Carlsen wins Kings' Tournament on tie-break

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Carlsen wins Kings' Tournament on tie-breakCo-leaders Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin drew their last-round game on Tuesday at the King's Tournament in Medias, Romania. It was Carlsen who finished first on tie-break, and so the Norwegian retained his Kings' title from last year. Vassily Ivanchuk finished with an excellent victory against Hikaru Nakamura while Teimour Radjabov and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu ended their tournament with a draw.

General info

The Kings Tournament took place June 11-21 at the Natural Gas Documentation and Information Centre in Medias, Romania. Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura, Teimour Radjabov and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu played a double round-robin with one rest day after five rounds. The rate of play was 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment after move 60. No draws were allowed before move 30.

Round 10

For 19 games Magnus Carlsen had been undefeated at the Kings' Tournament, and so the Norwegian obviously wanted to keep that status. However, he did try a bit to win that very last game against Sergey Karjakin, but without taking too much risk. In this game White seemed to have a tiny advantage after the opening, but Black's strong 20th move proved otherwise. In fact if Sergey Karjakin hadn't 'blundered Nf6+', as he said himself, he could have play on...

On his blog, Carlsen stated:

I’d like to forget my game against co-leader S.Karjakin as quickly as possible. On another off-day (the first was round 6 against Nakamura), I really missed a lot and quickly squandered my slight opening advantage. Knowing that a draw would provide the 1st prize on better tie-break and 1st place on the July 1, 2011 FIDE rating list, the result itself was fully acceptable today. Karjakin, also on 6.5 points, played very well and moves up the rating list to 4th. (...)

And so to determine the winner of the 5th Kings' Tournament, it was necessary to have a look at what the regulations said in case of a tie:
  • A greater number of wins.
  • The result of the direct mini-matches between contenders.
  • Berger.
  • (...)
Both Carlsen and Karjakin won three games, and they drew both games against each other. 'Berger' refers to the Sonneborn-Berger system or Neustadtl score, which is calculated by adding the sum of the conventional scores of the players they have defeated to half the sum of the conventional scores of those they have drawn against. The final column of the standings table (below) shows this score, and it turns out that Carlsen ended on 0.25 more.

The press conference with Karjakin and Carlsen

The press conference with Karjakin and Carlsen

Karjakin couldn't have bothered too much about this outcome, since the prize money was shared, and the Moscovite gained the much desired invitation to the Grand Slam Masters Final which will be held in September-October in Sao Paulo and Bilbao. There he will face Carlsen again, and also Vishy Anand and Hikaru Nakamura - the other two participants still have to be confirmed.

After his game Teimour Radjabov entered the press room with a big smile. The Azerbaijani had finished with his 9th draw, against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, but more importantly, he had survived a problematic position. The game, which started in a rare line of the Caro-Kann, had been quite interesting, but in the final position Nisipeanu could have played on. The Romanian declared that he had missed a certain queen move, and was disappointed, but at the same time cheerful as always.

Radjabov and Nisipeanu

Radjabov and Nisipeanu looking at some funny variations

Vassily Ivanchuk entered the press room with an even bigger smile on his face. The Ukrainian, who had looked quite unhappy over the last few days and skipped a few 'daily briefings', this time didn't hesitate at all and immediately agreed to explain his fine positional victory over Hikaru Nakamura.


Ivanchuk-Nakamura, with the first move executed by organizer Dan Gabar

The American tweeted afterwards:

With some well timed blunders, I turned a mediocre result into an unmitigated disaster! (...)

Don't miss especially this last video with Ivanchuk below, where he explains how he was inspired to play 1.d4 and why he was thinking about Marshall, Lasker, Botvinnik and Bronstein!

And so the final standings of this event look a bit strange. Carlsen and Karjakin finished shared first on +3, while Radjabov and Nakamura finished shared third, on -1! Nisipeanu and Ivanchuk scored -2. These standings reminded tournament winner Carlsen of Linares 2001, also a six-player, double round robin (with Kasparov, Polgar, Leko, Shirov, Karpov and Grischuk) where Kasparov finished first with +5 and the other players all scored -1.

For Carlsen the next event will be Biel. Karjakin will soon be playing at the World Team Championship in Ningbo, China. Ivanchuk will be there as well, but before that the Ukrainian participates in the Greek Team Championship.



Games round 10 - notes by GM Dorian Rogozenco

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Kings Tournament 2011 | Schedule & results Kings Tournament 2011 - full schedule Kings Tournament 2011 | Round 10 (final) standings

Please note that according to the second tie-break (number of wins) the 5th place in Kings's Tournament is Ivanchuk and the 6th is Nisipeanu. Because our script for creating tables looks at SB points, the 5th and 6th places are inverted.


And the co-winners are... Sergey Karjakin...


...and Magnus Carlsen (who got the biggest trophy!)

Photos © Ionut Anisca


More from PeterDoggers
Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak