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Table of Contents


1 Introduction

2 His beginnings

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

3 His first international performances

Game 4

Game 5

4 Grand Master at 13

Game 6

Game 7

Game 8

Game 9

Game 10

5 Future World Champion

Game 11

Game 12

6 In the elite

Game 13

Game 14

Game 15

Game 16

Game 17

Game 18
Game 19

Game 20

Game 21

Game 22

Game 23

Game 24

7 In the top ten

Game 25

Game 26

Game 27

Game 28

Linares 2008 Interview

Game 29

Game 30

Game 31

Game 32

8 Worlds number one

Game 33

Game 34

Game 35

Game 36

Game 37

Game 38

Game 39

Game 40

9 A record ELO rating

Game 41

Game 42

Game 43

Game 44

Game 45

Game 46

Game 47

Game 48

Game 49

Game 50

Game 51

Game 52

Game 53

Game 54

Game 55

Game 56

Game 57

Game 58

Game 59

Game 60

Game 61

Game 62

Game 63

Game 64

Game 65

Game 66
Game 67

Game 68

Game 69

Game 70

Game 71

Game 72

Bilbao 2012 Interview

Game 73

Mexico 2012 Interview

Game 74

Game 75

Game 76

Game 77

Game 78

Game 79

Game 80

Game 81

10 Candidate for the World Title

Game 82

Game 83

Game 84

Game 85

Game 86

11 Leading up to the title

Game 87

Game 88
Game 89

Game 90

Game 91

Game 92

Game 93

Game 94

Game 95

Game 96

12 New World Champion!

Game 97

Game 98

Game 99

Game 100

ANNEX All the games of the World Championship

Game 101

Game 102

Game 103

Game 104

Game 105

Game 106

Game 107

Game 108

Game 109

Game 110


1 Introduction

2 His beginnings

3 His first international performances

4 Grand Master at 13

5 Future World Champion

6 In the elite

7 In the top ten

Linares 2008 Interview

8 Worlds number one

9 A record ELO rating

Bilbao 2012 Interview

Mexico 2012 Interview

10 Candidate for the World Title

11 Leading up to the title

12 New World Champion!

Annex. All the games of the World Championship

World Chess Champions

Main results in Tournaments

Games index
Magnus Carlsen. World Champion

Miguel Illescas and other authors

Anastazia Karlovich, family archive Carlsen, tournaments and PDR archive

Design and layout

Pau Pascual

Carlos J. Penn

Published by Chess Education and Technology, S.L.Francisco Giner 42, bajos. 08012
Barcelona (Spain)
Tel.: +34 932385352 Fax: +34 934154093 -

1rst edition october 2015


THIS BOOK reviews with great detail Magnus Carlsen's career, from his early chess
years to his World Champion title in late 2013. It includes his hundred best games fully

GM Miguel Illescas has edited this work, in which he offers his personal view of every
game, and analyses deeply many of them, together with other experimented authors.
But the most notable feature of this book is that it includes remarks of Magnus himself,
made on the press conferences after the games, allowing us to penetrate in the chess
thinking of the new World Champion.

In addition to the explanatory texts and annotated games, the book includes many
photographs, as well as several exclusive interviews with Carlsen. To top off the book,
the ten games of the match for the world title are included, four of them extensively

In short, this is certainly the most complete work on Magnus Carlsen.

By IM ngel Martn

ALTHOUGH he is still very young, Magnus Carlsens chess career is relatively

extensive, as he started to compete in serious tournaments when he was barely ten
years old.

From the start some of his qualities stood out strongly. For example, his interest in
chess and competition didnt seem to have any limits. He was often playing blitz on the
Internet, even during tournaments, while the other participants were resting and
preparing their games.

Also fascinating was his interest in reading. Specifically in chess, he would read all kinds
of books that he usually looked at without a board. One of his main coaches in the early
years, GM Simen Agdestein, highlighted that Magnus was able to read an opening book
that he didnt know about, without using a chessboard, and then play it with great skill.
Also, in his early years he had a great memory, that allowed him to remember the games
and positions he had studied, including the dates and names of those who had played
the games.

His personality may seem rather reserved for people who are not part of his circle of
acquaintances. For example, he doesnt like interviews and he doesnt have a good
relationship with journalists and their questions, especially if they know nothing about
chess. In an interview that he gave shortly after becoming a GM he mentioned that he
was particularly bothered by three questions: "Why do you play chess?" "At what age
did you start playing?" And "What do you have to do to become a grandmaster?"

He doesnt like music much, but instead he enjoys soccer and practices quite often.

Although he left school during the year that he traveled with his family, both him and
his sisters received education from their parents during the trips. He believes that he
learned much more this way than during class, which he though was rather boring.
One of the books that he enjoyed most was Kramniks games, but when he was asked if
Kramnik was his favorite player, he said no. He said that he has no model, and that his
favorite player was himself.

Magnus Carlsen was born on November 30th, 1990 in Brum, a Norwegian town near
Oslo. His father was a strong chess player who had previously taken part in club
competitions in Norway. He taught him how to play when the child was 5.

Unlike many other champions, especially in the former USSR, who have had renowned
coaches, often Grand Masters, guiding their chess career from the beginning, his father
has been the most influential person in Magnus career. Even nowadays he still
accompanies him frequently to tournaments because he has become his manager.

There was a Grand Master that helped Carlsen improve from the start. This person is
Simen Agdestein, for many years the strongest player in Norway. He used to play in the
same club as Magnuss father. The training sessions were quite sporadic, but even so
Agdestein managed to guide Carlsen in some important aspects when the boy was
barely 10 years old, but had already shown great talent.

Carlsen achieved the IM title in 2003, when he was 12, but he finally established himself
in early 2004 by winning the group "C" tournament in Wijk aan Zee, achieving the GM
norm. In following events he achieved three more norms and finally the title with 13
years, 4 months and 27 days. He became the youngest grandmaster in the world at the
time, but he wasnt able to beat the absolute record that was set half a year before by
Sergey Karjakin (also born in 1990, although in January) who achieved the title when he
was 12 years and 7 months old.

However, Carlsen soon began to break records. Before he was 20 he had won the
world's most prestigious tournaments, including Linares and Wijk aan Zee, in addition
to the World Championship of Blitz chess (Moscow 2009, 3 points ahead of the main
favorite, Anand). He also reached the top of the rating list before he was twenty. This
occurred in January 2010, when he appeared with 2810, five points more than the
second in the list, Veselin Topalov.

Since then, he has virtually dominated the world rankings without interruption (Anand
beat him by a narrow margin, only two points, in March and May 2011). And in the
January 2013 list, Carlsen scored a record 2861, overcoming Kasparovs January 2000
record by ten points. The next month Carlsen overcome his own record, reaching 2872
points, which he has maintained in December 2013.

No one doubted that Carlsen would be able to overcome his own record, even reaching
2900, as well as becoming World Champion. However, this moment was delayed by his
own decision to decline participation in the 2011-12 cycle.

Magnus Carlsen with his family, walking in Brum (Norway)

His beginnings
By IM ngel Martn

MAGNUS CARLSEN learned to play chess when he was 5. He was taught by his father,
a pretty strong amateur, but at first he wasnt very interested. The young Norwegian
truly became interested in chess when he was eight; his father also taught his younger
sister and Magnus wanted to beat her.

Magnus was 8 and a half, in July 1999, when he took part in his first competition, the
under-11 Norwegian Championship. He had a pretty good performance, achieving 6.5
points out of 11.

By that time he already showed signs of great qualities, especially a prodigious memory,
which allowed him to remember complete games and positions. He also showed great
interest in chess, studying and playing regularly.

Although Norway doesnt have a great chess tradition, Carlsen was not without support
as soon as he began to stand out. Mainly his family, who helped him a lot, and especially
his father. When Magnus started to play really well, he quit his job and decided to work
on his own to have more flexibility and accompany him to the tournaments. Carlsen has
three other sisters, Ellen (a year and a half older than him) and Ingrid and Signe (3 and
6 years younger respectively).

In January 2000, while he was participating in an open tournament at Gausdal, he

impressed GM Agdestein. The Norwegian number one would play an important role in
Magnus development in the following years, first as an adviser and then as a trainer. He
actually suggested his first coach, Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen, with whom he had one
session of two hours each week.
The Norwegian GM Simen Agdestein

Six months later he participated again in the under-11 Norwegian Championship. This
time, in his second participation, he crushed his opponents, scoring ten points out of

Also in 2000 he played in some of his first tournaments with adults. Although at first his
results were not extraordinary, we mustnt forget that he was still just a 9-year old boy.
In any case his results were much better than what was to be expected by his ranking,
which was under 1000.

In 2001 his progress was already very obvious. In the April 2001 list he appeared with
2064 and was invited to an IM group at the Gausdal Classics. He finished with 2,5 out
of 9 but against strong opponents (2237). Then he played in the under-20 Norwegian
Championship (he was only 10) and finished 6th with 5,5 out of 9. Finally, he
participated in the Nordic Countries Championship, held in Bergen with the
participation of 7 GMs. He scored 3,5/9 points, finishing 71st. He was always very tired
during the last rounds. He was still very young and it wasnt easy to play so many games
against such strong players.

A curious thing happened at the end of 2001, at a small tournament in Modum. His
father Henrik Carlsen, ended up in front of his son. This would be the last time.

In January 2002, Magnus appeared with a 2148 FIDE rating. He also received the
sponsorship of Computas, a computer consulting company, who offered him a grant to
cover his tournament travel expenses. One of the first was the Marianske Lazne open in
the Czech Republic. Magnus, who was seeded number 20, finished with 6/9, sharing
fourth place with a 2350 performance.
Further on he played again in Gausdal (Troll Masters) but this time in the A group
(average rating 2412, while Magnus barely had 2163). He finished with 2.5/9, but his
performance was 2273.

In July 2002 he took part in the elite group of the Norwegian championship, when he
was 11 years and 7 months. A funny story occurred when one of the spectators,
unaware of who Magnus was, told him that he should leave the area reserved for the
players, that he could not be there. He achieved three points out of eight, but he gained
some valuable experience.

In late 2002 he played two championships for under-12s. First the European Under-12
Championship, held in Peniscola (Spain), where he finished sixth and then the World
Championship in Crete. There he shared first place with Nepomniachtchi, though the
tiebreak favored the Russian who took down the title. But Magnus's performance was
more than 2500.

A very young Carlsen in one of his first adult competitions

Game 1
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
Carlsen was only ten years old when he won this very nice game. We can already see
that he likes to gain the initiative as soon as possible, in this case by means of a pawn
sacrifice that his opponent maybe shouldnt have captured.

Gaasland, G NOR
Carlsen, M NOR 2084
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
NOR-chT qualifier, 2001

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Bb7 8. f3 d5

9. e3 Nbd7 10. Bd3 h6 11. Bh4 Qe8

A strange way to unpin, although it works in this game.

12. Bg3 Rc8 13. c5 bxc5 14. dxc5 d4!? 15. Qxd4?!

Better was 15. exd4 and after 15... Nd5 16. Qc2 (16. Qc1!?) 16... e5 17. c6 exd4+ 18. Ne2
Ne3 19. Qc1 Black might not have enough compensation.

15... e5 16. Qc3 e4 17. c6 exd3 18. Bf2 Nd5 19. cxd7 Qxd7 20. Qxd3 Qe6 21. O-O-O
c5 22. Qc4 Rfd8

Carlsen has achieved an attractive amount of compensation for the sacrificed pawn.
White must play very carefully now. Maybe 22... Qg6 was objectively stronger.

23. e4?

A decisive mistake. White completely misses Black's move.

He had to finish his development by means of 23. Nh3.

23... Ne3! 24. Rxd8+

Of course 24. Qxe6 Rxd1#.

24... Rxd8 25. Qe2

To avoid the mate on d1 but...

25... Qc4+!

And White resigned in view of 26. Kb1 Rd1+.

Game 2
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
One of young Carlsen's most notorious traits - which would become later one of his
trademarks - is his preference for pawn sacrifices in exchange for the initiative. In the
previous game he sacrificed the pawn at the end of the opening, while in this game he
goes for a theoretical gambit.

Carlsen, M NOR 2072

Gulbrandsen, G NOR
French Defense [C06]
NOR-chT qualifier, 2002

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Ngf3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Bd3 Qb6 8. O-O cxd4

9. cxd4 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 Qxd4 11. Nf3 Qb6 12.Qa4 Qb4 13. Qc2 Qc5 14. Qe2 Be7 15.
Be3 Qa5 16. Bg5 Qd8 17. Qe3 Bxg5 18. Nxg5 Qe7 19. Rac1 h6?

White has huge compensation for the sacrificed pawn but this mistake leaves Black in a
completely lost position after Carlsen's excellent reply.

20. Qxa7! Rb8

If 20... Rxa7 21. Rxc8+ Qd8 22. Rxd8+ Kxd8 23. Nxf7+ winning.

21. Qxb8! Nxb8 22. Rxc8+ Kd7 23. Rxh8 Nc6 24. Nf3
White has two rooks and a bishop for a queen and he didn't have any trouble converting
this material advantage.

24... f6 25. Bb5 fxe5 26. Bxc6+ bxc6 27. Nxe5+ Kd6 28. Re1 Kc7 29. g3 Qb4 30. Re2
d4 31. Rd8 Qb5 32. Rd7+ Kc8 33. Re4 c5 34.Rf4 Qxd7 35. Nxd7 Kxd7 1-0
Game 3
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
At the beginning of his career Magnus Carlsen was already trying to learn the main
openings and defenses. In the following game his choice was the Kings Indian defence,
which he plays aggressively, taking advantage of one of his opponent's mistakes to win
the game very clearly.

Ekeberg, C NOR 2227

Carlsen, M NOR 2315
King's Indian Defense [E94]
NOR-ch U20, 2003

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nh5 8. g3 Bg4 9.

Bg5 f6 10. Be3 Nc6 11. d5 Ne7 12. Qd2 Qd713. Ne1 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 f5 15. exf5 Nxf5
16. Ne4 Nxe3 17. Qxe3 Nf6 18. Nd3 c6 19. dxc6 Qxc6 20. Nxf6+ Rxf6 21. Rac1 Rf3
22. Qe2Raf8 23. Nb4 Qc5 24. Nd5 e4 25. b4 Qd4 26. Ne3 h5 27. Rcd1 Qe5 28. Rd5
Qe6 29. Nd1 h4 30. Re1 hxg3 31. hxg3 Qh3 32. Qxe4?

Black had achieved a very promising attacking position although not winning yet. But
this mistake allows him to finish the game off instantly.

White had to reinforce the defence of the g3 pawn with 32. Rg5.

32... Rxg3+! 33. fxg3 Qxg3+ 34. Kh1 Rf4 35. Qxf4 Qxf4

And Black ended up with a clear advantage, because of the exposed situation of White's
king, which will fall under the check's of Black's queen. The game finishes quite quickly.
36. Re8+ Kf7 37. Rc8 Qf1+ 38. Kh2 Be5+ 39. Rxe5 dxe5 40. Rd8 Qf4+ 41. Kh3 Qf3+
42. Kh2 Qh5+ 0-1
His first international performances
By IM ngel Martn

IN 2003 he began his first international performances, culminating with the IM title.
The previous year the Computas sponsorship was replaced by another more important
one, none other than Microsoft, which would significate quite a bit of economic support
to play in tournaments.

