Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Magnificent Magnus Wins Pearl Spring

| Permalink | 143 comments

It seems strange to wrap up a supertournament with a round still to play. But that's what I'm doing because that's what Magnus Carlsen has done in Nanjing. Actually it's not terribly unusual. Last year in the inaugural Pearl Spring event Topalov won with a round to spare, finishing with +4, a point and a half ahead of Aronian. Ivanchuk's incredible +6 at MTel 2008 gave him the same margin over Topalov (though had Ivanchuk lost in the final round and Topalov won, they would have tied for first). Carlsen, after nine rounds in Nanjing and only tomorrow's white against Jakovenko to go, has a lead of two full points over Topalov and a performance rating hovering just under 3000. He's on +5 with exactly one win over each participant. Topalov is the only other player on plus score, his +1 actually under his lofty rating expectation.

Round nine was a day of draws after round eight was the first day with three decisive encounters. Carlsen forgot some of his preparation against Wang Yue and soon he was a move away from near certain loss. 20.Nb3 is bad; 20.Nf3 was correct. But Wang Yue missed his chance. 23..Ne7! and White loses piece, keeping only desperate attacking chances against the black king. After 23..Rc8 24.Qd3! Carlsen escaped intact and went on to outplay his opponent for his fifth victory. Also in the 8th round, Jakovenko won nicely against Radjabov's Dragon and Topalov ripped the listless Leko apart with the black pieces.

Other than the Wang Yue blip Carlsen's preparation has been as awesome as the rest of his play. I had a long conversation with Garry Kasparov about seeing his work with Carlsen pay off so impressively in Nanjing. You'll be able to get all the details in his upcoming New In Chess article that also covers his match with Karpov and its implications, combined with the lack of money for Anand-Topalov, for the chess world. I even got a glance at the notebook Kasparov keeps on his work with Carlsen. (Ironically, it's a "World Cup 1990" notebook, given out at the GMA qualifier in Moscow the year Carlsen was born.) I even took a few pictures, though the censor got to them first. As Carlsen said on the official Nanjing website, he's been in touch with Kasparov via the internet after each round to discuss preparation for each opponent. Kasparov was quite happy with their work, but also emphasized how tough Carlsen has been at the board, well beyond their preparation. In cinematic terms, he said Carlsen was "killing the bear!", which this scene will help you understand. We'll see if he's going to go Full Garry Bear and try to beat Jakovenko in the largely meaningless final round.

More the of the event finishes -- officially. Round 10: Leko-Wang Yue, Topalov-Radjabov, Carlsen-Jakovenko. Five hours earlier, or 10pm NY time. Just about now!

Wow, Carlsen just beat Jakovenko before the end of the first time control. 5/5 with white! Holy hell. -- Topalov-Radjabov just finished, a final-round marathon with Topalov sacrificing a pawn for a long-term squeeze against the King's Indian. Finally a repetition with just minutes left for both players in the second control. Now that's getting your money's worth from a tournament! Many hard-fought and exciting games in this one, though it's hard to focus on anything other than Carlsen's insane +6 undefeated. He finished 2.5 points ahead of the world #1! He seemed tired in the second half, however, and now has the even stronger Tal Memorial in Moscow and then the London Classic with Kramnik and Nakamura. Not too long after that it's Corus time again...


Carlsen just finished off Jakovenko in a very simple looking but powerful and brutal style. Magnificent indeed.

All hail the Magnificent Magnus!!!
Jakovenko was made to look like a patzer by His Greatness today.
Radjabov's KID is having a miserable time today vs. Topalov (as of move 41). I'm sure Teimour will want to forget this tournament very quickly.
I don't think anyone expected anything other than a draw between Leko - Wang Yue, and that's what happened.
Magnus simply outclassed everyone in this tournament. He's made a very impressive statement that he's arrived and is ready to assert his supremacy against anyone anytime in any venue.

Topalov-Radjabov, just one pawn gone on move 44. Last pawn move was 20.h3, so 50-move rule on move 71! Wouldn't be the first time, but would be hilarious. Not going to happen, but still. 24 moves without a capture or a pawn move, and in the final round, no less. Topalov is hardcore.

I don't see how the last round was meaningless! It secures this tournament a permanent place in chess history. Carlsen the 5th person to go over 2800. At 18 the youngest to go over 2800. And one of the few TPR of over 3000. What a beast!

Impressive! With this last win, Carlsen crosses the 2800 mark on the live rating. That must have added some extra motivation to the otherwise "largely meaningless final round" :-)

He will be playing a few rated games before the November list, so the 2800 live-rating is somewhat arbitrary still.

But is there any probability they will actually be counted for the November list? Isn't it the European Team Championship he'll play? Which ends October 31...

How many games does he play before the list comes out?

given magnus' norway team is tied for last... I don't think he'll have a terrible difficult opponent...

Yes, he will be playing for the Norwegian team, in Serbia, October 21-31. Henrik seemed under the impression there was a fair chance it would be rated for the November list. Perhaps frogbert knows for sure.

Fantastic tournament by Magnus!

-Is it the Kasparov-factor or is it the local food? Maybe Leko should switch diet from vegetables to chineese food too?

Isn't Chinese food customarily laced with glutamate? Chinese Restaurant Syndrome does not seem consistent with strong chess. I'll put my money on the fish oil in his orange juice. (Ew...)

nm got confused with the on going ecc where norway isn't doing well.

Well if Magnus is playing before the next rating maybe he can gain enough points to pass Topalov on this list!

It would be hysterical to deprive Topalov of his #1 rating spot during his WC with Anand. #2 & #3 duke it out!

Ok, thanks. It would be a pity if he dropped below 2800 again and they were counted. Not that it "really" matters, but it still kind of does. But it is of course just a matter of time anyway. Of course it would also mean he could gain some more points and overtake Topalov!

Actually, I think Carlsen's performance at Pearl Spring will further de-motivate any backers stepping forward to fund the Anand-Topalov match. People will want to see Carlsen, not Topalov, duke it out with Anand.

