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Desmond
08-08-2020, 07:35 PM
The Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour is reaching the final stage, with the 4 qualifiers from previous stages to do battle starting tomorrow night.

This is the fifth tournament in the series, with the winners of the previous 4 tournaments receiving a berth:

1. Magnus Carlsen Invitational - Winner: Magnus Carlsen CC thread (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?18006-Magnus-Carlsen-Invitational-April-18-May-3rd-2020)
2. Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge - Winner: Daniil Dubov CC Thread (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?18050-Lindores-Abbey-Rapid-Challenge-Online)
3. Chessable Masters - Winner Magnus Carlsen
4. Legends of Chess - Winner (you guessed it) Magnus Carlsen CC Thread (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?18112-Legends-of-Chess)

The other 2 starting berths went to Nakamura and Ding Liren, based on final placings. Liren will face Carlsen first, and has to be a huge dog in the fight on current form. So it will be Carlsen - Ding, Dubov - Naka played concurrently.

Format (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/magnus-carlsen-chess-tour-finals-set-to-begin):

The format is one that’s become familiar to viewers of the Tour – and that Magnus proposed in late 2018 as a better way of determining the World Chess Champion than playing one classical game a day. Each day the players play a 4-game 15+10 rapid match, or set, to use the tennis term. There must be a winner. If the rapid games finish 2:2 then two 5+3 blitz games are played, and if the score is still tied then an Armageddon game is played where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4 but a draw means that Black wins the set.

In the previous tournaments we saw best-of-3 matches, while this time the semi-finals will be best-of-5 (i.e. the first player to win 3 sets wins) and the final best-of-7 (first to 4 wins).

Games start at midnight AEST. I usually catch the replay. Great events to watch.

Commentary team includes Yasser Seirawan, Peter Leko and Tania Sachdev, though wouldn't surprise me to see Jan Gustafsson (expected), and Grischuk and Svidler are regulars.

Desmond
10-08-2020, 07:50 PM
Lots of exciting chess and decisive results on semifinal day 1. Ding and Naka take the lead in the 5 set semi series over Carlsen and Dubov respectively. Carlsen inexplicably lost on time in the first blitz game in an equalish Rook ending.

Ding - Carlsen WLDD|WL|W
Naka - Dubov LWWL|DW

Carlsen-Ding Rapid game 2:
22.Qh7 Nb3 23.Qxg8 Nxa1 24.Qxe8 1-0

Blitz Game 1 Ding-Carlsen (3 sec increment) where Carlsen timed out:
1k1r4/1p4p1/5pp1/5n2/pP1PR2P/5NP1/1P3PK1/8 b - - 2 46

Blitz Game 2 Carlsen-Ding, with the sidelined black minor pieces, Magnus got his pawns rolling:
20.Qb1?! g6? (20...Qc7)
21.Bxg6 fxg6 22.Qxg6 Qc7 23.Qxh6+ Qh7 24.Qxh7+ Kxh7 25.Ng5+ Kg8 26.Nxe6 Rd7 27.Re3 Ng7 28.Nd4 Rf8 29.e6 Re7 30.g4 b6 31.Rae1 Bc8 32.Kg2 Rfe8? Mistake. Rf6 was best.
(32...Rf6)
33.Kg3 Bxe6 34.h4 Kf8 35.h5 Bg8 36.Rxe7 Rxe7 37.Rxe7 Kxe7 38.Kf4 Ne6+ 39.Nxe6 Bxe6 40.Kg5 Kf7 41.a5 bxa5 42.f4 Kg7 43.f5 Bd7 44.h6+ Kh7 45.Kf6 Kxh6 46.Ke7 1-0


Naka - Dubov Rapid game 4 - Naka managed to corral the B7-Knight, but it was he who was losing with the R+B immobile and the white king subjected to zugzwang:

