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Yannick Pelletier vs Magnus Carlsen
Biel Chess Festival (2011), Biel SUI, rd 1, Jul-18
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Modern Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Deffi> - < was 81...Kc2 better....> I think so - even 81...Kc3 might be slightly better. But I'm pretty sure MC still wins this.
Jul-18-11  Open Defence: i think its all the same, just a move or 2 to get to a similar set up
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: For a second there I 'forgot' that the f5-pawn protected the Qe4... arrgh.
Jul-18-11  turbo231: It would take Houdini about 2 seconds to win this game for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: A typical Carlsen mystery at the end.

Did he visualize something like this when he played ...Kf6 starting the long journey, or was it all a fishing expedition that turned successful.

Jul-18-11  cro777: <Dom> Naiditsch commented: "Sometimes I am asking myself, how is doing this Magnus. Against me Yannick for sure would have played 31.Qe2!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: It's done. In the end, White's earlier kingside demonstration succeeded in only giving Black the initiative on both wings.

I'll be interested to hear what they say about 31.Qe2/Qd1, though. My guess is Pelletier saw Qe2, then thought that that Qd1 was even stronger, missing the force of ...Rf4!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Administrator: Thanks to everyone for being here today. We will resume our coverage of Biel tomorrow at 8:AM USA/Eastern time. Hope to see you then.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <cro777> That is very true. I've seen GMs demolish me with confidence, then become timid against super-GMs. People really do play differently according to the opponent.
Jul-18-11  amadeus: Thanks, <CG>.
Jul-18-11  MrSpock: An interesting line is: 22. Bxe8 Qxe8 23. Rde1 e5 24. Kh1 Rc8 25. f4 ...
Jul-18-11  cro777: The position after 30...Ra4 (stronger is 30... Qc1+) :

click for larger view

According to Naiditsch, 31.Qe2! with the idea if 31...Rf4? 32.Re8 Rf8 33.Qa2! would have almost saved the game.

At the <ChessOK> site (with Rybka Aquarium commentary) the following line is considered preferable:

31. Qe2 Kf8 32. Re6 Ra1+ 33. Kh2 Qc7+ 34. g3 Kf7 35. Re3 Ra5 36. Qb2 (+0.12)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Carlsen belies his youth in this queen ending, displaying technique worthy of a mature GM.

<Domdaniel: ....I've seen GMs demolish me with confidence, then become timid against super-GMs. People really do play differently according to the opponent.>

This is also a phenomenon I experienced during my career-a GM would play a fine game against me, then go into a shell when facing a top player.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I'm surprised Pelletier didn't draw this, with such an open board, and Q + R. Trading off the Rooks kind of reduced his options; I thought he could keep better perpetual check chances with more muscle on the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: 88 moves - NOT your average day in the park!

After 18...Nc6; I did not see how White was going to save his e-pawn. (He didn't.)

Jul-18-11  apexin: Magnus could have won earlier in many ways,but probably wanted to confuse his opponent and make him tired. Practical chess.
Jul-18-11  SetNoEscapeOn: typical Carlsen
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: If 35...QxP/f2; then 36.RxP/a7.

I really don't see how Carlsen could have won more quickly.

Pelletier ( is not exactly a fish, and Carlsen WAS playing Black.

Jul-18-11  selfmate: Playing white is worth, what, about 35 additional rating points?
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Some say close to 100.
Jul-19-11  cro777: Carlsen's short commentary of the game:

"The drawing of lots are not of critical importance in a double round robin, but black against Pelletier (2590) in the first round was not obviously ideal. I’m glad that in the end it worked out well.

The complicated middle game position resulting from the 9….b6 Grunfeld variation allowed my opponent to make some minor mistakes.

The pawn up ending was not at all easy to convert. Trading off the last pair of rooks, the queen ending with 2+2 against 3 kingside pawns should be winning though. He defended well but close to move 90 he resigned as he could no longer stop my b-pawn".

According to Glenn Flear, <9...b6> is one of the most solid defences against <8.Rb1> in the Gruenfeld exchange variation, but this still doesn't insure Black against kingside attack. Besides, Carlsen introduced a novelty <15...e6> and gradually obtained the better chances.

Jul-20-11  selfmate: 100 seems too high to me.

After all, a player who outranks another by 100 pts can expect to score 64%, but a player with the white pieces can only expect to win 55% of the time against equally rated opposition.

Jul-20-11  cro777: "In Grunfeld, a bit strange choise by Magnus, in so many variations black needs to be very careful and remember long lines to make a forced draw... but as Vachier Lagrave has been showing in multiple other events , in practical game Grunfeld is a good choise for beating a weaker oponent.

Yannick Pelletier had 2 decisions, play for a draw from the first moves, or go into open fight - which could end risky for him. Maybe many do not know this, but Yannick has very good opening preparation". (Naiditsch)

Yannick opted for the most aggressive line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As Naiditsch notes, playing Black in the Gruenfeld necessitates learning a large body of theory in numerous lines, and I tried to avoid the main lines when I played it.

His comment regarding Pelletier's opening erudition is curious, though, as even a weak player like me has long been aware of that. So far as I know, he's always been noted for that aspect of his game.

Jul-22-11  cro777: Carlsen's novelty <15...e6> in the Gruenfeld Exchange 8.Rb1 with ...b6

The gambit line <8. Rb1> in the Gruenfeld Exchange variation has been a favorite of Yannicks for a long time. After <8...0-0 9.Be2> Carlsen went for <9...b6>, giving White a huge space advantage (the main line is <9...cxd4> with long forced lines).

Yannick opted for <10.0-0>, the most aggressive line. Magnus already lost in this position with Black against Nakamura (Oslo blitz 2009).

In the position after < 10...Bb7 11.d5 Bxc3 12.Bc4 Bg7 13.Qd3> (A rare move, Nakamura against Carlsen played 13.e5. Other alternatives are 13.Bb2, 13.Qe2 and 13.Bf4) <13...Qc8 14.Bg5 Re8 15.e5>

click for larger view

Carlsen played a novelty <15...e6> which leads to a very sharp and concrete game.

The other possibilities are: the most logical, according to Naiditsch, <15...Ba6> with very unclear game, and <15...Qf5> trying to get an endgame (which clearly was no option for Magnus).

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