Man, what an incredible game by Carlsen. Check that game out and tell me you are not reminded of Capablanca or Fischer. I am full of admiration for this type of game, because I dont really understand how White could just steamroll Black from the position with Q+2N+2R vs Q+2N+2R.

"Actually, I think Carlsen's performance at Pearl Spring will further de-motivate any backers stepping forward to fund the Anand-Topalov match. People will want to see Carlsen, not Topalov, duke it out with Anand."


You got that right!

Actually, Topalov has a chance to be historic here: He can declare that he is withdrawing from the World Championship match with Anand, stating that he is "unworthy", requesting that Magnus Carlsen take his place.

Now THAT would make people remember Topalov 10 or 20 years from now!

Carlsen 2800+ and a 3000+ performance while still 18 years old :)

Allthough I am a big Carlsen fan I find this argument a bit strange:
Topalov is still rated number 1 in the world, if the best player in the world is not "worthy" to play for the title, then who is?

Come an guys, let Topalov enjoy his shot at the title next year.

During the FIDE GP controversy last year, Magnus pointed out the need for predictable and transparent terms for the WC qualifiers. That goes in both directions, of course. I don't think he agrees with your "street justice" (although it's probably said humorously).

Topalov qualified and he deserves the match, whatever the prize money will be. I also think his will step up his performance and give Anand a hard fight.

"(although it's probably said humorously)"

It was, indeed. :)

Smartingen and BobbyF, exactly. Its about qualifying, not the latest tournament performance. Toaplov qualified, and I for one am REALLY looking forward to the match. And I find his attitude and approach great as always. How hard did he try to win that last round game?? This is what Chess needs.
Btw, Wang Yue doesnt have the most aggressive repoertoire, but man he's good. I am quite impressed with his ability.

Didn't we have an, at least somewhat, similar situation before? Player S qualified for a WCh match against Kasparov, no sponsors could be found, and eventually player Kr played (and won) that match. Of course S=Shirov and Kr=Kramnik, and there are some differences: Kramnik had lost the qualifying match, and a WCh match Kasparov-Shirov didn't attract sponsors (considered to be one-sided) because Shirov had some bad performances [due to private problems] falling further behind on the rating list.

Some people still hold against Kramnik that he accepted to play the match, would things be different (or rather viewed differently) if Carlsen was presented with a WCh match without qualifying? BTW, the current Carlsen (+-Kasparov) hype is understandable, but at face value his 8/10 at Nanjing is just slightly stronger than Ivanchuk's 8/10 at MTel2008. We all know that Chucky could not, at least not consistently, confirm this result ... . (Of course Carlsen is a more stable, arguably stronger player - unlikely to lose many rating points in a single event and very unlikely to fall below 2700 again, i.e. disappear from the live rating list for a day.)

P.S.: I just see that at least Arctic Stones was joking, but even jokes can be put in a historical context!?

"Some people still hold against Kramnik that he accepted to play the match"

I think very few people hold it against Kramnik that he accepted the invitation to play that match. What many find diffcult to stomach is his hypocrisy afterwards in insisting on qualifiers, and basically dodging a rematch with Kasparov.

Here we go again....

Another 50 postings pros/cons what Kramnik did/didn't do in the past.

Bring in the popcorn.

Kramnik dodging a rematch with Kasparov? Not quite.

Kasparov was supposed to play a semi-final against Ponomariov. The winner would have played against the winner of Kramnik-Leko.That was the Prague agreement.

Unfortunately, Ponomariov was ill-advised by his manager at the time, and refused to play for ridiculous reasons (such as him being called World Champion and requesting a rest day at a particular time during the match). That threw the deal off.

And who was Ponomariov's manager? Who was the man ultimately responsible for the failure of the Prague agreement? Who denied a chance to Kasparov for a rematch?

No other than Silvio Danailov.


"Round nine was a day of draws after round eight was the first day with three decisive encounters. Carlsen forgot some of his preparation against Wang Yue and soon he was a move away from near certain loss. 20.Nb3 is bad; 20.Nf3 was correct. But Wang Yue missed his chance. 23..Ne7!"

I find this move REALLY difficult to spot. I wonder how many of those commenting on-line at the time and screaming for this move actualy found it themselves. I feel Wang Yue didnt really deserve to lose this game, but man, Carlsen kept up the pressure.

If one thread shouldn't be about Kramnik it ought to be this one.

This young man is more than a chess prodigy, what a genius. Never mind the fact that he is only 18, never mind the fact that he is from Norway (not much chess tradition)...this young man is the future world champion and most probably will break the 2900 barrier. Go Magnus!

Why not (at all)? At the start of his career, Kramnik was also the young talent vs. established players (e.g. Kasparov). Morever, Garry compared Carlsen's style with Karpov and Capablanca [only other people, several ones, mentioned Bobby Fischer] - so he could also include Kramnik's name. He didn't, probably for a reason ... .

Another wild thought: IF Topalov declined to play the match against Anand (for example because the prize fund doesn't meet his expectations), according to the rules he would be replaced by Kamsky. Would this be the match that we (and sponsors) like to see? Some Americans might even suggest (absurdly IMO) that Kamsky should give his spot to Nakamura ... .
Btw, I think a match Anand-Kamsky wouldn't be as one-sided as the ratings suggest - and it would also be interesting from a historical perspective.

Just to put the record straight, Topalov didn't qualify. He lost his title to Kramnik in Elista and was gifted the match with Kamsky just like Kramnik losing the match to Shirov and being given a match with Kasparov. But anyway, this thread is about Magnus' incredible performance.

Just looking at that schedule! I hope Carlsen doesen't suffer from burn out. All this is making for an incredible Tal Memorial, the old boy sure would be proud.
Btw, the whole point of the last 16 years (since the schism) was to try to get some order into the WCC cycle, however imperfect it might be. So the silly suggestors of a Carlsen-Anand match would do well to remember it.

"Btw, the whole point of the last 16 years (since the schism) was to try to get some order into the WCC cycle, however imperfect it might be."

Has FIDE gotten some semblance of order into the WCC cycle? Hello!?
Did I miss something?!?

