Pontus Carlsson to play in Corus C

GM Pontus Carlsson (Sweden)

Pontus Carlsson told The Chess Drum in a recent interview that he was slated to play in Corus Wijk aan Zee 2008 C-Group 11th-27th January 2008. This will be his inaugural visit to the prestigious tournament. The field will include (title, name, federation, birthyear, FIDE rating):

GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko UKR 1978 2647
GM Fabiano Caruana ITA 1992 2598
GM Friso Nijboer NED 1965 2578
IM Arik Braun GER 1988 2536
GM Dimitri Reinderman NED 1972 2533
GM Parimarjan Negi IND 1993 2526
GM Efstratios Grivas GRE 1966 2509
GM Pontus Carlsson SWE 1982 2501
GM John van der Wiel NED 1959 2490
WGM Anna Ushenina UKR 1985 2484
WGM Irina Krush USA 1983 2473
GM Zhaoqin Peng NED 1968 2461
IM Mark van der Werf NED 1968 2389
  Dennis Ruijgrok NED 1985 2329
Average rating: 2503 Category: 11

Running concurrently are Corus A (average ELO: 2742) and Corus B (average ELO: 2618). All eyes will be on Hou Yifan, the 13-year old Chinese sensation playing in Corus B.

Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/


  1. Carlsson just crushed Negi from the black side of a Dragon! Brutal!

    (3) Negi,P (2526) – Carlsson,P (2501) [B78]
    Corus C Wijk aan Zee NED (1), 12.01.2008

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4 b5 15.b3 b4!? 16.Nce2 Rc7 17.Ng3 Rc3 18.Bh6 Bxh6 19.Qxh6 e5 20.g5 Ng4 21.fxg4 exd4 22.Rxd4 Qa5 23.Rd5 Qa3 24.Rc1 Rc6 25.Rd2 Be6 26.Nf5 gxf5 27.gxf5

    27… Bxb3! 28.axb3 Ra6 29.c3 bxc3 30.Rxc3 Qa1+ 31.Kc2 Ra2+ 32.Kd3 Qf1+ 33.Ke3 Qe1+ 34.Kf3 Qxd2 35.f6 Qxc3+ 36.Kf4 Rf2+ 0-1

    Game: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview3/negi-carlsson.htm
    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

  2. Dragoneers will be talking about this one…I wonder why Negi thought that he could play like this against an expert in the opening.

  3. Results of Round 3

    GM Group A
    Radjabov – L. van Wely ½-½
    Mamedyarov – V. Kramnik ½-½
    Eljanov – V. Anand ½-½
    Adams – M. Carlsen ½-½
    Aronian – P. Leko ½-½
    Ivanchuk – B. Gelfand ½-½
    Polgar – V. Topalov ½-½

    GM Group B
    Hou – N. Short 1-0
    Stellwagen – Harikrishna ½-½
    Spoelman – Bacrot 0-1
    Movsesian – Krasenkow 1-0
    Smeets – Cheparinov 1-0
    Nepomniachtchi – Sargissian 1-0
    L’Ami – Koneru 1-0

    GM Group C
    Ushenina – Krush½-½
    Nijboer – Li 1-0
    Negi – J. van der Wiel 1-0
    Peng – Braun 0-1
    Van der Werf – Carlsson ½-½
    Ruijgrok – Caruana 0-1
    Reinderman – Grivas ½-½

    All the games were drawn in the “A” group. The last game to finish was Radjabov-van Wely. The Dutchman had R+P vs. Radjabov’s B+P. After 85 moves, the game was drawn. Chessvibes.com referred to Salwe-Rubenstein game played in 1908 where black won by driving the king away from white’s remaining pawn. Unfortunately, van Wely was unable to find this technique.


    Both Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen are on top with 2½-½ followed by Teimour Radjabov, winner of the recent Rapid Championship.

    In the “B” group, the one game that turned heads was Hou Yifan 24-move thrashing of Nigel Short. Short, who approached the organizers for a spot in the tournament looked to be in form after beating Erwin L’Emi with the Evans Gambit. However, Short’s distastrous loss typifies his disappointing campaign of 2007. Jan Smeets and Etienne Bacrot are on top with 2½-½.

