Carlsen beats Jakovenko in first round Dortmund

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen beat Russia's new number one player Dmitry Jakovenko today in a Berlin Ruy Lopez to take an early lead at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund. Both Leko-Kramnik and Naiditsch-Bacrot ended in a draw.

The 37th Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place July 2-12th, 2009 in Dortmund, Germany. Carlsen (2772), Jakovenko (2760), Kramnik (2759), Leko (2756), Bacrot (2721) and Naiditsch (2697) play a double round-robin.

Round 1

Magnus Carlsen, big favourite in our poll and the one on the official website, started well by defeating the solid Jakovenko in the solid Berlin Wall. You don't often see a minor pieces ending at the highest level and one in which the knight is stronger than the bishop in an open position is even rarer.That ending was already difficult for Black but Jakovenko could probably have drawn it by playing ...c5 at either move 36 or 37. The short annotations of the ending below include a possible transition into a pawn ending that seems to be winning for White. (Do correct us if you see any mistakes there.) An amazingly instructive endgame and a great start by Carlsen.


Mayor of Dortmund Birgit J??rder makes the first move in the game Leko-Kramnik. Also in the picture are (from left to right:) Dr. Matthias Fabra (Fabra-Preis), Dr. Hans-J?ºrgen Weyer (Vice President German Chess Federation), Uwe Samulewicz (Sparkasse Dortmund Board Member), Dr. Reinhard Rauball (President BVB Dortmund) and Stefan Koth (Tournament Director).

What do you get when you pair two of the most solid players in the field, who are friends, and have worked together, against each other in the first round? Right, a quick draw. In a Catalan line that Kramnik had played with White against Topalov in their 2006 world championship match in Elista, the Russian, this time behind the black pieces, came up with a novelty on move 14. Just a few moves later several pieces and, more importantly, all pawns on the queenside had been swapped.Naiditsch-Bacrot wasn't very entertaining either. The German grandmaster, who won the tournament in 2005, went for a reasonable strategy against Bacrot's Marshall: pick the line which strong Marshall players like Leko and Bacrot play with White!Unfortunately this line results in an ending in which White has an extra pawn and Black the bishop pair, and so far the conclusion has almost always been the same: Black has enough compensation. Even with one pair of bishops exchanged, the verdict stayed the same in this game.

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