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Luke McShane vs Magnus Carlsen
London Chess Classic (2011), London ENG, rd 2, Dec-04
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense (C78)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Thanks for the live game < >. I really enjoyed it and hope you continue to do this.
Dec-04-11  haydn20: Can it really be that this whole mess started with the great MC moving the wrong rook on move 17?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Carlsen really needs some new game play because he does want Hikaru Nakamura to draw blood tomorrow.
Dec-04-11  Ulhumbrus: At move 64 one problem which White faces is that if his Rook is on d3, f3 invites ...Ra2+ but on Rd2, ...Ra3 prevents f3.

Suppose that instead of 64 f3 White plays 64 d6. One sequence is 64 d6 Kf7 65 d7+ Kd8 66 Rd6 Ra4 67 Rxf6 Kxd7 68 Rh6 Rxe4 69 Rxh5 Ke6 and White has the same problem as before: f3 without a rook on the second rank invites ...Re2+ while bringing a Rook to the second rank is met by eg...Ra3 preventing f3.

Perhaps, as Naiditsch indicated earlier, it was better to play 42 Qe3 instead of 42 Kg1.

An alternative to 39 Qc3 is 39 Ra7 Rb7 40 Rxb7 Qxb7 41 Qc3. Then on 40...f5 41 Qe3 threatens 42 Qg5+ and if Black does nothing, White is ready for b3 followed by Nc4 and Ne3.

At move 34 is the withdrawal 34 Qa3 necessary? Instead of this 34 c4 keeps Black's QB out of b5 so that White's N can come to f1 and e3.

Dec-04-11  Kangaroo: Move <72... Re2+> was suggested during the game with the idea <73. Rxe2 fxe2 74. Kxe2? f5!> and Black's chances are better.

The refutation is <74. g4!> instead of <74. Kxe2> and after <74...hxg4 75. h5> White wins!

Black King cannot stop both pawns, <d6> and <h5>, while White King is more successful.

Dec-04-11  Everett: <Domdaniel: <Ulhumbrus> Thank you. That's a much more reasonable appraisal of the game than some of the more hysterical comments we've seen. It was, on the whole, well played -- Carlsen got into some trouble but used his endgame skill to fight back, and McShane slipped up in time trouble.>

Actually, that is not what was quoted. What was quoted by <Ulhumbrus> was Naiditch saying Carlsen blundered on move 17, then <McShane played a great game until move 55, not giving Black a single chance for escape and only needed to finish his opponent but made a few inaccurate moves and Black was alive again>. Seems to me there is nothing up to this point saying Carlsen "used his endgame skill to fight back." The only thing Carlsen did was 1) not resign and 2) "used his chance and escaped" after a final blunder by McShane on move 63.

Dec-04-11  Rolfo: <Seems to me there is nothing up to this point saying Carlsen "used his endgame skill to fight back." The only thing Carlsen did was 1) not resign and 2) "used his chance and escaped" after a final blunder by McShane on move 63.>

It seems as Carlsen didn't use his endgame skill, and that he was lucky and should probably have resigned ..

Dec-04-11  veigaman: How to defend bad or inferior positions, how to handle the pressure are resource that the top players should have them. Magnus showed it again.
Dec-04-11  frogbert: the only clear win "i" spotted during the game, was on move 55 (as naiditsch mentions):

click for larger view

here, white can try the manouver Rc3-c5! i.e. 55. Rc3 Qd6 (quite safe to assume that carlsen would've tried that) 56. Rc5!

click for larger view

the point is that after 56... Qd7?! 57. Qa6! it's no longer possible to play Qd6 as it loses to 58. Rc6 Qf8 59. Re6 and black's position crumbles:

click for larger view

(analysis diagram)

so it seems that white wins if he manages to double on the 6th row, with the rook "first" = closest to black's king. one of the problems with this doubling is that it pins the f6 pawn so that it becomes very hard (impossible?) to guard the black e5 pawn.

there's a tricky line where black tries to stop this 6th row invasion, with 56... Qf8:

click for larger view

white intends Qb5-c4-c1 followed by Rc6 after which black can't stop both d6 and Qg5+ which is decisive. therefore black is forced to avoid this, and he does, for instance after 57. Qb5 Ra8 ("random") 58. Qc4 Rb8 59. Qc1! Rb1!? 60. Qxb1 Qxc5 61. Qd3

click for larger view

however, unlike the rook ending, the queen ending after exchanging rooks seems to win for white.

anyway, all the respectless comments about mcshane's "bad technique" are really out of place - the manouvering required to win involved both subtle tactics and some ideas that are far from obvious imho. there were no trivial ways to convert this ending i think - in fact it required very precise and gifted play.

