Carlsson at European Championships

Another Drum Major on the move!

Pontus Carlsson is in a field of 337 male players competing for the crown of European Champion. There are 159 players in the female section. According to ChessBase…

The IX European Individual Chess Championship is taking place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from April 21st to May 3rd 2008, with one free day, on Monday, April 28. The tournament halls are in the Novotel Plovdiv. The championship is an 11 round Swiss, playing time is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one. The total prize fund in the men’s section is 92,200 EUR (first 15,000, 2nd 10,000, third 8,000, fourth 6,500, fifth 5,500 etc.) and in the women’s section 34,500 EUR (first 6,000, second 5,000, third 4,000, fourth 3,000, fifth 2,000, etc.). According to Bulgarian law all prizes are taxable (10%).

Carlsson is having a rough go it so far and after eight rounds he is on -1. He has a scintillating win against Bulgarian FIDE Master Valeri Lilov and a wild loss to Alexander Moiseenko of the Ukraine.

Carlsson,P (2513) – Lilov,V (2385) [B46]
9th European Individual Ch (m) round 5 (5.116), 25.04.2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.0-0 Nf6 9.Re1 Bb7 10.b3 Bb4 11.Bd2 Qa5 12.a3 Bxc3 13.b4 Qc7 14.Bxc3 Qf4 15.Bd2 Qc7 16.e5 Nd7 17.Qg4 g6 18.Qh4 h5 19.Bg5 Nb6 20.Qf4 c5 21.Qf6 Rg8 22.bxc5 Qxc5 23.Rab1 Nd7 24.Qf4 Bc6 25.c4 d4 26.Bf1 a5 27.Rbd1 Qxa3 28.Rxd4 Qc5 29.Red1 a4 30.g3 a3


31.Rxd7! Bxd7 32.Rxd7 Kxd7 33.Qxf7+ Kc6 34.Bg2+ Kb6 35.Qb7+ Ka5 36.Bd2+ Ka4 37.Bc6+ 1-0 (See Game)

Moiseenko,A (2650) – Carlsson,P (2513) [A60]
9th European Individual Ch (m) round 6 Plovdiv BUL (6.72), 26.04.2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 b5 6.e4 Nxe4 7.Qe2 Qe7 8.Bg2 Nd6 9.Be3 Na6 10.Nc3 b4 11.Na4 g6 12.Nxc5 Nxc5 13.Bxc5 a5 14.Bd4 Rg8 15.0-0-0 Qxe2 16.Nxe2 Nb5 17.Be3 d6 18.Be4 Ba6 19.Rhe1 Kd7 20.Kb1 Bg7 21.Bc2 Rab8 22.Ba4 Kd8 23.Rc1 Na3+ 24.Ka1 Bb5 25.Bg5+ f6 26.Nd4 fxg5 27.Ne6+ Ke7 28.Rc7+ Kf6 29.Nxg7 Bxa4 30.Re6# 1-0 (See Game)

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  1. Pontus has absolutely no chance ,with sharks like Motylev,Akopian ,Sutovsky,Khalifman ,I would congratulate him finishing in top 100

  2. mr porter, perhaps his chances are not likely, but to say he has no chance in my view is incorrect. byrne thought that fischer had no chance to win before the game of the century, in fact he figured that he would play well for a little while and then he would crush him, and in his words said “but out came this maniac at me!” there was “no chance” that a child in the u.s could play such a game at that time, so perhaps it isn’t wrong to say that anyone has a a shot. i hope he does really well in view of his odds and that a positive perspective on his position can help. when we have losing chances in chess we are not to give up, we are to fight. if he never had a shot why would he play in such an event? and how would he get to the level that he is?

  3. Carlsson has beaten quite a number of sharks! This was not his best tournament, but to write off a rising player and the brightest star in the African Diaspora seems a bit regressive.

