R8: Aronian & Carlsen score again

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Only twice a 2-0 score was seen at this Amber tournament so far, and both times it was Magnus Carlsen who did it. Today Mamedyarov was his victim. Aronian is clear favorite now, after beating Anand 1?Ǭ?-?Ǭ? today.

Two of today's blindfold games were of quite a high level: Aronian-Anand and Carlsen-Mamedyarov. After some original and slightly provocative opening play, Aronian had managed to provoked some weakening moves by Anand and because of the excellent manoeuvre Rc1-c3-e3 the Armenian could just play actively with his king on e1. Carlsen punished Mamedyarov's Rxb2 with surgical precision - have you ever seen it before that a rook on b2 is forced to go to h1 with check?

"Compensating" for these superb games, the biggest blunder so far of the tournament was played in Van Wely-Leko. But should we call it a blunder really? Loek had read 13...Nxc6 instead of 13...Bxc6 on his screen, which explains everything. Ivanchuk-Kramnik was a draw in a Petroff, where Kramnik could have offered the draw a bit earlier.

Topalov still feels quite comfortable in the Caro-Kann and drew with it against Karjakin. With strong play Gelfand had reached a winning position against Morozevich but then lost track in timetrouble. Winning, but not easy to find, was 33.Re7! Rxb6 34.Qf4 Qh5 (the move to stop looking at this line, you'd say, but...) 35.Qc7! Ra6 (35...Rb5 36.Re8 f6 37.Qxc6) 36.Re8 and White will win back the piece.

Anand hadn't prepared anything special (or anything at all) against Aronian's Marshall and so before we knew it that game had ended in a draw. Carlsen beat Mamedyarov again, and this time it was mainly because of Shakh's poor play, Ljubojevic said. Still, I personally liked 19...g4 with 20...Qg5 a lot. Magnus himself was pleased with the way he got is winning positions today. "Calculating went very well today."

Against Van Wely's Najdorf, Leko tried a modest line that was also played in Polgar-Anand, Corus 2008. The Hungarian was better at some point but the game was draw. Gelfand blundered terribly with 24..Rc8 (the ugly 24...f6 at least holds) although Morozevich called 23...Qd7 "stupid" and said Black should have castled there.

Topalov beat Karjakin in a complicated game where he "almost screwed up in the ending". Ivanchuk played a great game against Kramnik and should have won. 24...Rxg2 was a nice move but 24...Nf6 was perhaps more easy. After 50...Rg3? (better is 50...h5) White was actually winning. After the game Kramnik thought he should have played 51.Rg8 Rxg4+ 52.Kc5 h5 53.Rg7+ Kh6 54.Rag8 Be4 (the reason why he refrained from it in the game) 55.Rxf7, but a very nice, deadly shot after the game continuation is 57.g5!! which wins immediately because mate in three is threatened.

Blindfold games:Rapid games:


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