His performance in that years edition of the Troll Gausdal Masters earned him his first
IM norm. He obtained the second one in a closed tournament in Stockholm. In this event
his grandmother and his father took turns to accompany him. And the third and final
norm was achieved in Copenhagen, half a point above the necessary score. At that
moment he became the world's youngest IM.

In August, the Carlsen family took a crucial decision and decided to go on a real
adventure. His parents sold their car and put their house on rent to spend a year touring
Europe in a motor home with their four children, completing their education on a
journey that was compatible with the tournaments that Magnus would be playing.

At the end of the month, coinciding with FIDEs recognition of Magnus's status as a new
IM, they began the journey. His first destination was an open chess tournament in
Austria. There Carlsen came just short of his first GM norm (he failed to win in the final
round and missed the norm by half a point). However, he finished third, which was not a
bad start, alowing him to travel to his next appointment with a lot of hope. Just 12 days
later he arrived at Budva (Montenegro) to compete in the under-14 group of the
European Youth Championship.

In that tournament Carlsen, with 6.5 out of 7, leading by two points with 2 rounds to go,
he seemed to have the title within reach. But then something unexpected happened: he
lost the last two games, despite having a decisive advantage in both of them. He had to
settle for third place, and he left with a clear sense of failure.
Only six days later, Magnus was competing against adults in the European Team
Championship in Crete, defending first board, even though he was ill during the trip. In
thoses circumstances his result of 3.5/7, with a 2500 performance, must be considered
very good, especially for a 12- year old boy who had just achieved his IM title.

So for his next event, the World Junior Championships in Halkidiki (Greece), the Carlsen
family had two weeks of rest, which they used for several cultural tours in Crete. But he
was also ill during this tournament, and he had to play several games with a high fever.
His defeat in the last round against his "old" rival Nepomnichtchi, left him in ninth place.

Then he played a closed tournament in Sicily and an open in Hungary to finish the first
part of the tour. After that they returned to Norway for Christmas, where Magnus lived
with his grandparents before facing what would be the first of his great successes, Wijk
aan Zee.
Game 4
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
In the next game, which Magnus played when he was only twelve years old, he created
a fantastic mating combination, one of the most beautiful of his career without a doubt
whatsoever. White slowly cooked his attack in the kitchen of the Ruy Lopez opening. At
the key moment, Carlsens opponent innocently captured a pawn, allowing White to
unleash a powerful storm on Black's castled king, which the Norwegian culminated

Carlsen, M NOR 2385

Harestad, H NOR 2249
Ruy Lopez Opening [C98]
Politiken Cup - Copenhague, 2003

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. Re1 d6 8. c3 O-O 9.
h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. d5 Nd8 14. a4 Ra7 15. Nf1 g6 16.
Bh6 Re8 17. Ng3 Nd7 18. Nh2 f6 19. Be3 Nb6 20. axb5 axb5 21. Bd3 Bd7 22. Qd2
Nf7 23. Rxa7Qxa7 24. Qe2 Qa6 25. Ng4 Kg7 26. Bc1 Na4 27. Bc2 Ra8 28. Qe3 c4 29.
Rf1 Nc5 30. Nh6 Ng5 31. f4 exf4 32. Qxf4 Bxh3?

Black's position is slightly worse but this launch is a huge mistake, as Carlsen will

Black should have tried to hold on with a series of specific moves, beginning with 32...
Kxh6 33. h4 Rf8 34. hxg5+ fxg5 35. Qh4+ Kg7 36. Bxg5 Bxg5 37. Qxg5 Rxf1+ 38. Nxf1

33. Qh4!
Now the attack is unstoppable.

33... Bd7 34. e5!

Allowing reinforcements to join the party. Black's castled king will be devastated in a
few moves by means of a beautiful attacking combination.

34... dxe5

35. Nh5+!! gxh5 36. Qxg5+!! fxg5 37. Rf7+ Kxh6 38. Rxh7# 1-0

A beautiful mate that does justice to Carlsen's ingenuity.

Game 5
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
Carlsen learned from an early age how to play both sides of the fearsome Sicilian
Dragon, improving at the same time his tactical instinct and calculation skills
throughout the complications that arise from this difficult variation. In this game he
overcomes his opponent with energetic play, which he could have signed proudly ten
years later, already as World Champion.

Carlsen, M NOR 2450

Taylor, T USA 2386
Sicilian Defense [B76]
First Saturday - Budapest, 2003

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6
9. O-O-O Bd7 10. g4 Qa5 11. Kb1 Rfc8 12. h4 Ne5 13. Be2 Nc4 14. Bxc4 Rxc4 15. h5
Rac8 16. Nb3 Qd8 17. hxg6 hxg6

White can now take advantage of Black's imprecise play by means of a tactical
procedure that Carlsen will not miss.

18. e5! Nxg4

Trying to complicate the game.

If 18... dxe5 19. g5 winning a piece. And if 18... Ne8 White wins by means of a decisive
attack with 19. Qh2 for example 19... Rxc3 20. Qh7+ Kf8 21. Bh6! winning.

19. fxg4 Bxg4 20. Qh2 Bxe5

After 20... Bh5 21. exd6 exd6 22. Rxd6 White's advantage is decisive.

21. Qh7+ Kf8 22. Bd4 Rxd4 23. Rxd4!

White has achieved a decisive advantage. Black can only try to complicate the game but
Magnus stays in control.

23... Bf5 24. Rd5 e6 25. Rxe5! dxe5 26. Qh8+ Ke7 27. Qxe5 Qd6 28. Qe3

Carlsen demonstrates that the pawns don't compensate the piece, as Black's king is
vulnerable in the middle of the board.

28... Kf6 29. Nd2 Qe5 30. Nde4+ Bxe4 31. Nxe4+ Ke7 32. Qa3+ Kd7 33. Rd1+ Kc6
34. Qa4+ Kb6 35. Qb4+ Ka6 36. Rd3 b6 37. Nd6 Rc5 38. Ra3+ Ra5 39. Qc4+

And mate on the next move.

Grand Master at 13
By IM ngel Martn

2004 was the year in which of Carlsen finally exploded. It began with his participation at
the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee in January, one of the most prestigious
tournaments in the world. Its true that he only took part in the C tournament, the
least important of the three closed events that are held simultaneously at the festival,
but it was still a strong category IX tournament, in which Carlsen, based on his rating,
was seeded 8th out of 14 participants.

However, the young Norwegian began very well. In the first eight rounds he scored
seven points, virtually ensuring his first GM norm. And although he suffered his only
defeat in the next round against the Slovenian GM Pavasovic (2615), it did not affect his
morale, as he won the next two games for a great final result of 9/11.

But nevertheless, his victory was still not assured. In the 12th round he had to face the
Dutch player Spike Ernst, who also had the same score. He won the game brilliantly with
a combination that was published worldwide (see game). After this victory the rest of
the tournament was a formality and with a draw in the last round he finished with 11.5/
13, exceeding the GM norm by half a point, and his nearest opponent (who in any case
was S. Ernst) in one and a half points.

This victory had widespread repercussions and prompted the organizar of the Aeroflot
Open, one of the strongest opens in the world, to extend an invitation for his
tournament, which would be held in Moscow a few weeks later.

The whole family traveled to Moscow, this time by plane. Magnus was received as a
celebrity and although more than 150 GMs were participating in the tournament, he
was one of the great sensations. He attracted the interest of most of the spectators,
especially when he started off with 3.5 points out of 4 , including a miniature against
Dolmatov (see game), a player who years before had played in the Candidates
tournament for the World Championship. And one round before the end he already had
the second GM norm in his pocket.
The following tournament was Reykjavik, where Magnus participated in another strong
open. But the blitz tournament held afterwards was a special attraction because Magnus
faced none other than Kasparov and Karpov.

In Reykjavik things were not so easy for Magnus. Perhaps the pressure of achieving his
third and final GM norm took its toll, and after four rounds he only had two points,
having suffered two defeats. And the last part of the tournament was not very successful
either, with two more defeats. He finished with 4.5/9 and a 2433 rating performance,
somewhat disappointing after his previous results.

Then he played in the blitz tournament, where the stars were naturally Karpov and
especially Kasparov. Magnus faced Karpov in the third round. He defeated the Russian,
unleashing the interest of Nordic television. He made it to the final, where he played a
series of two 25-minute KO games. He wasnt expected to advance very far as his first
opponent would be precisely Kasparov.

The match with Kasparov aroused great interest, probably because the best player of all
time was about to face a thirteen year old boy who wasnt even a GM. Absolutely no one
had any doubts about the outcome.

However, the doubts already began after the first game, in which Carlsen put his
opponent into a tight spot, obtaining a winning position. Only the experience of the
great champion and the Norwegians time trouble helped him save half a point. In the
second game Kasparov managed to correct the situation and won convincingly,
advancing in the KO. However, Magnus was not very happy with his own play. His
statement after the game "I played like a child" is well-known.

A moment that went around the world: Carlsen, 13 years old, was close to win against
legendary champion Garry Kasparov. In the end, the game was a draw.

Although the result in Reykjavik was not very good, as Magnus didnt achieve his main
objective, which was to get the GM norm, his fame increased notably. His showdown
with Kasparov was interpreted as a sign that the boy would soon become part of the
worlds elite.

The next scheduled tournament was a strong closed event, Siegeman & Co, to be held
three weeks later in Malm (Sweden) and Copenhagen in early May. But Henrik Carlsen
previously accepted an invitation for his son to an open tournament in Dubai, where he
travelled with the rest of his family.
Once there he defeated brilliantly one of the Kasparovs old seconds, Vladimirov, who
after the game predicted that Magnus would become the worlds number one player.
One round before the end he had already achieved his third and final norm, making him
the youngest GM at the time and the second youngest in history (although later he
would be overtaken by Negi, and further on both of them by Karjakin). With 6.5/9 and a
2674 rating performance, he shared second place with 11 other players, half a point
behind Mamedyarov, who won the tournament outright.

With the GM title in his pocket, Magnus travelled to the Siegeman tournament quite
tired from the long trip. In the first two rounds he only scored half a point. But then he
started to play well, eventually sharing second place, completing a new - unnecessary -
GM norm. In less than five months, Carlsen had scored four GM norms, with more points
than were required. The young Norwegian was cleary prepared to enter the worlds
elite group of players.

Magnus Carlsen, only a teenager but already a grandmaster.

Game 6
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
A good attacking game by young Carlsen, clearly overcoming his opponent's Sicilian
Nadjorf. In a well-known variation the Norwegian sacrifices two pawns, leaving his
opponent's king in the center, and after some weak moves he is able to open lines and
finish his opponent off in good attacking style. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2484

Popov, V RUS 2580
Sicilian Defense [B97]
Corus C - Wijk aan Zee, 2004

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2 Qxb2

9. Rb1 Qa3 10. f5

The old line 10. e5 has become popular again due to the fact that it has been deeply
analyzed, and no clear winning line has been found for White.

10... Nc6 11. fxe6 fxe6 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. e5 Nd5

This line is well-known by theory, although it's less popular than 13... dxe5!? after which
White has mainly tried 14. Bxf6 gxf615. Ne4 Be7 16. Be2 h5 without obtaining any

14. Nxd5 cxd5 15. Bd3!?

Although this move is perfectly valid, White moves away from the most usual move 15.
Be2 dxe5 16. O-O Bc5+ (16... Ra7!? was played by Popov in a previous game which
continued 17. c4 Qc5+ 18. Kh1 d4 with unclear play in Grechihin, V-Popov,V.
Cherepovets.) 17. Kh1 Rf8 18. c4 Rxf1+ 19. Rxf1 with advantage for White, according to
the game Fischer,R-Geller,E. Monte Carlo 1967 which Fischer surprisingly ended up

15... dxe5

15... Qc5 16. Be3 Qc7 17. O-O dxe5 18. Qf2 Bd6 19. Qh4 e4 20. Be2 Be5 21. Bb6 Qd6 22.
c4 with good compensation for White in Bezgodov,A-Savon,V. Alushta.

16. O-O Be7 17. Kh1 e4 18. Be2 Rf8

18... Bxg5 19. Qxg5 Qe7 20. Qh5+ g6 21. Qe5 with a dangerous attack.

19. c4! dxc4

19... Rxf1+ 20. Rxf1 Qb4 21. Qf4 Bxg5 22. Qxg5 Qb2 23. Bd1 with the attack.

20. Rxf8+ Kxf8

If 20... Bxf8 21. Bh5+ g6 22. Qd8+ Kf7 23. Rf1+ Kg8 24. Qc7 with decisive threats.

21. Qf4+ Ke8

21... Kg8 22. Qxe4 Ra7 23. Rb8 and White wins.

22. Rf1

Black no longer has any defence.

In any case, more convincing was 22. Qxe4!

22... Ra7

22... Bxg5 23. Qf7+ Kd8 24. Rd1+ with a decisive advantage.

23. Qf7+ Kd7 24. Rd1+ Kc6 25. Qe8+ Kb6

25... Bd7 26. Qxe7 winning.

26. Qxc8 1-0

Game 7
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
It might seem that Black didn't do anything wrong in the opening but Carlsen
demonstrated with energetic play - including a piece sacrifice - that White's Maroczy
formation had been set up in a very favorable way. A clean game by young Carlsen. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2484

Werle, J NED 2407
Sicilian Defense [B41]
Corus C - Wijk aan Zee, 2004

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6

6... Bb4 or

6... Qc7 are the most common moves. Black sets up the "Hedgehog" structure, a solid but
not very active system.

7. g3!?

Carlsen moves away from the most usual setups, in which White plays 7. f3 and
develops his bishop to e2.

7... Qc7 8. Be3 b6 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. O-O Nbd7

10... Qxc4? is bad because of 11. Rc1 with the threat Nd5, against which 11... Qb4 12. a3
Qxb2 13. Na4 Qxa3 14. e5 with decisive threats.

11. Rc1 Be7

In view of what follows 11... Rc8 should have been preferred.

12. Nd5!?

This is a typical sacrifice which Black is forced to accept.

12... exd5 13. cxd5 Qb8

13... Nc5 isn't any better as after 14. b4 O-O 15. Nf5 White recovers the piece, with a
clear advantage.

14. Nc6 Bxc6 15. dxc6 Ra7

Also after 15... Nc5 16. c7 followed by e5, White recovers the sacrificed material.

16. cxd7+ Nxd7

17. Bh3!?

After recovering the piece, White has the advantage. Magnus exploits it in an original
and energetic way.

17... O-O 18. Bxd7

A correct decision. The knight was Black's best piece.

18... Rxd7 19. Qd5 b5 20. Rc6 Qa8 21. Rfc1

21... Rfd8 22. Bb6 Re8 23. Qf5 Rb7 24. Bd4 Bf8 25. Rc8 Rb8
26. R8c7

White misses a nice conclusion with 26. R1c7! f6 (Now 26... Re7 is useless because of 27.
Rxe7) 27. Rxg7+! Kxg7 28. Qxf6+ Kg829. Rc7 with an unstoppable mate. However,
although the game move doesn't lose the advantage, it does extend the fight.

