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Magnus Carlsen vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Tal Memorial (2009), Moscow RUS, rd 8, Nov-13
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Just to repeat (and elaborate a bit) one more amazing line that might have got lost in traffic, related to the (apparently) saving move 22...Bb7.

I've noticed that both Kaidanov on ICC and Shipov (, who also criticize Carlsen's 22.Bb3 in their commentaries, give the line 22...Bb7 23.Qg6 [the most obvious goal of Bb3 is to allow this move, as implied by what Carlsen himself was saying at the press conference] Ne8 24.Nf5 Rf6! [an immediate Rxf5 is also possible] 25.Qh5 Rxf5! 26.gxf5 Nd6. Btw, this line also shows why Bb7 can be considered a logical move (rather than just a "crazy" computer move) - besides the tactical "coincidence" of denying e4 from the white queen [in the 23.g5 Nh5 24.gxh6 Nf4 line], it also connects the rooks on the back rank - otherwise Black cannot play this line. I suppose neither of the commentators even mentions the possibility of [22...Bb7 23.Qg6 Ne8] 24.g5 (instead of Nf5) Because after 24...hxg5 25.hxg5 Qxg5+ Black simply forces here an exchange of queens.

However, as <draginoth> mentioned in an earlier post, after 22...Bb7 23.Qg6 Ne8 24.g5 hxg5:

click for larger view

White is actually winning by <25.c3!!>, amazingly enough. The idea is to vacate c2 for the bishop, e.g. 25...Rf6 26.Qf7+!! Rxf7 27.exf7+ Kh7 (27...Kf8 28.Ne6+; we'll get back to this queen fork shortly) 28.Bc2+ Kh6 29.hxg5+ Kxg5 30.Ne6+ Kf6 31.Nxc5 Bxc5 32.fxe8Q Rxe8, and at the end of the bloodbath White remains an exchange+pawn up.

So after 22...Bb7 23.Qg6 Black should apparently play <23...Nd5!> and now 24.g5?? Nf4 traps the queen. So 24.Nf5 Rxf5 (here Black doesn't have time for Rf6, of course, since g7 isn't defended) 25.gxf5 Kh8 or 25.Qxf5 Qe3+ 26.Kb1 Rf8, and Black might just be hanging on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <I could almost hear Garry screaming when his protege gave Black that ray of hope with 22.Bb3 so I'm glad it turned out all right.> (
Nov-14-09  SugarDom: Stop the hype...

White made a mistake on 23.Bb3 and Black also made as big a mistake with the reply 23...R-d8, where he should have played Bb7 for the equal game...

Nov-14-09  topi: 19. Nfxe6!!!!!
Nov-14-09  notyetagm: 29 ?

click for larger view

How can Carlsen (White) move that damn White e6-pawn out of the way of his light-squared White b3-bishop? <TWO WAYS TO MOVE A PAWN>.

Game Collection: MOVE A PAWN: 1) deflect blockader (overloaded!)

29 ♖d1-d8+! <overloaded: e7,d8>

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29 ... ♗e7x♖d8 30 e6-e7+

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Game Collection: MOVE A PAWN: 2) hang piece off of it with threat

29 ♖d1-d7!

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29 ... ♗c8x♖d7 30 e6x♗d7+

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Nov-15-09  melianis: Heja Magnus!
Feb-08-11  TheOutsider: 22. Bb3 is a such an awful move..
Mar-14-13  Xenon Oxide: Am I the only one who finds this game positively Petrosianic? The material imbalance based on positional principles with no immediate tactical attack, leading to an advanced passed pawn. Deceptive and hard to handle because so many intricacies needing non-standard evaluations are involved.
Sep-06-15  Ulhumbrus: 17...d5 opens the game in a position where Black's king has not castled and both of Black's bishops are still at home.

Perhaps Ponomariev had not taken account of the sacrifice 19 Nfxe6!! after which following 19...fxe6 20 dxe6 White does not gain anything or deliver any check immediately but only slightly later than immediately, and this makes the sacrifice a resource which is much more subtle and difficult to foresee, and which belongs to a higher level of proficiency than a sacrifice which either gains material or delivers check more immediately.

Perhaps one can learn something from this game!

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: The first two moves were easy. (19. Nfxe6 had to be the right way to capture the e-♙, because after 19. dxe6 black plays 19...Bxf4+ and 20...0-0.)

Thereafter nothing was easy. It took another dozen moves even for Carlsen. I didn't even see the general plan of attack. And 29. Rd7 was a star move I never would have thought of.

Mar-24-19  ChessHigherCat: I got the first couple moves, too.

