It was not my intention to turn this into a chess blog, but it is exciting times for us interested in the game. The Grand slam tournament in Bilbao contains all the best players in the world, except for those from Russia (Ask Sergey Daniliov why), and the competition for the top spot in the world rankings is so tight, every win or loss my influence for it.
And luckily for us who celebrate Vassily Ivanchuk, he is at 38 close to his top form ever. Of course our lad from Norway, Magnus Carlsen, is a favourite, and we want no one but him at the top spot. ut should he fail to be there, as he now has done after to losses, noone is better to place there, than the marvellous Vassy Chuky from the beautiful Ukraine.
In round 7 those two faced each other. Ivanchuk had drew all his games, while Magnus Carlsen had won two times against Aronian, once against Radjabov, and had lost to Topalov. Magnus tried the queens gambit as white, the same opening he played, when he lost against Topalov. I am no expert, far from it, so I only site the comments I have found elsewhere on the net, and interpret it with my poor understanding of the game. However, even I good see that to castle long in move 10 was very aggressive, putting the king behind basically no pawns. But in no way I could see or even understand why Bd2 at move 13 was a mistake, that actually lost the game. This says something about the level of chess the best players in the world has reached, in such a position still in the opening, a natural looking developing move actually loses the game. Ivanchuk goes for the attack with b5, and afterwards both the experts and the computers say Magnus played only the best moves, but it was not enough. Ivanchuk won.
The next game Magnus Carlsen had black against Topalov, while Ivanchuk played white against Radjabov. Magnus played the dragon, as he has started to do regulary recently, but against Topalov? I have to say I am often sceptical against Carlsen’s opening choice and play, and often feels he gets behind unnecessarily, but who can argue against him when he win all the time? Well, Topalov could this time. The dragon always looks risky when white send up his pawns and line up the heavy artillery against the poor back king, this time Topalov made it look not only risky, but also silly. The black king was soon after the Carlsen’s home preparation ending around move 19, left virtually unprotected, with all the black pieces tied to the defence, while the white king was safe and sound behind lots of pawns, and all the white pieces flying around where they wanted. Two loss in a row for Carlsen, that is nothing that often happens.
Meanwhile, the incredible Chuky remainded true to his style, leaving half of his moves before the time control to the last minute, in a very standard looking sicillian. But the incredible has won the unofficial blitz championship at the Tal memorial two years in a row, amazing, and he proved his skills leaving the time scramble with an exchange up, and Radjabov soon to resign.
While former number one on the live rankings, and the actually number one on the official ratings, Anand, also lost rather tragically against Aronian, Anand dropped to number 5, and the marvellous Vassily Ivanchuk is now the best rated player in the world. On the live ratings he has 2791,3, while Morozevich on second has 2780,0, and Magnus Carlsen on third has 2786,2. This is happy days for me, as this is my three favourite players. Just have a look on Morozevich games, he plays like crazy, and is prepared to break any rules young chess players learn at school. He has former had some problems with his style against the very best players in the world, but as soon as they go below super grandmaster level, he wipes them out with remarkable scores.
I agree with Peter Svidler who commented on the ICC in round 6, when Carlsen beat Aronian and Ivanchuk drew Anand, that you should not exaggerate the eccentricness of Ivanchuk. He his amazing, marvellous, incredible, that is the words, and in the press conference after the game against Carlsen, he answered the questions in his true animated style, in fluent spanish. True to his style, he started also without the microphone. He seems to be a very, very, very friendly person, and he is just the one to celebrate. Now he is number one in the world, and if he can keep Topalov behind, he will be so in the next official list also. Then it will be a great celebration in my house, and everyone is invited!