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Magnus Carlsen vs Etienne Bacrot
"Norwegian Would" (game of the day Mar-13-2012)
Nanjing Pearl Spring Tournament (2010), Nanjing CHN, rd 1, Oct-20
Scotch Game: Potter Variation (C45)  ·  1-0


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Given 26 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-26-10  LIFE Master AJ: The position after Black's 28th move:

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White: Kc1, Qd7, Ne4, Rh3; Pawns - a4, b2, b3, f2, g2, and h2. Black: Kf7, Qh7, Be7, Ra8; Pawns - a5, b7, c7, e6, f6, and h6.

White to play. (29. '?')

Would make a nice Thursday or Friday puzzle, I would think.

Oct-26-10  LIFE Master AJ: The position after 26.Ne4!

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Of course, 26...QxN/e4??; is bad due to 27.QxP/h6+, and mate in two.

Oct-26-10  LIFE Master AJ: M. Carlsen (2826) - E. Bacrot (2716) [C45]
3rd Pearl Spring / Nanjing, CHN (R#1); 20,10,2010.

1.e4 e5; 2.Nf3 Nc6; 3.d4, (The Scotch, see the Opening Explorer.)

Not a surprise, Carlsen (and his mentor - GK); have both used this opening before.

Both sides continue to develop ...

3...exd4; 4.Nxd4 Bc5; 5.Nb3 Bb6; 6.Nc3 Nf6; 7.Qe2!?

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A surprising move. Its one of the lowest rated choices in the "Power-Book" and was probably played just to get his opponent out of book. (Fritz 12's "eval" goes deeply negative after about an hour, about -0.35.)

However, I am sure that Carlsen had deeply analyzed this idea on his own and had confidence in White's position. One of the main advantages of Qe2 is that it allows for sharp play, with Q-side castling.

7...0-0; 8.Bg5!,

I am sure that Carlsen did not waste too much time on Be3, its OK, but not very aggressive.

Black immediately "asks the question" of the White cleric on g5, this might have been forced for Black.

8...h6; 9.Bh4, a5!;

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Black gains space and threatens to "kick" the WN on b3 ... with a gain of time.

White had no choice, 10.0-0-0?!, a4; was too gross to seriously contemplate.

This aggressive Knight leap is NOT a waste of time, White is forced to move the Queen. (Also good was 10...d6; with the idea of ...Be6.)

Only a beginner would exchange on d4 and force the Black Bishop to the good d4 square.

Again, this was more or less forced.

[11...c5?; just dropped a Pawn to BxN/f6, Nd5, and NxB/b6 and NxN/d4.]

12.cxb3, Re8;
Black looks to be getting the better game. (All the engines agree on this.)

Carlsen plays to win! (Creating a healthy imbalance is one of the greatest problems of modern Master-level chess.)

[13.Be2, with the idea to castle K-side was still an option for White.]

A wild position.

click for larger view

Fritz 12 has Black being better by nearly three quarters of a Pawn, while another engine (Crafty) clearly thinks that White is better ... by nearly half a Pawn. (The truth is probably somehwere between these two extremes.)

[To be continued later.]

Oct-30-10  Yigor: <LIFE Master AJ> Thanx for your detailed analysis (some moves became clearer to me) and waiting for the sequel.
Nov-05-10  Mike I: That's my favourite scotch line! Thank goodness Carlson defeated a top GM with it, people actually told me this line is a joke!
Nov-05-10  goldenbear: You know, this Carlsen (is that his name?) might be a decent player someday.
Nov-10-11  jmboutiere: goldenbear: You know, this Carlsen (is that his name?) might be a decent player someday. Yes. A decent number one ELO 2825, 20 years old.
Dec-30-11  feitang: Pun for this game: Harry, youre a magician!
Because of the Potter variation =)
Mar-13-12  pulsar: Nice pun!
Mar-13-12  consul: <Life Master AJ>: a puzzle might be from move 26, Blacks replies to 26. Ne4, as well as the others, are not bad; the position is already ruined for Black, no?

I didn't understand the pun...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: So, I lit the fire
Isn't it good ...

<<consul: I didn't understand the pun>>

"Norwegian Wood" is a Beatles song; Carlsen is Norwegian.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: 9.Bh4 is the first unique move in the chessgames database. Rublevsky played 9.h4 against Anand and this is what happened to him: Rublevsky vs Anand, 2004

I think Carlsen was still with Kasparov at this point so I wonder how deep the analysis went in this game. It could have been engineered through the beautiful 26.Ne4if not further. If 26Qxe4 27.Qxh6+ Qh7 28.Qxf6+ and it's lights out for black.

27Kg7 is a poor move that allows the powerful pin/attack 28.Qd7. And as so often happens one mistake is followed by another, and 28Kf7 allows the spectacular 29.Ng5!

I love moves that put a piece in the one spot that seems most guarded by the opponent.

The practically forced sequence, 29fxg5 30.Rf3+ Kg8 31.Qxe6+ Kh8 32.Rf7 wins white the black queen for rook bishop, but the queen is deep in enemy territory and the black king is completely exposed. After a few more moves black sees the writing on the wall and resigns.

It's hard to say where black went wrong in this game, but after Carlsen cracked the center open with 17.e5 he held the initiative to the end.

Not a spectacular game, but Carlsen moved the game towards a seemingly inevitable conclusion with a certain ease that is amazing.

Premium Chessgames Member
Mar-13-12  Oxnard: Dreadful pun
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Nice pun, some of the best stuff is the simplest stuff, right under your nose.

Hey, all you need is Lute(fisk)!

Mar-13-12  gtgloner: Does anyone like "Norwegian Woodpusher"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Just like how Carlsen always wins. Puts pressure, and gives him every reason to go wrong.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Just saw the pun, bad, bad, bad... =)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White has a slight material advantage,but also,black has no good moves!
Mar-13-12  LoveThatJoker: Norwegian Would (This Bacrot Has Flown)


Mar-13-12  Memethecat: Carlson toying with a low ranked (ELO 2716) patzer.
Mar-13-12  goodevans: <kevin86: White has a slight material advantage,but also,black has no good moves!>

... and when the P gets to f6 it will be curtains!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I...once saw a GIRI,
Or should I say,
He ONCE saw me..../

He...tried to push wood/
Isn't it good/
Norwegian Wood.

Mar-15-12  hellopolgar: typical Carlsen game: he creates little problems that aren't life-threatening for his opponent to solve. as a result his opponent makes consecutive inferior/passive moves. all of a sudden it looks hopeless for his opponent.
Mar-15-12  awz16: I don't have much insight into elite level etiquette so i'm wondering why Bacrot doesn't resign immediately after 32.Rf7 or even 35.g3
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