50.Ba6 Rxb4 51.Rb8 Rb6 52.Bxb7 Rb3 53.Kg2 Kf6 54.Kh2 h3 55.Rd8 [If white passively waits, he just gets subjected to zugzwangs, Eg 55.Kh1 Rb2 56.Kg1 h2+ 57.Kh1 Ke7 58.Ra8 Rxb7 59.Kxh2 Rb5 60.Ra7+ Kf6 61.Kg3 Rxd5] 55. ...Rxb7 56.Kxh3 Kf5 57.Rxd6 Kxf4 58.Rd8 Rb3+ 59.Kg2 Ke5 60.Rd7 f5 61.Rd8 Rb6 62.Kg3 Rd6 63.Rg8 Kf6 0-1

Desmond
11-08-2020, 05:05 PM
Magnus back on song today thrashes Ding sealing the set in just 3 games, and levelling the 5-set semi 1-1. Makes you wonder whether he threw it yesterday to just give Ding a 1-0 lead to make it interesting.
Meanwhile Naka extends his lead 2-0 over Dubov. Dubov must win tonight's set to stay alive.

The commentary with Leko and Yasser is quite bad, not really worth watching. I think they're each good commentators in their own right, but together not so much. Hopefully they bring back Jan, Svidler etc soon.

Magnus - Ding WWD
Naka - Dubov DDWW

Carlsen - Ding Rapid Game 1. Carlsen got to this ending a pawn down but black with a ruined pawn structure. Carlsen made it look too easy.

18.Rd4 Kf7 19.Rhd1 Rhd8 20.c4 a5 21.Bc5 Rdb8 22.Kc2 Rb7 23.Rb1 Rab8 24.Rxb7+ Rxb7 25.Rd6 Nd7 26.Rxc6 Ne5 27.Ra6 Nxc4 28.Kc3 Nb2 29.Rxa5 Nd3 30.Bd4 Rc7+ 31.Kd2 Rc4 32.Ra7+ Kg6 33.Rxg7+ Kf5 34.Be3 Nc5 35.g4+ Ke5 36.Ra7 Nb3+ 37.Kd1 Rc3 38.Bxh6 Rd3+ 39.Kc2 Nd4+ 40.Kb2 Kd5 41.Be3 e5 42.h4 Rb3+ 43.Ka2 Rc3 44.h5 Rc2+ 45.Kb1 Re2 46.Rc7 [sidestepping Black's last trick, Eg 46.h6 Nb5 47.h7 Nc3+ 48.Kc1 Na2+ 49.Kd1 Nc3+ and draw]

1-0

Ding - Carlsen Rapid Game 2. Once again Magnus is a pawn down and Ding has the weakened pawn structure. Magnus finds a great way to bring his pieces to life on white's weak squares, with his knight dominating the white rooks. (Whole sequence missed by the commentary team)

23. ... Bd4 24.Reb1 Bxc3 25.Nxc3 Nxa5 26.Nd5 Nc6 27.Ne3 b6 28.Nf5 Ra8 29.h4 Qf4 30.Qxf4 exf4 31.d4 Rxa4 32.d5 Ne5 33.Ne7+ Kh7 34.Nxg6 Kxg6 35.c5 bxc5 36.Rb8 0-1 and Ding didn't wait around to watch Magnus collect all his pawns.

Desmond
12-08-2020, 08:21 AM
Carlsen again thrashes Ding in 3 games to lead the 5-set match 2-1, while Naka defeats Dubov to knock him out of the finals 3-0. Seems the MCCT series is headed to be concluded the same way it began - with a match between Carlsen and Naka back in April. Can Ding stay alive?

Carlsen - Ding DWW
Naka - Dubov DDWD

MichaelBaron
12-08-2020, 11:29 AM
Many commentators (Sosonko, Bareev, Dreev etc.) think that the main challenge for Magnus (who has been playing very ''casually'' - is to be prepared to become focused again once the serious tournaments are back. He has been having a lot of fun...yet dominating.

Capablanca-Fan
12-08-2020, 02:15 PM
Some pundits: Carlsen is too good in endgames, so the way to have a chance of beating him is in sharp, unclear positions.
Carlsen: Interesting idea. Let's have some Najdorf Sicilians and opposite-side castling positions and see how we go.