26... Re7 27. Rxe7 Bxe7 28. Rc7 Re8 29. Qd7 Qd8 30. Qc6 Bf8 31. Ra7 Qc8 32. Qd5
Qe6 33. Qxe6 Rxe6 34. f3 d5

This move accelerates the defeat, although there was no hope of saving the game

35. Ra8! Rc6 36. exd5 Rc7 37. Bc3 1-0

Game 8
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
A brilliant game by Carlsen, in which he conducts with avid determination a fierce
attack on Black's castled king. The game emphasizes the young Norwegian's deep
understanding of the opening, as he takes advantage of every opportunity offered by the
dubious choice of his opponent. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2484

Ernst, S NED 2474
Caro-Kann Defense [B19]
Corus C - Wijk aan Zee, 2004

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7

There was a time when this move was considered necessary because if 7... Nf6 8. Ne5
Bh7 9. Bc4 e6 10. Qe2 with the threat Nxf7. But further analysis confirmed that this
threat could be prevented satisfactorily with 10... Nd5 So Black started to use the move
7...Nf6 which at the end of the day leads to similar positions.

8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Ngf6

11... Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Qc7 is another possibility.

12. O-O-O Be7 13. Ne4

The alternatives are 13. Kb1 which is a very useful move and 13. Ne5.

13... Qa5

This is not a good square for the queen in this type of positions. More usual is 13... Nxe4
14. Qxe4 Nf6 15. Qd3 (15. Qe2 is also possible. For example, the game Kasparov-Anand,
Linares 2003 continued 15... Qd5 16. Kb1 O-O 17. Ne5 Qe4 18. Qxe4 Nxe419. Rhe1 and
White was slightly better) 15... O-O and in this position Shirov, in his Dos Hermanas
2003 game against Dreev, introduced the interesting novelty 16. g4 Nxg4 17. Rhg1.

13... O-O which leads to the same position after 14. Nxf6+ Nxf6 15. g4

14. Kb1 O-O 15. Nxf6+

15. g4 Nxg4 16. Ne5 Ndxe5 17. dxe5 Rad8 18. Qg3 f5 was played a few days later in the
game C. Sandipan-A. Dreev, Gibraltar Masters 2004, and Black achieved a reasonable

15... Nxf6 16. Ne5

Now the pawn sacrifice with 16. g4 is not so clear, as after 16... Nxg4 17. Rdg1 Black can
make good use of his queen on d7 with17... Qf5 However 18. Qd2 leads to huge
complications as in the game Polgar, J-Anand. Wijk Aan Zee 2003, that continued 18...g5
19. hxg6 fxg6 20. Bxh6 Qxf3 21. Bxf8 Rxf8 22. d5! cxd5 23. Qd4 Nf6 24. Rxg6+ Kf7 25.
Rhg1 Rc8 and the game finally ended in a draw.

16... Rad8 17. Qe2

White normally continues with 17. Qg3 although recently Bareev has achieved good
results with the simple 17... Kh8 Therefore, White decides to avoid blocking the way for
his "g" pawn. At the same time he is preparing an interesting idea.

17... c5?!

Possibly, this move is the cause of all of Black's problems from now on. In the game
Guerra-Magem, Mondariz 2002 17... Nd5 18.Bc1 c5 was played, but after 19. c4 Nf6 the
knight had to return to f6, and White, instead of exchanging with 20. dxc5 could have
played, as in this game, the sacrifice (20. Ng6The most interesting move seems to be
17... Qb6 which has been played in some games. 18. c3 (Now 18. Ng6 doesn't seem to
work because of 18... Ba3! 19. Bc1 fxg6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. hxg6 and Black made a
mistake here with 21... Rde8? (he should have played 21... Ng8 with advantage) 22. Qh3
was Guerra Bastida-Franco Cazon. Aceimar) (The pawn sacrifice 18. Rd3 Rxd4 19. Ng6
fxg6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 (Radovanovic,J - Prasad,D. Port Erin) doesn't give anything to
White) 18... c5 (Now that White has put his pawn on c3 18... Nd5!? seems very
interesting) 19. dxc5 (19. Be3 Nd5 20.Ka1 Qc7 21. g4 Nxe3 22. fxe3 Bf6 23. Nd3 b6 24.
Rhf1 Rfe8 25. Qf3 e5 with equality in V.Anand-E.Bareev, ROW-Russia.) 19...Qxc5 20. g4
and White is attacking, although the position is far from clear in Thipsay,P-Prakash,G,

18. Ng6!

This theme is well-known, but in this position, with the black queen isolated far away,
it's even stronger.

18... fxg6?

The following moves will demonstrate that this move is a fatal mistake, although it's not
easy to see this right now.

Black had to play 18... Rfe8 19. Nxe7+ Rxe7 20. dxc5 Red7 21. Rxd7 Rxd7 22. Be3 with a
small advantage for White.

19. Qxe6+ Kh8

Obviously the bishop can't be defended. If 19... Rf7?? 20. hxg6 but White's not thinking
of capturing it.

20. hxg6!

The key move. White not only threatens to capture the bishop, but also several sacrifices
on h6 leaving the black king undefended.

20... Ng8

20... Qb6 isn't good, for example 21. Qxe7 Rde8 22. dxc5
21. Bxh6!

Defending the h6 square hasn't been of any use and White has a forced win.

21... gxh6 22. Rxh6+ Nxh6 23. Qxe7 Nf7 24. gxf7

Surprisingly, all of this had already been played before in the game Almagro,P-
Gustafsson,J, Memorial Pablo Gorbea, Madrid 2003, which continued 24. Qf6+ Kg8 25.
Rh1 Nh6 26. Qe7 Nf7 27. Qf6 Nh6 28. Qe7 Nf7 and White didn't find anything better
than agreeing to a draw after 29. Qf6 Nh6 30. Qe7 Nf7 However, even this ending is very
good for White after 29.Rh5. Did Carlsen know this game? Probably not, in any case but
his 24th move is very strong.

24... Kg7

24... Qb6 wasn't better, as after 25. Qe5+ Kh7 26. Rh1+ Kg6 (26... Qh6 leads to a clearly
lost ending) 27. Rh3 and Black has no defence, for example 27... Rxf7 28. Rg3+ Kh7 29.
Qh5+ Qh6 30. Qxf7+ Kh8 31. Rh3

25. Rd3 Rd6

25... Qb6 26. Rg3+ Qg6 would have resisted more, but obviously with no real hopes of
saving the game.
26. Rg3+ Rg6 27. Qe5+ Kxf7

27... Kh7 28. Qh5+ Rh6 29. Qf5+ also leads to mate.

28. Qf5+ Rf6

If 28... Ke7 29. Re3+ and White captures one of the rooks with check.

29. Qd7# 1-0

At just 13, and after his victory in the 2004 Corus C group, Carlsen won with 10.5 of 13
points his first Grandmaster norm.
Game 9
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
This is a miniature against a well-known Russian Grand Master, although Dolmatov was
practically retired when this game was played. Carlsen's original opening play
misguides his opponent, who is swept off the board. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2484

Dolmatov, S RUS 2591
Reti Opening [A04]
Moscow Aeroflot, 2004

1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 d6 3. e4 e5 4. Nc3 Nc6

In view of how the game continued, this natural move may be a small mistake. Better
was 4... Nf6!? with the idea of answering5. exf5 Bxf5 6. d4 with 6... e4 although White
still has an edge after 7. Nh4.

5. exf5! Bxf5 6. d4 Nxd4

If 6... e4 7. d5

7. Nxd4 exd4 8. Qxd4 Nf6?

Accepting the pawn with 8... Bxc2?! is dangerous because of 9. Bc4.

However, 8... c6!? was interesting.

9. Bc4!
This move improves a previous game, in which White didn't achieve anything after 9.
Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 c6 11. O-O Be7 12.Ne4 Nxe4 13. Qxe4 O-O Romanishin-Malaniuk.

9... c6 10. Bg5! b5

The natural 10... d5 is answered by 11. O-O-O! and Black is in serious trouble, for
example: 11... Be7 (11... dxc4 12. Qe5+) (11...Kf7 12. Rhe1 Qd7 (12... h6 13. Nxd5! cxd5
14. Bxf6 gxf6 15. Qf4) 13. g4 Nxg4 14. Nxd5) 12. Rhe1 O-O (12... dxc4 13. Bxf6) 13.Qe5.

11. Bb3 Be7?

This move loses. Preferable was 11... Qe7+ 12. Kf1 O-O-O 13. a4 b4!? 14. Qxb4 d5 where
Black can activate his position in for just one pawn. In any case, the compensation
wouldn't be enough.

12. O-O-O Qd7 13. Rhe1 Kd8

14. Rxe7! Qxe7

14... Kxe7 15. Re1+.

15. Qf4 Bd7 16. Ne4 d5 17. Nxf6 h6 18. Bh4 g5 19. Qd4 1-0
Game 10
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
A draw with Kasparov with only thirteen years old is quite an achievement. Magnus
had lost a blitz game with the same opponent the previous day, and he also lost the
second game of the match, when he declared to the astonished press reporters: "I lost
like a child". But this draw made it clear that the Norwegian was not just any kind of
prodigy: he was born to be a champion. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2484

Kasparov, G NED 2831
QGD [D52]
Reykjavik ISL, 2004

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 Qa5

It seems that Kasparov is trying to move away from the most typical setups, to exploit
his opponent's lack of experience and understanding of this type of position.

7. Nd2

But Carlsen isn't surprised and follows the strongest recommendation.

7... Bb4 8. Qc2 O-O 9. Be2 e5 10. O-O exd4 11. Nb3 Qb6 12. exd4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 a5
14. a4

If 14. Rad1 a4 15. Nc1 Qa5 16. Bd2 Nb6 17. Bd3 Be6 18. Rfe1 a3 19. Re5 Nbd5 Black is
OK in E.Postny-P.Acs, Peristeri.

But 14. Ne4 is a very interesting alternative which has been played successfully in
several games.

14... Qc7 15. Rae1! h6

Premature is 15... Nb6 due to 16. Bd3.

16. Bh4 Bd6 17. h3

17. Bg3 doesn't offer anything after 17... Nb6 18. Bd3 Be6 and Black finishes his

17... Nb6

17... b6 was safer.

18. Bxf6! Nxc4 19. Ne4 Bh2+?!

Kasparov goes for complications that might allow him to confuse his opponent.

Maybe the move 19... Be6 would have been better, for example: 20. Nbc5 Bd5 21. Nxd6
Nxd6 22. Re7 (after 22. Be7 Rfe8 23.Bxd6 Qxd6 24. Nxb7 Qb4 25. Rxe8+ Rxe8 26. Nc5
Qxd4 Black is better.) 22... Qc8 23. Be5 Qf5 24. Qxf5 Nxf5 25. Rxb7 f6 with an acceptable

And of course, 19... gxf6? doesn't work because of 20. Nxf6+ Kg7 21. Qh7+ Kxf6 22.
Qxh6+ Kf5 23. g4#.

20. Kh1 Nd6?

After this move Black is in big trouble.

Better was 20... Nb6 although White has the advantage after 21. g3 Bxh3 22. Be5 Qd8
23. Kxh2 Bxf1 24. Rxf1.

21. Kxh2! Nxe4+ 22. Be5 Nd6

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. c3 d6 8. d4 Bb6 9. a4 Bg4
10. axb5 axb5 11. Rxa8 Qxa8 12. h3Bh5 13. Qd3 exd4 14. Bg5 Bxf3 15. Bxf6 Bxg2 16.
Kxg2 gxf6 17. Qxb5

Pavlovic has sacrificed a pawn for attacking possibilities against the black king.
However, Carlsen demonstrates that the white king is in danger. 17... Ke7! 18. Kh2 Ne5
19. f4 This allows Carlsen to decide the game with a brilliant sacrifice. However 19. Bd5
fails again due to 19... Qg8! with the idea 20...Qg6 and 21... Rg8. Maybe the most
resistant move was 19. Nd2 dxc3 20. bxc3 Qa5 but even here Black forces an ending
with a clear advantage. 19... Qxe4!! 20. fxe5 Rg8! 21. exf6+ Kf8 22. Rf2 White cant save
the game with 22. Bd5 due to 22... Qe5+ 23. Kh1 Rg3! with a decisive attack. 22... d3! 23.
Qh5 If 23. Rd2 Bg1# 23... Rg6 24. Qf3 Qe5+ 25. Kh1 Qe1+ 26. Rf1 Rg1+! 27. Kh2 Qe5+ 28.
Qf4 Rxf1 Black has finally achieved a decisive material advantage and the rest of the
game is easy. 29. Qxe5 dxe5 30. Nd2 Rf2+ 31. Kg3 Rxd2 32. Bxf7 Kxf7 33. b4 Rf2 0-1

23. Qc5

23. d5! was much stronger. For example 23... f6 (now 23... Qd7 doesn't work because of
24. dxc6 bxc6 25. Rd1 Qf5 26. Qxf5 Nxf527. Bc3 Ba6 28. Rfe1 and the a5 pawn falls.) 24.
Bf4 Rd8 25. Nd4 Qb6 26. Qg6 with the threat Re7.

23... Rd8 24. d5 Qd7!

24... Bf5 fails to 25. Rd1 b6 26. Qxc6 Qxc6 27. dxc6 Nc4 28. Bc3 Rxd1 29. Rxd1 Rc8 (29...
Bc2 30. Rd4 Bxb3 31. c7 Rf8 32. Rd8Nd6 33. Rxd6) 30. Nd4 Be4 31. b3! Nd6 32. Nb5
with a decisive advantage.

25. Nd4!
25. Rd1 is bad due to 25... Ne4.

25... Nf5

25... cxd5 26. Bxd6 Qxd6+ 27. Qxd6 Rxd6 28. Re8+ Kh7 29. Rc1.

26. dxc6 bxc6 27. Nxc6 Re8 28. Rd1

If 28. Bc3 Bb7 29. Rxe8+ Rxe8 30. Nxa5 Bxg2! 31. Kxg2 Nh4+ 32. Kh2 (32. Kg3 Qd3+ 33.
Kxh4 Qf3) 32... Nf3+ with a draw.

28... Qe6

29. Rfe1?!

In time trouble, Magnus is unable to calculate the complications of 29. Bc7! Bb7 30. Nd8!
However, further analysis demonstrates that White's position is winning.

29... Bb7 30. Nd4

30. Nxa5 Bxg2!

30... Nxd4

Much better than 30... Qg6 31. f3 Nh4 32. Bg3 Rxe1 33. Rxe1.

31. Qxd4 Qg6

The game has equalized, although White still has a small advantage because of his extra
pawn. But the opposite-colored bishops and the activity of Black rooks makes it very
hard to win.

32. Qg4

32. f3 Rac8 isn't good for White

32... Qxg4 33. hxg4 Bc6 34. b3 f6! 35. Bc3 Rxe1 36. Rxe1
Maybe the variation 36. Bxe1 Rb8 37. Rd3 Be4 38. Rd4 was slightly better

36... Bd5 37. Rb1 Kf7 38. Kg3 Rb8 39. b4 axb4 40. Bxb4 Bc4

And now the draw is quite obvious.

41. a5 Ba6 42. f3 Kg6 43. Kf4 h5 44. gxh5+ Kxh5 45. Rh1+ Kg6 46. Bc5 Rb2 47. Kg3
Ra2 48. Bb6 Kf7 49. Rc1 g5 50. Rc7+ Kg651. Rc6 Bf1 52. Bf2 1/2-1/2

A moment of the game that went around the world, which Carlsen 13 years old
had against the ropes legendary Garry Kasparov.
Future World Champion
By IM ngel Martn

AFTER achieving the GM title with only 13 years, many people began to see Magnus as
a future world champion. But the opportunity to compete in that arena was going to
arrive much sooner than he had imagined.

