October 09, 2009 15:51

Carlsen beats Jakovenko, breaks 2800 barrier

Nanjing r10Already sure of a sole victory, Magnus Carlsen added even more brilliancy to his Pearl Spring victory by defeating Dmitry Jakovenko in the last round. In doing so, at only 18 years old the Norwegian set a performance rating over 3000 and broke the 2800 barrier (assuming he won't play more rated games for the 1 November FIDE rating list).

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 10

We have trouble finding the words to rightfully describe what Magnus Carlsen has done in China. By winning the Pearl Spring Grand Slam tournament with a devastating 8 out 10 and an unbelievable 3002 performance rating, dropping just four half points with the black pieces in ten games against the world's best, he took home € 80,000 and a total of 28.8 rating points and broke the magical 2800 barrier.

It's unclear whether Garry Kasparov, who started coaching Carlsen this year, had already reached this level of play at at 18 years, ten months and one and a half week. We're talking early February 1982, a time when Kasparov had won the Soviet Championship twice shared. In the same year he won his first super-tournament himself, in Bugojno, finishing with 9.5/13 (!) ahead of Hübner, Polugaevsky, Ljubojevic, Spassky, Petrosian, Andersson, Larsen, Ivanovic, Timman, Kavalek, Najdorf, Gligoric and Ivkov.

In the light of the many draws that were played in Nanjing, it's interesting to give a quote from The Test of Time, in which Kasparov writes:

"Both [the first two Bugojno] tournaments produced a hard struggle, and therefore uncomprimising play was also expected of the participants in the 1982 event. And it has to be expected that these expectations were not betrayed - in each round there were interesting games, and it was only at the finish, when competitive considerations began to take the upper hand, that some short draws occured."

The Pearl Spring tournament was just one tournament, and a relatively short event, so it still remains to be see how Carlsen will develop from here, and how it will go against the top players who weren't in Nanjing. The good news is that he will meet about all of the others in the upcoming Tal Memorial: Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Morozevich, Ponomariov and Svidler. In less then a month the fairy tale continues...

Nanjing r10

Carlsen's last victory, today against Jakovenko, was a continuation of Kasparov and Karpov's theoretical discussion in the Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation. And just like in Valencia, Black got a solid but passive position out of the opening. It was instructive to see that White's early e4-e5 was good because of Black's lack in development and clumsy knights, and so both c5 and f6 pawn breaks were impossible to realize quickly. As soon as White's pawns started rolling the position got impossible to defend (although we're not sure whether Carlsen's 26th move was the most accurate).

The Petroff in Leko-Wang Yue was as dull as only a Petroff can be but Topalov and Radjabov fought out a game of no less than 95 moves in this last round. In a theoretically important line of the 9.Ne1 King's Indian there was a lot of manoeuvering (at some point 25 moves were played without a capture or a pawn being pushed!), and although Topalov seemed slightly better all the time, Radjabov skillfully held everything together.

Nanjing r10

Carlsen took those 28 rating points from all the players; none of the others managed to win points in Nanjing. In the end Radjabov, Jakovenko and Leko all ended on minus two and so nobody played that terrible, but only Topalov and Wang Yue could more or less keep their regular level. Some of Leko and Wang Yue's games really looked uninspired and we think Radjabov needs to work on his White repertoire, but for the rest, well, this tournament will only be remembered for one player!

Games round 10

Game viewer by ChessTempo

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Round 10 Standings
2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

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

Nanjing r10

Radjabov and Topalov analyzing after their 95 moves long game

Nanjing r10

Still the world's number one, but with a smaller margin: Veselin Topalov

Nanjing r10

A fantastic first prize of € 80,000: Magnus Carlsen


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Castro's picture


«“The Petroff in Leko-Wang Yue was as dull as only a Petroff can be”

Well said Doggers, the truth must be spoken.»

Again LOL ! Indeed some people treat lie as the new truth! Day after day!
(Well, take another example of your beloved "truth": Svidler x Motylev, 7th round ECC)
Someone should gather realy dull sicilians, caro-kahns, frenchs... all openings can be dully played and every Petroff can be sharply played. It's difficult to win against a Petroff without some daring? Yes. Is it one of the defenses with more theoreticaly known "peaceful" variations, for players that BOTH want them? Maybe. All the rest is demagogic nonsense.
I don't like to play the Petroff myself, but I respect it, and I've seen LOTS of great games with it.

Pablo's picture

I have no words. Clap, clap, clap!

Patrick Rasenberg's picture

8/10. Wow, just wow. This must be one if the great tournament victories of all time.

