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Alireza Firouzja vs Magnus Carlsen
Tata Steel Masters (2020), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 9, Jan-21
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: That day will yet come.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: A game worthy of a world champion... When I went to sleep things were dead even I awoke saw Magnus had won and wondered if it was going to be his former endgame grind or his more recent middle game superiority... So it is the latter.

Over the past couple of years Magnus has ascended in the one phase of the game where he had equals even those who had the slight advantage. Now he has even conquered that realm of his 64 square empire...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: <offramp: When you get to play a game with the world champion you can play doggedly for a draw or you can really make the most of the opportunity and play proper chess. Alireza decided to make a fight out of it. He went down but he tried his best.>

Much appreciated by me...

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Bc2 watched the show, looking at its own pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Oginschile: So impressed with Firouzja and the tourney he is having. Hes played some of the most exciting chess over the previous months.

But today the King showed why he's king. Great game by Carlsen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: i told you so..

Mozart of Chess over The Iranian Missile

Jan-21-20  Everett: Carlsen dragged yet another one of his opponents into the swamp... avoiding main lines and creating new problems from the beginning of the game.
Jan-21-20  not not: Firouzja should have shut the shop (football term) and take draw by exchanging queens. Something Fisher learnt over the years.

The only person looking forward to Lekos games was Kramnik!

Jan-21-20  Cactusjuice: good game. class is eternal.
Jan-21-20  mike1: you have to take your hat off for Firo not trying to get an easy draw against the Berlin (4.d3). Everything else as said above; but yes, never underestimate a WC
Jan-21-20  MordimerChess: As white going for a3 and then d5 wasn't a great idea. If a3 then b4 or b3 with Bb2. Firouzja couldn't develop darksquare bishop and the rook as well. He got outplayed badly. Squeezing by a5, h4, Bf4 was harsh... I think it's pretty good lesson which every aspiring to the elite players has to take.

Also, Firouzja should play a bit longer. The most interesting line would be 41... Re8 42. Ba1 Rx4 43. d6 Re6 44. d7 Rd6 45. Rb6 Rxd7 46. Bxf6+ Kh6 47. g4 with mating ideas Bf4 48. Ra6 Rd6 49. Bg5+ Kg7 50. Rxa5

Of course Magnus would probably play 41...Bc4 42. Rc1 Bxe5 43. Rxc8 Bxg3. 44. Rc4... but it's still worth to try.

Anyway, I showed couple of extra lines in my commentary video:

Enjoy and see you in the next one ;)

Jan-22-20  Ulhumbrus: The computer evaluations suggest that 14 d5 is an error which passes the advantage to Black and this suggests that the plan of a queen side attack based on d5 and c4 is mistaken.

However the slightest changes may reverse the evaluation of a plan and it may be that White does not have to allow Black to dominate the queen side.

Black is however ahead in development on the queen side and this suggests that White is advised to avoid opening lines there, and that if lines are opened there it will be Black who takes the opened lines, as indeed he does.

Moreover the move c4 by itself opens lines, as Black's b pawn is on b5 already, and his c pawn has advanced to c6.

It may be that Firouzja wants Carlsen to play ...bxc4 and that Carlsen avoids it.

Suppose that a single lack of a tempo on White's part is enough to pass the advantage to Black and that Carlsen, like Fischer, has employed very good timing, which is perhaps a part of the art of masterly positional play.

This suggests looking for a way to save time or to save a tempo for White.

Instead of 16 a4 to be followed by 17 b3, suppose that white saves a tempo by playing 17 b3 at once, in order to get his queen's bishop out.

Now let us try a few moves as in the game: 16 b3 Qc7 17 Bb2 Rfc8. Now White can spend the tempo used on a4 to play 18 Rac1 instead and it looks healthier for him. In fact just such a slight difference may pass the advantage to White.

This suggests that Carlsen is at present more experienced than Firouzja in the art of timing.

Jan-22-20  oxoginkaput: What are the scheduled pairings for today?
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <oxogin>

Round 10:

Dubov - Giri
Yu - So
Xiong - Artemiev
Van Foreest - Duda
Carlsen - Kovalev
Caruana - Firouzja
Anand - Vitiugov

