chessgames.com
Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

(If you register a free account you won't see all these ads!)
Magnus Carlsen vs Teimour Radjabov
Tata Steel (2015), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 9, Jan-19
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 9 times; par: 65 [what's this?]

NOTE: You are using our new chess viewer, "Olga." For more info see the Olga Quickstart Guide. You can switch back to the old viewer (pgn4web) from the pulldown menu below. If you have questions or suggestions see our Olga chessforum.

explore this opening
find similar games 50 more Carlsen/Radjabov games
sac: 31.Nxg7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: pgn4web is our default viewer, but we offer other choices as well. You can use a different viewer by selecting it from the pulldown menu below and pressing the "Set" button.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.
PREMIUM MEMBERS CAN REQUEST COMPUTER ANALYSIS [more info]

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Domdaniel: When Radjabov played 19...c5, locking in his Bishop, he probably didn't imagine that it would stay like that forever. Black has reason to expect that his other Bishop will grab the long diagonal (...Bb7) and his Knight will find a great outpost (...Ne6-d4), while the Bb6 can hope to be liberated subsequently.

What crossed this plan was Carlsen's superb kingside play, activating his Knights, creating constant threats, never letting Black play freeing moves. The LSB never reached the long diagonal, the Knight never got to d4, and the DSB stayed locked in. Beautiful play by Carlsen.>

I agree. A top level master like Radjabov woud never voluntarily lock up his bishop if he was planning on some way to successfully extract it back into the game.

Moreover the game is also a study in how how chess styles affect concrete divergent decisions. Once Raja played 19... c5 , the game took on a different character.

What's the fundamental nature of the position then? Black's bishop is sequestered in the Queenside. A reasonable plan for White would then be to pile up his pieces on the kingside to attack the Black g7 and h6 pawns. Black would essentially be playing a Bishop down in the kingside.

Now counting tempi suddenly becomes a matter of life or death for the black king. Just visually perusing at the position, if black wants to defend his g7 pawn with a bishop at f8, he would have to do the following moves:

c6, Bc7, Bd6, Bf8.

That's already 4 tempi and it would probably take longer because of Black's cramped position and White's initiative (or propensity to make threats). I would opine that Black is in a nearly positional lost situation. And a master of Carlsen's caliber would hardly fail to take advantage of Black's lack of a piece on the kingside. Perhaps continuous tactical accuracy might yet save black's king, but only computers or the best defensive masters in chess history playing in a state of total alertness would have that ability.

What are the other alternatives to locking up his bishop? Black would have to allow White to play c5 himself. That would take the game into a different path. My view is that <just exchanging bishops or Be4 was better>. At least for a human being to play. It neutralizes White's DSB and by easing black's cramped position it affords more chances of tactical strikes.

I actually believe that most masters would not have locked in their bishop had they met the position over the board, for the reason given above. It gives white too many tempi.

So why did Raja choose this line? I believe it has something to do with Raja's present style. It has become super solid. For instance. I can't imagine an active player like Kasparov or a young Anand playing such a move. It might sound peculiar but I don't think Karpov would play it too, for the reason that winning such positions as white was his bread and butter and he would not care to voluntarily enter into the losing end of it. However, the present-day Anand or a Leko or a passive Kramnik during his reign as WC might well have played Raja's c5 too.

Jan-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <players and analysts such as <Eyal>, <perfidious>, <Kingscrusher> and <keypusher> -- argue that Radjabov may have had good reasons>

Not to detract from your larger point but I should not be grouped with those three.

Jan-22-15  Nf8: Btw, in an interview after the game Carlsen said "I didnít particularly understand the position, and that bothered me a bit":-) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPE...). After the game vs. Ivanchuk, when he was talking with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam and asked to elaborate on that, he singled out being very surprised at ...c5 Ė said that when he played c4 he was thinking only of restricting Blackís LSB and didnít even imagine the possibility of a black knight coming to d4.
Jan-22-15  team kids can win: The losing move in this game was actually <25...Red8>, though it's tricky to see why that is...basically, by playing this move, Black loses the ability to have any adequate reply to the pawn push f4, as both exf4 and allowing fxe5 fail for different reasons, since the Black Q can be diverted and isn't available for a recapture after fxe5. After exf4, Bxf4, Black's KS pawns are vulnerable because of Bxf4,Bxh6 and e5,exf6 type maneuvers.
Jan-22-15  1971: 19...c5 is a horrible, anti- positional blunder. Radjabov might have put a lot of thought into but whatever he was thinking was clearly wrong as is evident in the game. If the engine likes it, the engine is wrong too. Carlsen saw the move gave him an advantage on the kingside and ruthlessly capitalized on it. A well thought out blunder still loses.
Jan-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <1971....opening theory is what has improved and it has artificially created strong players, positional judgement hasnt caught up yet.>

While opening theory has certainly deepened, the remainder of this assertion makes no sense whatever--without a thorough command of positional and tactical play, no-one could be a top grandmaster.

