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Jorund Berstad vs Magnus Carlsen
XII Open NOR Junior Ch (2002), Lysaker NOR, rd 1, Mar-23
Sicilian Defense: Lasker-Pelikan. Sveshnikov Variation Novosibirsk Variation (B33)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-15-08  LIFE Master AJ: A nice game of chess, Carlsen was down a ton of Pawns. (I guess he must have calculated that he had a winning attack.)
Mar-14-12  apexin: Risky play by Carlsen but he won in the end.Sometimes you have to take risks to win at chess. And thats what makes champions.

35.g4 was winning for white (+3.50 eval. by fire)
so 35.Bxe4 was an error, but more importantly
39.Kd1??(Kd2! and king can go to e3 and f4) loses the game for white. 40.Rd3? is the final error as the white king is in a mating net(white could have saved themself 40.Rd5 Bf4 41.Ke1 but i think it would be very hard to find it over the board.)

Feb-21-15  satyasai: Mind blowing game !!
I can never calculate those variations and sacrifice pawns like that
Jun-11-18  Sergash: Jörund Berstad was born on May 9, 1983 and thus was 18 years old at the time of this game, while Carlsen was only 11. That was a tournament for under 18 years old young people, but I guess being 18 was accepted. Berstad was rated at 1553, while Carlsen already had a rating of 2127, a difference of 574 points... which gave Berstad a winning chance of only 4% (see

<5...e6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4! e5▢ 8.Bg5! a6! 9.Na3> The punctuation comes from the fact that these well known moves are considered the very best by the practice, an old line dating back to 1883, in the game Sellman vs Bird, 1883. Both players have learned the opening very well. In a previous game that same year, H Kummerow vs Carlsen, 2001, Carlsen had played 5...d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.0-0-0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 0-0 10.e5 dxe5! 11.Qxe5 Bd7! 12.Qg3 Nh5 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qg4 Nf6 15.Qh5 Bc6! 16.Bd3 Qc5 17.Rhe1= and Carlsen, rated 2072 at the time, survived a game against a FIDE master!

<9...b5 10.Bxf6! gxf6! 11.Nd5! Bg7 12.c3 0-0?!> Memorizing an opening line is one thing, understanding the reasons behind the moves is another. Carlsen is the first to crack! The most played line (not necessarily the absolute best!) here goes like 12...f5! 13.exf5 (13.Bd3 Be6= / ⩲ D Shilin vs G Timoshchenko, 1973) Bxf5▢ 14.Nc2 0-0= as first played in several games in 1976 (for example J Barle vs Ljubojevic, 1976, Quinteros vs Ljubojevic, 1976, E Torre vs Ljubojevic, 1976, Robert E Byrne vs G Garcia Gonzales, 1976).

Jun-12-18  Sergash: Berstad had the upper hand in the opening phase, having a small but solid advantage after <13.Qh5 Ne7! 14.Nxe7+ Qxe7 15.Nc2! ⩲>

<15...Bb7? 16.Bd3 ±> Now Carlsen is in serious trouble... 15...d5! 16.exd5 (16.Bd3 d4 ⩲ or 16...Re8 ⩲ Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) f5! ⩲ Javier Navarro (1992) - Garri Pacheco (2168), 5th Arequipa Cup Rapid (Peru) 2005, round 4.7, 1-0.

<16...f5! 17.Qxf5! ±> Berstad improved the line! Not 17.exf5?! e4! 18.Be2 d5! ⩲ / ± John Nunn (2600) - Georgios Mastrokoukos, Kavala Open (Greece) 1991, 1-0; or 18...Rfd8 ⩲ / ± Wai Cheong Soon - Anuar Ismagambetov (2185), Kuala Lumpur Olympiads (Malaysia) 2002, round 10, 0-1. Carlsen realizes that he cannot simply wait and see what White will do. He has to do whatever it takes to uncramp his position and activate his bishops, which require open diagonals! Despite having been outplayed in the opening, here he shows a good understanding of the position.

<17...Bc8 18.Qh5! f5! 19.Ne3! f4▢ 20.Nd5▢ Qb7 ±> It is understandable that Carlsen avoids trading queens, as otherwise there was 17...Qe6 18.Ne3! Qxf5 19.Nxf5▢ Rfd8 ± Carlsen remaining in trouble, still...

<21.Qh4?! ±> Having played superbly until now, almost winning, Berstad misses the strong 21.a4! Be6 (or 21...Bf5!? 22.0-0 Be6 23.axb5 axb5 24.Qh4+- / ± Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) 22.0-0 (22.axb5 axb5 23.Rxa8 Rxa8 transposes) Kh8 23.axb5 axb5 ± Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<21...Be6 ±> 21...Kh8! ± Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<22.Ne7+ Kf7▢ 23.Nf5 Bxf5 24.exf5 Kg8! ±> More useful was 22.Rd1! Ra7 ± Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Jun-13-18  Sergash: <25...Bf6 26.Qh3! Kh8 ±> 25...Kg8! 26.0-0 d5 ± Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<27.0-0-0?! d5! ⩲> Berstad should have castled on the other side, as he now has lost most of his big advantage! 27.0-0! ± after which Black could have put a rook on d8 or played 27...d5, like in the game.