At the time, the 1993 FIDE vs players disagreement still lingered, with Kasparov and
Short playing their World Championship match outside the auspices of FIDE. The
International Chess Federation had taken away the title from the Russian and Kramnik
had taken his place by defeating him in London 2000. The official title was going to be
settled in a qualifying tournament in Libya in mid-June.

In addition to all the players that had already qualified, FIDE gave some wild-cards to
players that met some special criteria. A lot of people speculated on the possibility that
one of the places would be for Carlsen, but until the last minute this was not a reality.
Karjakin had been elected previously as the youngest GM, but there were some
withdrawals and Magnus was invited to play.

However, his first opponent, Armenias Levon Aronian, who at that moment had a better
rating and more experience, proved to be an insurmountable obstacle. Nonetheless,
Magnus stood his ground and the two games were drawn. Both of the tiebreaks, two 25-
minute games with 10 seconds increment per move, were highly contested. After a draw
in the first game, Magnus lost the second game on time, in a drawn ending that was
quite difficult to defend. Thus ended his first attempt.
In the World Championship in Tripoli Magnus could not beat Aronian in the first round.

The highlight for the rest of the year was Carlsens participation in the Calvia (Mallorca)

In early 2005, Magnus participated again in the Wijk aan Zee tournament, this time in
the "B" group. The winner would qualify for the next years main event. But a bad result
in the final rounds left him short of this goal, and he had to settle for seventh place. The
winner was one of his main opponents, Ukraines Sergey Karjakin, who was also trying
to find his place among the worlds top players. This was the first time that both of them
coincided in a tournament.

His expectations were not completed in the following tournaments in which he took
part, before facing a new event in the FIDE cycle leading to the world title. He was
scheduled to play in the World Cup, to be held in the Siberian town of Khanty-Mansiysk,
in which the top ten would qualify for the next Candidates tournament.

In the Candidates tournament the previous year, Carlsen was quickly eliminated by
Aronian, albeit not without presenting a tough fight. However, this time his
performance was much better. In the first round he faced a tough opponent, as
Azmaiparashvili (2658) had 90 rating points more than him, but he defeated him clearly
by 2-0. Then he beat Amonatov (2570) by 1.5 to 0.5 followed by Cheparinov (2618) 2-0.
In six games Magnus had only conceded one draw.

He wasnt so fortunate in his next match against the experienced Russian GM Bareev
(2675). After two draws, Magnus lost a favourable game in the rapid tiebreaks and he
could only draw the next one.

He still had to play a series of knockout games for places 9th to 16th. First of all Magnus
defeated Lautier (2679) and then Malakhov (2670), giving him one of the qualifying
seats to the World Championship. In the last match, against Kamsky (2690), Magnus
won the first game but then lost the next three. However, it must be said that having
qualified previously this match was not so important.
There was still a year to go for the Candidates KO matches, but the pairings were not
very good for Magnus: he had been paired in the first qualifier against Aronian, who had
already defeated him in Lybia.

In early 2005 Carlsen participated for the first time in Wijk aan Zee, in the " B" group.
Game 11
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
Early in his career Carlsen often played critical attacking lines against the Sicilian
defense. As an example the following game, which he wins with authority against his
experienced opponent. A common element in all of these games is the way Carlsen
keeps control by applying the required amount of energy. Comparatively, it should be
remembered that Anatoli Karpov also used to play 1.e4 at the start of his career. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2552

Vladimirov, E RUS 2621
Sicilian Defense [B67]
Dubai, 2004

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O

Bd7 9. f3 Rc8 10. Be3 Ne5

10... h5 deserves to be considered, controlling once and for all the advance of the "g" and
"h" pawns. However, it's obviously a dangerous decision.

11. g4 h6 12. h4 b5 13. Bd3 b4 14. Nce2 d5 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. Nf4 Qa5

In the game I. Gazik-P.Popovic, Stary Smokovec 1991 Black eliminated the two bishops
after 16... Nxd3+ 17. Qxd3 Nxe3 18.Qxe3 and after 18... Bc5 Black had an acceptable
position. But Vladimirov's move also seems quite satisfactory and was recommended in
the analysis of the mentioned game, connected to a very interesting idea.

17. Kb1
17... Nxf3!?

This move was also recommended in the analysis. Magnus probably didn't know this
sacrifice but he found the best answer.

18. Qf2

After 18. Nxf3? Nc3+! 19. bxc3 bxc3 20. Qc1 Ba3 White must sacrifice his queen, and in
spite of getting three pieces in exchange, his position would be very bad. (Or also 20...
Rb8+ 21. Ka1 Ba3.

18... Nxe3

Worse is 18... Nxd4 19. Bxd4 and 19... Nc3+ doesn't work anymore because of 20. bxc3
bxc3 21. Ka1 Ba3 22. Rb1 Bb2+ 23. Rxb2cxb2+ 24. Bxb2 with a decisive advantage.

19. Qxe3 Nxd4

The alternative 19... Ne5 is answered by 20. Ndxe6 Bxe6 (20... fxe6 21. Ng6 Nxd3 22.
Qxd3 Bb5 23. Qd2) 21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Bg6+Ke7 23. Rhe1 with dangerous threats.

20. Qxd4 Qc5

21. Qe4!

Much better than recovering the pawn with 21. Bxa6 Qxd4 22. Rxd4 Ra8 where Black's
future options are better.

21... Qc6

White's idea can be seen in the spectacular variation 21... Bc6 22. Qe2 Bxh1 23. Nxe6!
Qe7 (23... fxe6 24. Qxe6+ Kd8 25. Be4+Kc7 26. Rd7+ winning.) 24. Bf5!! and Black has no
defence, for example 24... Bb7 25. Rd8+ Rxd8 26. Nc7#.

22. Qe2 a5?!

Slightly better was 22... Be7 although White keeps his advantage after 23. Nh5 O-O
(Neither better was 23... Kf8 24. Rhf1) 24. g5.

23. Nh5 a4 24. Rhf1 Rc7

24... a3 is losing to 25. Qe5 axb2 26. Nxg7+.

25. Qf2 Bc8

Useless is 25... f6 26. Nxf6+.

26. Qd4

Enough to win but 26. Nf6+ gxf6 27. Qxf6 Rg8 28. Bb5! would have been quicker.

26... Rd7 27. Nxg7+ Bxg7 28. Qxg7 Rf8 29. Qxh6 b3

A desperate resource, but against any other move White wins easily.

30. cxb3 axb3 31. axb3 Ba6 32. Bxa6 Qxa6 33. Qf4 Ra7 34. Qb8+ Ke7 35. Qb4+

After 35...Ke8 36.Rd8+ White wins with a mating attack.

Game 12
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
A typical positional Carlsen game in which for the modest price of a pawn he achieves
an excellent initiative, resolving the game explosively at the first opportunity, against a
top-level player with a considerably higher elo rating. It seemed clear that the
Norwegian was progressing very quickly. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2552

Nikolic, P BIH 2676
French Defense [C08]
Corus B - Wijk aan Zee, 2005

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Ngf3 c4

An unusual line.

Normally 5... Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd6 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O Nge7 is played.

6. b3 cxb3

The pawn chain can't be held as if 6... b5 7. a4.

7. axb3

Nikolic had already faced successfully 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Qe2+ Qe7 9. Bxd7+ Nxd7 10. axb3
Nh6 (10... f6 11. Nf1 Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2Bd6 13. Ne3 Ne7 14. Ba3 Bxa3 15. Rxa3 Kf7 16. Ne1
Nf8 17. Nd3 Ne6 18. c3 Rhd8 19. Kd2 Nc6 20. Rd1 Rac8 1/2-1/2 Adams, M-Nikolic,P.
BIH t-ch Neum 2002) 11. Ra5 Nb6 12. Nf1 Qxe2+ 13. Kxe2 Nf5 14. c4 f6 15. c5 Nc8 16.
Ne3 Nxe3 17. fxe3 a6 18. Kd3Na7 19. Bd2 g6 20. Ng1 Nb5 21. Ne2 Kd7 with equality in
Beliavsky,A-Nikolic,P. Belgrade.

7... Bb4 8. Ne5

The alternative is 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Qe2+ Qe7 (9... Ne7!? 10. O-O O-O 11. Ba3 Bxa3 12. Rxa3
Bxb5 13. Qxb5 Qc7 14. Re1 Qxc2 15.Qxb7 Nbc6 16. Raa1 Rab8 17. Qc7 Rfc8 18. Qf4 h6
19. h3 Ng6 20. Qg4 Nb4 21. Rxa7 Nd3 22. Rf1 Ndf4 with equality in Korneev,O-Garcia
Martinez,S. Mislata op.) 10. Ne5 Nf6 11. O-O O-O 12. Bd3 Nc6 with only a small
advantage for White in Sarakauskas,G-Alekseev,V. Pelaro op.

8... Ne7

But not 8... Bc3? 9. Qf3! Bxd2+ 10. Bxd2 with a clear advantage for White.
8... Nf6 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O Bc3 11. Ra4 Bd7 12. Nxd7 Nbxd7 13. Nb1 Ba5 14. Bd2 Bc7 15.
Nc3 Re8 16. Qf3 Nb6 17. Raa1 h618. Rae1 Qd6 19. g3 a6 20. Re3 Qc6 21. Rfe1 Bd6 22.
Nd1 Rxe3 23. Nxe3 with a clear advantage for White in the game Svidler,P-Kortchnoi,V.

9. Bd3 Nbc6 10. O-O

10. Bb2!? was a natural alternative.

10... Bc3

This material win does involve some risks, as Black falls behind in development.

Safer was 10... O-O 11. Bb2

11. Ra4!

11... Bxd4

Another option was 11... Nxe5 12. dxe5 Bd7 (12... Bxe5 13. Qh5 Bf6 14. Re1 with
excellent compensation for the pawn.) 13. Rh4and the rook annoys Black's king.

11... Nxd4?? 12. Nb1

12. Nxc6 Nxc6 13. Ba3!

Now Black has trouble castling.

13... Be6 14. Nf3 Bb6?!

14... Bf6 was better, to continue with ...Be7, for example 15. Re1 Be7 16. Bxe7 (16.
Bb2!?) 16... Qxe7 17. Qc1 although Black's position would not be comfortable.

15. Qa1! Qc7

15... f6 16. Re1 Kf7 17. Rf4 with dangerous threats.

16. b4!?

Of course 16. Qxg7 O-O-O 17. Qf6 with a clear advantage was also possible. But Carlsen
doesn't want to give his opponent any chances of counterplay on the open "g" file.

16... f6?!

16... O-O was preferable, although after 17. b5 Ne7 18. Re1 White has better

17. Re1 Kf7?!

Now White gets a very strong attack.

Black had to play 17... Ne5!? 18. Nxe5 fxe5 19. b5!? And if (19. Qxe5 Qxe5 20. Rxe5 Kd7
21. b5 claims a small advantage.) 19...Qf7 (19... d4 20. f4) 20. Qxe5! Bxf2+ 21. Kh1 Bxe1
22. b6! and there is no defence against 23.Bb5+.

18. b5 Na5?!

Here the knight is too far away from the defence of his king.

Better was 18... Nd8!? although 19. Qd1 is still clearly better for White.

19. Qd1!

19... Rae8

19... Nc4 20. Bf5! Ne5 21. Bxe6+ Kxe6 22. Nxe5 fxe5 23. Qg4+.

19... g6 20. Ng5+! fxg5 21. Qf3+ Kg7 22. Rxe6 Rhf8!? (22... Rhe8 23. Qf6+ Kg8 24. Bxg6!)
23. Bxf8+ Rxf8 24. Qxd5 Rxf2 25. Kh1.

20. Ng5+! fxg5 21. Qf3+! Kg8 22. Rxe6!

And Black resigned because against 22....Rxe6 then 23.Qf8# while if 22...Qf7 the answer
would be 23.Bf5 threatening 24.Rxe8+ Qxe8 25.Be6+! winning.
In the elite
By IM ngel Martn

IN 2006, Carlsen appeared with a 2650 rating and qualified for the Candidates
tournament when he was only 15 years old. Only Bobby Fischer, nearly 50 years before,
had been able to do this.

His first event was again Wijk aan Zee. He played in the B group with the clear goal of
qualifying for the following years main event. He began very well, with 6 points out of
7, but then he lost his only game against Motylev, who would finally share first place
with him. Although his tiebreak was worse, the organizers decided to invite both of
them to the following years A group.

In March, Carlsen participated in the Reykjavik open. He leaded the event all along but
lost the last game and finished the tournament in shared 1st-3rd place. However, he was
well rewarded in the blitz event that was held just after, with the presence of Anand.
Magnus defeated the Indian in the semifinals by 2-0, although he was a bit lucky. In the
final he faced local GM Stefansson, repeating the 2-0 score, winning the title.

In the Turin Olympiad, held in the Italian city at the end of May, Carlsen defended the
first board of his country, scoring 6 points out of 8 games. Then he played in the strong
Biel tournament (a double-round Category XVII with 6 players), won convincingly by
Morozevich (with 7,5/ 10). But Magnus, who finished second, was satisfied with beating
the champion in their two games.
First board at the Torino Olympiad in 2006

However, the toughest event in which Carlsen had played so far was the Tal Memorial,
which was held in Moscow in November. It was a Category XX tournament, and all the
players except Magnus had more than 2700. His result was not very good, 2 defeats and
only 8 draws, for a shared 8th-9th place with Shirov.

He also failed to win any games in the Wijk aan Zee tournament in January 2007, this
time in the "A" group. Four defeats led him to share last place, again with Shirov. But
these tournaments were what Magnus needed to accumulate more experience against
the top players.

This happened in Linares, one of the strongest and most prestigious tournaments in the
world. The 2007 edition was played in two parts, the first half in Morelia (Mexico) and
the second in Linares. Magnus had an excellent first half and returned from Morelia
sharing the lead with Anand. Even though he was overtaken by the Indian and had to
share second place with Morozevich, he proved that he could fight on equal terms with
the best players the world.

The Candidates qualifying tournament, held in Elista, began in May. Aronian was the
clear favorite against Carlsen because of his recent results, which included a clear
victory in a training match against Kramnik.
Aronian confirmed this by winning the first game with Black. But Magnus evened the
score by winning the third game. In a vibrant match, Aronian took the lead again in the
next game, but the Norwegian rebalanced things by winning the fifth. The match ended
in a tie with a draw in the sixth game and the qualifier was decided in a 4-game rapid

Aronian took the lead again by winning the first of these games and then they made two
consecutive draws. But in the last game, which was decided in time trouble, Carlsen won
the game at the last moment, forcing a new tie in the match. A new tiebreak match was
announced, this time a 2-game blitz match. Aronian won the first game again, and this
time he made no mistakes, winning the second game and ending all of Carlsen's
aspirations in the Candidates tournament.

The Norwegian would still have a chance to participate in the World Championship by
playing the World Cup in November, again in Khanty-Mansiysk. The winner would play
a match against Topalov, and the winner if this match would be the official challenger to
the World Champion, in contention between Anand and Kramnik.

However, Carlsen arrived at the tournament very tired after a tough participation in the
Tal Memorial, where he shared third place. He won the first qualifier easily against a
relatively unknown opponent. But then he needed the tiebreak to defeat Naiditsch
(2639), followed by three close wins by 1.5 to 0.5 over Dominguez (2683), Adams
(2714) and Cheparinov (2670). He eventually lost to Kamsky in the semifinals by the
same score and the American would go on to win the 2007 World Cup.

Carlsen was defeated by Anand, but finished second in Morelia-Linares 2007.

