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Magnus Carlsen vs Anish Giri
"Magxit" (game of the day Jan-29-2020)
Gashimov Memorial (2019), Shamkir AZE, rd 7, Apr-07
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Fianchetto Lines (A29)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-08-19  SugarDom: <It’s a shame Carlsen missed 26.Rxg6+, but still a great game. Lots of videos already.>

I think he saw that too. He just went for the less complicated line.

Apr-08-19  Captain Hindsight: Better would have been < 27. d4 !! >

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Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: 18...Kh7 does not look (to me at least) like a move a human selects.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Daniel King shows my analysis was completely wrong:
Apr-08-19  SugarDom: <beenthere240: 18...Kh7 does not look (to me at least) like a move a human selects.>

I'm no GM but I've seen Kasparov make K-h1 or K-h7 moves.

Apr-08-19  SugarDom: OK to be fair. One will not move kh7 when there's a bishop in the diagonal. So it's a computer move.
Apr-08-19  Ulhumbrus: One alternative to 17...exf4 is 17...f5 acquiring a formation of e and f pawns similar to that in the games Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1968 and Larsen vs Ljubojevic, 1979
Apr-09-19  Dr Winston OBoogie: I wonder how long black looked at this pawn for

click for larger view

Just went through the game and that immediately stood out. Apparently only f6 here evens things up

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so why would you take a pawn that looks poisoned to us mortals only to follow it up with Rd8?

Apr-09-19  Eyal: <Apparently only f6 here evens things up [...] so why would you take a pawn that looks poisoned to us mortals only to follow it up with Rd8?>

19...f6 doesn't really even things up (the last moment for that was apparently a move earlier, with 18...Kh7!) - it's just the only move that allows Black to somehow stay in the game and not lose quickly by force. But from a human viewpoint it looks extremely unattractive in the way it weakens the light squares around the king, and it's actually quite difficult to realize that you're surviving tactically after 20. Be4 Qh3! (only move) 21. Qg6 Bg4! (again, only move - otherwise Rg1 is crushing) and now the black king is chased into the wild blue yonder after 22. Qh7+ Kf7 23. Bg6+ Ke6 24. Rce1+ Kd7 25. Qxg7+ Kc8 26. Be4:

click for larger view

Good luck believing (as Black) that this is a playable position for you...

According to the press conference after the game Giri was already quite desperate about his position by the time he took the e3 pawn; it's not like he expected good things after that. As the moves following 19...Rd8 show it was an attempt to get some kind of a defensive setup with Bf8 & Rd5, which obviously wasn't enough.

Apr-14-19  Marvken: 27...Bg7 28. Be7 Rxe7 29. Qxe7 Qe5 30. Qh4 g5
Here, Giri lasts a bit longer
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Marvken>
On 27...Bg7 White has <28. fxg6> and I'm not seeing how Giri lasts long after that.
Apr-23-19  sakredkow: <Apparently only f6 here evens things up>

Assuming you meant 18...f6 this is far too complicated for me but I enjoyed playing through some of the survival lines for black offered by SF. For example 19. Kh1 Qxe3 20. Be4 Qh3 21. Qg6 Bg4 and there's a forced king walk (more like a king run-for-it!) that just might work for black. Maybe the most testing is 19. Rf3 Qf7 20. Qh4 Bf5 21. e4 Bh7. These are computer lines but that 18...f6 leads to some fascinating positions.

Dec-26-19  mckmac: Magnus Carlsen in interview with GM Jan Gustaffson on

<...(Jan): "Then later on I think you were always winning but you missed some computer tactical finishes, instead of 26.Qh3, 26.Rxg6+ or something. Do these things bother you or do you feel it was under control and who cares, a point is a point?"

-(Magnus): "No, it bothered me a lot! I was extremely pissed towards the end of the game that I hadn’t managed to finish him off in a proper way, and if he hadn’t collapsed before the time control then I might have tilted even more. I felt that the endgame should be winning, but not that it was a very trivial win. I sort of felt that I had to win the game before the time control otherwise it would be very difficult.

I was definitely tilted at that point and it was not a case of “a point is a point” because that could have been a beautiful game and in the end it just ended up being kind of bitter sweet"...>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: 17.f4 exf4 18.gxf4 blows my mind. I wouldn't in a million years think to let 18...Qxe3+ (with check!) happen. And yet, Qxe3+ turns out to be a bad move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: World Champion Magnus Carlsen takes a very nondescript opening (English Four Knights with 4. g3) into a level middlegame, where Knights are off the board after 15. Qxf3. He then builds up an overwhelming Kingside assault, casually sacrificing a Pawn with 18 … Qxe3+ for open lines. Giri deserves credit for fighting back, offering the exchange with 22 … Rd5 for counterplay, but White's attack is just brutal and unrelenting.

click for larger view

White to Play and Win after 25 … g6.

Go Carlsen.

Jan-29-20  WorstPlayerEver: The pun is inappropriate; it's a memorial.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Au revoir, but not goodbye, to the little wretch, termagant and pissant who imagines himself being anywhere near Carlsen's equal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: I'm a bit amazed Carlsen didn't go with 26. Rxg6! It's a forcing line that simplifies to an easily won endgame. As soon as I saw the move g6, Rxg6 was my immediate thought.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ajk68: I'm a bit amazed Carlsen didn't go with 26. Rxg6! It's a forcing line that simplifies to an easily won endgame. As soon as I saw the move g6, Rxg6 was my immediate thought.>

It would be the immediate thought of every patzer here, including me, if presented with the position. But sacrificing a rook in real life with the clock ticking is harder.

Jan-29-20  cormier: 18... Qe3? 18...Kh7 19.e4 g6 20.Qe2 Be6 21.Qe3 f5 22.Bd4 Rg8 23.Rce1 = -0.18 (24 ply)
Jan-29-20  cormier: 19. Kh1 ± +1.87 (25 ply)
Mar-19-23  saturn2: I dont know much about the English but I would say 7.Nxe5 wins a pawn. ....Nxc3 8.Bxc6+ (not Nxc6 Qf6 9.bxc3 Qxf2 10.Kd2 Qxg2)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <saturn2>, indeed it does, but Black gets plenty of play:

Ding Liren vs Radjabov, 2019

V Artemiev vs Carlsen, 2021

Mar-19-23  saturn2: Thx perfidious
Mar-19-23  SChesshevsky: <7. Nxe5 wins a pawn...>

Examples by perfidious seem to show that line has been pretty much worked out to a draw.

This line after 8. d3 looks a reversed Dragon tempo up. General Dragon ideas of Qside, c-file play where the Bg2 is integral. White also gets some additional benefit. No facing Yugoslav attack type counter play and seems black has to make some concession somewhere.

But it is a Dragon, which is fairly passive early on and takes time. Might be judged as reasonably safe, whites probably never going to be worse with even halfway decent play, with possibilities if black mis or over plays. Seems a logical inclusion in Carlsen's rep.

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