Gausdal Classics: Carlsen ahead of Portisch

4/22/2007 – The youngest and oldest players of the tournament are fighting for the lead. Currently 16-year-old Magnus Carlsen, the top seed, is in the lead with 4.0/5, followed by 70-year-old chess legend Lajos Portisch, half a point behind. IM Irina Krush of the US is in joint third, having "krushed" a Super-GM, Alexei Dreev, with black in round two. Report from Gausdal.

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The Gausdal Chess Classics is taking place from April 18-26, 2007 in the Thon Hotel in Gausdal, Norway. There are three groups: the GM Group A with seven GMs, two IMs and one untitled player playing in a round robin; a GM Group B, which is a nine-round Swiss which provides opportunity for making IM, WGM and WIM perhaps even GM norms; and an nine-round Swiss "Elo Group" with players rated 1900 or higher. The rate of play is 2 hours for 40 moves, 1 hour for 20 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game. The prize fund is Euro 1300, 1000 and 700 for first to third in the GM A Group and Euro 800/600/400 in Group B. The Elo Group gets prizes in NOKs – Norwegian Kroner. The winners of first prize get an additional troll.

Schedule: Round one was on Wednesday, 18th April from 19:00h to 02:00h (i.e. 2 a.m., which is way past the theoretical bedtime of one youngster in Group A). The games from rounds two to eight are from April 19-25 from 14:00h to 21:00h, and the final round on Thursday, April 26 from 09:00h to 16:00, followed by the prize giving. The games are covered live on the official web site and on Playchess. At nine p.m. on most evenings there are lectures, by Rausis, Reinderman, Krasenkow, Portisch, Hans Olav Lahlum and Irina Krush.

Standings after five rounds

The results so far are quite pleasing to many chess fans: the youngest player, Magnus Carlsen, who turned 16 last November, is in the lead with a 2733 performance. He is followed by the oldest participant, Lajos Portisch, who turned 70 earlier this month. So far Portisch, possibly fired up by his recent match against Boris Spassky, has been playing 208 points above his nominal rating of 2512. In round five he nicely outplayed second seed Michal Krasenkow with the black pieces.


Magnus Carlsen, top seed and leader at the tender age of 16


Legendary GM Lajos Portisch, playing like a young Super-GM at 70

The other pleasant news is that the only female player, IM Irina Krush of the US, is in joint third place. Until yesterday Irina was in second place, but in round five she blundered away an equal position against Kjetil Lie. In spite of this she is playing 160 points over her nominal rating, having beaten Super-GM Alexei Dreev very nicely with the black pieces in round two.


IM Irina Krush showing that women can stand up to men in chess


American Eric Moskow, rated 2260, the only untitled player in the A Group


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