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Magnus Carlsen vs Bu Xiangzhi
"Electric Bu" (game of the day Feb-09-2018)
World Cup (2017), Tbilisi GEO, rd 3, Sep-09
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Modern Bishop's Opening (C55)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-10-17  visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor: Capablanca probably would have moved 21. Re2 in a jiffy.>

Compare 16. Re2 in Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918>

I should have said <almost certainly> instead of <probably>. After all Capablanca, in a similar situation, did move Re2 in order to mobilize his rook.

More mind-boggling is this post from the Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918 page.

<Shajmaty: In 23 moves (between 14. ♕f3 and 36. ♗xf7+), Capablanca plays the best move (i.a.w. Stockfish) 21 times!>


1. That game is one of the most complicated double-edged and tactical games in chess literature. Virtually replicating the best computer lines move after move for two dozen moves in real time in such a game is almost inhuman. I doubt if any living master nowadays could do such a thing. We would be seeing lots of red moves live in the internet.

2. When the thematic Marshall-type position first arose in that game, no one much knew anything about it (except Marshall who prepared it). There was no precedent available to Capablanca. Yet he played it almost perfectly. Capablanca was a freak of a chess player.

Sep-11-17  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 19 Bb3, 19 Bd2 connects the rooks.

20 f4 disturbs the king side pawns. Instead of this 20 Bd2 connects the rooks.

22 Rxe3 helps to develop Black's rook. Instead of this 22 Bd2 connects the rooks.

After 23...g5 Black threatens 24...Rg8 followed by 25...gxf4+. Instead of 24 Kf2, 24 Rc1 prepares to develop the piece placed worst, the queen's rook. On 24...Rg8 25 fxg5 avoids opening the g file for Black's rook. However Black can avoid this by playing 24...gxf4 first. This suggests 24 fxg5 avoiding opening the g file and on 24...hxg5 25 Rc1 gets ready for 26 Rc2 but 25...f4 refuses to wait for Rc2. This suggests 24 fxg5 hxg5 25 Qc2 pinning the f5 pawn and getting ready for Qg2 and Qh2

Sep-12-17  Clement Fraud: <Ulhumbrus> <20 f4 disturbs the king side pawns. Instead of this 20 Bd2 connects the rooks.>

As I see it, black was threatening to advance his KB Pawn to f4 & f3 (creating an unavoidable mate with his Queen on g2).

Sep-12-17  blackdranzer: Ulhumbrus ..I don't mean to offend but some of your analysis is wrong . Not just this post but as I have observed. Sometimes the suggested moves ( which you suggest ) are worse although it might have some logic behind, like Bd2 connecting the rooms and so on.
Sep-12-17  Ulhumbrus: <blackdranzer: Ulhumbrus ..I don't mean to offend but some of your analysis is wrong . Not just this post but as I have observed. Sometimes the suggested moves ( which you suggest ) are worse although it might have some logic behind, like Bd2 connecting the rooms and so on.> It is entirely possible that my analysis or my comment is wrong when it consists of just kibitzing. In which case you may form your own opinion about it as with any kibitzing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Chess teaches us the importance of understanding how to balance the general and the specific.
Sep-13-17  Arconax: That is true. The Classical School taught us about the general aspects, while the Soviet School focused on the specifics of the position.

It is finding the right balance that is the key to true chess mastery.

Sep-13-17  QueentakesKing: A funny game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < Ulhumbrus: <blackdranzer: Ulhumbrus ..I don't mean to offend but some of your analysis is wrong . Not just this post but as I have observed. Sometimes the suggested moves ( which you suggest ) are worse although it might have some logic behind, like Bd2 connecting the rooms and so on.> It is entirely possible that my analysis or my comment is wrong when it consists of just kibitzing. In which case you may form your own opinion about it as with any kibitzing.>

You don't analyze, Ulhumbrus. You just select from your small stock of <My First Book of Chess Strategy> chesshomeric epithets:

"disturbs the kingside pawns without necessity"

"moves an already developed piece"

"connects the rooks"


As in an epic poem, whether the chosen epithet relates to what is actually occurring at a given moment is matter of chance.

