Carlsen strikes again, increases lead even further

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Nanjing r4Using Kasparov's favourite defence against Jakovenko's 1.e4, Carlsen won his third game today, with the black pieces. The Norwegian increased his lead at the Pearl Spring Grand Slam tournament in Nanjing to 1.5 points as both Radjabov-Topalov and Wang Yue-Leko ended in a draw.

The 2nd Pearl Spring tournament takes place September 27 - October 9 in Nanjing, China. It's a 6-player, double round-robin with Topalov (2813), Carlsen (2772), Leko (2762), Radjabov (2757), Jakovenko (2742) and Wang Yue (2736) playing for a € 250,000 prize fund. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 1 hour.

Round 4

We should be careful with already fetching those superlatives and statistics, but it's a fact that Magnus Carlsen leads the Pearl Spring tournament with 3.5/4, that his performance rating is 3101, that he has passed Levon Aronian on the live rating list (see the right column on this site) and that he's just 1.4 points behind Vishy Anand now. Similar scenarios could be seen during Bilbao 2008, so let's keep it with this, await what the rest of the tournament will bring us, and just enjoy the chess, which has been very enjoyable indeed.

In his round 4 game, Carlsen foremost and once more showed his will to win. He seemed to feel at home in yet another Kasparov favourite, the Sicilian Najdorf, and equalized comfortably. Jakovenko came under long-term pressure after an inaccuracy on move 24 which allowed the activation of the black bishop, but with one move in timetrouble (33...Bxe3?) Carlsen spoilt his carefully constructed advantage.

Nanjing r4

For a moment things looked very bad for Black, but the young Norwegian impressively adjusted to the sudden change of events, quickly tossing out the only defence 36...Re6 and 37...Bg5, and after a small mistake by Jakovenko on the infamous 40th move, Carlsen was slightly better again after the time control. He kept on putting his opponent under pressure, to which the solid Russian grandmaster eventually succumbed. The ending with bishop and extra pawn versus knight was winning remarkably easy.

Wang Yue-Leko wasn't very interesting but the other drawn game, Radjabov-Topalov, contained about as much drama. The Bulgarian was happy to enter the complications of the Scotch opening, but after about 17 moves it turned out that his preparation hadn't been 100% succesful. Radjabov was enjoying a slight advantage when Topalov miscalculated with 19...d5, which in the game lost a pawn, but could have led to a quick defeat if Radjabov had changed the move order.

Still, it seems that the Azeri was winning anyway at some point (the very accurate 35.Ka3! leaves Black defenceless) but Topalov miraculously escaped with a draw thanks to 39...Bf5! which dominated (and caught) White's knight. The ensuing ending probably cannot be won by White.

Games round 4

Game viewer by ChessTempo

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Round 4 Standings 2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Schedule & results 2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

Nanjing r4

A wonderful start for Magnus Carlsen, and it could have been even better!

Nanjing r4

Dmitry Jakovenko was today's victim

Nanjing r4

Veselin Topalov, still seeking his top form, escaping against...

Nanjing r4

...Teimour Radjabov, still enjoying the Scotch

Nanjing r4

Peter Leko scored an easy draw against...

Nanjing r4

...local hero Wang Yue

Photos provided by the tournament organizers


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