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Magnus Carlsen vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Sinquefield Cup (2015), Saint Louis, MO USA, rd 3, Aug-25
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-25-15  SirRuthless: Nice game to Carlsen. A deserved victory.
Aug-25-15  Kinghunt: I think he simply decided to not allow counterplay. He saw that he could eliminate the h3 pawn without dropping anything, and went for that route. Two extra pawns is two extra pawns, even if it will take a few extra moves to convert this route.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Nice to see Carlsen pick up his 2nd win in a row. He's right back in it now!
Aug-25-15  Kinghunt: MVL obviously agreed that MC chose a very efficient and safe route to victory, by resigning immediately after that "weak" maneuver.
Aug-25-15  Severin: Why not 23. ... Qxa5? The d7 pawn falls and the black queen ends up on c5 either way. I guess there's a loss of tempo, but then black's next move is Ra2 attacking the pawn on a5, but ultimately opting not to take it.

I assume that my instincts, which always scream at me to take the hanging pawn, are deceiving me here, and I'm missing something really obvious. Could someone just explain to me what it is?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Are we going to see another winning streak?
Aug-25-15  Pulo y Gata: If some unwanted individuals would show up at the venue, maybe we would see both losing and whining streaks, just like in the US Championships.
Aug-25-15  Kinghunt: 23... Qxa5 24. Qd4+ 1-0
Aug-25-15  Severin: <Kinghunt: 23... Qxa5 24. Qd4+ 1-0> Wow. Even more obvious than I thought. Thanks.
Aug-25-15  patfoley: I wondered about 25 ... Qxa5, but taking the eye off the a1-h8 diagonal and also letting the White R loose would be fatal after 26 Qd5ch and 27 Rb1.
Aug-25-15  Kimberlie: I can see that 25 ...Qxa5 is a blunder. What about 25 ...Rxa5 instead of Kg7? I don't understand why Black doesn't take the pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi haydn20,

"As a patzer, I can guarantee you would have tried 39. a7, which wins outright. Not that I could have anticipated all the possibilities, but what the heck. MC is a bit lucky he still has a win."

Here: (White to play)

click for larger view

39.g4 is a cold bloodied piece of calculation. (not luck)

It invites the Knight in to mate White.

39.g4 Nh4

click for larger view

Threatening mate in two with Nf3+


Thats' a charming to play and a heart breaking move to see. Carlsen knew what he was doing and probably saw this move/idea ages ago.

click for larger view

Stopping the mate threat and tactically holding the a-pawn 40...Rxa6 41.Rd8+ wins the Rook. (or if you want you can win the Knight with 41.Rxh6)

And yes I would have gone for the 'simple' 39.a7.

To be honest I would have decided quite a few moves back not to go anywhere near that set up .

An f1 Bishop pinned, a pawn on h3 so I cannot unpin with Kg2 and a Knight on the board that will be angling for Nf3+ or Ne2+.

No Thank You.


Hi whiteshark,

"Just wondering if it's still winable if white sacs the exchange, say <43. h4 f6 44. Rxf4 gxf4 45. Kg2> ? Not that there's any need to do so..."

I too enjoy messing about looking for other ways to win in resingable positions, but in the actual game Carlsen has to sac his Bishop to win. I'm happy with that.

Final position (Black to play.)

click for larger view

43...Ne2+ 44.Kg2 Nf4+ 45.Kf3 Rxf1 46.a7 Black has to give up the Rook for the new Queen.

Aug-25-15  JohnDMaster: Move 25, how come black cannot take the a pawn?
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Penguincw: Nice to see Carlsen pick up his 2nd win in a row. He's right back in it now!>

DITTO DITTO DITTO!! Can a human reach a rating of 2900? I was beginning to doubt it is even possible.

In fact, I still doubt. I think MC can get higher than he was, but he only has about 3 to 5 more years to do so. Once he hits 30, the chance for achieving 2900 FIDE is almost nil.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Also, I want to note that when it comes to openings, MC ventures so far out into new territory that it is remarkable.

The 3 top top GMs for opening innovation are Carlsen, Wesley So and Nakamura. No one else is close to these guys for innovative and, quite frankly, "different looking" opening lines.

Aug-25-15  haydn20: <Sally S> After plodding carefully thru this game, I see that you & others are right. Magnus saw a clear, sure win, so why look around for better...and yes, he probably saw it many moves before 39 g4.
Aug-26-15  zoren: I am curious as to why MVL took the pawn on move 8 - it seems to separate all of his pawns by force.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Two games in the same round where a variation for Black that I have not seen in decades makes an appearance. And Black loses both games. Here White varied with an early d4, and the game leaves the usual paths.
Aug-26-15  Ulhumbrus: After 10...Rc8 Carlsen has the bishop pair and Black has an isolated d pawn. If White can make these count and if other things are equal, Black is close to having a lost game. Other things are however not equal, as Black has a lead in development. Even so, The commentators ( GM Ashley, GM Seirawan, WGM Shahade) indicated that Carlsen had won many games with just this degree of positional advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: This is the weirdest English I have ever seen, and I like the English opening.
Aug-26-15  ajile: 20..Ne7 might have been the start of Black's difficulties. The Knight was well placed on c6.

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 32-bit : 22 ply

1. = (0.23): 20...Qd6 21.Qd3 Kg7 22.Rd1 Qc5 23.Bh3 d6 24.f4 Bd4

2. = (0.24): 20...Kg8 21.f4 Bg7 22.Rf2 Rb7 23.Bf3 Qd6 24.Qd3 Rb8 25.Rc2 h5 26.Kg2 Qf8 27.Qc4 Qa3 28.Be4 Qd6 29.Qd3

Aug-26-15  ajile:

click for larger view

White to move.


Aug-27-15  Kinghunt: <patfoley: I wondered about 25 ... Qxa5, but taking the eye off the a1-h8 diagonal and also letting the White R loose would be fatal after 26 Qd5ch and 27 Rb1.>

25...Qxa5 is actually quite playable! 25...Qxa5 26. Qd5+ Kg8 27. Rb1 leads here:

click for larger view

White does indeed have some nasty threats, and black's position is very unpleasant. This is probably more unpleasantness than the pawn is worth.

But black does not collapse immediately and can hold against any short term threats with 27...Rc2! (The simple idea, of course, is that the rook will go back to c8 to meet any check, and may go there even if white does not check just to prevent any future nastiness.

Feb-16-16  yurikvelo: <Move 25, how come black cannot take the a pawn?>

Rxa5/Qxa5 are 2 of 5 equally best black moves

<What about 25 ...Rxa5 instead of Kg7?>

Rxa5 is one of 5 best moves: Rxa5/Qxa5 or Kg7/Kg8 or Rb2

<20..Ne7 might have been the start of Black's difficulties>

Exactly! This move (along with 29. ... Rd2? after Carlsen's 28.Qe4?) decided outcome of this game

<25...Qxa5 is actually quite playable!>


deep multiPV:

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