Desmond
12-08-2020, 02:24 PM
Many commentators (Sosonko, Bareev, Dreev etc.) think that the main challenge for Magnus (who has been playing very ''casually'' - is to be prepared to become focused again once the serious tournaments are back. He has been having a lot of fun...yet dominating.

In one of the post-game interviews, Magnus was asked whether he thought that the 'decisive set' type format would be a good way for the WC matches to go. Say with best of 5x 4 classical game sets, which each set tiebroken by rapid/blitz/arma etc. His response was simply: do you want to find out who the best player in the world is or who is the best classical match player? We can play Berlins for 16 classical games in a row, it's going to be hard to break that down.

Desmond
12-08-2020, 02:34 PM
Some pundits: Carlsen is too good in endgames, so the way to have a chance of beating him is in sharp, unclear positions.
Carlsen: Interesting idea. Let's have some Najdorf Sicilians and opposite-side castling positions and see how we go.

As Grischuk sang in one of the recent tourney commentaries, we are living in a material world, and I am a material Ding!
Also Svidler, who made the Legends of Chess finals, had to face Carlsen, and his choice was also to create messes and try to win them. OK, he lost badly, but even so he stuck by the strategic choice. He created chances.
Carlsen also exposes himself with some experiments too, Eg in Set 1 vs Ding where he played a Najdorf-Sveshnikov hybrid and got punished for it. But clearly it favours him more often than not, and importantly it's great for the fans!

Kevin Bonham
12-08-2020, 04:42 PM
In one of the post-game interviews, Magnus was asked whether he thought that the 'decisive set' type format would be a good way for the WC matches to go. Say with best of 5x 4 classical game sets, which each set tiebroken by rapid/blitz/arma etc. His response was simply: do you want to find out who the best player in the world is or who is the best classical match player? We can play Berlins for 16 classical games in a row, it's going to be hard to break that down.

Will possibly move this to a different thread but I think Magnus's view has some merit here. Shortish matches in a single block (eg the current 12 games and I'm not sure 16 would be much better) make it risky to go for wins because if you fall behind there may not be any way back. But with multiple sets a loss in classical is not necessarily so disastrous. The risks are (i) a player may win the title by winning tiebreaks despite having a score deficit in the classical games (ii) it accentuates the advantage of a player who is very good at tiebreaks.

MichaelBaron
13-08-2020, 11:19 AM
In one of the post-game interviews, Magnus was asked whether he thought that the 'decisive set' type format would be a good way for the WC matches to go. Say with best of 5x 4 classical game sets, which each set tiebroken by rapid/blitz/arma etc. His response was simply: do you want to find out who the best player in the world is or who is the best classical match player? We can play Berlins for 16 classical games in a row, it's going to be hard to break that down.

The long term problem for him could be: he is becoming more of a ''player'' rather than a ''thinker'' - Also, as he is significantly stronger than others and these tournaments are relatively low pressure ones - he does not have to push himself that hard in every game.

Desmond
13-08-2020, 07:46 PM
Will possibly move this to a different thread but I think Magnus's view has some merit here. Shortish matches in a single block (eg the current 12 games and I'm not sure 16 would be much better) make it risky to go for wins because if you fall behind there may not be any way back. But with multiple sets a loss in classical is not necessarily so disastrous. The risks are (i) a player may win the title by winning tiebreaks despite having a score deficit in the classical games (ii) it accentuates the advantage of a player who is very good at tiebreaks.

(i) This is also the case in tennis with sets (or in the POTUS) - a player can win the match despite having won fewer points. But it doesn't really matter. What matters is winning the points in the important moments. I think this would create a lot more urgency and excitement, for the players and the spectators alike. That has to be a good thing. Imagine if tennis was just first to 200 points - few would bother watching the first 2 hours.

(ii) I think this could potentially be an issue if you had a WC who was, say, clearly the best at classical but not so hot at rapid/blitz. Not really an issue at present as Magnus is clearly the best at all time controls. But it could happen one day.

