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Magnus Carlsen vs Alexey Shirov
Morelia-Linares (2008), Linares ESP, rd 9, Feb-29
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense (C78)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-01-08  whiteshark: <sallom89:> Shirov looked really surprised as if he couldn't believe what happened in the last 10 seconds before... :D
Mar-01-08  cannibal: <chessmoron>
REALLY living up to your name again, aren't ya?

Very interesting video.
Especially surprising that Shirov held that king on the fatal e5-square for like 2 or 3 seconds before releasing it, but still didn't see it.

Mar-01-08  chessmoron: I don't feel this is a good game to be praise on. You might want to try Carlsen's win over Aronian---a 1 million times better.
Mar-01-08  cannibal: Well, nobody said it was the greatest game in the tournament. All I heard was protest against it being "the worst game ever".
Mar-01-08  unsound: Thanks for the video--<cannibal> yes, it looks as though Shirov didn't realize anything was up until Carlsen picked up a queen. Is there any one of us that can't identify with Shirov at the end? Nice of Carlsen to remain po-faced.
Mar-01-08  notyetagm: <tarlan13: Carlsen is a very lucky player like Italy in football.>

Carlsen is a super-strong tactician and always has more time on his clock because he is so talented that he moves faster than his opponents.

I believe that a lot of Carlsen's "luck" comes from outplaying his opponent's in complications when they get into time trouble. Carlsen won both of his Black games against Ivanchuk at Linares 2007 and 2008 in this manner, Ivanchuk's better position falling apart in time trouble.

And like Capablanca said, a good player is always lucky. I take that to mean that a good player always has his pieces well-placed to exploit a mistake by the opponent and is alert to his opponent's error.

Mar-01-08  Eyal: Regarding the option of 37...Bc7! which I mentioned in my previous post, I should point out that it works because of the exposed position of the white king - 38.Rxc7? would lose to 38...Qa8+ 39.Kh2 Re1 and white has to give up his rook with 40.Rc8+; 38.Qa7 allows black to force a draw with 38...Qd8! 39.Rxc7 Qd5+ 40.Kh2 Qd8 41.Kh3 Qd3+ 42.Kh2 Qd8 etc.
Mar-01-08  Eyal: Position after 25…Rfd8:

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A nice tactical point is that the immediate 26.Bxd5 cxd5 27.Rxd5 Rxd5 28.Qxc8+ fails to 28...Rd8! 29.Qg4 (29.Qxc7 Qg6+ with a quick mate; or 29.Rxc7 Qg6+ and Black has a draw by perpetual: 30.Kf1 Qb1+ 31.Kg2 Qe4+ 32.f3 Qe2+ etc.) 29...Qc6! 30.b3 f3 with a good position for Black.

However, 26.Rd3! as played by Carlsen pretty much forces 26…g6 (to defend against Rh3), blocking the 6th rank for the black queen, and as a result the combination beginning with Bxd5 becomes sound.

But later, after 29…Kg7, Carlsen avoided the apparently winning 30.Rxc7 – according to the post-game interview (linked a few posts above), he thought that 30…Qg5+ 31.Kf1 Rd1+ 32.Ke2 Qg1 would draw. Seems that he overlooked the resource 33.Rxf7+! which should lead, after some 10 more moves, to a won queen endgame… (see analysis at

Mar-01-08  notyetagm: White to play: 73 ? (after 72 ... ♔f6-e5)

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White (Carlsen) played 73 ♖c6-c1!.

Position after 73 ♖c6-c1!

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73 ♖c6-c1! is a nice example of the <REMOVE THE GUARD> tactic. 73 ♖c6-c1! <ATTACKS THE DEFENDER> of the <LOOSE> b8-promotion square, the Black b1-rook.

The White rook attacks the Black b1-rook defender from the c1-square, a square to which the Black b1-rook defender cannot go without abdicating its responsibility to <DEFENDING> the b8-promotion square. That is, the Black b1-rook cannot leave the b-file (the <DEFENSIVE COMPLEX>) without allowing the White b7-passer to promote, i.e., 73 ... ♖b1x♖c1?? 74 b7-b8=♕+.

That the Black b1-rook controls squares -only- along the b-file is a great illustration of what Weteschnik calls <OBLIGATION RESTRICTS MOBILITY>. <<<The Black b1-rook must <DEFEND> the b8-promotion square and so it does -not- actually control any squares along the first rank; it controls -only- squares along the b-file from which it can continue to <DEFEND> the b8-promotion square.>>> Hence 73 ♖c6-c1! is possible because the Black b1-rook only -pretends- to <DEFEND> the c1-square.

Mar-02-08  sallom89: <whiteshark: <sallom89:> Shirov looked really surprised as if he couldn't believe what happened in the last 10 seconds before... :D>

poor Shirov :P

Mar-02-08  tdurda: according to what i know, shirov resigned at move 79. he did NOT play Ke5. dont know, why this is wrong. obviously nobody knows.
Mar-02-08  notyetagm: <tdurda: according to what i know, shirov resigned at move 79. he did NOT play Ke5. dont know, why this is wrong. obviously nobody knows.>

I think you are wrong.

The video clearly shows Carlsen reaching out for his new queen while Shirov looks on in astonishment and horror as Magnus places it on the board. Hence I think Shirov really did play the unthinkable blunder 79 ... ♔f6-e5??.

Mar-03-08  euripides: This difficult endgame reminds me of a wonderful example by Korchnoi and Karpov:

Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978

Mar-04-08  muharrem: i do not know why people keep saying Carlsen won because Shirov blundered. even though 79th move would be sth like Ke7 or Kf5, Calrsen was coming up with first Ne6 then Nc7, blocking b7 for black bishop. come on people...
Mar-10-08  notyetagm: <muharrem: i do not know why people keep saying Carlsen won because Shirov blundered. even though 79th move would be sth like Ke7 or Kf5, Calrsen was coming up with first Ne6 then Nc7, blocking b7 for black bishop. come on people...>

Yes, the idea for Carlsen (White) is to <INTERCEPT> the Black h2-bishop by placing the White knight on c7.

Have the endgame experts decided that this endgame is dead lost for Black yet?

Mar-26-08  zoat22: < tdurda> are you trying to pretend that Shirov was actually lost to make Carlsen look better or something????
Jun-13-08  notyetagm: <zoat22: < tdurda> are you trying to pretend that Shirov was actually lost to make Carlsen look better or something????>

I read Carlsen's notes in New In Chess magazine 2008/3 and I think he said that this endgame is drawn with best play by Black.

Of course 79 ... ♔f6-e5??, <BLOCKING> the Black h2-bishop from <DEFENDING> the b8-promption square of the White b7-passer, was not the "best play by Black" that Carlsen was expecting.

Mar-11-09  shahjinan: worst game Carlsen was just waiting for him to blunder...and he did in the end...
Sep-07-10  notyetagm: Game Collection: Do not *INTERCEPT* your own line pieces!

Shirov vs Kramnik, 2010

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37 ... ♘d5-e7?? <intercept: d6>

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38 ♘e4-d6+ 1-0

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Carlsen vs Shirov, 2008

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79 ... ♔f6-e5?? <intercept: b8>

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80 b7-b8=♕ 1-0

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Feb-02-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: DO *NOT* INTERCEPT YOUR OWN LINES PIECES!

Carlsen vs Shirov, 2008 79 ... Kf6-e5?? blocks the Black h2-bishop from b8-promotion sq

Aug-05-13  notyetagm: Carlsen vs Shirov, 2008

79 ♖c5-c6+ <double attack: f6 (check), e6 (support)>

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<muharrem: i do not know why people keep saying Carlsen won because Shirov blundered. even though 79th move would be sth like Ke7 or Kf5, <<<Carlsen was coming up with first Ne6 then Nc7, blocking b8 for black bishop.>>> come on people...>

79 ... ♔f6-f5 80 ♘d8-e6 Δ ♘e6-c7

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80 ... ♖b1-b2 81 ♘e6-c7 <<interpose: h2->b8@c7+c6,c8>

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Carlsen's <PIECE COORDINATION> in this line is just fabulous. The White c6-rook is just stupendously placed. First the White c6-rook <SUPPORTS> the White d8-knight moving to e6. Then the White c6-rook <SUPPORTS> the White e6-knight going to the c7-sq to <BLOCK THE GUARD LINE> of the Black h2-bishop, <CUTTING OFF> this critical <DEFENDER> by <BREAKING COMMUNICATION> with the b8-promotion square.

Beautiful, beautiful <PIECE COORDINATION>.

