Official Magnus Carlsen Blog launched

11/3/2010 – "I like to share my thoughts when I play tournaments," Magnus writes. "Not so regularly I also write about other things." And he does it mostly himself, with occasional assistance from his team during tournaments. The reports appear on the next day – a treasure trove of topical commentary and feelings. Magnus even tweets. Here are some sample blog entries.

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The official website

About Magnus

Magnus Carlsen was born in Tønsberg, Norway, the 30th November 1990. He learnt to play chess from his father at the age of 5. The game very soon became his big passion. Magnus first goal was to beat his sister, then his father and it obviously didn’t stop there. Magnus became an International Grandmaster at the age of 13, the youngest at the time.

To give you a sample of Magnus chess writing we bring you his blog entries during the Nanjing Pearl Springs tournament, where he wrote these entries usually the day after the game. The following contains only the parts relevant to his own game. At the end of each we have inserted a link to the ChessBase report of the corresponding round, so that you can reply the game if you want to follow Magnus' comments.

Magnus Carlsen's Blog

Nanjing 2010 Round 1 – 2010-10-20 20:04:00
One cannot help being impressed by the grandeur of the Nanjing Grand Slam tournament. The opening ceremony took place in the main TV building in Nanjing and was broadcast live (unless I’ve misunderstood). A highly spectacular show, great artists. Against Etienne Bacrot, France (2716) I played the Scotch Opening as last year in round 1 of Nanjing. Again I managed to surprise my opponent and Etienne spent more than an hour on the clock before I was out of preparation. Moving his bishop twice in a row to get via d7 to e6 tells you he had problems finding a good plan. After the central breakthrough e5, with several subsequent exchanges my position was clearly better. With open lines to his king he had to give his queen and a pawn for rook and bishop and resigned as my f-pawn started to march. Great start. [CB report and games]

Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 Round 2 – 2010-10-21 18:14:31
Anand has played 1.e4 in all our recent encounters. Today we played the Ruy Lopez Breyer as in Kristiansund and Bilbao earlier this autumn. I chose a variation giving white a small advantage but Black is solid and ready to equalize if the position opens up. Anand made various attempt without making significant progress. After I got in d5 it is equal and Anand chose to liquidate most pieces to reach a drawn opposite colored bishop ending. [CB report and games]

Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 Round 3 – 2010-10-22 19:00:53
Wang Yue is the highest rated Chinese player, we have already met in many top level events. Early 2009 he beat me twice, later I’ve won several times including twice in Bazna in June. He is a solid player and as expected he went for the Petroff against 1.e4. I chose a sideline with 3.d4 and he went for the sharp variation with Ng4, Qh4, Bh2+ and sacrificed the knight on f2 for a pin against my queen and rook. I was a bit surprised as this is considered to be better for White, maybe he didn’t know the actual line in detail. He got a rook and two pawns for the knight and bishop, but his pieces did not coordinate well. After the exchange of queens I could take his c-pawn and still be able to trap the annoying intruder on d1. A piece down facing the loss of both the f and d-pawn he resigned. [CB report and games]

Nanjing 2010 Round 4 – 2010-10-23 19:38:06
Vugar Gashimov is one of the three top-30 Azerbaijan grandmasters and quite an aggressive player. We played the Ruy Lopez and he went for his pet line with Bg5. A few moves later I quickly played Kg7 to protect h6 and immediately regretted the choice. To avoid losing a pawn I had to allow some nasty-looking tactics. Material-wise it was subsequently equal but due to several pawn weaknesses and a passive bishop it was an uphill struggle throughout the game for me. Trying to activate my rooks may not have been the right plan as I came pretty close to a lost position; the jury is still out for all I know. The ensuing rook ending is probably drawn and when my a-pawn survived I had more than enough counterplay to secure half a point. [CB report and games]

Nanjing 2010 Halfway – 2010-10-24 19:39:55
Despite his consistent high rating and world ranking, as White I have a very good score in classical chess against Topalov. His performance in the Olympiad was about as bad as mine and he hasn’t played at his usual level in Nanjing either. On the other hand, he is often a slow starter winning many games in the last 5-6 rounds of a tournament. I played 1.e4 once again and we entered the Ruy Lopez. I chose a slow set-up to develop a long term initiative in the centre and on the kingside. White is maybe not much better but has a more comfortable position offering natural moves and strategic plans. I consistently chose quiet moves gradually improving my position. His Qc8 allowed the knight to go via h4 and g6 to trade of his dark square bishop after which f4 initiates a crushing attack. In the final position I left my queen ‘en prise’ as his best choice would be to take the pawn on e6 and play on a piece down. Alternatively the e6-pawn together with my bishops would create complete havoc around his king leaving me with a rook and 3 pieces against his queen. He duly resigned. I’m quite satisfied with the quality of my play today, rounding the halfway mark on a high note and looking forward to the free day tomorrow before facing runner-up Bacrot, who won again, on Tuesday. [CB report and games]

