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Magnus Carlsen vs Evgeny Alekseev
41st Biel International Chess Festival (2008), Biel SUI, rd 7, Jul-27
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 32 OF 32 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-28-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  sergeidave: <Udit Narayan> LOL, You wish! :)
Jul-28-08  perkychesscat: He's human after all!
Jul-29-08  sotoohy: For those of you who wondered like me what would have happened if Carlsen played 82.Bxf2 rather than 82.c7, here's the finish:

82.Bxf2 gxf2 83.c7 f1=Q and now there are two possibilities:

A) 84.b8=Q Qf2+ 85.Kb3 (forced since 85.Ka3 Qf8+ wins) Qc2+ 86.Ka3 Qc3+ 87.Ka4 Rg4+ and mate in two.

B) 84 c8=Q Qf2+ 85.Kb3 (forced since 85.Ka3 Qf8+ wins) Qf7+ 86.Kb2 Qf6+ 87.Kb3 Qb6+ 88.Ka3 Qxa6+ 89.Kb3 Rxc8 also wins.

Jul-29-08  notyetagm: <beenthere240: Carlsen could have pulled back and not traded queens and admitted the draw, but he kept trying to find a way to win. However, I think counting on his opponent making a blunder due to time problems (over and over!) was just a bit unsporting, and it was poetic justice that he fell into time trouble himself. A good lesson.>

Yes, that is called -JUSTICE-.

Carlsen seems to win an inordinate number of games simply from his opponents blundering in time pressure. Here it was Carlsen who was in time trouble and he played one ?-move after another.

The top GMs need to learn that they simply -CANNOT- fall into zeitnot against Carlsen and that Carlsen plays as badly as they do on those rare occasions when -HE- gets into time trouble.

Jul-29-08  HOTDOG: Carlsen seems to have better results with 1.d4 than with 1.e4
Jul-29-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I think Carlsen was having a pretty bad day here, it was a bad choice to deliberately go for the Berlin Defense and play 7. Nxe5 and double his own pawns as well.

Carlsen seems to forget some basic chess rules of thumb in this game, for whatever reason, and pays the price. If he was aiming for positional pressure he should not have wreaked his own pawn structure so early, but worst of all he should not have exchanged queens 1 after moving his queen so much and 2 when the resulting position was clearly worse for him.

He gambled on his opponent making a mistake but unfortunately his position was so bad that if his opponent didn't make that mistake he was probably lost. This is a poor way to play for anyone I think and I it seems the pressure to win has got to Carlsen a bit in this game. He would not have played for the win against a top GM, he just felt pressured to win this tournament.

Let's all remember he is only 17 years old though and there is plenty of time to learn from small mistakes like this! In a few years he will only be playing among the super-elite anyway so will not be under so much pressure to win every white game.

My money is still on Carlsen to win the tournament!

Jul-29-08  amateur05: Playing aggressive chess for 6 hours is not easy when you're only 17. Except losing this game, he must feel quite exhausted for the rest of the tournament.
Jul-29-08  TITIKIZA: Magnus shouldlearn from Kramnik and Anand.
When the game is drawn, dont force yo way. Topalov lost to Kramnic in Elista because of this behaviour.
Jul-29-08  AdrianP: <If Qs came off and not Rs, then White really would be toast.> (posted by me at around move 37). I could teach that kid a lot.

But seriously, the apparent disbelief that Magnus could ever lose a game (when was the last time?), should not take anything away from Alekseev: he played this extremely well, and found the right moves, under pressure and in time trouble.

Jul-29-08  percyblakeney: I think Carlsen was down to 5 minutes for the rest of the game (no more time controls) when he played 66. Qxe6+. He probably just didn't have time to go through the line properly and it ended up with him being one tempo short.
Jul-29-08  Ulhumbrus: To begin with, it is possible that 35 Qxa7 acquiring a passed a pawn instead of 35 Qxc7 will win more easily than 35 Qxc7 will win.

Following 35 Qxc7, it may be a mistake to exchange Queens at move 66,if little chess partner was right to indicate that on 66 b4 or in 66 Bd4 White had a slight advantage. The reason for this follows from a potential consequence of White'a correct plan.

Little chess partner indicated that after 66 b4 or 66 Bd4 White had a slight advantage. However what does White's advantage consist of? It is true that White's King is safer, but on the other hand, Black has a passed g pawn which White does not have.

However, as little chess partner indicated, because Black's King is not placed safely as White's, White pays a lower price for advancing his Queen side pawns than Black pays for advancing Black's King side pawns.

More specifically, if White advances his Q side pawns, his King remains defensible whereas if Black advances his King side, his King may succumb to a mating attack.

That is why White is advised to avoid exchanging Queens. White may need his Queen to attack Black's King, if Black tries to advance Black's King side.

However if White's advantage is only slight, this makes his task a difficult one instead of an easy one.It means that White cannot just advance his Queen side in any old way, he has to choose the right way.

Furthermore White has to choose the right way to arrange his Q, R and B. White has to have the right set of attacking threats and the right set of defensive measures in place.

The attacks and counterattacks which Little chess partner came up with for either side suggest that the right set of attacking threats will take advantage of an attempt by Black to advance the King side, while the right set of defensive measures would provide for Black's counterattack on White's King.

If defence should be carried out economically, with the minimum of force, this suggests that White should use his Rook or bishop for it instead of the Queen. This suggests placing the R on d2 to defend the c2 pawn, the B on c3 or d4 and finding the right way to advance the Queen side.

At the risk of repetition, if White's advantage is only slight, the win will be difficult instead of easy. That suggests that if White chooses the right setup of pieces and the right way to advance his pawns so that he gets the utmost that he can get out of his men, he may win but barely, and that means that Black may come within an ace of drawing or even winning, for example, if in some variation White has to abandon the c2 pawn and move the K to a3.

One question is whether after following 54 a6, Qb7 would have won, either at move 55 or later. One variation is 55 Qb7 Bf7 ( to free the g pawn and prevent Rd7) 56 b4 g5 57 b5 cxb5 58 c6 b4 59 Bd4 Qe2 60 Rf2 Kg6 61 c7 Re2 62 Rxf5 Kxf5 63 c7-c8/Q+. However has Black found the best defence or counter-attack here? And what does White do if Black does find the best defence or counter-attack?

The conclusion which all this suggests is that following 34 Qxc7 Carlsen has a win by advancing his Q side pawns, but not an easy win. On the contrary, it is a difficult win, and possibly a sharp and risky win.

Jul-29-08  Archytas: I don't think Little chess partner is usefull to analyse games on this level. You have to use engines like Shredder, Rybka or Fritz to analyse this kind of complex games!
Jul-29-08  euripides: <Jim> perhaps <74. b6 g2 75 Be3 g1Q 76 Bxg1 Rxg1 77 b7> Rb1+. I think Black may be able to make progress then without saccing the bishop, keeping the rook on the b file out of range of the king. If the c pawn advances then the king approaches; if the rook moves to the d file to cut the king off then then the bishop covers c6.

If Black does have to sac the bishop, the R+P ending may depend on the position of the kings. The outside passed pawn will win for Black if he can support it with his king and White's king is far from the action.

Jul-29-08  Ulhumbrus: <Archytas: I don't think Little chess partner is usefull to analyse games on this level. You have to use engines like Shredder, Rybka or Fritz to analyse this kind of complex games!>

Although I agree that analysis from Fritz or Rybka is more reliable, Little chess partner can provide some indication of what can happen in the position,