I looked at the Chessvibes article on Carlsen's last win which is pretty good. I am now slightly less in the dark about this game. So many difficult moves to find for White though. A little positional gem, even if Jakovenko didnt play the best defence. I was also impressed by Kapasrov's wins against Karpovn in this line, but they were rapid games. This game is amazing.

Regarding fair/unfair qualifiers:
Anand - Topalov will play a match next year, 2010.

From then on, old controversy will be reset. The winner of the candidate tournament 2010, whoever it will be, has earned his title match in 2011. OK?

After Carlsen's quick start, I posted a note of caution, "Don't count your chickens, etc." But wow, Magnus played a near perfect tournament.

It was funny how how he held back playing f6+ for several moves against Jakovenko.

Congrats to Topalov on winning the tournament.
I hear some young Norwegian stopped by and played a simul, did quite well, one to look out for.

Rather lame rip-off of Seirawen's joke, as related by Mig? :-)

Carlsen should continue wearing the shirt at the Tal Memorial.

Utterly unrelated to topic above: but does anyone know anything about the President of the Albanian Chess Federation? Rumour is that he's thinking about buying AC Milan from Berlusconi. If he's that rich, is he sponsoring anything chess-related?...

Absolutely, Topalov qualified, and he and nobody else should play Anand next. (Even apart from this, one might wonder why Carlsen, who has not yet proven his superiority, should get the chance before him.) However, one should not forget that Topa received the benefit of a mid-cycle rule change in the first place, without which the World Cup winner would have played the World Champion (turning out to be Anand) for the title directly.

Seems to me that the real story is Topalov's failure to perform in Nanjing. What happened to him?

As far as Topalov being seeded into the WC vs. Anand, thank his manager, not his performance! All he had to do was a) lose to Kramnik and b) beat Kamsky. Please! Wouldn't the Soviets of yesteryear be proud!

Topalov was not that far below his sky high rating. Carlsen was definitely the story. How can one of the all time great performances (by an 18-year-old no less) not be?

Resultwise Topalov's performance was fine. Sooner or later he had to perform slightly below 2800 instead of above it as has been the case for quite some time. One more half point and he would have gained rating. I'm not sure his play deserved it, though.

Yep, Carlsen's Nanjing 2009 will go down in history as a classic. It's an old cliché used way too many times, but this is the real thing -- just think about all the ingredients. Magic. Although ideally Anand and/or Kramnik and/or Aronian should have been in the field too.

I guess you would agree though that this is better than the situation with picking Kramnik himself for his WC match? What's better, being seeded into the cycle and winning your one qualification match, or losing your qualification match and being selected anyway?

My apologies to Vugar Gashimov whom I slagged off as a second-tier GM a year ago. He is now unofficially number 6 in the world and rated 2759. Congratulations Sir!

Na, I overlooked Mig's one, twas a lame rip off of a comment on Fischer.
Topalov did very well all the same, almost 2800 performance, it's not his fault someone else did much better...and who knows how much he is holding back for his match?
I especially liked how Leko and Jakovenko tried to take on Carlsen in systems used by Kasparov v Karpov, both without success!! How interesting to see K's "shadow" on the board..
overall, great tournament. Only Radjabov really disappointed. It is a good time to ask what is is Carlsen has that is getting him these results, chess skill aside- I would opine, fighting spirit-heading for rich, complex positions with a degree of risk and coming out the victor. His openings were also fine here; and if constant work with Kasparov starts delivering the opening edge that Kasparov had over his contemporaries for so long, then the sky's the limit.

"what is is Carlsen has that is getting him these results, chess skill aside"

No fear.

Well, all three of them (Aronian, Kramnik, Anand) will be there at the Tal Memorial, so Carlsen will have his shot to dominate them!

Topa had been underperforming and probably hiding some prep , still he had a performance superior to Anand´s current rating .
Not bad at all.
Magnus has many advantages that no other player had in the history of the game IMO he still needs to prove that he can win when it matters most .
I´m very curious to see how Anand , Kramnik and Aronian deals with Magnus current level of play.
Exciting times ahead of us.

PS : I would replace Radjabov by Shirov or Morozevich in any tournament , at least for a year.

Semblance of order= first having an undisputed champion and then (however shambolic) try to organize a fair contest for a challenger.
Carlsen has incredible energy levels, winning the last round even after winning the tourney, very Alekhine like.

Absolutely. Very excited to see how that goes. If he wins again in a convincing fashion, he certainly has nothing left to prove until he wins the actual World Championship.

I am trying to gauge how those three players will approach the tournament ... Aronian has been having a fantastic year, and until Nanjing was higher rated than Carlsen on the live lists. He might play aggressively, trying to cap off a great year. Anand hasn't played in a while, to the best of my knowledge, but has a plus score against Carlsen I think. Also, he will most likely hide some prep the way Topalov did in Nanjing. Kramnik seems to have dropped off the WC radar a bit, but who knows. If all 4 players go for the throat, it will be interesting. All told, it is a fantastic line up and I can't wait to follow the games. Hopefully they won't start at 3 am my time!!

In a 10-game tournament, Topalov finished 2.5 points behind, which was -

"Not bad at all." (Manu)

Its funny if you think about it..
When Leko vs Kramnik was happening everyone wanted to see Kramnik vs Topalov; and when that was underway we wanted to see Kramnik vs Anand; and when that eventually came around every one said Anand - Topa will be a lot more fun; and now when that seems to be around the corner (hopefully) we already want to see Anand vs Carlsen instead.

In my opinion, what set Magnus apart was his desire to struggle as long as it takes. It is as if he 'knew' that he was going to win and he was patient enough see it happen.

I am only strong enough to critique moves of super-GMs, so I followed the on-line comments on this games. It seems that he did not win because of specific 'out of the world' moves. Instead he won because he out-wrestled the other guy.

I think this something that Kasparov (or for that matter anybody) cannot teach - he cannot create desire to keep working at it. This is all Carlson's.

Carlsen's opponent can prepare against specific openings that they anticipate him to play and against specific weaknesses (if any) they discover in Carlsen's play. But the one thing difficult to forge on-demand is the will to keep at it. I believe this is the reason why, in the end, he was the last man standing. There is a lot that I can take home from his display of character in Nanjing.

