Reports | October 02, 2009 19:49

Carlsen also beats Radjabov, 2-point lead at half time

Nanjing r5The story doesn't change, but gets all the more amazing by the day: Magnus Carlsen beat Teimour Radjabov in just 25 moves in round 5 of the Pearl Spring tournament and now leads by a 2-point margin at half time as Topalov-Wang Yue and Leko-Jakovenko ended in a draw.

The 2nd Pearl Spring tournament takes place September 27 - October 9 in Nanjing, China. It's a 6-player, double round-robin with Topalov (2813), Carlsen (2772), Leko (2762), Radjabov (2757), Jakovenko (2742) and Wang Yue (2736) playing for a € 250,000 prize fund. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 1 hour.

Round 5

A lead by two points at half time is perhaps the most exceptional aspect of Magnus Carlsen's success so far in Nanjing. He has been responsible for all decisive games; 11 out of 15 games ended in a draw and only 4 were won, by just one player. Carlsen's performance has raised to 3143 and the Norwegian has now also surpassed Vishy Anand on the live rating list. There's only a 12.4 rating points difference left between Carlsen and Topalov...

Nanjing r5

Carlsen is playing very well, but it must be said that his opponents haven't shown their best form against him, as if they're intimidated. Topalov went down pretty much without a chance, and today Radjabov lost very quickly. Azerbaijan's number one might have been a bit relieved to see that instead of throwing something new and different on the board, Carlsen simply followed their game from Linares in February this year. Radjabov was well prepared and his deviation 8...d5 indeed looks better. However, already at move 16 it seems that he went for the wrong plan. 16...Ng6 looks OK for Black; in the game Carlsen tactically refuted Black's active set-up with the hammer blow 23.Nxb5!.

Jakovenko easily held Leko to a draw in a Berlin Wall and Wang Yue didn't have too much problems against Topalov either. The Bulgarian gained full control over the g-file but couldn't reall improve his position, and the piece of dead wood on b2 didn't help very much either.

Nanjing r5

Tomorrow is the first rest day in Nanjing. Five players will need it, to figure out what's exactly happening there in China, and how to stop that damn Norwegian. Perhaps they can find some relief in the fact that Magnus is actually beatable... in table tennis, that is. The players are enjoying China's national sport every night, and in this field Peter Leko is the absolute king.

Games round 5

Game viewer by ChessTempo

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Round 5 Standings
2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Schedule & results
2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

Nanjing r5

There's no stoppin' for Magnus Carlsen, or is there?

Nanjing r5

But watch out for Veselin Topalov, whom we expect to do much better in the second half

Nanjing r5

Meanwhile, five draws is enough for Wang Yue to hold a clear second spot in the standings

Nanjing r5

Teimour Radjabov, missing a deadly blow today

Nanjing r5

Dmitry Jakovenko playing the Berlin Wall


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


xtra's picture

it's crazy...what a weird tournament. At least when Ivanchuk did the same (actually even more, 5/5) in Sofia other people also won games. Most of the other games havent been close to ending decisively.

now I wonder if Carlsen will play it a lot safer the rest of the tournament. In a sense, that would also be more professional. I hope not though.

Bert de Bruut's picture

Not his opponents fear Kasparov, but Magnus himself is afraid to make The Boss angry, so he has no choice but to win all his games!

kanna's picture

Very funny but the rest day will change it. Very hard to beat solid Leko with black and prob others have more fighting spirit also.

Stian's picture

Wow, where is this ending. Is Carlsen just getting stronger or are the others out of form? Never seen such a stabile strong Carlsen... I am really looking forward to the continuation, will second round be this strong too??

Remco G's picture

Wang Yue is now clear second with only draws. Funny :-)

HJVFan's picture

All decided games were played by Carlsen so far ... must be historically unique!

unknown's picture

After revealing Carlsen's cooperation with Kasparov his opponents are overwheled...

