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Magnus Carlsen vs Anish Giri
Chessable Masters (2020) (rapid), INT, rd 3, Jul-04
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Exchange Variation (D41)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-05-20  Ulhumbrus: The computer evaluations indicate that errors were made by both players, errors that could have changed the outcome. However the errors were small enough for the commentators to consider this game a masterpiece. Instead of 19...Qc7, 19...Nc5 20 Nd4 Qd7! covers the f5 square. On 21 Bc2 Ne6 the N on d4 is tied to the defence of the bishop on c2 and so is not free to go to f5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The game follows such well-known paths in the Semi-Tarrasch that the praise slightly puzzles me. The sequence of d5, e5, and finally Nd4 has appeared before (didn’t Kmoch call it a “sweeper-sealer” pawn sacrifice?). Can’t deny that the finish looks like Fischer at his best.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As the mangy cur is again brought to heel....
Jul-06-20  SChesshevsky: <...for the commentators to consider this game a masterpiece...> Certainly nice play by Magnus. But Giri not seeming that familiar with the opening and going way down on the clock probably influenced the outcome more.

It feels like whites always a bit better in these semi-tarrasch exchange variations. Blacks best drawing chances seem to be if one has put the time into working out clear equalizing ideas like I believe Leko and the Chinese like Ding and Wang Hao have done. Or be extremely clever and dynamic like Kramnik.

Even in those cases, draws aren't usually simple. Without some clear ideas and being way behind on the clock, the chances for a bad semi-tarrasch result probably go up significantly.

Jul-06-20  Ulhumbrus: <SChesshevsky> In the game Kasparov vs Najdorf, 1982 Stockfish indicates that it took just one mistake - the wrong rook by ...Rae8 instead of ..Rfe8 - to give White an advantage instead of equality

One alternative to 18...Ne4 is 18...Nd7 offering to return the pawn at once eg 19 Bxd5 Bxd5 20 Qxd5 Nf8

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <SChesshevsky> It feels like whites always a bit better in these semi-tarrasch exchange variations.>

I agree, but it's more than just a feeling, certainly at the top level. The ChessTempo database has 2,015 games where both players are rated 2400+ after 1.d4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c5. It has White winning 30.1%, drawing 55.9%, and losing 14.0%. That's a scoring % of 58%, more than the usual 55%.

It always seemed to me that in this opening Black works very hard and must play accurately in order to just to hold a draw. It's like a Grunfeld, Exchange variation but without the dynamic play provided by Black's Bg7. Why would Black players play this at the top level, particularly if they are hoping for a win? Perhaps this is one example of hope springing eternal.

Oh well, maybe when I become a top player I'll be able to answer that question. ;-)

Jul-07-20  MordimerChess: A lot have been said already about the game and variations. But remember - we always need two players to create a masterpiece :D

My video analysis:

Jul-07-20  SChesshevsky: <...Why would Black players play this at the top level, particularly if they are hoping for a win?...>

Probably some players like the semi-tarrasch as by passing the exchange lines with e3 or Bg5 can allow Black a freer version of the QGD. Though it's probably true that wins with Black in the exchange version might be more flukes than anything else. Maybe trying to be too tricky with Black just increases losing chances.

An example might be:

Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2016

But seems white has enough out of the opening that passivity probably dooms black as well. Seems the trick is to just get enough counter play to draw. A tricky balance. Feels great when accomplished but really frustrating when lost.

Couple interesting counter play draws were:

Gelfand vs Kramnik, 2017

Mamedyarov vs Ding Liren, 2019

Jul-09-20  yurikvelo:

multiPV of Giri's mistakes

Jul-23-20  tonsillolith: That knight on <f5> is really well placed. It serves so many different purposes in the final sequence, including enabling the <30. e6> push by protecting both queen and rook.

It comes quite close to having all four rear moves serving defensive purposes and all four forward moves serving attacking purposes.

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