Jan-22-15  SimonWebbsTiger: @<perfidious>

agree with you there and would add the following important point.

The Soviets analysed openings well into the middlegame (even endgame). The result is how would one classify opening theory and middlegame theory these days when it is not irrelevant whether e.g. an IQP arose from the French Tarrasch, the QGD Tarrasch or (for white) in the transpositional positions from the QGA, Panov Botvinnik Caro-Kann and Nimzo-Indian?

Kotov discussed the study of "tabiya", i.e. typical positions resulting from openings, shorthand for studying middlegame plans and ideas!

Jan-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: <<visayanbraindoctor:> <Domdaniel: When Radjabov played 19...c5, locking in his Bishop, he probably didn't imagine that it would stay like that forever. Black has reason to expect that his other Bishop will grab the long diagonal (...Bb7) and his Knight will find a great outpost (...Ne6-d4), while the Bb6 can hope to be liberated subsequently. What crossed this plan was Carlsen's superb kingside play, activating his Knights, creating constant threats, never letting Black play freeing moves. The LSB never reached the long diagonal, the Knight never got to d4, and the DSB stayed locked in. Beautiful play by Carlsen.>

I agree. >

In the meantime me too. But I think that Blacks best chance to activate his bishop is done by ...a4 prior to white's a4 and later axb3, opening the a-file, activating the Bb6 via a5.

...c5 was not the losing move, but indeed it is looking strange -especially if you ahve in mind that this boshop was moved from f8 to c5 to b4 to c5 to b6 - and that Black never was able to reactivate this bishop and he also failed to activate his knight via Ne6-d4 due to the pressure on Pe5

All this looks dammed stupid and inferior campared what white did. But...c5 was not such a terrible move;

Jan-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Simon> How well I recall Kotov's discussion; whilst I never played the Black side of a Semi-Tarrasch QGD directly, I had the tabiya commonly reached via the Panov Caro-Kann on a number of occasions.
Jan-22-15  Thorsson: 19...c5 looked horrible when he played it, and time hasn't improved the look! But still, if computers have taught us one thing, it's to distrust looks.

Obviously if White does nothing then Black could re-arrange his pieces and the Bb6 could become active, but does Black have the time? If he does then he would have to play something other than 22...Kh7. That he played this a mere 3 moves later suggests that any thoughts of Q-side play had already fled his mind; but was he wrong and is that move the real error? Could 22...Ne6 be played?

Jan-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <lost in space> I am assuming you are using a computer, which may not be showing that Raja's c5 is a serious error. However, from a human perspective I believe that c5 is a serious error, a positional blunder, because suddenly black has deprived himself of much counter-play and chances for tactical counter strikes.

I would like to add that it's possible that computers don't yet know how to properly evaluate positions wherein there are locked out pieces. Take this game:

Short vs Kramnik, 2011

After 16. b4?? which I regard as a horrible positional blunder, White has just locked in his own bishop. Without a bishop in play, the evals should show a sudden drop to -2 to -3 for White. Yet I have seen computer evals somewhere in the internet that does not show such a sudden drop. Instead, the evals for the rest of the game show a steady increase for Black until it's clear that White is lost.

Similarly I believe that computer evals in for Raja's c5 may not fully indicate how serious this error is. Any analysis based purely on computer evals for this position IMO cannot be trusted.

Intriguing as it sounds <1971: 19...c5 is a horrible, anti- positional blunder.. If the engine likes it, the engine is wrong too> could be a correct statement.

I am not saying that one should distrust computers in general. Only for certain situations, such as games with locked pieces and some endgames.

Jan-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <perfidious: <Simon> How well I recall Kotov's discussion; whilst I never played the Black side of a Semi-Tarrasch QGD directly, I had the tabiya commonly reached via the Panov Caro-Kann on a number of occasions.>

Nice point. I have had the same experience with the Panov too. Certain middlegame patterns do recur again and again, albeit from different openings.

I once owned a copy of Kotov's Think Like Grandmaster. One of the must read books in chess lore.

Jan-23-15  Ulhumbrus: A part of the relationship between the move 19...c5 and the move 8...h6 can be stated as follows. In the famous V Liublinsky vs Botvinnik, 1943 Botvinnik managed to both offer the exchange sacrifice ...Rd4 and play the advance ...f5. In comparison with that game, in the present case Black has weakened his king side by ...h6, making the advance ...f5 more difficult to arrange. Needless to say Carlsen is unlikely to wait for Black to gain the advantage by playing the two moves ...Rd4 and ...f5
Jan-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Does anyone know why the top chess players love the Berlin defense so much? It seems to be about ten percent of all the games played the past 20 years. I am exaggerating, of course, but still the Berlin is so common. Bleh
Jan-24-15  epistle: Its just a passing fad.
Jan-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Watching the game with the engines running -- they kept screaming for black to play a4, but he never did.
Jan-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <thegoodanarchist: Does anyone know why the top chess players love the Berlin defense so much? It seems to be about ten percent of all the games played the past 20 years. I am exaggerating, of course, but still the Berlin is so common. Bleh>

Because it pulls the teeth of one of the best openings White has. The old defenses with ...a5, ...b5, and ...d6 gave White too much of a free hand -- a lot of masterpieces from the likes of Fischer, Karpov, and Kasparov resulted.