<Eyal> Carlsen <doesn't mention the possibility of 22.g5 at all!>

I would definitely have played 22.g5 instead of 22.Bb3?, which struck me as bizarre, but I find the follow-up of g5 given by SF even more bizarre:

22.g5 Bb7 23.gxh6 [Is that really better than taking the knight with gxf6??] Ne8 24.hxg7 Rf6 25.Rhg1 Nd6 26.Bb3 Rf4 27.Qg6 Rf6 28.Qg3 Rc8 29.Kb1 Qh5 30.Qh2 Rh6 31.Qd2 Rg6 32.Rxg6 Qxg6 33.Qf2 Qh6 34.Rg1 Qxh4

Mar-24-19  Steve.Patzer: Stockfish prefers 19. Ndxe6.
Mar-24-19  Walter Glattke: I think, the Encyclopaedia has corrupt play, I consider 4.-Nf6?? (e5!) 5.Nc3 a6? as advantage for white, what may Stockfish say to that. The puzzle position then shows a lack of tempi by black. Alcoholics in bistros, who play for money (criminals), then could play 22.g5 hxg5 23.hxg5 Qg5 24.Rdg1 Qf4 25.Nf5 only for alcoholics, health men could not stand this decadence for long time.
Mar-24-19  et1: As previously said, move 29 for white could be also a puzzle
Mar-24-19  devere: I found 19.Nfxe6 fxe6 20.dxe6 and then assumed Black would play Be7. Then I was thinking of playing 21.Qa4+ Kf8 22.Qb3 to stop Black from castling, and that wasn't a bad idea. But the move Carlsen played, 21.Qd3 is much better, as long as it is followed up by 22.g5! after Black castles. Carlsen's 22.Bb3 was lame, and Black could have equalized with 23...Bb7! instead of 22...Rd8?. If 22.g5! hxg5 23.hxg5 Qxg5+ 24.Kb1 Black's position is hopeless

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop, a knight and a pawn for the bishop pair.

Black threatens Bxf4+.

The pawn on f7 is overburdened with the defense of e6 and g6. This and Black's threat suggest 19.Ndxe6:

A) 19... fxe6 20.Ng6

A.1) 20... Rg8 21.dxe6 Be7 (due to e7 and Bf7+ or Bxg8) 22.Qa4+ wins decisive material.

A.2) 20... Rh7 21.dxe6 as above.

A.3) 20... exd5 21.Bxd5 wins decisive material.

B) 19... Bxe6 20.Nd3

B.1) 20... Qc7 21.dxe6 wins two pawns at least.

B.2) 20... Qe3+ 21.Kb1 Qxf3 (21... Bd7 22.Rhe1 wins decisive material) 22.dxe6 looks winning due go Bd5 and exf7+.

C) 19... Qb6 20.Nxg7+ Kf8 21.Ngh5 + - [N+3P vs b].

D) 19... Bxf4+ 20.Nxf4 + - [2P].

Mar-24-19  mel gibson: e6 was the vital weak point but what
to attack it with?

Stockfish 10 says:

19. Nfxe6

(19. Nfxe6
(♘f4xe6 f7xe6 d5xe6 ♗d6-e7 g4-g5 O-O g5xf6 ♖f8xf6 ♗c4-d5 ♖a8-b8 ♘d4-c6 ♖b8-b6 ♘c6-e5 ♖b6-d6 ♘e5-f7 ♖d6xd5 ♖d1xd5 ♗c8xe6 ♘f7xh6+ ♖f6xh6 ♖d5xc5 ♗e6xb3 ♖c5-c8+ ♔g8-f7 c2xb3 ♗e7xh4 ♖c8-c7+ ♔f7-e6 ♔c1-c2 ♗h4-f6 ♖h1xh6 g7xh6 ♖c7-c5 ♔e6-f7 ♖c5-a5 ♔f7-g6 ♔c2-d3 h6-h5 ♔d3-e4 h5-h4 ♔e4-f4 h4-h3 ♔f4-g3 h3-h2 ♔g3xh2 ♗f6xb2 ♔h2-h3 ♔g6-h6) +4.72/36 136)

score for White +4.72 depth 36.

Mar-24-19  morfishine: Not terribly insane when its basically forced
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: <chrisowen> you should drink less
Mar-24-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 <d 24 dpa done

1. = / + (-0.26): 13...d5> 14.Bf4 Bb7 15.Ng3 Bc5 16.Kb1 Rd8 17.Ndf5 exf5 18.exd5 Nfd7 19.d6 Bxd6 20.Nxf5 Bf8 21.Rxd7 Qxd7 22.Qxe5+ Qe6 23.Be2 Qxe5 24.Bxe5 f6 25.Bd4 Kd7 26.h5 Kc7 27.Be3 Re8 28.Re1 Bc6 29.b3 a5 30.Bf4+ Kb6 31.Be3+ Kb7 32.Kb2 a4 33.bxa4 Bxa4 34.Bc4 Bc6

2. = (-0.07): 13...Nc4 14.Bf2 e5 15.Nb3 Be6 16.Ng3 Rb8 17.Bxc4 Bxc4 18.Kb1 a5 19.Qd2 Be6 20.g5 Nd7 21.Nf5 a4 22.Nc1 a3 23.b3 Rc8 24.Nd3 Bxf5 25.exf5 d5 26.Rhe1 hxg5 27.hxg5 Be7 28.f6 gxf6 29.gxf6 Bd6 30.Rh1 Rxh1 31.Rxh1 Nxf6 32.Rh8+ Ke7 33.Rxc8

