Kavalek in Huffington: Magnus Carlsen blitzed Vassily Ivanchuk

10/13/2011 – The Chess Masters Final in Sao Paulo and Bilbao ended in a tie-breaker blitz for first place, in which the youngest player, world's top-rated GM Magnus Carlsen, 20, was facing the oldest, Ukraine's Vassily Ivanchuk, aged 42. The first game was drawn, but Carlsen won the second with black and became the champion. In this week's column GM Lubomir Kavalek analyses this remarkable game.

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Magnus Carlsen Wins Chess Masters Final with a Blitz Game

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

They flew from Europe to Brazil, played five rounds in Sao Paulo, crossed the equator again on the way to Bilbao, Spain, where they played another five rounds. After the world's best chess grandmasters have done all this traveling and playing, the outcome of the Chess Masters Final was still up in the air. It came down to a tiebreaking blitz game in which Norway's Magnus Carlsen, the world's top-rated player, defeated Ukraine's Vassily Ivanchuk, at 42, the oldest participant.

Ivanchuk had a blistering start with one draw and three wins in the first four games, but things changed in a hurry. He lost to Carlsen in the next round and suddenly the Norwegian GM had a chance to catch up. The first part of the double-round event was over and the players had to fly to Spain.

On the way to the airport, still on the hotel premises, Ivanchuk and his wife were robbed. But the thugs didn't get Ivanchuk's laptop, a necessary tool of today's chess players, and the Ukrainian resumed play in Bilbao on time. He beat the American GM Hikaru Nakamura, but managed only two draws and two losses till the end. The loss to Carlsen catapulted the Norwegian into first place. Had the organizers used the traditional results, the final crosstable would have looked like this:

But to encourage fighting chess, the Chess Masters Final was scored differently. Based on soccer scoring, the Sao Paolo/Bilbao results were kicked up to 3 points for a victory, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. It enabled Ivanchuk to share first place with Carlsen.

Regardless of the soccer-style scoring, the organizers will be submitting only the traditional crosstable to FIDE for ratings. It is the only way to align it with other tournaments and to be able to make a historical comparison.

The Championship Game

Since the classical games did not produce a clear winner, Carlsen and Ivanchuk had to play a blitz game tiebreak. The first game was drawn, but Carlsen won the second game and became the champion. What if Ivanchuk had won the blitz? The tournament results would have become meaningless. Strange, very strange, indeed.


Carlsen just played 39...Qg3+, the final move in the championship game

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Nakamura threw away his chance to finish first when he got up to get a drink, thinking he has made the time limit, and overstepped the time after 39 moves against the Spanish GM Francisco Vallejo Pons. At the end, the American shared places with the world champion Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian of Armenia.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post


The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.


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