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Yannick Pelletier vs Magnus Carlsen
Biel Int'l Festival (2006), Biel SUI, rd 1, Jul-24
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. General (E15)  ·  0-1

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-24-06  Ezzy: Y Pelletier - M Carlsen [E15]
Biel Int'l Festival 0:00:33–0:29:33 (1), 24.07.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb4+< Carlsen played this for the first time last month. He now has 2/2 with this variation, perhaps it will be part of a regular repertoire>. 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Ba6 7.Na3 <Pelletier has played 7 b3 before.> 7...0–0 8.Bg2 Bb7 9.0–0 d6 10.Rad1 Nbd7 11.Rfe1 Qe7 12.Nh4 <New move12 Nb5 has previously been played.> 12...Bxg2 13.Nxg2 c5 14.Ne3 Rfd8 15.Nb5 cxd4 16.Qxd4 Nc5 17.Qf4 Nce4 18.Ng4 <18 f3 g5! traps the Queen, and white has to give up a piece for 2 pawns 19 Nf5 exf5 20 Qxf5 Nc5 21 Qxg5+> 18...Nxg4 19.Qxe4 Nf6 20.Qf3 Ne8 21.a4 Rac8 22.b3 Nf6 23.Nc3 h6 24.Rd3 Nd7 25.Qb7?! <Pelletier loses his sense of danger. Carlsen now creates a strong initiative.> 25...Qf8 <A small retreating move by the Queen which creates Massive complications for white.> 26.Qxa7 <Pelletier just seems to read the game completely wrong from here on.> 26...Nc5 27.Rdd1 <Giving up the exchange seems to be the only way to salvage what is becoming a lost position. [27.Nb5 Rb8 28.Qc7 Nxd3 29.exd3]> 27...Rc6 28.a5 Ra8 29.axb6 Rxa7 30.bxa7 Qa8 <This position is more complex than you can imagine.> 31.Ra1< Hard to believe but here is a possible saving line for white, but it is so difficult to calculate over the board. [31.b4 Nb7 32.Ra1 Rxc4 33.Nb5 Kf8 34.Rec1 Rxc1+ 35.Rxc1 Ke7 36.Rc7+ Kf6 37.Rc1 Nd8 38.Ra1 Nc6 39.Nc7 Qxa7 40.Rxa7 Nxa7]> 31...Nxb3 32.Ra4 Nd2 33.Nb5 Nxc4 34.Rb1 Kh7 35.f3 d5 <And white can not retrieve any of his lost material.> 0–1

I am impressed by Carlsen’s ability to see much more in a position than his opponent.

A great start and impressive effort by Carlsen. He was tactically in a different league than Pelletier.

Jul-24-06  notyetagm: <keypusher: <This game was not much to write home about.> If you're so good that 25...Qf8 and 27...Rc6 don't impress you, then why aren't you on a top board in Biel?>

Yes, a very nice tactical sequence by Magnus. I really like 26 ... ♘c5!, which <STALEMATES> the White a7-queen except for the b6-square with <TEMPO> (for free) due to the threat of 27 ... ♘c5x♖d3. That is, White must deal with the -immediate- threat of 27 ... ♘x♖ and cannot do anything about the -impending- threat to his queen since the Black knight on the c5-square now covers her a4-, a6-, b7-, and d7-flight squares.

After White meets the threat to his d3-rook by moving it with 27 ♖dd1, Black has 27 ... ♖c6!, covering the only flight square available to the White a7-queen, the b6-square. The White queen has now been completely <STALEMATED> by 26 ... ♘c5! and 27 ... ♖c6!. Magnus then harvests the White queen which has <NO RETREAT> with 28 ... ♖a8.

Dr. Nunn in "The King Hunt" makes the point that in order to trap the enemy king, blindly checking him around the board often does not work. <Instead, quiet moves that cover the enemy king's flight squares are the most deadly.> Here Magnus applies this principle to trap the White queen. He does not blindly chase the White queen around by attacking it with his rooks and knight. Instead he weaves a "mating net" around the White queen by taking away her flight squares. 27 ... ♖c6! does nothing but cover the b6-flight square but after this -quiet- move the White queen is lost.