Jan-22-20  oxoginkaput: Salamat Mr wordfun.
Matetesting nanaman si Ali Bubba kay Fabbi Caru.
Jan-22-20  SChesshevsky: <karban...After 10th move I don't understand...> Might want to review ideas behind Ruy Lopez Closed Breyer variation. Appears Carlsen was able to transpose into good version. Few key ideas are keeping B's bad, where white wants to put pressure and associated pawn breaks. Spassky a top guy with black. Had many interesting Breyers. Believe Carlsen also no stranger to opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: In the opening, there was an interesting transposition to a well-known position (though not very fashionable today) from the Zaitsev after 12.d4 g6; the "classical" move order is 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.00 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 00 9.h3 Re8 10.d4 Bb7 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.Bc2 g6. Here, the main line continues 13.d5 Nb8 14.b3 c6 15.c4:

click for larger view

In the game, after 13.a3?! Nb8 14.d5? (now 14.b4 would be more consistent) 14...c6 15.c4 they got nearly the same position:

click for larger view

Only instead of the logical b3, White played the rather pointless and time-wasting a3. That's where Firouzja's troubles started.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: AF plays positionally still as a child. After "breyerish" 13...Nb8 it is clear that black is going to play Nbd7 with eventual c7-c5, but AF instead of logical 14.b4 increasing control of c5 plays 14.d5?? leaving c5 to black Knight, creating a potential target of his central Pawns, and paralysing his own LS Bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Instead of 39...Bxf1 black could have played also 39...Ng4+ 40.Ke1 Bd3 41.Rd1 Rc2 with full paralysis of white position, for example 42.Ba3 Bxf1 43.Nxf1 Nf2 44.Rb1 Nxe4 45.d6 Nc3 46.Rb2 (to stop threatening mate on e2) 46...Rc1+ 47.Kf2 Nd1+ with next Nxb2 -+.
Jan-22-20  notyetagm: If this was Star Wars,

DARTH MAGNUS: "You have much to learn, young Alireza."

FIROUZJA: "Yes, my master."

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Ulhumbrus: The computer evaluations suggest that 14 d5 is an error which passes the advantage to Black and this suggests that the plan of a queen side attack based on d5 and c4 is mistaken. >

In the Ruy, d5 is ok for white when black has already played ..c5 . (in Orthodox and Breyer variations, etc)
White closes the center and regroups his knights on the K-side... Nb1-d2-f1-e3/g3 and Ng1-f3-h2 with h4, g3 or g4 etc He can usually keep the center closed by supporting with c4 and so forth. In such lines white can generally get a lasting initiative.

< the position after Magnus' 13...Nb8 >

click for larger view

Here white played 14.d5 instead of the customary 14.b4 (Nbd7 15.Bb2 Bg7 etc)

In the breyer type position where the pawn is still on c7, black can immediately attack the center with ..c6 , as in this game. If white exchanges on c6 (somewhat of a positional concession) black can plan for a d6-d5 center break, as in many Sicilian variations. And as seen in this game, supporting d5 is very problematic. So why close the center if you can't keep it closed? Which is why white often maintains tension in the center while building up support on subcentral squares (c & f files, b & g files), loading rooks on files that will give advantage if black exchanges in the center. We see the reverse of this idea when Magnus has his Q and R on the C file and white has to recapture cxd.
Look at the game position after . Note that black has heavy artillary looking down the C file, targetting the Bc2. This is a typical strategem of the Ruy Closed defenses, when white answers ..b5 with Ba4-c2. Black targets the c2 square!

So what we see in this game is black developing his peices to optimum squares (those typical of the routine black defenses), while white is scrambling to coordinate his peices in some sensible fashion.

So < YES Ulhumbrus > you are quite correct. Black was winning right out of the opening due to < d5?! > combined with white's lack of deeper opening prep to back up the advance.

Here's a Stockfish 10 line in which you see the battle over the d5 square and it is BLACK (not white) who maintains a lasting initiative:

42/56 1:02:10 1,243,789k 333k +0.30 14. ... c6 15.dxc6 Bxc6 16.Nh2 Nbd7 17.Ng4 Qc7 18.Nxf6+ Nxf6 19.a4 Bg7 20.Qf3 Nh5 21.Bb3 Bh6 22.Nf1 Bxc1 23.Rexc1 Nf4 24.Ne3 Qb7 25.Nd5 Bxd5 26.Bxd5 Nxd5 27.exd5 bxa4 28.Rcb1 Qb3 29.Qe4 Reb8 30.Ra3 Qb5 31.g4 a5 32.Rxa4 f5 33.gxf5 gxf5 34.Qc4 Qxc4 35.Rxc4 a4 36.Rb4

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Honza Cervenka: >

Your comments are generally spot on! I always appreciate your positional understanding. Thanks for sharing your input for the benefit of others!

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Yeah, it's been used ad nauseam, but it does tell the story of this game:

Feb-24-20  ShyGuy1993: Why Magnus play 28... Kg7?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ShyGuy1993>
<Why Magnus play 28... Kg7?> The king guards the knight on f6, which comes in useful on move 33.
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