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Fabiano Caruana vs Magnus Carlsen
Tata Steel (2015), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 6, Jan-16
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack. Fianchetto Variation (B31)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-16-15  ajile: <FSR: <ajile> Houdini 3 likewise agrees that 9.Nxe5! is strong, giving as best play thereafter 9...Nxe4 10.Qf3! f5 11.Bf4! Qe7 12. dxe4! Bxe5 13. O-O-O! O-O 14.Bxe5 Qxe5 15.exf5 Bxf5 16.Qxc6 Rae8 17.Qd5+ Qxd5 18.Rxd5 Be4 19.Nxe4 Rxe4 20.Rd2 +.67.

Hard to know what to make of 8...e5, which is very rarely seen - only once before in CG.com's database. Opening Explorer Either Carlsen blundered or he's done some very deep analysis.>

This one of those bluff/gamble moves that pays off nicely if it works. Black gets in an early ..e5 and also probably gained some serious time on the clock while White tries to analyze all the lines. Black alters the variation early and White figures that Carlsen has analyzed all the variations so instead of taking the challenge he plays safe with 9.0-0.

The downside is this is a one shot deal and you will never see Carlsen play this move again.

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Boris Avrukh 's take (on the Chicago Chess Gazette page on Facebook) on why Carlsen allowed 9.Nxe5! and Caruana didn't play it: "They both missed 10. Qf3! not an easy move to see."
Jan-16-15  optimal play: <This one of those bluff/gamble moves that pays off nicely if it works>

I guess that's the difference between playing against a human and playing against a machine.

You can try these things against a human even if it does contravene the guideline "always expect your opponent to make the best move in reply"

And I suppose Carlsen could convincingly bluff more than most just by virtue of the fact hes the world champion!

I mean ... he's not going to make a bad move, is he? ;)

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <FSR> 9.Nxe5 (10.Qf3) is mentioned in Daniel King's video of the game, and he said Carlsen played 8...e5 very quickly, and most likely was familiar with the complications that would ensue from 9.Nxe5.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGE...

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <chancho> Interesting. I wonder what Carlsen had in mind.
Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 8...e5 may have been an oversight, but Carlsen played it so confidently, that taking the pawn would be like Russian Roulette if it was preparation. I bet Caruana saw 9 Nxe5 Nxe4 10 Qf3, but wasn't willing to gamble that Magnus didn't have something cooked up with 10...f5

it reminded me of their first blitz encounters Caruana vs Carlsen, 2010 0-1 where Carlsen sacked two pawns, and also played ...f5!, then unexpectedly forced an exchange of Queens, and overwhelmed Caruana who was clearly unfamiliar with what was going on while Carlsen played without much thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Qa...

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <tamar: 8...e5 may have been an oversight...> maybe. reminds me of Kd2 in the game with Anand. But as Anand said: "If you don't expect a gift..."

And Carlsen's aura still makes his opponents think and re-think and reject it.

Jan-16-15  devere: Carlsen played the opening poorly, and had a quite inferior position. Caruana then made one inexact move after another, and first gave away his advantage, and then the game. In spite of his historic Sinquefeld Cup performance, it now seems that Caruana isn't destined to be successor to Carlsen as best in the world, only the successor to Aronian as second-best in the world.
Jan-16-15  ajile: <chancho: <FSR> 9.Nxe5 (10.Qf3) is mentioned in Daniel King's video of the game, and he said Carlsen played 8...e5 very quickly,>

<<tamar: 8...e5 may have been an oversight, but Carlsen played it so confidently, that taking the pawn would be like Russian Roulette if it was preparation.>>

This is the way you pull off the bluff. If you do it tentatively you are dead meat.

Jan-16-15  Steve.Patzer: Good to see I am not alone in wondering about 8.....e5
Jan-16-15  1d410: <optimalplay: I mean ... he's not going to make a bad move, is he? ;)>

I think everyone at this point expects Carlsen to play wonky moves.

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I think it was an oversight, not a bluff.

Likely, Magnus remembered Black was okay in a similar situation R van Kampen vs E Pileckis, 2013


click for larger view

Here with the difference of no ...b6 or Be3, and both sides castled, 9 Nxe5 Nxe4 10 Nxe4 Bxe5 11 Nxc5 Qd4 Black was a pawn down but had quicker development.