  4. So all you obsessed with political correctness thought I was going to mention Pontus would finish in top 100 and then u would drink your happy pill and sleep right??The only “advantage” of political correctness is the illusion of inclusion and tolerance. The disadvantage is that instead of actually discussing situations and dealing with them in an open and honest manner that could bring about real change and understanding, we brush them under the rug and don’t deal with them because it’s not politically correct to express a certain view .Call a spade a spade!The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement! Indeed Pontus finished tied 155-199!!!or thereabouts “…man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on.” — Winston S. Churchill …

    “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”-George Orwell

  5. Darren,

    Pontus was already having a poor showing when you made the comment. You made the “prediction” on today… the last round. It’s OK to say he not yet at the level of these players, but to say he doesn’t have a chance… that’s stretching it. You also offered no constructive comments.

    Nevertheless, in round #1 Carlsson played Vladimir Akopian (2673), the strong Armenian super-GM. The result?? Draw. He certainly stands a chance against stronger GMs, but he needs so solve his time pressure problems.

    Carlsson,P (2513) – Akopian,V (2673) [E54]
    European Individual Ch (m) round1 Plovdiv BUL (1.5), 21.04.2008

    1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Qb3 Be7 11.Rd1 Nb6 12.Be2 Bd7 13.Ne5 Bc6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Bg5 Rb8 16.Qc2 Nfd5 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.Bf3 Rb7 19.Rac1 Rd7 20.Ne2 Rd6 21.Rd3 Qd7 22.Rc3 Nbd5 23.Rc5 Rb8 24.a3 g6 25.b4 Rb6 26.Qa4 Qb7 27.Ra5 Rd7 28.Rac5 Kg7 29.g3 Qa6 30.Qb3 Nf5 31.Kg2 h5 32.h4 Kh7 33.R1c2 Nde7 34.Qc3 Rd6 35.Be4 Qb7 36.Kh2 Qd7 37.Rc4 Nd5 38.Qf3 Nde7 39.Qc3 Qd8 40.Qf3 Qd7 41.Qc3 Qd8 ½-½ (See Game)

    Certainly, Carlsson did lose to Alexander Motylev in a sharp Sicilian Dragon, but made a contribution to theory. One can even say that he helped Magnus Carlsen in his win over Teimour Radjabov since the Norwegian played an improvement on Carlsson’s game five days later. Carlsson is playing in world class circles and believe me when I say he is well-respected in the professional circuit.

    Dragon breathes fire
    By Malcolm Pein
    Last Updated: 12:01am BST 30/04/2008

    Over the weekend the following game from the European Individual Championships caught my eye. It was a well played attack by the former Russian champion but what surprised me was Black’s choice of opening; the Moscow Variation of the Sicilian Dragon. The line was analysed by Tony Miles and the American master Erik Moscow. Both Miles and Jonathan Mestel enjoyed great success with it.

    The line is thought to be discredited nowadays although I have always wondered whether it might still be playable as Kasparov employed it against Anand at their world title match at the top of the World Trade Centre in 1995. This makes me suspect their may be undiscovered resources for Black. If Kasparov’s played it, it’s probably good.

    A Motylev – P Carlsson
    IX EICC (2) Plovdiv
    Sicilian Dragon

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0–0 8.Bc4 Nc6 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.h4 h5 (This is the key idea, previously 10…Rc8 had been automatic)

    11.Qd2 Rc8 12.0–0–0 Ne5 13.Bg5 (This intends f4 and if Nc4 Qe2 followed by e4-e5 hence Black’s next if 13…Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Rxc3 15.bxc3 Qa5)

    13…Rc5 14.Kb1 Re8 15.g4 (Anand played 15.Rhe1)

    15…hxg4 16.f4 Nc4 (16…Nc6!?)

    17.Qe2 Qc8 ( 17…b5!?, to keep the bishop on b3 under wraps)



    18…Na3+?! (but 18…gxf5 19.exf5 Nxb2 20.Kxb2 Rxc3 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Qxg4+ Kf8 23.Rhg1 is also good for White)

    19.bxa3 Rxc3 20.fxg6 Rxb3+ 21.axb3 fxg6 22.Qd3 Nh5 23.Rhf1 Be5 24.Ne2 g3 25.Nf4 Bg4 26.Nxg6 Bxd1 27.Qxd1 g2 28.Rg1 Bg7 29.Qxh5 Qc3 30.e5! dxe5 31.Bh6 Bxh6 32.Rxg2 1–0 (See Game)

    See all of Carlsson’s games here!!

