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Francisco Vallejo Pons vs Magnus Carlsen
Grand Slam Chess Final (2012), Sao Paulo BRA, rd 2, Sep-25
Pirc Defense: General (B07)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-25-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: This game is practically one long endgame, starting right after the exchange of queens. It feels like Vallejo never had a real chance. And the final strong-B vs stranded-N endgame is a textbook conversion of advantage.
Sep-25-12  fetonzio: i have not seen the game yet, but i wonder how you lose after QxQ
Sep-25-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <fetonzio: i have not seen the game yet, but i wonder how you lose after QxQ >

After KxQ, the position is absolutely equal. (If that is what you are asking.)

Sep-25-12  francis2012: Position after 5. QxQ+ KxQ


click for larger view

Sep-25-12  starkidaway: It's amazing how Carlsen seems to find ways of how to win drawing positions that usually originates from inferior openings. I think he really has a higher drive to win than most players...not to mention he's braver than most.Just the fact that he takes higher risks than most players by playing not up-to-par lines (which throws most elite off), then slowly building pressure by mixing things up on either flank of the board ,is what has made him so successful. Yesterday game against Caruana shows that his opening repertoire is rather average but somehow he finds way of confusing Caruana (which by the way is a very computer dependent player), and just outplays him OTB,even though he lost in a winning position. I remember watching an interview where he said that early in his career he never used a computer and just analyzed positions over the board. I think, partially, that why he's so good. You can actually develop a better understanding of the game that way.
Sep-25-12  pojtr: I'm sure that Carlsen knows the main lines very well but doesn't play them. He forces his opponents to play chess from the very beginning for a price of 0.1-0.2 pawn. He also very strong in these equal positions with no queens. Note that equal does not mean drawish, it's just the history of chess that shows GMs quickly accept draw in these type of positions (or used to). I don't really understand why Vallejo accepted the exchange of queens when he could be pretty sure MC will play it to 2 kings in a position that he understands better than VP. I think it was a strategic mistake by him not playing something like 4.Nf3. And I must argue that MC risks a lot. He changed queens at move 4 after all, forcing his opponent to play 40 perfect moves in a totally safe position. I did not check it, but I believe he has a very low losing percentage, lower than Kasparov's at his peak with the same performance level.
Sep-26-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: It is increasingly staggering to watch the development of young Magnus Carlsen. Yes, young! Sometimes we speak of him as if he was a battle-hardened GM in the mid 30s. His play of late recalls the greatness of the old endgame masters, such as Rubinstein, Capablanca, Smyslov and later: Karpov. But Carlsen also has the will to fight from good old Emanuel Lasker, his dynamic play, willingness to complicate and universality in style.
Sep-26-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Position after 30...Kd6:


click for larger view

Looks like Vallejo missed a good (but quite tricky) defensive resource here: <31. Rd1! a5 (31... Ke5 32. Rc1! Rxc1 33. Kxc1 and with the king on e5 the situation is worse for Black than in the game, because 33... h4 can now be answered by 34. Nc6+ winning the d-pawn because 34... Kd5?? drops the bishop. ) 32. Rxd4+ Ke5 and now 33. Rd8! Rxd8 34. Nc6+ Kf6 35. Nxd8 Bd3 36. Kc3 Bf1 37. Kd2 Bxg2 38. Ke3 h4 39. gxh4 gxh4 40. Kf4 should be a draw.> (http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/c...)

Apart from that it's quite difficult to pinpoint specific errors by Vallejo, though in general the way he conducted his game with White was of course very unambitious, to say the least.

Sep-26-12  Edmontonchessclub: The last move, 42. Kd4, did not happen.
Sep-26-12  gilbav: <Eyal> 34...Kf6 may be a mistake in that variation. 34...Kd5 35.Nxd8 h4 is probably a better winning try for Black. So then is the pretty 33.Rd8 actually the best move? An interesting alternative for White is 33.Rd5+ Ke6 34.Rxg5 Kf6 35.Rxb5 axb4 36.a4!
Sep-26-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <gilbav: <Eyal> 34...Kf6 may be a mistake in that variation. 34...Kd5 35.Nxd8 h4 is probably a better winning try for Black.>

Looks like White can still hold it, though - again - it's quite tricky: 31.Rd1! a5 32.Rxd4+ Ke5 33.Rd8! Rxd8 34.Nc6+ Kd5 35.Nxd8 h4 (now 35...Bd3 allows 36.Nf7) 36.Kc3 hxg3 37.Kd2! (so that after 37...Bh5 38.Ke3 the king is in time to defend against Bxf3) 37...a4 38.bxa4 bxa4 39.a3 Kc4 40.Nb7 Kb3 41.Ke3 Kxa3 42.Nc5 Kb4 43.Nxa4 Kxa4 44.f4 g4 45.Kd4! to be followed by Ke5-f5-Kf4-Kxg3 with a tablebase draw.