Desmond
13-08-2020, 07:55 PM
Nice combination by Ding in Rapid Game 2 to square it up, but ultimately lost in the blitz. Carlsen takes the match 3 sets to 1. Carlsen-Naka are in the Final, which will be best of 7 sets.

Carlsen-Ding WLDD|DW

Ding-Carlsen Rapid Set 4 Game 2:

24.Bxh6 Qf6 25.Bh7+ Kh8 26.Rxe8 Rfxe8 27.Ng6+ Kxh7 28.Nf8+ Kxh6 29.Qh7+ Kg5 30.Qh4+ Kf5 31.Qf4# Carlsen plays on until mate

Desmond
18-08-2020, 08:02 AM
2 sets a piece in the best of 7 sets final

Set 1 Naka wins: DWDD
Set 2 Magnus wins: LDWD|DW
Set 3 Naka wins: LDWD|WD
Set 4 Magnus wins: DDWD

Desmond
19-08-2020, 09:48 AM
Set 5 going Hikaru's way, so he leads 3-2.

Hikaru - Magnus DDDD|LW|W

First game was quite interesting. They reached an exchange french structure from the Berlin.

Naka - Carlsen Set 5 Rapid Game 1
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nf5 8.Nf3 0-0 9.d4 d5

Black's active knights forced white to make some structural concessions
10.Nc3 Bb4 11.a3 Bxc3 12.bxc3 Nd6 13. h3 Bf5 14.Bf4 Re8 15.Rxe8+ Qxe8 16.Nh4 Be4 17.f3 Bg6 18.Nxg6 hxg6

White swapped off the 2 bishops for the strong 2 knights, but ended up in a queen ending with a passive queen and the worse structure.
19.Bd3 Na5 20.Bxd6 cxd6 21.Qd2 Nc4 22.Bxc4 dxc4 23.Re1 Qa4 24.Qc1 Re8 25.Rxe8+ Qxe8 26.Kf2 Qa4 27.Qb2 b6 28.h4 Kf8 29.Qb4 Qc6 30.g4 Ke7 31.Kg3 Qd5 32.Qb1 Qe6 33.Qc1 Kd7 34.Kf2 Kc6 35.Qg5 Kb7 36.Qd8 f5 37.Qf8 fxg4 38.fxg4 Ka6 39.Kf3 d5 40.Kf4

Here White has gained some activity and is threatening to harass the black pawns with Kg5. Magnus finds the beautiful 40. ...g5 but misses be best followup, and the game ends in a draw.
40. ... g5+ 41.hxg5 [41.Kxg5 Qh6+ 42.Kf5 g6+ winning the queen] 41. ...Qe4+ 42.Kg3 Qe1+ [42...Qxc2 43.Qxg7 Qxc3+ 44.Kf4 Qd2+ 45.Kf5 c3] 43.Qf2 Qxc3+ 44.Kf4 Qxa3 45.Ke5 Qe7+ 46.Kxd5 Kb5 47.Qf5 a5 48.c3 a4 49.Qb1+ Ka5 50.Kc6 Qe6+ 51.Kc7 Qe7+ 52.Kc6 Qe8+ 53.Kc7 Qe7+ 54.Kc6 1/2-1/2

Desmond
20-08-2020, 09:25 AM
Magnus strikes back in Set 6, levelling 3-3. So tonight will decide the series.

Magnus - Naka WDDW

Very nice attacking game by Magnus in Game 1. Much of it played on little more than 10s increment.

16.d5 exd5 17.Re1 Bxc4 18.Ng3 Qd8 19.Bb1 b5 20.Nf5 d4 21.Qd2 Be6 22.Rc5 a6 23.Nxg7 Kxg7 24.Qg5+ Kh8 25.Qh4 Rg8 26.Rxc6 Rxc6 27.Bxd4 Kg7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Qh6+ Ke8 30.Bxf6 Qa5 31.Qe3 Qb6 32.Rd1 Rd6 33.Bd4 Qc6 34.Be4 Qc4 35.h3 Kd7 36.Rd2 Re8 37.Kh2 Bd5 38.Bf5+ Be6 39.Bd3 Qa4 40.Be5 Rd5 41.Qa7+ 1-0

MichaelBaron
20-08-2020, 09:43 AM
Magnus strikes back in Set 6, levelling 3-3. So tonight will decide the series.

