Chess: Carlsen heads for minimalist victory as Covid strikes at Wijk | Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is heading for a minimalist win at Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee this weekend after the world champion failed to convert a winning round 11 final against Vidit Gujrathi on Friday, the defense accurate India No 2 forced a draw by perpetual check in 51 moves after both players queen a pawn.

Carlsen has Black against former rival Fabiano Caruana in the 12th and penultimate round on Saturday, and will then receive a free point in his last game after Daniil Dubov withdrew from the tournament suffering from Covid.

Carlsen (Norway) is currently at 7.5/11, followed by Richard Rapport (Hungary) 7/11, Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Shak Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) 6.5/11; then four players on 6/11.

Rapport picked up a bloodless victory in the 11th round due to Dubov’s withdrawal. The 25-year-old Hungarian is a creative tactician who hovered on the fringes of the world top 10 for a while and now has his chance to break through if he can beat Andrey Esipenko and Giri in the final two rounds.

If the Carlsen v Caruana 2018 world title match reunion is a draw, Carlsen can win Wijk on 9/13 but will still lose a ranking point or more as his stated goal is to set an all-time high. 2900 evaluation record already looks difficult to achieve.

Giri, who sat in second half a point behind Carlsen with three laps to go, was well beaten on lap 11 by fellow countryman Jorden van Foreest, who won Wijk 2021 and put in a strong showing this year. The player who will be most worried about Dubov’s withdrawal is Swede Nils Grandelius, who sat opposite the infected Russian for seven hours on Wednesday, as several reader comments below reminded us.

Carlsen’s 2900 ambition, so publicly stated, was an open invitation for spoiler responses. Sergey Karjakin, who narrowly lost his 2016 world title match with Carlsen, responded by their 10th round matchwhich was fired per repeat in 16 shots and 15 minutes of play after a Berlin Ruy Lopez streak played several times before.

Karjakin made a joke of it on Twitter, using the hashtag “saynoto2900” and adding “learned some stuff from the world champion” in reference to Carlsen’s previous three matches with the same streak. Carlsen fans were furious, although the champion himself was relaxed about it, pointing out that it was the day before the rest day and that Karjakin was cementing his move to the top half of the scoreboard after a poor start .

by Carlsen most impressive victory was against Shak Mamedyarov at a time when he and world number 9 Azerbaijan were tied for the lead. White’s use of his doubled rooks on the a1-a8 line to exert control of the board is a rare technique worth remembering.

Carlsen’s game that most interested this columnist, however, was his draw as a black man against 2018 United States champion Sam Shankland. The #1 opening choice, which stunned pundits watching online, was the rare Von Hennig-Schara Gambit 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 cxd4!? 5 Qa4+ Bd7 6 Qxd4 exd5 7 Qxd5.

A comment on Twitter was: “He read the Guardian Chess Book“, while Nigel Short also recalled the same source. Published in 1967 as a Hodder and Stoughton paperback and timed just as Fischer’s boom was beginning, the book went through two editions and several reprints.

He gave general advice for improvers and also provided a primitive opening repertoire, including the Goring Gambit 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 5 c3 dxc3 6 Bc4 with variations gleaned from Jonathan Penrose, who l often used against weaker opponents. The Von Hennig-Schara book’s recommendation as a staggered response to 1 d4 (the Tchigorin 1 d4 d5 2 c4 Nc6 was another) was based on the plan of a long quick castling followed by g7-g5 and a early attack against white”s little castling king.

Later, Black’s king was shown to be weaker than White’s after a forceful b2-b4 counter, but the gambit has recently gained new life as a strategic sacrifice with the help of LeelaZero, such as the shows this analysis.

Its basic theme is that accurate play, including short castling, can give Black a position where his piece activity coupled with White’s c1 passive bishop behind the e3 and b2 pawns gives full compensation for the gambit pawn. . That is to say how Carlsen played he, with the innovative Nb8-a6, against Shankland, but the surprised American found a way to return the pawn for a draw end.

Anish Giri was only half a point behind Carlsen after the 10th inning. The world number 5, who lost on a tie-break in 2021, had two lucky ones. Fabiano Caruana blundered in a winning position and then in the next round Daniil Dubov defaulted due to a face mask dispute with the organisers. There are no spectators to push on the Dutch home favorite this year, and Giri has a White in the last three rounds against Carlsen’s two,

The annual Gibraltar Open has been replaced this year by a battle of the sexes between men’s and women’s teams of 10 players, of equal average age and international Fide ranking.

Both teams are quoted around 2400, IM standard. Joe Gallagher, former British champion turned Swiss, and rising English star Ravi Haria play, although some of their colleagues are little known. The women almost all rank in the top 50 and include two former world champions.

The prize money is £100,000, split 75-25 rather than 60-40 as with the World Championship. It will be the best chess payday of a lifetime for some participants, which guarantees a highly competitive game.

Status is also at stake. A big win for the women’s team would likely be the biggest boost for women’s chess since Beth Harmon, and a major shock looked possible when the men lost both (of 10) rounds of chess. opener by 3.5-6.5, but they fought back with 7-3 in the third round despite Black in every game. The men also won the fourth set, 5.5-4.5.

The game starts at 2 p.m. daily and can be watched for free on Youtube. Thursday’s fourth-round action is here.

3800: 1 Nb3! axb3 2 Kd2 Kc4 3 Kc1! build a fortress. If black advances his king on d3, then Kb1! and Ka1! creates an impenetrable defense.

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