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Bilbao Rd6: Carlsen avenges loss and beats Caruana

10/8/2012 – After suffering the unthinkable in round one, when he started with a harrowing loss to Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen could well be expected to charge after revenge in their return game. And that is exactly what he did. It was vintage Carlsen as he reached a slightly better endgame, and proceeded to transform lead into gold as only he seems able to. Full report.
 


São Paulo / Bilbao Grand Slam Final

Round six report

Round 6: Monday, October 8, 17h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Fabiano Caruana
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Levon Aronian

Replay all games of the round

Taking revenge of their previous clash in Sao Paulo, in which Carlesen had the play but ended up losing by a fatal error, Magnus Carlsen, the world No. 1, won his return game against the provisional leader, Fabiano Caruana, tightening the classification in the first day of the second round of the Masters Final, which is being played in Bilbao.

In the stellar encounter of the day, vital for the development of the tournament, Carlsen, who started with the initial advantage of playing white, defeated Caruana after an extensive game, which lasted over four hours. The Norwegian and the world No. 1 countered the French Defense of his Italian opponent to prepare his pieces for an “Indian attack”. As a result, Carlsen entered the middle game with a slight advantage, which after a simplification of some pieces, ended up in a difficult bus equal ending.

Nevertheless, the serious inaccuracies committed by the revelation of the tournament and provisional leader, Caruana, enabled the Norwegian to win, even though logic dictated that he should not get the three points at stake.

In the game played by the Olympic champion Levon Aronian and the Russian Sergey Karjakin, the Armenian used one of his favorite weapons, the Marshall Attack. The variation had been designed together with his coach Sarguisian more than three years ago, but had never been used before, as Aronian has stated. Karjakin, faced by this ploy, refused to surrender the bishop and looked for quiet play. By avoiding the trap, Kariakin has achieved a fast continuation until the draw.

For the sixth consecutive game, the world champion Anand ended his game in a tie, in this case, versus the Spanish champion, Francisco Vallejo. The Indian played the Arckhangelsk, which is very uncommon for him. As far as the Basque master José Luis Fernandez is concerned, “Anand prepared this variation in order to defend himself against Caruana, who uses it regularly, and not finding the correct defense, decided to start using it himself.” Vallejo has found a slight material advantage of a pawn, but the position was controlled by both players during the whole game, constantly remaining in the equity field. The world champion has found the correct defense and without hard effort, achieved the draw.

The state of elite preparation

What would you do if you knew for a certainty that the best you could hope for with all the opening preparation in the world, was a minimal advantage, and the most likely case was no advantage at all? That is very much the quandary of the absolute elite nowadays, a problem that lesser mortals such as those merely rated 2700 do not face quite yet. Back in the day of Garry Kasparov, or more specifically, when he was the domineering force classified as being years ahead in the opening, the level of preparation was very unequal, depending on the player himself and the quality (and number) of seconds to feed him his secret moves. While the words “depending on the player himself” might sound like equal footing, it meant that if you were 100 Elo stronger than the others, you had that much of an edge in analysis as well.

Fast forward to 2012 and the situation is completely different. Everyone has a team of tireless seconds, and they are the same seconds for everyone: Houdini, Rybka, Stockfish, Critter, Fritz, etc. These seconds are already considerably stronger than the highest rated human, and readily available to all. When Anand chose an opening in the world championship, he did not even need to unleash any great novelty for the opposing team to be all over it, knowing the world champion felt there was something, and analyze it to death. By the next day, with ten computers running all day and night, any potential danger had been effectively neutralized. No one is “years ahead of the rest” in opening preparation. In fact, no one is even months. This is especially true of the absolute elite who tirelessly work to patch up any broken links in their armor.

What is one to do? The solution varies somewhat from player to player. Some will deliberately take extra risks, knowing the road they are walking down is unsafe, much to the delight of the spectators, but less so to the loss of the player’s equanimity. When it scores points, the player is readily described in reports as “brave”, and “fearless”, but when it loses, they are labeled as “foolhardy” or “unwise”. Magnus Carlsen seems to have his own solution for the moment: since no edge is expected, do not bother chasing one. Leave ultra-analyzed theory as soon as possible, without going so far as to be actually worse, and play chess. It is the reason for openings such as the Philidor, and in today’s game an offbeat French (if one can call it that) starting 1.e4 e6 2.d3.


