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Magnus Carlsen vs Levon Aronian
"Magtime" (game of the day Feb-07-2016)
Tata Steel Masters (2015), Rotterdam NED, rd 5, Jan-15
Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense (D38)  ·  1-0


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Given 21 times; par: 76 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: GM Jan Gustafsson takes a look at this magnuficent game:
Jan-15-15  Ed Frank: Aside from explosive attacks and great sacrifices, I love to see games where the win seems so clear and inevitable.
Jan-15-15  visayanbraindoctor: A beautiful positional game, highlighting Carlsen's mastery of the art of maneuvering in semi-closed structures in order to exploit positional weaknesses. After 20. b5, Black has two obvious weaknesses. The c7 and the d5 pawn. Carlsen methodically piles up his pieces on them, while disallowing any counter-play. he doubles his rooks on the c-file and attacks the d5 pawn with his Queen and Knight.

Note the position by 30. Nf4. Carlsen has piled up both rooks on the c-file targeting the c7 pawn; and his Queen and Knight are targeting the d5 pawn. Black is so tied up to the defense of these two weak pawns, that White is given options for other plans, such as maneuvering his remaining knight to the c3 square bringing one more piece against the d5 pawn. Or pawn storming Black's castled King.

I believe that Aronian must have feared a Kingside pawnstorm beginning with h5 and g4, and in desperation played the serious error 30... g6 in order to play h5 himself. But Carlsen plays h5 right away and Black's position collapses.

Jan-15-15  BUNA: <Sokrates: An instant classic. Carlsen's performance brings the 1940s Botvinnik to my mind.>

A backward pawn on c7? Doubled rooks on the c file? Indeed, a game of Botvinnik. > Lilienthal vs Botvinnik, 1940

But it wasn't Botvinnik who won the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SugarDom: The weakness created by 30...g6 caused the end and was felt until the end...
Jan-16-15  LivBlockade: In the position after 34. Qxd5

click for larger view

If Black tries 34...Ba3? he loses more material after 35. Qxd7! Qxd7; 36. Rxc7

Jan-16-15  LivBlockade: In the position after 31. h5

click for larger view

An important and beautiful variation is 31... g5; 32. Nxd5 Nxd5; 33. Qxd5 Ba3; 34. Qf5! Bxc1; 35. Rxh6 with a winning attack.

Jan-16-15  haydn20: <whiteshark> Thanks for the reference. Gustafsson showed the excellence of the subtle Nb2 and Nd2, which added to my great pleasure in playing thru this "minor" masterpiece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: <BUNA> I wasn't referring to a specific game but to the general force in Botvinnik's play during the 40s. Well, the 1940s just to narrow it down - it was his style in general and there are countless examples.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I loved the diagrams <LivBlockade> posted. One more variation from the Gustafsson video <whiteshark> shared. After 42.Rc4:

click for larger view

42....Rd1+ 43.Kg2 Qd5+ is refuted by 44.e4! Qxc4 45.Rf6+.

Jan-16-15  Moszkowski012273: 36...Qd8 perhaps?
Jan-16-15  latvalatvian: Carlsen will be shaking in his boots when he faces the invincible Ivanchuk. Nothing can stop the invincible Ivanchuk.
Jan-17-15  Ulhumbrus: After 13 Qd1 Black has the bishop pair, but he has to make it count.

14 a3 gets ready for the famous minority attack b4. Black cannot just sit and do nothing. If Black does not make good use of his time White will gain the advantage, as he does.

Four alternatives for Black seen in the past are (1) To try a king side minority attack by ...f5 as in the game Botvinnik vs Bronstein, 1951 (2) To try a king attack with the pieces as in the game G Andruet vs Spassky, 1988 (3) To play ...b5 and play his own knight to c4 whilst White plays a N to c5 as in the game Benko vs Petrosian, 1963 and (4) To allow the White to play the minority attack b5, and to exchange the b5 pawn for Black's c6 pawn but then to transform Black's b pawn from a target into a weapon as in the game Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

One question then is this: Which of these four courses is the most advisable for Black?

Carlsen said that he gained the advantage but that may have been because Aronian either did not try to gain counterplay by one of the four plans above or else tried and failed to do so. Perhaps he made a mistaken choice based upon an oversight, trying some plan which he saw too late had a flaw somewhere.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Taimanov vs Kotov, 1953

This line has been around a long time!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher> So it has; the Ragozin may well have receded into the background due, in large part, to the immense popularity of the Indian defences, as well as the Tartakower-Whosit-Wotsit variation as the preferred method of defending the QGD.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Whitehat1963: What's the finish?>

47... Kd7 48. Rd4+ Qxd4 49. Qc6+ K any 50. exd4

Premium Chessgames Member
  varishnakov: I annotated this game.
4.Nc3 missing that the c4 pawn is attacked

4...Bb4 also missing it (4...dxc4!)

5.cxd5 white realizes the pawn could have been won so is quick to swap it off

6.Bg5 after this move both clergymen threaten to steal a horse

8.Qa4+ White thinks he's won a piece (the unprotected bishop at b4) but he missed black's next move

8...Nc6!! blocking the check and protecting the bishop

12...Bd6 black decides he's not in the mood for horse tonight

13.Qd1 white's queen returns home without having won the piece

16.Na4 white plans to stick his knight on the c5 outpost, hoping black will miss this

16...b6! black is no fish, he prevents this

17.Nb2 horse returns to the stable

33.Nxd5! White correctly counts that there was only one defender defending whereas there were two attackers attacking so he captures

and the rest of the game is just a matter of technique

Dec-30-15  TORRIDON: Can't Black survive a bit longer with 47. ... Qd8?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <
Premium Chessgames MemberDec-30-15 TORRIDON: Can't Black survive a bit longer with 47. ... Qd8?>

47....Kd8 48.Rd4+ Qxd4 49.Qg5+.

Feb-07-16  Imran Iskandar: Wow, three MC GOTDs in the past four days.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: "Magtime"?

Scraping the bottom of the barrel for "puns"

Feb-07-16  ajile: Deceptively simple approach by White to secure long term positional advantages.

Takes cxd5 to gain the half open c file to play for pressure along this file and start a minority attack.

Basically a QGD with White getting the problem queen bishop out of the way of q-side play. White plays the q-bishop out and then builds his dark squared pawn chain.

Rotate a knight towards c5 as a threat to cause Black to further weaken his q-side pawns.

Then rotate pieces back to the k-side while still maintaining pressure on c7.

When White plays like this it's hard sometimes to suggest what Black should do to respond. Perhaps play to exchange pieces, especially queens.

This game shows why Carlsen is world champ.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <ajile> Yeah, he makes it look easy:-) Just advance the Q-side pawns to gain space and create weaknesses on Black’s light squares (especially c6 & d5), then exchange LSBs in order to help you exploit these weaknesses, threaten an exchange of queens so that Black has either to allow it and simplify into a clearly inferior endgame or retreat with his queen to a passive position, take control of c6 with the rook, attack d5 with the knight, and when Black creates a further weakness on the K-side with 30…g6 use it to finish the game...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The queen and rook will mate!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <thegoodanarchist: "Magtime"? Scraping the bottom of the barrel for "puns">

I guess they have in mind <Ragtime>, the music and the Doctorow novel. On the back of my paperback copy was the Scott Joplin quote, <Do not play this piece fast. It is never right to play ragtime fast.> Which suits this game.

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