estrick: Round 6 of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup
Carlsen enters the round in 2nd place with a score of 2.5 - 2.5, trailing tournament leader Caruana by 2.5 points.
In the post-game interview, Magnus said any slim hope he had of catching Caruana in the second half of the tournament evaporated after the day ended with Caruana running his score up to a perfect 6-0, while he failed to score a win.
Theoretical novelty was reached in this game with 12. ...Re8.
Of the two games in the CG data base that had reached the same position in this game after 12. Qd2, one of them was lost by Victor Korchnoi in 1961, who played 12 ...Rd8.
Stockfish prefers 11. ...Nxd4 to exd5, and evaluates White's advantage here at +0.73.
On move 14, the computer prefers Qf2 to the exchange of White's well posted knight, which gets the queen off the d-file, and possibly prepares for a doubling of the rooks against Black's IQP. The queen has the possibility of going to h4, while still backing up the knight on d4 and preventing any annoying checks on the g1-a7 diagonal.
The series of exchanges that took place over the next five moves, which were discussed by the live commentators, involved a number of tactical lines where ordinary players could easily go wrong and lose material.
After the dust settled, Carlsen had a rook on the 7th and a bishop aimed at f7.
After Magnus got his second rook to the 7th, Stockfish said, "White is much better." Upon exchanging a pair of rooks and winning the f-pawn, the computer evaluation rated White's advantage at 1.23 points.
After 34. ...gxh5 Stockfish said Carlsen stood better by 1.63 points.
36. f4 is apparently where Carlsen let any winning chances he might have had in this opposite color bishop endgame slip away. The commentators noted that his bishop was well situated on e4 and needed the pawn on f3 to anchor it.
36. c4 was indicated, according to the computer, which not only would have gotten White's other passer half-way up the board, but also provided another possible anchor point for the LSB on d5. On move 37, c4 was still indicated.
After that, the situation slid toward an inevitable draw.
Carlsen looked quite upset with himself at the end of the game for letting the possible win slip away.