Hortensius's picture

The cooperation with Kasparov is undoubtly very fruitfull, but I don't think it is fair to refer to Kasparov all the time, as if Carlsen's opponents are actually playing Kasparov. These victories are due to Carlsen and only Carlsen. Kasparov is just helping him to utilize his full own potential...

Iraqi Master's picture

The strange think is nobody than carlsen is winning!!!
something wrong with this tournment.

me's picture

I think Radjabov played very badly. What did he do? Putting his knights on b4 and f4 and finding out it just doesn't work.
Of course Carles is great, but this was easy.

Stian's picture

I agree Hortensius, - Magnus is not alone having strong helpers, but he does have the strongest.. I assume that is because he seems to be the one the greatest potential.

JayJay's picture

nearly 75% draws... Imagine Carlsen were not there to win some games ;-)

Arjo's picture

I think the fact that Carlsen is now a fulltime pro and not going to any school anymore is also a huge factor of his current succes. He is now 100% focused on chess, also thanks to Gary ofcourse.

Labelled's picture

I am pretty sure that within two years Carlsen will be unbeatable!! At this point he is not even close to being fully developed as a player. Concidering that he is now training with Garry in order to get his opening play under control it is unavoidable. This has been his, maybe only, weakness in recent years......

I agree with Arjo: The fact that he is now fully commited to chess is obviously also a factor. It`s gonna be historic...... He will be mentioned in the same sentences as Fischer and Kasparov very soon, and after that he will probably be known as the greatest ever.

Remember he became a GM at 13 years of age. WHAT A LEGEND!!!!!

unknown's picture
Meppie's picture

After black 23th move:

"Relatively best was 23... Bxf2+ 24. Qxf2 Qxb5 but White has 25. Nc5! O-O 26. Be7 Rfe8 27. Bd6 Nxd6 28. exd6 and now Black should probably go for 28... Nd3 29. Nxd3 Qxd3 30. e5 which is difficult, but at least not completely lost yet. "

What's wrong with 30. Rd1 and 31.d7? Or can black play 30...Ra8 with the idea 31.d7? Qxd7!

I don't have program to check.

Kakaroto's picture

It seems that Jakovenko is the only player that is washing his clothes.

Another thing is that maybe the players, except Carlsen and Wang Yue are having sleep lag and the insomnia might be playing a role here.

Alexander's picture

If Carlsen wins another 2 or 3 games and draw the rest he'll finish with the best tournament performance ever.

me's picture

I predict that the final cross table will look something like this:

fish's picture

Carlsen has had good beginnings before, but this one is by far the strongest. However, he needs goods performance till the tournament is finished.
I hear that he don`t eat fish, and if this is true the experts on nutrion says his performance will decrease the longer the tournament lasts.
Every brain needs fish. Pills can make up for some of it, but everyone needs to eat fish once in a while to make our brains giving it all.

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

It really seems to become true: "From WONDER-BOY to FISCHER-MAN"! - Perhaps the title for a new chess book "How Magnus Carlsen became NUMBER ONE in the chess world"!? :-)

PP (NL)'s picture

Amazing. Is it the red "dress" he is wearing? ;-)

What do you guys think. Is Topalov going to have a good second half of the tournament?

unknown's picture

Do you know the site when I can download for free pdf (or other) file of the book "Wonderboy" about Carlsen?

CAL|Daniel's picture

I've never heard something so ridiculous in my life.

xtra's picture

@fish: Thanks! Your hilarious comment was just the pick-me-up I needed. "I hear that he don`t eat fish, and if this is true the experts on nutrion says his performance will decrease the longer the tournament lasts.". That is just great stuff :-) (you aren't John Cleese in or Graham Chapin in disguise, are you?)

