Sunday, March 24, 2013

Go Magnus go!

We're halfway through the 2013 Candidates Tournament, and it is going very well, I think. The games have been fascinating and very hard fought.

As Dylan McLain noted in the New York Times: Change in Title Format Forces Switch in Strategies

The Candidates Tournament to select a challenger to face Viswanathan Anand for the world chess championship began on March 15 in London, and it has proved one thing: A single event beats the elimination matches that have most often been used since 1965.

Vinay Bhat sums up the first half of the tournament: Thoughts After One Trip Through the Lineup

At the halfway point, Carlsen and Aronian are ahead of the pack on +3 (5/7). Nobody else even has a plus score, while the elder statesmen among the group (Ivanchuk and Gelfand) are on -2 (2.5/7).

As for me, I'm sticking with my predictions: Kramnik is going to make a run, but he can't close the gap. Aronian will stay close, but ... let me say it again:

Magnus is coming!

Or, as The Week In Chess noted in their summary of round 7

Magnus Carlsen wound up the tension against Teimour Rajdabov creating a very sharp position where he was eventually going to allow a strong kingside attack. Things went wrong for him but probably not quite to the extent that the computers said. Carlsen was well prepared to sacrifice the exchange as he did and he did get more than enough compensation. Carlsen thought he ought to be much worse but only by slow play with something like 25...Be7. Rajdabov's 25...f2 looked like the winning idea but Carlsen found a lot of counterplay. A fascinating yet flawed game that shows just how confident Carlsen is in his own abilities and perhaps provides a better insight into the way Carlsen tries to drag his opponent into trouble than games where this works out.

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