26 Jun 2012

Magnus Carlsen wins Tal Memorial

It's hard to call it a surprise when the world's top-ranked player wins any chess tournament. But in this case, it's a pretty apt description of what occurred in the final round of the Tal Memorial, as all the results went the way of Magnus Carlsen to vault him into clear first place.

After the 8th and penultimate round, it was Italian/American youngster Fabiano Caruana who was in the pole position, and seemed set to clinch victory today. He led Carlsen and Teimour Radjabov by a half-point, with four more players sitting a full point back. But unfortunately for Caruana, his final round opponent was Levon Aronian, and the Armenian had some serious home preparation to uncork with the white pieces. Aronian won in 54 moves, making it very unlikely that Caruana would win the tournament outright.

But he still very well could have shared first, were it not for the efforts of Carlsen. On the Black side of a Ruy Lopez, Carlsen reached a very comfortable position out of the opening, then slowly built an advantage to score an impressive win. With Radjabov only managing a draw against Hikaru Nakamura, that left Carlsen as the clear winner on 5.5/9. Caruana and Radjabov shared second on 5 points.

A full recap of the final round action can be found here. The results won't cause any major shakeups in the world rankings, though Carlsen did both extend his lead at the top of the ratings list, and gain two rating points, inching himself closer to Kasparov's record of 2851. According to the unofficial live ratings list, Carlsen's rating is currently 2837.

Original post here

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