CANDIDATES' TOURNAMENT, DAY ONE - PLACE YOUR BETS, GENTLEMEN!

 

The spectacular opening ceremony with champagne, flowers, theatrical shows, VIPs and beautiful girls is, alas (or perhaps thankfully, for some chess fans) behind us. 

 

The tournament has gone into its labour regimen, with the hard work starting for the grandmasters, arbiters and commentators. But for the spectators, a real chess holiday begun with the opening round. 

The "Big Three": Illyumzhinov, Sargassian and Filatov

There was only one decisive game and only great optimists could have expected any more. It is hard to expect much shedding of blood in the first round. "If Vishy starts with +1 early on, he will have real chances of winning", wrote the ACP President in his forecast. And, lo and behold, the Madras Tiger has already achieved this +1 - will he go further? Judge for yourself...:

Anand - Topalov

After 20.Qc6

Had Veselin played 20…Bxf2, the result of the game could have been diametrically opposite. Even the most cautious critic would have to agree that the double-edged position arising after this move would suit the Bulgarian-Spanish matador. But Black instead settled on 20… Nb3 and within 2-3 moves fell into a depressing position, where a draw was all he could dream of. And that was not to be. 

Anand - Topalov

Vishy quite happily played 44.h5, creating a mating net, and after the forced 44…Rxf2 the end was only delayed a few moves. 45.Nxf2 Ra2 46.Rff8 Rxf2 47.Kh3 g4 48.Kxg4 f5 49.Rxf5 Black resigns (1:0).

The result is clear from the faces

The all-American (Nakamura-Caruana) and all-Russian  (Karjakin-Svidler) pairings did not cause much excitement and ended in fairly quick draws. On Chessbomb, to the horror of Sergey's fans, the result appeared as 0:1, but the error was soon corrected. 

Giri conducted his game in his customary unhurried style and at one moment, may have been close to winning: 

Giri - Aronian

The computer is very optimistic after 30.с5-с6, but whether the silicon beast is making one of its typical endgame misjudgements, or whether Aronian's calm and unruffled appearance, as he sipped his coffee, was just bluff, is not clear. But in any event, Anish decided against this promising-looking line, and did not get any more chances. But the former St Pete resident did his duty by his trainers and the fans, and spent 30 more moves trying to squeeze blood out of a stone: 

Giri - Aronian

After 65… Kg8-f8

After all, a draw! (½ : ½)

Thus, our first report ends, and it only remains to thank our sponsor, the bookmaking company «Liga Stavok», whose support enables us to cover this event. We look forward to round two!  

Material: Sergey Kim