IT’S getting to be an all too familiar script, but nevertheless an exciting one: the Norwegian World No 1, Magnus Carlsen, dominates the elite scene with a strength and flair that sets him apart from everyone else.
Just turned 21, he’s already the second-highest rated player of all time and, as he continues to find additional gears to pull clear of his rivals in the world rankings, it’s now a question of not if but when he will beat Garry Kasparov’s high of 2851.
Last month it was the Tal Memorial in Moscow – and this month he takes another step towards tournament victory, as early as the third round at the London Chess Classic, by demolishing new Kasparov student Hikaru Nakamura of the USA, to not only reach 2833.7 on the unofficial live rating list, but also to take sole lead in the tournament on 7/9 (2.5/3 in old money).
Rumors of the Kasparov/Nakamura axis to take on Carlsen had been circulating for nearly a year before it was only recently confirmed. But speaking last month to the Norwegian news site VG Nett, Carlsen got his dig in at the partnership, saying: “I noticed that Kasparov has spoken in a neutral fashion and has tried to play down the collaboration. He probably hoped that Nakamura would produce better performances before the collaboration was made public. After all, since the nice win at Tata, Nakamura has not achieved very much.”
Ouch! … much like today’s game.
M Carlsen - H Nakamura
London Chess Classic, (3)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 c3 d6 6 Bb3 a6 7 Nbd2 Ba7 8 Nf1 h6 9 Ng3 0-0 10 0-0 Be6 11 h3 Qd7 12 Be3 Ne7 13 Nh4 Ng6 14 Nhf5 Ne7 15 Nxe7+ Qxe7 16 Bxa7 Rxa7 17 f4 c5 18 Bc2 b5 19 Qd2 Rb7 20 a3 a5 21 Rf2 b4 22 axb4 axb4 23 Raf1 bxc3 24 bxc3 exf4 25 Rxf4 Nh7 26 d4 cxd4 27 cxd4 Qg5 28 Kh2 Nf6 29 Bd1 Rfb8 30 h4 Qg6 31 Rxf6!! gxf6 32 Qf4 Rb2 33 Bh5 Qg7 34 Bf3 Ra8 35 d5 Bc8 36 Nh5 Qf8 37 Nxf6+ Kh8 38 Rc1 Kg7 39 e5 dxe5 40 Nh5+ Kh7 41 Be4+ 1-0