Rampaging Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, 2813
Wang Yue, 2752
Boris Gelfand, 2741
Teimour Radjabov, 2740
Ruslan Ponomariov, 2733
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, 2672

Yes folks, he’s on the rampage again.  And this time there’s a new toy – which has probably been available for quite some time, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. Magnus Carlsen is eating them up at a super grandmaster tournament, the King’s Tournament in Bazna, Transylvania in Romania. Super grandmasters used to be those rated 2,600 and above. Now they’re rated over 2,700 and these guys are a who’s who of the top ten players – averaging a raging of just under 2,750. Anyway, after starting quietly and drawing twice Carlsen has just reeled off a Fischer like 4-0, two wins with white, two with black. He’s got an ugly style, nothing very classical about it, but he seems to play more like a computer than anyone else. When things go badly as they did for him early in the 6th round game, he thinks nothing of sacrificing a pawn or so to get something more interesting happening, even if it isn’t technically a better position. In round six his position looked worse after he’d sacrificed a pawn.  Not just to me, but also to the computer.  But it certainly created chances, which he managed to take.

The new toy, which if you’re reading this within a few hours of my having posted it you can check out live as the game proceeds is chessbomb which enables you not just to look at the game as it unfolds – you can do that on the official site – linked to above – but also to see how a top computer rates the current position and what its analysis of the main line is.  Even in complex positions it’s amazing how often the players get it right.  But sometimes they don’t and then the friendly computer writes their move in purple (iffy or ‘suboptimal’ as the computer says) or worse still red (a weak move).

Postscript: Carlsen rampaged his way to a 2 point victory – amazing. 

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Steve Edney
Steve Edney
11 years ago

He’s on a trajectory to smash through Kasparov’s rating record. I think if his interest doesn’t wane he will dominate chess for the next 10-15 years.

Steve Edney
Steve Edney
11 years ago

I won’t take a bet as he could just lose interest at some point. Kasparov said that one of his own greatest natural talents was “hard working” I just don’t know whether that it true of Carlsen yet. Currently he still beats people by breaking them out of cutting edge theory. Kasparov’s been trying to improve his openning play. If he has the dedication to continue to do that I expect he will get an even bigger lead over his opponents. Certainly I believe he has the talent to dominate the way Kasparov did.

The average age of the top 10 chess players is about 30 (5 years older than the average of the top 100 – I imagine because if you are the absolute elite you continue playing longer). Given that its not unreasonable for Carlsen to remain above the field for 10 years.

Its true that others could come through although the other baby GMs of Carlsen’s age group haven’t broken through in the same way Carlsen has. (eg Karjakin). Perhaps a later cohort like Anish Giri will.