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Michael Adams vs Magnus Carlsen
"Mad Dogs and Englishmen" (game of the day Feb-12-2011)
Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad (2010), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 6, Sep-27
Modern Defense: Norwegian Defense. Norwegian Gambit (B06)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-12-11  kingfu: My best friend in Seattle is Dagerik Lindberg, a first generation Norwegian. We call him Erik. He lives to ski.

You can take the boy out of Norway but you may not take Norway out of the boy. When it snows in Seattle, occasionally, Erik goes native.

He became a first generation Norwegian because his Mother was the daughter of The Head of The Church of Norway.

She was in love with Knute Lindberg. Alas, her Father forbade the union.

So, they ended up in Ballard. It is an area just north of the locks in Seattle.

God Bless Norway!

Feb-12-11  Blackreptile: To play unusual openings at super GM level is to the credit and courage of Carlsen.I remember he played 1.a3 vs Ivanchuk in last year Amber tournament.I always wondered how GM don't tire themselves of playing all the time the boring Slavs or Spanish games.It is not at all irrespect to Adams.He just wants to change a bit! In the past I liked Tony Miles for his unorthodox choices of openings.I hope Carlsen will continue that way.
Feb-12-11  Eyal: <Phony Benoni: Adams demonstrates how to handle extravagant play by the opponent. Black's knight is misplaced by 3...Nh5, but instead of chasing it White just leaves it there until Black has to waste time repositioning it.

After 18...g5, apparently to get White's dark-square bishop off the board, Adams changes tactics […]>

18…g5 indeed looks like a careless move, but it wasn’t a necessary result of the opening or of Adams’ handling of it (though perhaps of the state of mind that made Carlsen choose this opening in the first place…). As several people have already noted in the previous round of kibitzing, which followed the game directly, Black actually didn’t come out so badly out of the opening, and after e.g. 17…Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Nf5 it’s not clear if White has really achieved much. To quote Carlsen’s own comment on the game: <Despite the unusual opening choice I was happy with my position entering the middle game. Becoming a bit too optimistic I played for a win but underestimated his attack and lost deservedly>.

Btw, later that year Carlsen even won a game in this opening (with White taking early on h5) - B Savchenko vs Carlsen, 2010 - though as a blitz game it doesn’t mean much, of course.

And the finish is indeed nice – with 36.Qxg3 White is threatening Rxh6+! followed by Qg6#, and Black doesn’t have an adequate defense. He could try 36…Nh5, but after 37.Qf3! Rxg6 38.Bxf5 White is still winning (for example, with a pawn up in the endgame after all the pieces are exchanged on g6).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Sometimes it is hard to see that the world is changing around you...

Scientists tell us that continental drift is still happening, pushing some landmasses closer together and others further apart. Heck, I even saw a science channel documentary that the moon is gradually drifting away from the earth. Okay, so we are only talking about millimetres or centimetres every year, but it's still change.

The society that we live in is changing, with subtle shifts in our attitudes to personal freedom and the role of the state. As I write this, the citizens of Egypt have just succeeded in getting rid of their leader ... something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. To think that the Berlin wall was dismantled not by Governments or armies with tanks, but by ordinary citizens in jeans and tee shirts and sports shoes.

I guess right now that several dictators will be watching the news with a degree of nervousness. Who knows? They may be making sure that their private jets are fully fuelled and that their secret luxury hideaways on some remote pacific island have plenty of beers in the fridge. Oh, and better make sure that we order a few more tanks for the army and machine guns for the secret police.

Chess is changing too. When I first started playing this game in 1970-something, we hadn't even dreamed of the internet. We'd heard of computers but they needed a building the size of a house in order to stutter out a passable game of tic-tac-toe. There was a computer on the USS Enterprise, but it was so mysterious that only Mr Spock knew how to use it. And he had to do that by looking at a woo-woo special viewport thingie which shone coloured lights on his face.

Now everyone in the world has a dozen computers. My phone has more computing power than a space shuttle. My ten year old son uses the internet for his homework as casually as he might reach for a dictionary from the bookshelf. And my eighty something year old grandmother rings up for advice on the difference between Windows 7 and earlier versions.

At super GM level, this means that chess is a very different sport to what it used to be. If you are going to play the absolute main lines, then you must be well prepared because you can bet that your opponent will be. Opening preparation now means keeping up with new games happening all round the world. They say that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil it can cause a tornado in Texas. They might also say that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, someone in Texas will know about it before the tornado hits because they will have seen it on a webcam. In the same way, an opening novelty can be flashed around the world almost instantaneously.

For a super GM, this either means working extremely hard to keep up with theory - or using Rybka/ Fritz et al to find new wrinkles in older lines. This is what Carlsen tries in this game. The fact that it doesn't work today doesn't really matter. It shows the change that is coming to chess if only we have the eyes to see it.

Much as I admire Mickey as a player and enjoyed his fine win in this game, I have to say that Carlsen should be applauded for trying something new - or trying to bring new ideas to something old.

So I am sorry, but I don't subscribe to this theory that Carlsen was being silly or disrespectful by playing an unusual opening against someone as strong as Mickey. Carlsen's approach is the future, and we need to open our eyes to the changes that are happening to this game of ours.

This particular opening may or may not stand the test of time. But I expect to see more crinkly lines dragged out of retirement, like those movies that Hollywood does from time to time where an ex-action hero zimmerframes their way through an "old guys showing the young punks how it's done" flick.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It was a surprise how quickly white moved the attack from the diagonal to the g-file.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Eyal> Thanks for your post. After reading that and earlier kibitzes, I realize my point was not well made.