If someone starts (consistently) beating you from roughly equal positions and it is not because of the lack of your chess understanding, what do you do about that? Now I can empathize with Fischer's opponents when they said he didn't play as great as the tournament score reflected.

Typing error in my previous post, I meant to say that I am not strong enough to critique super-GM moves.

It's the red wizard's robe he's wearing. Congratulations to Magic Carlsen!

Slightly (!) off-topic.:
European club cup 2009 is currently going on in Ohrid, Macedonia. Aronian thrashed Grischuk in a spectacular game. Worth checking out. Don't miss it.

I agree that result- and performance-wise Topalov's tournament cannot really be called a failure. Manu is even formally right that his TPR was superior to Anand's current rating, but what does one single point really mean? Based on this, he would be expected to score 100.5/200 in such a long match!? ,:)
But I also agree with acirce that Topalov's play "didn't really deserve it": if he had lost his lost (or at least very dubious position) against Jakovenko, he would be stuck with a -1 score and a TPR in the low 2700's. If there is anything to make Carlsen's performance even more impressive, it is that not only did he win many games, he also was never in danger of losing (excluding one moment against Wang Yue and - maybe - his symbolic disadvantage against Leko).

Anyway, now Carlsen has a new problem or challenge, being the clear favorite at the Tal Memorial (for the first time in his career at such a strong event?) may be both honor and burden. And some people might call a sub-2800 performance (not winning, only shared first, first but just 1/2 point ahead of the field) a failure. BTW, even if Aronian, Anand and Kramnik may be his strongest competitors, don't forget some of the others - at least Ivanchuk and/or Morozevich could spoil the party (form permitting).
Moving on to London already: Nakamura is another recently hyped player and self- plus fan-announced WCh candidate (I know some GM's at least don't disagree ...). Someone posted here that third place (I guess behind Carlsen and Kramnik) would still be considered OK, but anything less would be (considered) a deception!?

Finally, I disagree with acirce that Carlsen "has nothing left to prove" if he wins the Tal Memorial convincingly. Topalov won several strong events convincingly, still he has to prove constantly that he "has something extra" (once again, Nanjing was neither failure nor success in that respect). How many tournaments and matches did Fischer win in his (short) career? How many events did Kasparov win, before he could "reasonably conclude" that there is nothing left to prove, and he might as well retire and face other challenges?

I didn't say Topalov didn't deserve his result based on his play, I just said I wasn't sure about it. He was lucky against Jakovenko, although he had plenty of compensation right before the blunder, and he is always dangerous in that kind of position. The expected result was a draw, but a win was hardly much less likely than a loss. But the other games? Impossible for me to judge if he was above-average lucky overall.

As for Carlsen, I maintain he would have nothing left to prove at the moment. Of course some would be unhappy if he had a couple of bad tournaments afterwards, but why should he care? At that point he could just relax and play chess.

Then winning the world title would of course be the ultimate "proof" (unless the system changes drastically, for instance in favour of the KO nonsense or something), but he won't be able to play a title match for at least a couple of years, so he just can't do that yet. Maybe it's the wrong way of expressing it but that was my point.

For some reason, I get nervous whenever they talk of "killing the bear".

Anyway, I felt it was great timing for the Calrsen/Kasparov team to announce that not only is Carlsen working with Kasparov, but that he also has access to the dreaded Kasparov preparation. That announcement came just in time to get the other players worried about it, yet it was too late for them to revisit their anti-Carlsen prep with Kasparov in mind.

Just to put the record straight, Anand "didn't qualify". He was gifted into Mexico 2007 via finishing 2nd in San Luis, with the #1 finisher therein being excluded (due to a mid-cycle rule change concerning Elista 2006).

Just to put the record straight, Fischer "didn't qualify". The USCF paid Benko $2000 to let him go to Palma.

So we have as "unqualified champions": Fischer, Kramnik, Anand, possibly Topalov 2010... will this ever end? :)

If this thread wants to seek crazier ground, a description of how Spassky qualified for the Championship in 1992 could commence.



I can't make Carlsen the Tal favourite, even if the Live Rating says so. Anand maybe, but it's in Russia, and he's (purportedly) not playing novelties until the April situation is resolved. I might "choose" Carlsen to win, but I'd make Aronian the favourite. My guess is that the 40/2 time control (I think) won't help him comparatively though.

Also it's a single-play event, so you have double the prep (unless you know colours ahead of time). Thus Kaspy can't help as much. :)

And it's hard to believe that one +6 result could leave you with "nothing to prove"?! Ivanchuk managed to bounce all around the 2700-2800 range after he did that... Unless Carlsen gets a good chunk beyond Topalov, Anand, and Aronian (and perhaps someone else will crank it up), he's "just" another top 5 player in a modern setting of parity. Admittedly, at least according to varia appearing in his website/blog, he seems to be interested in chasing this "World Champion" nameplate awarded by FIDE, but I can't see him tuning it out for Tal and beyond just cuz of that.

Classical head-on results:

Carlsen 1-4 Anand (Linares 2007/7/8, Corus 2008), 6 draws, 4-7-10 in other
Carlsen 5-5 Aronian (FIDE 2004/7/7, Tal 2006, Linares 2009), 11D, 1-6-6 other
Carlsen 4-2 Ivanchuk (ECC 2008, Bilbao 2008), 9 draws, 3-5-12 to Ivanchuk other
Carlsen 0-1 Gelfand (Tal 2006), 3 draws, 2-1-8 to Carlsen in other
Carlsen 1-2 Kramnik (Dortnumd 2007/9), 3 draws, 0-5-5 in other
Carlsen 1-3 Leko (Linares 2007/8, Corus 2008), 8 draws, 2-1-15 to Carlsen other
Carlsen 3-0 Morozevich, 3 draws, 3-3-6 in other games
Carlsen 0-1 Ponomariov (Corus 2008), 1 draw, 2-1-1 to Carlsen in Blitz
Carlsen 0-2 Svidler (2006, Corus 2007) 7 draws, 3-3-4 in other games

Much weight is put on the fact that Carlsen has been training with the big K. But previous to that, who exactly is the prominent members of "Team Carlsen"? Where is the Topalov-like horde of skilled analysts?

