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Sergey Karjakin vs Magnus Carlsen
GCT Croatia (2019), Zagreb CRO, rd 5, Jun-30
Queen's Gambit Declined (D30)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-17-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: Could it be that this line of play is a genuine defense for Black (playing ...a6 & ...h6 versus the Queen's Gambit Declined)?

On the one hand, it can only be a novelty line that theory has yet to refute; but on the other hand, finding good moves for White in response to Black's non development isn't easy. In this game, I was wondering if 6.Ne5 (planning f2-f3 then e2-e4) might have been a better plan for Karjakin?

Mar-18-20  SChesshevsky: <...this line of play a genuine defense for Black?...>

Interesting question. Against the QGD Exchange 0-0 version, probably no significant tempo loss as h6 common and a6 against minority attack too. Not sure against some sort of exchange 0-0-0 version. Maybe a6 is a loss of tempo if ...0-0-0 but maybe also suggests that white might not want 0-0-0 himself in face of quick ...b5 expansion.

Not sure on straight up QGD. Probably no tempo loss versus Catalan or with stuff like Semi-Tarrasch but maybe so on Cambridge Springs. Though I think I remember Carlsen being quite happy with early...a6 and saying something like it's always useful.

In this game doesn't seem to hurt. But I thought Whites Q and LSB were kind of misplaced. Thinking maybe 10.Qc2 then if ...Bxe5 11. Nxe5 O-0 12. Be2 Nbd7 13. f4 gets the same white benefits but gives Black less play. Or maybe Karjakin had something better after the ...c5, f5 complications that show ...a6 ...h6 unwise.

Mar-22-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: <SChesshevsky> <Thinking maybe 10.Qc2 then if ...Bxe5 11.Nxe5 O-O 12.Be2 Nbd7 13.f4 gets the same white benefits but gives black less play. Or maybe Karjakin had something better after the ...c5, f5 complications that show ...a6 ...h6 unwise.>

My own suspicion is that Karjakin overlooked the likelihood of a resulting fork (...c5 & ...c4) when he played 10.Bd3. I think that your suggestion of 10.Qc2 is a clear improvement for white, especially now that black has a Rook misplaced on a7. One other thing which occured to me is that 4.cxd5 is a mistake: white has nothing to concern himself about regarding (the possibility of) ...dxc4; and also, 4.cxd5 assists the development of black's queenside pieces.

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