Mar-24-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 <d 22 dpa done

1. + / - (0.86): 17...Qe5> 18.Nfxe6 fxe6 19.Bxe6 Bxe6 20.Nxe6 Kd7 21.Nd4 a5 22.Kb1 Kc8 23.f4 Qxe4 24.g5 hxg5 25.fxg5 Qd5 26.gxf6 Qxb3 27.axb3 gxf6 28.h5 Kd7 29.Rdf1 Be7 30.Rf5 Rh7 31.Rd5 Bd8 32.Nb5 Bc7 33.Rf5 Ke6 34.Nd4+ Kf7 35.Rhf1 Rh6 36.Nb5 Bb8 37.Nd4 a4

2. + - (1.52): 17...Ra7 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Ng6 e5 20.Ne6 Bxe6 21.Qxe6+ Re7 22.Qxd6 Qxd6 23.Rxd6 Ra7 24.Rxf6 gxf6 25.Nxh8 Bc5 26.Ng6 Be3+ 27.Kb1 Rd7 28.h5 Bg5 29.Rf1 Kf7 30.a3 bxa3 31.bxa3 Be3 32.Ka2 Rc7 33.Kb3 Rb7+ 34.Kc4 Rc7+ 35.Kd3 Bd4 36.a4 Rc3+ 37.Kd2 Rc4 38.a5 Ke6 39.Rb1 Ra4 40.c3 Bc5 41.Kd3 Rxa5

Mar-24-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 d 24 dpa

1. + / = (0.29): 16...Nd7 17.g5 Ne5 18.Bb3 g6 19.Nfe2 hxg5 20.hxg5 Rxh1 21.Rxh1 a5 22.Rh8 Qc5 23.Nf4 Qa7 24.Ba4+ Bd7 25.Bxd7+ Nxd7 26.Nd5 Qc5 27.Nb3 Qxe3+ 28.Nxe3 a4 29.Nd4 Rc8 30.Kd2 a3 31.b3 Rc5 32.f4 e5 33.fxe5 dxe5 34.Ne2 Rc8 35.Nd5 Nc5 36.Nf6+ Ke7

2. + / - (1.12): 16...e5 17.Bxf7+ Kxf7 18.Qb3+ Ke8 19.Ng6 exd4 20.Nxh8 Ra7 21.Ng6 Rf7 22.Rd2 Nd7 23.Qe6+ Be7 24.Rhd1 Qc5 25.Nxe7 Rxe7 26.Qb3 Ne5 27.Qg8+ Kd7 28.Rxd4 Kc7 29.Rxd6 Kb8 30.Qb3 Bb7 31.a3 bxa3 32.bxa3 Qb5 33.Rd8+ Ka7 34.Qe3+ Qb6 35.Qc3 Qc6 36.Qd4+ Qb6 37.Qxb6+ Kxb6 38.Rf8 Nc4 39.Rd3 Rc7 40.Rb3+ Kc6 41.g5 hxg5 42.hxg5 Bc8 43.Rc3 Kc5 44.g6 Be6 45.Ra8

Mar-24-19  cormier:

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Analysis by Houdini 4 d 22 dpa done

1. = (0.00): 15...Be7 16.Nd3 a5 17.Kb1 e5 18.Nb5 Qc6 19.Na7 Qc7 20.Nb5 Qc6

2. = (0.00): 15...d5 16.exd5 Bd6 17.Nfxe6 fxe6 18.Nxe6 Bxe6 19.Kb1 Qc5 20.Qe2 0-0 21.dxe6 Rfd8 22.g5 Nh5 23.Qe4 Ng3 24.Qg6 Nxh1 25.Bd3 Ng3 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.Qh8+ Ke7 28.Qxg7+ Kxe6 29.Bc4+ Qxc4 30.Qf6+ Kd7 31.Rxd6+ Ke8 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Qf6+ Ke8 34.Qh8+

Mar-24-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: and at d 25 dpa done

1. = (-0.12): 15...Be7 16.Nd3 Qb6 17.Kb1 Bb7 18.Rh3 g6 19.Be2 Rc8 20.Nf5 Qxe3 21.Nxe3 d5 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.f4 Nxe3 24.Rxe3 Bxh4 25.Nxb4 a5 26.Nd3 Rd8 27.Bf3 Bxf3 28.Rxf3 Bf6 29.Re1 h5 30.g5 Bd4 31.f5 gxf5 32.Rxf5 a4

2. = (0.00): 15...Qa7 16.e5 dxe5 17.Qxe5 Qc5 18.Qe1 Qb6 19.Kb1 Bc5 20.Nf5 0-0 21.Nxg7 Bf2 22.Qe2 Kxg7 23.g5 Ne8 24.Qe5+ Kg8 25.Bd3 Ra7 26.gxh6 f5 27.Ng6 Rh7 28.Qf4 Rf6 29.Qg5 Kf7 30.Ne5+ Kf8 31.Ng6+ Kf7 32.Ne5+

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: This game is a fitting tribute to Tal
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