Jun-03-16  cormier:

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Analysis by Houdini

1. (10.42): <1>2.b8Q+ Rxb8+ 3.Kxb8 Kd4+ 4.Kc8 Be5 5.Ra6 Kd3 6.Ne6 Ke4 7.Ra4+ Kd5 8.Nc7+ Kd6 9.Ra6+ Kc5 10.Kd7 Bg3 11.Ne6+ Kd5 12.Ra3 Bh2 13.Ng5 Kc5 14.Ra8 Bg1 15.Ne6+ Kb4 16.Ra6 Kb3 17.Kc6 Kb4 18.Kd5 Kc3 19.Ra3+ Kb4 20.Ra2 Kc3 21.Ra6 Bf2 22.Ra4 Bg1 23.Ra6 Bf2

2. (10.42): <1>2.Rc2 Bf4 3.b8Q+ Rxb8+ 4.Kxb8 Ke4+ 5.Kc8 Kd3 6.Rg2 Bh6 7.Ne6 Kc3 8.Rg3+ Kc2 9.Ra3 Bc1 10.Ra4 Kb2 11.Kd7 Kb3 12.Ra6 Kc2 13.Kc6 Kb2 14.Kd5 Kb3 15.Rc6 Kb2 16.Nd4 Bf4 17.Rb6+ Kc3 18.Ne2+ Kd2 19.Nxf4 Kc2 20.Ne6 Kc3 21.Ra6 Kb2 22.Rc6 Ka2 23.Rb6 Ka3 24.Nc5

Sep-16-18  cormier:

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Analysis by Houdini 4

<d 26 dpa 1. + / = (0.43): 19...Ra8> 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Nc4 Ng6 22.Rd1 Kf8 23.Bb3 Qh4 24.Qxh4 Nxh4 25.Kf1 f6 26.e5 Rb8 27.exf6 gxf6 28.Ba4 d5 29.Nd2 Ke7 30.Ke2 Rg8 31.Nf3 Ng6 32.Bc2 Kd6 33.Bf5 Rg7 34.Re1 Ne7 35.Bd3 c6 36.Kd2 Rg2

<d 25 dpa 2. + / = (0.53): 19...d5> 20.exd5 Rbd8 21.Be4 Nxd5 22.Nc4 Rfe8 23.Qf5 Qxf5 24.Bxf5 h5 25.Kg2 g5 26.Rfa1 Kg7 27.h3 Re2 28.Bd3 Re7 29.Nxb6 Nxb6 30.R6a5 f6 31.Rc5 Nd5 32.Ra6 h4 33.Rcc6 Rde8

Sep-16-18  cormier:

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Analysis by Houdini 4: d 24 dpa done

<1. = (0.16): 18...g6> 19.b4 Ra8 20.Nxc7 Rxa6 21.Nxa6 Na7 22.Bb3 Rc8 23.e5 dxe5 24.Nc5 exd4 25.Nd7 Qd6 26.Nxb6 Rxc3 27.Nc4 Qxb4 28.Nd2 Rxb3 29.Nxb3 Qxb3 30.Qxf4 Nc6 31.Rc1 Qe6 32.Qc7 Qg4+ 33.Kf1 Qh3+ 34.Ke1 Qe6+ 35.Kd2 Ne5 36.Qc8+ Qxc8 37.Rxc8+ Kg7 38.Ke2 g5 39.Rd8 d3+ 40.Ke3 Kf6 41.h3 h5 42.f4 gxf4+ 43.Kxf4 Ke7 44.Rd5 f6

2. + / = (0.35): 18...Ne7 19.Na3 Ra8 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Nc4 Ng6 22.Rb1 Qh4 23.Qxh4 Nxh4 24.Bb3 g5 25.e5 Kg7 26.exd6 cxd6 27.Nxb6 Rb8 28.Bd5 Rxb6 29.b4 Nf5 30.b5 Ne7 31.Bf3 d5 32.Kf1 Kf6 33.Ke2 Kf5 34.h3 Ke6 35.Kd3 Kd6 36.c4 dxc4+ 37.Kxc4

3. + / = (0.37): 18...Qe6 19.Qxe6 fxe6 20.b4 Ne7 21.Rfa1 f3 22.Na3 Ng6 23.Nc4 Nf4 24.Bd1 Ne2+ 25.Bxe2 fxe2 26.Re1 Rf3 27.Ra3 e5 28.Nxb6 Rxb6 29.dxe5 dxe5 30.Rxe2 Rg6+ 31.Kf1 Rg4 32.Ra5 Rxc3 33.Rxe5 Rh4 34.Ra2 Rxh2 35.Re7 h5 36.Kg1 Rh4 37.Ra8+ Kh7

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