Marian's picture

Gratz Carlsen!

Now Kasparov has to write another chess book:

"My great successor"

Bert de Bruut's picture

Not yet, Marian, but probably in the near future, yes.

unknown's picture

He is the Chess God!

Inventorist's picture

Only 7.8 points off Topalov's rating...one more tournament like this and there is no tomorrow!

Moazzam Zaka's picture

As a 18 years old boy, I think he is better than Kasparov ...

unknown's picture

Norway is great! It gave us Magnus and ... Nobel Peace Prize for Barack Obama ;)

sergio's picture

Very nice finish of Carlsen this tournament.

(why do I sometimes get a database error , when visiting Chessvibes?)

cool's picture

Screw Lady Gaga,

My new idol for sure Magnus Carlsen. :-) Actually i followed him since his victory on corus C! group when he was 13.

Bravo Carlsen. You will now rule the chess-scene. Although he will be the one who make tournementsstandings predictable in future till its that far he will play matches for world-championship............................. Cant wait.

Labelled's picture

Congrats Carlsen!!!!

Is it just me or did this look easy for Carlsen????? If you win a tournament like this with ease there is no limit.......... A new era is on our door step!!!!!!


Martin Matthiesen's picture

The Nobel Prize is swedish.

Merijn's picture

Not easy at all, incredible tension and hard work!

Amazing! :-)

JustBe's picture


VB's picture

Amazing performance - 3002! 8 out of 10! Simply smashing!!!

Moazzam Zaka's picture

8/10 in a grand slam!!! Its awesome performance... I have got no words for him.

Carslparov will rule the world ...

SanChess's picture

Unforgettable performance!
The 16th Classical Chess World Champion has arrived!
I can't wait to witness the Carlsen-Aronian rivalry saga in years to come.

khan's picture

He is Great and i think he is gona break the record of Kasparov of Being the World Chess Champion before 22.

iLane's picture

Amazing performance by Carlsen but apart from that the tournament was a bit boring. There were 21 draws out of 30 games quite a few uninteresting ones... :(

Elz's picture

Now don't get so carried away...
It was an epic performance by Carlsen (probably with the highest rating performance of all time), but this won't happen every tournament, he was in great form now. I hope he will get the chance to play for the world title soon. And i wish above all to see all the top-rated players fighting for the challenger's spot.

Pam's picture

Bravo Magnus! Y gracias Chessdom :)) por los fantasticos reportajes!

Pam's picture

Ups! And THANK YOU! "Chessvibes" :))

Farshad's picture

Dont Forget Now Anand Is The World Champion . Lets Wait To See The Tal Memorial

patj's picture

and on top of everything magnus seems to be about one of the nicest guys out there. congrats magnus!!

Peter's picture

Thank you for the analysis! I had a look at it too, and here are some other ideas:

15...f6 seems very strong. Tricks with Qxh7 followed by Ng5 only lead to a draw, 16.g3 gives black the option of Qh3, and after 16.exf6 Qxf6 white has nothing either. White maintains a small edge, but hardly worth mentioning (certainly compared to the game).

I think 19...f5 was the last chance for black, after that everything seems bad. 20...Ne6 doesn't work, white has 21.Ne3 Qe4 22.Nc2 Qf5 and now 23.Rf2! with the idea of 24.Ne3 Qe4 25.f5! and with a rook on f2, black can't play Qxd4 anymore. It's rather complicated, but white seems to get a comfortable advantage.

Jagdish Dube.'s picture

English translation of
" Bravo Magnus! Y gracias Chessdom :) ) por los fantasticos reportajes!" please.

Titus's picture

Interestingly, Topalov's performance was not at all bad considering his TPR is still one rating point higher than Anand's actual rating!

Jan's picture

Wow wow, looking forward to the Great Test: the Tal Memorial!!

Chris's picture

How long before he breaks the 2900 barrier ?
My guess is less than 2 years.

CAL|Daniel's picture

Congrats Carlsen

and many thanks to Chessvibes for their always prompt and excellent coverage.

eso es's picture

... breaking 2800 is touted like an achievement akin to Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barreer.. but in fact it is simply a mathematical result of the ELO inflation which has made the average rating of players rise like baking powder over the last coupla years. The damnable K-factor - in fact the ELO-ratings system is wildy distorted, inaccurate, and shd be seen just as a shaky indication of the relative strength of a player...vide fe the overrating of Caruana who got triturated in the extremely tough Club Cup competition so far...

