Magnus at 15 – visions of Karpov and Petrosian

by ChessBase
6/4/2008 – We all know that 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen, with his ridiculous 2765 rating, is an extraordinary talent. Take a look at his performance at 15, when he outplayed an experienced Swedish GM easily and completely in a drawish position – as if he had left the board and been replaced by Karpov or Petrosian, says our Wednesday night Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos. Details on the server.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

We continue our series on today's up-and-comers with a look at Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen. One of the youngest-ever GMs, and currently #5 in the world with a ridiculous 2765 rating, this 17-year-old is widely seen as a future world champion, and with good reason. Not only is he immensely strong, his strength displays itself in a very well-rounded fashion. Not only can he win in the classic ways of youth, with strong opening preparation, tactical prowess and energetic attacking play; but he also shines in, e.g., endings and technical positions.

Magnus Carlsen at 15 (in 2005)

In this week's show, then, we'll have a look at a somewhat atypical game for a youth, his win with the black pieces against Swedish grandmaster Stellan Brynell from Gausdal 2005. The game starts off with the ever-lively Semi-Slav, but once the opening concludes, the players quickly reach an ending (or rather a "nuckie", for fans of GM Glenn Flear's terminology), one that looks like a trivial draw. Indeed, if the players had agreed to a draw around move 25, few if any would have given it a second thought. The game continued on, however, and Carlsen easily and completely outplayed his experienced opponent. So powerful was Carlsen's technique, it was as if the (then) 15-year-old had left the board and been replaced by a Karpov or a Petrosian. Carlsen's forces squeezed the life out of Brynell's position like a boa constrictor suffocating its prey, and without Brynell making a single obvious error.

How did this happen, and what can we learn from the game – aside from a restatement of the obvious, that Carlsen is an amazing player? Tune in tomorrow – Wednesday – at 9 p.m. ET in the Broadcast Room of ChessBase's server and find out! The show is free, and further directions for watching can be found here.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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