Archive for April, 2010

Kindred’s Special: IGM Magnus Carlsen tops Corus at Wijk aan Zee 2010

April 8, 2010

Our industry into the chessworld is often local, regional, state or even national where the amateur population exceeds the talents of our own super stars with rankings of Master, International Master, Senior Master, and Grandmaster. Years ago you could often count such star entries on your fingers and might have to include some toe count as well. My point is that all of us at some time or other have met across the board paired with some of these chess giants with the hope of creating a gem, happy to see how we fare in the battle. Often we are simply pleased to wage war with them even with the probable result a big fat “0”!–a game to cherish in your game recorder.

Fourteen great chess stars met in battle royale at Wijk aan Zee 2010 and the final result was a spectacular win for teen Magnus Carlsen (8.5) followed by Vladimir Kramnik (8), Alexey Shirov (8) Vishy Anand (7.5), Hikara Nakamura (only USA rep.) (7.5), Sergey Karjakin (7), Vasily Ivanchuk (7), Peter Leko (6.5), Leinier Dominguez (6.5), Faviano Caruana (USA/Italy) (5.5), Nigel Short (5), Loek van Wely (5), Serey Tivakov (4.5), Jan Smeets (4.5). Ratings ranged from 2600+ to over 2800. The finishing positions of the players reflect pretty close their final placing. Perhaps a bit upset was the 4th place finish for Anand who managed only 2-wins and 11-draws. Winner Carlsen took 5-wins, 1-loss, and 7-draws. Kramnik managed 4-wins, 1-loss, 8-draws. The aggressive attacking player Alexy Shirov equaled Carlsen in the win column with 5-wins but posted 2-losses, 6-draws.

Preparation is the key to success in such tournaments and must include familiar style and favorite lines of opponents, help by coaches or chess buddies, strategy against the known field–sizing up opposition and predicting probable draws, wins and hope to limit defeats as much as possible. Among the influences to take into account are days off, diet, exercise, and restful sleep times. Yes, chess is not just a game! It is work, dedication to one’s love drive desire to overcome all obstacles possible.

Many of the games are annotated and commented on in the pages of New In Chess Magazine and geared to the skill of great talents although Carlsen does a good job explaining his own thought processes. I select what he calls his best game from the tournament.

White: Sergey Karjakin  vs  Magnus Carlsen……….Opening: French Defense (C11).

1.e4  e6 2.d4  d5  3.Nc3  Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4  c5 6.Nf3  Nc6  7.Be3  Be7  8.Qd2  O-O  9.Be2  a6.

As a pure question with square count in consideration, does White possess any future with 20.h4 here with ideas like Kf2, Rag1, g4 aside from more standard lines?

10.O-O  b5.

Square count is 9/8 in white’s favor and reflects the rather equal position and all book so far.


Cunning play and no doubt a new idea by Karjakin to meet the more normal ideas of either Nd1 or a3 where, with the usual black action to those moves, the King in the corner will be beneficial.

11. …Qc7  12.a3  Bb7  13.Rad1.

Another thought I have here is 13.Rae1 with the idea of playing the Bd1, Qf2 and Ne2 if chased. That way White would have some hope of sharpening the game with such aggessive play.

13. …Rac8  14.Qe1  cxd4 15.Nxd4 Nxd4  16.Bxd4  Bc5  17.Qh4? (Carlsen suggests 17.Qf2 with f6 coming in the near future but the Queen would better serve the center arena.

17. … Bxd4  18.Rxd4  f6!  19.Bd3  h6  20.exf6  Rxf6  21.f5  Rcf8 22.Rg1  Nc5!  23.fxe6 Nxe6 24.Rg4 Nf4  25.Qg3  Qe7!  26.Rxf4  Rxf4  27.Ne2  Rf1.

Carlsen pointed out that the tempting idea 27…Rh4 which mates after 28.Qg6 with Rxh2+29.Kxh2 Qh4 mate. However, he says that he could not find a suitable answer against 28.c3 by White.

28.Nd4  Rxg1+ 29.Kxg1  Re8  30.h4  Qe1+ 31.Kh2  Qxg3+ 32.Kxg3  Kf7 33.Kf2 Kf6  34.g3  Bc8  35.c2  Bg4  36.Bc2 g5 37.hxg5+ hxg5 38.Bb3  Ke5  39,Bc2  Rf8+ 40.Kg2  Bd7  41.Nf3+ Kf6 42.Bb3 g4 43.Nd4  Ke5.

The White King’s mobility is nil.

44.Bc2 a5  45.Bd1 Ke4.

Enter the King and White decides to turn down his King in resignation.