Ritch's picture

English translation of
” Bravo Magnus! Y gracias Chessdom :) ) por los fantasticos reportajes!” please."

"Horay, Magnus! And thanks Chessvibes for the fantastic reports!"

Pablo's picture

Muy buena traducción. Y viva Magnus, y viva el ajedrez de alto calibre y la muchachada esquizoide que se enzarza en peliagudas luchas de poder bajo la órbita de un tablero asesino. Que la redada de las piezas de Magnus a los reyes adversarios no se detenga jamás.

Castro's picture

Great performance! But some euphories seem completely out of porportion!
Anyway, I tryed to read the article and the comments, but at half of these I had to stop. It was too much! :-)

"Nice" incredible sentences:

"it has to be expected that these expectations were not betrayed" (Kasparov)

Yes, Garry, we romantics do hope expectations to incredibly correspond to the expected!

"The Petroff in Leko-Wang Yue was as dull as only a Petroff can be" (Doggers)

We are almost obliged to defend this defence! Agains this kind of poetic-demagogic-irrealistic attacks! Poor Petroff!

"Norway is great! It gave us Magnus and … Nobel Peace Prize for Barack Obama" (last comment I could bear)

Well, all in all, a great tournament and some good laughs made my day!

whatchess's picture

lots of time presssure wins...??

adam's picture

A bit fat CONGRATULATIONS to you, Magnus!!! Keep it going. ChessVibes, thanks for posting info very fastly during the entire tournament.

Wim's picture

Amazing performance and quoting "Test of time (still one of my fav books). Briljant!!

T. Goto's picture

Congratulations and thank you for your great performance, Mr. Carlsen!!! It was a fantastic feat which I have not seen for quite a while!!! I know it sounds funny, but I feel proud to be a lover of this game today (even though I never do justice to this wonderful game!)
And thank you ChessVibes for your quick and wonderful coverage!!! I will continue to come back here!

vooruitgang's picture

Standing ovation for GM Carlsen! Hard work paid off.

We have witnessed an amazing performance.

Thanks to Chessvibes. We really appreciate the reporting, analysis and photos. First rate.

+6 Undefeated! WOW!

On to the Tal Memorial!

Nicko's picture

“The Petroff in Leko-Wang Yue was as dull as only a Petroff can be”

Well said Doggers, the truth must be spoken.

Pal G.'s picture

Chessvibes is great. Can anyone direct me to a chess website that offers post game and post match interviews? Do the players get up and leave immediately, or does someone record some comments and transcribe them for us to read??

I read motorsport dot com daily which displays many quotes and press conferences of drivers whereever and whenever avaiable.

Thanks again Chessvibes.


SanChess's picture

Thanks for a formidable coverage, Chessvibes. Our expectations for the Tal Memorial are quite lofty now.

test's picture

>> Actually i followed him since his victory on corus C! group when he was 13

I remember reading comments by Magnus where he wasn't so sure how things would go mentioning that other young players like Karjakin & Radjabov were already way ahead of him. Look where he is now!

>> How long before he breaks the 2900 barrier ? My guess is less than 2 years.

If the rest stays below or around 2800 that's practically impossible. He would literally have to win every single game.

>> it is simply a mathematical result of the ELO inflation

Yes, but inflation works for everyone and he is now second on the list which does mean something no matter what the numbers are.

Castro's picture


"inflation works for everyone"

yes, Kasparov at his best would have now 2900, and Fisher 3200 ;-)

John A.'s picture

Prediction: The next World Championship (after the coming cycle is finished) will be Carlsen vs. Aronian!

unknown's picture

I hope so... That would be great match to watch... Preferable: best of 24 classical games!

Clemens's picture

Excellent coverage by Chessvibes! Commentary on time every day, instructive analyses of the games, accurate tournament data, nice photos... very professional work. Thanks, Peter! Looking forward to follow the Tal Memorial on Chessvibes as well!

chessvibesrules's picture

Just 2 extremely good things are going around now.

Magnus Carlsen wich will rule the chess scene for years for sure
Chessvibes.com wich will rule the chess journalism for years for sure

Both Thank U!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alistair Nicholls's picture

ChessVibes thanks a lot for all your great hard work on the updates for this Pearl Spring Tournament. Magnus is an amazing kid chess genius and none of us could of appreciated his talents like we do without your contributions on this web site. The official site doesn't even compare.

I look forward to seeing the Tal memoial and Magnus playing against Anand and Kramnik. I'll be back on this site daily for updates on that one! Personally I'd be pretty scared of playing Magnus if I were those guys.


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