Carlsen has the privilege of beeing seen for what he is, unfortuantley a too rare privilege for boys and young men. This is not about Kasparovs laptop, it is about his voice, his eye, his responses, and probably his willingness to treat the young man Carlsen as an equal. The Kaspoav-Carlsen deal is much more a ritual than Carlsen getting access to a treaure chess.

Don't be to harsh on this young man. Enjoy, and even rejoice his development, but understand his failures.

This is exactly right that Carlsen could go either up or down from his current 2800+ number. The sigma on these rating numerologies was speculated by Sonas to be as much as 50 as a rule of thumb (though maybe not as much at higher levels) at one point, so we might see Gashimov or even someone way-back like Karjakin ahead of him by a year's time. All it takes is a run of each in the wrong direction, and voila! Or we could have Carlsen at 2825+, and no-one else for forty miles around. So if the Norse have a 25 million kroner package to entice Anand for the opt-out, they could be prudent to act before more uncertainty comes adrift. The Carlsen Market is at an all-time high after this Nanjing!

The #1 finisher in San Luis actually put his title on the line in Elista and that is the reason he was not included in Mexico. The field in Mexico not only included #2 Anand, but also #3 and #4. (Svidler and Morozevich). #1 was supposed to be there in Mexico but since he lost the match , Kramnik took his place. Topalov could have chosen not to play the reunification match, in which case he would have played in Mexico.

Even if you believe in that nonsense , ¨correct¨ would be more accurate , that statement could only be brilliant for someone truly opaque.

Historical performance for sure. Category 21 tournament with the world number 1 playing, and you blow the field out of the water. To be all of 18 years old and score a performance rating over 3000 and attain a chess rating of 2800 (perhaps only temporarily, but still!), is monumental.
Has there ever been a stronger 18 year old, with such an upside?
Anyways as a fan of chess it is exciting to see unfold.

Small extract of Interview on website of major Norwegeian TV station:


Hva har samarbeidet med Kasparov betydd for deg?

- Det har betydd mye. Han har hjulpet meg mye med åpninger og mye psykologisk. Det hadde nok også mye å si at motstanderne mine her visste det. Det var nok enkelte som ikke taklet det like bra som andre, sier han.

Quick Translation:
What has the co-operatio with Kasporaov meant for you?

- It has meant a lot. He has helped me with openings and the psychology. I guess the fact that my competitors knew about it that had some impact [Bad translation}. Some of them did dot handle that as good as others, he says [Not optimal translation]

If you examine the games that Carlsen played in Nanjing, I'm not so sure it's not about "Kasparov's laptop", i.e., his database. Carlsen won a lot of games in Kasparov's pet lines...

noyb: You mean the first 15 moves or the rest?

Evidently Kasparov has inspired Carlsen opening wise - but the rest is pre Carlson, or?

I think Carlsen felt obliged to play for the max in every game, as Kasparov's adopted successor. He proved he is strong enough for this approach.

The myth again that opening knowledge is just about memorizing a few moves of theory, possibly/ideally ending with a novelty ... . Of course Kasparov also knows how to play the resulting typical middlegame positions, and most probably also passed some of this knowledge on to Carlsen. Hard to say how significant this was, but I wouldn't discard it as altogether insignificant.
As Carlsen had already been working with Kasparov before Dortmund (but noone else knew), why didn't it work that well at the time [Carlsen played a decent tournament, but nothing extraordinary]? Did one or two additional training sessions make the difference? Or did psychology play a role, as his Nanjing opponents were afraid of Garry?

I do not question in any way that Carlsen is a gifted and talented player, but I think "the additional Garry factor" should be neither under- nor overestimated.

"The #1 finisher in San Luis actually put his title on the line in Elista and that is the reason he was not included in Mexico."

This history is exact, but irrelevant to any claim that this reason was a **mid-cycle** rule change.

The original 2007 rules stated that the top 4 finishers from San Luis would qualify (the San Luis rules actually said these 4 would qualify to KO matches for 2007, but the intent therein should be clear). This was then *changed* (in the "negotiation" stage with Kramnik-Topalov) as it would look real dopey [even by FIDE standards?!] if Kramnik won Elista, but then was not in Mexico, as per the original rules, which plainly indicated the top 4 finishers from San Luis, and gave no sense that such a player could gamble away his 2007 spot (via any means). When the Topalov-Kramnik match was planned, FIDE re-issued (that is: *changed*) the rules to say: the Champion, plus #2-#4 from San Luis.

Whether it was fair, or wise, or whatever, all that is irrelevant to the claim that it was a *mid-cycle* rule change. JTPTRS simply got the impetus wrong here: it was not that "Anand didn't qualify", but rather that "Topalov did qualify", but then was erased out by a later, mid-cycle, rule change (partially of his own accord).

Similarly, it is technically wrong to say that Topalov has only qualified [as a recent Champion] for 2009/10 due to a "mid-cycle" rule change.

By my accounting, the "original" Cycle rules (issued July 2007, long before the World Cup took place) stated that the Cup winner would play Topalov. Again one can debate whether it was fair, or wise, (as some of the original Cup trial balloons had mentioned a direct match with the Champ), but it does not seem to be a "mid-cycle" rule change. Part of the problem is that FIDE (or more properly, Kirsan) doublespoke repeatedly in every whichway direction, before finally commiting to the Topalov versus World Cup plan.

Perhaps by some esoteric FIDE-centric standards, the only unqualified one of the bunch would be Kramnik, who only had the (non-FIDE) Classical World Title in achieving his match with Topalov.

To my discernment, there has never really been a "normal" time in the Chess Champ world in getting a match to be on, except for the Karpov era (1978-1990). Lasker signed contracts with various challengers, never to play them for a variety of reasons. The London Rules never had much application. Rubinstein and Nimzovitch couldn't raise funds. Then Alekhine dodged Capablanca. And Euwe tried to get FIDE to elect him champion in 1947 (before the Russians showed up). Strangely, the rematch clause of Botvinnik looks more normal to me than much of this outspew. Fischer [with others] disputed the Challengers Tournament, but the 90s Soviet collapse seemed to dry up any certainty of funding sources for Challenger matches.

