However, he immediately went astray after Rd3 with his response Rec8? I already knew I had to play Qb2 as anything else looked bad for white, but spent time trying to figure out if I had missed anything. Suddenly discovering what he has missed earlier, Nakamura wisely tried to complicate further with 22…. Nc5, but the subsequent tactics where less difficult to find, and I managed to convert to a winning endgame with two extra pawns on the kingside, a safe king, and pressure against his passed a4-pawn.
Magnus Carlsen, Zagreb, July 7 th I accepted an offer from the professional and friendly event people in f-reklame to come to Copenhagen two weeks ago for a board simul, an interview with a brain researcher and two games of rapid chess against young Jonas Bjerre. It took place in the Circus building and showed that chess can work as the main theme of an evening of entertainment together with a good meal. It was my first visit to Scotland and it is a country and a landscape agreeable to a Norwegian; The same irresistible early summer green, many striking similarities with parts of Norway combined with the unique moors and coastline.
Against opponents Ding Liren, V. Anand and S. Ding had a winning position against Anand on day 2 game 5 and could have had a half point lead before our last round encounter. Instead he lost and had to win with white against me. At some point he outplayed me, and the pawn down endgame was highly uncomfortable. I thought I had reasonable changes to hold, and it turned out to be difficult to find a winning plan.
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I managed to hang on and draw to take sole 1st. The Lindores organizers showed great passion for chess and I hope it becomes a regular event. If the classical game end in a draw, we play a so-called Armageddon game with half the original stakes. White has 10 minutes, black 7, and 3 sec increment from move White has to win, black wins in case of a drawn game.
We keep the same colors as in the classical game. Personally I favor black in this format, but so far white has scored slightly better. A classical win yields 2 points , a classical draw half a point each, and the winner of the Armageddon gets another full point total 1. The initial Blitz Chess tournament on Monday was great fun. I played some speculative and interesting openings and was still in contention for 1st when playing the leader Vachier-Lagrave in the last round.
I got a winning advantage, but again I failed to find the critical line Nd7 and lost. Shared 2nd with Aronian and third on tie-break was a fine start here in Stavanger, and I have five games with white in the classical event. Against Anand in round 1 I got a slight advantage with the bishop pair and a potentially marginally better pawn structure, although it should not be much for white. He allowed me to make significant progress and ended up sacrificing the e-pawn to exchange a pair of bishops and activate his knight.
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He held the rook ending a pawn down fairly easily to a draw. There were several interesting games in round 1 but somehow all ended draw to reach Armageddon games. Having watching Aronian — Grischuk struggle with their time management in the unusual new format to reach a crazy time scramble, I was a bit nervous about how to approach the must-win-with-white game.
I think Anand made a mistake already with 12…. Nf6 gave me access to and full control of d6. Against Aronian in round 2 my inaccuracy 10… Be7 allowed his brilliant Qb1! Trying to activate my pieces with a pawn sacrifice g5 failed, and I was simply a pawn down with a worse position and bleak prospects. Somehow I managed to hang in there until mutual time trouble, and he failed to find winning resources in the rook endgame.
After this narrow escape it was just a pleasure to play another Armageddon game, while Aronian must have had exactly the opposite feeling having missed such a chance in the classical part. In todays game against Grischuk I got a very pleasant position from the opening and I had fun playing an attacking game throwing everything at his king. His counterplay on the queenside was not sufficiently efficient, and when he got low on time as well, I quickly got a winning attack.
Having won my last four games in Baden-Baden in the previous classical tournament, I was very satisfied to score a full point after a bit lackluster play in the classical part of round 1 and 2. Magnus Carlsen, Stavanger, June 7 th Compared to April and June, my May schedule is less hectic. Even after a highly successful run in classical chess this year, playing a different format brings some uncertainty. Finding the right balance between strategic plans requiring deep calculations and intuitive play, is particularly challenging in Rapid chess.
Petersburg in December, was not optimal despite a reasonable score.
All the more, I was delighted to be able to play quite well in the Rapid portion in Abidjan. The great score 7. Against So and Nakamura I made a tactical mistake and against Ding a strategic mistake at critical moments. Overall I played quite decently. Sometimes three is enough. Fortunately the results were nowhere near catastrophic, and I had a healthy lead overall also going into the last day.
Another early loss against Vachier-Lagrave, when I botched a very comfortable position by bringing the knight to d3, having missed Ne1 after Rb1 Rd2 Rxb3 from afar, forced me to look back over my shoulder. Later my form gradually improved, and I ended on a high note beating Nakamura with black from an equal ending in the last round. I finished clear first with And, it was great to see so much passion for chess in the parallel events and among organizers and spectators! The Rapid section started at 5pm and one day we went to the beach by nearby city Grand-Bassam.
The waves were surprisingly big. We were told it is a typical phenomenon in this part of Africa despite little wind, and we enjoyed the combination of beautiful beaches and a challenging swim. They had managed to bring together an impressive field of interesting opponents, and I thoroughly enjoyed the event!
Magnus Carlsen, Oslo, May 20 th Complaining about fatigue in the previous blog post may now appear to be counterfactual. I won all my four games in Baden-Baden to reach my highest elite nine-round-robin score ever with 7. Probably my opponents were just as affected by the string of hard-fought battles throughout the tournament as I was. In round 6 Meier chose his usual set-up with kingside fianchetto, short castle, d4 followed by 6.
I think I managed to surprise him with the interesting response b5! Later he played a4, Na3, Nb5 with such speed and determination that I had to suspect it was preparation. It turned out his position is already quite tricky. I soon got an overwhelming position despite being a pawn down. By move 40 I had squandered most of my advantage and was fortunate to have 40…. Qe1 maintaining excellent practical winning chances despite the lack of a clear plan.
He defended well until his impatient and too ambitious king-march to capture the d2-pawn. This was an important victory both to create traction after three draws and also because co-leader Anand lost to Naiditsch giving me a one-point lead. My games against Aronian and Svidler were both sheer pleasure. By achieving positions were I had a clear plan and harmonic piece placement, while my opponents lacked a clear plan, I could play natural moves fast and still continuously pose problems.
Arguably none of them put up a great defense, and a staunch defense is generally a prerequisite for inclusion among my best games. The level of opposition is not something I can control. Caruana won in round 7 and 8 and could theoretically catch up with me in the last round.
I played white against Vachier-Lagrave and in a symmetrical English Opening he chose 6…. Bf5 planning to control the c8-h3 diagonal. I prioritized 7. His problem was that while his structure resembled the Benko, my pawn structure was significantly more compact than in the Benko. Maybe he had a slight compensation for the pawn initially, with the pin on c3 and control of b4 and d4 but it only took a few precise move to cement my advantage.
I think his decisive mistake was 17…. Nxf3 and that he maybe had missed The queen, rook-and-bishop-ending a pawn down is maybe not totally lost for him but in practice very difficult. He seemed to have mentally resigned when we entered the pawn-up queen ending, and after 35… h5 I had a quite comfortable win. Having thoroughly enjoyed Gashimov Memorial and gained confidence, I was optimistic before Grenke Chess. Magnus Carlsen, Baden-Baden, April 29 th We have just arrived in Baden-Baden for the second part of Grenke Chess Classics after playing round in the Kongresszentrum in Karlsruhe.
The opening ceremony took place April 18 before the 1 st round of the Grenke Open.
Due to the great efforts of the organizers and support of main sponsor Mr. Grenke, the Open had two thousand participants! The drawing of lots determines the number of games with the white and black pieces for each player. Starting number begin with white and has 5 white and 4 black, vice versa.
I drew number 6 and started with black as I have done fairly consistently for more than a year.