World Rapid: All about Carlsen

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/18/2014 – Even though Fabiano Caruana started strong by beating the leader, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and taking the top spot for himself, it was Magnus Carlsen who ended the day with a bang. The Italian player faced the World Champion in a crucial round ten and the Norwegian took the full point home, going into round eleven with a half point lead over Levon Aronian. Report and impressions.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships take place in Dubai, from June 15th (opening ceremony) to June 21st, 2014. The Rapid event will be played from June 16th-18th over 15 rounds, at a time control of 15m+10s. The Blitz runs from June 19th-20th and lasts 21 rounds at 3m+2s. The total prize fund for the tournament is US$400 thousand with $40 thousand for the winner of each championship. There are 122 entries with nearly every elite player playing such as leading players: Magnus Carlsen, Aronian Levon, Alexander Grischuk, Viswanathan Anand, Fabiano Caruana, Nakamura Hikaru, Sergey Karjakin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Peter Svidler, etc. Rounds are at 1pm Paris time each day or 8am New York time.

Rounds six to ten

The press is ready to cover an important day in Dubai

This tournament is definitely action packed. Nepomniachtchi was the leader going into round six, but the fireworks truly started with the duel between Karjakin and Carlsen:

[Event "FIDE World Rapid 2014"] [Site "Dubai UAE"] [Date "2014.06.17"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B78"] [WhiteElo "2771"] [BlackElo "2881"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2014.06.16"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 h5 11. O-O-O Ne5 12. Bb3 Rc8 13. Bg5 Rc5 14. Kb1 Re8 15. Bh6 a5 16. a4 Qb6 17. g4 (17. Ndb5 {closing down the queenside, was probably more prudent.}) 17... Rxc3 $1 {The fireworks begin!} 18. bxc3 Nxf3 $5 (18... Bxh6 19. Qxh6 Bxa4 {gave Black great compensation.}) 19. Nxf3 Nxe4 {The queen can keep the defense of the bishop, but that leads to a horrible endgame.} 20. Qd3 (20. Qe3 Nxc3+ 21. Kc1 Qxe3+ 22. Bxe3 Nxd1 23. Rxd1 hxg4 {And now Black has 4 pawns for a piece, which is too many. It is possible that White can hold since he will have soome pressure on f7, but that is about all he can dream of. }) 20... Nxc3+ 21. Kc1 Bxh6+ 22. Ng5 $1 {This is hte point of the bishop sacrifice. White is threatening the f7 pawn, the c3 knight and the g6 pawn!} Bg7 $1 23. Rdf1 $2 (23. Qxg6 Qe3+ $1 24. Rd2 (24. Kb2 Nxd1+ {picks up all of White's pieces with check.}) 24... Na2+ $1 25. Bxa2 Qa3+ 26. Kd1 Qxa2 27. Qh7+ Kf8 {And Black's king is surpringly safe on f8. White's king on d1 not so much. }) (23. Bxf7+ $1 Kh8 24. Qxg6 Qe3+ 25. Rd2 Ne2+ 26. Kb1 Nc3+ {is a perpetual.}) 23... d5 $2 (23... Bxg4 $3 {A move that is almost impossible to see for a human. The point is that e2 is defended now, which is important in many variations. Also d1 is not available for the king.} 24. Bxf7+ (24. Qxg6 Qe3+ 25. Kb2 Nd5+ $19 {the pin is removed and the queen is simply hanging on g6.}) ( 24. Rxf7 $1 Ne2+ $1 25. Kb1 d5 $1 {This move defends everything and the d5 pawn is taboo. Notice how the queen on b6 is defending the pawn on g6.}) 24... Kh8 25. Qxg6 Ne2+ 26. Kd1 Qd4+ 27. Ke1 Qb4+ 28. Kf2 Qf4+ $1 {And White gets mated.}) 24. Rxf7 Qd4 {Carlsen decides to simplify into an endgame, but his advantage there is miniscule.} 25. gxh5 Qxd3 26. cxd3 gxh5 27. Rf2 Bd4 28. Rc2 Rf8 29. Re1 Rf4 30. Ne4 $1 {The equalizer. This forces some pieces off the board and Karjakin holds the endgame without difficulties. A fabulous game!} Nxe4 31. Bxd5+ e6 32. Bxe4 Kf8 33. Rc7 Ke7 34. Rxb7 Kd6 35. Kd2 Rxh4 36. Rh1 Rxh1 37. Bxh1 Bxa4 38. Bf3 h4 39. Rh7 Bf6 40. Rh5 Bd8 41. d4 Bb3 42. Kc3 a4 43. Rh8 Bf6 44. Rh6 Ke7 45. Rh7+ Kf8 46. Bg4 Kg8 47. Rb7 Kf8 48. Rxb3 Bxd4+ 49. Kxd4 axb3 50. Kc3 Ke7 51. Kxb3 e5 52. Kc4 Kf6 53. Kd3 Kg5 54. Bc8 Kf4 55. Ke2 Kg3 56. Ke3 h3 57. Bxh3 e4 58. Kxe4 1/2-1/2