Jul-29-08  Ezzy: (215) GM Carlsen,Magnus(NOR) (2775) - GM Alekseev,Evgeny(RUS) (2708) [C65] Biel Chess Festival Biel/Switzerland (7), 28.07.2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Nc3 0–0 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nxe5 Qd4 8.Be3 Qxe5 9.d4 Qe7 10.dxc5 Nxe4 11.Qd4 <This seems to be new. 11 Nxe4 has been played before.> 11...Bf5 12.0–0–0 Rad8 <Black equalises easily in the opening. Balanced pawn structure, open /e/ and /d/ files. I and many others were probably thinking, exchanges and a straightforward draw. But Carlsen doesn't think like that.> 13.Qb4 Qe6 <Threatening 12...Nxc3 13 Qxc3 Qxa2 >14.Kb1 b5 <Threatening 15...a5 and if 16 Qxa5 Ra8 and the attack on a2 is not what Carlsen wants - so.>.... 15.b3 Qe5 16.Nxe4 Bxe4 17.Bd4 Qf5 18.Qc3 f6< [18...b4 19.Qc4 a5 20.f3 Bd5 21.Qd3 Qh5 Is another playable line.]> 19.f3 Bd5 20.Rhe1 Rd7 21.Bf2 Rfd8 22.Rd4 h5 23.h3 Bf7< This removes the attack on f3 and so gives Carlsen a bit of momentum with.... >24.g4 hxg4 25.hxg4 Qg5 26.Kb2 Rxd4 27.Bxd4 Qd5 28.Rd1 b4 29.Qxb4 Qxf3 30.Rd2 Qxg4 <Black has 2 connected passed pawns, but it has no significance whilst major pieces are on the board and the black king needs defending.> 31.Bc3 Qc8 32.Rg2< Threatening 33 Bxf6 or 33 Qh4 winning.> 32...Bd5 33.Rg1 Qf5 34.Qb7 Kf7 35.Qxc7+ Rd7 36.Qc8 Be4 37.Qh8 Threatening mate in 3. 37...Qh7 38.Qc8 Qf5 39.Rf1 Qe6 <[39...Qxf1 40.Qxd7+ is a draw]> 40.Qh8 Re7 41.Rd1 Re8 42.Qh2 Bf5 <With the idea 43...Qe2 forcing the exchange of queens when the connected passed pawns will be extremely dangerous.>43.Rd2 Re7 44.Qb8 Rd7 45.Rf2 Bg6 46.Rh2 Qe8 47.Qg3 Qe4 48.Rg2 Re7 49.Rd2 Rb7 50.Qh2 Re7 51.Qb8 Bf5 52.a4 Bg6 53.a5 Bf5 54.a6 Bg6 55.Qg3 Bf5 56.Rg2 Bg6 57.Rh2 Bf5 58.Qb8 Bg6 59.Ka3 Bh7 60.Rd2 Bf5 61.Qh8 Qe3 62.Kb2 Qe4 63.Rf2 Qg4 64.Qh2 Bg6 65.Qd6 Qe6 >All this shuffling about with their pieces without much progress on either side. One would have thought an agreed draw was the best outcome. >66.Qxe6+< Wow, an unbelievable decision. After