With the Berlin, White either gets a tough endgame or he has to accept a small center with d2-d3.

I'm amazed Carlsen accomplishes as much against the Berlin as he manages to do.

Jan-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Gustaffsen has a number of interesting comments about the Berlin in his analysis of this game. I found the comments about Carlsen looking for a slightly fresh position interesting -- just enough to throw Radjabov off a bit and get into time trouble.
Feb-03-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  sbevan: <Thorsson: 19...c5 looked horrible when he played it, and time hasn't improved the look! But still, if computers have taught us one thing, it's to distrust looks. Obviously if White does nothing then Black could re-arrange his pieces and the Bb6 could become active, but does Black have the time? If he does then he would have to play something other than 22...Kh7. That he played this a mere 3 moves later suggests that any thoughts of Q-side play had already fled his mind; but was he wrong and is that move the real error? Could 22...Ne6 be played?>

Thorrson, missed you, missed your comments. It's been too long.

Good to have you back.

Apr-07-15  cyborg077: After 19....c5 Black bishop becomes BIG PAWN :)
Aug-29-15  MarkFinan: I was thinking the same. Nice little game although it looks like a complete mismatch. Whenever I see Carlsen with knights on the g and h files I think of that game he played as a kid against Harstead, but it's obviously nowhere near as good.
Aug-29-15  fisayo123: Yes, this was a pretty impressive crush by Carlsen.
Aug-29-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: <<visayanbraindoctor:> <lost in space> I am assuming you are using a computer, which may not be showing that Raja's c5 is a serious error. However, from a human perspective I believe that c5 is a serious error, a positional blunder, because suddenly black has deprived himself of much counter-play and chances for tactical counter strikes.>

I disagree on that. My first reaction was the same as yours : ...c5 is clearly a positional blunder.

But it is not that easy. I think Domdaniel said it the best:

<<Domdaniel:> When Radjabov played 19...c5, locking in his Bishop, he probably didn't imagine that it would stay like that forever. Black has reason to expect that his other Bishop will grab the long diagonal (...Bb7) and his Knight will find a great outpost (...Ne6-d4), while the Bb6 can hope to be liberated subsequently.

What crossed this plan was Carlsen's superb kingside play, activating his Knights, creating constant threats, never letting Black play freeing moves. The LSB never reached the long diagonal, the Knight never got to d4, and the DSB stayed locked in. Beautiful play by Carlsen.>

Dec-10-15  RookFile: Black must have been planning to play ....c6 later, giving his b6 bishop a place to go. Or, ...a4, axb3, and ...Ba5, re-routing the bishop. White's incisive attack did not give black time to untangle.
Apr-10-17  kjata30: After 22...a4 black is fine (eventually Ba5 if allowed) and possibly even ahead. Black can also choose between 19...Bd4 and 19...Bxe3 and avoid the locked bishop altogether.
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 9)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.


NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of Chessgames.com, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please submit a correction slip and help us eliminate database mistakes!
This game is type: CLASSICAL (Disagree? Please submit a correction slip.)

Featured in the Following Game Collections [what is this?]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jn5...
from Spanish X$ Plus Fredthebear's C60s & C70s by fredthebear
Sixth win in a row
from Favorite 2015 games by Severin
Power Chess - Carlsen
by Anatoly21
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jn5...
from Carlsen Cranks Up Fredthebear by fredthebear
30- Magfritz
from sgmf by mughug
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65) 1-0 Let's argue about it
from Spanish Berlin Defense Bin Fed Fredthebear by fredthebear
Carlsen's opening choices complicate Radjabov's middlegame
from Analysis 101 by effatah
Six Wins in a Row
from The Carlsen Chronicles by MoonlitKnight
Finest Games of 2015
by Perdus
games tonsillolith likes
by tonsillolith
Tata Steel (2015) Rd.9
from 2014 World Chess Championship/2015 Tournaments by wanabe2000
Carlsen's opening choices complicate Radjabov's middlegame
from Analysis 101 by suenteus po 147
Beating the Berlin
from The Champ by yiotta
Magnus Carlsen's Best Games
by KingG
rodmalone's favorite games carlsen
by rodmalone
[anti-Berlin] Bxc6, very slow d4
from Carlsen's Unusual Openings by theidiot117
MC Tears Down That Wall
from OhioChessFan's favorite games of 2015 by OhioChessFan
The Berlin Defense Study
by jakaiden
Best of 2015
by IsmaelElzara
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65) 1-0 Let's argue about it
from 2013+ Games by fredthebear
plus 1 more collections (not shown)


home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | contact us
Copyright 2001-2017, Chessgames Services LLC