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Magnus Carlsen vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Sinquefield Cup (2017), Saint Louis, MO USA, rd 4, Aug-05
English Opening: Symmetrical. Three Knights Variation (A34)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 12 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-06-17  pinoy king: I can see Carlsen retiring by 2018. It's clear that he is no longer passionate about chess.
Aug-06-17  Monocle: I checked in on this game once at the 30 move mark, and Carlsen looked to have a bad position already. Poor co-ordination, weak pawn on g3, pointless bishop on c1, Black knight parked on d3... By move 40, Black's positional advantage looks even bigger to me, but the engine prefers White. I guess I'll never understand this game.
Aug-06-17  johnkr: My first reaction is that you have to feel for MC, going from a winning position -- not to a draw but to a losing position, a matter of moves. (MVL deserves all credit for winning too). But next, I'm thinking Magnus would not have made this blunder when he was younger, I really don't think so. Therefore you have to wonder if he's just losing focus or losing drive or something. Maybe he should retire!
Aug-06-17  Ulhumbrus: 46...Bxg3 Black is a pawn ahead. After 56 Bxa8 Black is still a pawn ahead. However after 56 Bxa8 White is lost.
Aug-06-17  Imran Iskandar: A tragedy of a game for MC, to go from winning to losing in the space of a few moves, especially when he had outplayed his opponent in his trademark style to get into a winning position.

It should be mentioned there were numerous instances where Carlsen set little traps in an effort to drag the game back into his favor where MVL had to play very accurately (63...c4 was an only move). So, he did what he could, but kudos to MVL for his accuracy.

Aug-06-17  banspeedchess: Here we go again! Nothing is wrong with MC...his ratings gone downward since he started playing in the GCT...why?...because he is knocking heads with SUPER GMs all the time now....just observe his body language against these guys....he is not as comfy as he used to be....he knows these are not ordinary GMs he used to wipe off the table blindfolded...he puts more effort now and imo taking a toll.,.his real rating with these comtemporaries is being exposed....his dominance in classical chess is over....end of story....
Aug-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Everybody keeps talking about MC having a winning position but when was that? I agree with MVL that it was extremely difficult to assess, but overall I think MVL outplayed MC throughout. As I said above, I don't believe Bg4 was any kind of horrible blunder, despite what the machine evaluations may have been, and the further course of the game vindicated it because MVL had two advanced passed pawns supported by the "useless bishop", which also controlled the crucial d1 square, among others.

The idea that MC "threw away the game" because he failed to find the one saving move according to Stockfish that could have helped him out of his bad position is very far-fetched. Who doesn't miss at least one optimal Stockfish line in a game? And what were the average and peak evaluations over the course of the game?

Aug-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Nf8> post makes the most sense. Otherwise, 46 Rg2 is baffling, not only for the logic, but for the manner in which Carlsen played it.

<Carlsen thought at first, when he was calculating the line some moves earlier, that 49.Re3 is winning, but then realized Black has 49...f4! when 50.Rxe2 loses the rook to a knight fork on c1.>

46 Rd2 was seen by Yasser and Jennifer quickly, but the next move never was explored, and turned out to be very tricky. Such moves are like roadblocks to long calculations. White had to make a quiet move to eliminate all play based on knight checks.

46 Rd2 Bc7 47 Kb1 f4 48 Bxd8 Rxd8 49 Ne3 Bg3 50 Bxd3 +6.07/33


click for larger view

The pin on the f file is what makes it all work, and had not MC been lured by a phantom mate, he would have gone down this road.

Aug-06-17  Nf8: Btw, Carlsen talked today with Maurice Ashley about this game after his win vs. So; he mentioned missing f4 (which MVL already noted yesterday), but it turns out <blackdranzer> was also kind of right - he said he saw that 46.Rd2 was very good, but thought Rg2 was more "stylish"...
Aug-06-17  devere: Superb endgame play by MVL, featuring some "only" moves like 63...c4!!
Aug-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: After 61. Ke4:


click for larger view

The live commentary expected 61 ... Ng6 protecting the Pf4 and nursing a two-Pawn advantage on the Kingside. One line was 62. Kf5 f3 because 63. Bxf3 Nh4+ trades down to a won K&P ending. 61 ... f3 worked but seemed trickier.

