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Ruslan Ponomariov vs Magnus Carlsen
Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2010), Nice FRA, rd 10, Mar-24
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-24-10  hardliner: 0 to 100 in 8 sec? No, this was a marathon. Can't remember Magnus Carlsen playing a game with so many moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Geez, what was Pono thinking? If he just keeps his rook on the e file, isn't this a dead draw?

After 80. R-d4, Pono loses the second pawn. I guess he felt he could get his rook behind the position, and win back the pawn, and draw.

Could Pono have done this because, if he keeps the rook on the e file and exchanges a pawn, black will reach the lucerne position, build a bridge and get his own rook behind the passed pawn?

Mar-24-10  sani: MC actually played a very similar endgame already E Gullaksen vs Carlsen, 2006
Mar-24-10  GreenFacedPatzer: <If he just keeps his rook on the e file, isn't this a dead draw?>

No, his mistake(s) must come earlier. By move 80, Carlsen's rook on the f file forever prevents Ponomariov's king from coming to his pawn's defense. Sooner or later, Carlsen's king and rook together will attack the pawn on e5, and the pawn will fall. 80 ... Rd4 just tries to forestall the inevitable.

To me, the remarkable thing in this game is the progress from say move 39 (where the position is perfectly symmetric, surely a draw!) to move 83 (where black's advantage is overwhelming.) How many grandmasters would agree to a draw on move 39? How many would have found a way forward?

Those of you with engines or deeper board sight than me can point out where Ponomariov went wrong. To me, the shift seemed imperceptively gradual.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: <Can't remember Magnus Carlsen playing a game with so many moves.> Games with > 100 moves:

115 moves: Bindrich - Carlsen 2003 (U14 Eu-Ch, not in cg)

109 moves: Carlsen vs Van Wely, 2007 (Corus A 2007)

108 moves: Carlsen vs Vallejo-Pons, 2007 (rapid)

107 moves: Carlsen vs J L Hammer, 2009 (blitz)

105 moves: Aronian vs Carlsen, 2008 (blindfold)

103 moves: Sasikiran vs Carlsen, 2006 (Bosna 2006)

Mar-24-10  polarmis: <GreenFacedPatzer: Those of you with engines or deeper board sight than me can point out where Ponomariov went wrong.>

There seemed to be lots of little inaccuracies later on (e.g. pushing the h pawn), but at the beginning all Ponomariov had to do was ask himself what possible threat Carlsen could have. The only plan was creating a weakness by splitting the pawns with ...g5. Simply 42. Kg4 or 43. Kg4 would have stopped that and all that followed.

Mar-24-10  guikfc: 39..Ra7 seems like a dead draw to me.
Mar-24-10  pulsar: I left the game at move 36...Rc3 thinking it to be a draw. Carlsen's will to win is amazing and it pays off most of the time. Amazing young man.
Mar-24-10  SetNoEscapeOn: Carlsen made a mockery of Pono's abilities in this ending.
Mar-25-10  virginmind: <GreenfacedPatzer> as shown in the last <chessbase> article, the first clear mistake by ponomariov was 72.Rg8+ (fritz was expecting Kf4 instead) - so even after pono remained with one pawn the position was still drawable, up to that point. but he had very little time left when he made that error.
Mar-25-10  themindset: There is something wrong with the moves listed in this game, how can 29.Rd7 possibly be correct? I'm guessing the move 31.Rxd8+ was the move made at 29, and that the garbage between 29 & 31 is just phantasy.
Mar-25-10  Tjaika: 29 rd7 was a slip/mistake, and the next moves are gentlemens agree.
Mar-25-10  Ulhumbrus: From the website: <Carlsen explained that he had some practice with exactly this ending as he had played it four years ago in Norway. At that time he had to work out the principles himself, now he already had some essential knowledge> Here is a link to the page:
Mar-25-10  Ishaan: Tjaika, I was really wondering what was 29. Rd7 about
Mar-26-10  tacticalmonster: amazing endgame! Carlsen's style remind me of Karpov more than Kasparovs. No wonder M and K's effort to work together broke down.
Mar-26-10  M.D. Wilson: Carlsen's style and approach is very much in the mould of Karpov; Kasparov himself said this. Fischer, Karpov, Carlsen are in the same school in terms of style I think.
Mar-31-10  notyetagm:
Mar-31-10  notyetagm: Ponomariov vs Carlsen, 2010

<GreenFacedPatzer: <To me, the remarkable thing in this game is the progress from say move 39 (where the position is perfectly symmetric, surely a draw!) to move 83 (where black's advantage is overwhelming.) How many grandmasters would agree to a draw on move 39? How many would have found a way forward?>>

41 ♖d5xa5=

click for larger view

How in the *hell* can a 2700-rated superGM like Ponomariov contrive to *lose* this position?

77 ... ♖f1-f5

click for larger view

But 36 moves later, he is *dead* lost!

See GM Mueller's analysis of this endgame here ->

Apr-16-10  Ulhumbrus: In the position after 45 Kf2 the move 45...g5 gives a snapshot of the problems which Carlsen sets Ponomariev in this ending.

White cannot defend the f4 pawn on f4 by playing 46 g3 because then Black's Rook on c3 pins White's g3 pawn to the h pawn and on 46...gxf4 47 gxf4 Rxh3 captures the h3 pawn.

Because of this White has to play fxg5 and allow his e5 pawn to become isolated and a target for attack and eventual capture.

Carlsen may have acquired knowledge of this resource in this ending before this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <notyetagm> True. The game after the position in your first diagram is instructively annotated by John Nunn in the last issue of New In Chess. It took several mistakes for Pono to lose, but it was a psychological slippery slope. Once he realized he had played dubious moves, he played even worse moves. The final and decisive mistake is 72.Rg8+, but by then he had made his own job more difficult.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <themindset>, <Ishaan>, The moves 29 and 30 make no sense and probably never happened. In New In Chess, Nunn refers to this position:

click for larger view

… as “Position after 39.Rxa5”, while in this scoresheet Rxa5 is move 41. I think that’s evidence of moves 29 and 30 being nonexistent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Wow.Carlsen worked hard to earn that point.
Sep-15-13  Conrad93: Carlsen could have taken the free rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Correction slip submitted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Carlsen defeats a noted endgame expert in a 4 vs. 4 Rook endgame.

Really nice endgame play.

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