Chess: Carlsen drops hard-earned ranking points in single club game in Oslo | Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen’s vintage performance in Wijk aan Zee earned the world champion three ranking points in his quest for a world record 2900. A week later, the 31-year-old Norwegian returned them all with interest a Saturday night in Oslo at Tallaksen Ostmoe, ranked 399 points below No. 1.

The very first meeting 22 years earlier between then-nine-year-old Carlsen, rated under 1,000, and 15-year-old Ostmoe, rated over 2,200, had also been a draw and an upset rating, but c was the reverse. tower.

Carlsen vs. Ostmoe

In Saturday night’s game, Carlsen, White in a Caro-Kann 1 e4 c6, caused an early queen trade, took a slight lead…and then missed a winning move. Can you do better?

Carlsen’s progress towards 2900 has been handicapped by his lack of opponents over 2800, meaning his rating gain after a win is small while a draw is guaranteed to drop him rating points. There has also likely been some deflation at the highest level of the ratings system since 2014, when Fide’s March ratings list showed 50 players rated 2700 and above, contrasting with just 38 players out of 2700 in the current live rankings.

It would be bizarre for the world champion to drop his 2900 target so soon after announcing it as a preferred alternative to meeting anyone of his own generation in a title match, and it looks like he will turn to the Grand Chess organized by St Louis. Filmed this spring for his next major tournament, before returning home to Stavanger in June. He will also start next Saturday, February 19, in the Airthings Masters, the first event of the year in the online Meltwater Champions Tour which Carlsen won in 2021.

Yuri Averbakh became the first-ever centenarian grandmaster on Tuesday, when the 1954 USSR champion and famous endgame writer celebrated his 100th birthday. Last week’s column marked the veteran’s achievement with an elegant Averbakh puzzle whose brief answer is worth solving if you missed it.

Averbakh has written a dozen books, but the one that stands out for aspiring players is Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge, around 120 pages and still available free online for around £10.

The American grandmasters dominated their Russian rivals in the first leg (of three) group stage of the Fide Grand Prix, which qualifies its first two for the eight-man contenders in Madrid in June. Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian advance to this weekend’s semi-finals, while Wesley So and Leinier Dominguez face off in a quick tie-break on Friday (2pm start). On the other hand, Alexander Grischuk, Andrey Esipenko, Vladimir Fedoseev and Daniil Dubov were all eliminated.

In Friday’s tie-breaks (best of two quick matches), Richard Rapport (Hungary) beat Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland) and Dominguez (USA) beat So (USA), both by 1.5 -0.5. The pairings for the Saturday and Sunday semi-finals (2 p.m. start) are Nakamura vs Rapport and Aronian vs Dominguez.

Aronian has been the standout player so far. The former Armenian not only won his group in impressive fashion with one lap to spare, but he is now neck and neck with Fabiano Caruana in the standings in a race to establish himself as the US No.

Nakamura sparked controversy when Fide President Arkady Dvorkovich picked him as his personal joker amid expectations that he would prefer 19-year-old Esipenko. called a “statement gamein response to criticism of its inclusion. White 24 b4-b5! leads to well-calculated tactics.

Nakamura’s strong showing in Berlin baffled those who called him just an online streamer who didn’t deserve his Grand Prix wildcard. The five-time United States champion believes online play is still the same game as off-board chess.

He said: “It’s good to win games and prove to people that there really is no difference. See who won most of these online tournaments. It was this guy called Magnus, and he seems to be pretty good at overboard chess too!”

Thursday’s return match between Esipenko and Nakamura was in the last round of the group stage. The Russian needed a victory with the white pieces, the American a draw to take the lead of the group. Too much tension? The game turned out to be chaotic and riddled with errors as both GMs made many mistakes until Nakamura managed to reach a drawn queen ending.

Chinese world No. 3 Ding Liten, who was considered out of the current round of world championships after his trip to Berlin was cut short by visa difficulties, may yet have another opportunity.

If Ding reaches the semi-finals or better at the second Grand Prix stop in Belgrade, then he would be eligible to fill a vacancy should he perform at the third and final stop in Berlin. A possible scenario would be if the second Chinese player, Yu Yangyi, hurts Belgrade and then gives up.

The rules seem to say that in the event of a withdrawal, Dvorkovich decides who will be the replacement. The politically savvy Dvorkovich will be well aware of the importance of maintaining friendly relations between Fide and China, and that under certain circumstances Ding might have a chance of having a direct match with Carlsen should the world champion refuse to meet the candidate nominated by Fide.

3802: 1 Bg2! Ke3 (Rxg2? 2 h4 wins) 2 h4 Rxf4 3 Bf3! Ke5 4 h5 Ke6 5 Bd5+! (stops Kf7) Ke7 6 h6 Kf8 7 Kd2! and win. The BK is kept away from g7/h8, while the WK eats the black pawns after which the BK is in zugzwang and has to move away from f8, allowing the h6 pawn to queen. Carlsen vs. Ostmoe: 1 Bb6! win. If 1…Bxb6 2 Ra8+ and 3 Rxh8. If 1…Bb8 2 Rxg7. If 1…Bd8 2 Bxd8 Rxd8 3 Rxg7, all with a hopeless ending for Black. Instead 1 Ra8+? Bb8 2 Ba7 Kb7 leads to an even pawn end.

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