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Magnus Carlsen vs Pal Nikolaj Royset
Gausdal Classics GM (2002), Gausdal NOR, rd 6, Apr-15
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-22-05  Orbitkind: 19.cxb5 axb5 20.Bxb5 Qxd5 21.Bd6 Rd8 22.Be7 I'm not sure when this sequence started exactly but I've guessed it started on move 19. This is an impressive rook trap with the bishops. What I still can't believe is Carlsen's opening leading to the loss of his h-pawn. This game is slightly over my head at the moment I think.
Apr-14-11  jmboutiere: 3...Nc6 better than 3...d5; + 0.25 / +0.71 Rybka 3
9...Nge7 better than 9...Nf6 + 1.06
26.Qf5 + 4.35
26.Bc5 + 0.88
final position + 3.54
Magnus Carlsen was 12 years old. Now grandmaster are amazed with his game, Amber20, 2011 rapid 9.5 point out of 11, in the company of first 12 players in the world
Mar-30-20  Sergash: Pal Nikolaj Royset is born in Norway on May 20, 1974. So at the time of the actual game, he was 27 years old. It doesn't seem he achieved any other title than chess Expert, though his rating of 2280 in Chessbase for that game would give him a National Master title in places like Québec, if maintained for a sufficient number of consecutive games. Plus it is almost the requirement for a FIDE master title.

Magnus Carlsen was 11 years old at the time, attending 5th grade at elementary school, and rated 2127 according to Chessbase.

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The surprise came right on the 3rd move for Carlsen : <3...d7-d5?! 4.e4xd5! e6xd5 5.Bf1-b5+! Nb8-c6 ▢ 6.0-0 ±> White has already a sensible advantage here! <jmboutiere> spotted the mistake in his post.

In past games, Magnus had played against 3...a7-a6 4.d2-d4 c5xd4 5.Nf3xd4 and here

A) 5...Qd8-c7 6.Bf1-d3 Ng8-f6! 7.Qd1-f3!? Nb8-c6 8.Bc1-e3?! Nc6-e5! 9.Qf3-e2 Nf6-g4?! 10.Be3-d2! Bf8-c5 11.h2-h3! Bc5xd4 12.h3xg4 b7-b5 13.f2-f4?! Ne5-c4! 14.Bd3xc4! Qc7xc4! 15.Qe2xc4 b5xc4 16.Nc3-d1?! Bc8-b7 17.Bd2-c3 Bd4-c5 18.Rh1-h5! Ra8-c8?! 19.Nd1-f2! Bc5xf2 20.Ke1xf2 Bb7xe4 ⩱ as played in round 3 of the actual tournament : Carlsen vs K Lie, 2002, 0-1.

B) 5...b7-b5 6.Bf1-d3 Qd8-b6 7.Bc1-e3 Bf8-c5! 8.Nc3-e2 Ng8-f6 9.0-0 Nf6-g4 10.Be3-d2! e6-e5? 11.b2-b4! Bc5xd4! 12.Ne2xd4 Ng4xf2! 13.Rf1xf2 Qb6xd4 14.a2-a4 b5xa4 15.Ra1xa4 ± Carlsen vs A Caoili, 2001, draw.

<6...Bf8-d6?! 7.Nc3xd5! Bd6xh2+ ± / +-> A 2nd error in the first 6 moves! And Carlsen apparently falls in the 'trap', while in fact it is very strong to trade the d5 pawn for the one on h2. Black could have played 6...Ng8-f6! 7.d2-d4! ± Lasker vs Marshall, 1904, draw.

<8.Kg1xh2? Qd8xd5 ⩲> Apparently logical to keep the knight on f3 and capture with the King, but it is a mistake. Carlsen had to capture with the Knight : 8.Nf3xh2! Qd8xd5 9.c2-c4! Qd5-d6 (Efimenko vs I Derjabin, 2001, 1-0) 10.Rf1-e1+N! Ng8-e7 11.Bb5xc6+! and now

A) 11...b7xc6! 12.b2-b3! ± / +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

B) 11...Qd6xc6?! 12.d2-d4! c5xd4 13.Bc1-g5! f7-f6 (13...Bc8-e6 14.Nh2-f3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 14.Qd1-h5+ ▢ Ke8-f8 ▢ (not 14...g7-g6?? 15.Qh5-h6 ▢ +-; nor 14...Ke8-d8?? 15.Ra1-d1! Ne7-f5 16.g2-g4! g7-g6 17.Qh5-h3 ▢ f6xg5 18.g4xf5 Bc8xf5 19.Rd1xd4+ Kd8-c8 20.Qh3-e3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 15.Bg5-d2! Ne7-g6! 16.Nh2-f3 d4-d3! 17.Ra1-c1 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Apr-01-20  Sergash:

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DIAGRAM: position after 8...Qd8xd5

<9.d2-d4?!> Any advantage accumulated so far simply vanishes with this move. Did Carlsen consider 9.Bb5xc6+! Qd5xc6 10.Rf1-e1+ Ng8-e7 (or 10...Bc8-e6 11.d2-d4! Ng8-f6! 12.c2-c4 (threat: d4-d5) ) c5xd4 13.Qd1xd4 ⩲ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 11.Kh2-g1! Bc8-e6 (if 11...Bc8-g4?! 12.Nf3-e5! Bg4xd1 ▢ 13.Ne5xc6 b7xc6 ▢ 14.Re1xd1 ± Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 12.d2-d4! Ra8-d8! 13.Bc1-g5! f7-f6 ▢ 14.Qd1-e2! Ke8-f7 ▢ 15.d4xc5! ⩲ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT ?

<9...Ng8-f6??> But, good news for White, Black blunders immediately when equality was in sight! Royset had to play 9...Ng8-e7 ▢ 10.Kh2-g1 Bc8-g4! (or 10...c5-c4!? 11.Bb5xc6+ Ne7xc6 ▢ 12.Rf1-e1+ Bc8-e6 ▢ = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 11.Bb5xc6+ Qd5xc6 12.d4xc5 Qc6xc5 = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<10.Kh2-g1? 0-0 11.c2-c4! Qd5-h5! ⩲> White lets the black king go into hiding... The best move is the 'obvious' 10.Rf1-e1+! Bc8-e6 11.c2-c4! (threat: d4-d5) Qd5-h5+ 12.Kh2-g1 ▢ c5xd4 (maybe the check made Magnus look for something else?) 13.Re1-e5! Qh5-g4 14.Re5-g5! Qg4-e4 15.Rg5xg7 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<12.d4-d5?! => Missed: 12.Bb5xc6! b7xc6 13.Nf3-e5! Nf6-g4! 14.Bc1-f4 ▢ c5xd4 15.Ne5xc6 Qh5-c5 ▢ 16.Nc6xd4 Qc5xc4 ⩲ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

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DIAGRAM: position after 12.d4-d5?!

<12...Nc6-e5?? 13.Nf3xe5 ▢ Qh5xe5 14.Rf1-e1 ▢ +-> Equality is maintained with 12...Nc6-a5! and now for instance and without listing all possibilities 13.Qd1-a4

A) 13...a7-a6 14.Qa4xa5 Bc8-g4 ▢ 15.Nf3-h2 a6xb5 16.Qa5xb5 Bg4-e2 ▢ 17.Rf1-e1 Ra8-e8! = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

B) 13...Bc8-g4 (or 14.Qa4xa5 (or 14.Nf3-h2 a7-a6! 15.Qa4xa5 transposing) Bg4xf3 (or 14...a7-a6 that also transposes) 15.Bc1-f4 (or 15.g2xf3 a7-a6 (or Black could force a draw immediately with 15...Qh5-g6+ and a perpetual check with Qg6-h5-g6+ etc. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 16.Bb5-a6 ▢ Qh5-g6+ with perpetual check on Qg6-h5-g6-h5+ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) and here:

1) 15...Qh5-g6 16.Bf4-g3 ▢ (NOT 16.g2-g3?? Qg6-h5! and Qh5-h1#) h7-h5 = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

2) 15...a7-a6 16.Bb5-a4 ▢ Qh5-g6 (or 16...Qh5-g4 17.Bf4-g3 ▢ (again, not 17.g2-g3?? Qg4-h3 and mate next move!) Bf3-e2 18.Rf1-e1 h7-h5= Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 17.Bf4-g3 ▢ h7-h5 = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

3) 15...Qh5-g4 16.Bf4-g3 ▢ (here also, 16.g2-g3?? Qg4-h3 and mate with Qh3-h1) Bf3-e2 (or 16...Bf3-e4 = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 17.Rf1-e1 Be2xc4 18.Bb5xc4! Qg4xc4 19.d5-d6! = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Apr-03-20  Sergash: <15.Qd1-f3! a7-a6 16.Bc1-f4 Qd6-d8 17.Bb5-a4 +-> Strongest move, threatening Bc1-f4! which will put the black queen in jeopardy!