spending 30 or so moves avoiding exchanges of queens, Carlsen decides to take the plunge and is thrown onto the back foot.. This is so dangerous with blacks passed pawns. I can only think that Carlsen’s head went on a calculating spree, and came up with the conclusion that he would win a pawn race. Looking at this position, that was soooooo risky. But this is the creative brilliance of Magnus. He believes he can win any position. Ok this didn't work out too well, but you've got to admit - the lads got balls!!> 66...Kxe6 67.Ba5 Be4 68.c4< Moving the king to the kingside to defend against black's pawn push doesn't seem to work either. [Fritz 8: 68.Kc3 g5 69.Bd8 Rf7 70.Kd2 g4 71.Ke3 g3 72.Rf1 Bxc2 73.b4 g2 74.Rg1 Rg7 75.Kf2 Be4 76.Re1 Kf5 77.Rd1 Rh7 78.Re1 Rh1 79.Rg1 Rh3 80.Re1 Rb3 81.Ba5 Rb2+ 82.Kg1 Kf4 and it seems black will win.]> 68...g5 69.Bd2 Rg7 70.Re2 f5 71.b4 g4 72.b5 cxb5 73.cxb5 g3 74.Re1 Kd5 75.Be3 Bd3 76.Rd1 <This long and complex line gives an indication that perhaps this endgame can still be drawn if it gets to opposite coloured bishops, or perhaps even with the rooks still on. [76.b6 Bxa6 77.Kc3 g2 78.bxa7 Rxa7 79.Ra1 Re7 80.Bg1 Be2 81.Ra4 Re4 82.Ra7 f4 83.Rd7+ Ke6 84.Rd4 Ke5 85.Rxe4+ Kxe4 86.c6 Ba6 87.Kc2 Kf3 88.Kd2 Kg3 89.c7 Bb7 90.Ke2 Bf3+ 91.Ke1 Bg4 92.Kd2 Kf3 draw. The players had very little time left, so they had no chance of seeing all the possible lines, but theoretically it does seem that the position can still be drawn]> 76...Ke4 77.Rxd3? <Another curious decision from Carlsen who seems to panic. It was still possible to get a draw from this game. [77.Bh6 Rg6 78.Re1+ Kd5 79.Rd1 Rxh6 (79...g2 80.Rxd3+ Ke4 (80...Kxc5 81.Be3+ Kxb5 82.Bxa7 Kxa6 83.Bg1 f4 84.Rf3 Draw) 81.Rd1 Rxh6 82.Rg1 Kd5 83.b6 axb6 84.a7 Rh8 85.cxb6 Kc6 86.Rxg2 Kxb6 Draw) 80.Rxd3+ Kxc5 81.Rxg3 Kxb5 82.Rg7 Kxa6 83.Rf7 Rh5 84.Kb3 Kb6 85.Kc4 Rh4+ 86.Kb3 f4 87.Rf5 Rh3+ 88.Kb4 f3 89.Rf6+ Kc7 is a draw.] >77...Kxd3 78.Bg1 f4 79.b6 f3 80.b7 Rg8 81.c6 f2 82.c7 fxg1Q 83.c8Q Qd4+ 84.Ka2 0–1

