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Haraldur R Karlsson
Apr 1, 2013

Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen wins Candidates Tournament today in London

Apr 1, 2013 by Haraldur R Karlsson

Norwegian wunderkind Magnus Carlsen, 22 years of age, won the Candidates Tournament today (April Fool's Day).  Carlsen will challenge the Vishy Anand (India) later this year in a match for the World Chess Champion title.  Magnus is the youngest person to challenge for title since Gary Kasparov. 

Eight top-level grandmasters qualified for the tournament: Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Peter Svidler (Russia), Alexander Grischuck (Russia), Vassily Ivanchuck (Ukraine), Teimur Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Boris Gelfand (Israel).

The tournament consisted of 14 rounds (14 games - double round robin) played over a period of 18 days.  Carlsen and Aronian took an early lead after round 4 and stayed in the sole lead through round 8.  When Aronian lost in round 9, Carlsen took sole lead and maintained until the 12th.  In a dramatic 12th round, former World Champion and veteran, Kramnik overtook Carlsen and took the lead.  That did not last long since Carlsen caught Kramnik in the 13 round and tied for first (8.5 out of 14). So it all came to the 14th and final round.  Carlsen played white against Svidler and Kramnik had black against Ivanchuck.  If both Carlsen and Kramnik had the same outcomes in their games then Carlsen would win first place (since he had more wins than Kramnik).  Therefore Kramnik had to win or tie his game against Ivanchuck to win the candidates title.  Surprisingly, both Carlsen and Kramnik lost!  Carlsen was at first better in his game vs. Svidler but over-pressed and lost.  The inconsistent, yet brilliant, Ivanchuck, outplayed Kramnik in a very complicated game.  When the smoke cleared Carlsen and Kramnik were still tied for 1st with 8.5 but Carlsen won the title on the second tie-break (greater number of victories: Carlsen 5, Kramnik 4).      

The games were quite taxing on the players - some games lasted up to six and a half hours!  Fatigue showed up in the latter half of tournament with some players blundering and even losing on time.  Nevertheless, most consider this tournament one of the best and most exciting candidates tournaments in over a decade and eagerly await the World Chess Championship Match (Anand-Carlsen) that hopefully will take place later this year.

Further details on the players and games can be found at:http://london2013.fide.com/en/main-page  

 

P. S. this is not an April Fool's joke!