Corus Round 1 LIVE analysis

M. Carlsen (2776) – T. Radjabov (2761)

1.e4 c5 (We have a Sicilian! The same two players faced each other in round 13 at Corus last year and the game began with 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 d6 5.e4 O-O 6.c3… and it ended in a draw in 65 moves.)

2.Nf3 e6 3.g3!? (Carlsen goes off the main lines immediately. A smart move to surprise his opponent and to avoid any home preparation by Radjabov.)

3…d5 (This is the most popular response. Also playable are 3…Nc6, 3…b6, 3…d6 or 3…Nf6.)

4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 (If 5.Bg2 right away then Black can play 5…Qe7+ and White can no longer castle.)

5…Nc6 (5…Nf6 has also been played. Now 6.Bg2 to prepare castling is most logical.)

6.Bg2 (Some of the moves that have been played here include 6…Bg4, 6…Nf6, 6…Bd6, etc. All are playable. It is just a matter of taste. Sometimes top players take their time early in the openings. Besides trying to recall lines from their heads, they are also trying to choose what type of structure of the game they want to proceed with. For example, if one plays against an opponent known for liking open positions, he/she may purposely choose to go into lines where the position is extremely tight or vice versa.)

6…Bg4 7.O-O (White is sacrificing the d4 pawn. If 7…Nxd4 then 8.Qe1+ Be6 9.Nxd4 cxd4 10.Nd2 White is down a pawn but it is a double pawn and Black is behind in development. If 7…cxd4 then White could play 8.Re1+ or even 8.c3 with the same idea of having better development as compensation.

Radjabov is spending a lot of time on this move. He must decide if he wants to accept the pawn sacrifice or continue developing his pieces. If he accepts the sacrifice, should he take with the Knight or Pawn. Decision, decision, decision!)

7…Be7 (No deal! Radjabov rejects the pawn sacrifice.)

8.dxc5 (This move gains a tempo as Black just played Be7. Now he has to move his Bishop again to recapture. In addition, it also creates an isolated d5 pawn for Black.)

8…Bxc5 9.Qe1+ (The idea of this move is to go to c3 next to attack the Bishop on c5 and pawn on g7. On a side note, Black is down by over 20 minutes on his clock.)

9…Be7 (This is to avoid the 10.Qc3 double attack. Black is playing cautiously as he is unsure of what Carlsen had prepared in advance at home. It is the battle of middlegame strength as they are completely off book.)

10.Ne5 (Magnus continues to be aggressive as Black is behind in development.)

10…Be6 (If 10…Nxe5 then 11.Qxe5 followed by 12.Nc4 +/=)

11.c4 (White is slightly better. Black cannot take the pawn because of Nxc6 followed by Bxc6. Black’s most logical option here is to develop the Knight to f6 to be able to castle ASAP.)

11…Nf6 (Simple, logical, and best response. Now the best option for White would be 12.Nc3 to put more pressure on the d5 pawn. Chess is a logical. There is no need to over complicate things.)

12.Nc3 (There is a mini-trap here if Black plays the normal looking 12…O-O 13. cxd5 Nxd5 [if 13…Nxe5 then 14.dxe6 +/-] 14. Bxd5 Bxd5 15. Nxd5 Qxd5 16. Nxc6 Qxc6 17. Qxe7+-)

12…Rc8 (This is by far the best move to prevent White’s threat.)

13.cxd5 Nxd5 (Black is almost off the hook. He is one move away from being able to castle. If he is able to do that, he will be fine as the pawn structure is identical.)

14.Bh6! (A shocking looking move! The move of the year so far! This is not a move a “normal” human being could come up with. White is giving up his Bishop! If 14…gxh6 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Rd1+/-. If 14…Nxe5 15.Nxd5 Bf6 16.Bf4+=. Perhaps the least damaging option for Black would be 14…Bf6. I would love to see Radjabov’s facial reaction after seeing 14.Bh6!)

14…Nxe5 (It will be interesting to see if Magnus can continue precisely the rest of the way. 15.Nxd5 is the strongest move here. It is hard to realize how difficult this position is and how easy things can go wrong when fans are sitting at home in front of super computer chess programs. But when you are on the board live in the biggest tournament of the year, the pressure is huge. 10 good moves followed by one inaccuracy can spoil everything. We have all been there and done that, including me. That is why chess is so interesting and sometimes frustrating.)

15.Rd1 (15.Nxd5 is another strong option. Fritz likes 15.Rd1. Rybka likes 15.Nxd5. Junior likes both 15.Rd1 and 15.Nxd5. Without looking at any computer line, I picked 15.Nxd5 because it keeps the game more complicated.)

15…gxh6 16.Qxe5 (The only move. Everything else is good for Black.)

16…Bf6 (Black is defending very well so far.)

17.Qe2 (White is obviously better but Black has done a very good job defending.)

17…Bc3 18.Bxd5 += (It seems that the storm has passed and Black is almost OK now.)

18…Qe7 (Most of the big complications have gone by and Black “should” be able to hold this game.)

19.Qb5+ (This is the best shot of keeping the game complicated. However, Black should be OK with 19…Bd7.)

19…Qd7 20. Qb3 Rc5 21. Bxe6 Qxe6 22. Qa3 b6 23. bxc3 O-O 24.Qxa7 Rxc3+= 25.Rfe1 Qf6 (Radjabov is in severe time pressure. White is still slightly better due to Black’s double pawns on the h file.)

26.Qa4 Rc5 27.Re4 Rf5 28.Rg4 Kh8 29.Qb4 Rc8 += 30.Rc4 Re8 31.Re4 Rc8 32.Re2 Rfc5 33.Re4 Rf5 += (White is still slightly better but not enough to make a decisive difference. However, time is a big factor.)

34.Rde1 Rg8 (Black has about 1 minute left to get to move 40.)

35.Re8 Rg5 += 36.R8e4 Rf5 37.R1e2 Qa1+ 38.Kg2 Qf6 39.a4 Qc6 (One more move until time control. If Black does not blunder in his next move, he should be able to hold this endgame.)

40.Qb2+ Qf6 (Time control has been made by both sides. White will continue to push on but I do not think that White has enough to convert.)

41.Rb4 Qxb2 42.Rexb2 Ra8 43.Rxb6 Rxa4 44.Rxh6 Kg7 45.Rd6 (White is up a pawn but Black should be able to hold this without any difficulty.)

45...h6 46.f4 Rfa5 47.Rdd2 Ra6 48. Kh3 R6a5 49.Kh4 Ra6 50.Rbc2 R6a5 51.Rf2 Ra6 52.Kh5 R4a5+ 53.f5 Rg6 54.g4 Ra3 55.Kh4 Rb6 56.h3 Rbb3 57.Rh2 Rf3 58.Rcf2 Rfe3 59.Rf1 Rab3 60. Rfh1 Rf3 1/2-1/2

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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