Chess (#1029)

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 20:22 hrs

Carlsen is going from strength to strength at the Tata Steel. After ten rounds, he leads with 8 points (+6,=4) and an amazing TPR of 2950. The Norwegian GM has three straight wins in the last three rounds. Carlsens's live rating is 2872. Given his age, he should peak about a decade later, which is a scary thought.

The second-fourth spots are shared by Anand, Nakamura and Aronyan who are all on 6.5. Aronyan has recovered from a poor start. Nakamura has been steady. The other Indian player in Group A, Harikrishna is on 50 per cent with 5 points.

One of Carlsen's strengths is the ability to kill the bottom half of the table and his willingness to play till the board is stripped to bare kings. At Wijk An Zee, he has shown his usual mixture of ho-hum openings, sharp middle game tactics and accurate, creative endgame technique. His win against Karjakin was what is now characteristic classic Carlsen, fishing in a near-equal opposite bishop ending until he finally breaks through.

Anand has regained some form after struggling for over a year but he has been unable to keep pace with Carlsen. As it stands, with three rounds left, there is only a mathematical chance of a challenge for first, or even shared first. Aronyan would have to beat Carlsen and one of the trio in second place would have to score multiple wins.

In Group B, Richard Rapport and Sergei Movsesian share first with 7 points. In Group C, Sabino Brunello is on 8.5 with Fernando Peralta chasing on 8. As always, the prize for winning a lower Group includes being promoted to play a higher group in the next edition.

At the DIAGRAM, WHITE TO PLAY (Carlsen Vs Karjakin Tata Steel 2013), white has an edge in that his pieces are more active and may target f7,g6 etc. But black has staved off such attempts for 15-odd moves.

So Carlsen tried 67.g4!? hxg4 68.h5 Rh1? The cool 68...gxh5 69.f5 h4! 70.f6+ Kg6 71.Rxf8 Kf5 whips up enough to draw at the least. But black didn't want to let the bishop go. Now the combined white threats are irresistible.

Play continued 69.hxg6 fxg6 70.Re6 Kh6 71.Bd5 Rh2+ Or 71...Ra1 72.Be4. 72.Kg3 Rh3+ 73.Kxg4 Rxd3. The engines say 74. Be4 is instantaneous. But white's method is good enough after 74.f5 Re3 75.Rxg6+ Kh7 76.Bg8+ Kh8 77.Kf4 Rc3 78.f6 d3 79.Ke3 c4 80.Be6 Kh7 81.Bf5 Rc2 82.Rg2+ Kh6 83.Rxc2 dxc2 84.Bxc2 Kg5.

White finishes very accurately with 85.Kd4 Ba3 86.Kxc4 Bb2 87.Kd5 Kf4 88.f7 Ba3 89.e6 Kg5 90.Kc6 Kf6 91.Kd7 Kg7. 92.e7 (1–0). Or 91.-- Be7 92. Bb3 Ba3 93. Ke8.

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player

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