Sunday, January 25, 2009

Corus chess round 7: seven straight draws for Carlsen; So still in the lead

Here's a quick summary of GM Magnus Carlsen performance so far in the tournament: Draw, draw, draw, draw, draw, draw, draw.

It's seven straight draws for the Norwegian wunderkind, Magnus Carlsen. And these seven D's is the hot topic of avid chess kibitzer on the internet. Some are surprised, some are disappointed and some are even making fun of him. But considering his last game against Van Wely, and Ivanchuk's three losses in seven games, I am still totally convinced that there's nothing out of ordinary happening in Corus. These two are the top favorites to win Corus but their scores are nowhere near the leaders simply because Karjakin, Movsesian are playing smart. End of discussion. But I do really think that for most of his matches Carlsen was really pushing hard to pull off a victory, even taking some risks. Still, there are games that we can't take anything away from Magnus. He is trying, trying, trying. And he was very close of doing so not once but twice. First against Aronian in round four and second against Karjakin in round six. But let me also point out that Carlsen is also very close from loosing one of those drawn games. And that was in round seven against Van Wely. Van Wely was playing perfectly for much of the game until he committed a crucial error in his 28th move, allowing Carlsen to equalize. It was not a "lucky" escaped for Magnus but surely it was a very close one to be called "lucky". Same situations in which Aronian and Karjakin find themselves against Carlsen. Magnus made some crucial mistakes in the climax of the middle games, allowing his opponents to escapes. So you see, Carlsen is still in his usual fighting chess, only other players are doing much better thus far in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Wesley So couldn't find a way to defeat WIM Harika (2473) of India (replay the game at chessdom), the reigning World Junior Champion (girls division) and the game ended in draw, snapping So's two game winning streak. With the result Wesley suddenly found himself sharing the lead with Swedish GM Hillarp Person.

Standings after 7 rounds:

Corus A

1. S. Karjakin, S. Movsesian 4½
3. L. Aronian, L. Dominguez, T. Radjabov 4
6. M. Carlsen, L. van Wely, G. Kamsky, M. Adams, J. Smeets 3½
11. D. Stellwagen 3
12. V. Ivanchuk, A. Morozevich, Y. Wang 2½

Corus B

1. N. Short 5
2. A. Volokitin, A. Motylev, F. Caruana 4½
5. D. Navara, Z. Efimenko, R. Kasimdzhanov 4
8. F. Vallejo Pons 3½
9. E. l'Ami 3
10. Y. Hou, K. Sasikiran, D. Reinderman, J. Werle 2½
14. H. Mecking 2

Corus C

1. T. Hillarp Persson, W. So 5
3. A. Gupta 4½
4. M. Bosboom 4
5. D. Howell, D. Harika, F. Holzke, A. Bitalzadeh 3½
9. O. Romanishin, A. Giri, M. Leon Hoyos 3
12. F. Nijboer, E. Iturrizaga, R. Pruijssers 2½

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