Jul-24-06  notyetagm: The position after the variation 18 f3? g5! given by Ezzy:


click for larger view

After White <SELF-BLOCKS> his f4-queen with 18 f3?, the White queen has <NO RETREAT> and is trapped by 18 ... g5!.

Jul-24-06  notyetagm: <ANATOMY OF A QUEEN TRAP> Here is the position in the game after 28 ... ♖a8, where Magnus has just trapped the White a7-queen:


click for larger view

I love how the Black pieces cover each of the 7th rank squares only once: a8-rook covers a7, c5-knight covers b7, c6-rook covers c7, c5-knight covers d7, and f8-queen covers e7.

It is this "pure checkmate"-like coverage of the White queen's flight squares that Pelletier probably missed.

Jul-24-06  notyetagm: <Doctor Who: <acirce> rubbish play? Are you sure you know where White went wrong? Do tell.>

Well, everything is obvious when you have Rybka running in the background.

Jul-24-06  acirce: I would have been disappointed with myself if I had played 25.Qb7? (which I might well have done...), it's nothing a 2000+ player should play, much less a 2500+. I think "rubbish" is an adequate word for missing something that simple. 25..Qf8 is optically surprising but not exactly anything you need to be a GM to see...

Last time it was the other way around: Y Pelletier vs Carlsen, 2005

Jul-24-06  simsan: <notyetagm> Very nicely summed up! I followed the game live with my computer and also thought it was very interesting. To analyze (with silicon help) the various lines that may occur after 25. Qb7 Qf8 was absolutely thrilling.

From a "patzers perspective" it is easy to say the a7 pawn prior to move 25 "looked a little poisoned". However, when you are a GM you should be able to calculate whether that is true or not. They have to trust their calculations and not just "gut feeling". If Pelletier believed that Magnus could see every plausible line to the same depth as (or deeper than) him at every move then he could just have resigned at move 1.

My guess is that Pelletier overlooked the (in my view) subtle move 25. ... Qf8, or maybe realized too late that 26. Ne4 (or some other planned move) was not a sufficient continuation..

Yes he walked into a trap, but it was a pretty cool and complex trap ;-)

Jul-24-06  simsan: <acirce> Maybe Qf8 was obvious to a 2000+ player. To me it was not.

If this was a chessgames.com puzzle. "25. ... black to move" which day would you suggest that the puzzle was posted?

Interestingly all the other responses from black leaves white with an advantageous position.

Jul-24-06  acirce: I didn't say it was "obvious" to a 2000+ player. In any case, you have a point that the 26.Ne4 line is a little more complex than I first thought. Still, a GM shouldn't walk into something like that. But I surely enjoy the aesthetic value of it all.
Jul-24-06  TIMER: Pelletier was indeed reckless with his queen perhaps due to a miscalculation of a way out. These things happen, but it did not need a Carlsen to trap the queen. Once you have the idea of trapping the queen, the moves are not hard to find.
Jul-24-06  notyetagm: <notyetagm: ... Dr. Nunn in "The King Hunt" makes the point that in order to trap the enemy king, blindly checking him around the board often does not work. <Instead, quiet moves that cover the enemy king's flight squares are the most deadly.> >

Here is the exact Dr. Nunn quote from "The King Hunt":

<2) Unless you are under threat of immediate mate yourself, it may be better to play a quiet move than to keep checking. Cutting off the wandering king's escape route is often the best way to tighten the noose.>

Jul-24-06  Knight13: <acirce: I would have been disappointed with myself if I had played 25.Qb7? (which I might well have done...), it's nothing a 2000+ player should play, much less a 2500+. I think "rubbish" is an adequate word for missing something that simple. 25..Qf8 is optically surprising but not exactly anything you need to be a GM to see..> I don't know about that... Pelletier might've miscalculated.
Jul-24-06  notyetagm: <Knight13: ... I don't know about that... Pelletier might've miscalculated.>

Yes, Pelletier probably just missed that "pure checkmate" idea with 26 ... ♘c5!, 27 ... ♖c6!, and 28 ... ♖a8.

