Aerosvit 2008: Carlsen wins yet again, 3100 performance

6/13/2008 – This is becoming quite incredible: Magnus Carlsen beat Alexei Shirov (who blundered in a drawn position on move 61). His score is now 4.5/5, with a performance just a point shy of 3100. If the world rankings were published today he would be number two behind Vishy Anand. Three other games were decided in a day of exciting chess. Round five report.

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Aerosvit-2008 Tournament in Foros, Ukraine

The "Aerosvit-2008" tournament is taking place in a sanatorium complex in the settlement Foros of AR Crimea, Ukraine, from June 7th (day of arrival), to June 20th, 2008 (day of departure). The event is a 12-player round robin with invited participants. The average rating of the players is 2711.7, time controls are 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes to the end of the game, with an addition of 30 sec. after every move. In case of equal points at the end of the tournament the tiebreak is based on the (1) the result of the direct encounter; (2) the Sonneborn-Berger system; (3) the number of won games. The rounds are from Sunday, June 8th until Thursday, June 19th, always starting at 15:00h local time, which is currently CEST +1 (14:00h Berlin/Paris, 13:00h London, 08:00 a.m. New York). Here is a chart for your local time.

Round five report

Carlsen, Magnus
Shirov, Alexei
Volokitin, Andrei
Karjakin, Sergey
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter
Van Wely, Loek
Alekseev, Evgeny
Eljanov, Pavel
Jakovenko, Dmitry
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Onischuk, Alexander
Svidler, Peter

Carlsen,M (2765) - Shirov,A (2740) [D43]
Aerosvit Foros UKR (5), 12.06.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 Nd7 8.Rc1 Bd6 9.Bd3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Qe7 11.0-0 0-0 12.Ne4 Bc7 13.Bb3 Rd8 14.Qc2 a5 15.a3 Rb8 16.Rfd1 Nf8 17.Ne5 Bd7 18.Nxd7 Nxd7 19.g3 Nf6 20.Qc5 Qxc5 21.Nxf6+ gxf6 22.Rxc5 Ra8 23.Kg2 Bd6 24.Rc2 f5 25.Bc4 a4 26.Be2 Be7 27.Bf3 Ra5 28.Rc4 Bf6 29.Rdc1 e5 30.dxe5 Bxe5 31.Rb4 Rd7 32.Rc2 Kg7 33.Kf1 Bf6 34.Rcc4 Ra8 35.Rf4 Ra5 36.Ke2 Rc5 37.Rfc4 Rxc4 38.Rxc4 Bxb2 39.Rxa4 c5 40.Kf1 b6 41.Be2 Bc3 42.Bb5 Rd1+ 43.Kg2 Ba5 44.Rf4 Kg6 45.a4 Bc3 46.g4 fxg4 47.Be8 Be5 48.Bxf7+ Kg5 49.Re4 Kf5 50.Rc4 Rd7 51.Bh5 Rg7 52.a5 bxa5 53.Rxc5 Ra7 54.Rc4 Rg7 55.Rc5 Ra7 56.Rc4 Rg7 57.Rc6 Ra7 58.Bg6+ Kg5 59.Bc2 a4 60.Rg6+ Kh5 61.Re6

Shirov has been under constant time pressure, and was certainly exhausted by his opponent's constant probing for a win in what knew was a theoretically drawn position. After sixty stenuous moves he cracks: 61...Bg7?? 62.Kg3! Ra5 (now it is mate in three) 63.Bg6+ Kg5 1-0. The continuation is 64.f4+ gxf3 e.p. 65.h4 mate (or 64.h4+ and 65.f4 mate). [Click to replay]

Magnus Carlsen in round five

What is the reason for this string of victories. One explanation is tenacity, the willingness of young Magnus to play on in objectively drawn positions and search for resourses, putting his opponent under constant pressure and, as we have said before, giving him ample opportunity to commit mistakes (while not falling prey to any himself). His father Henrik summarised in his blog: "Magnus is just 17 and has some obvious weaknesses relative to the rest of the elite players (inexperience, opening repertoire, etc.). Somehow he seems to have been able to compensate fully with his apparant strenghts (rational objectivity over the board, good intuition, fighting spirit and inner motivation). My only concern is that expectations may take on unreasonable proportions."

