1 Feb 2009

CORUS round 13

Lucky for whom?
Six hungry players vying for the top place. Some combinations seem more fortuitous than others: Aronian might have an easier task against Smeets that Carlsen, also as Black, against Wang.
Whatever is, an early draw from any of the top six seems unlikely.

After D45 Semi-slav with 5.e3
Wang has just gone out of book with 10.Rd1 rather than 10.Qe2

and Carlsen has replied 10..Qc8, which Junior11 is not too keen on, expecting an exchange on =d4= or =f3=.The three games in my database played 10...Bxf3, results 1/2 and 1-0. We shall see.At least it has by now already gained Carlsen 10 mins on the clock. Was it another 3/4 move, designed to cost time?

Make that 15 minutes: 1:30 vs 1:45

!!!Unless my board is wrong, this 10..Qc8 seems a very costly move for Black.I can't see Black's plan, although he firmly seems to have one.This this what he has in mind, with White (after more exchanges on =d5) having to lose a tempo by playing e4 to free his remaining Bishop?

Time now 1:20 vs 1:40

That is indeed the way it panned out and White has so many options that it takes a lot of thinking time.

White's eval is 3/4 of a pawn. He has command of the center and Black has a QS majority. I would prefer to be White, but then...Carlsen is Carlsen. He is playing a double game: the basic one and then variations on a theme. I reckon he has a 8 cpu in his head. What he has to sift through by playing his time squeeze method, is unbelievable. Statistics as for how much he can afford to go down in evaluation, just to niggle his opponent into more deliberations. Wonderful to behold.

Wang chooses wisely and moves in the Queen, retracts the Bishop. Black is building up the center and we are waiting to see on which flank White will attack.

More twists and turns: Carlsen doesn't drive off the Bishop yet, but moves his Queen in first 18.Qc4 Qe6 and now White commits himself to the QS by playing 19.b3 rather than moving his Queen over to the a-file.

Slowly but surely equalisation dawns and Carlsen has gained 25 minutes. And yet...I do not believe time is going to be an issue for Wang. In fact, I feel this style is needling him into raising his performance.

Is Carlsen going to toe the line and play a conservative move here? Such as getting his Knight out of hiding? 19.b3 Ng6 maybe?
Driving off the Bishop first with 19..h6?

Carlsen chooses the latter sequence, which again offers many choices for White about how far to retract that Bishop. All so subtle. Time 57 vs 61 minutes.

This is a cross roads and Carlsen's choice will determine the rest of the game. Which way is he going to jump? KS, QS or center?

Can he afford to sacrifice his QS majority in order to brerak up the center by taking the e-pawn? Is 21...b5 22.Qxb5 Qxe4 an option?
He plays 21...Bf8 and 22.e5 expected.

However, Wang retracts his Knight instead: 22.Nd2 very swiftly followed by 22....Ne7.
Now Black has switched his Bishop and Knight around and is ready for action. Equalized completely. 23.Rd3 Nc6 24.QxQ RxQ 25.a4 a6

Time 48 mins vs 66 mins
Not a lot in it and plenty for the remaining 15 moves.

Whilst I was making myself a cup of coffee and a piece of cream cake with blueberries, they arrived at this position, after 25.a4 a6 26.f3 b5 27.Bf2 Rc8 28.axb axb 29.Nf1 Nb4 30.Ne3 *

I was hoping for 30...Rd6, but Carlsen knew better and moved his Rook further over : 30...Ra6.
31.Be1 Ra3 32.Be1 eval -0.82 if Carlsen plays 32...Na2.

Smeets vs Aronian is drawn, so Aronian is on 7.5. Does Carlsen know? That ought to spur him on to a win. Last year they shared first place. Next year CORUS hangs in the balance, as it has just been sold to another company. End of the line for yet another great tradition?

Oops! Carlsen's Knight jumps the other way: 32...Nc6. His first (slight) error?

Lay off the orange juice, will you? No falling asleep now. Time: 17 mins vs 45 mins.

I hope Carlsen will not try and play for time here, as he can win it in its own right now.

Carlsen chooses 33.Rb1 Rca8, holding off on playing b4.
Now Radjabov has drawn, so all eyes are on Carlsen and Dominguez vs Karjakin.

34.Kf1 Nd4 Time: 9 vs 39 mins

Is there enough tension left to save this game from a draw?


Surely now is the time to put the boot in: Ra1 RxR RxR b4 Surely?

He doesn't! And I am out of here.

Ra2 indeed .


How sad. After all that brilliant play. I think there really wasn't anything but a draw all along and Wang wouldn't be psyched into a blunder.