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Luke McShane vs Magnus Carlsen
Tal Memorial (2012), Moscow RUS, rd 9, Jun-18
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Delayed Exchange (C85)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-19-12  dawn1: Nice utilization of the two bishops advantage in the Ruy Lopez exchange variation. instructive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Apparently McShane spent a very long time on 21.Qe1. It's supported by the nice tactical idea of 21...Qxd3? 22.Rd1 Qxe4?? 23.Ng5 trapping the queen, and 22...Qb5 23.Ng5 is also very good for White, with the black queen stuck on the Q-side and a lot of play on the K-side and center (e.g., Nd5 or Qh4 may follow). But as Alex Yermolinsky said on the ICC broadcast: "C'mon, give me a break - Magnus was not going to take this pawn on d3". Instead, 21...a5! immediately puts the finger on the problematic point of Qe1, which is the weakening of <b3> rather than d3 (now White can't play 22.a4 to stop the advance of Black's a-pawn). McShane said in the press conference that it was "careless" of him to forget about ...a5.
Jun-19-12  Everett: With the knights, 17.f5 suggests itself, closing the position, gaining space in the area of Black's K, and breathing life into White's DSB after an eventual Bc1...
Jun-19-12  haydn20: I guess the point of the deferred ex is to put Black in a relatively unfavorable version of the usual exchange positions. I also guess 10. Nc3 was part of the plan Nc3-e2-g3. But Carlsen ruins this plan with Re8, Nf8-e6 and c5. Now the Black LSB rules and the Ne6 is invulnerable and threatens to outpost at d4. Moreover, the doubled cP is no longer a liability. In any case, White has already lost the initiative.
Jun-19-12  haydn20: PS I also thought fxe5 and Ng1 was an OK defensive set-up. The consequences of 17. f5 are about as far beyond my competence as deciphering a Sumerian tablet would be.
Jun-19-12  mrbasso: 17.f5 looks bad. McShane played correctly but should have gone for 21.Qc2.
Jun-19-12  haydn20: PPS. 21. Qe1 was not so good either, as now he can't answer 21. ...a5 with 22. a4? due to Bxb3.
Jun-19-12  lost in space: That white handled the opening not optimal is quite easy to be seen in the diagram below

click for larger view

A very nice big pawn on b2. Normally issues for Black, not for White.

Jun-19-12  haydn20: Finally--<luzhin> 34. Ng5! is a star move.
Jun-24-12  QueentakesKing: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
If this was a movie- oh boy- Mr. McShane was a bad bad actor. Hahahahahahahahaha!
Jun-24-12  QueentakesKing: I bet they are now chess buddies!
Jun-25-12  QueentakesKing: Luke McShane could have simplified the position with the capture of the knight on d4. But no, in summary, he created weak a3,c3and d3 pawns. His queen turned 'gypsy', from e1-h4-g5-c1. His attack on the king was 'imaginary'. He allowed black to control the f-files, with an eye on f1, and 2nd rank. And, most worthy to mention, he ZUGZWANGED himself. I rest my case.
Jun-25-12  King Death: The move 21.Qe1 is one of those trappy ideas that works well when our opponent has to grab the pawn or the consequences aren't clear but like <Eyal> mentioned no strong player will put his queen out of play after 21...Qd3 22.Rd1 Qb5 23.Ng5 if he spends a little time looking at this.

Instead of 21.Qe1 McShane could have tried 21.Qc2 Rf8 22.Rad1 but he doesn't have anything here, Black has space and the two bishops if his opponent tries to open up the position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Judging by what Carlsen said in his post-tournament interview with Atarov, perhaps missing the (unactualized) possibility of 34.Ng5! had something to do with shifting concentration to another game...

<From some point onwards it seemed as though you were less worried about your game than whether Aronian would convert his edge against Caruana...

- Approaching time trouble the result of both games was more or less obvious, so I spent more time watching Levon win his game.> (

Jun-25-12  King Death: That's a reminder then of how important it is to stay focused on what's happening. Playing both chess and poker, I've made that mistake and learned to stay disciplined. If these top players can make a mess of it maybe there's hope for us ordinary folks!
Jul-01-12  QueentakesKing: I am not yet through with this game. My critical review of this game is my way of helping the sport, the organizers, FIDE, the public, sponsors and et al., in my own little way. In the hope that in the end justice will be served.
Jul-01-12  QueentakesKing: Why did Luke McShane played very very bad bad chess in this game with Carlsen? I am a non-rated player but I can see the non-sense of his moves!!! He practically and obviously loosen the hold of his position and open the gates for Carlsen to conveniently attack him. I am not saying that he threw the game but based on the evidence at hand, I am inclined to believe so.
Jul-03-12  Ulhumbrus: On 34 Ng5 Qd6 35 Rxf4 exf4 36 Rd1 Qe5 37 Nxe6+ Qxe6 38 Qxf4 Qe7! Black seems to have everything covered and White has three isolated pawns.
Jul-04-12  WiseWizard: Beautiful game, the harmony and ease of the black pieces is so nice. It's how chess should be played.
Jul-05-12  QueentakesKing: Why did Luke McShane forced the issue? What was his point? He knew of course that he can't win the championship even assuming he won this game. He could had easily drawn the game. Why did he commit 'suicide'? Come on Fide and come on English chess federation are we just going to let this game go? Chess writers and columnists pay attention to this game. Please study this game particularly the moves of McShane and see if anything irregular happened here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <QueentakesKing> McShane played in this 'style' throughout the tournament. Why should he have changed it just because it was the final game ? If anything justice was served due to Luke being consistant.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <QueentakesKing: Why did Luke McShane forced the issue? What was his point? He knew of course that he can't win the championship even assuming he won this game.>

I'm not sure whether <QueentakesKing> is intentionally lying here or simply didn't bother to check the most basic facts in the heat of his silly smear campaign against McShane, but the fact is that the latter <was> among the contenders for first place when entering the final round, and in fact <would> have won the tournament had he won this game (and the other results were identical), as anyone who bothers to check the crosstable and the tiebreak rules can see. In such a case, McShane would have finished with an equal number of points to Radjabov & Caruana, edging Radjabov on first tiebreak (number of Blacks), and Caruana on second tiebreak (number of wins).

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Eyal> When he talks about McShane throwing this game, any pretence of credibility goes out the window in one big hurry.

White's play was slow in this middlegame, but slow play does not a fix make. Maybe someone should explain this concept to <Queen> before he goes off on another rant.

If he'd been around in 1908, I'm sure readers would have been treated to <Queen's> explaining away Tarrasch's loss by 3:8 to Lasker in even more entertaining fashion than the good doctor's own attempt.

May-10-14  Whitehat1963: This game baffles me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gambitfan: 1) -7.24 (28 ply) 41.♕h4 ♖xe4 42.♕h6 ♖xe1+ 43.♖xe1 ♕d5+ 44.♔g1 ♕f7 45.♘g5 ♕g7 46.♕xg7+ ♔xg7 47.♖d1 ♖g8 48.♘f3 ♔f6 49.a4 ♗e6 50.♖b1 ♘a5 51.♖d1 ♖a8 52.♔f2 ♘c6 53.h4 h6 54.♘e1 ♖xa4 55.♖d2 ♖g4 56.♖e2 b6 57.♖e3 ♖a4 58.♘g2 ♖a2+ 59.♖e2
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