So the merry go-round continues. Now we have ratings, but use them for some purposes in the Cycle, but not for others.

Nicely explained .

"By my accounting, the "original" Cycle rules (issued July 2007, long before the World Cup took place) stated that the Cup winner would play Topalov."

Here is the original outline of the cycle, as formulated by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov after having been given the authority to do that by the Presidential Board:


Key here:

"a1. 2008: The winner from WCCT 2007 in Mexico plays a World Championship match against the previous World Champion. If Kramnik does not win the WCCT 2007, then Kramnik can challenge the winner of Mexico in the first part of 2008. If Kramnik wins in Mexico, then the right to challenge goes to the previous World Champion, ie Topalov.

a2. 2009: The winner of the "a1" match plays a World Championship match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup which will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk."

Here's Mig's first blog post on the matter:


Slight correction or clarification on "formulated": he made a decision between two proposals, neither of which I assume he wrote all by himself. This is ancient history (2½ years ago!) but it could be worth refreshing our memories. For "Proposal B" and ACP's position, see http://www.chess-players.org/eng/news/viewarticle.html?id=612 and http://www.chess-players.org/eng/news/viewarticle.html?id=609

Congratulations, Calsen!! For the excellent performance and for winning with great margin..!

Carlsen must be the nicest chess player. I like him.

Re. the famous "opening-treasures" of Kasparov:
From articles and interviews with Carlsen, I get the impression that these are more rough ideas and sketches witch they WORK TOGETHER on. It's not that easy, not like Carlsen is handed ready made variations.

I guess the opening training Kasparov provides is more on a general level. -A deeper understanding of the lines and posibilites in each opening. And, of course, a wider reportoire.

"Or did psychology play a role, as his Nanjing opponents were afraid of Garry?"

No way to know for sure, but the evidence seems to strongly indicate that it was the case to some extent. While the focus should be on Carlsen's own very strong play, it is not in much doubt that his opponents generally played below their strength against him, which should be weighed into any objective assessment of this tournament. Is it just a coincidence that this happened right after the partnership was revealed? Hard to consider that probable.

By extension, if this is true, it will be interesting to see how other players will deal with it - Kramnik somehow particularly comes to mind.

Kasparov was quite upset when his old rival, Kramnik, downplayed Carlsen in Dortmund. ("...Magnus shouldn't have lost that game, f5 was nothing...").

I am quite sure that beating Kramnik is very, very high on Kasparovs list. Tal Memorial is a stronger tournament that Nanjing, but I think Carlsen and Kasparov will arive Moscow very well prepared and motivated...

What a performance, has ther EVER been anywhere NEAR an equal operformance by an 18 year old???Congrats, it was a joy to watch.

Of course this goes both ways, Kramnik will probably also be "prepared and motivated". As russianbear pointed out, at Nanjing Carlsen's colleagues-competitors didn't have time to adapt to the new situation (Carlsen works with Kasparov AND this is known to the public); this will no longer be the case in the near future. I propose that Kramnik wasn't sitting idly at home in Paris the last weeks, but he was following the chess scene and working on his chess ... . Whose preparation prevails in the end is another story - Kramnik certainly wasn't unprepared for his match against Anand, but he was "outprepared" and/or didn't get his specific prep on the board.

BTW, Kramnik still has another source of motivation (or something to worry about): he still needs to secure his rating spot into the candidates tournament - and some of his potential competitors (Leko, Morozevich, Gelfand) also play the Tal Memorial. No worries for Carlsen in that respect, even in a worst-case scenario: how many rating points could he possibly lose if things go very wrong at both Tal Memorial and London?

"Carlsen should continue wearing the shirt at the Tal Memorial."

Now wouldn’t that be a classy touch of psychological warfare? :)

At the Women GP in Nanjing, the players were also provided with Chinese shirts. Looking through the round reports at Chessbase, all participants wore them for the first round and for a group picture (with Ilyumzhinov in a boring suit). Subsequently, all changed back to normal clothes, including the Chinese players - apparently there is no contractual obligation (maybe that's inconsistent with being a FIDE event). The only exception was early leader Nana Dzagnidze. She started with 4/4, and stopped wearing her shirt after losing against Sebag in round 5 ... .

Is this psychological warfare or being superstitious? Ivanchuk also thinks or claims that he is playing better when he is wearing/allowed to wear his Real Madrid training suit!?

Now the only player in Nanjing with a special outfit is Mongolian WGM Munguntuul. She caught chicken pox and was allowed to continue playing in a separate room, wearing a face mask and sergical gloves. Zhao Xue dared to enter that room, Dzagnidze played a "remote game" (players in separate rooms, with an arbiter transmitting the moves).

The players wore real shirts under their Chinese pajamas.


Breaking news: Nakamura is also coached by Kasparov!! The evidence is: he currently plays the same pawn sacrifice line of the Scotch that we saw in Carlsen-Leko, Nanjing round 1 (against Grischuk at the European Club Cup).
Grischuk already deviated from this game, instead following an old game Morozevich-Kramnik. Now what does this mean??
Too early to predict the opening between Carlsen and Kramnik at the Tal Memorial, though: we don't even know the color distribution, and Kramnik (with black) might deviate as early as move 2.

Carlsen will break the 2900 barrier in 10 years.

It's not impossible. It's inevitable.

We'll check his rating 10 years from now, and if you are correct, you'll win a fabulous prize.

-Nakamura got a quick draw with the white pieces. What happend to his famous fighting spirit?

And what should Kramnik play if 1.e4 comes? In 2000, he concluded that the Berlin was the best weapon against Garry, much due to GK's relative weakness in that kind of position. Recently, he said (commenting on Carlsen-Jakovenko in Dortmund) that the Berlin (which allows the Scotch if you intend to play it) was the _worst_ possible choice against Carlsen, because of his incredible technique. Kasparov would definitely have preferred Kramnik to play the Petroff in London - a tactical opening very much suited for computer analysis. So what to play against Carlsen+Kasparov? :) ("I mean, do you prepare for Carlsen or Kasparov?" -- Mig)

Of course, on the basic level the issue is simple - he is playing Carlsen, not Kasparov, and should not play into Carlsen's strengths. But especially considering the contrast between the styles of the two the issue in itself is worth thinking about.

