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Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Magnus Carlsen
GCT Croatia (2019), Zagreb CRO, rd 7, Jul-02
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-03-19  beenthere240: I believe Carlsen played ...f5 within 20 seconds. You don't need to slam a piece on the board to create drama. Both the speed with which the move was played and the fact that either capture will open lines for the Queen to penetrate was probably devastating -- especially coming from the World Champion.

We might be seeing the return of Sauron! (Naka will never live that quip down.)

Jul-03-19  Everett: <keypusher> G Abrahams vs Bronstein, 1947
Jul-03-19  csmath: More precisely Stockfish. Stockfish is not very good in closed positions.

Because of that some people were excited about white position out of the opening where there was not much for white at all. The worst of all (for Nepo) is that Nepo was trying to find something himself and burned time because of that. And of course he did not find anything because Magnus was playing perfect positional setup while improving his queenside.

Jul-03-19  csmath: 9 out of 10 times if you put two master players in a game where they have equal game but one has easier position to play that one will come on top.

See example here (in the final 10 moves) and the game MVL-Caruana as well.

Jul-03-19  MrMelad: <beenthere240: You don't need to slam a piece on the board to create drama> You are correct of course. There are many ways to psychologically strike at an opponent, some are more fun then others. Gracefully slamming pieces are just one suggestion, a personal favorite of mine especially after a long and quite game.

Iím sure Carlsen has his own and better ways. :)

Jul-03-19  Everett: <keypusher> more pawn breakthroughs

Bondarevsky vs Bronstein, 1963

Jul-03-19  MrMelad: <csmath: More precisely Stockfish> Very true. Iím pretty sure Leela would be a much better engine to consult regarding openings.
Jul-03-19  MrMelad: Hereís a kibitz where I elaborate:

AlphaZero (Computer)

Jul-03-19  beenthere240: When Carlsen starts burning more time than his opponents itís often because he sees something bad in his position. In this game he does not appear to have been worried once. Nepo on the other hand kept looking for opportunities that didnít exist.
Jul-03-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 d 24 dpa done

1. = (0.17): 27.Kg2 cxd3 28.cxd3 Rbc8 29.Rac1 Rc7 30.b4 Qd7 31.Rxc7 Qxc7 32.Qa6 Rb8 33.Qa5 Qc3 34.Bxf7 Qxd3 35.Be6 Bd4 36.Qa2 Qc3 37.Bf5 Qxb4 38.Rc1 Bc5 39.Qe6 Qb2+ 40.Kh3 Qg7 41.e5 Rd8 42.Qd5

2. = (0.13): 27.Rad1 cxd3 28.Rxd3 b4 29.Kg2 Qc7 30.Rd2 Kg8 31.Re2 Be5 32.Ra1 Qc5 33.Qb3 Kg7 34.Ra2 Rbc8 35.Ra4 Rb8 36.Ra1 Qd4 37.Ra2 Rbc8 38.Ra6 Qc5 39.Qa2 Rc7 40.Qa1 Rfc8 41.Rd2

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Carlsen on Black's opening play in this game: "There's something nice about being positionally worse out of the opening. The wholes are already there Ė so you don't have to worry about concessions, because you've already made them. It's about trying to get counterplay." (
Jul-03-19  csmath: The fact that he did not spend much time shows that he was not all that worried about the opening. But it did require Nepo to try to make some game out of it and there was really nothing he found.

But if you look at the middlegame you can see that Magnus made no mistake anywhere, and there were chances to mess up but he did not.

This would have been a great game if Nepo could participate on the same level but he went down in flames rather fast.

It is still a marvelous example of "semi-bluffing" attack. The ending sequence is worth of any textbook on tactics.

Jul-03-19  Everett: <Eyal> re: having clear positional issues early, very interesting and something I've thought (as a lowly 1700+ USCF), with both the Dutch Stonewall and the Botvinnik System... One gets to know how to work with or around the blatant weak spots in one's own camp. One exchanges work? when is it good to leave a pawn or a piece when attacking that space? How should the pieces be organizing around that structure?

I've adopted the Botvinnik System pawn structure as my go to for some time, and its been a delight to see Carlsen use it so effectively over the passed couple of years.

Jul-03-19  That Roger: Carlsen pokes many tiny holes all over the roof and while his opponent is busy patching he pokes more until it can no longer hold the raining from pouring through
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: I had to stop watching when it was equal. Was I surprised!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Everett ó thanks, I did not know those games.
Jul-04-19  Fanques Fair: Magnus Carlsen is playing very well but it seems his main advantage over his peers is psychological. That's the reason for this win, for example.
Jul-04-19  scholes: Complete domination of dark squares. White lsb was spectator
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Terrible play by Nepo.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Magnus Carlsen is playing very well but it seems his main advantage over his peers is psychological. That's the reason for this win, for example.>

The reason for this win is that Carlsen is currently in a league of his own in understanding the dynamics of Sicilian 2...Nc6 positions (whether it's Sveshnikov, Rossolimo, or other anti-Sveshnikiv lines, as the one played here) - as has been shown over and over again since the match with Caruana. Nepo didn't do anything extraordinarily strange or stupid in this game. He was outplayed in a strategically complex position, where he didn't manage to find a good active plan and his opponent did, he was put under some serious pressure by very enterprising play (the c4 & f5 breaks), and he cracked under this pressure.

Jul-04-19  lentil: Aww, White should have done the sporting thing> 32 Ke1 Qg1+ 33 Rf1 Qe3#
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: 28.gxf5?? g4 lost by force.
Jul-05-19  Ulhumbrus: Carlsen could play his N to f4 whereas if Nepomniachtchi played his N to f5 Carlsen might take it, so Nepomniachtchi avoided playing Nf5.

The reason for this, I would guess, is that Nepomniachtchi's problem was that whereas Carlsen could be satisfied with a draw, that was not enough for Nepomniachtchi who was trying to avoid a draw, and trying to gain an advantage.

It may be that Nepomniachtchi thought that he had to prove that his c3 pawn was placed better then Black's c5 pawn and perhaps he was right to try, but if so he did not find the right way to do it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Fanques Fair: Magnus Carlsen is playing very well but it seems his main advantage over his peers is psychological. That's the reason for this win, for example.>

Iíve read similar things about Fischer circa 1971 ďhe plays well but not that much better than the rest of us.Ē Thereís little to add to Eyalís comment but I was deeply impressed, not to say befuddled, by ...Bxd5 and ...c4, as well as ...f5. It takes courage, or foolhardiness, to put all your pawns on dark squares and then exchange your light-square bishop. Itís really difficult to beat a super-GM with white who only wants a draw; this was a lesson how.

He does have a psychological advantage, I agree. But he gets it by working for it.

Jul-06-19  Monocle: <Fanques Fair: Magnus Carlsen is playing very well but it seems his main advantage over his peers is psychological. That's the reason for this win, for example.>

Against Nepomniatchi, I doubt it, considering their previous head to head record.

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