Magnus Carlsen Eyeing the World Chess Title 
Posted: 01/31/2013 5:44 pm

After triumphing in two major tournaments, in London in December and in Wijk aan Zee in January, Magnus Carlsen is a clear favorite to win the eight-player Candidates event in London (March 15-April 1). The world’s top-rated player is the only Western-born competitor in the field, all his opponents having been born in the Soviet Union. The winner of the double-round robin will play in the world championship match against the titleholder Vishy Anand. Why should Carlsen win?

Let’s have a look at his recent victory at the 75th Tata Steel Chess tournament in the Dutch coastal town of Wijk aan Zee. 


After seven rounds Carlsen was neck and neck with the world Champion Vishy Anand, both at 5/7. But in the last six rounds with a magnificent burst of energy the Norwegian grandmaster scored five points and pulled away from the field.

He broke two records: moving his rating still higher to 2872 on the February 2013 FIDE list, 62 points ahead his nearest rival Vladimir Kramnik. The other was personal: he was undefeated and won seven games, matching Garry Kasparov’s Wijk aan Zee record from 1999. Carlsen has never finished with plus seven in a major tournament before.

Acquiring the Danish grandmaster Pieter Heine Nielsen as a coach will certainly help Carlsen to impove his opening play, perhaps the weakest stage of his game. This is important because many of Carlsen’s opponents are known for their thorough opening preparation. Nielsen, who helped Vishy Anand to win four world titles, brings in a lot of experience. 

However, Carlsen shines in the middlegame and endgame. That’s where the fun begins for him and sets him apart from the rest. He plays with great determination, exploiting every possible chance to win. “I was happy I got the maximum out of every game,” he said in Wijk aan Zee. Not everybody is capable of playing like this every single game. He is cool under pressure and very patient.

He gave the impression in Wijk aan Zee that he was bored to play the same openings over and over. But Carlsen was clearly capable to punish unsound opening play. The U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura not only ignored dr. Tarrasch dictum about bad prospects of a knight on the rim, he put both horses at the edge of the board, allowing Carlsen to build a decisive space advantage.

“It was one of my better games,” said Carlsen. “I faced some fresh problems on the board , but I dealt with them pretty confidently. It wasn’t Nakamura’s best day.” 

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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