I.ve been in Zurich a few times before, mainly in connection with the Biel tournament and hiking trips to the Alps. During chess tournaments I.m generally too focused on chess to have the time or the energy to be a tourist, but obviously Zurich has an excellent location with the lake in the southeast and the magnificent view to the Alps.
Today my game finished early, and I.ve played some basketball with my coach Peter Heine Nielsen and had dinner with one of my main sponsors.
I.m very happy to finish the classical part of the tournament with a lead. This was one of my main objectives going into this first tournament as World Champion.
The game against Nakamura Saturday was a real cliffhanger. I made some mistakes early in the game and was strategically busted as his attack seemed unstoppable. Fortunately I hung in and tried to find counterplay. Close to the time control I had pinned my hope on the natural d6 advance that he actually chose. Winning a piece must have looked tempting, but it was all I needed to activate my rook and queen, and after another mistake by Nakamura I could even turn defeat into victory in the end!
The game against Caruana on Sunday was really enjoyable for me. Apart from the inaccurate Qe7 the game went very smoothly and I.m satisfied having played two (very) good games (against Gelfand and Caruana) out of five.
Tomorrow we are playing five rounds of rapid chess with opposite colours of the classical part, and I.ll start with black against Gelfand followed by black against Aronian.
I.ve got 8 points before the rapids, Aronian has 6 after losing to Caruana (5) today, but I.ll try to reset and mentally start from scratch as if the rapid was a separate event.
The time control is 15 minutes per player per game plus an increment of 10 seconds per move, and it.ll be my first rapid games for a long time.
Magnus Carlsen, Zurich, February 3rd, 2014