Game 13
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
An easy win for Carlsen. He punishes harshly White's dubious setup. From move 17
onwards the Norwegian attacks without any resistance from his weak opponent. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Pavlovic, M SRB 2494

Carlsen, M NOR 2652
Ruy Lopez Opening [C78]
Reykjavik, 2006

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. c3 d6 8. d4 Bb6 9.

a4 Bg4 10. axb5 axb5 11. Rxa8 Qxa8 12. h3Bh5 13. Qd3 exd4 14. Bg5 Bxf3 15. Bxf6
Bxg2 16. Kxg2 gxf6 17. Qxb5

Pavlovic has sacrificed a pawn for attacking possibilities against the black king.
However, Carlsen demonstrates that the white king is in danger.

17... Ke7! 18. Kh2 Ne5 19. f4

This allows Carlsen to decide the game with a brilliant sacrifice. However 19. Bd5 fails
again due to 19... Qg8! with the idea 20...Qg6 and 21... Rg8. Maybe the most resistant
move was 19. Nd2 dxc3 20. bxc3 Qa5 but even here Black forces an ending with a clear

19... Qxe4!! 20. fxe5 Rg8! 21. exf6+ Kf8 22. Rf2

White cant save the game with 22. Bd5 due to 22... Qe5+ 23. Kh1 Rg3! with a decisive
22... d3! 23. Qh5

If 23. Rd2 Bg1#.

23... Rg6 24. Qf3 Qe5+ 25. Kh1 Qe1+ 26. Rf1 Rg1+! 27. Kh2 Qe5+ 28. Qf4 Rxf1

Black has finally achieved a decisive material advantage and the rest of the game is easy.

29. Qxe5 dxe5 30. Nd2 Rf2+ 31. Kg3 Rxd2 32. Bxf7 Kxf7 33. b4 Rf2 0-1
Game 14
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
From the beginning of his career Carlsen has opened the game both with 1.e4 and 1.d4.
In this game the Norwegian ace has no objections to battle in the rugged terrain of the
King's Indian Defense against a formidable opponent like Morozevich. And again we see
Carlsen fighting for the initiative, avoiding by all means a closed game or defensive
position. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2675

Morozevich, A RUS 2731
King's Indian Defense [E97]
Biel, 2006

1. d4

Magnus Carlsen became Morozevich's worst enemy at Biel, defeating him in the two
games they played against each other. This one was the first of those two games. It's a
very complicated struggle in which both players had to face difficult tactical and
strategic problems.

1... Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7

The basic position of the Classical Variation of the King's Indian, one of the most popular
openings of all time. In this position there are 18 different moves for White. For those of
you who enjoy statistics here are some numbers regarding the main alternatives,
according to my database. Currently the most popular line is 9. Ne1, which has been
played in 7174 games. Then 9.b4 (5.374) and 9.Nd2 (3.317). From there onwards all of
the lines have under 500 games, including the variation that Carlsen chooses for this
game, which only has 83 games.

9. a4

An odd move although it does have some logic. Remember that in this variation, as a
general rule, White will play on the queenside and Black on the kingside. For Black, the
question is whether to ignore this move or try to take advantage of it strategically. For
the first case, Black can just move his knight to h5, d7 or e7, in order to advance with f5.
Morozevich goes for the second option, also played years ago by Garry Kasparov.

9... a5

This move "paralyzes" the queenside and forces White to prepare the rupture on b4,
after which Black's pawn structure will be superior. This is the optimistic view, because
Black will also be playing on his opponent's side of the board which will definitely help
him a lot.

10. b3

The universal move is 10.Ne1.

I recall the classic game between two colossus 10. Ne1 Nd7 11. Be3 f5 12. f3 Nc5 13.
Nd3 b6 14. b4 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 axb4 16. Nb5Kh8 17. Qb3 Ng8 18. Qxb4 Nf6 19. exf5 gxf5
with a complex position in Kortschnoi-Kasparov, Barcelona.

10... Nd7 11. Ba3 Bh6

Possibly, Morozevich felt uncomfortable after 11...f5 12.Ng5 and therefore he decides to
put his bishop on this important diagonal. The bishop normally can't access this
diagonal except in the variations with 9.Nd2.

This move was a novelty, because previously 11... Nc5 had been played.

12. b4 axb4 13. Bxb4

This position occurs a lot in the variation that starts with 9.b4, when Black plays a5 and
White answers with Ba3. The attentive reader will have noticed that in this case White
is a tempo up, because instead of b3-b4, he had advanced the pawn two squares with
just one move. If you look for this position in a database you will find 100 games and
White now plays now a5 or Nd2. It's definitely bad news for players of the King's Indian
if this position is also good a tempo down.

13... f5 14. Nd2 Kh8

Black wants to play Ng8-f6, leaving the other knight on d7 to stop the c5 advance. Due to
obscure reasons, after making this move, Morozevich didn't carry on with this plan. The
reader should pay attention to the move 14...Kh8, because the fact that the king is on h8
and not g8 will play a big role in the rest of the game.

15. a5 Rf7

It seems that Morozevich is somewhat unsecure and mixes up his plans.

In view of the previous move 15... Ng8 was probably the best chance.

16. Nb5 Nf6

Black finally refuses to regroup the other knight through g8 and places this one on f6
directly. Carlsen takes advantage to play his rupture.

17. c5! dxc5

Here is the key. Apparently, the c5 rupture was impossible, because if now 18.Bxc5,
Black simply plays 18...Bxd2 and then captures on e4 with his knight. However, with

18. Bc3
White makes this really nice move, attacking e5 immediately.

Surprisingly, he could have played 18. Bxc5! because after 18... Bxd2 19. Qxd2 Nxe4
White has 20. Qb2!! Nxc5 21. Qxe5+ Kg822. Nxc7 with a powerful attack in exchange for
the piece.

18... c6 19. dxc6 bxc6

The most tempting capture, pushing back the knight.

19... Nxc6!? was a very important alternative when after 20. Nc4 Rd7 Black is back in the

20. Na3 fxe4

From here onwards, Morozevich gradually falls under the train.

A very important alternative was 20... Bxd2 21. Nc4! (21. Bxd2 Nxe4 22. Bc3 Qxd1 23.
Bxe5+ Kg8 24. Rfxd1 Rxa5) 21... Nxe422. Bxe5+ Kg8 23. f3 Qd5 24. fxe4 Be3+ 25. Kh1
(More aggressive was 25. Nxe3 Qxe5 26. Ng4 fxg4 27. Qd8+ Kg7 28. Rxf7+Kxf7 29. Rf1+
Nf5 30. Bc4+ Kg7 31. Qg8+ Kh6 32. exf5 gxf5 33. Kh1 and White is better in spite of
being two pawns down.) 25...Qxd1 26. Rfxd1 Ba6 27. Bf1 with a small advantage in the

21. Nac4!

White's pieces start to dance around the pair of doubled pawns.

21... Ned5 22. Bxe5 Bg7 23. Nd6

The most immediate move although not necessarily the most effective.

23. Qa4 was also very interesting, attacking c6 and planning Qa3 to attack c5.

23... Re7 24. N2c4 Be6?

A mistake that allows White to play comfortably.

24... Ba6! would have controlled the situation better, forcing White to play very
precisely to fulfill his positional advantage.

25. a6

25. Qb3 was also very strong.

25... Nb4 26. Qc1 Nd3

The pawn on a6 was hanging, but capturing it wouldn't have solved Black's problems.
For instance 26... Nxa6 27. Qf4 Rea7 28. f3. Or 26... Rxa6 27. Rxa6 Nxa6 28. Qa1 Ra7 29.
27. Bxd3 exd3 28. Qc3

It seemed that 28. Rd1! would have put the screws on Black even more.

28... Bxc4 29. Qxc4 Qg8 30. Qxc5

30... d2?

This move might have been the decisive mistake, although as we shall see, the game
moves down a notch now and both players play irregularly.

30... Qd5! would have forced White to find some good moves to carry on the game,
because the main line apparently leads to a forced draw after 31. Qc3 Nh5! 32. Bxg7+
Rxg7 The knight is under attack and 33...Nf4 is threatened. 33. Qb4 c5 34. Qe4 Nf6
35.Qf4 Nh5 36. Qe4

30... Rxe5 31. Qxe5 Nd5 32. Qe1 Bxa1 33. Qxa1+ is better for White but

31. Rad1?!

31. Nc4! Qe6 32. f4 would have consolidated White's advantage.

31... Rxa6?

31... Qd5! was much more tenacious, for example 32. Qc3 Rxe5!? 33. Qxe5 Rxa6 and if
34. Qxd5 cxd5 Black tries to sustain the pawn with moves such as Ra2 or Bh6 and things
are not so clear.

32. Rxd2

Now the waters go back to their course.

32... Nd5 33. Bxg7+ Rxg7 34. h3

A modest move that doesn't damage anything. More ambitious were both 34. Rb1 and
34... Qe6 35. Rb1 h6 36. Qc4 Rb6

36... Rga7 wasn't enough because of 37. Rdb2! Qxd6 38. Rb8+ Kg7 39. R1b7+ Kf6 40.
Rxa7 Rxa7 41. Qd4+

37. Rxb6 Qe1+ 38. Kh2 Nxb6?!

38... Qxd2 Forcing a long ending, because in any case White will have to defend a 3
against 2 ending. 39. Rxc6 (39. Rb8+ Rg8 40.Rxg8+ Kxg8 41. Qxc6) 39... Qf4+.

39. Qf4!

Now the game will soon conclude with a mating attack.

39... Nd5?

Allowing a nice conclusion.

39... Kg8 40. Rb2 Nd7 41. Qc4+ Kh7 42. Re2 and Black's position is unsustainable in any

40. Rxd5!! cxd5 41. Qf8+ Kh7 42. Ne8 1-0

Although Morozevich had just won the tournament, Carlsen defeated him in two games.
The following year, Magnus win for the first time in Biel, with 16 years.
Game 15
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
In this game Magnus Carlsen sacrifices a pawn again to develop "in crescendo" a strong
initiative that explodes with a sudden hit on move 28. This is a typical game by Carlsen:
he is very powerful in this type of positions that come about from semi-open openings.
(GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2675

Morozevich, A RUS 2731
French Defense [C10]
NH Hotels - Amsterdam, 2006

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Bg5

This move leads to the Burn variation. Currently, the most popular moves are 6.Bd3 and
above all 6.Nxf6+.

6... Be7

The main alternative for Black is to attack the bishop with 6... h6 7. Nxf6+ Nxf6 and now
both 8.Bh4 and 8.Be3 are quite popular.

7. Nxf6+ Nxf6

This option is solid although quite passive. Veteran player Andersson knows it well
enough, as he played it three times in the tournament!

The critical variation is 7... Bxf6 8. h4! provoking the weakening move ...h6 before
exchanging bishops.

8. Bd3 c5 9. dxc5

In the ninth round Wang Hao tried unsuccessfully 9. Qe2 cxd4 10. O-O-O Bd7 11. Ne5
Bc6 12. h4 Nd7 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Nxc6bxc6 15. Qe4 Qc5 16. Be2 e5 17. f4 O-O-O 18. Bg4
Kc7 19. Bxd7 Rxd7 20. fxe5 Re8 21. Rhe1 Qd5 22. Rd3 1/2-1/2 Wang Hao-Andersson,U.
Amsterdam 2006

9... Qa5+ 10. c3 Qxc5 11. O-O

Another idea related to long castling was tried out by Smeets in the seventh round. 11.
Qe2 Bd7 12. Ne5 Bc6 13. O-O-O Nd7 14.Bxe7 Qxe5?! (14... Qxe7 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Be4)
15. Ba3 O-O-O 16. f3 Qxe2 17. Bxe2 and White displayed great technique with the
bishop pair 17... Nf6 18. c4 a6 19. b3 Rxd1+ 20. Rxd1 Rd8 21. Re1! Nd7 22. Kc2 f6 23.
Be7 Re8 24. Bd6 Nf8 25. Bd3 Kd7 26.c5 Ng6 27. Kc3 Nh4 28. Rd1 Kc8 29. Rd2 Nf5 30.
Be4 Rd8 31. Kb4 h5 32. Ka5 Bxe4 33. fxe4 Ne7 34. Kb6 Nc6 35. Rb2 e5 36. b4g6 37. Rf2
f5 38. exf5 gxf5 39. Rxf5 e4 40. Rf7 Rd7 41. Rxd7 Kxd7 42. Kxb7 Nxb4 43. Bf4 a5 44. a4
Nc6 45. h3 1-0 Smeets,J-Andersson,U. Amsterdam 2006.

11... Bd7

12. Re1!?

A novelty by Carlsen according to my database. At first sight it seems risky due to

12...Ng4 with a double attack on the g5 bishop and on the f2 pawn but the Norwegian
star has it all under control.

12... Ng4?

Without doubt better is 12... Bc6 13. Ne5 O-O 14. Qc2 h6 15. Nxc6 Qxc6 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17.
Bh7+ Kh8 18. Be4 and White has a microscopic advantage. An experimented player like
Ulf Andersson will never lose this game. We shall have to wait for a new game to see
what Carlsen had in mind.

13. Bxe7! Qxf2+ 14. Kh1 Kxe7

If the queen retreats to give a check on f2 with the knight then 15.Bh4 is winning.

15. Re2 Qc516. Qe1!

This is the key idea that Andersson possibly missed when he analyzed 12...Ng4. The
queen heads to g3 or h4 and the bad position of the king in the center is beginning to


Slightly better was 16... Nf6 17. Qh4 Kf8 18. Rf1 Qc7 19. Ne5 and the pressure of White's
pieces totally compensates the sacrificed pawn.

17. Qh4+ Nf6 18. Nd4

18. Ne5 was also strong, transposing to similar positions mentioned in the previous

18... Bc6

If Black tries to castle artificially, White has a classical sacrifice with 18... Rhe8 19. Nf5+
Kf8 20. Nxg7! Kxg7 21. Rf1 Nh5 22.Qg4+ Kf8 23. b4 Qxc3 24. Qxh5.

19. Rf1

Threatening Nf5+ y Nxg7.

19... Rhg8 20. Qg3

20... Kd7?!

The black king heads over to the queenside to seek shelter, but this move allows White
to recover the sacrificed material. At the same he is able to keep his positional
advantage. Better was 20...Bd5.

21. Bxh7 Rh8

21... Nxh7? 22. Rxf7+ Ke8 23. Qg6 with a decisive advantage for White.

22. Bg6!

Very short on time, Andersson spent the 10 minutes that he had left and then decided to
resign. Maybe this was premature although after 22...fxg6 23.Nxe6 Qb6 24.Nxd8 Rxd8
25. Qxg6 followed by 26.Qxg7 White's advantage seems clear.

Main facade of NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam, traditional venue of
tournament "Veterans" vs. "Young Stars".
Game 16
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
An original piece sacrifice allows Carlsen to pull ahead on the psychological duel, finally
imposing his technique in a difficult ending with an extra pawn but with opposite-
coloured bishops.

Carlsen, M NOR 2690

Morozevich, A RUS 2741
King's Indian Defense [E66]
Morelia-Linares, 2007

1. d4

The Norwegian phenomenon started the tournament quite well, defeating Morozevich
in an original game. The Russian lost the game in what seems to be his Achilles heel:
positions that demand passive defence.

1... Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. Nd2
e5 10. b3 Ng4 11. h3 Nh6 12. Nde4?!

A novelty that compromises White's position due to the fact that he decides not to
occupy the center with pawns. The threat is Nb5 that can be stopped quite easily.

