Radjabov wins 'Match of the Hopes' in Corsica

5/19/2007 – Having staged “The Match of the Legends” in May 2006 between Karpov and Spassky, the Corsican Chess League today organized "Le Match des Espoirs" between the two top juniors of the world – 20-year-old GM Teimur Radjabov of Azerbaijan and 16-year-old GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway. After tying two rapid and two blitz tie-break games Radjabov won the match in the Armageddon playoff.

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The two top juniors of the world played a two-game rapid (10' + 3") match in which both ‘hopes’ won one game each. They then went in for two blitz tie-break games, both of which were drawn. The match was finally decided by an Armageddon-style one-game playoff in which Carlsen with the white pieces and 4 minutes on the clock had to beat Radjabov (black pieces, 3 minutes) to win the match. Carlsen refused a threefold repetition draw in a lost position, and Radjabov soon wrapped up the game and the match 3-2.

The match began at 11:30 a.m. local time in Porto-Vecchio (above), a southern town on the island of Corsica in France, which is a popular tourist destination because of the famous Palombaggia beach and several interesting activities on offer.

Radjabov won the first rapid game with white when Carlsen blundered from a seemingly equal position to get mated.

Radjabov,T (2747) - Carlsen,M (2693) [E15]
Match of the Hopes Porto Vecchio FRA (1), 18.05.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 Bb4 6.Qc2 Bb7 7.Bg2 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.0-0 Be7 10.b3 d6 11.Bb2 Nbd7 12.Rac1 Qc7 13.Rfe1 0-0 14.e4 a6 15.Qb1 Rac8 16.Nd4 Qb8 17.f4 Qa8 18.Bf3 Rfd8 19.g4 e5 20.Nf5 Bf8 21.g5 Ne8 22.Qa1 Nc5 23.Qb1 Ne6 24.Nf1 Nxf4 25.h4 b5 26.N1e3 bxc4 27.bxc4 g6 28.Ng3 f5 29.Kh2 Rb8 30.Qc2 fxe4 31.Bg4 Bc8 32.Ba1 Nd3 33.Rf1 Ng7 34.Rcd1 Qa7 35.Nxe4 Qxe3 36.Nf6+ Kh8 37.Rxd3 Qc5 38.Rd5 Qc7 39.c5 Bxg4 40.Nxg4 Qc6 41.Qd1

41...Ne6?? 42.cxd6 (or simply 42.Rxf8+–) 42...Bxd6 43.Rxd6 Rxd6 44.Bxe5+ Kg8 45.Nh6 mate! 1-0.

In game two, Carlsen evened the scores when it was Radjabov's turn to allow White to deliver mate.

Carlsen,M (2693) - Radjabov,T (2747) [B33]
Match of the Hopes Porto Vecchio FRA (2), 18.05.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.c4 b4 12.Nc2 0-0 13.f3 h6 14.Bh4 a5 15.Be2 Be6 16.0-0 Rfd8 17.Kh1 g5 18.Bf2 Nh5 19.Re1 Nf4 20.Bf1 Qc7 21.Qd2 Kg7 22.Rac1 Qb7 23.Ne3 Ne7 24.b3 Rac8 25.Red1 f6 26.Nd5 Nexd5 27.exd5 Bf7 28.Qe3 Ra8 29.Qb6 Qd7 30.Qc6 Qe7 31.c5 Rac8 32.cxd6 Qxd6 33.Qxd6 Rxc1 34.Qxd8 Rxd1 35.Be1 Nxd5 36.Kg1 Rxe1 37.Kf2 Ra1 38.Qxa5 Nc3 39.Qxb4 Rxa2+ 40.Kg1 Ne2+ (allowing Magnus to swap his bishop for the knight plays into White's hands)

41.Bxe2 Rxe2 42.Qb7 Kg6 43.b4 Rb2 44.b5 h5 45.b6 Rb1+ 46.Kf2 Rb2+ 47.Ke1 Bd5 48.Qxd5 Rxb6 49.Qg8+ Kh6 50.Kf2 Rb7 51.Ke3 Rg7 52.Qe8 g4 53.Ke4 gxf3 54.gxf3 Rg5 55.h4 Rg7 56.Kf5 e4 57.Qh8+ 1-0 because of 57...Rh7 58.Qxf6#.

With the match now tied at 1-1, the players headed into a two-game blitz match. Carlsen played white in the first game and had a good position but let Radjabov off the hook - not uncommon for these time controls.

