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Anton Smirnov vs Magnus Carlsen
44th Olympiad (2022), Chennai IND, rd 6, Aug-03
Nimzowitsch Defense: Williams Variation (B00)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The computer thinks the position was roughly equal before <26.Nf5>, so I wonder what Smirnov had in mind after <26...gxf5 27. Rdg1 Ke8 28. Qg6+ Rf7>. Could he simply have missed <27...Ke8>?
Aug-06-22  optimal play: <MissScarlett: The computer thinks the position was roughly equal before <26.Nf5>, so I wonder what Smirnov had in mind after <26...gxf5 27. Rdg1 Ke8 28. Qg6+ Rf7>. Could he simply have missed <27...Ke8>?>

I can't see what Anton had in mind. It looks like a blunder since your line wins easily for black.

Yet Magnus balked at capturing the knight and instead played 26...Nxe4?! which was an inferior reply, but still good enough to win.

Anton should have just played 26.Qe3 instead of trying to be smart with 26.Nf5? which certainly confused Magnus and left him apprehensive about capturing the knight, but which was simply a bad move by white, as even Carlsen's second best reply was good enough to win.

Premium Chessgames Member

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White to move

1) +0.86 (38 ply) <15.h5 b4 16.Nb1 c5> 17.a3 Rac8 18.c4 Rfd8 19.b3 Rd6 20.Kb2 gxh5 21.gxh5 Rcd8 22.Qe2 h6 23.Bc2 Rxd1 24.Bxd1 Kh7 25.Bc2 Nd7 26.Rg1 Rg8 27.Qf2 Qc7 28.Ka2 Bf8 29.Rxg8 Kxg8 30.f4 Nf6 31.f5 Bc8 32.Qh4 Nd7 33.Nd2 Kh7 34.Nf3 Qd6 35.Qf2 Bb7 36.axb4 Qc7 37.bxc5 Nxc5

2) =0.00 (37 ply) 15.b3 Qa3+ 16.Kb1 a5 17.Qc1 Qb4 18.Ne2 Qe7 19.h5 a4 20.h6 Bh8 21.Qd2 Qa3 22.Qc1

3) =0.00 (37 ply) 15.a3 h5 16.Bc5 Rfd8 17.Kb1 Rab8 18.Qg5 Qc7 19.Be2 a5 20.Rxd8+ Rxd8 21.Qe3 Ra8 22.Rg1 hxg4 23.fxg4 Nd7 24.Be7 Nf8 25.Qc5 Nd7

6.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 11 v064

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <15.h5 b4 16.Nb1 c5>

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White to move

1) +0.91 (38 ply) 17.a3 Rac8 18.c4 Rfd8 19.b3 Rd6 20.Kb2 Rcd8 21.Qe2 gxh5 22.gxh5 h6 23.Bc2 Rxd1 24.Bxd1 Qc7 25.Bc2 Kh8 26.Qf2 Nd7 27.Rg1 Rg8 28.a4 Bf8 29.Rxg8+ Kxg8 30.Nd2 Kh8 31.Nf1 Qd8 32.Nh2 Qf6 33.Qg3 Be7 34.Ng4 Bxg4 35.Qxg4 Nf8 36.Qc8 Qe6 37.Qc7 Nd7 38.Bxh6 Qxh6 39.Qxd7 Qd6 40.Qe8+ Kg7 41.h6+ Kxh6 42.Qh8+ Kg5 43.Kb1

2) +0.79 (38 ply) 17.c4 Qxa2 18.h6 Bh8 19.Bxc5 a5 20.Bxf8 Rxf8 21.b3 Qxb3 22.Qc2 Qxc2+ 23.Bxc2 Nd7 24.g5 Nc5 25.Rd6 b3 26.Bd1 f6 27.Nc3 fxg5 28.Na4 Nxa4 29.Rxe6 Bf6 30.Rc6 Be7 31.Bxb3 Nc5 32.Rc7 Kf7 33.Bd1 Ke6 34.Rh2 g4 35.fxg4 Rf1 36.Kc2 Rf4 37.Rd2 Rxe4 38.Kc3 Re3+ 39.Kb2 e4 40.Bc2 Rg3 41.Rc6+ Kf7 42.Rd5

3) =0.00 (38 ply) 17.h6 Bh8 18.b3 Qxa2 19.Bxc5 Rfb8 20.Bd6 Rb6 21.Bxb4 Rab8 22.Bc3 Nd7 23.Bb2 Bxb3 24.Nc3 Qa5 25.cxb3 Rxb3 26.Bc4 Rxb2 27.Bxf7+ Kxf7 28.Qxd7+ Kg8 29.Qe6+ Kf8 30.Qd6+ Kf7

6.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 11 v064

Aug-06-22  SChesshevsky: <The computer thinks the position was roughly equal before 26. Nf5...>

I'd probably say the computer thinks the position is drawable rather than equal. Black is two pawns up with possible pressure on the queen side. Though white will likely get a pawn back and is pretty solid though maybe bit passive.

So Smirnov has a choice. Try to prove he can draw what might be slightly worse position. Or go with complications that might give serious counter play.

Interestingly, Smirnov seemed to face this kind of decision throughout the game. Seeing kind of Pirc transposition. He went for a quiet setup. But then after 0-0-0, he went for an aggressive English/Yugoslav attack against a black Dragon like king side setup. But without the best placed LSB and a slow h3, f3, g4, h4. Then stops the attack with a defensive a3 and Bc5. Which allows black with the ...h5 defense without compromise. Which puts a question to whether the king side push is a threat or weakness. Pretty close to the question throughout: are you attacking or defending? Very difficult to do both successfully.

Aug-06-22  Noah Parking: Pirc transposition, yes. If you push your pawns to the other side you must be attacking or you lose your pawns and time. Black released discovered attacks well.

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