Black took over the initiative after 12. Bb2 f5 13. Qc2 Nf7 14. Rae1 g5 15. e3 h5 16. f3
Bd7 17. Nd1 b6 Tatai,S-Quinteros,M. Ljubljana-Portoroz.

12... f6

With the idea Nf7 to continue with the advance f5. Now Carlsen played his next moves
very bravely, which is very consequent with his plan.

Bad was 12... f5?! because of 13. Ng5 followed by the invasion on e6. But 12... b6!? was
worth trying, consolidating the queenside. If 13. Nb5 Black has 13... Nb7

13. Nxd6! Qxd6 14. Ne4

The idea of this piece sacrifice is two obtain two center pawns and the initiative.

14... Qd8

Both 14... Qb6?! 15. Ba3.

and 14... Qe7?! seem worse. 15. d6.

15. Nxc5

15... f5?!

Now White can recover the piece.

It would be interesting to know what Carlsen was thinking of playing after 15... Qc7 16.
Ba3 Rd8 controlling his opponent's queen pawn. I think that the compensation is not

16. d6! e4 17. d7 Nf7

Bad was 17... Bxa1? as after 18. Bxh6 Black can't play 18... Bg7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Ne6+
as he loses his queen.

18. Rb1 Qe7 19. dxc8=Q Raxc8 20. Na4

White has emerged from the tactical stage with an extra pawn on the queenside,
although I am sure that Morozevich thought that he had enough compensation due to
his active pieces and the temporarily passive bishop on g2.

20... Rfd8 21. Qe1 Nc6 22. Nc3 Nd4 23. Bb2 b5 24. Nd5

Capturing the second pawn seems too risky. After 24. Nxb5 Nxb5 25. Bxg7 Kxg7 26.
cxb5 Rc2 Black penetrates the seventh rank with strength.

24... Qd6

Now Carlsen simplifies the position favorably.

Maybe 24... Qc5!? was better.

25. Bxd4! Bxd4 26. Rd1!

The precise move.

The direct 26. e3? didn't work because of 26... bxc4 27. bxc4 Rxc4 and Black is better.
26... Be5 27. Qa5 bxc4 28. Ne3 Qc7 29. Qxc7 Bxc7 30. Nxc4

Finally, the balance of the fight favours White, although Black has some drawing
chances due to the presence of the opposite colored bishops.

30... Ne5 31. Rxd8+ Rxd8 32. Rc1 Nxc4 33. Rxc4 Rd1+ 34. Bf1 Bd6 35. e3 a5 36.

Beginning a slow stage in which both players try to improve their positions.

36... Kf7 37. Rc2 Ke7 38. Be2 Rd5 39. Bc4 Rd1 40. g4

The only way to progress. Now Morozevich sacrifices a second pawn to force the
exchange of rooks.

40... f4 41. exf4 Bxf4 42. Re2 Rd4 43. Bd3 Kf6 44. Bxe4 Rd2 45. Rxd2 Bxd2 46. Kg3

With the idea f4. It must be said that if Black is able to play g5 in good conditions a draw
would be the most likely result, but for the moment this is not possible.

46... Be1

46... Ke5!? seems more logical 47. Bc2 Bf4+ 48. Kf3 Bg5 preventing both f4 and h4 and
keeping the enemy king at bay.

47. Kf3 Bb4

Now White starts to progress on the kingside.

48. h4 h6 49. Ke2 Bd6 50. Kd3 Bc5 51. f4 h5 52. g5+ Kg7 53. Kc4 Bd6
54. Kb5 Bxf4??

A big mistake. Black now loses without offering any resistance.

He had to keep his calm, and maintain a passive defence, which is not easy for someone
like Morozevich. The correct move was54... Bb4! defending the pawn on a5. It's not easy
to find a clear win, maybe it doesn't even exist. If the white king moves away from the
queenside Black attacks the pawns on the kingside. If White creates a passed pawn
Black will capture the h4 pawn on time and then he will sacrifice his bishop with a draw.
Here are some illustrative variations: 55. a3 (55. Ka4 Be1 56. a3 Bd2 57.b4 axb4 58.
axb4 Bxf4 59. b5 Bg3 60. b6 Bxh4 61. b7 Bg3) (55. f5 gxf5 56. Bxf5 Be1 57. Bd7 Kf7 58.
Bc6 Bd2 59. Bf3 Kg6) 55...Bxa3 56. Kxa5 Bd6 57. b4 Bxf4 58. b5 Bg3 59. b6 Bxh4 60. b7
Bg3 61. Kb6 Kf7 62. Ka7 h4 63. b8=Q Bxb8+ 64. Kxb8 h3 65. Kc7Ke6 66. Bxg6 h2 67. Be4
h1=Q 68. Bxh1 Kf5. (Analisys diagram)

55. Kxa5 Bg3 56. Kb5 Bxh4 57. a4

In the pawn race White is several tempi ahead and his pieces are coordinated better.
The rest is simple.
57... Bxg5 58. a5 Kf6 59. a6 Be3 60. Kc6 g5 61. b4 Ke5 62. b5 Kxe4 63. b6 g4 64. a7
g3 65. a8=Q Kf3 66. b7 Bf4 67. Qf8 Ke4 68.Qe8+ 1-0
Game 17
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
To those who say that Carlsen does not stand out in the openings I recommend a
thorough examination of this game. After quickly playing almost fifteen theoretical
moves the Norwegian demonstrates that he has done his homework and overcomes
such a tough player like Ivanchuk with an elaborate strategy. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2690

Ivanchuk, V UKR 2750
Gruenfeld Defense [D88]
Morelia-Linares, 2007

1. d4

The next game is noticeable because of the fact that Carlsen defeats a very qualified
opponent with ease. It seems that after the opening, the young Norwegian already has
the winning plan in his head; he will take advantage of the weakened dark-squares in
his opponent's castled king position. Also surprising is the incapability of the great
Ukrainian to find some way of offering more resistance.

1... Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 Nc6
9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Na5 11. Bd3 b6

Ivanchuk steps away from the main line 11... cxd4 12. cxd4 Bg4 13. f3 Be6 that allows
the exchange sacrifice 14. d5 Bxa1 15.Qxa1 with which Topalov defeated Shirov three
months before in Wijk aan Zee 2007. In any case his choice couldn't have been a
surprise, as one year before Ivanchuk had already chosen this move against Heine
Nielsen, who was actually Carlsen's second when this game was played.

12. Rc1!

In the mentioned game Heine Nielsen-Ivanchuk, Monaco 2006 (Blindfold) play

continued 12. Qd2 e5 13. d5 (13. dxc5 Be6!?) 13...f5 14. Bg5 Qd6 15. Bh6 f4 16. Bxg7
Kxg7 17. f3 c4 and Black had a good position.

12... cxd4

The plan 12... e5 suffered a serious setback in the game Topalov-Svidler, at

Morelia/Linares (2006) that continued 13. dxc5 Be614. c4! where the idea 12.Rc1
seemed clear. However, in view of this game, maybe Black should go back to that

13. cxd4 e6
13... Bb7 14. d5! is unpleasant for Black as 14... e6? doesn't work because of 15. dxe6
fxe6 16. Nf4 Qd6 17. Qg4 Rae8 18. Bb5 Re719. Rfd1 with a clear advantage for White, as
in the game Geller-Kapengut. Leningrad 1971.

14. Qd2 Bb7

15. h4!

An idea by the German player Knaak. He has used it successfully on many occasions. It
was also used later on by Kasparov in a clock simul against Lutz in 1986, and is
considered to be the critical move against Black's setup

15... Qe7?!

It's well-known that the pawn capture 15... Qxh4? loses to 16. Bg5 Qg4 17. f3 Qh5 18.
Ng3! Bxd4+ 19. Rf2 Bxf2+ 20. Kxf2 Qh221. Rh1.

But the most common line is 15... Qd7 16. h5 Rfc8! 17. Bh6 Bh8 h8 played in Knaak-
Kirov. Polanica Zdroj 1976, which was the first game in which White tried out this plan.
At least, the queen on d7 doesn't allow White to win a tempo with Bg5, which is what
happened in this game.

16. h5 Rfc8 17. e5!

A theoretical novelty, although in the game Lukacs,P-Schneider,A, Hungary 1984 White

tried out a similar idea after 17. Bg5Qa3 (17... Qd7 was better) 18. e5 White's idea is
simple: to exchange the dark-squared bishops and exploit the weaknesses in the castled
king position. In the game Ivanchuk was unable to find a good defensive method.

17... Rxc1 18. Rxc1 Rc8 19. Rxc8+ Bxc8 20. Bg5
20... Qc7

Maybe 20... Qa3 would have been somewhat better, maintaining the attack on the d3
bishop so that the white queen has an inferior range of action. In any case White's attack
is still very dangerous.

The defence 20... f6 is clearly unsatisfactory and White can achieve a huge advantage by
means of 21. exf6 Bxf6 22. Bxf6 Qxf623. Qc2 Bb7 24. Qc7.

The attack on the d4 pawn 20... Qd7 21. Bf6 Nc6 isn't good either because White can
sacrifice it with 22. Qg5! Nxd4 23. Bxg7Nxe2+ 24. Bxe2 Kxg7 25. h6+ with a big

21. Bf6 Nc6

Trying to keep the bishops with 21... Bf8 leaves Black with a very difficult position after
22. Qg5 followed by Nf4.

Also, the alternative 21... Bb7 doesn't solve Black's problems after 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23.
Qg5 Qc8 24. Nf4 It seems that Black's position had no good defence and I think that the
line with 15...Qe7 should be cast aside.

22. Qg5 h6

Otherwise 23.Bxg7 followed by 24.Qf6+ and 25.h6 is winning. But the game move
doesn't save Black either.

23. Qc1

There are other winning moves such as 23. Qg4, but Carlsen's choice is very simple.

23... g5?!

This move loses a piece, but unpinning the knight with 23... Qd7 would only extend the
agony after 24. hxg6 fxg6 25. Bxg6 and Black's position doesn't offer any hope

24. Bb5 Bd7

25. d5! exd5 26. Nd4

The game could easily have finished here but Ivanchuk decides to continue for a few
more moves.

26... Bxf6 27. exf6 Qd6 28. Bxc6 Qxf6 29. Bxd7 Qxd4 30. g3 Qc5 31. Qxc5 bxc5 32.
Bc6 d4 33. Bb5 Kf8 34. f4 gxf4 35. gxf4 1-0
Game 18
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
In this game Carlsen uses a fashionable line to sacrifice a pawn for the initiative, one of
his favourite game strategies. Ivanchuk responds by returning the pawn to free his
position, but the result is disastrous for Black. With the board divided into two parts
due to the huge pawn on d7 White had no trouble finishing off the game on the kingside.

Carlsen, M NOR 2690

Ivanchuk, V UKR 2750
Queen's Indian Defense [E15]
Melody Amber - Montecarlo, 2007

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 c5 6. d5 exd5 7. cxd5 Bb7 8. Bg2 Nxd5

9. O-O Be7 10. Rd1 Nc6 11. Qf5 Nf6 12. e4 g613. Qf4 O-O 14. e5 Nh5 15. Qg4 d5 16.
exd6 Bf6 17. Nc3 Nd4 18. Nxd4 Bxg2 19. Nf5 Bc6

20. d7 Qc7 21. Nd5 Bxd5 22. Rxd5Rfd8 23. Be3 Bxb2 24. Nh6+ Kf8 25. Rad1 Bg7

Whites position is clearly better but nothing seems to indicate that the end of the game
is so near.
26. Rxh5!! gxh5 27. Qf5

And Black resigned because after 27. Qf5 Bxh6 28. Bxh6+ Ke7 White wins in several
ways. The most exact way is mate in six beginning with 29. Qe4+ Kf6 30. Re1 Rg8 31.
Qe7+ Kf5 32. Qxf7+ Kg4 33. f3+ Kh3 34. Qxh5#.

Game 19
Notes by MI Michael Rahal

The key
The Catalan opening fits in perfectily with Carlsen's playing style. In this game he
sacrifices a pawn in the opening to take the lead and finally penetrate into Black's
position. After playing the opening imprecisely, his venerable opponent can't do
anything to avoid losing. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2693

Portisch, L HUN 2512
Catalan Opening [E04]
Gausdal, 2007

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nbd7 6. O-O Rb8

Portisch is trying to defend his pawn on c4, and at the same time he moves his rook
away from the a8 square. However, by delaying his development he is taking some risks.
The main alternatives are 6...c6 and 6...c5.

7. Qc2

7.a4 has also been played.

7... b5 8. b3!

Curiously, Norwegian GM Peter Nielsen, who is Carlsen's trainer, played 8. a4 a6 9. axb5

axb5 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd5 12.Rd1 Bd7 13. Nc3 c6 14. Ne4 Qc7 15. Nd6+ Bxd6 16.
exd6 Qxd6 and now 17.e4 seems to be very interesting for White in Nielsen,P (2620)-
Babula,V (2590)/ Germany.

8... cxb3 9. axb3 a6

10. Ne5!

A strong novelty, in line with the Nielsen game, that improves the previous play in this
line. The threat Nc6 practically forces the exchange of knights on e5, opening more lines
for White's pieces.

10. Bg5 had been played before 10... Be7 11. Rc1 Bb7 12. Qxc7 Qxc7 13. Rxc7 And White
has recovered the pawn but his initiative has disappeared. 13... Nd5 14. Rc1 h6 15. Bxe7
Kxe7 16. Nbd2 Rhc8 1/2-1/2 Adrian,C (2315)-Lukov,V (2455)/St Lorrain

10... Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd5 12. Rd1 Qe7

In view of the threat 13.e4 winning a piece.

13. Nc3 Qc5

If 13... Nxc3 14. Bc6+! winning.

14. Rxd5!

A strong exchange sacrifice that maintains the initiative. Carlsen probably used his
intuition as it's very difficult to calculate the sacrifice to the end. Black will now lose his
right to castle and will have to be on the defensive for many moves.
14... exd5 15. b4! Qxb4 16. Ba3

Also strong was 16. Nxd5 Qc4 17. Nxc7+ Kd8 18. Qd1+ Kxc7 19. Bf4! and the threats
20.e6 and 20. Rc1 guarantee the recovery of the material. However, maybe Black can
sacrifice his queen with 19... Bc5 20. Rc1 Be6 21. Rxc4 bxc4 with certain resistance.

16... Qg4 17. Bxf8 Kxf8 18. Nxd5

There is a very concrete threat now, if Black develops his c8 bishop. A typical smothered
mate that would begin with (for example) 18...Be6 19.Qc5+ Kg8 20.Ne7+ Kf8 21. Ng6+!
Kg8 22.Qf8+!! Rxf8 23.Ne7 mate.

18... Qc4 19. Qd2!

Obviously White is not interested in the exchange of queens.

19... Be6 20. Rc1 Qb3 21. Nxc7

The compensation for the exchange is huge as Black can't develop his kingside.

21... Kg8 22. Qd6

Threatening 23.Nxe6 followed by Qxb8.

22. Nxa6 Re8 23. Nc5 isn't bad either.

22... Rc8

If 22... Rf8 then 23. Bd5! Bxd5 (23... Qb2 24. Nxe6 Qxc1+ 25. Kg2 Qc8 26. Nxf8 Qxf8 27.
Qxa6 with a decisive advantage.) 24.Nxd5 and the threats are tremendous. (25.Ne7
mate or 25.Qxf8+ followed by 26. Rc8 mate.

