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David Smerdon vs Magnus Carlsen
Baku Olympiad (2016), Baku AZE, rd 4, Sep-05
Sicilian Defense: Alapin Variation. Barmen Defense (B22)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: A freshening interview with Australian GM <David Smerdon> afterwards...
Sep-05-16  SirRuthless: World Champion privilege is real.
Sep-05-16  morfishine: <21.Rg1>?????????????
Sep-05-16  catlover: <Sally Simpson><Morfishine> I know, right? When I first saw it, I thought, "I'm missing some mysterious grandmaster razzle-dazzle that explains why Smerdon did not play 21. Bxh7+". But when I ran that move through Stockfish, it gave white + 1.43. So Smerdon got a draw but perhaps could have gotten more.
Sep-05-16  dehanne: Shame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi catlover,

No computer for me, just the 1951 Mk1 brain and it's needs to be de-fragged.

But I can see White will outnumber Black in attackers and I can see tricks and traps. The draw can probably be taken at anytime.

But you me and Stockfish are not sitting there with a heart pumping., and in an unbelievable frame of mind.

You have a 100% draw v Carlsen, you also have a possible win...but you have a 100% draw v Carlsen (who will be sitting there stone - faced.)

We would all take the draw....cept me I'd lose it. :)

If Dave had been playing anyone else but Carlsen he would have gone for them.

I think when he sees all the play he has he will regret not going for him. Now I fear he will never beat him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Looks like a 1600 puzzle. Crawdaddy probably bored.
Sep-05-16  optimal play: <whiteshark: A freshening interview with Australian GM <David Smerdon> afterwards... Thanks for posting the link to that interesting interview.

Smerdon is putting on a brave face and even sort of patting himself on the back for getting a draw with Carlsen, but privately he must be sick in the guts ... or if not, he certainly should be!

21.Rg1??? will haunt him for the rest of his life!

If he could only turn back time and play 21.Bxh7+!

I wonder if he realised it himself afterward or did Magnus point it out to him during their post game analysis?

It's especially disappointing because Australia lost the round 1½:2½

Maybe David was overawed playing the World Champ, but a GM should definitely have seen 21.Bxh7+

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: It looks easy sitting with the comfort of our of keyboards Optimal Play, I only have to watch out for my boss.

Here the moves are being watched by the whole world, can you imagine what it was like sitting there with a draw staring you in the face against the World Champion.

A clock ticking, vultures gathering around the board and nagging at the back of your mind...."What am I missing.....surely I am not winning....take the draw....take the draw."

If the forced draw was not there then David would have played for the win. There is still work to be done after 21.Bxh7+ Carlsen would have fought like wounded rat.

And what if he had lost after knocking back the draw against the World Champion.

Some dipstick would have posted 'kudos for playing for the win, but you should have taken the draw.'

That is an awful feeling, I still think about a game where I knocked back a perpetual and lost and if the above dipstick had said to me 5 minutes after the game 'Kudos for playing on.' he would have got whacked in the teeth with a chess clock.

But you are right he will have difficulty sleeping and will playing 21.Bxh7+ over and over again in his head.

He is probably praying that some computer will find a cast iron defence for Carlsen.

Maybe he should consult HAL .....'What are you doing Dave."

Sep-05-16  nerdydad: Of course Smerdon saw 21 Bxh7+... but what is the follow up? 21... Kh8 22 B moves Bh6 and his position is nice, but he no longer has a draw. On the other hand, 21 Rg1 forces the draw. Let's be realistic, if they played on Carlsen would almost certainly have outplayed him in the endgame. Trying to score a win against the WC is what to do when you're playing as an individual, but taking the draw was probably the correct team decision
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Of course he saw 21. Bh7
Only people who don't play chess won't see Bh7. I'm quite sure...
Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: <whiteshark: A freshening interview with Australian GM <David Smerdon> afterwards...>

That's a great interview, very candid. Thanks for posting it :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: By the way, to anyone saying that David "didn't see" 21.Bxh7, or that 21.Rg1 was some horrible oversight, just watch the interview posted on YouTube (only a few minutes long).
Sep-06-16  lisyaron: Agree with drleper. At the end of the day, a team-based decision should take priority over that of the individual. Excellent discipline displayed by David.

Also agree with Sally Simpson. Easy for one to make comments with the comforting assistance of a computer - but the dynamics when playing over the board (and against the WC, no less) is absolutely different. Reminds me of a recent article by Manuel Weeks (current Australian Olympiad team Captain in Baku) on CB:

Overall, well played by David and an excellent outcome on his part. There was a team plan the Ozzie's had before the match began and he clearly went with it.