    The “C” group shows Fabiano Caruana on top at 3-0. Caruana had a wonderful 2007 and has started the new year off in the same form. IM Arik Braun is tied with Caruna on 3-0 after a crushing sacrifice and mating attack. Parmarijan Negi got into the win column beating John van der Wiel when the veteran blundered a piece. Pontus Carlsson was unable to beat Dutch IM Mark van der Werf in an interesting struggle.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/


    Here is an instructional video of the Negi-Carlsson game! It is from Majnu Michaud at letsplaychess.com. I am disappointed that he did not investigate the critical 15…b4!? continuation. You can check my lines at the link above, but does anyone else know this analysis?

  5. Results of Round 4

    Carlsson gets another sub-30 move crush! Actually his opponent cracked under pressure and ended up allowing a mating attack.

    Carlsson,P (2501) – Ruijgrok,D (2329) [C95]
    Corus C Wijk aan Zee NED (4), 15.01.2008

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.b3 d5 16.Bg5 h6 17.Bh4 g5

    Carlsson-Ruijgrok, Corus (B), 2008 after 17...g5

    18.Nxg5!? hxg5 19.Bxg5 exd4 20.e5 Rxe5 21.Rxe5 Nxe5 22.cxd4 Nc6 23.Qd3 Bg7? [Better is 23…Be7] 24.Nh5 Kf8 25.Nxg7 Kxg7 26.Qg3 Nh5 27.Qg4 Qh8 28.Be7+ and black is mated.

    Carlsson-Ruijgrok, Corus (B), 2008 after 28.Be7+

    Game: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview3/carlsson-ruijgrok.htm

    In the “A” group Judit Polgar beat Boris Gelfand (again) and adds to her tremendous plus-score against the Israeli GM. Judit followed a similar path from Gelfand-Lautier… an amazing game where Gelfand got mated! See videos below. Magnus Carlsen and Lev Aronian drew and hold the lead on +2.

    Judit Polgar analyzes win over Gelfand

    Videos by chessvibes.com
    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

  6. Results of Round 7

    Pontus Carlsson lost to Fabiano Caruana today. He played the Najdorf and get a very promising position, but went downhill after 29.e5! I’ll bet time pressure was the culprit. He is now on an even score while Caruana and IM Alik Braun lead the “C” group.

    In the “A” group Carlsen beat Polgar to move into clear 1st ahead of Vladimir Kramnik and Teimour Radjabov. In group “B” Etienne Bacrot continues to hold the lead and Nigel Short won with the Evans Gambit again.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

  7. Results of Round 8

    Carlsson was crushed today by IM Irina Krush (no pun intended). Her 14.Bxe6! was direct and strong. Carlsson had to donate a pawn and and exchange after having to fend off the strong attack. Those of us who play in the U.S. know how ambitious Krush is. She presses relentlessly and is always looking for complications. Carlsson was not alert in this game and got a look at America’s pre-eminent (and most active) female player. Carlsson is now on -1 despite a strong good start.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

  8. Results of Round 9

    Corus probably hasn’t been the best showing for Pontus, but with another slashing win today he shows that he means business!

    Carlsson,P (2501) – Braun,A (2536) [C07]
    Corus C Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 22.01.2008

    1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.dxc5 Nf6 6.Ngf3 Bxc5 7.Bc4 Qh5 8.Qe2 a6 9.Nf1 Bd6 10.Bg5 h6 11.0-0-0 hxg5 12.Rxd6 g4 13.Qd2 Nc6 14.Ng5 Bd7 15.Ng3 Qh6 16.Qe3

    Look at the focal points here… f7, e6, d7. The position is ripe for a sacrifice! 16…Ne7 [16…0-0 17.h3!] 17.h3 Rc8 18.Bb3 Qg6 19.c3 Rh4 20.Rhd1 Qh6 21.hxg4 Rxg4 22.f4 Qh4 23.N3e4 Nxe4 24.Nxe4

