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Nigel Short vs Magnus Carlsen
London Chess Classic (2009), London ENG, rd 7, Dec-15
Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation. Yugoslav Attack Modern Line (B76)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 20 OF 20 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-15-09  frogbert: no, these queen endings are a nightmare to play correctly. pretty darn close to impossible.

however, the better side usually wins - meaning the one with the chances to win.

i posted the following two positions on the carlsen page:

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the latter position is won for black, but what about the first one? (both can be avoided for either side, but that's not my point here.)

my old fritzie says +5,5 or so for black in the first one - but so far i think it's a draw, and that black can't make real progress.

anybody with a winning line in position 1?

Dec-15-09  mikejaqua: Wow! Bare kings. How often does one see that?
Dec-15-09  YouRang: <Eyal> You are right of course. My post above should be taken a bit "tongue in cheek", as nobody should be expected to spot a mate-in-60 such as this. I was just wondering if this game was theoretically winnable. :-)

I looked at your first line, and perhaps it offers some stiffer defense:

<56.Qg4+ (instead of c5) Kf8 57.Qc8+ Kg7 58.Qg4+ Kh6 59.Kxa4> [diagram]

click for larger view

But black might still win by finagling his way to g3, eg. 59...Qc6+ 60.Kb4 Qb6+ 61.Ka4 Qa7+ 62.Kb5 Qb8+ 63.Ka4 Qg3! -- and we have the same position above, except the black queen is on g3.

After this, white must play 64.Qd4, and based on the lines I've looked at so far, it appears that black can make progress (not certain though).

Dec-15-09  frogbert: i'm not able to find a win or make progress here:

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(white to move)

so i would be quite surprised if there's a win for black here:

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(black to move)

the latter was yourang's position if i didn't misunderstand...

Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: hi folks - I was at the game today. Various masters were analysing: Korchnoi, Hodgson, Nunn, Speelman among others. I've had a look through the kibitzing for any sign of ...g5 on move 37 I think. Gives up a pawn for a passer on f4 for Carlsen, looked better than his ...h5 idea. John Nunn spotted it instantly in the room I was in; Lawrence Trent in the other room. When shown it afterwards Short seemed to think it looked a winner at first glance. No sign here: is there a hole in it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: 37... g6-g5 looks fine for Carlsen, with idea of g(x)f4 followed by f4-f3. Worth carefull analysis - I was kibitzing, but just <en passant> (not here full time)

Later, Short's idea of f4-f5-f6, creating even some mate threats was very bold and impressive, and the draw well deserved

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <37...g6-g5>!? A similar combination in Burn vs Schlechter, 1900
Dec-15-09  kb2ct: Carlsen was faced with a loss.

click for larger view

Here white faces an eventual skewer threat if QxQ

Qd3+ might hold, but it isn't easy.
This is why he ran for a draw.


Dec-15-09  Raisin Death Ray: What is with these draws?!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Someone on chessninja said that according to Short, Carlsen already reached out to play [56]...Qxc5?? allowing mate in three. That should support the assumption that he played Qd1-h5 on moves 54-55 because he mistakenly thought that would stop c5.

Also: <Nigel said after the game he had the position after move 23 on the board before his game and didn't take it seriously; he just thought he couldn't possibly be worse in such a position. Pause, and then with Nigel's usual comic timing. 'I may have to re-evaluate that assessment'.> (

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <"The crowd wanted to see Carlsen play ....g5 instead of ...fxg4; hxg4 h5. He said after the game he never considered this move."> hm... not only the kibitzing body overlooked that possibility
Premium Chessgames Member
  e4ia: Greetings!

Well, two rich endgames rd 7 Magnus and Naka- Vlady and no doubt more posts to both with more time deeper, especially computer analysis due to the complexity/variations but to various interesting posts here implying “Magnus missed winning moves”, apparently not! So far all “best moves” seem to end in a draw and any + 63table base wins will be most probably drawn due to 50 move rule and no pawn capture.

Moreover, I find it interesting that seemingly everyone posting here focuses on how Magnus could have been > in various lines, but no one wants to find “better moves” for Short… and earlier than the later game moves we’re mostly discussing! See chessok for some of those lines! (Note: I could lose easily these posted positions either color so the g5 analysis and a4+ lines were provided by a friend with F12; I think most of us here would play OTB the natural looking 54…Qxf6 getting rid of that totally nuisance pawn!)

on the most recent 37… g5 line
[37...g5 38.fxg5 f4 39.a4 f3 40.Bb5 Qe3 41.h4 Kg7 42.Bc4 Qe4 43.Qf1] =

[54...Qxf6 55.c5 Qf2 56.c6 Qg3+ 57.Kc4 h3 58.Qd3 Qg4+ 59.Qd4 Qe2+ 60.Kc5 h2 61.c7 Qe7+ 62.Qd6 Qe3+ 63.Qd4 Qc1+ 64.Qc4 Qxc4+ 65.Kxc4 Kg7] is not winning;

(54... Qxf6 !? 55. c5 Qg5 ♖ybka Aquarium (0:01.33) -0.66|depth 21 black stands slightly better without giving the moves

Nor is the a4+ line much better see chessbomb with 4 lines and Rybka 2.2

[54...a4+ 55.Kb4 Qxf6 56.c5 a3 57.Kxa3 Qc3+ 58.Ka2 Qxc5 59.Qxh4] leads to a best black/white play table base win in 67 meaning a draw due to 50 move rule (due to no f7 pawn capture needed to win of course!)

see also Mark Crowther TWIC on this game where he reports “56...Qxc5 57.Qg2+ Kf8 58.Qa8+ Qc8 59.Qxc8# was almost played by Carlsen as he admitted to Short after the game!

