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Magnus Carlsen vs Gawain Jones
London Chess Classic (2012), London ENG, rd 4, Dec-04
Sicilian Defense: Chekhover Variation (B53)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: You may be right, <OBIT>, I have not really taken a careful look at the game. That day I had a lot to do. Perhaps tomorrow I'll have an opportunity. But it is a fact that Jones had quite a lot less time in his clock, so perhaps it simply was not good policy.

On the other hand I cannot agree at all with people that bring up the subject of Carlsen´s strength in the abstract. Oh, he is so strong, blah, blah, best player, blah, blah. If you think like that you are never going to be any good. Why try anything against such a player. Better then to be like Fischer and call a patzer anybody that has not been a world champ. I mean, if you are going to go to extremes.

Dec-06-12  dehanne: Nezhmetdinov is rolling in his grave.
Dec-06-12  Shams: <Kinghunt><How does 18...Rf6 lead to a won game? 19. Bxc5 and white still looks better to me.>

He certainly doesn't use the word "winning", but Andrew Martin does prefer 18...Rf6 as a way to set White more problems than the text. (He also spends time on <Hesam7>'s superior 20...Ra2). 18...Rf6 commentary is around the 11:45 mark:

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Your comment is funny, <dehanne>, but if you a are a fan of the Man you must know that His sacrifices usually had very clear tactical justifications. Most of the time the enemy King was left in an embarrassing, awkward situation from which it had the most difficult time trying to extricate itself. They were high end attacks.
Dec-06-12  Ulhumbrus: <Kinghunt: How does 18...Rf6 lead to a won game? 19. Bxc5 and white still looks better to me.> On 19 Bxc5 Black does not have to recapture the bishop at once but can play the in-between move or zwischenzug 19...Re6 first.
Dec-06-12  HAPERSAUD: Great man, just great :(, now everyone and their grandmother will play the bloody qd4 lines.
Dec-09-12  Cemoblanca: Kudos to Dr. Jones! It's really not an easy task to play against Magnus "Houdini Beta 4" Carlsen! :D
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <WiseWizard: Anand might be the only one who can play this style accurately enough to beat Magnus in a match as I refuse to believe Anand has weakened and think he's playing possum.>

I've thought about that too. My suspicion is that Anand is studying all Carlson's games and his style, and has been working on his opening preparation for the match and has some prepared lines, but just doesn't want to reveal them in any of the competition before WCC time. And if he is drawing a lot, it may give Magnus a false impression of his strength (or weakness) and stir overconfidence. Anand has more match experience. The K's were good match players, and Kaspy was the most seasoned and best. But we have yet to see how Magnus will do in this type of match play. One other subtle point.. in a 21 game match, 10 or 12 draws would put Vishi back up over 2800 again. I think Vishi just doesn't want to show any of his cards. All this considered, it would be one very interesting WCC match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: I have been going over the problem posed by the Q sac in this game. First of all, up till move 16…Qa5 the position was even. The problem with Black’s move is that after 17.Nb5 Black has a weakness in c5. (The alternative line 17. b4 Nxb4 18.Qxb4 Nd5 19.Qa5 Nxe7+ also gives White the advantage.) However, Black can force equality thru a simple forced variation: 16…BxN! 17.QxB Ne4 18.Qc1 axb 19.axb Rxa3 20.Qxa3 Nc3 and now Black recovers the exchange with an even position, since he can now begin to create pressure on the White King side with moves like Qf6 and the knight maneuver Nc6-d8-e6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Going back to 16…Qa5 17.Nb5 axb3 18.axb3 Qxa3 19.Nxa3 Rxa3 20.Nd2 we see that Black has given up Queen for two pieces. That is a lot of material. The first impression one gets is that perhaps Black is justified in such a drastic decision because White has weak a and b Pawns and his Queen is kind of misplaced in the center of the board, where it can be threatened by Black’s minor pieces.

If you go over the variations that come from attacking directly the White b-Pawn or taking the White second rank with Ra2, you soon will realize that White quickly gains the advantage. He has the strong positional threat of Be2-f3-c6, exchanging the Black N there that is what holds together Black’s rather weak structure. Black’s activity on the Queen side does not match up to the coming strong pressure White can exert on all the rest of the board using his extra material.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Is the sacrifice enough for a draw? I don’t know, the variations are too complicated. But I do know that salvation for Black can only come from quickly harassing the exposed White Q and going for a draw by position repetition. Barring a mistake on White’s part, Black is in a lot of trouble if he allows White to regroup.