What's going on? Francisco Vallejo, playing Anand, kiebitzes on Carlsen-Caruana

[Event "5th Final Masters"] [Site "Sao Paulo/Bilbao BRA/ESP"] [Date "2012.10.08"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Caruana, F."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C00"] [WhiteElo "2843"] [BlackElo "2773"] [PlyCount "131"] [EventDate "2012.09.24"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "BRA"] [EventCategory "22"] 1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 Nc6 {This does not mark some magical ressurgence in this offbeat line, nor a discovery of 'previously unknown' resources. It is simply a balanced opening with a variety of plans available and above all: few chances to be outbooked by the opponent.} 5. c3 Bd6 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O a5 8. Re1 {-0.11/0} e5 {0.00/0} 9. exd5 {0.00/0} Nxd5 {0.24/0} 10. Nc4 {0.00/0} Re8 {0.11/0} 11. Bf1 {-0.17/0} Bg4 {-0.17/0} 12. h3 {0.00/0} Bh5 { -0.04/0} 13. g3 {-0.40/0} Nb6 {-0.17/0} 14. Nxb6 {-0.23/0} cxb6 {-0.08/0} 15. Bg2 {-0.17/0} b5 {0.17/0} 16. a4 {0.05/0} b4 {0.00/0} 17. Be3 {0.00/0} Bc7 {0. 11/0} 18. Qb3 {0.34/0} h6 {0.51/0} 19. Qc4 {0.54/0} bxc3 {0.66/0} 20. bxc3 {0. 67/0} e4 {0.88/0} 21. dxe4 {0.49/0} Bxf3 {0.53/0} 22. Bxf3 {0.47/0} Ne5 {0.46/0 } 23. Qe2 {0.59/0} Nxf3+ {0.46/0} 24. Qxf3 {0.54/0} Qd3 {0.46/0} 25. Kg2 {0.47/ 0} Qxe4 {0.28/0} 26. Bd4 {0.38/0} Qxf3+ {0.38/0} 27. Kxf3 {0.44/0} b6 {0.46/0} 28. Rab1 {0.47/0} Rac8 {0.51/0} 29. Re4 {0.54/0} g6 {0.54/0} 30. g4 {0.42/0} Kf8 {0.57/0} 31. h4 {0.45/0} Rxe4 {0.46/0} 32. Kxe4 {0.46/0} Re8+ {0.46/0} 33. Kd3 {0.46/0 This is exactly the kind of ending Carlsen lives for: a small but nagging edge with enough play to make his opponent work for the draw.} Re6 {0. 56/0} 34. Be3 {1.45/0} Kg7 {0.73/0 Black's position is already unpleasant with a few targets and a worse king compared to White's actively centralized one.} 35. Rb5 {0.58/0} Bd8 {0.59/0} 36. h5 {0.59/0} Rd6+ {0.61/0} 37. Kc4 {0.61/0} Rc6+ {0.62/0} 38. Kd5 {0.62/0} Re6 {0.62/0} (38... Rxc3 $2 39. Bd4+) 39. Bd4+ { 0.62/0} Kf8 {1.03/0} 40. f4 {0.54/0} Bc7 {0.58/0 It is hard to make recommendations, showing how well the world number one had judged the position. } (40... Ke7 {was no better as White could continue} 41. c4 Kd7 42. c5 bxc5 43. Rb7+ Ke8 (43... Kc8 $2 44. Rxf7 $1) 44. Be5 {and Black is being strangled.}) 41. f5 {0.63/0} Rd6+ {0.72/0} 42. Ke4 {0.88/0} Rc6 {1.13/0} 43. Rb1 {0.98/0} Ke8 {1.09/0} 44. hxg6 {1.03/0} fxg6 {1.02/0} 45. Rh1 {1.02/0 Picture perfect.} Kf7 {1.02/0} 46. Kd5 {1.02/0} Rd6+ {1.02/0} 47. Kc4 {2.58/0} gxf5 {2.46/0} ( 47... g5 {would provide more chances to resist.}) 48. gxf5 {3.51/0} Bd8 {3.50/0 } 49. f6 $1 {3.65/0} Bxf6 {3.74/0} 50. Rxh6 {4.44/0} Be7 {78.45/0} 51. Rxd6 { 4.46/0} Bxd6 {4.63/0 It is over. Black loses the remaining pawns and the rest is just a matter of making the time control.} 52. Kb5 {4.70/0} Ke6 {4.70/0} 53. Bxb6 {4.70/0} Kd7 {4.70/0} 54. c4 {5.33/0} Kc8 {6.14/0} 55. Bxa5 {6.81/0} Kb7 { 6.86/0} 56. Bb4 {9.14/0} Bf4 {7.91/0} 57. c5 {8.21/0} Ka7 {9.00/0} 58. c6 {11. 98/0} Kb8 {11.11/0} 59. a5 {12.00/0} Ka7 {298.79/0} 60. a6 {12.06/0} Ka8 {299. 81/0} 61. Bc5 {299.83/0} Bb8 {6.08/0} 62. Kc4 {299.48/0} Bc7 {299.60/0} 63. Kd5 {299.56/0} Bd8 {299.69/0} 64. Ke6 {299.88/0} Bc7 {299.69/0} 65. Kd7 Ba5 66. Be7 1-0

The result was a complete reversal of the first half, with a win for Carlsen over Caruana, placing him within a half point of the Italian in traditional scoring, though two points behind using the Bilbao scoring method.