<17...Nf6-g4> Royset might have tried 17...Bc8-d7!? 18.Ba4xd7 (18.Ba4-c2!? Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Qd8xd7 19.Ra1-d1 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<18.Qf3-g3> More than enough to win, but noteworthy is 18.d5-d6! Δ Re1-e7 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<18...b7-b5 19.c4xb5 a6xb5 20.Ba4xb5 Qd8xd5 21.Bf4-d6! +-> Despite complete material equality, Black is completely lost. I think this is what makes a difference between a master and a non master player: to see beyond material balance. The fact that the black rooks are not "connected" and are missing safe squares because their bishop has never played, plus the black king has no escape seals their fate. Here also, a small improvement could be 18...Bc8-d7!? 19.Ba4xd7 Qd8xd7 20.Bf4-d6 Rf8-e8 21.Bd6xc5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<21...Rf8-d8 22.Bd6-e7 Rd8-d7 23.Bb5xd7 Bc8xd7 24.Ra1-d1!> The exchange is lost anyway. Black might as well accept it and try something else, like for instance: 21...c5-c4 22.Bd6xf8 Qd5xb5 23.a2-a4! Qb5-c6 24.Bf8-b4 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<25.Qg3-f3> 25.f2-f3! Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

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DIAGRAM: position after 25...Ra8-e8.

<26.Be7xc5?? Re8xe1+ ▢ 27.Rd1xe1 Qf5xc5 28.Qf3-a8+ ▢ Qc5-f8 29.Qa8xf8 ▢ Kg8xf8 30.b2-b4! ±> Too sophisticated! After this move, Carlsen is not clearly winning anymore: on the computer, we go from a 9+ advantage to a 1+ still clear advantage, but not a "piece of cake" anymore! Going for simplicity is an art! 26.Qf3xf5! Bd7xf5 27.f2-f3! Ng4-h6 28.Be7xc5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<30...f7-f6> It seems Royset could now save his game, and the best move is possibly 30...Ng4-f6! 31.Re1-e5! Bd7-e6 32.a2-a4 Nf6-d5 33.b4-b5 ▢ Nd5-b6! (Δ 34.a4-a5? Nb6-c4 and Nc4xa5 =) 34.Re5-e4 ▢ Kf8-e7 ± Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT. If one side can try to win, it is still White, but it is also possible that in the long run it could be impossible to win against a correct defense by Black.

Apr-04-20  Sergash: <31.f2-f4?!> Removing the e5 square from the black knight and opening a path for the white king. But stronger is apparently 31.Re1-b1! Bd7-b5! 32.a2-a4! Bb5xa4 ▢ 33.b4-b5 and now:

A) 33...Ba4xb5 34.Rb1xb5 Ng4-e5 ± and the question is: Can White win this? Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

B) 33...Kf8-e7 34.Rb1-b4! Ba4xb5 ▢ 35.Rb4xb5 Ke7-f7! ± and, like for line A), White will have a hard time winning this game, even if it is possible, which has to be proven. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<31...Bd7-b5 32.Re1-c1 ±> Not too bad, but Black is saved after

A) 31...Kf8-f7! 32.Re1-b1 Bd7-b5 ▢ 33.Rb1-c1 Bb5-d7 34.Rc1-e1 ± Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT. (Or 34.Rc1-c5 (if 34.Rc1-c7 Kf7-e8! ⩲ ± Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Kf7-e6 35.b4-b5 Ke6-d6 ▢ 36.b5-b6! Bd7-c6 ▢ 37.Rc5-c3! ⩲ / ± Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT)

B) but not 31...f6-f5? 32.Re1-b1! Bd7-b5 ▢ 33.Rb1-c1! Bb5-d7 (or 33...Kf8-e7 34.Rc1-c7+! Bb5-d7 transposing) 34.Rc1-c7! Rf8-e7 35.a2-a4 Ke7-d6 36.Rc7-a7 Ng4-f6 37.b4-b5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<32...Kf8-f7?? 33.Rc1-c5! Bb5-d3 34.b4-b5 1-0.> The collapse... Now White does not lose one of his Q-side pawns, allowing the black bishop to sacrifice itself for the remaining one... this avenue is now closed. The only defense for Black goes as 32...Bb5-d7 ▢ 33.Rc1-b1 (33.Rc1-e1 would repeat the position) Bd7-b5 ▢ 34.a2-a4 Bb5xa4 ▢ 35.b4-b5 ▢ ± Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT. The black bishop will have to sacrifice itself for that passed pawn, but it can be done on b7 as well as on b5. Still far from sure that White can win this ending...

Winning this game, after 4 tough defeats in a row, his 2nd win in the tournament, must have been a relief for the boy Magnus!

Maybe this is my imagination, but I get the impression that Magnus Carlsen was somewhat lacking in self confidence in the opening phase of this game...

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