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Alexey Shirov vs Magnus Carlsen
Grand Slam Chess Final (2010), Bilbao ESP, rd 3, Oct-11
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Breyer Defense Zaitsev Hybrid (C95)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: A report from the press conference:

<They ask Shirov about the game and he says he can't remember anything.> (

Oct-11-10  Hesam7: Could not Shirov claim a draw when making his 92nd move based on the 50 move rule?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Hesam7> No, there were pawn moves. The last pawn move/capture occurred on move 124, and after move 174 Shirov indeed claimed the draw.
Oct-11-10  Hesam7: <Shirov-Carlsen was a completely different story. The players whipped out 15 and a half moves of Breyer Ruy Lopez theory, and then Carlsen surprised Shirov by playing 15...cxb5 rather than 15...axb5. Carlsen had played the latter move against Anand earlier this year, but 15...cxb5 wasn't unknown: Shirov faced it earlier this year against Baramidze. Nevertheless, Shirov thought for more than half an hour after this move, and varied from the Baramidze game on move 18. The game soon became a tactical morass, but somehow the players negotiated their way through with remarkable (but not quite perfect) accuracy. The complications came to a conclusion when Carlsen chose 40...Qxa8, resulting in a queen vs. three minor piece ending where neither side could undertake anything constructive.> -- Dennis Monokroussos
Oct-11-10  drnooo: Perhaps interesting and perhaps not, in lieu of Shirovs comment: Fischer astonished everyone by being able to repeat all the movies of his famous speed win with likes Tal Petrosian Korchnoi, that one all eighteen games or so. Not sure if this means anything at all, perhaps no comparison.
Oct-11-10  Russian Grandmasters: Reminds me of this game:

Pillsbury vs H Suechting, 1902

To <Suechting's> horror, <Pillsbury> attempts to win a Rook vs. Knight endgame with no pawns on the board-

click for larger view

from move 95 to ONE HUNDRED and FIFTY NINE.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Isn't this kind of insulting to Magnus Carlsen? White's only chance of breaking the fortress was some aggressive pawn moves, and those moves probably did not exist, because of the compact placement of the pieces. It was clearly a draw after MC hocked his Queen to get the 3 piece ending.

I hope Shirov gets creamed on Wednesday.

Oct-11-10  micartouse: <HeMateMe> Judging by the moves, doesn't it look like it was Black playing for a win?
Oct-11-10  Pawnsgambit: <HeMateMe: Isn't this kind of insulting to Magnus Carlsen? > Insulting to Carlsen or Shirov??? Carlsen was the one how tried to win a drawn game, insulting not only Shirov but the game of chess. I have never seen a guy so desperate to win. It was nice that he didnot cry to try to take back any moves as he did against Aronion, did not shake hands with Naka and Kostnieuk when he lost, he is more and more proving to be a cry baby like his tutor Kasparov. I hope he grows up to be more mature individual. I hope Shirov beats Carlsen in next game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: It was Carlsen who tried to win obviously, and with good reason.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Not an insult to chess not in the slightest.

So long as no rules are broken, a player is free to play on as long as he/she wants.

And yes of course <Magnus> needs to win.

Funny things can happen when a player gets frustrated or angry at the other- maybe <Shirov> might have made a mistake due to this, if he indeed had become frustrated or angry.

I see no substance in any criticism of <Carlsen> regarding this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: After his losses, maybe he just wanted to get back that Ol' Black Magic! Just play and savor not losing.

I know I've been there.

Oct-11-10  unferth: I don't have any issue with carlsen's playing for a win so long as he thinks he has even a remote chance, but I'm curious as to his thought process. clearly, the only reasonable ways for black to play for a win in the Q v. BBN ending are to (a) generate mate threats or (b) win the f pawn; did he do anything in the last 30 moves (at least) to advance either of those agendas? otherwise, he's only playing on in hopes of either a flag fall or a giant blunder by a 2700+ ... neither particularly savory, IMO.
Oct-12-10  BobCrisp: I'd like to see <Kingcrusher> video-annotate this game.
Oct-12-10  percyblakeney: Monokroussos is maybe not one of the biggest Carlsen fans, and he wasn't all that happy with Carlsen's trying to win the endgame...

