Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Carlsen and Bacrot Win Again at Pearl SpringBy DYLAN LOEB MCCLAIN
Veselin TopalovReplay the game »
Étienne BacrotReplay the game »
Vugar GashimovReplay the game »
But the player in second place in Nanjing is definitely unexpected. Etienne Bacrot of France was the lowest-ranked player in the field at the beginning of the tournament and is only a half point behind Carlsen half way through the tournament.
Like last year, Carlsen has set a blistering pace, winning three games and drawing two. He has 4 points. Bacrot, who has also won three games but lost to Carlsen, has 3.5 points. Viswanathan Anand of India, the world champion, has 2.5, Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan has 2, and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Wang Yue of China each have 1.5.
Sunday, Carlsen beat Topalov, which is becoming a familiar result. As is the case with his rivalry against Wang, Carlsen is beginning to build up a significant plus score against Topalov. Sunday’s game was striking as Carlsen seemed to outmaneuver Topalov effortlessly. Topalov resigned after only 32 moves.
Bacrot also won Sunday, beating Wang. In that game, Wang, who was White, had played well in the opening and had a small edge at one point. But then he blundered (30 Kh2?) and lost a piece. Bacrot did not let the gift go to waste as he smoothly nurtured his advantage to achieve a winning endgame.
In the other game, Anand had White against Gashimov. Anand played rather unambitiously and the players repeated the position three times by move 25, creating a draw.
Such a result is not surprising for Anand these days. Though he has become an excellent match player, defeating Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in 2008, and Topalov earlier this year, he does not seem to exert himself nearly as much in tournaments. Of course, world championship matches are more important, but when organizers invite Anand to play in their tournaments, probably they want more than just the cachet of his presence. In contrast, one of his predecessors, Garry Kasparov, always tried to win, whether it was a match or a tournament.