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Wei Yi vs Magnus Carlsen
Bilbao Masters (2016), Bilbao ESP, rd 2, Jul-14
Modern Defense: Standard Defense (B06)  ·  0-1



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Given 8 times; par: 61 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-14-16  TheFocus: Great game by Carlsen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  markbstephenson: This score cannot be correct!
Jul-14-16  thegoodanarchist: <TheFocus: Great game by Carlsen.>

And White fought hard so it was enjoyable to play over.

Jul-14-16  Bobby Fiske: Both played for a win till the very end.

Wei Yi said he'd seen the drawing move 48. b4, but wanted to play for more - missing Carlsen's Kc7 Nc5! trick

Jul-14-16  nolanryan: One of the most exciting games I've ever seen
Jul-14-16  Eyal: I doubt if 48.b4 is really a "drawing move". Yes, Carlsen should have played 46...Rb2 immediately, with the idea 47.b4 Rd2! 48.Rc4 Kd5 and the white rook is trapped (after b4 left it undefended); what he did in the game with 46...Ra2 was essentially a waste of tempo.

But still, 48.b4 Rd2! looks winning for Black: 49.a6 (with the gain of tempo for advancing the a-pawn on move 47, White now has this resource) 49...Nd6 50.a7 Nc8+ 51.Kb7 Nxa7 52.Kxa7 Rxd4 53.Nxd4+ Kd5 54.Ne2 (or 54.Nc2 Kc4 55.Ka6 Kb3 56.b5 Kxc2 57.b6 Kd3 58.b7 c2 59.b8Q c1Q with a won queen endgame) 54...Kc4 55.Nxc3 Kxb4. Instead of 50.a7, Black can also try 50.Rxd6+ Rxd6 51.a7 Rxc6+ 52.Kxc6 c2 53.a8Q c1Q+ or 50.Nd8+ Kd7 51.a7 Rxd4 52.a8Q c2 53.Qc6+ Kxd8 54.Qc7+ Ke8 55.Qxc2 Rxb4+, but in both cases Black has at the very least good practical winning chances.

Jul-14-16  Doniez: Well, most of the comments above are about a great game. I have tried several lines suggested by the engines and actually both players made big blunders. Wey made the last one and lost. Horrible game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  varishnakov: The game score has been corrected since my last comment (when many rooks and pieces were hanging for several moves)
Jul-14-16  cro777: He who rides a tiger ...

Wanting an interesting game Carlsen chose a Modern Tiger system (the Modern Defense with ...a6):

1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 a6!

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"This last move might seem like madness, yet there is method in ’t."

The resulting RN vs RN endgame due to its asymmetry was tricky (both sides rely on tactical weapons).

On move 35 Wei Yi missed a chance to draw

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Here, 35.b4 (instead of 35.Ne5) Nxg2 36.Rc3 would have probably led to a draw.

"But I still want to award 35.Ne5 with an exclamation mark as Wei's idea to activate the pieces to the maximum and force a draw was brilliant. He missed a detail though." (GM Dejan Bojkov)

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Carlsen has shown time and time again that a bad start will not hinder his chances at being competitive in these top level tournaments.

He wins those more often than not.

Jul-14-16  johnkr: Pretty idea... Nc5 49. Rc4 Na6! 50. Kb6 Rb3ch 51. Ka6 Kd5. I like Carlsen's idea of sacrificing his Knight at a6 and forcing the White king to block his own a-pawn. Nice.
Jul-14-16  thegoodanarchist: < chancho: Carlsen has shown time and time again that a bad start will not hinder his chances at being competitive in these top level tournaments.

He wins those more often than not.>

Indeed. That is why he is champion and so highly rated - he is mentally strong and does not collapse after an early setback.

Jul-14-16  cro777: Had Wei Yi played 48.b4 ...

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Here, Wei Yi saw 48.b4! (objectively the better move), but he thought that 48.Kc7 was promising more (he completely missed the strong answer 48...Nc5!).

"After 48.b4 Black keeps on playing for the win. But is he winning instead? I do not know." (GM Dejan Bojkov)

48.b4 Rd2 49.a6 Nd6 50.a7 Nc8+ 51.Kb7 Nxa7 52.Kxa7 Rxd4 53.Nxd4+ Kd5 54.Ne2 Kc4 55.Nxc3 Kxb4.

click for larger view

This position is theoretically won for Black (Black mates in 27).