Sep-06-16  optimal play: In that interview, David said that he had the opportunity to exchange Queens for an early draw but thought "I'm not going to get this opportunity again" (ie playing the WC) "so I'd better be a little bit more aggressive" and went for a K-side attack (with opposite castling).

Okay, that's good.

He said he played some really "ugly" chess (anti-positional), and sacrificed a pawn, and "had this huge attack for the pawn" (h7) but couldn't quite see a way to break through, and so just forced a draw.

The point is that he didn't see the full possibilities emanating from 21.Bxh7+

After 21.Bxh7+ a likely continuation might be 21...Kg8 22.Bc2+ Kg8 23.Nf3 Be7 24.Bh7+ Kh8 25.Be4+ Kg8 26.Bxb7 Bxb7 27.Rxd7 Bxf3 28.Rxe7 Be2 29.Ne5

click for larger view

Now okay, this isn't a guaranteed win by any means, but any GM (~2500) playing White from this strong position should be able to score a win against any opponent, provided he doesn't make a blunder.

I agree with all of <Sally Simpson>'s post, but would just add that the opportunity to play against the WC, even for another GM, is extremely rare (by Smerdon's own admission), and a 20-odd move draw is really a waste when you had the chance of a hard-fought game with a real anticipation of victory.

The possibility of losing shouldn't be a deterrent when there was a real prospect of scoring a win.

And as far as basing the draw on a "team plan" goes, the Aussies lost the round! A win in this game would have tied.

Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: <optimal play: The point is that he didn't see the full possibilities emanating from 21.Bxh7+>

Great, hopefully you're around next time David is playing Magnus and you can inform him of all the possibilities inherent in the position, and the win will surely be secured ;)

But seriously, David could easily have obtained an advantage and still lost against Magnus, which wouldn't have been a hugely shocking result. He said he couldn't see a way to break through (as in finish it off there and then), so he took a draw against the <world champion>. Moreover, the team plan was for David to neutralise Magnus, so a draw is quite a good result (yes, a win is obviously better). But the Aussie team only lost narrowly, and David even admitted that a draw is not something to brag about, so cut the guy some slack.

Sep-06-16  Tiggler: I had quite a good (engine assisted) look at this, and the best continuation seems to be:

21. Bxh7+ Kh8 22. Nf3 Be7 23. Be4+ Kg8 24. Bxb7 Bxb7 25. Rxd7 Bxf3 26. Rxe7 Be2 27. Rh4 g5 28. Rd4 Bxc4 29. Rxc4 Kg7 30. Rcc7 a6 31. a4

click for larger view

and white should win.

But I agree that Carlsen would probably have crawled out with a draw. Would have been nice to see him on the rack in an endgame for a change, though.

Sep-06-16  nerdydad: Yes Australia went on to lose the match, but Smerdon didn't know that would happen when he took the draw. At the end of that Youtube interview he says the score is 1-1 with 2 games to play.
Sep-06-16  Bobby Fiske: NOTE: Smerdon was low on time. Not real zeitnot yet, but could have gotten there with further complications prior to move 40.
Sep-06-16  optimal play: <drleper> Be quiet, numbskull.

<Tiggler> After looking at your analysis I agree that 22.Nf3 is probably best and makes White's position even stronger.

Certainly White should win from there and I wouldn't bank on even Carlsen crawling out with a draw from that.

<Bobby Fiske> Low on time? After only 20 moves?

Anyway ... in his interview, Smerdon said he would post an analysis of this game, presumably here...

It should make for interesting reading!

Sep-06-16  tuttifrutty: I am disgusted, I want to vomit so bad. Please find me a place to spill my guts inside out.

Is this game really a trait of a true champion?

You tell me.

Sep-06-16  Tiggler: Carlsen is clearly over the hill. He'll probably beat Karjakin, but after that he maybe ought to quit, if he wants to be a legend and I presume he does.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: <optimal play: <drleper> Be quiet, numbskull.>

Heh, what a vicious keyboard warrior you are! :P

Sep-06-16  Tiggler: Well, I see I have been too hard on Carlsen, as far as this game goes, anyway. This is an exhibition of gutless, cynical play by white. Black keeps getting offered queen exchanges, and avoids them time and again in order to keep the ladies on the board. So much so that his position is compromised and white has solid winning chances. But, of course, white bottles it and takes the draw that he was hoping for from the start.

How to draw as white, if you are a patzer and the opponent is WC. Very instructive.

Sep-19-21  rwbean: There are two articles about David Smerdon and this game in "The Saturday Paper", an Australian newspaper, this month.

21. ♗xh7+ ♔h8 22. ♗c2+ ...

22 ... ♗h6 23. ♘d6 +4.07 (48 ply SF14)

22 ... ♔g8 23. ♘f3 +4.61 (52 ply SF14)

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