  6. i respect your views and i said my peace on the subject. pontus is a great talent and hard worker and i feel that he had better chances than what you claim. the wonderful thing about chess is that even though we know so much about the game it is still a fight in the dark!
    human beings are not perfect so the clash on the board will never die
    what are the odds of kramnik, a super GM\ former world champ missing mate in one? one would say that he would never but he did!
    my point is that to say never or absolutely no chance seems like those men you stated are like machines that play at their rating level and never go down or have off days. or that a young player like pontus cant play above his rating a beat people he wouldn’t normally be a match for. perhaps you are so obsessed with breaking “political correctness” that u cant see this simple fact.
    no one disagrees that his chances were extremely slim, but to say he had none is once again in my view incorrect.
    truth be told i could care less about following what is “politically correct” because i feel that some of us are here on this planet to blaze new paths and i want to go where i want to go not to where someone else has been.
    my friend because you say what others have not said does not make it truth, nor does the result you predicted at the last moment prove your case.
    i hope you understand this was written with all respect, and i only wish to express my views in response to your post.

  7. “Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.” Arthur Schopenhauer (German Philosopher, 1788-1860)
    Anyway the table does not lie,Pontus needs improve his game overally,this we cannot hide,Hard work.It is very easy for players of mediocre talent to gain rating points for a short while and fall afterwards.

    “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident”
    Arthur Schopenhauer

  8. I’m sure we all can improve our games (even top GMs), but I’m not sure how you’re assessing Carlsson’s talent as “mediocre.” Suggesting that he “improve his game” means you haven’t given this much thought. That statement applies to everyone. Unless you are at Grandmaster level, such a talent assessment is hard to make.

  9. Grandmaster level or not ,such an assesment is not hard to make,if your reasoning is consistent then its hard to judge Vishy or Kramnik’s talent right??

  10. It is not as difficult to assess Anand and Kramnik since they have played an entire career already. Their talent has been fully realized, Carlsson’s has not. We have not seen enough of his games at a high level to know where his talent lies. We do know that he played well in Corus C, the European Team championship, Malaga and Reykjavik. To say he needs to “improve his game” is not an assessment. What are the specifics? examples? games?

  11. Immensely talented players do very well in their youth ,simple ,players like Shirov ,Dreev,Short,Tiviakov,Gelfand ,Svidler,Adams etc all did something remarkable in their teens,and achieved GM status much earlier ,thats a mark of talent ,I have refrained from giving examples like Kasparov at Banja Luka 1979 ,Kramnik at Manila Olympiad etc .Talented players ALWAYS do something remarkable in their youth in every Sport .

  12. any idiot can say a person needs to improve this or he needs to improve that. many people don’t understand that the road to the top in any sport is not road of roses! even talented players never make it or for some reason don’t do well in their youth, so to label from an arm chair really does not hold any weight. unless you give examples from games or notice something else. perhaps this should not be a such a problem for such a strong player as your self. talent cannot be
    always measured by results, there are too many factors

  13. I agree that most world-class sportsman develop early, but you’re saying that one cannot accomplish great feats after age 20? Ever heard of a man named Victor Korchnoi? There are many other examples in all sports that will prove you wrong.

    This is not to compare Carlsson’s talent with these legendary players (as you are doing), but each person has their own development cycle. Carlsson made Grandmaster at age 24. I would imagine most GMs in history have earned the title AFTER that age. Will Carlsson ever realize his talent? We shall see. For now, let’s be positive and make some REAL assessments.

  14. ROFTLMAO!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Julius Lopez you must be really getting desperate man,Daaim,in modern sport it is difficult to become a top player if you have not had a significant achievement by age 21 simple.

  15. It’s incredible how 1 poor tournament result can cause some critics (who aren’t even in Carlsson’s league and obviously do not understand what it has taken for Carlsson to reach where he is, and to say nothing of what it will take to improve from Carlsson’s present level) to say he has no chance at being better…it goes to show how much for how we support each other as members of one Diaspora…whoever, Mr. Porter is I suggest he reach to Carlsson’s level before he gives such deterministic yes or no opinions of Carlsson’s ability of continuous improvement

  16. Was he saying that when Carlsson won the gold medal at the previous championships? Or when he was playing at Corus this year?

