31 Jan 2009

CORUS round 12

Once again a Carlsen game, vs the Dutch player Jan Smeets. A bit of an unknown quantity, but someone who played a creditable tournament so far.

Between them they opted for the Panov Caro-Kann, arrived at by the back door, possibly because Carlsen wanted to avoid yet another Slav today.

1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Ncd5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bb5 e6 8.0-0 Be7 9.d4 0-0 10.Re1

leading to:

Time 1:55 vs 1:40, so already Carlsen has a time advantage.

After 10.Re1 Bd7 11.Bd3 Rc8 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.Ne5 there is only one game left in my databases: Vaganian vs Serper, B10, 1993 1-0 in 20 moves, so there is obviously something fishy in that game.

Time now: 1:53 vs 1:21

13...Bf6 1:49 vs 1:14

(I would have liked to see 14.Bd2 but in that case Black couldn't have made the inferior reply of -g6-) ) ...g6??

After 13.Ne5 Bf6 14.Bf4 g6 15.Qb3 Na5 16.Qb4 Be6 17.Bh6 Bg7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.h4 Re8 the position is:

The hurry for 19.h4 escapes me. 19.h3 yes, so for Rac1, Re3, a4, b3. But h4?? Somebody tell me.
Compounding it with20.h5: now he needs a minor blunder from Black to get back on track. Is it all about time again? 91 mins vs 24 mins

OK, helpful move from Black : 20.h5 f6? Taking the =h5= pawn might have been wiser.

Move 23...Rcc7 has torn it: I can't see Smeets escaping now.

19.h4 Re8 20.h5 f6 21.Nf3 b6 22.Bb5 Re7 23.Re2 Rcc7 24.Rae1 Kf7 25.Qd2

Black's pieces are all over the place and White has the imminent threat of Ng5+

Whatever, curtains for Black. Notice how Carlsen doesn't make any two-pronged moves as soon as he has a slight accendancy?

Well done. Let's see how the competition is faring meanwhile.

At the end of today's round there are six player on 7/12, so tomorrow is going to be a hectic final day.

30 Jan 2009

CORUS round 11

After his win in round 10, Carlsen took a bite from the cherry: he is now within striking distance of the top, as long as Aronian doesn't do that well today and tomorrow.

Playing as Black against Morozewitch today, he has an even chance. Moro has not been at his best this tourney, but might want to prove himself towards the end, and a win over Carlsen would be a feather in his cap.

After the opening

The position looks like this:

With that last move Moro deviated from an obscure game played in Denmark in 1983.

Five moves later, and the board looks totally depleted. What has come over Carlsen? Does he need to catch a train?

I have no idea what they are up to.
Unless Moro is giving Carlsen some of his own medicine and using slightly off-beam moves to delay his squeezing technique.

leading to :

Time now 1:25 vs 1:38 and just gone down to vs 1:23, so Moro's efforts work and Carlsen needs thinking time himself.

I hope he will push his e-Rook forward and shift his attention to the kingside.

Well, he does and he doesn't: he leaves the Rook for the time being and merely pushes the h-pawn.

19.b4 h6 20.h3 a6

softly,softly from both of them now. The mood seems to have changed.

Soon one of them will have to take action and break up this pussy-footing.

There we go: 21.Rc5, finally! Time: 1:07 vs 1:11

Eliciting this Rc5 move from White a little earlier, by playing 19...Re4 before starting on the outside pawns. would not have helped Black:

19.b4 Re4 20.Rc5 Ne7 21.Rxd5 Nxd5
(not: 21.f5 Qd6 22.Rf4 RxR 23.QxR Rd8 24.Qa2 Qd6 ) 22.Qxe4 Nf6
would have equalized. So once again, Carlsen knew best.

In fact, i now think that this move ...Re4 isn't such a good idea on move 23....Re4 either and that Carlsen might have gone straight for Ne7 and bypass the Rook move altogether.

Time: 0.46 vs 1:01

Time: 26 vs 53 mins

after 23.axb4 Re4!? 24.Kh2 Rc4 25.R1xc4 dxc4 26.Qe2 *

Bar any blunders from his opponent today, it looks as if Aronian isn't going to win his game, nor draw either. Carlsen with a win could make them shared leaders. But is Carlsen going to win? Not by what I can see now. And Moro seems determined to keep his ebullience in check today. With 20 mins still for 12 moves it doesn't look like time trouble either.