    Look at this from the black side. If one is playing black here, this is the time you feel something bad is going to happen. 24…Bc6 [24…Rxf4 25.Rxe6! Bxe6 26.Nd6+ Kf8 27.Nxc8 with the initiative.] 25.Qd2 Nf5 26.Rxc6 Rxc6 27.Qd7+ Kf8 28.Ng5 Nd6 29.Rxd6 Qe1+ 30.Rd1 Qe3+ 31.Kb1 1-0

    Game: https://www.thechessdrum.net/palview3/carlsson-braun.htm
    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

  9. Carlsson’s style has increased in ferocity. He seems to be going after the juglar a lot more. Someone asked, “Is he playing for mate these days?” Seems like it… he’s simply obliterating people. He will need to solve the time pressure issue though. Let’s hope he gets his last three games.

    Read, “The Marvel of Pontus Carlsson

    GM Pontus Carlsson during round 9 at Corus

    GM Pontus Carlsson during round 9 at Corus “C”.
    Photo by Fred Lucas.

  10. GM Pontus Carlsson (Sweden, 2501) closed out with an impressive win against Dutch Grandmaster GM Friso Nijboer. His play has increased in ferocity. Here is the score of Carlsson and the link to all the games is below.

    Negi, P. (India, 2526) – Carlsson, 0-1
    Carlsson – Peng Zhaoqin (Netherlands, 2461), ½-½
    Van der Werf, M. (Netherlands, 2389) – Carlsson, ½-½
    Carlsson – Ruijgrok, D. (Netherlands, 2329), 1-0
    Reinderman, D. (Germany, 2533) – Carlsson, 1-0
    Carlsson – Grivas, E. (Greece, 2509), ½-½
    Caruana, F. (Italy, 2598) – Carlsson, 1-0
    Krush, I. (USA, 2473) – Carlsson, 1-0
    Carlsson – Braun, A. (Germany, 2536), 1-0
    Van der Wiel, J. (Netherlands, 2490) – Carlsson, ½-½
    Carlsson – Li Shilong (China, 2502), ½-½
    Ushenina, A. (Ukraine, 2484) –Carlsson, 0-1
    Carlsson – Nijboer, F. (Netherlands, 2578), 1-0

    Score: 7½-5½

    Games of GM Pontus Carlsson (Sweden, 2501)

  11. The brotha is truly representing on the world stage. I hope he gets the opportunity to meet the two sistas from France that are great chess players.

  12. I had a lengthy conversation with Pontus at the 2006 Olympiad in Italy… really good brother. He wants to play in the U.S. and I have been talking to him about it for awhile now. We’ll see.

    There are not many chess masters of African descent in Europe. Raphaelle Delahaye is not active now and has started a family. Her brother is Benjamin Bujisho who I featured once on The Chess Drum.

    Raphaelle Delahaye

    Raphaelle Delahaye (France)

    I’m not sure how active Aurélie Dacalor is these days. When I interviewed Gilles Suez-Panama in Trinidad, he confirmed that her roots are from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. He plays in France quite a bit.

    Aurélie Dacalor

    Aurélie Dacalor (France)

    Here is an interesting game between Dacalor and Delahaye where white plays 1.d4 f5 2.g4!? (See game)

    Of course, there is the young Sabrina Chevannes of England who is studying to be a doctor. She’s about 20 now and I believe she still plays when she can. There are some other Caribbean and African players in England and some others in France. I would imagine that there are some Black players in the Netherlands since many people from the Dutch Antilles (Aruba, St. Maarten, Curacao) and Surainame settle there.

    Sabrina Chevannes at age 13.

    England’s Sabrina Chevannes at age 13. Currently, she is a 20-year old medical student. Photo by Spectrum Chess, 2001.

    I haven’t been successful in locating Black players in Europe although there is one Nigerian International Master in Germany named Thomas Oparaugo. He got his IM from one of the African Championships and has played in the World Open on occassion. I suppose I’ll see more players of African descent at the 2008 Olympiad this year in Dresden, Germany. Pontus will be there… no doubt!

