Closing Ceremony: Old and new Chess960 World Champion Levon Aronian (Foto: Christian Bossert)
the start Anand showed how motivated he was. Being Black in the first game he
played the opening aggressively, continuously creating threats to put Aronian under pressure. This strategy seemed to pay off,
when Aronian fell behind on the clock and around move
20 had only 20 seconds left while Anand still had five minutes on the clock.
But Aronian fought back, played quickly and used the
five seconds increment to master all tactical tricks. Meanwhile Anand tried to
find a clear way to advantage, spending more and more time on every move. Then,
suddenly, it was all over: Aronian pointed to Anand’s clock, the players shook hands and left the
stage. The spectators could hardly believe it: Anand had lost on time, after
his loss against Kamsky in the final of the PCA-World Championship in Las Palmas 1995 the
second serious game in his 25 years long career he had lost on time. A bitter disappointment for the world’s number one.
schedule in Mainz
is tough and after a ten minute break the players had to be back on stage for
the second game. But this short break seemed to have been enough time for Anand
to recover and he again managed to put pressure on Aronian.
However, the Armenian again showed his defensive skills. Having been slightly
worse throughout the game he reached a tricky ending with only seconds left on
the clock, which he still easily and confidently turned into a draw.
Vishy Anand at Chess960 Pillory (Foto: Frank Stiefel)
hindsight, the third game is a mystery. Aronian again
showed an amazing skill to steer his pieces with apparent ease from their
random positions to active squares, giving him an almost winning advantage,
much more so because Anand had practically no counterplay
at all. However, the ease with which he seemed to be able to defend his title
of Chess960 World Champion might have made Aronian
too confident. His play lost focus and he let Anand back into the game. After Aronian missed one or two opportunities to cash in on his
positional advantage he suddenly found himself in a pawn-down rook endgame. But
although Anand was close to win this ending, in the end Aronian’s
active king and advanced passed pawn secured the draw.
had to win the fourth game to tie the match, and this game turned into a
fascinating struggle, giving the spectators everything they looked for. Despite
needing only a draw, Aronian sacrificed a pawn on the
second move which led to an exchange of blows and counterblows that lasted
until the end of the game. If one player seemed to get an advantage, the other
came up with an amazing resource only to be countered by an even more amazing
move. After an early exchange of queens, both sides sacrificed material
repeatedly and tried to mate their opponents. In the end Anand came out on top:
He managed to stop Aronian’s passed pawn and
won material. However, even with only a few pieces left Aronian
conjured up dangerous counterplay, creating mating
threats out of nowhere. But Anand coolly defended and forced the match into a
showed why Chess960 and a time limit of 20 minutes + 5 seconds increment can be
so attractive: Right from the start the game featured unknown positions, which
brought out the best in both players. The result was tremendous chess and a
game, which has every chance to become a classic of Chess960.
Chess960 Titan Levon Aronian (Foto: Frank Stiefel)
exciting rapid games both players were visibly tired and this showed in their
blitz games when Anand blundered the exchange
overlooking a relative simple two-mover. Though he managed to get some counterplay his position turned out to be beyond repair and
after a few more moves he resigned.
Now he had
to win the second blitz game. But again, he seemed to be tired and lacking
inspiration. After he failed to exert any serious pressure on Aronian’s position he sacrificed a pawn or two to get
winning chances but after a couple of exchanges had to agree to a draw. Thus, Aronian won the match and successfully defended his title
of Chess960 World Champion.
between Anand and Aronian overshadowed the match for
third place between Rustam Kasimdzhanov
and Etienne Bacrot a bit. Here Etienne Bacrot showed that the lack of practice
he had complained about earlier was gone. After his disappointing result in the
preliminary Bacrot decided something had to be done. So he registered for the FiNet Chess960 to get some practice and to boost his
self-confidence instead of brooding over his losses in his hotel room. The
fact, that he now in addition to his four games in the evening had to play five
more games during the day, did not frighten, but motivated the passionate chess
player and gambler Bacrot.
against Kasimdzhanov showed that Bacrot was
comfortable with a full day of chess: He clearly dominated his opponent and
after drawing the first two games he won games three and four to finish third
in the Chess960 World Championship.
evening it’s back to classical chess. Kasimdzhanov
will be happy to be back to familiar positions, Bacrot, who has to play rounds
6 to 11 in the FiNet Open will have to readjust to
classical chess, Aronian will try to win the second
title and Anand will try to prove that he is still the champion of the Chess
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