With two rounds still to come, Carlsen might do well to opt for a safe draw now rather than risk a loss by playing offbeam moves to upset Moro's time keeping.

There is no leaway for Carlsen to do anything devious: the risks are too great and they trundle into a draw.

I find the quick exchanges around move 13 may have been to blame for this draw: the tension was released a little early and there wasn't the usual room for manoeuver so that Carlsen had to play straight down the line. No blunder from Moro, they both play competently, so a draw was inevitable.

I do not have high hopes for Carlsen as there are too many contenders within striking distance of the top spot. Besides, Carlsen has been playing below his strength for most of the games and can't really expect a top place.

There is always Linares....

28 Jan 2009

CORUS round 10

Carlsen versus the rather less wellknown Cuban Player, Leinier Dominguez, who is at present leading the tournament.
The result of this game will be decisive for Carlsen. Let's hope he has had enough of drawing too and will show it some welly today, or put the boot in, or whatever phrase springs to mind.

Grunfeld, with a slightly unusual move 4.Qb3 rather than one of the more frequent choices, such as 4.cxd5, 4.Bg5 or 4.Nf3

By move 11, after

it looks as if black will swipe the Queens off the board, and possible steer this into an early draw, to safeguard his overal positon in the tournament.

by playing 11...e5.

The boot is on the other foot today: it is Carlsen who is lagging behind in time. Interesting!

Carlsen is having none of it, and pushes the d-pawn rather than taking the e-pawn.

Sofar they are still following a game from the recent Elista tournament: Jakovenko versus Mamedyarov, 1/2.

After move 15.Qb3 * the position is this:

I have a feeling Carlsen outplayed his opponent in this little skirmish, although I can't quite put my finger on it. It is clear that he does not want to lose his Queen just yet and that probably means that he is really keen not to draw today. And this is where Carlsen parts company with Jakovenko, who did swap Queens and slid into a draw.

11.Bc1 e5 12.d5 ( not dxe) ..c6 13.Nf3 cxd5 (second attempt to swap Queens) 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Qb3 *

Black is thinking, time is 1:30 vs 1:23.

15...Be6 seems a likely choice. White might choose to forgo castling.A possible sequence like this:

15...Be6 16.Bc4 Nd7 17.Bxd5 Qa5+ could still push White into a Queen trad off: 18.Ke2 Qa6+ 19.Qd3 Qxd3+

As it happens, Black opts for 15...Kh8 and yet again pushes for a Queen swap and Carlsen has to pay for avoiding it this time. No 16.Qxd5, but

16.Bc4 Nc6 17.Bxd5

A very subtle stage of the game and both players very accomplished.

The outcome from this little bit of sword play is that both DSB's are a little hemmed in, but White has greater control of the center .
Time 1:25 vs 1:08.

I would like it if Carlsen stuck to the straight and narrow for a change. I.o.w. play 18.h3 rather than some esoteric move.

Thank goodness, Carlsen plays 18.h3, which really looks quite promising, especially if he saves a tempo and leaves off castling.

Just came back and it looks as if the Carlsen squeeze-technique is not wasted on Dominguez: he is getting rattled in time trouble and has just made the wrong knife-edge move, 30....Bc2, putting the LSB on =b2= rather than =b4= and from there on in it was one error after another.
Well, finally a win for Carlsen and that will put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Well deserved and I am glad that his technique is worth adhering to, even in the face of many near misses earlier in the tournament.

Oh I do nice work :-)
Wish some more people came to visit.

25 Jan 2009

Yet another draw

I'm getting rather cheesed off with Carlsen's ultra fast draws in this tourney, and will follow somebody else for a spell. Bosboom looks interesting. At least there is a bit of life in the game he is playing today.

So many draws about.
Are they sick or something?
Maybe Corus ought to impose some early draw restrictions such as they have in place at other venues.

I hate investing a few hours in something that fizzles out when there are still chances.

Well, what do I know?

19 Jan 2009

CORUS round 3

Today Carlsen was White against Movsesian.
Not much to say about this game and it ended in Carlsen's third draw.

18 Jan 2009

CORUS round 2

Today Carlsen was Black against the Dutchman Daniel Stellwagen.

Between them they opted for a Berlin Wall Ruy, as played by Kramnik in 2000 against Kasparov, in Hammersmith, London.

