I did not manage to play as accurately as in round 1, but still I.m fairly happy with my level of play both yesterday and today.
Against Nakamura yesterday I got a small but comfortable positional edge out of the opening, and close to the first time control Nakamura made a few inaccuracies. My two extra pawns should have been more than adequate, but he kept putting up strong resistance, and I really had to focus in the 5th and 6th hour of play to win in the end. A great start!
The hotel spa in the cellar turned out to be very good. It helped me relax after the round.
Today Nakamura won quite convincingly as white against Mamedyarov. By this time, I had already enjoyed a comfortable edge as black against Karjakin for some time. He went for the f3 Nimzowitch variation, and I managed to sidestep his preparation with an early Nh5. He burned lots of time on the clock. Soon I was slightly better, and the advantage seemed to grow. I may have played inaccurately before the first time control, but anyhow the prospects looked good. He defended very well in the time trouble, and afterwards I probably went wrong with Kf7. Nf4 first would have been a better try. Having put pressure on him for more than 4 hours I.m a little disappointed with the draw.
Overall 2.5 out of 3 is a great start, and I.ve got a full point lead over Karjakin, Radjabov, Nakamura and Caruana, whom I.ll face Wednesday.
We saw lots of fighting chess and decisive games in the B-group both days, and I hope the spectators at the venue and elsewhere are happy so far!
Magnus Carlsen, Shamkir, Azerbaijan, April 22nd, 2014