The main line is:

56. Ne2 Kc4 57. h4 Kd3 58. Nf4+ Ke4 59. Ne2 h6 60. Ng3+ Kf4 61. Ne2+ Ke3 62. h5 g5 63. Ng3 Kf4 64. Ne2+ Kg4 65. Nd4 f4 etc

After 48.b4 Rd2 49.a6 Nd6 instead of 50.a7 White can try 50.Rxd6+ leading to the following queen endgame:

50. Rxd6+ Rxd6 51. a7 Rxc6+ 52. Kxc6 c2 53. a8=Q c1=Q+ 54. Kb5

click for larger view

But, as <Eyal> pointed out, "in both cases Black has at the very least good practical winning chances".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Keyser Soze: Spectacular game for a very wait wait matchup. I still predict those two will fight for the WCC in for years or so.
Jul-15-16  Imran Iskandar: A good fight where Carlsen gets first blood in what could be a long, bloody rivalry.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Keyser Soze: *four years
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It seems like Wei is winning after 22. RxR (h8) RxR, 23. R-d8. Black can't catch the passed pawn?

I think he will defeat MC in a title match in 6-8 years.

Jul-15-16  Aiuta: < HeMateMe: It seems like Wei is winning after 22. RxR (h8) RxR, 23. R-d8. Black can't catch the passed pawn?>


Jul-15-16  Eyal: Some great tactical ideas that weren't played over the board:

click for larger view

Here, after Carlsen's 29...Rd8!, Wei Yi was accurate with 30.Kb2!; 30.Bxc7? loses to 30...Kxc7 31.Rxa6 Rd1+ 32.Kb2 b4! with a mating met.

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Here, after 33...Ne3!, Wei Yi again played accurately with 34.c4!; 34.g3? (to defend the g2 pawn) loses to 34...Nd1+ 35.Kc1 Nc3! 36.b4 (to avoid the above mentioned mating net) 36...Rd1+ 37.Kb2 Na4+ and White has to give up the exchange on a4 (38.Kb3 Rb1#).

[Wei Yi's big mistake apparently came a move later with 35.Ne5? instead of b4!, although - as in the quote from Bojkov above - it was part of a very nice concept of activating White's pieces in order to create a mating net.]

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Here, Carlsen played 39...Nd6!! to maintain his advantage; 40.Kxd6 would allow Black to gain a crucial tempo for advancing the c-pawn with 40...Rd2+ 41.Ke7 c2. Instead, after 39...Rxg2? 40.Nc6! c2?? 41.Ra7+ Kc8 42.Kb6! Black would be mated next move with Rc7. In the game, Carlsen was able to deflect the white king from c5 with 40...Ne4+, so that his king could escape via d6; but even more accurate would have been 40...Kc7! immediately, when the knight on d6 can defend the king: 41.Ra7+ Nb7+ 42.Kb5 Rxg2.

Jul-15-16  Sokrates: Great analysis, <Eyal>, as always!

Both players deserve credit for their bold and ingenious play in this highly entertaining game, but Carlsen's 39.-Nd6!! is one of the most amazing moves I have ever seen in an endgame constellation like this one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Jul-15-16  CountryGirl: Hell of a game. The way Carlsen wins is like something out of a Troitzky endgame study. Amazing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I owned that Troitzky book "450 Instructive and Brilliant Endgames", or something like that. I worked through some of them but not all 450.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks for all the helpful kibitzing on this amazing endgame, by Eyal especially of course.

click for larger view

Early on I thought 11.exd6 looked quite strong but 11...Nf5 seems to keep the balance.

One aspect of Carlsen's anti-engine prep style is that, unlike Fischer and Kasparov in their day, he doesn't have a lot of sharp counterattacking lines with Black at his disposal. Instead, when he wants to win with Black, Carlsen almost has to play very provocatively (like Petrosian used to do sometimes), hoping his opponent will "come at him" and overextend himself. Wei Yi was certainly willing to come at him alright...Carlsen must have had some anxious moments in the early going.

Dec-15-16  S4NKT: I see the link to "The Modern Tiger" book, indeed, playing g6, d6, a6, Bg7 and even perhaps Bg7 is a hyper-modern opening just waiting for your opponent to occupy the center and then watch what they do and counteract their plan with precise moves.

In order to obtain an advantage in such a hyper-modern opening, white should really play e4, d4, c4, f4 and if black castles kingside then h4 and g4 with an English Attack style plan or a Taimanov Benoni style plan.

When white plays all the most advancing moves in the Taimanov Benoni or the English Attack, for example Kasparov's Taimanov Benoni game as white or Fischer's English Attack versus Spassky in 1992, then black just doesn't have any counter-play and starts thinking about defense or where to find a draw.

Wei Yi played very actively here, however if Carlsen is going to play hyper-modern nonsense instead of real openings like the Sveshnikov, Grünfeld or the Two Knights Defense, then I would like to see someone play real chess against him by seizing all the territory with c4, d4, e4, f4, g4, h4 then starting an avalanche when the time is right.

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