Both and will have their analysis reports by 12/17 latest; so we may have more to discuss!

Great posts all; thanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <e4ia: 54...a4+ 55.Kb4 Qxf6 56.c5 a3 57.Kxa3 Qc3+ 58.Ka2 Qxc5 59.Qxh4] leads to a best black/white play table base win in 67 meaning a draw due to 50 move rule>

No, the 50 move rule is not so relevant here - at least if Black plays more or less correctly - since there are going to be several pawn moves along the way; the winning plan is based on marching forward the f-pawn. It would certainly have been difficult in practice because of the type of endgame involved, but Carlsen wouldn't necessarily have to play completely accurately and see everything ahead, because Short would probably have made mistakes too (statistics of the endgame explorer for Q+P vs. Q, btw, is that the stronger side wins about 50% of the time). In the line I've mentioned earlier with 56.Qg4+ instead of c5, though, Black's win may not be so clear even "theoretically".

Premium Chessgames Member
  e4ia: <No, the 50 move rule isn't so relevant here>

Right! I was thinking incorrectly pawn capture vs pawn move... Moreover, it's nerve wracking to accurately defend with a lone Q vs Magnus extra pawn or in any tablebase ending with sudden death final time controls! Short has to watch his K position in forcing QxQ positions and a winning Magnus K+P ending.

On the other hand, it's tough to shield the Magnus K from constant Short checks in the Qxf6 line I posted.

But, I'd rather be black that pawn up ending!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Anyway, the most impressive (or instructive) thing I find about this game comes earlier - the way in which Carlsen managed to outplay Short in the middlegame from what seemed as a completely equal position from the opening (just a few weeks ago, a draw was agreed after 20.Bd3 in J Smeets vs Radjabov, 2009) to at least a near-win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  e4ia: Hi eval:
Well to...
<a draw was agreed after 20.Bd3 in J Smeets vs Radjabov, 2009)> I find that of "liitle" theoretical value as relates to this game; that game was played in a teams format, (European Team Championship)where early draws are often seen due to captain instructions and/or as a courtesy draw,when the match was already won. The board ones also seem to draw early to allow the lower boards to win the match.

75% of these team competition format draws are totally lame and usually in tabiya positions under 25 moves.

Therefore I give liitle credence to the relevance of that game cited.

Dec-16-09  rowwmayynn: question! why didnt short play 37. Bf1?
Premium Chessgames Member
  e4ia: Well. since they followed that < J Smeets vs Radjabov, 2009)> through 20 white when Smeets offered the draw, I guess it's somewhat relevant as one could call the Hagnus 20... Rc8 a "novelty" I guess!

I don't have a current chessbase, but no doubt the Smeets game moves at least until 16 or so have been played before.

cnessgames database gives
Games Like J Smeets vs Radjabov, 2009 but is not always up to date compared to chessbase etc

So, I'll take part of my earlier post back, but my distaste for many team competition draws!

Dec-16-09  SamAtoms1980: <rowwmayynn> 37.Bf1 Nxf4!
Premium Chessgames Member
  e4ia: Many of the questions and/or posts given can be at least partially answered ( for those with no chess engines) with the generous four evaluation lines given at "chessbomb" which links to chessdom

<rowwmayynn> if 37.Bf1 Nxf4! right answer <SamAtoms1980>! with an evaluation there of -0.85 and best moves given through #43

Just click on 36 black Kf8 in the MOVES display to get the top 4 lines @ 37 white that at least Rybka 2.2n2 sees.

And to follow up, the much discussed 54..Qxf6 that some claimed missed a black win, was evaluated as the best move to play, but only - 0.55 there; the played 54..Qd1 as "0"

As I posted earlier, the updated Rybka 3 Aquarium gave 54...Qf6 an evaluation of only -0.66 at depth 21 meaning there was no theoretical win with best play.

Use the free online "tablebase" at shredderchess when any position gets to six pieces left...which I also posted earlier.

Dec-19-09  meth0dSNK: eh, im better
Jan-03-10  notyetagm: Game Collection: OVERLOADED: commitment 56 c4-c5!! Black h5-queen must meet check on g2 with ... Qh5-g6
Jan-03-10  notyetagm: Game Collection: EDIO - Every Defender Is Overloaded! 56 c4-c5!! Black h5-queen cannot interpose on g6, protect c5-sq
Jan-03-10  notyetagm: Short vs Carlsen, 2009

56 ?

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56 c4-c5!! <overloaded: g6,c5>

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Short's brilliant 56 c4-c5!! is based on the tactical point that since the Black h5-queen is <COMMITTED> to meeting ♕e4-g2+ by <INTERPOSING> on the g-file with ... ♕h5-g6, the Black h5-queen cannot also <PROTECT> the c5-square.

56 ... ♕h5xc5?? <deflection: g6> 57 ♕e4-g2+ <mate in 2>

click for larger view

click for larger view

Jan-03-10  notyetagm:

<"Somehow, though, Carlsen really went off the tracks, and his position grew dangerous. <<<(In fact, as he admitted after the game, he almost blundered into a mate!)">>>>

Anyone have a link to Carlsen saying how he almost played 56 c4-c5!! Qh5xc5?? ? Or is there some other mate that he almost blundered into?


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