Sep-13-17  Chessmusings: This is a very instructive game that chess coaches will make good use of. My lesson plans for the game are posted here:
Sep-14-17  cormier:

click for larger view

Houdini 4

10...h6 11.h3 Rfe8 12.d4 exd4 13.cxd4 d5 14.e5 Nh7 15.Nf1 Bf5 16.a3 Bxc2 ⩲ (0.29) Depth: 23

Sep-20-17  Al2009: This was not the game of the "humble" GM Xiangzhi. This was the game of the HUMBLE H PAWN!
Premium Chessgames Member

0:50-51 ;>D

[Fritz 10]: 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. 0-0 0-0 6. Bb3 d6 7. c3 Be6 8. Re1 Qd7 9. Nbd2 [last book move] Rab8 10. Bc2 d5 11. h3 [11. exd5 Bxd5 12. Nc4 Bxc4 13. dxc4 Qxd1 14. Rxd1 Rbd8 ⩲] h6 [11 ... dxe4 12. Nxe4 Bd5 13. Bg5 ⩲] 12. exd5 [ ⩲] Nxd5 [12 ... Bxd5!? 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Rxe5 Bd6 ±] 13. Nxe5 [ ±] Nxe5 14. Rxe5 Bd6 15. Re1 Bxh3 16. gxh3 Qxh3 17. Nf1 Rbe8 18. d4 [18. Bb3 Re6 19. Rxe6 fxe6 ⩲] f5 19. Bb3 c6 20. f4 [20. Bc4!? ±] Kh7 21. Bxd5 cxd5 22. Re3 [22. Re2!? Qg4+ 23. Kf2 =] Rxe3 [ ∓] 23. Bxe3 g5 24. Kf2 [24. fxg5!? f4 25. Qc2+ Rf5 26. Bxf4 Bxf4 27. Re1 ∓] gxf4 [-+] 25. Qf3 fxe3+ 26. Nxe3 Qh2+ 27. Kf1 Rg8 [27 ... Qxb2!? 28. Re1 Qxc3 29. Qxd5 -+] 28. Qxf5+ Rg6 29. Ke1 [29. Rd1 ∓] h5 [29 ... Kg7 30. Qd7+ Kg8 31. Qe8+ Kh7 32. Qf7+ Rg7 33. Qf5+ Kg8 34. Qc8+ Bf8 35. Qe6+ Kh8 36. Qe5 Qg1+ 37. Nf1 -+] 30. Kd1? [30. Rd1!? =] Kh6 [ ∓] 31. Nc2? [31. Rc1!?] h4 [31 ... b6!? makes it even easier for Black 32. Ne3 Qxb2 33. Rc1 Rg1+ 34. Nf1 -+] 32. Ne1 h3 [32 ... Qxb2 33. Rc1 Qxa2 -+] 33. Nf3? [33. Qc8 Rg1 34. Rb1 -+] Qg2 34. Ne1 [34. Nd2 there is nothing else anyway Qg4+ 35. Qxg4 Rxg4 36. Ke2 Rg2+ 37. Ke3 -+] Qg4+ 35. Qxg4 Rxg4 36. Nf3 [36. Ke2 desperation Rg1 37. Rd1 -+] Rg1+!! 0-1.

One drawback to being at the very top is how everybody wants to see you fall. Anyone who has ever been the highest rated player in a tournament knows the feeling, and of course for World Champion Magnus Carlsen that is a million times greater, with everyone out to defeat him. Then again, Xiangzhi is no slouch at 2710. The definitive game of the World Cup started as a Bishop's Opening which transposed into a Giuoco Pianissimo, then Black chose 4 ... Be7 over 4 ... Bc5. I don't get 9 ... Rab8 at all. After 18. d4 it is a very Marshall Gambit-like position with the crucial distinction that Black is down a piece. Time pressure played a major role in the ultimate outcome, yet that is part of the game.