But yeah, 33.Rd5+ might do the trick as well, and it seems relatively easier to calculate.

Sep-26-12  luzhin: Carlsen could have finished even more precisely with 40...d2 41.Kxd2 h3 and the h-pawn queens with no delay. But what a fantastic demonstration of the superiority of B over N. Perhaps Vallejo missed the killing 37...Bh3!-- the self-block of the h-pawn is counterintuitive.
Sep-26-12  Ulhumbrus: Emanuel Lasker won a game like this against Janowski once, the game Janowski vs Lasker, 1910

Edward Lasker says in his book "Chess secrets I learned from the masters" that Lasker had learnt that Janowski had been making derogatory remarks about him and wanted to show that he could play with Janowski in the manner of a cat with a mouse, giving Janowski every possible chance and still winning. This suggests the question of whether something similar happened here.

10 Nxd6 gains the bishop pair but then 15 Bxb5 returns the bishop pair.

Sep-26-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Ulhumbrus: Emanuel Lasker won a game like this against Janowski once, the game Janowski vs Lasker, 1910 Edward Lasker says in his book "Chess secrets I learned from the masters" that Lasker had learnt that Janowski had been making derogatory remarks about him and wanted to show that he could play with Janowski in the manner of a cat with a mouse, giving Janowski every possible chance and still winning. This suggests the question of whether something similar happened here.>

Lasker was leading the match +6-0=3 when that game was played. So Edward Lasker's story doesn't make a lot of sense. How does trading queens in a symmetrical pawn formation give Janowski "every possible chance" anyway? Lasker was better than Janowski in all phases by 1910, but he probably thought his superiority was particularly pronounced in endings. That would explain his choice of opening (though not Janowski's). It probably explains Carlsen's choice also.

Sep-26-12  csmath: <Carlsen could have finished even more precisely> ? He finished game the way it has to be done, leaving absolutely nothing uncertain.

The ending played here is a textbook material, it is clear that Magnus is heads and shoulders above Valejo. This was so simple and so precise it is rarely seen. Exactly for textbook on endings.

Sep-26-12  csmath: The opening is also in style. It appears as Magnus is taking some risks yet he sees it clear - white has nothing except weaknesses. Clear positional mastery, nothing spectacular but clear dominance in understanding.
Sep-26-12  fgh: <nothing spectacular>

But if this win were one by Kramnik, you wouldn't hesitate to call it "boring". Your hypocrisy doesn't impress anybody.

Sep-27-12  jefballard: Question from a novice... why doesn't Vallejo-Pons take the A pawn on move 31? Does the Rook present a threat to the A file that I don't see? I thought anytime you can collect material and isolate pawns you do it.
Sep-27-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <jefballard> It's because of the c2 square - 31.Nxa6 allows Black to penetrate with his rook by 31...Rc2+ followed by Rxg2 and a big advantage.
Sep-28-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 13. Bh4 ... a losing move?
Oct-07-12  lost in space: Strange; The following line is standard in the vienna game:

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. d4 (rarely played)
Opening Explorer

No one every played 3. d6 (at least according to our database), coming to the same position as here played by Carlsen. Why is this the case when the position is so dead even after the queen change (3...d6 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8 Kxd8)?

Jun-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <lost in space> Standard? 3.d4 has been played seven times. With 719,000 games, that means it's occurred in less than 1/100,000 of the games in the database. I daresay that most people play 3...exd4 in response because they're happy to gain a free tempo against the queen with 4...Nc6. They don't play 3...d6 because (a) there's an appealing alternative and (b) most people don't like to play the Philidor defense, which arises if White responds to 3...d6 with 4.Nf3.
Mar-09-15  Phillidor: After 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.de5 de5 5.Qd8 Kd8

Stockfish 6, at a depth of 32 ply, evaluates the position to favor White by approximately 47 centipawns, giving 6.Bg5 as White's best continuation.

Stockfish 6: 1) 6.Bg5 Be6 7.0𢠢+ Kc8 8.f4 exf4 9.Nge2 Bd6 10.Nxf4 Nbd7 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.g3 Be5 13.Bh3 Re8 14.Rhe1 a5 15.Nb5 a4 16.Bf4 h6 17.c4 g5 18.Be3 a3 19.Nxa3 Ra4 20.Kc2 Re7 21.Kb3 Ra6 0.47/32 ;

Web archived page w/ additional analysis:
https://web.archive.org/web/2015031...

Jan-14-16  morfishine: <31.Rd1>

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