Bubbles are common in the world of finance but rare in chess, as Magnus Carlsen demonstrated
recently when he won the Pearl Springs Masters tournament in Nanjing, China.
His victory included wins against the reigning world champion, Viswanathan Anand, and former
titleholder Veselin Topalov.
Carlsen’s incredible run of tournament successes during the past year and a half – which
catapulted the 19-year-old to the top
of the international rating list – was thus convincingly vindicated.
His failures in the world chess Olympiad and the Bilbao Masters, which preceded Nanjing, are now
seen as simply bad form, not the pricking of a freakish and unsustainable bubble.
Although draws usually receive less attention than wins, Carlsen’s seventh-round, 68-move draw
with Anand at Nanjing arguably provided the tournament’s highlight.
As if out of nothing, the Norwegian prodigy created winning opportunities which he then failed
to exploit – in part because of Anand’s stubborn resistance.
“He’s an incredible talent,” Anand said after the game. “Some of the things he does, even Vlady
(Vladimir Kramnik, the former world champion), who is a great technician, can’t do.”
Shelby Lyman is a Basic Chess Features columnist.
Better than Rxb1.
Solution to Beginner’s corner:
1. Rg7ch! Ke8 2. cxd6! (threatens unstoppable 3. Re7 mate).
How the masters play
Below is a win by Markus Ragger against Arik Braun from the German Bundesliga team