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.

0 comment: