I arrived in Dubai late last night with my main coach Peter Heine Nielsen for the Rapid and Blitz World Championship 2014. Dubai brings back fond memories as I secured my third and decisive Grandmaster norm here 10 years ago. The venue is the same, The rook-shaped Dubai Chess & Culture Club.
Norway Chess in Stavanger finished Friday and Karjakin won as last year at 6/9. I came second half a point behind, with Grischuk in clear third at 5 points. Karjakin.s 3 out of 3 finish was as impressive as his start last year, winning from equal middle and endgame positions.
A week ago I would have said that a missed win would never be as painful as an outright loss, but my penultimate game against Svidler came close. He botched up the opening and with the black pieces I had perfect coordination and could win material in many ways. Instead I went for an illusionary mate, having missed his Rg3 defense. Winning round 9 against compatriot Simen Agdestein did not help as leader Karjakin exploited mistakes by Caruana just before the time control.
The organizers headed by Kjell Madland and his board and large group of volunteers, and the sponsors deserves unconditional praise for staging a great event and for being helpful in every way. Thank you!
I.m reasonably happy with the +2 score. I was doing fine from the opening in most games, but my middle and endgame play was too uneven this time for me to be really satisfied. Fortunately the initial Blitz went fine and I look forward to the WC Rapid and Blitz starting Monday.
Magnus Carlsen, Dubai, June 15th 2014