Chess: Boy meets Beast in Reykjavik

Chessbase News, Germany
March 19 2004

Boy meets Beast in Reykjavik

19.03.2004 It was a dream pairing for the organizers. 13-year-old
Norwegian Magnus Carlsen faced legend Garry Kasparov in the first
round of this Icelandic rapid knock-out event. The result was
predictable but it was closer than you’d think. Most of the other
favorites also advanced to the second round. Report and games.

It’s been over a decade since Garry Kasparov, Nigel Short, and
Anatoly Karpov played each other in the same tournament. Now they are
reunited for four days in Iceland where they are the top attractions
at the Reykjavik Rapid. That is, the top attractions other than
13-year-old Norwegian cherub Magnus Carlsen, who is fresh-faced and
fresh off two Grandmaster norm results in two months at Corus and

Carlsen had the chance of a lifetime after the blitz tournament
pairing method left him in 15th position, meaning he had second seed
Garry Kasparov in the first round of the tournament proper! We don’t
recall another event using a tournament to determine the pairings for
a tournament, but it’s certainly more interesting than picking
ice-cubes out of a hat. Armenia’s Lev Aronian dominated the blitz,
including a win over Kasparov. Carlsen made the papers by beating

That was pretty much the end of the good news for the Scandinavian
participants. Denmark’s Nielsen was the only one to survive to the
second round. Carlsen pressed Kasparov with white but was held to a
draw and then smashed in the second game. The four local participants
were swept from the field, including top Icelander and former world
championship candidate Johann Hjartson, who lost to Timman. That was
the only rating upset of day one, and not much of an upset
considering Timman’s credentials.

Round one results – Thu. March 18
(Player on left has white in first game. Player in bold advances. Tie
matches go to sudden death blitz.)

Helgi Olafsson Levon Aronian 0-1 0-1
Magnus Carlsen Garry Kasparov ½-½ 0-1
Igor-Alexander Nataf Emil Sutovsky 0-1 ½-½
Margeir Petursson Alexey Dreev 0-1 ½-½
Hannes Stefansson Anatoly Karpov 1-0 0-1
Vladimir Epishin Peter Heine Nielsen 0-1 0-1
Johann Hjartarson Jan Timman 0-1 ½-½
Nigel Short Stefan Kristjansson ½-½ 1-0

Round two pairings – Fri. March 19

Nigel Short Levon Aronian
Jan Timman Garry Kasparov
Peter Heine Nielsen Emil Sutovsky
Anatoly Karpov Alexei Dreev

Karpov got through in a blitz tiebreaker but he could have ended
things earlier. The games are played with 25 minutes and a five
second increment. That is supposed to eliminate the worse of the
blunders, but then how to explain this?

Stefansson – Karpov, game 1 after 47…Qb8

48.Rc2 or 48.Qb1 would have provided the back-rank protection White
needs before winning with his passed pawns. Instead, Stefansson
blundered with 48.Rb1?? which should have allowed Karpov to escape
with a draw after 48…Rd1+ 49.Re1 Rxb1 50.Rxb1 Qd8!.

Karpov missed the draw with 48…R3d5?? and now White should give up
the a-pawn to consolidate with 49.Qc2 Rxa5 50.Ree1! and the b-pawn
should still be decisive.

But Stefansson saw and raised Karpov’s blunder with 49.Qc3??. Now
Black should actually win after 49…Rd1+ 50.Re1 Rxb1 51.Rxb1 Rd1+!
52.Rxd1 Qxb7+ 53.Kg1 Qg2 mate.

Instead, Karpov made the final blunder with 49…Rd3?? and resigned
after 50.Qc8, when there is no defense.