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Maria Kouvatsou vs Magnus Carlsen
European Club Cup (2001), Panormo GRE, rd 6, Sep-28
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Modern Bishop's Opening (C55)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-05-16  Sergash: Maria Kouvatsou is a Woman Grandmaster (WGM) since 1999, the difference between a WGM and a GM being that for the WGM title you need be a female player, rated 2300+ and have achieved the norms; for a regular GM, no genre is involved, you need to have a rating of 2500+ and have achieved the norms.

Of Greek origin, Kouvatsou was born in 1979 and thus was 21 or 22 years old when she played the actual game. She was then rated 2234 FIDE, while in April 2016 she is 2090.

Carlsen was 10 years old and rated 2084 back then.

<4.d3> The other time Carlsen was playing Black in this position, White had played 4.Ng5 (see H Bartels vs Carlsen, 2000). Carlsen had won that game.

I went through the game with the program Komodo 9.42 64 bits.

<7.Bb5?! dxe4!> Practice has shown that the best continuation here is 7.exd5! Nxd5 8.Re1 Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.Nbd2 Nb6 = Juan Carlos Hase (2415) vs. Claudio Amado (2340), Buenos Aires (Argentina) 1983, round 2, draw.

<8...exf3?! 9.Bxf3> Carlsen was following the theory of the time. The best continuation here is now known to be 8...bxc6! and now

A) 9.dxe4 (Daniel Gurack (2181) vs. Werner Reichenbach (2280), Oberliga Nord O 09-10 (league play, Germany) 2010, Eberswalde against Zehlendorf, round 6, 0-1) Nxe4 10.Qe2 (or 10.Nxe5 Bc5 ) Nc5! /

B) 9.Nxe5 (Spela Orehek (1886) vs. Maja Nadvesnik (1841), Slovenia Woman Championship 2008, round 5, draw) Qd5! 10.d4 c5 .

<9...c6N 10.Re1! Qc7 = > 9...c6 is the theoritical novelty of this game. It is neither better nor worse than the known 9...Bf5 10.Bxb7 Rb8 11.Ba6 Qd6 12.Bc4 Rfd8 = Antonio Daude Puvill vs. Eduardo Pizarro Segura (2245), Sant Cugat del Vall├Ęs Open (Spain) 1995, round 9, 0-1.

Jun-05-16  Sergash: <13...Nxe4> Better is 13...Nd5 = /

<18...a6 19.Bb6! = / > Somewhat inferior, as it enlarges the white bishop's scope. 18...Qg6 =

<24...Kf8 25.g3 > 24...Rc8 =

<26.b4> 26.Kg2 Rc7 27.Qa7! f6

<27.Qa7> Threatening to play Qa7-b8+.

<32.b5> This is equivalent to a draw offer. If Kouvatsou had wanted to extend the game to the maximum, in the hope her less experienced and wearker opponent would stumble, whe would have played a move like 32.Qc5 or 32.c4.

<37.Rxa6> Here Kouvatsou apparently offered Carlsen a draw, which he had no reason not to accept. There is in fact no reason to play on: material is equal and scarse, and the position is symetrical. One could not reasonnably expect that an almosy 2100 rated player would blunder here...

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