<...Unfortunately, this didn't dissuade Carlsen in any way, as he spent the next 134 moves trying to draw blood from a stone - or perhaps trying to flag. Charming>

Oct-12-10  percyblakeney: Mono isn't all that excited in his game annotations either :-)

<All this garbage is intended to do is to run Shirov low on time, even if it takes another 100 moves to do it, and then hope to get lucky. It's chess completely devoid of art>


Oct-12-10  Atking: <I see no substance in any criticism of <Carlsen> regarding this game. > I agreed totally with this assessment. Black was better 3 minors pieces are stronger than a Queen even if draw is a logical outcome. In fact Carlsen need just "an alpha" to convert his advantage to a win.

Suppose computer found a win and Carlsen accepted the draw start the ending. How kibitzers here will say now that he should have try...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Appaz: Monokroussos is a pathetic Carlsen hater, unknown for which reason, and he proves it time and time again.

The position was full of problems and possibilities of going wrong for both players, and this is what chess is about: pose problems for your opponent and hope he go wrong.

These critics can as well take a draw on move one of the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Not that I think playing out this endgame needs any special "justification", but among other things it was probably a learning experience for Carlsen. He said after the game that he didn't have any experience with this kind of 3 minor pieces vs Q endgame (which is quite rare in general), so he played it to the end to explore the possibilities.

Before the rather tedious endgame there was actually a fascinating middlegame, with many tactical punches and counter punches from both sides. Also, an interesting point in the opening with 16cxb5 Carlsen deviated from a recent rapid game of his own (Anand vs Carlsen, 2010), where he played the more usual axb5. According to the databases, cxb5 was played previously only in one game, with Shirov as White (Shirov vs D Baramidze, 2010). This made Shirov think for more than 30 minutes the main reason for his eventual time trouble and in the end he decided to repeat that game with 17.d5, but deviated a move later with 18.Bb2 instead of Qb3. 16cxb5 is an interesting idea a bit counter-intuitive, since it captures the "wrong" way (away from the center), but it gives Black quite a lot of potential for activity by opening the c-file as well as the long diagonal for the bishop; and in case White blocks this diagonal with d5, it indirectly supports the K-side activity with Nh5-f5, undermining White's center.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: One to study for Magnus: A Chernin vs A Utnasunov, 2000
Oct-12-10  visayanbraindoctor: This game indicates Carlsen is in-form. He did not get lost in the complications, came out with an advantage, and did a fine job of trying to squeeze out a win, although he could not because the objective win did not exist and Shirov also played well.

Notwithstanding the fuss about his losses in the first two rounds of Bilbao, I think Carlsen he was in form then too, and played well except for a few inaccuracies. Most in-from GMs probably would have lost were they in Carlsen's shoes, given the accuracy that Kramnik and Anand displayed to take advantage of every little mistake; and no one would have complained since their name isn't Carlsen.

Regarding Carlsen's losses in the Olympiad, IMO GM Jobava outplayed him. Jobava played very well and so won. No need to over re-act; it happens to every one. On the other hand, his losses to Adams and Sjugirov indicate that he was out of form for these games; Carlsen played badly.

I expect Carlsen to do well in the rest of the Bilbao tournament. I think he is in-form and is playing well.

Oct-12-10  anandrulez: I agree with your comments . The game against Adams was no fluke thing , nor was Sjugirov - well fought games to be honest . Carlsen can't be defeated with blunders usually . He is very resourceful . Here he overlooks certain things and get trapped like vs Anand and Adams . Other games he just gets outplayed but his error rate seems high compared to his performance in Bazna etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <Notwithstanding the fuss about his losses in the first two rounds of Bilbao, I think Carlsen he was in form then too, and played well except for a few inaccuracies. Most in-from GMs probably would have lost were they in Carlsen's shoes, given the accuracy that Kramnik and Anand displayed to take advantage of every little mistake; and no one would have complained since their name isn't Carlsen.>

Sure, but when was the last time Carlsen lost two games in a row, to anyone, in any (classical) tournament?

Oct-12-10  anandrulez: Carlsen won other 4 games against lower rated opponents . Intrestingly when Anand was in Olympiad , he managed to win ony a single game over some FM ( who sacrificed a piece ) rest all games were draws .His result was +1 -1 =3or something like that . Carlsen scores or loses which is indicative of his risk also . Risk is one reason why he is losing so many besides form imo .
Oct-12-10  Marmot PFL: Carlsen is only 20 so his brain has not yet fully matured.
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