  17. Travis,

    Porter makes provocative comments from time-to-time. Carlsson scores really isn’t that bad, but he was held by a couple of weaker players and lost badly to Beliavsky and Moiseenko (got mated). I like the game with Motylev (albeit, a loss) and the attacking game against Lilov.

  18. ROFTLMAO !! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:Trevor Hoskins and Julius Lopez I suspect you both could have an arguement in an empty room.If Carlsson is extremely talented he could have at least won his National Championship by 21 given the facilities and strength of Chess in Sweden ,Even in Africa Gwaze ,Simutowe ,Kobese won their National championships at young age (will check Adly).Carlsson is no mug obviously but is an average player and i could not overstate his chances is such a field as in Bulgaria simple .Since when have I been forbidden my right on this website to analyse player games and pass comments?(like you do)You see Carlsson as a great prospect ,I dont!!simple.Do I NEED Daaim I suspect I will be history soon on this website for disagreeing with u and termed “provocative”but let the passage of time judge me.

    Galatians 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

  19. History?? Why do you say that? There is nothing wrong with disagreement, but you will definitely be challenged to provide more of a rationale for why you don’t think Carlsson is a great prospect. So far, you are using measurements like winning national championships at a young age and becoming a GM as a teen. These are not the only standards for talent. If it were, then most of the top 100 players would not have any talent, by your measure.

    Carlsson competed in his first national championship in his teens… I believe. Winning a national championship in Sweden (with 16 GMs) is a lot more difficult that winning it in most nations. I don’t believe it is necessary to put down Carlsson and make mention of African players who win national championships. Are we to say Kobese, Gwaze and Simutowe are more talented? We’ll never know, but there is only one GM among them… and one GM-elect.

    If you’re a GM, then you’re quite talented in chess, not mediocre. That shouldn’t be up for debate… especially from non-GMs. 😕

  20. Darren Porter! its seems to be an empty room because you are not present in these conversations. it is interesting to read your posts as you have a view that is not the same as mine, it is refreshing!, but to watch you view your ideas on the subject as “the truth” is a little bit disturbing. you have been called to back up this “truth” of Carlsson needing to improve with examples from games and you haven’t. i ask you once again, since you are such a “strong player” please do me a favor and give me some proof to back up your “Truth”. or please since you know Carlsson so well explain what makes him less talented or in your eyes not promising because i am interested in finding out how you can measure talent only on results…. i await your response

  21. Julius and Daaim ,one does not need to be a GM to pass a particular comment, Mark Dvoretsky surely was not GM to identify talent,Bruce Pandolfini has identified talent before again a non GM,Now if none of us are GMs why do you think your comments /views are correct too??its like George Bush teaching Mugabe on democracy when he has just invaded Afghanistan or Iran being prevented from the Nuclear when America and Israel have one themselves.Avram Grant/Jose Mourinho surely haven’t been good players themselves in football but coached a decent side,there indeed might be many factors but certainly the ones i gave are strong about Carlsson’s talent .As someone with African roots I also wanna see Carlsson win major tournaments although its most unlikely.

  22. Our views are not the one under discussion… yours are. You still give no analysis as to why you believe Carlsson will not be a successful Grandmaster. You also call him a mediocre talent. The fact that he got the GM title at 24 is not a strong reason. Are you saying every GM in the top 50 who did not get their GM title before 20 and didn’t win the national championship in their teens is not talented? You only need one case to disprove that theory, but there are actually many who failed to do either. Neither Dvoretsky or a Pandolfini are GMs, but nor would they deny Carlsson’s talent. I can assure you.

