28 Apr 2008


There is more than one way to skin a cat....but I wish Magnus hadn't led us such a merry dance.

This round 7 is the most important round for several of today's players, Magnus being one of them.

Winning as Black here would be very good indeed. Would be? What am I saying: He's just this minute done it.

Yet again the time squeeze was the weapon of choice, even though several others where lying to hand.


Not the best of games, with inaccuracies on both sides and of course the peculiar and trappy move 17.Rxh5...
I didn't know what to think and where to go from there. Engines were of little use and we will soon here more about this position.

I feel happy that Carlsen has been able to improve his overall position today, but sad for Radjabov, who is always so careful, but today lost the plot on his homeground.

Well, there is always tomorrow...

24 Apr 2008

Shoe on the other foot

What a pity to get such a poor result after a good start.

I am tempted to not put the game in this post, but that would be unfair to his opponent, who really played a nice game.

By move 25 there was this strange running around the block with the Queen shifting from -c6- to -b6- and back again. Was this jsut to make up the number of moves? Or to force a draw? If so, the outcome was not helpful.

What was needed and not forthcoming was Nb6.

23 Apr 2008

Cramped in Round 3

Talk about cramped! Black kept pushing and pushing and by move 15...e5 had got himself a toehold in the white camp. White might have liked to play 16.Qd2 at that point, but unfortunately that square was occupied.

Black, after having chased the white LSB around the block in true Ruy fashion, managed to push up his e-pawn, with the threat of his heavy artillery piling up on the queenside.

At that point I couldn't see Carlsen escape a very cramped position, needing a hefty dollop of good luck in the form of a sizeable error by his opponent.

Of course I needn't have worried:
Magnus yet again made the most of his opponent's time trouble and came out of the time portal with enough advantage to give him a win.
As I write they are on move 49, with Black running short on time (11 mins left compared to 1 hr for Magnus), but already it looks like a firm win for White.

I'm sure when I get back later, he will have written down 1 - 0.
Well done yet again.

22 Apr 2008

Swindle in Round 2

It may be totally legit, but to Svidler today the draw must have felt like a swindle. The usual Magnus technique: manoever your opponent into Zeitnot, then hit him with slightly offbeat moves to make him use up what little he has left and thus win the game on time.

Unfortunately, by move 35 there wasn't much leaway to produce moves that were not quite the best, but required thinking about. There were rook moves galore for making up time, and the Kings could be shuffled ad nauseam without losing White's advantage of just below one pawn, enough to push for a win.

And sure enough, Svidler squeezed through the time portal unscathed. But.... as so often happens, he couldn't stop his momentum and still played unnecessarily fast on move 41.
Possibly a combination of relief that he had made it, coupled with a release of the intense concentration.

And there it was: Magnus kept the screws on by playing 40.Kg6 really fast and dragged Svidler along into a less than best move 41.Rc4, and there his advantage went up in a puff of smoke, with Carlsen achieving the draw.

Maybe not a swindle, but certainly a psyche!

21 Apr 2008

Perfection is boring

First day of chess in the other Windy City.

No errors of judgement, no slip-ups, no loss of concentration: simply perfect chess.
How boring is that!

The only weapon each of them used was giving their opponent the chance to go wrong. A chance that was never picked up.

The main characteristic in this Berlin Wall was Carlsen's use of Knight moves, centered round the d2-square. Possibly playing for time and trying to elicit an indiscretion from Black. But Black didn't fall for it.

The draw was a workmanlike beginning for Magnus to this 30.000 Euro tournament. I wonder if he is still interested in the prize money, or if he is now sufficiently well off to play for fun and prestige alone. I hope so.

Game boards later.

20 Apr 2008

Grand Prix

The first FIDE Grand Prix tournament is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from April 20th to May 6th, 2008.

This event is part of a series of six tournaments to be held over a period two years (2008-2009).

Twentyone high-rated players have been invited to take part in this series of tournaments, each player taking part in four of them.

The winner of this Grand Prix series at the end of 2009 will be allowed to face the winner of the World Cup (to be held in 2009) in an eight game match. The one who wins that match will be allowed to challenge the World Champion in a match to be held in the third quarter of 2010.