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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Magnus Carlsen
Sinquefield Cup (2019), St Louis, MO USA, rd 11, Aug-28
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack. Fianchetto Variation (B31)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-28-19  csmath: The most surprising aspect of this game was that Carlsen actually missed the move 24. Rd3

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according to his interview after the game.

Aug-28-19  csmath: It is also very illustrative that active defence player choses the best practical move:

21. ...f5!?

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The move changes the complexion of the position and opens diagonal for black bishop on g7. This bishop's activity apparently confused MVL and led him into erroneous calculations.

His immediate response 22.Nf3? was losing mistake.

The alternative Carlsen expected was

22. exf5 Bd4

and then "I don't know ... something. It felt I should be better."

Not so sure. His intuition is great but this looks quite a mess.

23. Ne2 Bxe3
24. Bxe3 Ne5

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and this looks extremely dangerous for both sides but maybe more so for black. But in the actual game MVL folded rather fast.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Look at Black's position after 13...Nf7. If you had to guess who played those pieces, would you not guess Petrosian?
Aug-29-19  csmath: Following up on my previous post:

25. Bh6 [taking away f8 from queen.]
25. ... e6!?
[offering the return of exchange. The option 25. ...Rb6, 26. Bd2 threatening Ba5 looks bad for black] 26. f6 Rf7
27. Qh4 Bb7
28. Rf2

is a possible continuation with black pieces deployed fully but now white has better options:

He can simply chose the return of material with Bg7 or continue the standoff with Rf2.

My engine considers this better for white and it is easy to see why.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: It's probably theory, but 6...f6 surprised me. A light squares/dark squares battle.
Aug-29-19  csmath: Carlsen is repeating this pawn structure from the game with Anand. There the black pawn structure after 9 moves is the same as here after 7 moves.

This is definitely violating opening principles but he is the WC so he is allowed to do it until it gets busted which I think will happen sooner or later if he continues to play this.

Aug-29-19  Ulhumbrus: 4 Bxc6 concedes the bishop pair and central pawn superiority for greater space. This is an unprofitable transaction if other things are equal and Black can make his assets count. However it may take a long time to make the bishops and central pawns count if Black can do it and it may be not easy or simple either. Possibly the main mistake for Black to avoid is to try to do it quickly, easily and simply.

Thus the move 6...f6! refrains from trying to do it quickly while White's disadvantages remain permanent. The move ...f6 has been played before eg in the game Fischer vs Spassky, 1992

Aug-29-19  Acrylion: To csmath , Well He's playing against GM's and He hasn't gotten busted yet , so I think he probably won't be busted anytime soon ! 😁
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The greats make their own rules. :-)

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Schlechter vs Lasker, 1895.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Soon we will see Carlsen playing 1. g2-g3 then 2. f2-f3...

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...and then we all be doing it.

Aug-29-19  ajile: GM's need to stop playing this line against Carlsen.

Aug-29-19  csmath: This is his favorite pawn setup against Rossolimo. It is weird and original but it does not look like something most of people would like to play. I think it was born out of necessity rather than as a preparation.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <csmath> <His immediate response 22.Nf3? was losing mistake. The alternative Carlsen expected was 22. exf5 Bd4>

Good insight! After 22. Nf3? Bxc3 -+ (-3.62 @ 31 ply, Stockfish 10) White is busted.

Instead, after 22. exf5 ⩲ (+0.62 @ 40 ply, Stockfish 10) White has all the winning chances and Black's best hope is a draw.

Aug-30-19  ewan14: I agree with my colleague from south of the border. Another Petrosian-esque Carlsen game , thinking of his win v Keres in 1959 Candidates
Aug-30-19  csmath: I was running it for a while and my engine goes half/half, I mean black losses in some games and draws in others. But no win for black with engine. Carlsen would be better advised not to repeat this as it does not look very good for black regardless of the exchange. We'll see if he does.
Sep-17-19  1d410: This is my new favorite game lol
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