Peter Svidler – chances are the St Petersburger is looking up cricket scores (photo Karlovich)

Peter Svidler scored his first win in this event. After his loss to Alekseev in round three now stands at 50% in place 4-8.

Onischuk,Al (2664) - Svidler,P (2746) [D97]
Aerosvit Foros UKR (5), 12.06.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 a6 8.Be2 b5 9.Qb3 c5 10.dxc5 Be6 11.Qc2 Nbd7 12.Be3 Rc8 13.Rd1 b4 14.Na4 Qa5 15.0-0 Nxe4 16.c6 Nd6 17.b3 Bd5

18.Rxd5 Qxd5 19.Rc1 Nb8 20.c7 Nd7 21.Bxa6 Ra8 22.Qd3 Qxd3 23.Bxd3 Rfc8 24.Nd4 Bxd4 25.Bxd4 Ne8 26.Nb6 Nxb6 27.Bxb6 Rxa2 28.g3 Nd6 29.Rd1 Kf8 30.Bf1 Rc2 31.Rd4 Ra8 32.Rxb4 Rc6 33.Bh3 f5 34.g4 Ra6 35.Bd4 Rxc7

Now Onischuk, who after losing the c-pawn has little to show for the exchange he sacrificed, gets his dark-squared bishop trapped on a square you will probably not be able to guess: 36.gxf5 Nxf5 37.Bf1 Rc1 38.Bb2 Rb1 39.Be5 Ra5 40.Bh8 Ng7 0-1. [Click to replay]

Andrei Volokitin, who turns 22 next Wednesday, vs Sergey Karjakin, who stays 18 until next January

18-year-old Sergey Karjakin became the youngest grandmaster in the history of the game at the age of twelve, a record which still stands. He was in hot pursuit of his arch-rival Magnus Carlsen, who is 10½ months his junior, in Foros. After four rounds he was half a point behind, but then came a cropper in round five against his compatriot Andrei Volokitin, who is 3½ years his senior.

Volokitin,And (2684) - Karjakin,Sergey (2732) [E37]
Aerosvit Foros UKR (5), 12.06.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nc6 9.e3 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Nxd2 11.Qxd2 dxc4 12.Qxa5 Nxa5 13.Rc1 b5 14.cxb6 Bb7 15.bxa7 Ke7 16.Ne2 Rxa7 17.Nc3 Bc6 18.Na2 Rd7 19.Nb4 Ba4 20.Be2 Bb3 21.Bf3 f5 22.e4 f4 23.g3 Rf8 24.gxf4 Rxf4 25.Ke2 Kd6 26.h4 Rdf7 27.Rh3 g6 28.Ke3 Nb7 29.Bd1 Rxf2 30.e5+ Kd7 31.Bf3 Rxb2 32.Bxb7 Rf5 33.Bc6+ Kc7 34.Be4 Rxe5 35.Nd3 Rc2 36.Nxe5 Rxc1 37.Rh1 Rc3+ 38.Kd4 Rg3 39.Rf1 c3

Young Serge has been in big trouble for a while in this game, but now he gets mated: 40.Rf7+ Kc8 41.Kc5 c2 42.Kd6 Bd5 43.Bxd5 exd5 44.Nc6 and it's Rc7# on the next move. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Vassily Ivanchuk pushed for 72 moves against Dmitry Jakovenko, but was unable to transform his pawn advantage into a full point in a knight and pawn ending. Alekseev and Eljanov played a 15-move draw. In spite of this and three short draws in round four the drawing average is very good in this tournament: just 43% of the games were drawn, 47% were won by White and 10% by Black.

Standings after five rounds

Carlsen's performance in the five games so far is 3099, i.e. you could reasonably expect a player of that rating to achieve 4.5/5 points against the opposition Magnus has thus far faced. And if the tournament were abandoned right now he would be number two in the next world rankings, with a rating of 2792, just six points behind the leader Vishy Anand (and four points ahead of Vladimir Kramnik). Words fail us...


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