Posts Tagged ‘carlsen’

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My last slow game of the year, the London Chess Classic and 18 blitz games

December 19, 2009

Even though its still quite busy at work, I am in the holiday mood when it comes to the blog, so I will keep it short. Here is my last game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 Nc6 7. f4
(7. Be2)

7… Qb6 8. Nf3 e6 9. Bd3 Be7 10. Qe2 Bd7 11. Rb1 Nb4
(11… O-O 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Nd5 14. Ne4 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Qxd4)

12. Be3 Nxd3+ 13. cxd3 Qa5 14. Nd2 Bc6 15. b4 Qc7 16. O-O b5 17. a5 O-O 18. d4?
(18. Rfc1) (18. Nf3)

18… Qb7! 19. e5 Nd5 20. Nxd5
(20. Nce4 dxe5)

20… Bxd5 21. Qg4 f5 22. exf6 Rxf6 23. Rf2 Rg6 24. Qh3 Rc8 25. Nf3 Rc3?
(25… Be4! 26. Re1 (26. Ng5 Bxg5 27. Rc1 Rh6 28. Rxc8+ Qxc8 29. Qg4 Bh4 30. Re2 Qc4) 26… Bf5 27. Qh5 Bg4 28. Qxg6 hxg6)

26. Bd2??
(26. Re1 Qc8 27. Bd2 Rh6 28. Qg4 Rc2 29. Qg3)

26… Rxf3 27. Rxf3 Bxf3 28. g3 Qe4 29. Re1 Qxd4+ 0-1

The London Chess Classic took place in London from the 8th-15th of December, with Carlsen winning with an unbeaten +3 performance in the 7 round event. I attended on 2 days, including on the 1st round when Carlsen scored a brilliant win over Kramnik! It was awesome to see a few hundred spectators come in every day; the GM commentary was also quite good. I even managed to get Carlsen’s and Nakamura’s autographs. I played in the evening foyer blitz tournament both days I attended, scored 3 out of 6 the first time and a much more impressive 4 out of 6 the second time around, where 5 out of my 6 games were against people rated much higher than me!

I also played in my club’s Christmas blitz tournament and scored an average 3 out of 6 – I beat three players rated below me and lost to three above me – nothing exciting there at all! No more chess (except the on-line variety) until the New Year when my first game is on the 7th.

Happy Holidays!

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An early look-ahead to Anand-Kramnik

March 12, 2008

Vishy won his second consecutive Linares after coasting through the second half of the tournament with 6 straight draws to finish. Carlsen, who people are predicting to move up to 4/5 in the world in the latest rankings, finished half a point behind for his second straight second place in Linares. Combined with his win in Corus in January, his performances are certainly noteworthy and perhaps a bit scary to the rest of the field.

There’s a number of important classical tournaments coming up in the next few months – the newly formed Grand Prix, MTel, Dortmund etc. But I am already starting to look ahead to the clash of the titans in October. It is gearing up to be a classic (though I wish the match were doubled in length, to 24 games). While the general consensus is that Kramnik is the stronger match player after his win over Kasparov, I maintain its not as wide a gap as many would have you believe. Kramnik did lose a match to Shirov before his match with Kasparov, yet managed to be the guy to play him for the world title. His 2 title defence matches (has it been only 2 in 7 years?) were tight affairs with a draw with Leko and a tiebreak with Topalov (though to be fair, in that match, he forfeited one game because of Toiletgate). Anand hasn’t played any matches recently but bar his match with Kasparov, has an extremely good match record throughout his career. Even in that ill-fated match with Kasparov, he went blow-for-blow with him and even recorded the first win of the match in the 9th game before losing a flurry of games.

In his book on his best games, Anand says he learnt a lot in his preparation for that world championship match and that the experience would serve him well in any future matches for the world title. I am really curious as to his choice of seconds for the match. I guess Peter Heine Nielsen, his regular second, would be a part of the team. I wonder if he would get any of the Indian crop to help him out – I guess he would – a subset of Sasikiran Krishnan, Pentala Harikrishna and Surya Shekhar Ganguly would be my guess. I would really like him to include a Carlsen or Aronian as part of his team but I doubt it would happen. I’m not sure he would like to work with who he would see as his prime competition over the next few years to have an insight into his preparations.

The more I write about it, the more curious I get…

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Will this year’s Linares be any different?

February 16, 2008

Ok, ok, Morelia-Linares, as it has been for the past couple of years. Three decisive games (with 3 Sicilians and one win each for white and black) in the first round certainly provokes hope that it will be. Linares, even more than the other super-tournaments, is a draw-haven. With a double round-robin format among 8 of the elite players resulting in only 4 games a day (I actually prefer their old format where they had 7 players in a double round-robin, with one player sitting out each day), it is very rare to get more than 1 decisive game a day.* In the past few editions, the one day of 3 decisive games was negated by the couple of days with all draws.** Let’s hope this one’s different.

It was interesting to see Anand bring out the Najdorf against Shirov. He seems to mostly prefer the Petroff and the Ruy nowadays, but seems to bring out the Najdorf against specific players – Carlsen and Judit Polgar come to mind. I think this is because all four of them are similar kinds of players (except maybe Polgar who isn’t as positionally savvy as the other three, I think), and he feels confident he can out-think them in any kind of position. I am especially keen on observing his upcoming two games with Carlsen – if I am not mistaken, he has beaten Carlsen in their last 3 meetings – twice in the same tournament last year and then last month at Wijk Aan Zee. Carlsen will of course be riding high after his tournament victory there.

Obviously, I am rooting for Anand to come good – this being his last tournament with classical time-controls before his match with Kramnik in October (I believe he is playing in the Monaco Amber Rapid-Blindfold tournament and probably a couple of other rapid tournaments before then), it is his chance to re-emphasize his World Champion status. Obviously, Kramnik is an extremely strong match player and has played many more matches of late. He will of course have to get past Kramnik’s Petroff (or worse, Berlin), and though he came close to it at Wijk last month, I think he will have to switch to 1.d4 to make inroads. With black, he’s recently moved from the QID to the Semi-Slav, which I think brings him a lot more winning opportunities. Let’s wait and see.

* Having said that, I prefer Linares to Dortmund. Though Dortmund might have more decisive games because they usually have one or two players not at the very top, the constant shuffling of formats (double round-robin, round-robin within groups followed by knockouts, and the current format with single round-robin) has left me disinterested. Moreover, the current format results in the tournament finishing before I’ve really had a chance to get into it as a fan.

* Linares was, of course, a very exciting event back in the day when first Karpov, then Kasparov, were dominating chess. Karpov’s famous +9, 11/13 performance in 1994 is the stuff of legend, while Kasparov’s domination there, year after year, is also simply mind-boggling.