23. Bb7

Recovering the exchange. Now there is a forced sequence of moves.

23... h6 24. Bxc8 Bxc8 25. Nxb5! axb5 26. Rxc8+ Kh7 27.Rc1!
Carlsen avoids the exchange of rooks, because the b-pawn would become dangerous.

27... Re8 28. Kg2!

White avoids an unpleasant check on the first rank before proceeding to incorporate the
rook to the attack.

28... Kg8 29. Rc5

The centralization of White's pieces contrasts when comparing to Black's. The b5 pawn
is an attacking objective, although a secondary idea would be to advance the pawns f4-

29... Qa2?

A mistake in a lost position. The b5 pawn falls and with it the game.

The best move was 29... b4 against which White could play 30. e4 Re6 31. Qd4 and now
a possible variation would be 31... Kh732. Rb5 Qc3 33. Qxc3 bxc3 34. Rc5 c2 35. f4 and
White wins.

30. Qc6 1-0

Game 20
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Carlsen achieves a nice positional advantage after the opening, and converts it with his
usual elegance and precision, simplifying the position to a winning rook ending in which
he masterfully takes advantage of the remote black king, which had hidden in the corner
when there were still queens on the board. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2693

Aronian, L RUS 2759
English Opening [A30]
Wch Candidates (3) - Elista, 2007

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O e6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Re1 d5 8. cxd5 Nxd5
9. d4 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Be4 11. Ne5 Bxg2 12.Kxg2 O-O 13. e4 Qc8 14. Qg4 Bf6 15. Nf3
Kh8 16. h4 Nc6 17. Bg5 cxd4 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. cxd4 e5 20. Qxc8 Raxc8 21. d5 Na5

After a draw in the second game, Carlsen changed over to a queens pawn opening and
the game led to the next ending. I have seen many strong players lose these types of
positions with White. Black will put his knight on d6, keeping his supremacy on the
open "c" file, and then advance his two vs one on the queenside. However, Carlsen now
puts into practice a very powerful plan, exploiting his superior kingside structure and
the distant location of Blacks king.

22. h5! Nc4

There was no time for 22... h6 23. Nh4 and the black knight cant get to d6.

23. Nh4 Nd6 24. h6!

This pawn suffocates the black king, located on the same side of the board.

24... Rc3!?

Those of us who were following the game thought that Rc4 or Rc2 were better. Both of
these moves are apparently more concrete, but the text move, apart from doubling
rooks, has another hidden idea.

25. Rac1

25. Nf5 Nxf5 26. exf5 led to an unpleasant ending. However, its still more defendable
than the ending that Black will face soon.

25... Rfc8?
Incredibly, Black changes his mind.

After 25... Nxe4! Black is able to breathe. Even though he is a pawn up and still
objectively worse, the possibility of a draw is very real. For example after 26. Nf5 Rd8
27. Ne7 Rxc1 28. Rxc1 Nc5.

26. Rxc3 Rxc3 27. Nf5! Nxf5 28. exf5 Kg8 29. Re4!

The decisive move, after which I dont think that Black can save the game.

29... Kf8 30. Rg4 Rc7 31. Rg7 b5 32. Rxh7 Kg8 33. Rg7+ Kh8 34. d6 Rd7 35. Kf3 b4
36. Ke4 Rxd6 37. Rxf7 Ra6 38. g4 Kg8 39.h7+ Kh8 40. g5 fxg5 41. f6 1-0
Game 21
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Black's bad opening setup allows Carlsen to organize a typical attacking plan against his
opponents castled king. To avoid even greater damage Aronian accepts the loss of a
pawn, but Carlsen's cold technique is once more relentless. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2693

Aronian, L RUS 2759
Queen's Indian Defense [E12]
Wch Candidates (5) - Elista, 2007

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. a3 Bb7 5. Nc3 d5 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Qc2 Be7 8. e4 Nxc3

9. bxc3 O-O 10. Bd3 c5 11. O-O Qc7 12.Qe2 Nd7 13. Bb2 c4 14. Bc2 b5 15. Bc1 a5
16. Rb1 Ba6 17. e5 b4 18. axb4 axb4

19. Bg5!

After this move, Blacks position collapses completely.

19... Nb6

The alternatives were much worse.

19... Bxg5? 20. Bxh7+! (Of course, also 20. Nxg5) 20... Kxh7 21. Nxg5+ Kg6 (21... Kh6 22.
Qe3) 22. Qg4 f5 23. Qg3 with a devastating attack.

19... Qd8 20. Qe4 g6 21. Bxe7 Qxe7 22. Rxb4.

20. Qe4 g6 21. Qh4 Ra7

and White has achieved an unstoppable attack.

22. Bf6

22. Qh6 Nd5 23. Be4 was also good.

22... Bxf6 23. exf6 Nd5

23... Qd8 24. Ne5.

24. Be4!?

A practical decision, forcing a sequence that will lead to a better ending.

Attacking with 24. Ne5 was very tempting, for example: 24... b3 25. Be4 Qd6 26. f4.

24... Qf4 25. Bxd5 Qxh4 26. Nxh4 exd5 27. Rxb4 Bc8 28. Rb6 Ra3 29. Rc1 Be6

Black is very active but his king is suffocating on the last rank. This will end badly for

30. Nf3 Rfa8 31. h4 h6 32. Ne5 Ra1 33. Rxa1 Rxa1+ 34. Kh2 Ra3 35. Rb8+ Kh7 36.

With this move and his next one Carlsen decides the game in his favour very elegantly.

36... Rxc3 37. h5 gxh5 38. Rf8 Ra3 39. f5 Bxf5 40. Rxf7+ Kg8 41. Rg7+ Kf8 42. Rb7
Ra8 43. Kg3 Rd8 44. Kf4 Be4 45. g3 c3 46.Rf7+ Kg8 47. Rg7+ Kf8 48. Nd7+ Rxd7
49. Rxd7 1-0
Game 22
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
What happened in this game seemed extraordinary in 2007, but over time it has
become commonplace when we talk about Magnus Carlsen. He shows nothing in the
opening and at times it seems that a draw will be signed at any moment. But the
Norwegian keeps on fighting and finally he reaches an endgame with an extra pawn,
around move 70, and then he demonstrates his legendary technique.

Carlsen, M NOR 2710

Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2685
Gruenfeld Defense [D94]
Biel, 2007

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O a6 8. b3 Ne4 9. Bb2

Nxc3 10. Bxc3 Bg4 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3e6 13. Qd2 Re8 14. Ba5 Qe7 15. Rac1 Nd7
16. Qb4 Qxb4 17. Bxb4 a5 18. Bd2 dxc4 19. bxc4 e5 20. d5 e4 21. Be2 Red8 22.
Rfd1cxd5 23. cxd5 Nf6 24. Be1 Nxd5 25. Rc5 Nb4 26. Rxa5 Nc2 27. Bd2 Rxa5 28.
Bxa5 Ra8 29. Rd5 Bf8 30. Bd1 Nb4 31. Bxb4 Bxb432. Bb3 b6 33. Rd7 Rf8 34. g4 g5
35. Rb7 Bc5 36. Bd5 Kg7 37. Kf1 h6 38. Ke2 Kf6 39. a4 Kg7 40. Rc7 Bb4 41. Bxe4
Rd8 42.Bd3 Kf8 43. Rb7 Rd6 44. Bc4 Rf6 45. Bd5 Be7 46. f3 Bb4 47. Kd3 Be1 48.
Ke4 Bg3 49. Bc4 Be1 50. f4 gxf4 51. exf4 Bg3 52. f5Be1 53. Bd5 Kg7 54. Kd4 h5 55.
Kc4 hxg4 56. hxg4 Bf2 57. Be6 Be3 58. Kd5 Kf8 59. Ke5 Kg7 60. Ke4 Bd2 61. Kd3
Bf4 62.Kc4 Kf8 63. Bd5 Be3 64. Kb5 Kg7 65. Be6 Kf8 66. Bc4 Bf2 67. Bd5 Kg7

68. Bc6!

In spite of the extra pawn, it doesnt seem easy for White to materialize his advantage,
in view of the opposite coloured bishops. But Carlsen finds an elegant and effective
manoeuvre, sacrificing the exchange on b6.
68... Kh6

If 68... Rd6 then 69. Rxb6 Bxb6 70. Kxb6 Rd4 71. a5 Kf6 72. a6 Rxg4 73. a7 Rg8 74. Kb7
Kxf5 75. Bd7+ Ke5 76. Bc8 and the pawn promotes.

69. Rxb6! Kg5

If 69... Bxb6 70. Kxb6 Kg5 71. a5 Kxg4 72. a6 Rh6 73. a7 Rh8 74. Bd7.

70. a5 Rd6

If 70... Kxg4 71. Be4 Kg5 (71... Bxb6 72. axb6 Rh6 73. b7 Rh3 74. Kb6 Rb3+ 75. Kc7 Rc3+
76. Bc6 Rb3 77. Bd7 Rc3+ 78. Kb6 Rb3+79. Bb5) 72. Rxf6 Kxf6 73. Kc6.

71. Rb7 Kxg4 72. Rxf7 Kg5 73. Rd7 Rh6 74. Be4 Rh8 75. a6 Rb8+ 76. Kc4 Kf4 77.
Re7 Rc8+ 78. Kd3 Rd8+ 79. Ke2 Bd4 80. Bd3Bc5 81. Re6 Rh8 82. f6 Rh2+ 83. Kd1
Rh6 84. f7 Rxe6 85. a7 1-0

And one of the pawns promotes.

Game 23
Notes by MI ngel Martn

The key
A new example of how Carlsen converts to a win a good positional game. When his
opponent weakens his castled king the Norwegian skilfully concentrates all his energies
in the center and the kingsside, achieving a convincing win. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2710

Radjabov, T AZE 2746
Pirc Defense [B07]
Biel, 2007

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5

Giving up the idea of playing the Pirc Defence after 3... g6.

4. Nge2

White could have exchanged queens here with 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 but this was
not something that Carlsen wanted to do, as he was forced to try and win to come first
in the tournament. Also possible is a transposition to the Philidor Defence with 4.Cf3,
although Carlsen decides for a similar option.

4... Nbd7 5. g3 c6 6. Bg2 b5

Black accelerates his counterplay on the queenside.

Another more natural option is 6... Be7 7. O-O O-O although White can then prevent this
move with 8. a4

7. a3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. h3

A useful move, not only to continue with Be3, but mainly to initiate aggressive actions.

9... a5 10. g4 Ba6

10... Bb7 is another very interesting possibility.

11. Ng3

In a game between Beliavsky and Mokry, at Haifa 1989, White opposed Black's advance
with the move 11. b4 But Carlsen wants to go directly to the kingside, without
weakening the c4 square.

11... b4 12. Nce2 bxa3?!

This move is a novelty, probably a bad one in view of the development of the game.
Previously 12... d5 had been played and Black had certainly achieved reasonable

13. Rxa3 d5

14. Re3

The exchange on a3 has only activated White's rook. Black won't be able to justify his
manoeuvre if he can't demonstrate that he can take advantage of the exposed rook on

14... dxe4 15. Re1

There is no rush to capture on e4 as if 15. Nxe4 Nd5 and if 16. Rg3 Bh4.

15... Qc7?!

Maybe safer was 15... Re8 16. Nf5 Bf8 With the game move, White begins to create
dangerous threats.

16. Nf5 Bd8 17. g5

Carlsen decides to play for the attack although 17. dxe5 Qxe5 (17... Nxe5 18. g5) 18.
Bxe4 Nxe4 19. Qxd7.

17... Nd5 18. Rxe4 f6 19. Neg3 g6

19... fxg5 20. dxe5 g6 21. Nh6+ leads to the same position

20. Nh6+ Kg7 21. dxe5 fxg5

If 21... fxe5 22. c4 Nb4 23. f4 and White is better.

22. e6!
From this moment onwards Carlsen conducts the attack very accurately. White's idea is
to check with his queen on d4. Black will never be able to capture Kxh6 due to Rh4

22... Kxh6

22... N7f6 23. e7 Bxe7 24. Rxe7+ Nxe7 25. Rxe7+ Qxe7 26. Nhf5+ wins immediately. And
if 22... Nc5 23. e7 Bxe7 24. Rxe7+ Nxe7 25. Qd4+ Rf6 26. Bxg5 with similar

23. e7 Qb6

A desperate resource because if 23... Bxe7 24. Rxe7 Nxe7 25. Rxe7 Rad8 26. Qd4 with a
double threat on g7 and h4.

24. exf8=Q+ Nxf8 25. c4 Nf4 26. Qd6!

The threat is, amongst other moves, 27. Nf5+ Kh5.

26... Kg7

26... Bc7 27. Nf5+ Kh5 28. Qd1+ mating.

27. Bxf4

27. Re8 was equally decisive.

27... gxf4 28. Re7+

And Black resigned as after 28. Re7+ Bxe7 then 29. Rxe7+ Kg8 30. Qf6 with unstoppable

Game 24
Notes by MI ngel Martn

The key
Carlsen tries to avoid on this occasion the most popular theoretical lines of the King's
Indian, Cheparinov's favourite defence and for a while the game advances slowly. But
soon the Norwegian's ambition awakens and with his move 19 he decides to risk for the
win. But his opponent is a young GM who is not afraid of the complications. After a
relentless struggle the game heads towards a complex ending, where Carlsen manages
to impose his extraordinary class.. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2714

Cheparinov, I BUL 2670
King's Indian Defense [A48]
Khanty-Mansiysk, 2007

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 d6 5. e4 O-O 6. c3 c5 7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Bc4 Nc6
9. O-O Qc7 10. Qe2 h6 11. Bh4 Nh5 12.Rfe1 Bg4 13. Qe3 g5 14. Bg3 Nxg3 15. hxg3
b6 16. Nh2 Bh5 17. g4 Bg6 18. g3 Rad8 19. f4 Nd4 20. Rac1 b5 21. Bf1 gxf4 22.
gxf4Ne6 23. e5 f5 24. exf6 Rxf6 25. f5 Ng5 26. fxg6 Re6 27. Qf2 Be5 28. Rxe5 Qxe5
29. Ndf3 Nxf3+ 30. Nxf3 Qf4 31. Re1 Rxe1 32.Nxe1 Qxf2+ 33. Kxf2 Rd2+ 34. Ke3
Rd1 35. Ke2 Ra1 36. Bg2 c4 37. a3 Rb1 38. Be4 Rxb2+ 39. Nc2 Kg7 40. Ke3 Rb3 41.
Kd2Kf6 42. Nd4 Rxa3 43. Nxb5 Ra5 44. Nc7 Kg7 45. Ne6+ Kh8 46. Ke3 Ra1 47. Kd4

The first part of the next game was a tough fight. Then, Cheparinovs ambitious
middlegame play was equalized by Carlsen and eventually a difficult ending was
reached. The material was unbalanced with two white minor pieces against an active
rook, but a draw was the most likely result. Just after the time control, Cheparinov
allowed Carlsens knight to come into play, reaching the following position, in which the
young Norwegian is about to deliver the coup de grace.
48. Bc6! a4

48... Rg1 allows 49. g5! hxg5 50. Be8! and Black has no defence.

49. Be8 Rg1 50. g5! a3!

50... hxg5 51. Bf7 and again the "g" pawn is unstoppable.

