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Pavel Eljanov vs Magnus Carlsen
Aerosvit (2008), Foros UKR, rd 4, Jun-11
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 66 N3a5 GM Dimitrov opines, “Isn't this a decisive error?” 66 N7a5, below, looks better.

click for larger view

It's difficult to see a win here for black. Perhaps a rook vs. knight ending is likely.

Jun-11-08  popski: Yeah, it's cool to see this guy (kid actually) so decided to be the world chess champion!
Jun-11-08  Jim Bartle: It's entertaining to read through all the comments after it's over. My favorite:

"percyblakeney: Those tablebase wins in 40 sometimes tend to be tricky in time trouble."

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Why didn't Carlsen play 35...Qd3 ? It wins two ♘s for the ♖ and defends the ♙ on b5. If 36. a4, then 36...Rxd2+ 37. Nxd2 Qxd2+ 38. Kh3 Qc2 39. axb5 d3 40. b6 d2 41. b7 d1=Q 42. b8=Q+ Kh7. White has no checks and can't stop mate.
Jun-11-08  euripides: <al wazir> interesting. <35...Qd3 36. a4 Rxd2+ 37. Nxd2 Qxd2+ 38. Kh3 Qc2 39. axb5 d3> 40.Qa8+ Kh7 41.Qe4 might be an improvement. Black could put the queen somewhere else but must watch for perpetuals in some lines. But I'm not sure.
Jun-11-08  minasina: There were live commentaries: with GM Vladimir Dimitrov with GM Sergey Zagrebelny in Russian; "translated" (without functioning board): may need reloading by ICCF IM Mikhail Emelianov

Jun-11-08  CapablancaFan: Oh man, an incredible game! Could'nt watch it live, had to work :-( This guy Magnus, is becoming a real force in the chess world!
Jun-11-08  Jim Bartle: Somebody please tell me why I'm wrong, but...

Why play the Catalan only to give up the g2 bishop on move 11? I thought the strength of the Catalan is the power of this bishop.

Jun-11-08  Jesspatrick: <Jim Bartle> I like this treatment of the Catalan precisely because it gets rid of the light squared bishops right away. I believe that once that objective is achieved, White's got nothing.

13 year old Ray Robson used this same line to take out IM Bradford in short order.

Jun-11-08  Jim Bartle: But why does white give the bishop up so easily?
Jun-11-08  acirce: <Jim Bartle> Well, it's also opposed by a pretty strong bishop on b7. But you're right, and Ng5 does not seem good - there is an idea behind it, though, and it is ALMOST good, kind of; White gets e4 in quickly and there is a potential mate threat. After e5, Eljanov's dxe5 followed by f4 (or immediately f4) could be pretty strong if not for specifics in the position.
Jun-11-08  Jim Bartle: Thanks to both.
Jun-11-08  square dance: <I like this treatment of the Catalan precisely because it gets rid of the light squared bishops right away. I believe that once that objective is achieved, White's got nothing.> didnt kramnik make some statement about the LSB being an unimportant piece for white in the catalan? i dont exactly recall myself, but im hoping <acirce> can come in handy here. ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: A long, complex, hard fought endgame--just what I hoped for in the very first post to this game.

27.Rc1 allowed Black to sacrifice 2 Knights for a Rook in a complex position during Eljanov's zeitnot. As a purely practical matter, an excellent decision in OTB play when your opponent is human. Like their previous games, this one will go into the textbooks as illustrative of the possibilities for both sides.

Premium Chessgames Member
  boz: It takes nerves of steel to play as Carlsen did in this game.
Jun-11-08  acirce: <square dance> No idea. The only thing of the kind I remember that Kramnik has stated is that White's g2-bishop "is barely any stronger than the c8-bishop" in the Stonewall Dutch. Yeah, not exactly the same ;-) And it was quite some time ago too as far as I know.
Jun-11-08  square dance: <acirce> i hope i didnt 'misremember' the quote you're talking about.
Jun-12-08  Hesam7: Carlsen could have closed the deal with: 39...Rxa3 40.Nf1 (forced) 40...Ra1! and it is hard to defend against ...Qe1+

click for larger view

Fruit 2.3.1 @ depth 19:

41.Qd2 Qf6+ 42.Qf4 Ra2+ 43.Kg1 Qxf4 44.gxf4 gxh3 45.Nf5 d3 46.N1e3 Rb2 47.Nd5 d2 48.Nfe3 Rb1+ 49.Kh2 d1=Q 50.Nxd1 Rxd1 51.Ne7+ Kf8 52.Nc6 Rd3 53.Na7 Rb3 54.Nc6 Kg7 55.f5 <-2.67>

41.Qf4 Qe1+ 42.Kg1 Qe3+ 43.Qf2 gxh3 44.Nf3 f6 45.N3h2 f5 46.Nf3 Kf8 47.N3h2 Ke7 48.Nf3 Kd6 49.N3h2 Qxf2+ 50.Kxf2 Ra2+ 51.Kg1 Rg2+ 52.Kh1 Rf2 53.Kg1 Re2 54.Nf3 d3 <-2.68>

41.Ng2 Ra2+ 42.Kg1 gxh3 43.Qxh3 Qe2 44.Nf4 Qf2+ 45.Kh1 Qf3+ 46.Kg1 f5 47.Ng6 Qf2+ 48.Kh1 Re2 49.Qh8+ Kf7 50.Ne5+ Ke6 51.Qe8+ Kd5 52.Qxb5+ Ke4 53.Qc6+ Kxe5 54.Qe8+ Kf6 55.Qf8+ Ke6 56.Qe8+ Kd5 57.Qg8+ Kd6 58.Qd8+ Kc6 59.Qa8+ Kc7 60.Qa5+ Kd7 61.Qd5+ Ke7 62.Qc5+ Ke6 <-2.89>

Jun-12-08  truefriends: Looks almost like Magnus has a tablebase installed is his brain :-)
Jun-12-08  Ulhumbrus: 36 Qxh6? seems to have been a mistake made in time trouble. After 35...g5 Black appears to threaten 36...g4 attacking the N on f3 which defends the N on d2. However on 36 Kg1 g4 the N on f3 can move with tempo by 37 Nh4 and now the Black Q lacks any square from which to check the White King. Eljanov may have lacked enough time to notice all of this.
Jun-13-08  SniperOnG7: <square dance> No...the Catalan Bishop is important. However, in this variation Black's LSB is just as important to Black's livelihood as Bg2 for White. Without Bb7, Black's Queenside often proves to be overstretched, along with an eye-sore on the c6 square in front of the backward Pc7. These weaknesses often become Black's downfall (*cough* suicide against Kramnik *cough*) in the endgame.

Knowing this, a key idea for White in this line is to exchange the light squared Bishops at an APPROPRIATE moment. Imho... Eljanov was too eager and so yeah, he got zilch out of the opening :)

Jun-13-08  nuwanda: looking at the ending with the help of tablebases i was a bit surprised that in the (almost) final position 82...fxg wins too.

its interesting and instructive to see how rook and king trap the knight...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: 11 Ng5 looks bad - neglecting development.
Jan-08-11  Eyal: Position after 35...g5:

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<36 Qxh6? seems to have been a mistake made in time trouble. After 35...g5 Black appears to threaten 36...g4 attacking the N on f3 which defends the N on d2. However on 36 Kg1 g4 the N on f3 can move with tempo by 37 Nh4 and now the Black Q lacks any square from which to check the White King. Eljanov may have lacked enough time to notice all of this.>

The drawing idea of 36.Kg1! (or Kh1) g4 is not 37.Nh4?, which loses to 37...Rc1+ 38.Kg2 Qd3 (39.Qxh6 Qe2#), but rather 37.Nxd4! (with the king off the 2nd rank, ...Rxd2 cannot be played with check) 37...Rc1+ 38.Kg2 and now Black can win a piece with 38...Qd3, but White gets a perpetual by 39.Qxh6 (no mate threat on e2 here) Qxd4 40.Qg5+ Kf8 41.Qh6+ Ke8 42.Qh8+ Ke7 43.Qf6+ etc.; the king cannot escape via d7, because e6+ would win the black queen.

Jan-08-11  Eyal: ...In the game continuation, 37.Nxd4 (instead of Nh4) wouldn't have worked, of course, because of 37...Qe4+, made possible by Nd2 being pinned along the 2nd rank.
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