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MTel 2009: Carlsen Starts Hot

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Apparently the live broadcast was canceled for the first round. Maybe my joke about this being a contagious disease had something to it. What the heck? Three events in a row, from Baku to St. Louis to Sofia, all incapable of putting a live chessgame on the web, a technology that was mastered before Bill Clinton started his second term. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. Official site here. Nice photo gallery here ht thenewone in the comments.

Broadcast woes aside, wow, what a start! Magnus Carlsen dominated the first round battle of top seeds against world #1 Veselin Topalov. In the mandatory Semi-Slav Carlsen kept the initiative through exchanges and eventually crashed through. You don't see Topalov go down this smoothly very often. It was as if he was pushed out to sea on an ice floe. (In the fjords, we can assume.) After 31.Rc7 it's already over; the brain is dead even though the heart is still pumping. Topalov enjoys a good comeback more than anyone, especially at the MTel, but losing to the other favorite right at the start can't be good.

Shirov also got off to a good start, with considerable help from his opponent Ivanchuk. 16.c5 is just plain weird, although Gelfand tried it against Shirov eleven years ago. He also got into trouble early, by the way. Shirov's may have remembered the response 16..Nxd4! from way back then (he played 16..Rde8 against Gelfand), but it's certainly not that hard to find OTB. White can bail out into a worse endgame with 18.fxe4 but Ivanchuk brought an entire suitcase full of mistakes and he was eager to unpack. The d-pawn got rolling and instead of grovelling with 23.Qf2 Ivanchuk pitched a piece to a pin and resigned. One of the worst 2700 games I can remember in that it wasn't just a simple piece of blindness that can happen to anyone on a bad day. Ugly. Kids, don't do drugs. Or whatever Ivanchuk was doing today, don't do it.

The inescapable Red Twins faced each other in the only drawn game. Wang Yue and Leinier Dominguez are the strongest players from East Asia and Latin America, respectively. Such regional considerations have been ignored for quite a while in super-events from what I can remember, but for whatever reason these two have been playing in so many events together lately I expect to find them blitzing in my kitchen. Mostly it's been rough going for the underdogs, with the exception of the Cuban's excellent result at Corus, where he was in with a chance for first going into the last round (along with everybody else, admittedly) before losing to Karjakin. Despite the mediocre results Dominguez has shown some great preparation and the occasional flash. Wang Yue was best known for not losing before he started this supertournament marathon. Now the elite guys seem to have figured him and his narrow repertoire out and his play generally isn't dynamic enough to make fire from damp wood. (His spectacular thrashing of the over-pressing Carlsen in Linares is a counter-example. Obviously he can be dangerous.)

With some time to recharge his batteries and his repertoire, Wang Yue came out hard against Dominguez's Grunfeld. The Chinese got just the sort of position he excels at, a long grind. He had the exchange for a pawn and after 30 moves he was ready to cash in. Black had to give up a bishop for desperation counterplay with three connected passers. Surprisingly, Wang Yue was not up to the task. The simplest win came at the very end when 64.Kd3 stops the pawns and it's hasta la vista, baby. I imagine the lack of increment and third time control was a factor. The fast 40/90' + g/60' is in effect, unfortunately.

Round 2: Shirov-Topalov, Dominguez-Carlsen, Ivanchuk-Wang Yue.


Incredible, but seems right


I had a good laugh, but we have to change and revolutionize the chess software.

I realize it's a simple tactic, and undoubtedly book, but 9. Bf8 in the LarryC-Robson game is one of the most eye-catching moves I've seen in a while.

this is one of the best prose pieces i've ever seen in a while "but Ivanchuk brought an entire suitcase full of mistakes and he was eager to unpack"
I mean I feel sorry for Ivanchuk but wow what a writeup.

I will root for Shirov, Carlsen and Ivanchuk tomorrow!

I'll take Shirov to win.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 13, 2009 6:47 PM.

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