Chess (#1011)

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 18:42 hrs

The other prodigies in the Carlsen generation have been overshadowed by the Norwegian GM The 22-year old is rated at 2837, which makes him the second strongest player of all-time. There are others who, in absolute terms, would be rated terrific talents/. They all have distinctive styles.

Sergei Karjakin (2779 ) is one of them. There's also Nakamura (2778) and Caruana (2775) who's just passed 20. Anish Giri, Le Quang Liem, Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi are also part of the pack and perhaps, Parimarjan Negi.

Professor Elo noted that chessplayers don't grow smoothly in strength. There are sudden leaps. Fischer said he was weak until 1957, when, as a 14-year-old, he won the US Juniors, the US Championships and qualified for the Candidates in quick succession. Botvinnik said that a turning point was when “he learnt the art of beating masters regularly”.

Caruana has jumped a level in the last six months. He produced a fantastic closing burst to tie for first place with Karjakin in Dortmund. They both scored 6 points from 9 rounds. There was a tie for 3-6 between Kramnik, Leko, Ponomariov and Naiditsch (all 5.5) with Meier (4), Fridman (3.5), Bartel (2)and Gustafsson (1.5) trailing.

The top 2700-players simply beat up the “lower order”. Caruana started with an early loss to Ponomariov and appeared out of the running until he beat Kramnik and Bartel in the last two rounds. Remarkably, only two players in the top six suffered losses – Caruana and Kramnik.

Dortmund concluded along with the ACP Classic in Amsterdam. Vassily Ivanchuk won there with 5 out of 6, followed by Kamsky (4.5), Sutovsky (3.5) , Anna Muzychk and Leim (both 3) with Sasikiran (1.5) and Jobava (0.5) both horribly out of form. The Biel festival has begun. Carlsen and Giri shares the lead with 1.5 from two rounds. Nakamura, Wang Hao and Bacrot are on 1 and Morozevich has started with two losses before he withdrew citing ill-health and was replaced by Viiorel Bologan.

The DIAGRAM, WHITE TO PLAY, (Caruana Vs Kramnik, Dortmund 2012) shows a classic exploitation of a passed pawn plus bishop pair in a complex endgame. 22.e6 Rf5 23.Nxe4 dxe4 24.Qd7! Raf8. White has an edge. Exchanging with 24. --Qxd7 25. exd7 Rad8 26. Rad1 h5 27. Bc4 Ne5 28. Bxe5 Rxe5 29. Bf7 is also unpleasant.

Play continued 25.Qxe7 Nxe7 26.Ba3 Re8 27.Rad1 h5 28.Rd7 Nd5 29.Rf7 Nf6 30.Bc4 Bc5 31.Bb2 Re7 32.Bd4! Bd6 33.Re1 b6 34.Rf8+ Kh7 35.Rxe4 Rxf2 36.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 37.Kg2 Nc5 38.Ra8 Nxe6 39.Bd3+ Kh6 40.h4 g6. Time control and a mating attack.

41.Rh8+ Rh7 42.Rg8 Rg7 43.Bxg7+ Kh7 44.Re8 Nxg7. Now it's easy. 45.Re3 Kh6 46.a4 Kh7 47.Kh3 Kh6 48.Bc2 Kh7 49.g4 hxg4+ 50.Kxg4 Kh6 51.Re2 Bb4 52.Re5 Nh5 53.Re6 (1–0).

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player

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