Sunday, 10 October 2010

What is up with Carlsen?

I have a lot of admiration for Magnus Carlsen, an admiration that only increased during the 2010 Olympiad. He could have ducked the event like a certain World Champion, but turned out for the Norwegian team, knowing that his team wouldn't be challenging for the medals, and he would most likely be up against a different set of opponents than he normally plays. He was even a team player off the board, travelling to the Olympiad on the same charters as everybody else, and lining up in the freezing cold to get into the Bermuda Party, amongst the hundreds of other punters.
Unfortunately it wasn't a great Olympiad for him, losing 3 games and finishing with a 2664 TPR. And it seems his run of form hasn't got any better, with a crushing loss to Kramnik in the first round at Bilbao. Kramnik seemed to get a simple advantage from the opening, and attempts by Carlsen to break the hold that Kramnik held, only made things worse. By the end of the game Carlsen was reduced to shuffling his c-rook, and resigned rather than submit to a slow and painful death.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2780) - Carlsen,Magnus (2826) [E15]
Grand Slam Final Masters Bilbao ESP (1), 09.10.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qa4 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.dxc5 bxc5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Rd1 Qb6 11.Bf4 Rd8 12.Rab1 h6 13.Qb5 Bc6 14.Qxb6 axb6 15.b3 g5 16.Bxb8 Raxb8 17.Ne5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Rbc8 19.e4 d6 20.Nd3 Kf8 21.h3 Nd7 22.f4 Nb8 23.Na4 Nd7 24.Nf2 Ra8 25.Rd2 Ra5 26.Nc3 Nb8 27.Rbd1 Nc6 28.Nb5 gxf4 29.gxf4 d5 30.exd5 exd5 31.cxd5 Rxb5 32.dxc6 Rc8 33.Ng4 Rxc6 34.Ne5 Re6 35.Kf3 Ra5 36.Rg2 f6 37.Nc4 Ra7 38.f5 Rc6 39.a4 Rb7 40.Rg6 h5 41.Rdg1 Ke8 42.Ne5 Rc8 43.Rg8+ Bf8 44.Ng6 Rf7 45.Rd1 (D) 1-0


Paul said...

Even the great ones have a bad run once in awhile Shawn. It gives the rest of us mortals hope. :-)

Anonymous said...

I think Carlsen is going through a stage of development. I think this because of some of strange choices he's been making in standard positions, where he would obviously have the choice of a more 'normal' GM move. I think his game against Adams in the Olympiad, with his desire for complicatons out of book is a telling sign. Peter

Anonymous said...

It looks you are not the only one who is interested in the question.
The Moscow chess published an interview with V. Gunina (a member of the Russian chess Olympiad team). She says, that she knows what is happening with Carlsen! She says that he was disappointed by the first loss and lost an interest in chess and spend too much time in women's company. That's understandable ... (The interview, in Russian: So he just need a bit more time to recover ... :-).