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Hannes Hlifar Stefansson vs Magnus Carlsen
European Team Championship (2007), Heraklion GRE, rd 3, Oct-30
Semi-Slav Defense: General (D43)  ·  0-1



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sac: 22...Qxf3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-17-17  Dirkster: I think this guy Carlsen may be someone to watch - he seems to know his stuff... WOW!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <Dirkster>, I agree--this Carlsen kid seems to have potential.
Mar-17-17  Cheapo by the Dozen: LOL.

Anyhow, I went with 22 ... Bxc3. If it was necessary to open a flight square for the White king with the game move, I haven't seen why.

The basic idea in either line is that if White pauses to recapture at c3 at some point, he gets mated. But if he doesn't, Black has rook and 2 pieces for the queen.

Also, in my line but not the game line, Black can have a rook at d4 which can then interpose at f4 to break the pin of his queen.

One subtlety in the whole thing is that White's d4 pawn is hanging, because if White's queen wants to keep pinning the Black knight that covers d4, she won't be able to take at d4 herself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: I got Bxd4, but missed the queen sac, although in retrospect, it's forced as the queen is pinned.
Mar-17-17  yadasampati: Why does white not take the bishop with 25. Qxc3? The answer: Rd1+ 26. Kg2 (forced) Nf4+ 27. Kg3 (forced) Ne2+ and black wins the queen.
Mar-17-17  Boomie: ->

The coordination of the rook and knight is lovely. Notice how they prevent 25. Qxc3.

24...Rxd8 25. Qxc3 Rd1+ 26. Kg2 Nf4+ 27. Kg3 Ne2+

click for larger view

The bishop is also immune in the game continuation.

24...Rxd8 25. f4 Rd4 26. Qxc3 Rd1+ 27. Kg2 Nxf4+ 28. Kf3 Rd3+

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Mar-17-17  yadasampati: And why not 26. Qxc3? The answer: Rd1+ 27. Kg2 (forced) Nxf4+ 28. Kf3 Rd3+ (or 28. Kg3 Ne2+) and again black wins the queen.
Mar-17-17  YouRang: Friday 21...?

click for larger view

Points of interest:
- Black is already up a piece, but has difficulties.
- White threatens Rf3 (Q+K pin).
- Black's Q can't move since it's guarding Ne6.
- White's K's has a back-rank vulnerability.

However, black can take advantage of the back-rank vulnerability with <21...Bxd4>. The Re3 is under attack, and it seems that black has forced the black rook to go where it wants to go: <22.Rf3> pinning Q+K while guarding Pf2.

click for larger view

Here I thought black did well after <22...Bxc3>, threatening mate. I expect <23.Rxf5+ gxf5>

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Here, I think white keeps his rook and guards the back rank with <24.Rf1> and black retreats the bishop <24...Bf6>

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With this, black exchanged the Q for a R+N, leaving black with a R+B+N vs Q game, which seems like a slight advantage.

I had my doubts about this being the solution, although it's the only interesting line I could see.

I didn't see Carlsen's <22...Qxf3!> at all. It seems like a crazy move: Take the rook so that white can capture with the g-pawn, relieving the back-rank threat. However, it has the same net effect as the line I posted, except it has the added benefit of messing up white's kingside pawns.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a bishop for a pawn.

White threatens Rf3.

Black can try to take advantage of the position of the white king without escape square with 21... Bxd4 (21... Kg8 22.Rxe6 with the threat Re8+ and Qg8#):

A) 22.Rf3

A.1) 22... Bxc3

A.1.a) 23.Rxf5+ gxf5

A.1.a.i) 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.g3 (25.Qxc3 Rd1+ 26.Qe1 Rxe1#) 25... Bd4 - + [r+b+n vs Q]. Black will create a passed pawn on the queen side and push it with the pieces.

A.1.a.ii) 24.Rd3 Bf6 (24... Rxd3 25.Rxd3 Rd8 26.Qxf5+) - + [r+b+n vs Q] as above.

A.1.b) 23.Qxc3 Rxd1+ and mate next.

A.1.c) 23.Rxc3 Rxd1+ 24.Qf1 Qb1 wins.

A.1.d) 23.Rdd3 Bf6 24.Rxf5 gxf5 transposes to A.1.b.

A.2) 22... Qxf3 23.gxf3 Bxc3

A.2.a) 24.Rxd8 Rxd8

A.2.a.i) 25.Qxc3 Rd1+ 26.Kg2 Nf4+ 27.Kg3 Ne2+ 28.Kh3 (28.Kg2 Rg1+ 29.Kh3 Nf4+ 30.Kh4 g5#) 28... Nxc3 - + [r+n].