  23. Darren Porter we are all looking for the truth in our lives,it does not start with me or or you alone! never did i say that i was right. i felt from your earlier post that something was incorrect about your statement and i shared my views with you in the pursuit of understanding the subject deeper. you seem to be a smart person. why then should i conform to your views as “the truth” without any proof? you have no ties to Carlsson so that you could understand what he goes through nor does it seem as if you understand him as a player.,what his short comings are, what he excels at. to make a statement worth considering as “the truth” you have to back it up. instead you run around the issue and never address it
    I ask you again why is your statement about Carlsson’s talent so strong? please provide me with the facts and details of his games that can distinguish GM talent. Mark Dvoretsky and Bruce Pandolfini can qualify for addressing talent but where do you fit in there? are you a master level or above player who has made a career teaching talented players? if so then please state what it is you see in Carlsson that in your eyes does not make him a prospect!! ……………..i await your reply

  24. Julius ,I’m no scumbag myself ,I play above master level yes,

    never did i say that i was right-you have come right now .

    you have no ties to Carlsson so that you could understand what he goes through nor does it seem as if you understand him as a player.,what his short comings are, what he excels at. to make a statement worth considering as “the truth” you have to back it up. instead you run around the issue and never address it-the ties are the games themselves and results ,using my experience i simply tally things up ,ive seen a great many talent man ,trust u me.

    are you a master level or above player who has made a career teaching talented players-definitely i play above master level.

    so then please state what it is you see in Carlsson that in your eyes does not make him a prospect!! ……………..i await your reply -results speak fpr themselves man ,the last Plovdiv table does not lie.

  25. this can go on forever!! i ask you questions and you either dont answer them correctly or you run around them completely. i am no longer going to fight your ego!!

  26. Darren,

    Tables do not say anything. Carlsson finished ahead of Kiril Georgiev and equal with people like Alexander Beliavsky, Jiri Stocek, Kamil Miton and many other GMs. What does that mean?

    You stated your experience. What is your experience? ELO? federation? ICC handle?


    What he’s saying is that he doesn’t have an answer. He’s just trolling. This will NOT go on forever.

  27. you know daaim, i love this site because of many reasons one of those reasons is this blog. i know that my view is not absolute and i love to take my self on against others in the hopes that my understanding of subjects such as this be tested. is it so much to ask Darren Porter, a seemingly educated person, for some hard facts? i hope he answers your question, i would love to hear the details of his experience with talented players and the good things his master level play has brought his elo……… if he is capable of answering a question completely

  28. Tables mean something Daaim ,they were even used in determining World Championship recently ,here they were used to determine qualifiers.Consistency on the table over some time is what we use ,its common sense.I will not reveal my Elo or anything like that for safety sake ,I would rather let it rest .

  29. Again it is important to note that “The chess drum” and Daaim Shabazz has created a great vehicle for honest conversation and dialogue on the subject of chess and African/African American chess players as a whole. The current threads on this blog on CARLSSON are very important, my view is that “nothing beats a failure but a try” which means that if Carlsson does not participate then we have no chance!

    Right now he is competing and performing at a very high level his results in this particular tournament are moderate to say the least, but we all have to let a lion have his space, the verdict is not out yet, lets wait and see, there will be more tournaments and I am sure that his game can mature and his tournament results will show in the future.

    8) 8)

  30. Pontus Carlsson

    is one of the most genuine brothers I’ve met in the chess world. Shane Matthews of Jamaica and Kenny Solomon of South Africa rank up there too. Pontus and I started communicating with him back in 2003 I believe. I asked (with some hesitation) if I could include him on the “Drum Majors” list. Immediately he agreed!! We exchanged e-mail, but missed each other at the 2004 Olympiad (Mallorca, Spain) by five minutes. Solomon told him I had just left. He was playing in another tournament and was not playing for Sweden. We joked about it later.

    I then attended the 2006 Olympiad in Turin, Italy and was surprised to see him playing for Sweden! I started snapping photos and then laid a business card down near him. He immediately got up to greet me and was apparently happy to see me. One evening I ran into him at the cafeteria and he had just finished eating his meal. I had just come from the press room filing my reports. I told him I’d catch him later, but he insisted on sitting with me and we had a very nice conversation. He keeps in touch and always gives me updates.

    Pontus is quite a different kind of fellow… has his own style, but a great person and I cannot wait until he visits the US. We’ll have a reception for him… for sure! 😀

  31. Nice to hear Pontus has a nice personality to go with it too.To be honest, completely honest, I’d rather eat my own hand than let my relatives near most Chessplayers .Frankly as human beings, Chessplayers are generally scumbags!

  32. in what profession can you find that people are not.(generally scumbags) kinda funny because i could not find any 😆

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