Pearl Spring 2010 Round 6 – 2010-10-26 19:13:04
The free day Monday came in handy. After the usual downtown dinner and late table tennis session I felt in good shape, and as it turned out I really needed stamina today. As black against in-form Bacrot something went seriously wrong in the opening. In the Queen Indian variation with 5.Nbd2 I spent more than half an hour on move 11. My original plan wouldn’t work and I couldn’t find anything better than the actual game continuation promising me at least four or five hours of endgame torture. It looked pretty difficult before the time control due to his bishop pair (against my knights) and the weak pawn on c5. Short of time he traded off the h-pawns. Later I managed to get in g5 to get the worst behind me, and instead of pushing his b-pawn to continue his attempt, he offered a draw after a repetition on move 48. The bad news is that I’ve gone astray in the opening against both Gashimov and Bacrot with black. The good news is that I’m ready to fight and managed to draw. [CB report and games]

Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 Round 7 – 2010-10-27 19:34:16
Long interesting game today against reigning World Champion V. Anand. I got a playable position from the Ruy Lopez opening and continued to make gradual progress to get a winning position close to the second time control. He defended stubbornly, and I missed my chance and let him off the hook early in the 7th hour after which it ended in a draw after perpetual checks by Black. [CB report and games]

Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 Round 8 out of 10 – 2010-10-28 18:37:41
Compared to last year the schedule has been tightened considerably. With seven hour time-control and one free day versus 5 hours and two days last year, no wonder the players start to look tired. Yesterday I was tired all day and the long game didn’t improve the situation, but today I felt in really good shape. At least a few of the other players were in a peaceful mood today. Wang Yue played the Catalan and I went for the 4… Bxd2 variation that was quite popular during the Olympiad. After having equalized from the opening I missed a tactical finesse. He was slightly better but with his b3 followed by my response Ne4 his advantage more or less disappeared. Trading off queens and two light pieces he immediately forced a perpetual in the rook ending. With no decided games today I’m still one point ahead of Anand and Bacrot. I’m facing Topalov with the black pieces Friday. [CB report and games]

Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 Victory! – 2010-10-29 19:28:13
I’ve won Nanjing 2010 with one round to go! Black against Topalov was likely to be a significant hurdle and my opponent did play very well in the opening and early middle game in the Catalan with 4… Bxd2. With time running below 30 minutes and close to 20 moves left he swapped queens at the wrong moment as he probably had missed Rb2! The position was still balanced but he continuously had to watch out for tactical motifs and blundered badly with Rc3 which lost to Nxf2+. My first victory with black in this tournament. Bearing in mind mediocre results in the Olympiad and in Bilbao, I was highly motivated before the tournament and I am of course tremendously happy with the result so far in Nanjing. [CB report and games]

Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 finished -Tal WC Blitz – 2010-11-01 23:09:40
Nanjing Pearl Spring 2010 finished, Tal WC Blitz next. I had white against Gashimov and didn’t have much of an advantage from the opening. Allowing him to capture on e4, the position opened up and his queenside pawns on dark squares became vulnerable. He lost (or sacrificed) a pawn to gain counterplay on the kingside. I missed an opportunity to enter a promising rook and knight ending a pawn up, and instead he traded rooks to reach a drawn but somewhat tricky ending. The queens and opposite-colored-bishop ending a pawn down proved manageable for him, especially after I wasted a tempo with Qc7+ and a draw was reached after 71 moves. Clear first with 7/10 and a 10 rating point gain made the tournament highly successful for me, and the 24 hours travel back home went smoothly. In many respects the Nanjing tournament was a top-level event of the absolute highest class and I’d like to thank the organizer for the great event. In November I look forward to the Tal Blitz World Championship 16th- 18th in Moscow as well as possibly some pleasant activities with my main sponsors Arctic Securities and Simonsen lawfirm. Finally I'm happy to present my brand new official website, Hope you will check it out? [CB report and games]

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