<28.Qf3 e4! 29.Qxf4=> For the first time in the game, Black got to equalize the position! Two moves might have been at least slightly better for White here: A) 28.Bb3 Rad8!= Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT; and B) 28.Rhe1 Rac8!= Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<30.cxb4??> This should have lost the game. The only playable move is 30.c4▢ dxc4 (or 30...b3 31.axb3▢ dxc4! 32.Qxe4▢ Qg7= Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) 31.Qxe4▢ (not 31.Bxe4?? Qe7!▢-+ with the threat: Bf6-g5 Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) Qg7= Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<30...Qg7??> Carlsen plays in view of the threat Bf6-g5 winning the White queen, but this is a mistake. Black wins simply with 30...Qxb4! (threat: Qb4xb2#) 31.Bb3 a5▢ 32.Qd2 Qb6-+ Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<31.Qg3? Bxb2+ 32.Kb1▢=> White was back in the lead position after the simple 31.Kb1▢ Rad8 and only then 32.Qg3! Bxb2 33.Qxg7+! Bxg7 34.g4 ± Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT. The difference from the game is that Black does not capture on b2 on a check, allowing White to trade queens.

Jun-18-18  Sergash: <32...Qf6?? 33.Rxd5▢+-> After this queen exchange avoidance, Black is losing... The only move to maintain equality was 32...Rxf5▢= Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<33...Rac8 34.Rd6!+-> Objectively better is 33...Ba1 (threat: Qb2#) 34.Qb3! Rfc8+- Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<34...Qg7 35.Qxg7 Bxg7+-> There was also, which might be better: 34...Qc3 35.Qxc3▢ Bxc3 36.g4!+- Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<36.Bxe4? Rc4!+-> Possible zeitnot here? As mentioned by <apexin> above, 36.g4!+-. But after 36.Bxe4 White is still winning.

<37.f3 Rxb4+ 38.Kc1!+-> Why not develop the last piece with 37.Re1 Rxb4+ 38.Kc2! Rb2+ 39.Kd3! Rxf2 (or 39...Rxa2 40.Ke3!+- Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) 40.Re2+- Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<38...Rc8+?!> Better are A) 38...Be5 39.Rxa6 Rc8+ 40.Kd2▢ Bf4+ 41.Kd3▢+- Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT; or B) 38...Ra4 39.Bb1+- Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<39.Kd1 Be5+-> As <apexin> mentioned above 39.Kd2! Be5 40.Rc6 Rxc6 41.Bxc6+- and even if Black can get the a2-pawn with 41...Rb2+ and 42...Rxa2, he is lost. This being said, 39.Kd1 is a good move that is still winning for White, even if less precise than 39.Kd2!

<40.Rd3??> This is a losing move, and just as the time control was reached! Where to put this rook? <apexin> spotted the error in his post, but gave only '?' to this move, and '??' to the previous one 39.Kd1, which is winning for White. The only playable move here, which is still winning for White, is to create a screen between the black bishop and the c1 square: 40.Rd2!▢ Bf4 41.g4!+- avoiding the mate and winning. Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT. Being 3 pawns up, even if Black can regain one pawn on a2, is more than enough to compensate for the exchange.

Now, Black plays and win.

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Not with the game move <40...Bf4??> though... The winning path goes like this 40...Rb1+▢ 41.Ke2 (if 41.Kd2? Bf4+ 42.Re3 (or 42.Ke2? Rc2+ 43.Rd2 Rxd2# Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) Rxh1-+ etc. Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) Rxh1 42.Ke3 Bxh2-+ Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<41.Re1?? Rb2▢-+ / ∓> Berstad still had a tiny chance to save this game, which could have continued with 42.Ree3! Bxe3 43.Rxe3 Rxg2!-+ / ∓. Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT. Remember the comment after 40.Rd3??: White was saving the game with 41.Rd2!▢ Bxd2 42.Kxd2 Rb2+▢ 43.Ke3 (or 43.Kd3 Rxg2= but Black could also first give a check with 43...Rd8+ 44.Ke3 Rxg2= Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT) Rxg2▢= White's a-pawn will fall and we get a balanced position. Stockfish 9 - 64 bits POPCNT. Better for Black to first capture the pawn on g2 than the one on a2, as it separates White's pawn majority.

What a sensation it would have been if a 1550 rated player had beaten the young prodigy Carlsen! The latter must have been relieved to have not only saved that game, but even won it!

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