T. Goto's picture

I agree... it has been simply a breathtaking performance by Carlsen. We can clearly see that he has become a professional in a very positive sense by collaborating with Kasparov. Garry mentioned about his desire to help him, not only in opening, but in work ethics and so on. I think Magnus also benefited from Garry's insight; Garry thinks Magnus' talent is a type that attributed to Capablanca and Karpov. What they lacked, in Garry's view, is the hardworking on opening theories and maximalism shared by Kasparov and Fischer. Knowing yourself is a very important step in any endeavor, and I think Garry helped Magnus realize what kind of player he is. We have to wait and see how the rest of the tournament will go, but I think we are seeing the transformation of Carlsen; he is on the way to become a universal player.

vooruitgang's picture

I agree with T. Goto...

Carlsen comes out of his openings very well in this tournament and we are seeing a transformation. Hard to argue with results ( i.e. wins) There used to be "Fischer fear", now there will be "Carlsen fear". Great to see his unlimited talent blossoming. There is still hope for professional chess!

redpawn's picture

Carlsparov is unstopable ! :-)

redpawn's picture

Carlsen's style is more like Kramnik's. Topalov's style is more like Kasparov.
But that's why Kasparov's style is a nice complimentary influence on Carlsen.
The big test will be when Carlsparov plays (the current world champion....) Anand.

redpawn's picture

all the GM's look quite rediculous in these chinese shirts. I hope they paid them $$$$$ very well to sit and play in these shirts :-) and why is Carlsen the only one in red?

CAL|Daniel's picture


I agree with you about the ridiculous* shirts.

As for the red... maybe cause Carlsen is the only one drawing BLOOD. hehe.

leigh's picture

They made more than 20 colors for players to choose(free, from sponser). In China, red color is the most luck color. The national flag, the goods marks, the happy events use red color to decorate. Also when people get married, they dress red(most cases). Usually, man doesn't dress red. If they dress, it must be some happiest things will happen or happened, like marry, a new baby boy, parents long live.

May be the red color plays a important role, I'm serious

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

Carlsen´s style seems to be neither comparable to "Computer-Chess" nor to the style of the actual Top Ten Players; it is a highly uncomparable INDIVIDUAL style, whatever the (overestimated?!) coaching influence of Kasparaov may mean!

Bendeguz's picture

I think the shirts are beautiful and unique. You have to respect other nations and customs!

Most probably Carlsen will win twice in the second round. Because he will play white twice, and he will play black against strong players. In the previous round his winnings were 3-1 white-black.

vooruitgang's picture

True Dr. Berghorn. Magnus has his own style and he more aggressivley plays for the win out of the opening.

I actually like the chinese clothing. My understanding is that it is worn by contractual agreement. This year's style is much nicer than last year. More colorful. Gives Nanjing a brand...and is good for chess PR.

leigh's picture

@bendguz, vooruitgang
Thanks for respecting the other nations' clothing.
Last year's clothing is very formal. The Contry leaders, government officers dress in formal events, like the national day yesterday, all country leaders dressed this way. It was created around 1900s based on Japan and European fashion that time. During the culture revolution, that was only uniform in China.

This year's closthing is very popular nowaday in China. It is designed based on China ancient fashion for Han nationality. People dress it for happy events. When you take part in Chinese activities outside China, you will see many people dress it.

Last year, all the money paid by government. This year, all the money sponsered by companies. The dress is one of them.

Thomas's picture

"Contractual agreement" is a nice, but probably somewhat misleading way to put things, as if the dress code was a result of negotiations between players and organizers. More probable is: it was imposed by the organizers - "if you wear these clothes, you can play in Nanjing (and you'll get appearance fee and prize money); if you don't like them, noone forces you to play in our event." But I don't think THIS was the reason why Anand declined the invitation :) .

Respect for other nation's clothing - fair enough. However:
1) Should such "traditions" be imposed on players from other countries? Of course, repeating what I wrote above, it was their own choice.
2) If such clothing is immensely popular in China, why didn't we ever see Wang Yue or other Chinese players in similar outfits before (as far as I can remember)?

ru kjes uf's picture

To be the best is important about the coop with kaspaorv. But in a marketing point of view Carlsen now is THE person to have in your tournement. I wonder if startingprices change between players. I can imagine Carlsen van ask most now.