Jul-29-08  Ezzy: First of all, great win by Alekseev who played a fantastic game, Very impressed.

You just have to forgive this loss by Carlsen. He is so refreshing for the chess world. Ok, he overpressed and miscalculated a pawn race, but his will to win is infectious, and he has the fighting spirit that makes him the most exciting player in the world today. He will win more games than he loses by playing like this.

It was just one of those days when after 30 or so moves of trying to eek out a small advantage, he lost patience and imploded by exchanging queens. He probably still had a draw with computer like play, but time was not on his side, and saving the game was going to be extremely difficult.

I'm not going to criticise anything. Carlsen can only learn from this, but at the moment he is a joy to watch. He just has to be careful a bit more when playing people with the credentials of Alekseev, who is not going to be intimidated by the Carlsen pressure.

A good example of a great player losing patience.

I hope some of my quick computer analysis from move 76 is not to faulty in trying to prove that with correct play the game still could be drawn. I’m sure I will be told if it has any flaws.

Jul-29-08  znprdx: < Sneaky: Folks, this is as exciting as chess gets.> BINGO...ABSOLUTELY!! If I’d followed this live – I’d have fallen of my chair. Methinks neither Anand nor Kramnik will produce anything remotely close this fall. We’ll be bored to tears with their endless premature draws. We have to praise Carlsen for returning to Fischer’s view that Chess is not about namby-pamby...it is all about the fight. < acirce: This was VERY complicated though. Could have been quite different if White just had an extra tempo somewhere.> White DID on the first move of the game AND< Lutwidge: Ah, the tragedy of one tempo.> Gee, like isn’t that the point of just about every Chess game played between more or less equal strength players? <beenthere240...However, I think counting on his opponent making a blunder due to time problems (over and over!) was just a bit unsporting, and it was poetic justice that he fell into time trouble himself..> AND <notyetagm: Yes, that is called –JUSTICE “The top GMs need to learn that they simply -CANNOT- fall into zeitnot against Carlsen and that Carlsen plays as badly as they do on those rare occasions when -HE- gets into time trouble.” This a “just a little bit of history repeating itself”.> “Those that live by the sword die by the sword” This is how TAL was eventually shut down despite his unquestionable creative brilliance. PS: Could someone kindly explain why 60. Qh8 wouldn’t be better than the incomprehensible (to me) Bd2
Jul-29-08  Ezzy: <znprdx: Could someone kindly explain why 60. Qh8 wouldn’t be better than the incomprehensible (to me) Bd2> Neither move is any better than the other. Both players have been shuffling their pieces around for over 25 moves, playing similar moves, and Carlsen winging his queen all around the board probing for weaknesses in black's position. I thought at this time they would agree a draw because no progress was being made. It was only when Carsen allowed the exchange of queens that things started to happen.
Jul-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <euripides > <perhaps <74. b6 g2 75 Be3 g1Q 76 Bxg1 Rxg1 77 b7> Rb1+. I think Black may be able to make progress then without saccing the bishop, keeping the rook on the b file out of range of the king. If the c pawn advances then the king approaches; if the rook moves to the d file to cut the king off then then the bishop covers c6.>

77…Rb1+ instead of Rg8 looks problematic for black after 78 Ka2 .


click for larger view

His rook is en prise and his bishop is pinned. If 78…Kd7 then 79 Rxe4 looks winning for white. Black cannot stop the b pawn without losing the rook after 79...Rb5 80 c6+.

Jul-29-08  euripides: <Jim> after <78.Ka2> Rb5 was what I had in mind - as I said, keeping the rook on the b file out of range of the king. Then if 79.c6 Kd6 and the c pawn is falling.

White's best hope is then to get the rook to the eighth rank and force a bishop or rook sacrifice. The bishop sacrifice gives a rook ending which is very delicate but I think Black may just win because of his better king position e.g. 79.Rd2 Bd5+ 80.Ka3 f4 81.Re2 Kf5 82.Re8 Bxb7 83.axb7 Rxb7 84.Re1 (to get behind the c pawn) f3 85.Rc1 Ke4 86.c6 Rc7 87.Kb4 Kd4 88.Rd1+ Ke3 89.Kc5 f2 90.Kd6 Ke2 91.Rc1 (or Kxc7 Kxd1 92.Kb7 f1=Q 93.Kxa7 Qf5) Rc8 92.Kd7 Ra8 93.c7 f1=Q 94.Rxf1 Kxf1 95.c8=Q Rxc8 96.Kxc8 a5.

But Black can probably do better with the rook sacrifice e.g. 79.Rd2 f4 80.Rd8 f3 81.b8=Q Rxb8 82.Rxb8 f2 83.Rf8 Bf5 winning.

Jul-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <euripides> <after <78.Ka2> Rb5 was what I had in mind - as I said, keeping the rook on the b file out of range of the king. Then if 79.c6 Kd6 and the c pawn is falling.>

White should follow 78...Rb5 with 79 Rb2. It appears that there's no way black can stop the pawn advance without losing both his bishop and his rook.


click for larger view

Jul-30-08  euripides: <Jim> yes I don't know why I missed that. So maybe 74.b6 holds.
Jul-30-08  dumbgai: I expect to see Carlsen bounce back strongly from this loss. Although I think Dominguez will hold on to win Biel, Carlsen should use this game as a good learning experience.
Aug-02-08  Ulhumbrus: What does Fritz or Rybka have to say say after 35 Qxa7 instead of 35 Qxc7+?
Aug-09-08  Lutwidge: <znprdx: (Lutwidge: Ah, the tragedy of one tempo.) Gee, like isn’t that the point of just about every Chess game played between more or less equal strength players?>

I was quoting Tartakower's famously pithy definition of chess. Perhaps had he tossed a random "gee" and "like" in it somewhere it would have been even more memorable. Oh well. :)

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