SANDS: Carlsen steamrolls elite chess field in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands

By David R. Sands
The Washington Times
Tuesday, January 29, 2013     

Not since the days of Thor has a Norwegian wielded such a mighty hammer.

Obliterating a world-class field, Norway superstar GM Magnus Carlsen has taken the first major tournament of the year, winning the elite Tata Steel “A” Tournament with a stunning 10-3 score, matching the record total for the event set by former world champion and onetime Carlsen coach Garry Kasparov.

With a last-round draw against Dutch GM Anish Giri, Carlsen finished 1½ points ahead of Armenian star GM Levon Aronian and two full points clear of world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and Russian GM Sergey Karjakin. The Norwegian was the only player to get through the 14-grandmaster premier section without a loss.

German GM Arkady Naiditsch won the “B” invitational on tiebreaks over 16-year-old Hungarian prodigy GM Richard Rapport, while Italian GM Sabino Brunello took the “C tournament with a very nice 11-2 result.

Truth be told, a scalpel is more appropriate than a hammer for the surgical Carlsen, who appears to enjoy torturing opponents deep into the endgame, slowly slicing up lesser mortals down with an indomitable will and impeccable technique. But the 22-year-old superstar finally loosened up with a Round 12 pasting of American No. 1 GM Hikaru Nakamura, steamrolling one of the world’s best players in just 31 moves.

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