The finish deserves a [DIAGRAM]:

click for larger view

37. Ne1 h2 & 38 ... h1=Q; 37. Nxg1 h2 38. Ke2 h1=Q, earning the coveted "!!" by Fritz.

Some insightful commentary:

<It's not often you see a Marshall Gambit within a different opening + a bishop sac on h3. Fascinating to see. From the resulting middlegame position black's gameplan is very clear and his position is much easier to play. I'm not surprised Carlsen crumbled in the resulting complications. He relies a lot on his intuitive feel for positions and that was a middlegame that required some extremely precise calculation.>

<h3 should never have even been played as this is a known sacrifice enabling plan with the Q and B battery. You can't allow that without resolving the position completely in your own mind first. He was truly shocked by the sac but not until Rbe8 that he thought he was in trouble IIRC and the move f5 was like a gut punch opening 6th rank for rooks and also preparing f4. He probably thought he was lost and was just kicking up dust after black gets in Qh2 it's hopeless. In the end the positional choices to leave a1 rook and so many pieces on the back rank so long made a bad position impossible to defend under time trouble and he collapsed.>

<It must be called a positional sacrifice in the first place: Black immediately obtains 2 pawns and opened enemy king. While it is a thematic matter in some lines of the Spanish, often White manages to bring his extra piece to the kingside, defend himself and emerge with a slight material advantage, in this game it was not clear whether 21-Re5 or 21-Bxd5, cxd5 22-Re5 was a better chance. But moves like 21-Re2, even though it was suggested by computers, are not understandable to a human mind.>

<Going back to Bu's dauntlessly courageous strategy for this game, I believe this again is another proof that it's the only way to play against Carlsen and still hope to win. Bu offers a gambit pawn, Carlsen as usual grabs it (he always does). Bu sacs a Bishop. Carlsen tries to retain the piece with 17. Nf1 when he could have immediately bailed out into a draw with 17. Qf3 Bh2+ 18. Kh1 Bg3+ and perpetual. Carlsen rises up to the challenge of the gambits (which I like about him), but fails to survive the tactics (this time).>

<Chessmusings> Great annotations!

Go Magpus. =)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: "Electric Bu"? What does that even mean?

An exciting game. It's nice to see the champ take one on the chin now and then. Probably good for him in the long run, motivation-wise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Check It Out>"Electric Bu"? What does that even mean?

<Check It Out>, Possibly a pun on this:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knighthawkmiller: For Magnus, "Bu hoo".
Feb-09-18  ajile: <Clement Fraud: BRAVO!! I like the way Bu Xiangzhi plays. White loses out in this opening when he plays d2-d3 so early, as this allows black to equalize with his Bishop placed on e7.>

3.d3 is solid enough if not the most dynamic. The question I have is concerns 7..Be6. Is it now considered OK for Black to allow doubled e pawns after 8.Bxe6 -- (?)

Feb-09-18  Strelets: Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo
Feb-09-18  Grandma Sturleigh: Carlsen has spent a lot of time studying the endgame. He's still working on the middlegame. In a few years (he's still a young man) perhaps he'll devote some serious effort to the opening.

At least, that's one theory...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <GrahamClayton> Okay, that might be it, thanks. What a mullet on that singer. Lets hope the '80s don't cycle back too much. That includes leg warmers and leotards; yoga pants have happily taken over.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <that might be it>

Carlsen vs Bu Xiangzhi, 2017 (kibitz #53)

<Strelets> Breakin' 1 was so much better. :P

Feb-09-18  drpoundsign: I don't understand why white didn't have counter play with QF7+? When the king moves out of check he could take the rook.
Feb-10-18  ajile: <drpoundsign: I don't understand why white didn't have counter play with QF7+? When the king moves out of check he could take the rook.>

You mean 29.Qf7+?

I thought so too at first but play it out and you will see the king finds safety from the checks eventually on h8.

Feb-20-18  PJs Studio: 36...Rg1+!! Daaaaaamn(!) Iíve never seen this exact motif.
Sep-01-19  Albanius: 9 ..Rab8!! is a mysterious rook move for the ages.
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