Carlsen blogging from Corus

Carlsen about his games at Corus Wijk Aan Zee

Carlsen, Round 1

Not much to tell from the game today. My opponent Dutch S.Tiviakov plays extremely solid with white. I tried to create some complication on the queenside but never got any advantage. After about 3 hours play I offered a draw in a slightly worse endgame and as expected he accepted my offer. There has been significant media interest after I became number one on the January 2010 ranking list. After our arrival in Wijk aan Zee 4 days ago I have given a number of interviews to various media including local and foreign newspapers and the TV channel Al Jazeera. In my first appearance here in Wijk I played in the Grandmaster C-group in 2004. This year Norwegian Kjetil Lie (who was my second in the candidates back in 2007) and 16-year old Swedish Nils Grandelius play in the C-group, and Finnish Tommy Nyback in the B-group. I’m glad to see some fellow Scandinavians participating here. In round 2 Sunday I’m white against another Dutchman, Jan Smeets. Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee, January 16th 2010

Round 2

I’ve played against today’s opponent Jan Smeets (24) in the C-group, B-group (twice) and A-group since 2004. He had a good year in 2009 and is just a few rating points short of being the highest rated Dutchman. He won the qualifier for the Amber Rapid and Blindfold back in August so we’ll meet again in March in Nice. Today I went for the sharp Botvinnik variation in the Slav although it is a favourite line of my opponent. He surprised me with a somewhat unusual knight move on the 17th move and I spent half an hour thinking. I found an interesting continuation and fortunately he was out of his preparation a few moves later. It was his turn to think, but to his credit he used the time well and came up with a good plan. We each had a large pawn majority on opposite sides, and the game continued to be balanced but extremely complicated until we both were down to increments (30 seconds per move) until the first time control (40 moves). At this point he went wrong, I started to chase his king around and just after the time control he resigned in face of heavy material losses. With 1.5/2 I’m in shared 2nd place after the leader A.Shirov. Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee, January 17th

Round 3

When we arrived in Wijk last week snow covered the ground and it was pretty cold. The last few days we’ve had plenty of sunshine and warmer weather. (Nearly all the snow is gone.) Still in his 30’s, Look van Wely is an uncompromising player with a total of 19 appearances in a row in the Corus A-group. I played him with the black pieces today, and based on an idea from my trainer Kasparov I sacrificed a pawn followed by a new move (13…Bf8) in the opening. Van Wely spent time but anyhow made some minor inaccuracies so that I was slightly better in the early endgame. He managed to defend fairly well until he got into time trouble, but then he made serious mistakes and allowed my c-pawn to queen on move 40. 0-1. I think my play held decent quality today. Surprisingly all the leaders won (with black). Shirov is still in first place with 3/3 ahead of Nakamura and I with 2.5 and Ivanchuk with 2 points. Anand and Kramnik have 50% (1.5 points). K.Lie won in the C-group and together we celebrated the Norwegian victories at the local Italian restaurant. Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee, January 18th

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