"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tata Steel 2012: Surprise in Round 9 - Karjaking beat Carlsen

GM Magnus Carlsen
GM Sergey Karjakin
Top rated grandmaster Magnus Carlsen (2835) from Denmark has been leader of the Tata Steel Tournament 2012 in Wijk aan Zee. This afternoon he was paired with the Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin (2769) who was playing with Black pieces.
Carlsen kicked off with 1.Nf3 and the game went quickly by transposition in some Queen's Indian waters and at some point the position resembled Tartakower-Bondarevsky-Makogonov variation of Queen's Gambit Declined. Carlsen soon after the beginning decided to give up the pair of Bishops exchanging the dark-squared Bishop on f6, and little bit later, after several exchanges in the centre it was Karjakin who remained with isolated queen's pawn
A critical opening position arose in move 17, when Karjakin pushed his isolated d-pawn forward. Carlsen this time did not find the best answer and after some more exchanges in the centre the d-pawn ended up on d3! Karjakin stepped up the pressure and restricted the Carlsen's counter-play on the queen-side and achieved very likely a won position. However, a shortage of time made the situation a bit more complex and interesting for the audience. When both opponents reached the time control Black position was definitely better with two pawns up in the Rook and Bishop vers Rook and Knight ending. Karjakin turned the advantage into the victory without hesitation.

GM Fabiano Caruana
GM Levon Aronian
Possible Ending!
Carlsen's major competitor, Levon Aronian (2805) played with White pieces against Fabiano Caruana (2736). Symmetrical English was played and the game seemed to me rather wild right from the outset. Soon, Caruana sacrificed an exchange for a Knight and two pawns, later the material ratio was transformed into Rook vers four pawns, and just two moves before the time control Caruana missed the move leading to lovely ending (see diagram!) when White Rook would face to a phalanx of Black pawns. 
Aronian then was not willing to let him of the hook and scored whole full point.

That means Aronian takes the lead withpoints followed by a trinity of players with 5½, ie. Carlsen, Ivanchuk (who beat Anish Giri) and Radjabov (who drew with Kamsky). 

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