Dec-04-11  Kinghunt: Maybe I missed it, but did anyone ever post a concrete line that won for white?
Dec-04-11  frogbert: kinghunt, that's what i just did. :o)
Dec-04-11  Rolfo: <anyway, all the respectless comments about mcshane's "bad technique" are really out of place - the manouvering required to win involved both subtle tactics and some ideas that are far from obvious imho. there were no trivial ways to convert this ending i think - in fact it required very precise and gifted play.> Excactly
Dec-04-11  Kinghunt: Thanks frogbert, I think we posted at the same time. I'll have a look at your analysis.
Dec-04-11  frogbert: but imnsho, there are a lot of people who should've had both their engine and kibitzing rights removed. ;o) here and on icc ...
Dec-04-11  polarmis: Shipov said he couldn't find a win in the queen and rook position at the end (he asked people not to throw tomatoes at him). Although he did say he thought serious analysis would probably find something he certainly wasn't criticising McShane.

He did point out various wins or big improvements before that, though, including: 21.Nc4! 25.Qd2! 27.Ree1!? 34.Nc4!? (heading for e3), 37.Qa7! He disagreed with Lasker and said it would have been much better for Carlsen to have had no plan than the bad plan of 19...g5?!, though at least he realised in time that the ...g4 follow-up would have lost.

By the way, did the mutual blunders (with not taking on b6 etc.) actually happen? Shipov assumed there must just have been a glitch in the broadcast.

Dec-04-11  Jambow: <frogbert: kinghunt, that's what i just did. :o)>

Yes and it didn't take a 2600 player to see multiple ways to convert to a win a player 4-500pts lower saw it.

I thought 53. Rb7 was yet another path that would lead to victory that was when I went really now McShane is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Anyway all players get gifts and Magnus has given a few too it works both ways.

Dec-04-11  pericles of athens: fritz thinks the position after move 21 is nearly +2.0! wow.
Dec-05-11  kackhander: I'm still exhausted just from watching this game, I don't know how either of them can summon the concentration to go at it again today.
Dec-05-11  frogbert: polarmis, i don't know for sure, but i'm 99% certain that the exchange on b6 happened on move 22.
Dec-05-11  messachess: Great game. Too bad: it seems--at least in part--because of McShane's absence from the game, he's unlikely to get into the elite circle of events before he's past his prime. But, he shows that he belongs there.
Dec-05-11  polarmis: Thanks, <frogbert>, that seems likely. It was annoying the commentators didn't just leave Carlsen and McShane to talk about the whole game. It wouldn't have taken any longer than bombarding them with silly questions about the ending...
Dec-05-11  polarmis: Just to add: John Saunders at the official website (also reposted at ChessBase) confirms 22.Nxb6 was played, not 22.Re3:
Dec-05-11  scormus: <frogbert: polarmis> thanks for putting my mind at rest. When I saw Luke not playing Nxb6 until 2 moves later I thought I was losing my sanity (especially as Magnus didnt play 22 ... exd4)

I know I got quite steamed up about Luke not taking my advice between move 50 and 60, but its a hell of a task to find the right sequence in such a position. Like .... I miss the good line in a lot of the POTDs much simpler than this was.

Even so, it was painful to see him not win after playing so well and coming so close. Luke really had his man on the ropes but could quite nail him. I know the feeling :(

Dec-19-11  Ulhumbrus: 25 h3?! repels Black's QB but it also disturbs the King side pawns without necessity. An alternative is 25 Ra6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: 70.Ke1 and the material is finally even.
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