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Magnus Carlsen vs Alexander Onischuk
"Unseen b4" (game of the day Mar-01-2023)
Biel Chess Festival (2007), Biel SUI, rd 5, Jul-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Hastings Variation (D30)  ·  1-0



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Given 37 times; par: 46 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-28-07  peabody88: 29...Rd5 would have allowed Oni to stay in the game. 30.a3 Rd8 31.Rc1 Na4
Premium Chessgames Member Thanks to everybody for showing up to today. Stop by for round #6, tomorrow morning at 8:00am (USA/Eastern).
Jul-28-07  ajile: Yes Kh1 avoids the trap of Nc6 Bc5+ when Black wins the White rook on b1.
Jul-28-07  Eyal: So Carlsen appears to have recovered from his win against Motylev...
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Eyal> Um, yeah. That too. :-) thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member Stand by, we're going to show the end of the Polgar-Avrukh game in just a minute.
Jul-28-07  Marmot PFL: I gather that Onischuk was short of time, still I am surprised he would play into a pin like that. Good came by Carlsen.
Jul-28-07  tldr3: <so Carlsen appears to have recovered from his win against Motylev...>lol
Jul-28-07  patzer2: Carlsen's clever 29. b4!! sets a trap which leads to a winning pin after Black takes the bait.
Jul-29-07  Amulet: If 26...Na4, 27.Na6..Rb6, 28. Rc1..BxB, 29.NxB(If 29.RxB..Nb7winning the Knight)29...RxN, 30.bxN..Rxa4 winning back the pawn.
Jul-29-07  Amulet: Thus equalizing the game.
Jul-29-07  notyetagm: 29 b4!!

Wow this kid can play some chess.

Jul-29-07  notyetagm: <I See Dead Pieces: really 29.b4 was !! gg>

Yes, 29 b4!! was a genius move.

Jul-29-07  controlaltdelete: <<zanshin>I'll tell you why but CG might ban me from this site ;-)> You can say it out loud for sure .. Ive spoken the moderator and he agreed that missing this game was punishment enough :P
Jul-29-07  tal lover: What time odds Carsen gives to Onischuk!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: One of the 2 best games played by Carlsen at Biel 2007. As he said, "it is difficult to choose between my victories against Onischuk or Radjabov".

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5 h6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.Nc3 c6 7.Qb3 dxc4 8.Qxc4 Nd7 9.e3 g6 10.Be2 Bg7 11.O-O O-O <Uhlmann vs Blatny (2000) was a saloon draw at this point.> 12.Rfd1 e5 13.Ne4 Qe7 14.d5 cxd5 <14...Nb6 15.d6! is strong for White.> 15.Qxd5 Nb6 16.Qc5 Qxc5 17.Nxc5 <White has a lead in development and it is difficult for Black to develop his light squares Bishop. Thus, White has a small edge in the ending.> Bg4!? <If 17...Rb8 18.a4 Bg4 19.a5, White’s advantage increases. If 17...e4 18.Nxe4 (or 18.Nd4) Bxb2 19.Rab1 Bf5 20.Rxb2 Bxe4, White still has a small edge. The move actually played introduces an interesting pawn sacrifice.> 18.h3! <18.Nxb7 e4 19.Nd4 Bxd4 20.Bxg4 Bxb2 21.Rab1 is drawish.> Rac8 19.Nxb7 Be6 <19...Bxf3!? 20.Bxf3 Rc2 21.Rab1, White won a pawn, but the opposite colours Bishops and the Rook on the 7th rank may offer Black some drawing prospects.> 20.b3 Rc2 <For the sacrificed pawn, Black has the Bishop pair and a Rook on the 7th rank.> 21.Bf1 Nd5 22.Bc4 Nc3 23.Rd2 Rxd2 24.Nxd2 e4 <threatens Ne2+.> 25.Kf1 Rb8 26.Nc5!? <After 26.Bxe6 Rxb7, the opposite colours Bishops give Black some drawing hopes. The solid 26.Na5 was good too.> Bxc4+ <26...Na4!? 27.Nxe6 Bxa1 28.bxa4 fxe6 29.Bxe6+ Kf8 30.Nxe4 Rb4 31.Nc5 should be considered.> 27.Nxc4 Rb5 28.Na6 <to play b4 advancing his queen side majority.> Bf8 <to impede b4, but...> 29.b4!! Bxb4 30.a4 Rb7 31.Rc1 Nd5 <31...Na2 32.Rb1, the threat Rb2 wins. If 32...Rd7 33.Nxb4 Rb7 34.Nxa2 Rxb1+ 35.Ke2, White has 2 Knights vs Rook and wins.> 32.Rb1 <The pin gives White a winning game. The idea is a5, to impede Rb6, and then Ne5-c6.> f5 33.a5 Kg7 34.Ne5 <Or 34.Na3-c2.> f4 <After 34...Re7, the fork 35.Nc6 wins.> 35.exf4 e3 36.fxe3 Nxe3+ 37.Kg1 Nd5 38.Kh1! <38.Nc6+?? Bc5+! 39.Nxc5 Rxb1+, Black wins the exchange.> Rb5 39.Nc6 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: The scoresheet caption currently gives the date of this game as 07-27-2007. For the record, it was actually played on July 28th.
Dec-25-07  notyetagm: <Mateo: One of the 2 best games played by Carlsen at Biel 2007. As he said, "it is difficult to choose between my victories against Onischuk or Radjabov".>