Albert Silver

Traditional crosstable after six rounds

Bilbao crosstable after six rounds


Player portraits

Magnus Carlsen – young, cool and Number One

At 21, Magnus Carlsen has had a career that equals or even surpasses the brilliance of that of Bobby Fischer or Garry Kasparov at the same age. He has been number one on 19 of the 22 lists published between January 2010 and August 2012. He also won the Masters Final last year, after an electrifying tie-break against Vassily Ivanchuk. He is a genius and by all indications has not yet reached his peak.

The Oxford Dictionary defines "genius" as "exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability". It is enough just to enjoy Carlsen’s (or Anand’s) matches to see that he lives up to this definition, although he himself gave another definition on January 17, 2008 on the death of the charismatic American, Bobby Fischer, the 1972 World Champion. "What I admired most about him was his ability to make what was in fact so difficult look easy to us. I try to emulate him," said Carlsen.

But there is also no doubt that Carlsen is an overall genius, not just in chess, although he does not want to know his Intelligence Quotient. Just to mention one example, at age five he memorized the capitals, areas and population sizes of almost all the countries in the world, and similar information for all the towns in Norway.

First and foremost, geniuses are a privilege to their parents, but can also be nightmares if they get bored easily in class and do not adapt to a world organized for people with much smaller mental capacities than theirs. Magnus’ parents made the right decision by taking him and his sisters on a one-year trip around the world when he was thirteen. If it is said travel is always an excellent school of life, it was even more so in a case like his. By then he was already the youngest grandmaster (a title similar to that of a doctor of philosophy) in the world, leading him to attend the 2004 World Chess Olympiad with his national team in Calvía, Mallorca, where the ushers refused to allow him on stage because they could not believe that someone who was just a child could be Norway’s best player.

Geniuses tend to flee crowds and be very shy. Four years ago, Magnus hardly spoke to anyone that did not belong to his most intimate circle. Now, after covering great distances, playing hundreds of matches all over the world and being interviewed by, albeit reluctantly, numerous journalists, the precocious number one has learned that being interviewed forms part of his duties, although he does it sparingly, and he has even been a spokesmodel for the clothing brand Junior G-Star.

Despite the fact that the stereotypes may make one think the opposite, most elite chess players are quite sociable. Carlsen is one of the few exceptions, despite already being a national icon, and he flees when he can from being exposed to people who are not part of his closest circle. Games with other chess players where he does not leave the hotel are usually the only way to see him outside of his room or the tournament hall. He lives in his own world, based heavily on the internet. He appears to be reasonably happy, perhaps because he knows that millions of fans have a great appreciation for the beauty and depth of his matches. Although he speaks perfect English, his native language is chess, and into it he has poured his amazing intelligence, which he really couldn’t care less about, just like Anand.


Super Humanos Magnus Carlsen (video in Portugese)

Leontxo Garcia

Schedule and results

São Paulo Grand Slam Final
Round 1: Monday, September 24, 15h
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen
Round 2: Tuesday, September 25, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Sergey Karjakin 
0-1
 Fabiano Caruana
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 3: Wednesday, September 26, 15h
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Round 4: Friday, September 28, 15h
Fabiano Caruana 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Round 5: Saturday, September 29, 15h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Sergey Karjakin
Viswanathan Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Fabiano Caruana
Bilbao Grand Slam Final
Round 6: Monday, October 8, 17h
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Viswanathan Anand
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Fabiano Caruana
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Round 7: Tuesday, October 9, 17h
Magnus Carlsen 
   Francisco Vallejo
Fabiano Caruana 
   Sergey Karjakin
Levon Aronian 
   Viswanathan Anand
Round 8: Thursday, October 11, 17h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand 
   Fabiano Caruana
Sergey Karjakin 
   Magnus Carlsen
Round 9: Friday, October 12, 17h
Sergey Karjakin 
   Francisco Vallejo
Magnus Carlsen 
   Viswanathan Anand
Fabiano Caruana 
   Levon Aronian
Round 10: Saturday, October 13, 16:30h
Francisco Vallejo 
   Fabiano Caruana
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand 
   Sergey Karjakin

Links

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