Magnus - Naka WDDW

Very nice attacking game by Magnus in Game 1. Much of it played on little more than 10s increment.

16.d5 exd5 17.Re1 Bxc4 18.Ng3 Qd8 19.Bb1 b5 20.Nf5 d4 21.Qd2 Be6 22.Rc5 a6 23.Nxg7 Kxg7 24.Qg5+ Kh8 25.Qh4 Rg8 26.Rxc6 Rxc6 27.Bxd4 Kg7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Qh6+ Ke8 30.Bxf6 Qa5 31.Qe3 Qb6 32.Rd1 Rd6 33.Bd4 Qc6 34.Be4 Qc4 35.h3 Kd7 36.Rd2 Re8 37.Kh2 Bd5 38.Bf5+ Be6 39.Bd3 Qa4 40.Be5 Rd5 41.Qa7+ 1-0

He was playing with fire. Up till the point when Naka missed Nxg7, his position was dubious.

Kevin Bonham
20-08-2020, 10:17 AM
Magnus strikes back in Set 6, levelling 3-3. So tonight will decide the series.

Magnus - Naka WDDW

Very nice attacking game by Magnus in Game 1. Much of it played on little more than 10s increment.

And injured as well. He sustained a back injury while swimming before the game. As this report (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/magnus-tour-final-6-carlsen-plays-through-pain-to-force-decider) puts it:


If you discount the fact he could barely sit on his chair, this was Magnus Carlsen’s best day at the office yet in the final.

b.nancarrow
20-08-2020, 01:43 PM
He sustained a back injury while swimming before the game.

He said it occurred after swimming when he went for a run.

MichaelBaron
20-08-2020, 08:46 PM
Irrespective of who wins the series....Naka is a blitz player (shpiller) while Magnus is a true world champion - leader of his generation of chess players

Desmond
20-08-2020, 09:27 PM
Irrespective of who wins the series....Naka is a blitz player (shpiller) while Magnus is a true world champion - leader of his generation of chess players

I think this is true, but I also think Naka deserves a lot of credit for defending a lot of these positions against Magnus. Getting half a point where many others wouldn't.

MichaelBaron
20-08-2020, 09:46 PM
I think this is true, but I also think Naka deserves a lot of credit for defending a lot of these positions against Magnus. Getting half a point where many others wouldn't.

Absolutely! Just worried that as a result of all these rapid events, Magnus will turn into another (Just a stronger version of) ''Shpiller''

MichaelBaron
21-08-2020, 09:08 AM
With some adventures on the way...but Magnus (and deservingly so!) wins the tour!

Desmond
21-08-2020, 08:35 PM
With some adventures on the way...but Magnus (and deservingly so!) wins the tour!

Yes what a great final set. Kind of funny that Magnus chose black for the Arma game (he normally has chosen white), and that the fortress-denier clinches the match by constructing a fortress! Hopefully he takes a well earned break, but I'd love to see another series along similar lines in the near future.

Desmond
21-08-2020, 08:37 PM
Incidentally, I stopped watching the C24 commentary, switched instead to GM Hess. I think he was very good, only downside was you couldn't see the players faces in his stream.

Scott Colliver
21-08-2020, 09:00 PM
Incidentally, I stopped watching the C24 commentary, switched instead to GM Hess. I think he was very good, only downside was you couldn't see the players faces in his stream.

GM Hess is great, I was watching him as well.

Capablanca-Fan
22-08-2020, 02:13 AM
Yes what a great final set. Kind of funny that Magnus chose black for the Arma game (he normally has chosen white), and that the fortress-denier clinches the match by constructing a fortress! Hopefully he takes a well earned break, but I'd love to see another series along similar lines in the near future.