Despite this missed chance by Carlsen, which to be fair was almost impossible to see without computer assistance, he continued with an implacable pace in the next few rounds. Caruana meanwhile dispatched Nepomniachtchi with black to make the tournament wide open.

Alexander Morozevich played a very creative game to smash Judit Polgar

[Event "FIDE World Rapid 2014"] [Site "Dubai UAE"] [Date "2014.06.17"] [Round "6.9"] [White "Morozevich, Alexander"] [Black "Polgar, Judit"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B20"] [WhiteElo "2731"] [BlackElo "2685"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2014.06.16"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 1. e4 c5 2. b3 {Not the most common, but it is Morozevich and it is a Rapid game, so anything can be expected!} b6 3. Bb2 Bb7 4. Nc3 e6 5. f4 Nf6 $5 {An unusual set-up. Black forces White to advance his pawn and hopes to counter attack it stoon with d6.} 6. e5 Nd5 (6... Ne4 $1 $11) 7. Qf3 $1 {A surprisingly annoying move. The point is that White gives himself room to castle queenside and he is trying to transfer his queen to g3 to pressure the weak g7 pawn.} Bc6 8. Qg3 Nb4 $2 {This knight will be too lonely in the attack, but it was already uncomfortable to develop.} 9. O-O-O d5 10. exd6 Qxd6 11. Nf3 Nd7 12. d4 Rc8 13. d5 $1 {Already this move is crushing. Polgar has no good way of capturing this intruder, but she cannot ignore it either.} Nxd5 (13... exd5 14. a3 {and surpringly the knight is trapped on b4!}) 14. Nxd5 exd5 15. Ba6 (15. Re1+ Kd8 16. Ng5 {was more precise, but the game move is also winning. }) 15... Rc7 16. Rhe1+ Be7 17. Rxe7+ $1 {This is the most direct.} (17. Qxg7 Rf8 {is winning but isn't immediately over.}) 17... Kxe7 18. Qg5+ Nf6 19. Qxg7 Qxf4+ 20. Kb1 d4 21. Qxh8 {With an extra piece and a raging attack the game is over.} Be4 22. Re1 Ng4 23. Ng5 Ne3 24. Nxe4 Qxe4 25. Bd3 Qf4 26. Bc1 1-0

The seventh round was a little slower than the sixth. With the top draws drawing most of the games it allowed lots of players to catch up with the leaders. An important game was the game Carlsen-Fressinet, Anand-Movsesian, Caruana-Karjakin and Grischuk-Morozevich all ended in draws at the top.

The frenchman did not go down this time against Carlsen

The sevent round was particularly long for one specific game: Matlakov-Vakhidov. The game was a rook and knight vs. rook endgame that Matlakov tried to win for a long, long time. Eventually the game was drawn and the tournament resumed.

The tournament waiting on Matlakov-Vakhidov

Nakamura beat Loek Van Wely to move to 5.0/7

The eight round saw more draws at hte top which allowed even more players to inch closer to Caruana, the sole leader. Nakamura dispatched Morozevich and joined Nepomniachtchi, Karjakin and Carlsen.

