On the free day Wednesday I was invited to play a football match against a Dutch team. Together with GM Kjetil Lie (who is a former 3rd division goal-getter), we played against Van Wely and Smeets whom I beat in round 2 and 3 of the chess tournament. Dutch Television was present and duly documented our short but intense match ending in a Norwegian 5-1 victory.
Today I played H.Nakamura, USA (2708). He is rated as number 8 in the tournament, but following his good result in the recent World Championship for National teams in Turkey and his shared 2nd place here after 4 rounds, I did not expect an easy game.
He avoided mainline theory in the opening. I did not have any real problems, but got a bit too optimistic early on and underestimated maybe his ensuing attacking chances. At a critical junction I could have given an exchange for two pawns and an unclear position, but chose instead to give a knight for 3 pawns. In a fairly equal ending I offered a draw. He somewhat surprisingly declined, but after I had made a few inaccurate moves, he was seriously playing for a win.
In the end I found a way to defend and after swapping most pieces and all pawns the game was drawn after 5,5 hours. A tough fight.
I.ll have the black pieces two rounds in row, facing reigning World Champion V.Anand Thursday.
Magnus Carlsen, Wijk aan Zee, January 21th