We don't have to choose: Magnus annotates both of these games in New In Chess Magazine 2007/6 ( :-)

Dec-25-07  notyetagm: <Mateo: One of the 2 best games played by Carlsen at Biel 2007. As he said, "it is difficult to choose between my victories against Onischuk or Radjabov".>

Great summary, as always.

Apr-17-08  Jolly Wally: This game is a work of art.
Jul-23-08  Mulyahnto: after b4!, a cheap pawn grab Bxb4 by black. The only safe square for the black rook is Rb7 making it all but impossible for black to avoid the pin.
Aug-02-08  notyetagm: White to play: 39 ?

click for larger view

Carlsen (White) simply <REINFORCES THE PIN> on the Black b4-bishop to the <UNDEFENDED> Black b5-rook with 39 ♘e5-c6 and Black resigned.

Position after 39 ♘e5-c6 <reinforce the pin> 1-0

click for larger view

A more picturesque example of <PIECE COORDINATION> you could not ask for.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Looks as if Carlsen's entire plan consisted of keeping the Bc8 and Ra8 on their original squares for as long as possible. Interesting that Onischuk chose to give up the b7 pawn just for the sake of moving those two pieces. If 17...Rb8; 18.h3!?,Bf5?; 19.e4. If 17...e4; 18.Nxe4!?,Bxb2; 19.Rab1,Bg7!?; 20.Nd6. Everything seems most discomfiting for the Black pieces.
Mar-01-23  goodevans: I'm grateful to SF for pointing out some tactics that I'd missed first time around. On move 32, Onischuk's best option was to give up the B temporarily with <32...Re7 33.Nxb4 Rb7>

click for larger view

... implementing the b-file pin in the other direction!

Play would have continued 34.Nd6 Rxb4 35.Rxb4 Nxb4 36.Nxe4 and White has won Black's e-pawn.

Onischuk no doubt saw that and decided to protect the e-pawn first with <32...f5> to which Carlsen responded <33.a5!>, a subtle and brilliant move.

So what's wrong with the counterpin tactic now? If <33...Re7 34.Nxb4 Rb7> then White has <35.Nb6!>.

click for larger view

Now 35...Nxb4 36.Nd5 <would implement the b-file pin for a THIRD time> and back in White's favour. Relatively best for Black would instead be to move his N away from the attack but after, for example, 35...Ne7 36. Rd1 axb6, White would push the a-pawn, 37.a6, and would be very much on top.

So many pins, and not one of them a safety pin.

Mar-01-23  SChesshevsky: < Looks as if Carlsen's entire plan consisted of keeping the Bc8 and Rc8 on their original squares for as long as possible...>

Onischuk kind of helps. After 7...dxc4, while blacks pawn structure looks solid it is a bit self constricting. Usually calls for a ...c5 or ...e5 break which typically takes time to prepare and implement. Not sure additional time for...g6...Bg7 adds anything for that concern. Though I guess some compensation as ...Bg7 does have power and always has to be considered by white.

<...Everything seems most discomfiting for the Black pieces.>

Think the pawn down forced Alexander to scramble a bit. Resorting to some kind of tactical counter play. Get a feeling that pieces after 21...Nd5 might be slightly out of place. If I remember correctly, Alexander's strength isn't really in the area of conceding position for potential tactical tricks. Pawn down and maybe playing a bit out of character is certainly discomfiting.

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