A.2.a.ii) 25.a6 bxa6 26.Qxc6 (26.Qxc3 as above) 26... Bd4 27.Qxa6 Bb6 followed by an attack against the b- and f-pawns.

A.2.b) 24.Rd3 Bd4 looks similar to previous lines.

B) 23.Rxd4 Rxd4

B.1) 24.Rf3 Rxc4 25.Rxf5+ gxf5 - + [2r].

B.2) 24.Qb3 Rf4 - + [r].


I'm not sure but in a rapid game I'd probably play 23... Qxf3 after 23.Rxf3. In slower time controls I'd probably prefer 23... Bxc3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: After 25. Kf1 black still has some work to do to finish the game.

I never saw the main idea. All I could come up with was 21...Qg4. If now 22. Rf3+, then 22...Bf6, and if 22. h3, then 22...Rxd4! Either way black stays a piece up, but the ♘ is still pinned and looks shaky.

Mar-17-17  AlicesKnight: Like others, missed the eventual N fork. Another extraordinary figure in the marble.
Mar-17-17  clement41: Waou, cute tactic by Magnus. Funnily the ...Rd1+/...Nf4+ fork trick works even after f4 that frees f3 for the white king
Mar-17-17  Carlos0012358: The Q pin on f3 is the obvious white threat. The d4 square is weak (two pieces against three), so 21.....Bd4 is obvious.

Then with 22.Rf3 white must exploit the pin. I think black must clear the pin and attack the white K. So 22.....Qxf3 forces 23.gxf3 which doubles the pawn and opens the g file and exposes the black K.

Alternatively, white could have played the more defensive 22.Rf1.

Next 23....Bxc3 clears off material and opens the d file putting both black R in play.

Now, and finally, to me 24.Rxd8 is where white makes a big mistake. He should have preserved the R with 24.Rc1or 24.Rf1.

The R exchange leaves white with Q per three pieces and a pawn down, not a good spot to be in against Carlsen.

Mar-17-17  saturn2: It is all about counting. Black is up a piece but will loose the queen against a rook. However black can take another piece(Nc3) with tempo.

So I had Bxd4 followed by 22 Rf3 rather quickly but would have continud with 22..BxNc3 instead of QxRf3. In my calulation black ends up with R+N+B against the queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: First time for me to see this game. An excellent example of Carlsen's positional strength parlaying into winning tactics. Superb!


Mar-17-17  kb2ct: remarkable


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Above my pay grade today.

In a sense, the position really starts from here. It is white to play and lose:

click for larger view

White "gets fancy" and dives into the complications of 20. Nxf7. He figures that after 20...Kxf7 21. Re3 ...

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... Black will have to move either king or queen to avoid the pin with Rf3. Then white has counterplay against the pinned black knight. He may even emerge a pawn up.

But he didn't expect that Black would gobble material. In addition to white's sacrificed knight, black munches on a rook and another knight.

The bit that's frying my noddle is how far in advance did either player see all this? Clearly white didn't see it when he played 20. Nxf7. But did Carlsen see all this when he played 19...Qf5 which allowed 20. Nxf7?

I suppose the takeaway for me is not to play moves like 20. Nxf7 if I can't calculate my way through them and I'm playing an opponent who can. It's what Dan Heisman calls "hope chess".

There's also a thought that when we sacrifice material to start a combination we ought to recognise that the normal piece value equation calculation is skewed against us. Black ordinarily doesn't want to give him queen for rook but this is changed if white has to invest a knight to get him to that point.

Mar-17-17  JTV: Beautiful Execution By GM Magnus Carlson! After 25...Rd4, the bishop is poison for the queen...
Mar-17-17  Olsonist: What about 25. h3 rather than f4?
Mar-17-17  BOSTER: Maybe white before sacr the knight
20.Nxf7 pos < Once: the pos really start from here >. should play in-between move g4 ( you can't win vs Carlsen without <risk>). If Qg5 ,or Qf6 Ne4 transfering the knight on the King's side
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheTamale: Thanks, <Boomie>. That's what I wasn't seeing.
Mar-17-17  BOSTER: < Boomie: The coordination of the rook and knight is lovely>. Much better is the coordination between the queen and the knight.

click for larger view

White to play.

Mar-17-17  AlicesKnight: <BOSTER> Qa3+ Kxa3; Nc2# (or Black can move the K elsewhere and lose the Q). An endgame by Kubbel, I think - all of the previous play is worth looking at and reinforces the co-ordination point.
Mar-17-17  BOSTER: <Shams:What was Magnus' idea behind 19...Qf5?>. To show how to create the pos with combo.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: 20.Nxf7! is brilliant, and shows that White is a very strong player. Just bad luck that the ! must be replaced by a ?, as an even more brilliant reply existed. Now, when exactly did Carlsen realize that there was that answer to 20.Nxf7 ?
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