White is only a little better though a pawn ahead +.30 according to Komodo 5

Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Very 'Laskerian' play by Carlsen in this game.
Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <tamar> nice find, I'll bet that's it.
Jan-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  SirRuthless: It was a bluff. Carlsen used Fabiano's timidity against him. These game scores should include clock information like time spent on a particular move and time left for the entire time control. That would allow us to better understand why certain decisions are made. I would also like to see a new evaluation made by the engines for "difficulty of position" and difficulty of move. An evaluation that tells us about how difficult it is for a human to find the optimal continuation. Of course no two people will evaluation a position the same way necessarily. Still, over time this could tell us more about what certain players strive for in a position vs others and some other information of player styles and reactions to pressure.
Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: The intensity of Black's attack reminded me of

Ivanchuk vs Yusupov, 1991

Jan-17-15  Ulhumbrus: 4 Bxc6 ?! concedes the bishop pair and frees Black's QB as well. If White is going to make such a concession he either has to gain enough in return for it or else foresee that Black won't be able to make his bishop pair count

6 h3 ?! moves a pawn in the opening. This suggests that White aims for a closed game in which this loss of time will count for less. Lasker advises one to distrust pawn moves in the opening and to examine its balance sheet before one chooses such a move although Lasker did play 7 h3 in the game Lasker vs Tartakower, 1923

8...e5 offers a pawn on e5. However 9 Nxe5 exposes the knight to the discovery 9...Nxe4. Caruana declines it, possibly suspecting that Carlsen has prepared it.

12 b4 seems inconsistent in at least two ways. Firstly, having conceded the bishop pair and lost time for development he now opens the game. Secondly having doubled Black's c pawn he now undoubles it.

12...f5 prepares a king side attack after White has disturbed his king side pawns by h3. This suggests trouble for White.

13...f4 begins the attack in a position where Black has a considerable positional advantage. This is a sound attack then, one likely to prevail against any defence.

White's three moves 4 Bxc6, 6 h3 and 12 b4 taken together suggest poor playing form while Carlsen's move 8...e5 suggests good playing form. However there is an alternative explanation. When Carlsen offered the pawn sacrifice Caruana may have been worried that he had fallen into Carlsen's preparation and this may have had an upsetting effect on his mood as well as on his subsequent play.

Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  truefriends: In the Chessbase database there are 7 games with the position after <8... e5>.

In 6 games white played <9.Qd2>. All players rated around 2300-2500.

Only in Macieja - Pyda (Polanica Zdroj Open, 1996) white played <9.Nxe5>.

So there must be more behind it than just a "bluff".

Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <davoid....In spite of his historic Sinquefeld Cup performance, it now seems that Caruana isn't destined to be successor to Carlsen as best in the world, only the successor to Aronian as second-best in the world.>

Another chapter of The Hype Machine emerges: one is only as good or as bad as one's last game.

Jan-17-15  fgh: <Ulhumbrus: 4 Bxc6 ?! concedes the bishop pair and frees Black's QB as well. If White is going to make such a concession he either has to gain enough in return for it or else foresee that Black won't be able to make his bishop pair count>

What are you talking about? 4. Bxc6 has been played by Carlsen, Anand, Caruana (duh!), Ivanchuk, Adams, Svidler, Ponomariov, Shirov and other top players. It's a good move and, contrary to your claim that it "frees Black's QB", it actually often leads to games where black has trouble developing his queenside bishop. That's a key characteristic of the Rossolimo.

Jan-17-15  rogge: Ulhumbrus, the legend :)

Gotta keep him on ignore during live events, though.

Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video anaylsis of this game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y9....
Jan-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <rogge: Ulhumbrus, the legend :) >

Perhaps in his own mind....

<Gotta keep him on ignore during live events, though.>

Oh, I keep his idiocy there on a more or less permanent basis.

Jan-18-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: How the pages would have exploded with speculation if Caruana had won this game. Caruana will soon be champ! Carlsen is no good! etc. etc.

Glad we don't have to see an increase in those kinds of comments, since we already have enough of them already

Jan-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Consensus during the game was that 29 Kh2 was a drawing path.

It might, but Black can still win the exchange, with the line

29 Kh2 Kh8 30 Re1 h6 31 Bh4 Bf6 32 Bg3 Rg8 33 Rg1 Rg5 34 Rxg2 Rcg8 35 Kh1 Nxg2 36 Kxg2 Rgb8


click for larger view

Black has good chances to win, so maybe it wasn't so much that Caruana missed this chance, as he misevaluated how much worse 29 Bxf4 was.

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