63 ... c4!! was quite amazing to watch in real time.

Aug-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Nf8:> I saw Rg2 but as a blunder (top of p. 8: ChessHigherCat: If Rg2 Bh3) meaning Rg2 is no good because of Bh3, but apparently MC thought it was his best option. I certainly don't see anything spectacular about it, either.

<Carlsen thought at first, when he was calculating the line some moves earlier, that 49.Re3 is winning, but then realized Black has 49...f4! when 50.Rxe2 loses the rook to a knight fork on c1.>

That's very interesting. I saw the fork on c1 and disregarded it because of bishop on g5 but I was just too dumb to think of the interference move f4!

Aug-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <tpstar> <The live commentary expected 61 ... Ng6 protecting the Pf4 and nursing a two-Pawn advantage on the Kingside. One line was 62. Kf5 f3 because 63. Bxf3 Nh4+ trades down to a won K&P ending. 61 ... f3 worked but seemed trickier.

63 ... c4!! was quite amazing to watch in real time.>

c4 won but it's over my head. I like the first simple line you gave. Trade off the minor pieces at the cost of a pawn and black has to chase down the passed h pawn while white mops up the queenside pawns (artistry shmartistry)

Aug-06-17  visayanbraindoctor: <ChessHigherCat: the interference move f4!>

Carlsen might have missed this too.

It seems that the only time that Carlsen ever loses (with rare exceptions) is when he misses a tactical shot or goes awry in sharp tactical positions. He is almost unbeatable in positional games (eg, nearly impossible to outplay positionally).

Aug-07-17  lost in space: One of games were I do not understand anything. Just too complex for me.
Aug-07-17  talwnbe4: Just 48. Bxd8 is fine here.. after this it was -+.. great game though.

46. Rd2! wins.. +- 46. Rd2 Kg7 47. Kb1 f4 48. Bxd8 Rxd8 49. Ne5 +- (the B and rook attack d3 on Ne3 and the rook on d8 is attacked on all d file squares)

Aug-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: <lost in space: One of games were I do not understand anything. Just too complex for me.> Me, too, although a great game to watch.

I was wondering why white didn't take the rook on d5 (28. Bxd5 or later). Was he saving his white squared bishop for the eventual passed a-pawn? Could he see that far ahead?

Aug-08-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  guenther42: A game that stirs up comparison to the mind-bending game 13 Spassy-Fischer (1972). Both games will be replayed for decades by grandmasters and club players alike to enjoy their comparable bewildering complexity.
Aug-08-17  fisayo123: <guenther42> No it won't. That game was an all but decisive game in the most famous World Championship match ever witnessed. This game while enthralling is just another game in a super-tournament.
Aug-08-17  Marmot PFL: The quality of the endings in those two games is not really comparable, but remember that the players don't have the advantage of adjournment analysis anymore.
Aug-08-17  Nerwal: About nobody remembers Carlsen vs Radjabov, 2014, very few will remember this game three years from now.
Aug-08-17  Everett: <visayanbraindoctor: <ChessHigherCat: the interference move f4!> Carlsen might have missed this too.

It seems that the only time that Carlsen ever loses (with rare exceptions) is when he misses a tactical shot or goes awry in sharp tactical positions. He is almost unbeatable in positional games (eg, nearly impossible to outplay positionally).>

Like Karpov, save I do think Kasparov out-positioned him sometimes, not just with tactics.

Aug-09-17  lost in space: <<PhilFeeley: <lost in space: One of games were I do not understand anything. Just too complex for me.> Me, too, although a great game to watch. I was wondering why white didn't take the rook on d5 (28. Bxd5 or later). Was he saving his white squared bishop for the eventual passed a-pawn? Could he see that far ahead?>

I guess Bc6 and Bxd5 was one (one!) of the key ideas in this game. See here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5n...

Aug-29-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  DWTaylorSr: Just got done playing this game.I was impressed by the complexity of the play. Looks like Carlsen missed some shots, played some moves I didn't understand at all,but this was a very good game by two excellent players. Look for Vachier - Lagrave to be Carlsen's next challenger for the title
Jul-07-19  columbeau: pinoy king: I can see Carlsen retiring by 2018. It's clear that he is no longer passionate about chess.

you are a true prophet

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