Carlsen,M (2693) - Radjabov,T (2747) [C63]
Match of the Hopes Porto Vecchio FRA (3), 18.05.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.0-0 Bc5 7.Qe2 d6 8.Qc4 Qe7 9.Nc3 Bd7 10.Bg5 a6 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Be3 Bxe3 13.fxe3 Qf7 14.Nd2 0-0 15.Qxf7+ Kxf7 16.Nc4 Ke7 17.Na5 Rab8 18.Rab1 c5 19.a3 Bb5 20.Rf3 Bd7 21.Rff1 Rb6 22.Nc4 Rb7 23.Na5 Rbb8 24.b4 cxb4 25.axb4 Rb6 26.Nd5+ Nxd5 27.exd5 Rxf1+ 28.Kxf1 c6 29.dxc6 Bxc6 30.c4 Be4 31.Rb2 Ke6 32.Ke1 Rb8 33.b5 axb5 34.cxb5 Ra8 35.Nc4 Ra4 36.Nd2 Bb7 37.b6 Kd7 38.Rc2 Bc6 39.Rb2 Bb7 40.Rc2 Ra1+ 41.Kf2 Bc6 42.Rb2 Ra8 43.Nc4 Rb8 44.Rd2 Ke7 45.Nxd6 Bd7 46.Nc4 Be6 47.Nxe5 Rxb6 48.Nf3 Rb8 49.h4 h6 50.Rd4 Rb2+ 51.Nd2 Rb5 52.g4 Rb8 53.Nf3 Rb3 54.g5 hxg5 55.Nxg5 Bf5 56.Rf4 Bg6 57.Nf3 Rb2+ 58.Kg3 Re2 59.Rg4 Kf6 60.Kf4 Rf2 61.Rg5 Bc2 62.e4 Bd1 63.Rf5+ Ke7 64.Kg3 Re2 65.Re5+ Kf6 66.Rd5 Bc2 67.e5+ Ke7 68.Nd4 Re3+ 69.Kf2 Rd3 70.e6 g6? 71.Rd7+ Kf6

72.e7? [72.Nxc2 Rxd7 73.exd7 wins easily for White] 72...Kf7 73.Rd8 Kxe7 74.Nc6+ Kf6 75.Rxd3 Bxd3 76.Ke3 g5 77.hxg5+ Kxg5 draw.

The second blitz tie-break saw fewer ups and downs and was drawn after 87 moves.

Radjabov,T (2747) - Carlsen,M (2693) [E15]
Match of the Hopes Porto Vecchio FRA (4), 18.05.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 f5 13.Re1 Rc8 14.e3 Nf6 15.a3 Bd6 16.Qc2 g5 17.Nf3 g4 18.Nd2 Ne4 19.Bb4 h5 20.Rec1 h4 21.Nxe4 dxe4 22.Bxd6 Qxd6 23.b4 Qe7 24.Qc3 Qf6 25.a4 c5 26.dxc5 Qxc3 27.Rxc3 bxc5 28.b5 Bb7 29.Bf1 h3 30.a5 Rcd8 31.Rc2 Rd6 32.Be2 Rfd8 33.Kf1 Kg7 34.Ke1 e5 35.Rb2 Kf6 36.Rab1 a6 37.Bd1 Bc8 38.Ba4 Be6 39.Bb3 Rb8 40.Ba2 Ke7 41.bxa6 Rxb2 42.Rxb2 Rxa6 43.Rb5 Kd6 44.Bb3 Bd7 45.Rb6+ Rxb6 46.axb6 Be6 47.Kd2 Kc6 48.Kc3 Kxb6 49.Ba4 Ka5 50.Bb5 Kb6 51.Ba4 Kc7 52.Bc2 Bd7 53.Kb3 Kb6 54.Ka3 Ka5 55.Bd1 Bc6 56.Bc2 Bb7 57.Bd1 Bc8 58.Ba4 Ba6 59.Bd7 Bxc4 60.Bxf5 Be2 61.Kb3 Bf3 62.Kc4 Kb6 63.Bd7 Kc7 64.Bf5 Kd6 65.Kc3 Kd5 66.Bc8 Kc6 67.Be6 Kb5 68.Bd7+ Kb6 69.Bf5 Kc6 70.Kc4 Be2+ 71.Kb3 Kd5 72.Kc3 Bf3 73.Bc8 Kc6 74.Ba6 Kb6 75.Bc4 Ka5 76.Bd5 Ka4 77.Kc4 Ka3 78.Kc3 Ka4 79.Bb3+ Kb5 80.Bc4+ Kc6 81.Be6 Kd6 82.Bf5 Kd5 83.Bc8 Kd6 84.Bb7 Kc7 85.Bd5 Kd6 86.Bc4 Kc6 87.Be6 draw.

With the match still tied, the players played a one-off game in which White had four minutes and Black had three minutes. White had to win whereas a draw was sufficient for Black. Carlsen played white and was doing quite well according to Fritz until 17.e4 ruined it all. It was all downhill from that point on and, although Carlsen did not accept Radjabov's threefold repetition offer, he succumbed soon after.

Carlsen,M (2693) - Radjabov,T (2747) [A80]
Match of the Hopes Porto Vecchio FRA (5), 18.05.2007
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.Bxf6 exf6 5.e3 c6 6.Qf3 Be6 7.Bd3 g6 8.h3 Nd7 9.g4 fxg4 10.hxg4 Bf7 11.Nge2 Qb6 12.0-0-0 0-0-0 13.Nf4 Bb4 14.Nce2 Qa5 15.Kb1 Bd6 16.c3 b5

17.e4? (Fritz was rooting for 17.Rh6 here) dxe4 18.Bxe4 Qxa2+ 19.Kc1 Kc7 20.Bxc6 Qa1+ 21.Kc2 Bb3+ 22.Kd2 Qxb2+ 23.Ke1 Bxd1 24.Kxd1 Qb3+ 25.Kd2 Qa2+ 26.Kd1 Qb3+ 27.Kd2 Qa2+ 28.Ke3 Rhe8+ 29.Be4 f5 30.gxf5 gxf5 31.Ra1 Qxa1 32.Nd5+ Kb8 33.Qxf5 Qa5 34.Kf3 Rf8 0-1.


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