And now Carlsen might be armed with dangerous preparation against the Petroff that he simply wasn't before. In the one Petroff game between them so far, Carlsen played the not particularly frightening 4.Nc4.

Of course I'm mostly rambling, although intentionally. Of course Berlin isn't the only alternative. He abandoned it against Kasparov in 2001 and against everyone in 2005 anyway.

He had more of it (figthing spirit) than his teammate Alexander Chernin, drawing with white against Malakhov on board 3 in 10 moves. Maybe Naka was discouraged because he couldn't surprise Grischuk - time remaining on the clock was 50 minutes for white vs. 1:30 for black (I don't know the exact time control, but it seems Grischuk hardly had to think at all).

Or Nakamura conserves his energy for what he did before in this tournament, and what (to a large extent) got him where he is now ELO-wise: beating players in the 2400-2600 range?

Is Grischuk (2719 at the 2006 Olympiad) still the highest rated player Nakamura has beaten? Not counting blitz and rapid, obviously. Definitely not rapid Fischerandom.

As for Nakamura's "fighting spirit", I think White quite simply doesn't have realistic winning prospects in that position if Black is happy with a draw, which he obviously was if he offered.

The Scotch is just a gimmicky trick. Anyone who is a serious 1...e5 player should know how to defuse it. Don't bother asking me for proof. If you are such a lamebrain that you need proof, then you could not possibly understand whatever I showed you.

The real measure of Carlsen's progress towards WC level will be his results against Anand and Kramnik, just as up and coming players once were measured by their results v Karpov and Kasparov.

That's right, and I would add Aronian. Plus, it would have to be a one-on-one match, not some pajama-clad event in China with a bunch of losers thrown in to make it look good.

Correct, I forgot Aronian. I would add Topalov if he didn't seem to have such a problem playing Carlsen, maybe he'll get over it one day.

Carlsen's White TPR is quite a bit higher than his Black TPR. Wouldn't it be interesting to maintain these separate ratings for all top players over time?

Talking of Aronian... he just lost a very odd game to Mamedyarov: http://www.ecc2009.com/www/live/07/m01/index.htm

Aronian's double pawn sacrifice looks a bit ambitious (though Mamedyarov got tripled pawns), but then Mamedyarov seemed to go passive and allow Aronian chances - then Aronian seemed to almost walk his king into various tactics and finally blunder in terrible time pressure. Or, to put it another way, I haven't a clue what happened :)

Topalov is a close call, but I think he cannot handle Carlsen. The only active players who have a chance against Carlsen in a one-on-one match are Kramnik, Aronian, and Anand. Leko, Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Gelfand, Nakamura, etc. are all dead meat.

A related quip from Kasparov many years ago - 1987 if I have the right event in mind: He prepared for a clock simul against a national team (Switzerland?) by looking through a few hundred games of his opponents in databases (a rather revolutionary approach at the time). One of his opponents commented that he would sidestep Garry's preparation by playing a different opening. GK's reply: "He can change his openings but not his style!".
Of course this was a short-term remark, whereas Kasparov+Carlsen is a long-term project. The objective may not be to change Carlsen's style, but still to work - in particular - on the (remaining relatively) weak points in his play.

I think the double pawn sacrifice is theory, I remember seeing something at least similar before. Who am I to judge if white's compensation was sufficient?
As far as the kingwalk is concerned, I completely fail to see the idea, motivation or necessity behind it ... . At some stage, time trouble certainly played a role, Aronian had five seconds left on the clock when he resigned on move 39.

[But I have to say that I didn't follow the game live after the opening. I was watching football instead - a sport where Germany can win against Russia, albeit with quite a bit of luck today ,:)]

It's simple: Aronian made some stupid moves.

For once I even agree with Luke, but the question remains: WHY did he make such stupid moves? Even time trouble is not a plausible explanation, it isn't easy at all to even "find" (i.e. think about) moves as 31.Kd1, 32.Ke2 and 33.Ke1 (no checks by black in between!).
The easiest explanation ("Aronian made stupid moves because he is stupid") would invite many other questions: How could such a stupid player beat Alekseev and Grischuk earlier in the tournament? How could he obtain 2773 ELO? How could he win GP tournaments and the Bilbao Grand Slam Final?
All I can come up with is "a momentary (and complete) lapse of reason" ... .

Aronian - Mame game today:
I ran it through my Rybka3 Aquarium:
When Aronian played 7. Bd2, PlayChess database drops from 41 previous games to only 2.(-0,68). However Aronian plays well, with slight edge, untill inacurate move 31. Kd1 (-0,37).
Final mistake by Aronian was 37. Rd7 (-3,25). 2 moves later and he resigned.

"For once I even agree with Luke..." (Thomas)

Which means I said something stupid.

Under the circumstances (time trouble) I wouldn't call 37.Rd7 a mistake or blunder, but rather an attempted swindle. It might have worked if Mame had also been down to a few seconds (but he still had 11 minutes on the clock when Aronian resigned). What does Rybka suggest on move 37?

Rybka sugests 37. Nxc4. But still (-1,22).
The rest of the line goes:
38. Rg3 Nxh2
39. Kf2 Rxg3.

"I was watching football instead"

Don't remind me... already trying to forget.

But thanks for the Kasparov story. Might have read about that before, not sure.

It's extremely rare to see Aronian lose . I was suprised by his opening choice , but after move 30 , White has a decent position , as usual Aronian hopes to outplay his opponents in the endgame , but for some reasons , he started to make a King parade and ruined his position . Probably fatigue or miscalculation

"Don't bother asking me for proof. If you are such a lamebrain that you need proof, then you could not possibly understand whatever I showed you."

Your parents must be really proud to have such a gifted scientist at home.

Great tip, Manu! Thanks a lot. I really enjoyed the link and the other rare Bobby Fisher images found on youtube. Everybody: Enjoy the good old times!

