June 5 - Blitz Chess
The strongest chess tournament in history, Altibox Norway Chess 2017, kicked off today with the traditional preliminary blitz tournament. The winner of the blitz tournament is granted the benefit of picking their start number in the main tournament. Moreover, the players finishing in the top five will get the advantage of playing five white games. That might not sound like much, but at the highest level an extra white game can prove decisive.
Magnus Carlsen, being the highest rated player with a blitz rating of 2914, was the clear favourite to win this tournament. However, anything can happen in Blitz. Despite Carlsen’s somewhat slow start with two draws in the first two games, he managed to win all but one of the remaining games, finishing with the exceptional score of 7,5 out of 9. Without losing a single game. This takes him to a Blitz rating of 2943, one step closer to breaking the magical 3000 barrier. Carlsen found his win against Karjakin to be the most interesting game.
Nakamura and Aronian followed in 2nd and 3rd place, with 5,5 points. The remaining two players who get the benefit of playing five white games are Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Vladimir Kramnik, finishing with scores of 5 and 4,5 respectively.
On the bottom half, the current blitz world champion Karjakin had a rough day, and after losing to Kramnik in the last round he ended in the bitter sixth place. Anand finished in 7th place and Wesley So in 8th. While Fabiano Caruana and Anish Giri ended in the last two spots with 3 and 1,5 points. Thankfully, there will be a new day tomorrow, with everyone starting from scratch.
The first round of the main tournament starts tomorrow at 16:00 CECT. Already in the first round we will get the long anticipated showdown between the world number one and two, Magnus Carlsen vs. Wesley So.
Carlsen – So
Nakamura – Giri
Aronian – Caruana
Vachier-Lagrave – Anand
Kramnik – Karjakin