After the eight round there was a 45 minute break due to prayer. Players used this time in different ways, Carlsen went bowling:

A little relaxation from chess! Taken from his Facebook page.

Round nine saw Caruana and Grischuk draw in the top board which gave Carlsen the chance to catch up with the Italian. He did this precisely by beating Movsesian. The game was probably drawn at some point but the Armenian player cracked under pressure.

Grischuk drew in round nine with Caruana on the top board

In another important result Aronian beat Karjakin with Black in a tricky Berlin endgame.

Caruana was leading for most of the day

Round ten then saw the clash between the leaders. Carlsen defeated Caruana very convincingly with this finishing touch:

[Event "FIDE World Rapid 2014"] [Site "Dubai UAE"] [Date "2014.06.17"] [Round "10.1"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C41"] [WhiteElo "2881"] [BlackElo "2791"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5rk1/1Q3ppp/8/PN1pb3/8/1q6/5PPP/5RK1 w - - 0 28"] [PlyCount "21"] [EventDate "2014.06.16"] [SourceDate "2014.01.04"] 28. Qc6 {White's passed pawn on the a-file is clearly dangerous, but Black still has some activity.} Rb8 {It looks as if White has to retreat his knight since a6 does not work, but that is not the case!} 29. Rc1 $1 {The knight is obviously taboo, and now the rook on c1 fulfills an important function.} (29. a6 Qxb5 30. Qxb5 Rxb5 31. a7 Ra5 {gives Black no problems:} 32. Rc1 Bc7 $1 $19 {Black is not the only one with a weak backrank!}) (29. Nd6 Bxd6 30. Qxd6 h6 { is not so clear.}) 29... g6 30. a6 $1 {The difference is that the queen is defended now.} Qa2 (30... Qxb5 31. a7 $18 {wins the exchange and the game.}) 31. a7 Rf8 32. g3 {now that the pawn is on a7 White can take his time to push it to the end. Black is helpless.} d4 33. Qb7 Kg7 34. Rc8 Rxc8 35. Qxc8 Qb1+ 36. Kg2 Qe4+ 37. Kh3 {The king is perfectly safe on this square thanks to the queen on c8.} Qd3 38. a8=Q {A very important win.} 1-0

With this victory Carlsen is the leader with 8.0/10. He is also now the #1 rated player in rapids according to the live rating list, but that of course can still change as there are five crucial rounds tomorrow. On second place is Aronian who defeated Nakamura after the American confused his plans.

The American is tied for 10th with many people, while the pack of players with 7.0/10 is impressive: Nepomniachtchi, Caruana, Tomashevsky, Grischuk, Yu Yangyi, Anand and Svidler.

Video impressions by Vijay Kumar

Vijay Kumar's traveling camera captures the action in today's round!

Standings after ten rounds

Rk SNo Name FED Rtg Pts
1 4 Carlsen Magnus NOR 2827 8.0
2 7 Aronian Levon ARM 2785 7.5
3 11 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2768 7.0
4 2 Caruana Fabiano ITA 2840 7.0
5 31 Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2693 7.0
6 3 Grischuk Alexander RUS 2828 7.0
7 45 Yu Yangyi CHN 2668 7.0
8 9 Anand Viswanathan IND 2770 7.0
9 6 Svidler Peter RUS 2787 7.0
10 8 Karjakin Sergey RUS 2781 6.5
11 49 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2660 6.5
12 33 Jobava Baadur GEO 2688 6.5
13 1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2841 6.5
14 28 Movsesian Sergei ARM 2696 6.5
15 15 Morozevich Alexander RUS 2732 6.5
16 13 Radjabov Teimour AZE 2750 6.5
17 34 Naiditsch Arkadij GER 2687 6.5
18 43 Van Wely Loek NED 2674 6.0
19 36 Fressinet Laurent FRA 2681 6.0
20 57 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo VEN 2652 6.0

Replay rounds six to ten

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Pictures from the official site by Anastasiya Karlovich


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register