  13. Its too bad Pontus lost that dragon against Reinderman where he missed a tactic I had just been studying. Proves the needs to keep studying patterns. He didnt play Nf4 forking Queen and Rook. Where white plays Qc4 and Black plays Bd4!!! in response keeping an edge. He was probably in time pressure cause I am surely a lot weaker than he is. White recaptures the Bishop because of a fork and then Black plays Qc3!!!bam!!!!

  14. Those sistas are international role models and are certainly awe inspiring. Recently, I have been attempting to follow the Cuban National Championship but it appears as if the internet traffic is being obstructed. There must be some strong sistas there perfecting their game.

  15. Yep… there are strong Afro-Cubans there. In fact Pontus asked me about GM Neuris Delgado being Afro-Cuban. I saw him at the 2006 Olympiad, but didn’t get a chance to talk to him.

    GM Rafael Leitao (Brazil) vs. GM Neuris Delgado (Cuba)

    GM Rafael Leitao (Brazil) vs. GM Neuris Delgado(Cuba)
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    I also heard rumours that people were saying Maurice Ashley was not the first Black GM (only first Black in America), but I did not get names. The person who mentioned this was said to be Jorge Vega of Mexico. When I finally e-mailed him he gave me a vague response. Someone else e-mailed me and gave me a player from the Dominican Republic with reference to some grainy photos. Jerry Bibuld used to talk to me about someone named “Matos,” but never got any other details.

    I’d like to find out more about Afro-Latino chess. There is a Brazilian player named Regina Riberio, an 8-time Brazilian national women’s champion. I first saw her in the 2004 Olympiad in Spain. When I was in São Paulo, Brazil in 2005, we visited an Afro-Brazilian museum and when I asked one of the tour guides about chess, he didn’t know of any history of Afro-Brazilian chess.

    Regina Riberio (Brazil)

    WIM Regina Riberio (Brazil)
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a Brazilian who told me of chess activity in Salavador Bahia, the first settlement of slaves in Brazil. He gave me photos and some detail of chess in the Black province. As a result, I did an article on Afro-Brazilian chess and also featured Riberio’s accomplishments. What is interesting in all of this is Pontus desires to visit his native Columbia. He would certainly do a lot to inspire!

  16. Thanks, you are an amazing repository of knowledge. You had not made it clear before of your myriad travels, at lest to me. I had thought your info was obtained by primarily by email.But as an African people we have a rich tradition of passing on knowledge by word of mouth.

  17. I’ve traveled a bit covering chess. Some of it is fortuitious because I may be traveling for non-chess purposes and seek out the chess venues. For example, I was in Bahrain (Middle East) and found the chess club. I played blitz with the National Champion. It is the same club where Kramnik would later play Deep Fritz… the 2002 “Brains in Bahrain” match. Very nice club with a cafe downstairs.

    If you have never attended a Chess Olympiad, you are missing out! You meet all the brothers and sisters from within the Diaspora. Back in 2002, someone e-mailed me about Pontus asking me if I knew about him. I didn’t. I started asking around and I got hold of him through Amon Simutowe. Simutowe had played him at one of the World Junior tournaments. I e-mailed Pontus in late 2002 asking him if I could include him on The Chess Drum. He stated that it would be an honor!

    I traveled to Mallorca, Spain for the 2004 Olympiad and upon my return to the U.S., he told me we missed each other by five minutes. There was an Olympiad social event and South Africa’s Kenny Solomon told him I had just left. He was there for another tournament and I left the next day.

    The good thing about Olympiad tournament is you develop friendships with many people over time. I came back on the plane with FM Sunil Weeramantry (Hikaru Nakamura’s stepfather) who was playing for Sri Lanka. We had great conversations about chess and education and Hikaru’s progress. When I got back to the states, Pontus and I continued exchanging e-mail and joked how we barely missed each other.

    Pontus Carlsson at 2006 Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy.

    Pontus Carlsson at 2006 Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy.
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    In 2006, I went to the Chess Olympiad in Italy and spotted him at the board (see picture above). I had no idea he was on Sweden’s team. I walked up to the board and put one of my Chess Drum cards by the board. He immediately got up to greet me! At some point during the tournament, we had dinner and talked a long time. He is really one of the most genuine chess brothers I’ve met… and I’ve met a lot!

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