Stavanger 2014 Starts With a Bang (On the Clock)
It’s an interesting idea to have a blitz tournament instead of drawing of lots and it seems it’s catching on. It is based on the premise that the players who finish in the first half of the standings in the blitz will have an extra white in the classical part. All well and logical, but what if the player who wins the blitz doesn’t wish to start with two whites in a row? That isn’t the case with Carlsen though, as he quite likes it – he started as number one in several tournaments and won them all!
He will also start as number 1 in Stavanger as he won the blitz convincingly with 7.5/9, full point ahead of Aronian, which means he will be white against the Armenian in round 2.
I was surprised to see Kramnik collapse – he started well with 2/2 and then drew two and lost 3 in a row, followed by a draw with Carlsen and yet another loss to Aronian in the last round.
The funniest game of the blitz was of course Carlsen-Caruana, which saw the Italian blunder a piece on move 11 and resign immediately. Anything is possible in blitz.
But these results don’t mean anything. My last tournament in Llucmajor also started with a blitz. I was too tired from the trip and the toils of the week before so my head wasn’t working too well – I was playing fast and very badly (which is still much better than playing slowly and badly.) But it did help me in a sense of getting “a fast hand” which was especially important as the tournament’s time control was 90 minutes plus 30 seconds to finish the game – in almost all my games I was ahead on the clock and had my opponents in time trouble. As for the head, once I got a good sleep it started to work as expected and I had a very good tournament.
As a sidenote, here at my training camp I also dedicate time to physical training. One of the things I do is this:
You can see a number on the bottom stair, that’s 214. I climb these stairs at least 5 times a week and I can assure you that the first week I had no eyes for a tiger nor I felt motivated by a punching bag – in fact I felt like one! But things improve with constant practice and now I can proudly say that I climb these 214 stairs without problems!
So after tomorrow’s climb I am looking forward to the games of the first round in Stavanger!