Fortress denier, very ironic. In fact, Magnus didn't even need his B (https://chess24.com/en/embed-tournament/kiva-finals-of-the-magnus-carlsen-chess-tour-2020);* this configuration is a tablebase draw (https://syzygy-tables.info/?fen=1k6/2p1Q3/1r6/1PK5/8/8/8/8_w_-_-_0_1) without it, and indeed it was a known fortress long before tablebases were invented:

1k6/2p1Q3/1r6/1PK5/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1

* If this game had been played with physical rather than electronic pieces, the following scenario would be amusing. Carlsen in the time scramble knocks the B to the floor. The arbiter rushes to pick it up, and Carlsen says, “Never mind; I won't need the Bishop.” Compare the case where Frank Marshall was playing black (https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1094853)against Dutch reconstructive plastic surgeon Johannes Esser (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_F._Esser). Supposedly after 37.Kd1, while lighting his cigar, Marshall accidentally elbowed his R off the board. Spectators rushed to retrieve it, and with his elbow. Some onlookers dived under the table to recover the piece, and Marshall said: “Never mind, I shan’t need the Rook!” When he played 37... c3, his position was indeed winning without his R, so Esser resigned.

Desmond
22-08-2020, 11:10 AM
Fortress denier, very ironic. In fact, Magnus didn't even need his B (https://chess24.com/en/embed-tournament/kiva-finals-of-the-magnus-carlsen-chess-tour-2020);Definitely true, but without the bishop he probably gets flagged. Without the bishop you can't constantly pre-move because you always have to be watching for a check on the 8th rank, the long diagonal, and also the a-file. This is the nightmare situation for black in Arma, where white can just keep playing forever and with the extra minute (or half a minute as in the game) black will probably lose. Probably this is why Magnus didn't take the b5-pawn when he had the chance too. With the bishop, black can pre-move Rb6-d6-b6 all day and easily make 50 moves in the less than a minute he had left.


* this configuration is a tablebase draw (https://syzygy-tables.info/?fen=1k6/2p1Q3/1r6/1PK5/8/8/8/8_w_-_-_0_1) without it, and indeed it was a known fortress long before tablebases were invented:

1k6/2p1Q3/1r6/1PK5/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1

* If this game had been played with physical rather than electronic pieces, the following scenario would be amusing. Carlsen in the time scramble knocks the B to the floor. The arbiter rushes to pick it up, and Carlsen says, “Never mind; I won't need the Bishop.” Compare the case where Frank Marshall was playing black (https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1094853)against Dutch reconstructive plastic surgeon Johannes Esser (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_F._Esser). Supposedly after 37.Kd1, while lighting his cigar, Marshall accidentally elbowed his R off the board. Spectators rushed to retrieve it, and with his elbow. Some onlookers dived under the table to recover the piece, and Marshall said: “Never mind, I shan’t need the Rook!” When he played 37... c3, his position was indeed winning without his R, so Esser resigned.Nice story. If only we could take our own pieces off when we wanted. :)

Capablanca-Fan
22-08-2020, 02:26 PM
Definitely true, but without the bishop he probably gets flagged. Without the bishop you can't constantly pre-move because you always have to be watching for a check on the 8th rank, the long diagonal, and also the a-file. This is the nightmare situation for black in Arma, where white can just keep playing forever and with the extra minute (or half a minute as in the game) black will probably lose. Probably this is why Magnus didn't take the b5-pawn when he had the chance too. With the bishop, black can pre-move Rb6-d6-b6 all day and easily make 50 moves in the less than a minute he had left.
What you say makes sense. I must admit that I hadn't considered the practicalities of dealing with the "33rd piece".

MichaelBaron
24-08-2020, 01:37 PM
The sad part is...now there is not much to watch online :)

MichaelBaron
25-08-2020, 01:07 PM
And apparently - a new tour is on its way soon!

Desmond
18-11-2020, 09:25 PM
Carlsen-Ding Rapid game 2:
22.Qh7 Nb3 23.Qxg8 Nxa1 24.Qxe8 1-0

IM Eric Rosen made a video about this game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUZO-o5Bsjk