Somebody here gave the variation 20…Ra2 21.b4 Bd4 22 Qg3 Nb4 23 Nb3 Nb3 24.Qb3 Bc5 and says that Black has pressure on f2. This pressure is ineffective. After 25. Bg4 Bxg4? 26. hxg4 Raxf2 27. Rxf2 Rxf2 28.Kh2 White has the winning plan of posting his Rook on a7 and his Queen on the a4-e8 diagonal and begin a deadly attack, while Black watches.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I think the sac was a brilliant idea. Passive and "normal" play is a waste of time against Carlsen so why not go for broke?

It also had some tactical-strategical justifications.

The pressure is on the higher rated player.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Kind of a defeatist attitude, <Richard Taylor>. Have a Merry Christmas.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: No it's not defeatist - by the way I have met Gawain Jones. He played here one year in The George Trundle Masters, and I played in the Qualifiers where I made an interesting (and sound) sac but failed to follow it up. Now that sac was justified, my opponent in that game I beat later in what is one of my best combinative / attacking games...

But if you never take any in inspired risks or try for imaginative attacks there is no progress. This doesn't rule out those games where a positional struggle is the order of the day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Richard Taylor> I am not against positional or tactical sacrifices. But there has a to be a basis of some kind. I once noticed my opponent was very tense. So I played an exchange sacrifice just to make the position a little more difficult, and, sure enough, he collapsed under the pressure. But in this case I see nothing. As far as I know Carlsen was acting normally, and I perceive little gain from what is a serious loss of material.
Dec-29-12  12.12.12: home cooking meets a true chef?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Well there is such a thing as misjudgment. Carlsen might have been in time trouble. I have made many sacrifices - many have not succeeded some have. But it is interesting to see what happens. I think Carlsen was under some pressure here.

You are probably a very timid player who offers draws as soon as you can and then goes home to count your rating points like an old miser counting his Geld....

Start living man!

Feb-25-13  vinidivici: <perfidious:
Maybe you should ask your 2400+ teacher about that, assuming he exists; he might have a different point of view than simply calling the idea 'a stupid' without providing any supporting analysis.>
No need though. My rating now higher than him.

And i can say that 18...Qxa3 is a dubious move.
In the position, see how strong the white queen in the e3 square!!

Why the hell Gawain sacrificed a queen to 2 minor pieces without any clear compensation....unless he wanted to win in the spectacular style or desperately looking for initiative. But this is absurd, i see the position at least equal.

Black could just simply-in my opinion-choose the quiet moves 18...Na6/Rf6.

And <providing any supporting analysis>

No need again though.

The answer is clear:
A queen stronger and better than 2 minor pieces. And theres no clear compensation for the sacrifice.

I better fling back the question...Can you provide the analysis why 18...Qxa3 is a good move?

I doubt you would get the answers.

So DONT sacrifice a queen to 2 minor pieces in that position.

Oct-20-13  tranquilsimplicity: It is incumbent upon me to comment that I share Richard Taylor's view on the game as well as his Chess philosophy.
Jul-30-14  Ke2: If he won people would say "Greatest Sac of All Time"... it's still pretty cool.
Jul-30-14  tonsillolith: <"Dr. Lasker thought for over a half an hour before deciding on this continuation. It is not only the best, but it shows at the same time the fine hand of a master. An ordinary player would never have thought of giving of the exchange in order to keep the initiative in this position, which was really the only reasonable way in which he could hope to draw the game."> - Capablanca on Lasker.

Capablanca vs Lasker, 1921

Jones does indeed get great piece play for the sac. It's doubtful that he actually had sufficient compensation, and it was extra risky playing the sac against Carlsen. But it's frequently better to make things hard for your opponent rather than easy for yourself.

Aug-01-14  Ke2: I recently followed this game until 11. Rb1 (I played 11. Bd2?!) This version of the Chekover is pretty much forced from 4...a6, 5. h3! is really excellent. Black gets a position with no plan. Then he sacs his queen.

But really, the Q sac seems to come up by process of elimination. Because of how this version of Chekover makes Black without a plan, the nasty positional weaknesses on b7 and Nc5 lead to a very awkward defense. So you might as well gamble and try to win a brilliancy against the WCC. <tonsillolith> That game is very relevant.

Aug-01-14  Ke2: Well perhaps it's not so process of elimination, because of 18... Rf6, with the idea that you hit the queen after Bxc5. 18... Na6 19. Ng5 looks nasty though.

Is it possible Jones didn't see Rf6?

May-05-15  ToTheDeath: This guy went at the King and fell on his sword. If he had won it would have been a brilliancy for the ages. Props to him for not playing like a mouse against the world champion like so many others.
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