No spoilers here for those of you who missed yesterday's action, fear not. You can watch the semi-final match between Magnus Carlsen and Alexander Grischuk here (the report is here, for those who don't care about spoilers); while the second semi-final in Chess.com's Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championship, between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura, will start at 1 p.m. ET. (Viewing instructions here.)
Entries in Magnus Carlsen (202)
So it says here, though you might want to translate the page.
An informal survey: do you think The Simpsons have jumped the shark, and if so, how long ago did it happen?
Magnus Carlsen won the Bilbao Masters Final - but that was already true before today's final round. Today's three games were calm and short affairs. (Yes, Giri-Nakamura went to move 48, but the last 25 moves or so took half an hour or less.) Initially it seemed that Karjakin-Wei Yi might be exciting, but a few quick trades dispelled the illusion. And there were no illusion to dispel in So-Carlsen; that game was the first to finish and never had a moment where it looked like things might heat up.
1. Carlsen 17/30 (on 3-1-0 scoring; on traditional scoring he went 6.5/10)
2. Nakamura 12 (5.5)
3-4. So, Wei Yi 11 (5)
5. Karjakin 9 (4.5)
6. Giri 7 (3.5)
The Bilbao Masters Final has been a strange tournament, with two players featuring in all the decisive games: Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri. Carlsen lost in round 1 to Hikaru Nakamura - his first loss to Nakamura in classical chess - but went on to win in rounds 2, 3, 4, and today in round 9. Giri has no wins (not for the first time in a tournament), but has lost in round 6, 8, and 9. Put on your logic cap, and you'll correctly infer that Carlsen has finally defeated Giri in a classical game, his first victory in 16 tries. (He lost their first game, drew the next fourteen, and finally won today.)
The tournament is run on 3-1-0 scoring, and thus Carlsen's +4 -1 =4 score gives him 16 points of a possible 27. Nakamura (+1 =8) is in second with 11, Wei Yi and Wesley So (both +1 -1 =7) are tied for third-fourth with 10, Sergey Karjakin (-1 =8) is next to last with 8 points, and Giri (-3 =6) is in the cellar with 6 points.
In earlier posts I presented the round 1 games and Carlsen's round 3 win over Karjakin; this time we'll take a quick look at all the other decisive games in the tournament and Carlsen's other efforts.
The round 10 pairings are:
- So (10) - Carlsen (16)
- Giri (6) - Nakamura (11)
- Karjakin (8) - Wei Yi (10)
On traditional scoring Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura would be tied for first in the Bilbao Masters Final after three rounds. Nakamura defeated Carlsen in round 1 and drew his next two games, while Carlsen won in rounds 2 and 3 (against Wei Yi and Sergey Karjakin, respectively) to catch him on +1. Bilbao uses 3-1-0 scoring, however, so Carlsen has 6/9 compared to Nakamura's 5. Unlike most of the events covered in the previous posts, seven rounds remain in this double round-robin, so there's plenty of time yet for things to change.
A question outside the scope of the current tournament: is there enough time for Karjakin to give Carlsen a real challenge this November? His results since qualifying for the world championship match have been decent but not for someone who looks to defeat the highest-rated player of all time, and against Carlsen today his play after the early middlegame was quite bad (have a look), and not just in comparison with his opponent's generally outstanding play. (If Karjakin doesn't shape up, the sponsors will have AGON their faces.)
Here are the round 4 pairings, with 3-1-0 scores given in parentheses (so far, all the decisive results have come in Carlsen's games):
- Carlsen (6) - So (3)
- Nakamura (5) - Giri (3)
- Wei Yi (2) - Karjakin (2)
Good news, Chicago Cubs fans: anything is possible! In round 1 of the Bilbao Final Masters Hikaru Nakamura finally did something he hadn't done in his entire career: defeat Magnus Carlsen in a game with a classical time control. The game didn't get off to an auspicious start, as Carlsen obtained a very pleasant advantage on the white side of a Fianchetto Dragon, but when Carlsen chose a badly flawed plan Nakamura seized the advantage, increased it, and - most importantly - kept it. Carlsen resigned shortly after the time control was made, and the impossible dream proved possible after all.
That puts Nakamura in first with three points on Bilbao's 3-1-0 scoring system, two points ahead of Sergey Karjakin, Wesley So, Anish Giri, and Wei Yi. The Karjakin-So game was a well-played game where White did most of the pressing but not to the point where Black was in serious trouble, while Giri did have a serious advantage for a while against Wei Yi, but didn't manage to convert.
The games, with reasonably substantive notes to Carlsen-Nakamura, are here. The round 2 pairings are:
- So - Nakamura
- Wei Yi - Carlsen
- Karjakin - Giri
The semi-final matches Magnus Carlsen vs. Alexander Grischuk and Hikaru Nakamura vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave have been set; they will take place on August 18 and August 24, respectively.
Magnus Carlsen's win in the match with Petrosian wasn't FIDE-rated of course, and although Leuven was rated the net effect was that he's a touch lower than Ding Liren on the live blitz list! (Ding Liren is 2875; Carlsen "only" 2873. Nakamura is third at 2841 and Ian Nepomniachtchi is next at 2840, in case you were wondering.) But will it last...
In earlier matches Alexander Grischuk, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Hikaru Nakamura won quarterfinal matches against Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, and Wesley So, respectively, and in every case there was some drama going into the bullet phase of the competition. In the fourth quarterfinal match in this Chess.com blitz event, there wasn't any. Tigran Petrosian won a very strong qualifier to earn a match with Magnus Carlsen, but that's where the fun ended: Carlsen defeated him by a gruesome 21-4 margin.
The full report is here.
Magnus Carlsen wasn't quite as devastating as he had been on day 2 of the rapid portion of the tournament, but by jetting out to a +4=2 start today he clinched clear first with three rounds to go. After that he lost, Elmer Fudd-style, to Anish Giri (trying to annihilate the "rabbit" he burned his bridges and lost pretty badly) and drew his last two games. That was still good enough to win the tournament by 2.5 points.
The race for second was a close one between Wesley So, Levon Aronian, and Viswanathan Anand, and in the end the honors went to So. With two rounds to play So led Anand by half a point, and Aronian was another half a point behind. So drew with Carlsen, while Aronian defeated Anand to leapfrog him. In the last round all three players drew, resulting in So taking second and Aronian finishing in third.
After Anand, the next finisher was another two points back, so there were essentially two tournaments going on - or maybe three: Carlsen's coronation, the race for second, and then everyone else. Here are the final standings, first for the blitz portion and then overall:
- 1. Carlsen 11 (of 18)
- 2. Aronian 10
- 3-5. Anand, Nakamura, So 9.5
- 6-7. Kramnik, Vachier-Lagrave 9
- 8. Caruana 8.5
- 9. Giri 8
- 10. Topalov 6
- 1. Carlsen 23 (of 36)
- 2. So 20.5
- 3. Aronian 20
- 4. Anand 19.5
- 5. Caruana 17.5
- 6. Vachier-Lagrave 17
- 7. Nakamura 16.5
- 8-9. Kramnik, Giri 16
- 10. Topalov 14