Basically, I simply wanted to look at the contrast between Adams' reaction to Carlsen's unusual idea and Kosintseva's play in yesterday's GOTD, N Kosintseva vs E Berg, 2007. The word "extravagant" was not well chosen, and I shouldn't have implied criticism of 3...Nh5 without examining it carefully.

Every move on the chessboard has its plusses and minuses. The role of the opponent is to assess the move objectively, then as much as possible accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive.

Feb-12-11  Marmot PFL: Carlsen should have showed this opening to his team before playing it against Adams so they could have talked him out of it. Might be OK to play against Sierra Leone or the Seychelles islands.
Feb-12-11  Ghuzultyy: 36...Qf7?? fails to give the endgame this game deserves
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Once> -- < Sometimes it is hard to see that the world is changing around you...>

Ever see the 1930s gangster flick, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond?

Diamond gets out of jail and is brought to meet the new mob. They've reorganized things while he was away ... more anonymous guys counting profits, less charisma. And what the new blank face has to say is:

"The world's changing, Mr Diamond. I suggest you leave it."

Was it ever thus? At least since this progress-acceleration thing kicked in about 400 years ago?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Domdaniel> Indeed. I think two things are inevitable - (1) change is always happening and (2) those living through change often don't realise it.

For example, you and I have often agreed that language is constantly evolving, much as some folk would like to think that it is fixed.

IMHO. LOL. ;-)

Mind you, not all change is for the better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  hessonchess: Yep, this is the North Sea Defense. I think it's great that he played it. The idea that it is disrespectful sounds just cranky to me. He had near equality through much of the middle game. White made some blunders that Black could have capitalized on better and that's what I like to see in a match: who susses out weaknesses in the other guy first. That is doesn't fit some grand theory-book building exercise is not relevant.

Here's a little into lecture I did on this opening (before I know of this game), as others noted, there is a little monograph out on this opening. Nobody thinks it's a great opening, it is just a weird fun thing to toss out

Sep-10-11  dumbgai: Nakamura-like opening, Nakamura-like result.
Dec-02-11  Pedro Fernandez: <morphy2010: : This is ridiculous. Michael Adams is a world-class player, has been ranked as high as 4th in the world, is famous and feared for his positional prowess...and Carlsen shows him no respect whatsoever on the third move. I hope this deflates a little of the hype around Carlsen. The kid needs to knuckle down and play chess. Stop this foolishness and show a little respect for his opponents.> I totally agree with this well aimed opinion and remember me that celebrated game Fischer vs Keres (a draw) where, unlike Carlsen, the young GM showed a big respect about the strong old Russian GM.
Jul-19-12  gilbav: I suggested the pun (and was really impressed with myself, I tell you).
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Had Carlsen played 16...Nxf3+ 17.Qxf3 Nf5 he'd have had only a small disadvantage (Houdini 3 assesses the position as +0.34) and the game most likely would have ended in a draw. Although Adams won, he certainly didn't succeed in refuting the defense.
Oct-02-13  Conrad93: At no point was the position equal.
Jan-04-14  parisattack: <picard: did anyone read kasparov's recent interview? he says Magnus needs to concentrate on chess and change his attitude. he says he wont work with him anymore because Magnus just wants to do his own thing. Kasparov was asked about this game and said it was insulting to Adams. He thinks carlsen doesnt have enough chess ideas!! Time will tell i suppose. >

'Doing his own thing' seems to be turning out OK for him...

Sep-07-19  Xeroxx: Norwegian Defense. Norwegian Gambit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Xeroxx: Norwegian Defense. Norwegian Gambit.> Norwegian Defeat.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plaskett: I´ve beaten GM Emms with 1...a6 and Candidate GM Martin with 1 a3 (he replied 1...a6). But I only ever played World Champion Carlsen once and that was in a 3 minutes each player game on ICC. I was a pawn ahead, had more time and my pieces were also better placed. And I lost.
I beat Michael Adams ONCE.
And lost to him (ahem) ELEVEN times.
Nov-25-19  Granny O Doul: <Ever see the 1930s gangster flick, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond?>

I have not, but I did find it apt that Legs Diamond should appear on the final page of Herbert Asbury's "Gangs of New New York", merely as the bodyguard or driver for Owney Madden or was it Dutch Schultz. Anyway, it well made the point that this is where we are right now, but the story isn't over yet.

May-03-20  Xeroxx: <whiteshark: <Xeroxx: Norwegian Defense. Norwegian Gambit.> Norwegian Defeat.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Feb-12-11 kingfu: My best friend in Seattle is Dagerik Lindberg, a first generation Norwegian. We call him Erik. He lives to ski. You can take the boy out of Norway but you may not take Norway out of the boy. When it snows in Seattle, occasionally, Erik goes native.

He became a first generation Norwegian because his Mother was the daughter of The Head of The Church of Norway.

She was in love with Knute Lindberg. Alas, her Father forbade the union.

So, they ended up in Ballard. It is an area just north of the locks in Seattle.

God Bless Norway!>

This post just cracked me up. I live in Seattle and work in Ballard. The Scandinavian presence is strong here with the Norweigan cultural center and plentiful jokes, but gentrification and corporate development are eroding the flavor.

Premium Chessgames Member
  louispaulsen88888888: Despite being known as the Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus is native to northern China. International trade introduced throughout rest of the world beginning in the 18th century. Brown rats are now found on every continent except Antarctica.
Feb-28-22  jerseybob: <FSR: Had Carlsen played 16...Nxf3+ 17.Qxf3 Nf5 he'd have had only a small disadvantage... Although Adams won, he certainly didn't succeed in refuting the defense.> I'm also surprised he didn't take the bishop, a decision I'm sure he soon regretted. As for a refutation, since Magnus already had a large edge in their series, I'm sure an advantage would've sufficed for Adams, although if ever an opening deserved refuting, it is this!
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