white is simply a full rook up, and Nepomniachtchi easily won the game, and thus took the lead!
The Russian however could not hold onto to his newly gain lead, and Aronian managed to stage a comeback, again placing himself at the very top of the standing, beating Chinese Wang Hao in the following instructive technical fashion:
At first sight due to the very limited material this might look completely drawn, but Aronian has just put his knight on h4, which is a very strong move. Now he breaks blacks structure on the kingside, and will manage to attack the weak black pawns, before the king can come to their rescue. 49...f4 A sad move, but else white would simply take the pawn on f5, so there was no choice. 50 Kd3 Kc6 51 Ke4 Kd7 52 Kf5 Kc6 53 Nf3 Kd5 55 Ng5 h6 55 Ne6 Bb6 56 f3 Bf2 57 Nf8 Bd4 58 Nd7 Bb2 59 Nf6+ Kd4 60 Ng4!
And like this Aronian has finalized his concept, and now wins either the pawn on h6 or e5, and with that, the game.
But when everything again looked Rosy for the Armenian, things took a sudden change as he lost his final two games of the day, and thus suddenly allowed a group of players to catch him. And Shakriyar of Azerbaijan did so in especially stunning fashion:
Here, the 23 old Russian Karjakin might have thought he have trapped his opponents rook on h4, and it indeed looks so, but Mamedyarov uncorked the spectacular: 29...Rg4!! Now the rook cannot be taken as after 30 hxg4 hxg4+ which has indeed won a rook, but the h-line have been opened for blacks remaining rook on h8, and the white king simply gets mated. 31 Kg1 Rh1+ 32 Kf2 Rh2+ 33 Ke3 Nf5 mate most beautifully catches the white king in the middle of the board. Karjakin tried: 30 Rg1, but resigned after 30...Nf3+! As he has to give up his queen, in order to avoid immediate mate.
The top-standings after day 2 of the men's are as follows:
Shakriyar Mamedyarov Azerbajdjan 14 Points
Le Quang Liem Vietnam 13.5 Points
Levon Aronian Armenia 13 Points
Sergey Karjakin Russia 12.5 Points
Vachier.Lagrave France 12.5 Points
Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia 11 Points
With just 1.5 point separating the top 5 players, nothing is decided yet, with all having a reasonable shot at gold, but also with no guarantees of getting a medal. Day 3 of the mens blitz event, featuring the 10 final games, should be an exiting finish, where the lead, like today, could keep changing all the way to the finish line.