two entries on the Arctic Securities blog
Amber Blindfold and rapid, Round 1
0/2 against Vassily Ivanchuk today, an absolutely awful start! In the blindfold game I had white, and after an unconventional opening I made a serious mistake as early as the 10th move. After that it was an uphill battle already, and after a terrible blunder on the 31th move it was over. Funnily enough, I did at one point forget the position, as I imagined that he had two g-pawns instead of three. Luckily, I realised it in time, and did not hang my queen as I had intended In the second game I got a good position out after the opening after my opponent sacrificed first one, an then another pawn for the initiative. We reached an endgame where I had two pawn extra and the advantage, but my wrecked pawn-structure and his active pieces gave him reasonable drawing chances. Eventually, while searching for an advantage I found just about the only way to get a worse position, and after a few more mistakes I lost on time in a lost position on the 49th move. Ivanchuk is in the lead, with Ruslan Ponomariov, who beat Boris Gelfand twice. Fortunately there are still 20 rounds to go, and plenty of time to make up the lost ground. Tomorrow I play against the reigning champion Levon Aronian, who won one and lost one today. Certainly a great opportunity to strike back! Magnus Carlsen, Nice, March 13th 2010.
Amber blindfold and rapid, Round 2
After losing twice yesterday, I wrote that today would be a good moment to strike back. And I’m proud to say that that’s what I did, by beating Levon Aronian 2-0. In the blindfold game I played the kings indian defence as black, which usually leads to a sharp and complicated game. I got a dynamic position, and when I got the chance to sacrifice a knight for two pawns and an attack on move 20, I really felt that things were going my way. After he missed a chance to complicate the position on the 25th move, it was over, and he resigned on the 28th move. A very enjoyable win, not least because I spent less than 10 minutes on the clock for the entire game. The rapid game was a completely different story. An equal position was reached out of the opening, and nothing much happened for the first 50 moves. Then, in a completely drawn position, he made a mistake I had being trying to provoke for a while with 50… h5, having underestimated my reply 51.g5! Suddenly, the position was not that clear anymore, and with the additional pressure of being short of time my opponent crumbled and lost 18 moves later. Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov are still in the lead with 3/4, both making two draws today, against Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk respectively. The aforementioned Svidler is my opponent tomorrow. The five-time Russian champion has been a more or less steady member of the top ten for 10 years now, and rarely loses. Certainly a tough opponent, but I hope to continue in the samne vein as today. Magnus Carlsen, Nice, March 14th 2010.