As mentioned before, my opponent today was Gashimov, one of four players with a perfect score after day 1. From a quiet opening as white in the blindfold , I gradually got an initiative, which eventually led to a pawn ending, where material was equal but I had the more active king. After he rightly decided to counterattack we ended up in a queen endgame by force, where I had an extra h-pawn. It was a tablebase draw, but by no means an easy one, and after he made a critical mistake on move 74, I managed to queen my pawn and win the game.

In the rapid I thought I had gotten a pleasant position from the opening, but with with energetic play he managed to keep a tiny edge into the endgame. However, then I found a very good plan with a rook transfer from h8 to c6. He then started to drift a bit, and I gained a clear initiative on the queenside. Running short of time he could not find the best defense in an increasingly sharp position, and had to resign on move 49 as my connected passed pawns were queening.

Overall a very good day. I am pleased both with the quality of my play, and obviously the result. As a result of my 2-0 win I moved into the lead, which I share with Grischuk, and Aronian, who is also my opponent tomorrow. I obviously would not mind a repeat of last years result, when I beat him 2-0 :)

Magnus Carlsen, Monaco 13.03.2011