Jul-25-06  dehanne: Pelletier should've simply retracted the queen to g2 after her escapade to b7. Instead, he chose to stick around there for a bit...

Then again, it was nice from Pelletier to grant the win to Carlsen this way and give the young lad some encouragement after the latter's disappointing finale in the Norwegian championship.

Jul-25-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Pelletier should've simply retracted the queen to g2 after her escapade to b7. Instead, he chose to stick around there for a bit...>

26. Qg2 Nc5.

Jul-25-06  ajile: Qxa7?

A lame pawn grab. White had the better position in the center. All he had to do to make Black suffer is pile all his heavy pieces on the d file attacking Black's weak d6 pawn. White's play on the half open d file is better than Black's on the half open c file. 25. e4 seems much better than the ill fated Qb7.

Jul-25-06  spirit: pelletier!...pelletier!..pelletier!...so much pellets hurled at poor pelletier for this poor performance!
Jul-25-06  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 7...0-0 7..c5 8 Bg2 Nc6 offers the exchange as in Mecking-Korchnoi, 6th match game, Augusta 1974.On 9 Ne5 Nxd4 10 Bxa8 Qxa8 Black has probably sufficient compensation according to Byrne. Mecking declined the offer and the gane was drawn later.
Jul-25-06  Ulhumbrus: 12 Nb5 brings the QN -White's worst placed piece- into play.
Jul-25-06  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 14 Ne3 obstructing the e pawn, on 14 e4 the e pawn has its say.
Jul-25-06  Ulhumbrus: 24 Rd3 presents a target for ...Nc5 whereupon Magnus replies with 24...Nd7,heading for c5 with the the N at once. Instead of 24 Rd3, 24 Nb5 hinders ...Nd7 and attacks a7 as well as heading for d4 and from there the point c6.
Jul-26-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: Carlsen shows his usual tactical genius. He is able to find some hidden fireworks in dry positions: just amazing.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Ba6 7.Na3 O-O 8.Bg2 Bb7 9.O-O d6 10.Rad1 Nbd7 11.Rfe1N <11.Nb5, Torre-Miles, 1984, draw.> Qe7 12.Nh4 Bxg2 13.Nxg2 c5 14.Ne3 Rfd8 15.Nb5 cxd4 16.Qxd4 Nc5 17.Qf4 Nce4! 18.Ng4 <18.f3 g5 19.Nf5 ef 20.Qf5 Nc5 21.Qg5 Kh8 gives Black a piece for 2 pawns. It seems that White has no appropriate compensation.> Nxg4 19.Qxe4 Nf6 20.Qf3 Ne8 21.a4 Rac8 22.b3 Nf6 23.Nc3 h6 24.Rd3 Nd7 25.Qb7?! Qf8! 26.Qxa7?! <He should have played 26.Ne4 d5! 27.cd Qb4 28.de Qe1 29.Kg2 Ne5 30.Rd5. Black cannot protect his Knight. If 30...Nc6? 31.Qc6!. If 30...Ng4? 31.Qf7 Kh8 32.Rd8 Rd8 33.e7. If 30...Rd5? 31.Qc8 Kh7 32.e7. But Black can play 30...Rc1!! 31.Re5 (31.Rd8 Kh7 32.Ng5 hg 33.Qe4 Ng6 wins for Black) Qf1 32.Kf3 fe with attacking prospects.> Nc5 27.Rdd1 <27.Qb6 Rb8 winning the exchange and the b3 pawn.> Rc6 <This wins. The threat is 28...Rd7 or 28...Ra8 winning the Queen.> 28.a5 Ra8 29.axb6 Rxa7 30.bxa7 Qa8 31.Ra1 Nxb3 32.Ra4 Nd2 33.Nb5 Nxc4 34.Rb1 Kh7 35.f3 d5 0-1

Jul-27-06  weisyschwarz: That was a nasty trap, and I might have had my draw if Pelletier didn't fall for it.
Jul-11-13  phil6875: <ajile> 25. e4 Ne5 26. Qe3 Nxd3
Jul-19-18  bkpov: I think 32. Reb1 could have turned the tide somewhat.
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