It looks like Nakamura's new coach is more likely Korchnoi than Kasparov.

i looked at chessgames.com to see what people wrote about carlsen's success in nanjing and there were only lots of attacks from so fans on carlsen's page. i went through the so page for the last weeks:

carlsen is super insane with no life at all, his games are lacklustre, all carlsen fans see him as god, he has been pampered all his life and it’s time for payback, he is wasting his time with kasparov since the latter might be straight, carlsen never dated a girl, he hasn't deserved his tournament invitations, and several worse things on the carlsen page were deleted when i tried to re-read them (referring to the size of carlsen's .....).

just a few people of course, but very active posters and at least no disagreements. most of the posts are in filipino so maybe the worst attacks are impossible to understand unless you know the language. i might get it if it was karjakin fans, but I wonder why a so fan would have anything against carlsen.

Well, Mr Anonymous, deleted BS from another website has now been translated from filipino to english and re-posted here.

Thank you for your ''consern''.

i agree. but why aren't you posting under one of your real handles? Seriously, there has been some pretty ugly anti-Carlsen stuff going on there for some time among jealous fans of So and to some degree Nakamura as well. Fortunately I haven't seen it spread to other forums. Until now.

well, not worse than what some have been writing about kramnik for years i guess, comes with success i suppose

Agree. Plenty of dirt on the Dirt, but lets keep that kind of childish crap off these pages. Anonymous, is that your "real" handle- a dubious attem,pt to be ironic- or do you have another one? If so please use it.

lol, chess.com is the only place where i post under my real name and i'll return there now but avoid this type of discussions :)

This is probably (also) a joke - but I don't understand it, can you please explain it to me?

I was obviously joking, or merely pointing out that "topical" openings are rapidly copied by other players - as it turned out not always successfully (unless Naka considered a quick draw with white a success at this occasion).
Similarly, openings from Kasparov-Karpov were copied at Nanjing, and "Kasparov" again scored 2.5/3 (so copying Karpov wasn't really a success).
BTW, the funniest example I remember is from the honorary (or veteran) group of Corus 2008. Timman rather naively(?) copied 12.Nf7: from Topalov-Kramnik (played one day earlier!) against Ljubojevic ... and lost.

Thomas -

Are you able (capable) of writing (posting) without the compulsive (and unnecessary) use of parentheticals?

(Just a thought)

"Are you able (capable) of writing (posting) without the compulsive (and unnecessary) use of parentheticals? (Just a thought)"

Luke, you really shouldn't let little things like someone's use of parenthesis annoy you to the point where you feel compelled to write a posting about it.

Yes Jim, you shouldn't be so compelled.

Magnus Carlsen says that he is unsure if the cooperation with Kasparov will continue in 2010, see http://www.vg.no/sport/artikkel.php?artid=573446

Jadoube wrote:

"Magnus Carlsen says that he is unsure if the cooperation with Kasparov will continue in 2010, see http://www.vg.no/sport/artikkel.php?artid=573446"

Smart move by Carlsen. With Kapsarov by his side, he will never get full recognition for his own efforts or talent.

"he is wasting his time with kasparov since the latter might be straight"

You puzzled me. Was it meant to mean:

- he's normal,
- he's not on drugs,
- he's heterosexual?

Irv, it's not about being a smart move or not, its about money.

Kasparov is expensive, even if he's working at reduced rates since he enjoys working with Carlsen.

At least that's what's reported, but I reckon it's just some ploy to get sponsors to fork up now rather than later.

Carlsen is a fast learner. That's pretty obvious from how he has acelerated into the Top 5. After intensive training in 2009 and 2010, he will absorb "most" of Kasparovs advices and support. I think.

Maybe they will rejoin IF and WHEN Carlsen qualifies for a title match? I guess Kasparov has the best experience from such matches, or what?

Brilliant (and rare in such forums ) example of dignity.
My congratulations, Sir!

Carslen was already the first in liverating before.
Magnus is great himself.
I wouldn't overestimate GK's role in Carsen's +6 in Pearl Spring.

"Irv, it's not about being a smart move or not, its about money."

From the article, his main concern appears to be that the collaboration requires a lot of time and effort for both parties involved. He is thus unsure whether they'll be able to keep it up.

I'm sure money figures into the equation somehow, but Carlsen doesn't actually say anything about that. Weird headline.

Here comes another one:


Congratulations Ray!

Chasing Elo 2851!
Here is a short interview on national TV upon arrival back to Norway Sunday morning:

Magnus was met by his mother, who said that the family would celebrate Nanjing victory at home, with homemade pizza.

Magnus said his next goal was to break the Elo 2851 record of Kasparov. In order to achieve this, he said “I have to play more aggressive in the future. I must improve and toughen up my play in all aspects”.

-So it seems Carlsen will arrive in Moscow rather bloodthirsty…

I don't think so because it indeed is the norm that most players perform better with white than black.

The FIDE rating pages have statistics for each player separated by color, apparently including all games submitted after September 2007.
Some top players:
Topalov W +30=28-4 (70%), B +19=28-16 (52%)
Anand W +14=36-3 (60%), B +13=35-6 (56%)
Carlsen W +52=55-15 (65%), B +26=77-18 (53%)
Kramnik W +22=27-3 (68%), B +1=44-6 (45%)
Aronian W +38=53-11 (63%), B +17=70-20 (48%)
Radjabov W +21=75-6 (58%), B +24=65-15 (54%)
Ivanchuk W +58=100-16 (61%), B+45=105-23 (56%)

Among those players, Topalov and Kramnik - despite many other things which they don't share (e.g. drawing percentage with black) - depend most heavily on the advantage of the white pieces. On the other hand, color doesn't seem to matter much for Anand, Radjabov and Ivanchuk. And Chucky is clearly leading in the category "total number of games played"!

"-So it seems Carlsen will arrive in Moscow rather bloodthirsty…"

357 Magnus ?

If you want to buy a house, you would have to receive the business loans. Furthermore, my father usually takes a auto loan, which occurs to be the most useful.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 8, 2009 10:21 PM.

    Kasparov on CNN was the previous entry in this blog.

    Euro Club Cup Goes to Saratov is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.