My fav players in a tournement now are

1 Carlsen
.2 Anand
3. Topalow
4. Ivanchuk
5. Kramnik
6. Aronian.

What is your list ?

Lone-Tiger's picture

The Chinese clothing is absolutely beautiful and very unique; as opposed to the typical western boring suit outfit... anyone who looks down on foreign attire in my opinion is narrow minded.

And as for colour of outfit...yes it is indeed interesting Carlsen is the only one in red, it almost seems to play a psychological role from a 'fear' point of view in conjunction with his Great play with Kasparov influence.

Already placed an order for some Chinese outfits.... All RED!!!

Elz's picture

Go Kasparlsen! (I hope he'll continue hitting hard...:-))

CAL|Daniel's picture

@Lone -Tiger
Beauty if a subjective opinion that I simply cannot share with you about this clothing.
Last year the clothing at China was much better. I respect countries traditions but respect is one thing. My opinion does have to agree with yours out of 'respect.'

kanna's picture

I like fish's comment.
From wonder boy to fisherman.

JustBe's picture

Is in the comment after move 23. .... 0 - 0

30. Td1 (instead of 30. e5) and 31. d7 not completely winning for white?

merlin_zt's picture

I had seen this documentary where after some tests they proved that wearing red cloths raise your confident...

test's picture

I think Carlsen might actually win this tournament.


redpawn's picture

I'm looking at Topalov's picture in this shirt - he resembles count Dracula (in Coppola's - Bram Stokers - Dracula) If you've seen the know what I mean.

The journalists need to stop analyzing every single move in relation to Kasparov... like :
"Oh Carlsen has played 1.e4 - That's Kasparov's favourite moves as white.....
(lots of players play 1.e4, and scotch, and Sicilian from both sides.... and they don't have Kasparov as a "mentor".
For now I just call this team: Carlsparov (sort of a Frankenstein of Carlsen and Kasparov) or do you like : Karlsparov ? or Kasparlsen ?

I think Karpov should become Kramnik's mentor (Kramnik idolized karpov from early age) now that there is a trend of ex-world champions mentoring the younger generation of super GMs....why not !?

the real test for Carlsen will be in a match with a championship caliber player like Anand, Kramnik, (Topalov?)

redpawn's picture

O.K I take it back.
The CLOTHING are nice..... but they don;t look good on most of these GM's.
Not ALL players look redicolus in these fancy chinese shirts..
O.k. maybe .....Wang Yue - looks good in it ! :-)

Who cares anyway.... it's all about the chess.
(it's just unavoidable when you see these visual pictures -... to see these European faces in chineese's at least a little silly if not outright strange.
I don't disrespect chinese culture or tradition. But why don't they all dress in traditional German Beer dancing customes with the shorts and the suspenders and the hat with the feather - when the play in Dortmund ? (see my point?)

Lone-Tiger's picture

@ CAL, I respect your opinion.

@ redpawn I see your point.

@ both of you;

Remember these outfits are as normal to them as our shirts & ties in the west.

More over it is nice to see Elite GM's look respectably different as oppossed to wearing traditional Germany thongs.

and as you correctly said redpawn we should be focusing on the chess.

CAL|Daniel's picture

Yes redhotpawn it really was the picture of Topalov that gives me the creeps. The other pictures aren't so bad. Anyways, I really liked the Chinese clothing from last year.

Lone-Tiger's picture

We might all be witnessing a historic moment in Carlsen's career and in chess
altogether. But time will tell if Carlsens strings of victories where;

Strong play on his part and feeble moments from his opponents
Strong play on both sides...and his opponents finally cracking.

if it's the latter, brace yourself for a historic moment.

if it's the former, I would expect these feeble moments to cease and much tougher second half. He may even find himself having to fight for some half points.

But we shall see!


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