Carlsen deviated from the Kramnik line with move 10...b6 and played a Novelty on move 11...Bb7.

17 Jan 2009

CORUS round 1

The games I follow will be Carlsen's. Today he is playing White vs Radjabov.

Their Sicilian has already thrown up a surprise: 2...e6 3.g3 rather than 3.d4, obviously trying to avoid the Paulsen.

Either Bishop move would be sensible: Bg4 or Bd6. Which will it be?

Radja chooses the former and a struggle for the center is on the cards.

Now d4 is up for grabs. Which way, if at all, will Radja take it?
Whatever way he plays, Carlsen has a nice open position. Radjabov has spent an extra 20 minutes.
Black declines the offer of a pawn, realizing White would have too much compensation.
7.0-0 Be7 8.dxc5 Bxc5

Wise choice! But it cost him 20 minutes.

White plays 9.Qe1+ on her way to =c3=, where she exerts a threat on =g7= as well as on the c-file. Now not as effective as it would have been if Radja had played 7...Nxd4 first and then Be7, but still a very good move now, as it frees up the pin on the Knight at =f4=.

All in all a pretty position for White.

After 9.Qe1+ Be7 is almost forced, 10.Ne5, getting his freedom back, ...Be6, 11.c4 ?? What was wrong with an immediate 11.Nc3? Does White need his c-pawn forward? Oh well, Carlsen knows best.


the position looks like this:

This is the CRUX of the game, as far as I am concerned:
The choice for White on move 14.* will determine the end of the middle game.
a.Bxd5 Bxd5
b.Nxc6 bxc6
c.Bg5 Nxe5
possibly a quiet d.Bh3?

But none of these are picked. Instead Carlsen plays 14.Bh6!?

Reached after the sequence:

and I think it looks a little mushy. The life has gone out of this game and from hereon in it can only trundle to a draw. Pity, it looked so promising for Carlsen before this daft move 14.Bh6, which was somewhat previous in my view. How dare I.

The only glimmer of hope for a win is the fact that Radjabov has used up a lot of time: 1 hour vs 27 mins, with 22 moves to play. We shall see.

Acutally, Black's haste to grab that Bishop on =h6= may have been White's purpose after all; a trap you might say. Another 'monad trap' perhaps? In which case Black certainly fell into it, as 14....Nd7 would have been a lot healthier.

What fun! Carlsen's games are always lively and non-conformist. He brings out the best in some of his opponents, notably Aronian, and even Radjabov who is usually so conservative.

Sadly transmission from Wijk aan Zee was down for a good 30 minutes, most of which Carlsen had been thinking.

After this sequence

The position looks as follows:

Thanks to his joined Rooks and the ks pawn formation, White has a slight advantage. Can he do something with it?

By move 30 the time is 26 mins vs 3 mins, so Carlsen can do a Carlsen and throw in a challenging move in order to win on time. Can he find one that is puzzling and dangerous enough?


So close, so close, but Radja squeezed through the time portal.
Quite frankly, I shouted at Carlsen at move 33 and what I shouted was a3 -a3 -a3!
That would have thrown up such a bewildering choice for Black, that he would definitely have run out of time.

However, Carlsen has increased his edge from a narrow one to a slightly bigger one. Let's hope it is enough of a wedge to make him win.
I'm not biased. Not much!

After the sequence:

That extra pawn is going to bring home the bacon. And 43.Rxb6 was too flimsy. 43.h4 might have been better.

After move 52. Kh5 *
Looks nice but is it enough? Don't think so somehow.

I'm worn out. Seeing that it looks like yet another draw, I am going for a walk in the storm.

Moving boards with game and variations later today.

6 Jan 2009

HASTINGS top game

The oldest tournament in the world in Hastings, is still going strong.

Since its inception in 1885, it has seen all chess world champions participate, bar Kasparov and Fischer.

The game between the top two contestants, GM Neverov and GM Kurnesov turned into a D75 Fianchetto Grunfeld:

After Move 11.Rb1 all games in my db are 1-0, but after 11.Qb3, as in the text, there is a variety of results.

After Move 15.Qxe3 Rd8 the game has a very hollow centre. Now 16.Rfc1 Qd7 0.46 and 32 mins for White, 49 mins for Black.

and by Move 22 it looks just as lifeless, so a draw is inevitable. This means Kurnosov has won the Masters.