51. Bf7! Rxg5! 52. Nxg5 hxg5 53. Bxc4 Kg7

Black has defended as best as he can but his pawns are not really very dangerous.
Whites victory should be simple. However, due to time pressure, the game turns

54. Kd3!

Carlsen wanted to play 54. Ke5! but he saw some ghosts after 54... Kxg6 55. Ba2 g4 56.
Kf4 and he spent nearly all the rest of his time trying to find an alternative winning line.
Actually, his original idea would have win for sure, for example 56... Kh5 57. c4Kh4 58.
c5 g3 59. Kf3! Kh3 60. c6 and White promotes with check and then wins the black

54... Kxg6 55. Kc2 g4 56. Kb3 Kf5 57. Kxa3

57... g3?

Starting a comedy of mistakes with the "30 seconds" time control.

57... Ke4 is a draw as we shall soon see. Black can only save the game if his king can
come near whites "c" pawn.

58. Bf1? e5?

58... Ke4!

59. Kb3?

59. Bg2! Kf4 60. c4 e4 61. Kb3 was necessary, maintaining the king as far away as
possible from the key square.

59... Kf4?

This was the last chance for 59... Ke4! 60. c4 and now both 60... Kd4 and 60... Kf3 draw

60. Bg2!

At last!

60... Ke3 61. Kc4!

White could have still messed things up again with 61. Kc2? Kf2 62. Be4 g2 and White
has nothing better than 63. Bxg2 Kxg264. Kd3 Kf3 65. Kd2 Kf2 66. Kd3 with a draw.

61... Kf2 62. Be4

After 62. Be4 both 62... g2 63. Bxg2 Kxg2 64. Kd5 and 62...Ke3 63.Kd5 are desperate for

In the top ten
By IM ngel Martn

DESPITE his elimination in the 2007 Candidates tournament, it was clear that his next
goal would be to climb as high as possible in the world rankings, up to number one. This
was going to be a very difficult task, because during the next year he would have to
measure up precisely against the players who occupied these places. In the January
2008 rating list, he was 13th with 2733. But the Norwegian would be truly successful
this year.

The first test was again Wijk aan Zee, in January. The "A" group was even stronger than
usual (Category XX) with 10 of the top 13 best players in the world. Magnus began very
well, leading from the start. Despite some problems in the middle of the tournament
when he lost to Leko and Anand, he finally tied with Aronian for first place, becoming
the youngest player to win this prestigious event in the 70 years of its existence.

Then he played another even stronger event, Linares. Magnus, at 2733, was the lowest
rated player. But, just as last year Carlsen finished second, behind Anand, with another
remarkable result. Again, he only lost to the Indian; just as the previous year on the
same stage, the Norwegian was defeated in one game and made a draw in the other.

The next important competition was held in Baku. The tournament was valid for the
first FIDE Grand Prix. The winner would play against the winner of the World Cup, to
decide who would face the 2010 World Champion (FIDE would change the format soon
after). Carlsen achieved a new victory, sharing first place with Gashimov and Wang Yue.
Then he continued his winning streak with a outright undefeated victory in the Foros
Aerosvit tournament, scoring 8 points out of 11, ahead of Ivanchuk (7 points) and
Karjakin (6).
This winning streak was partially interrupted in Mainz, a rapid game tournament where
Carlsen was defeated in the final by Anand by 3-1. And then in Biel, when the Norwegian
had to settle for third place after winning three games and losing one against Alekseev,
who would eventually win the event. Note that in this tournament he wasnt
accompanied by his father, preferring to go with some friends instead. Maybe that had
something to do with his result.

Soon after he played a short tournament in Bilbao, the Grand Slam final. This event was
a six-player double-round Category XXI event, using the football scoring system, with 3
points for a win and 1 point for a draw. The winner was Topalov, but Carlsen finished
second, ahead of Aronian. The surprise was Anand who, worried by his upcoming match
against Kramnik, finished last. Indeed, the rating differences were so small that in the
sixth round, after beating Aronian in an interesting game, Carlsen became the worlds
virtual number one. However, he was only able to maintain that position during a
couple of rounds.

Magnus finished the year defending Norways first board at the Dresden Olympiad. He
scored 7,5/11.
Game 25
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Due to his poor play in the opening, Carlsen had to fish in choppy waters against Van
Wely, with complications that were unfavorable for him. The Dutch GM, playing White,
had several opportunities to win. This was his first chance. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Van Welly, L NED 2681

Carlsen, M NOR 2733
Benko gambit accepted [A58]
Wijk aan Zee, 2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.Nf3 d6 8.g3 Bg7 9.Bg2
Nbd7 10.Rb1 Qa5 11.Bd2 Nb6 12.b3 Qa3 13.0-0 0-0 14.Ne1 Bb7 15.Nc2 Qa6 16.e4
Ne8 17.a4 Nc7 18.Re1 Rae8 19.b4 Nd7 20.Nb5 Rc8 21.Bh3 f5 22.Bg5 Ne5 23.bxc5
Qxa4 24.Nxc7 Rxc7 25.c6 Bc8 26.exf5 Rxf5 27.f4 Nc4 28.Rb4 Qa7+ 29.Kg2 Qc5
30.Rb8 Nb2 31.Qf3 Qxc2+ 32.Re2 Qb1

Poor play in the opening led Carlsen to have to fish in choppy waters against Van Wely,
with complications that were unfavourable for him. The Dutch GM, playing White, had
several opportunities to win. This was his first chance.

33. Bxf5

A good move, but even more convincing was

33. Bxe7! Bd4 34. Bxf5 Qxf5 35. g4 Qb1 36. Kg3! with an enormous advantage.

33... Qxf5 34. g4 Qf7 35. Bxe7 h5 36. Bxd6 hxg4 37. Qe4 Kh7 38. Bxc7

This move doesnt spoil anything, but much stronger is

38. Rbxb2! winning easily.

38... Bf5 39. Qe3?

39. Qe7 Qxd5+ 40. Kg1 and although Black has several checks, as soon as he finishes
then he will lose .

39. Rh8+! would lead to an easy win as there are only two variations that need to be
calculated and in both of them the queens are exchanged immediately: 39... Bxh8 (39...
Kxh8 40. Qe8+ Qxe8 41. Rxe8+ Kh7 42. Be5) 40. Qe7 Qxe7 41. Rxe7+ Kh6 42. Kg3.

39... Qxd5+
Things are complicated now and with only one move for the time control Black is clearly
back in the fight.

40. Kg3??

Just as in many other famous games the fateful 40th move decides.

40. Kg1 still offers some far-off chances of winning because after 40... Bd4 there is 41.
Rh8+! Kxh8 (41... Bxh8 42. Be5 Nd3 43.Bxh8 Kxh8 44. Qa7!? with a clear advantage) 42.
Be5+ Qxe5 43. fxe5 Bxe3+ 44. Rxe3 Nc4 and the ending can be played for a long time.

40... Nc4

Black is already playing for a win and White pushes him further into the hole with his
next move.

41. Qf2?

Giving Black the win in the plate.

A lot has been said on the Internet about 41. Qb3 a move that might have saved the
game. However, I disagree because after41... Qh1! 42. Bd8 (42. Be5 Qg1+ 43. Rg2 (43.
Kh4 Nxe5 44. fxe5 Qf1) 43... Qe1+ 44. Rf2 Nxe5) 42... Qg1+ 43. Kh4 (43. Rg2 Qe1+44. Rf2
Nd2) 43... Qf1! with a mating net.

41... Qd3+ 42. Kg2 Be4+ 43. Rxe4 Qxe4+ 44. Kf1 Qd3+ 45. Qe2 Nd2+ 46. Ke1 Nf3+
47. Kf1 Nxh2+ 48. Ke1 Bc3+ 49. Kf2 g3+ 0-1
Game 26
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
An excellent victory for Magnus Carlsen, overcoming none other than Vladimir Kramnik
in a strategic game. The Norwegian manages to transfer the burden of the fight to the
kingside and Kramnik has to give up material to avoid being crushed by the attack. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Krmnik, V RUS 2799

Carlsen, M NOR 2733
English Opening [A30]
Wijk aan Zee, 2008

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9.

Rd1 a6 10. Ng5 Bxg2 11. Kxg2 Nc6 12.Qf4 O-O 13. Nce4 Ne8 14. b3 Ra7 15. Bb2
Rd7 16. Rac1

16. Nf3 is probably better. And also 16. h4.

16... Nc7 17. Nf3 f5! 18. Nc3 g5 19. Qd2 g4 20. Ne1 Bg5 21. e3 Rff7 22. Kg1 Ne8 23.
Ne2 Nf6 24. Nf4 Qe8 25. Qc3 Rg7 26. b4Ne4 27. Qb3 Rge7 28. Qa4?!

Kramnik launches his queen on a journey that will not end well.

28... Ne5 29. Qxa6? Ra7

30. Qb5

Kramnik offered a draw after making this move, which is a good sign that his position is
quite bad.
30. Qxb6? Reb7 31. Qd4 Bf6! With a decisive advantage for Black. The white queen, with
no square to go, will be at the mercy of Black's three minor pieces.

30... Qxb5 31. cxb5 Rxa2 32. Rc8+ Kf7 33. Nfd3 Bf6 34. Nxe5+

34. Bxe5 dxe5 35. Rc6 Rb7 was a more tenacious defence.

34... dxe5 35. Rc2 Rea7 36. Kg2 Ng5 37. Rd6?! e4! 38. Bxf6 Kxf6

Threatening to penetrate with his knight on f3. Black's advantage is already decisive
and Kramnik can't do anything to avoid losing.

39. Kf1 Ra1 40. Ke2 Rb1 41. Rd1 Rxb4 42. Ng2 Rxb5 43. Nf4 Rc5 44. Rb2 b5 45. Kf1
Rac7 46. Rbb1 Rb7 47. Rb4 Rc4 48. Rb2 b449. Rdb1 Nf3 50. Kg2 Rd7 51. h3 e5 52.
Ne2 Rd2 53. hxg4 fxg4 54. Rxd2 Nxd2 55. Rb2 Nf3 56. Kf1 b3 57. Kg2 Rc2 0-1
Game 27
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
A good game by Carlsen in which he reveals one of his main virtues which he developed
when he was still very young. In long games the Norwegian makes fewer errors than
most of his opponents. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Ivanchuk, V UKR 2751

Carlsen, M NOR 2733
Ruy Lopez Opening [C67]
Morelia - Linares, 2008

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 a6?!

A strange move that tries to transpose into the Open variation. Black could have
achieved that directly by playing 3...a6.

It seemed that Carlsen was going for the traditional and at the same time boring Berlin
defence after 5... Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8.

6. Bxc6!?

Of course, White could go for the Open variation with 6. Ba4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 but Ivanchuk
tries to exploit Black's unusual move order.

6... dxc6 7. Qe2 Bf5 8. Re1! Bb4!?

This is the move that Carlsen had prepared to improve Black's play.

The key game, Georgiev-Piket, Corfu 1991, continued 8... Be7 9. g4 Bg6 10. Nxe5 f5?! and
now White could have claimed a huge advantage with (10... Nd6 is slightly better,
although it doesn't solve Black's problems) 11. gxf5! Bxf5 12. Qf3 Nd6 13. Bg5!

9. c3 Bd6 10. Qc2!

Black loses material. Ivanchuk's only problem is that he had already used up 70

10... Qd7 11. dxe5 Bc5 12. Rxe4 O-O-O 13. Nbd2 Qd5 14. Kf1! Rhe8 15. b3

Carlsen was more afraid of 15. Qa4 against which he was going to sacrifice more
material with 15... g5!? However, 16. h3 h5 17.g4 doesn't seem to be especially
promising for Black.
15... g5 16. Bb2 g4 17. Nd4 Bxd4!?

Carlsen still tries to complicate the game, in view of the fact that Ivanchuk was very
short on time.

The alternative 17... Bxe4 18. Qxe4 Qxe4 19. Nxe4 Rxe5 20. Nxc5 Rxc5 21. f3 would have
objectively been the lesser of two evils, but the position is still easier to play with White.

18. cxd4 c5 19. Rae1 cxd4

20. Qc4?

A mistake with which White loses a big part of his advantage.

Better was 20. Qd1! where Black would have had nothing better than 20... Bxe4 21. Rxe4
(21. Qxg4+? f5 22. exf6+ Bf5) 21... h522. Rxd4 Qa5 23. Qc2 with a practically decisive
advantage for White.

20... Bxe4 21. Rxe4 Rxe5 22. Rxg4?!

22. Qxd5! Rexd5 23. Rxg4 was safer.

22... Rde8! 23. Nf3 Qxc4+ 24. bxc4 Re2 25. Bxd4 Rxa2
Now the game is equal, but due to Ivanchuk's time trouble, Black has all the options.

26. Rg7 a5 27. Rxf7 Rc2 28. g4

Starting a race in which every tempo will be vital and the accuracy of each move is

28... a4 29. g5 a3 30. Rxh7

Ivanchuk had 29 seconds left to get to move 40.

30... a2 31. Rh8

Ivanchuk used up 20 seconds on this move.

31. g6 wasn't better, as after 31... Rxc4 the bishop doesn't have any good squares, even
on the longest diagonal of the board. White can only choose between 32. Bg7 (32. Bf6
Rf4 and Black is winning.) (32. Bb2 Rb4 33. Be5 (33. Bc3 Rb3 with a decisive advantage
for Black) 33... Rxe5 34. Rh8+ Kd7 35. Nxe5+ Ke6 36. Ra8 Rb1+ 37. Kg2 a1=Q 38. Rxa1
Rxa1 with a decisive advantage for Black) 32... Rg8 33. Be5 Rxg6 and Black is winning.
Ivanchuk's move is even worse in view of the fact that the white bishop needs to cover
a1, but from h8 it obstructs the advance of the g-pawn

31... Rxh8 32. Bxh8 Rxc4 33. h3?!

33. Ke2 was slightly better, but by now Ivanchuk didn't have any time left to find the
precise moves.

33... c5

34. Ne1?

34. Nd2 was the last opportunity to save the game, although White will have to
overcome many difficulties after 34... Rc2 35.Ke2 c4 36. g6 c3 37. Bxc3 Rxc3 38. g7 a1=Q
39. g8=Q+ Kc7 40. Qg7+ Kb8.

34... Rc1 35. g6

35. Ke2 c4 and 36. Kd2? loses to 36... c3+!

35... Kd7 36. Bb2

Three seconds left for Ivanchuk to make four moves.

36... Ke6! 37. h4 c4 38. h5 c3 39. Bxc1 a1=Q 40. Nd3

Ivanchuk lost on time when moving his knight. However, his position is totally lost.

Game 28
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
In his desire to win, first of all Magnus Carlsen sacrifices a pawn, which is quite natural
for him. However, Topalov's precise play forces him to sacrifice a second pawn and then
a third. Even so, it was never clear that the Norwegian was going to lose the game
although certainly a draw would have been the most likely result with correct play. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2733

Topalov, V BUL 2780
English Opening [A28]
Morelia - Linares, 2008

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nb6 7. Be2 Be7 8. O-O O-O
9. a4 Be6 10. Be3 Nd7 11. d4 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13. Qxd4 c6 14. a5 Nc5 15. Qe5
Nb3 16. Ra4 Bd6 17. Qh5 g6 18. Qh6 Be5 19. Bg5 Qc7 20. Be3 Nxa5 21. f4 Bg7
22.Qh4 Bb3 23. Rd4 Rad8 24. e5 Rxd4 25. Bxd4 c5 26. Be3 f6 27. Nb5 Qd8 28. f5
fxe5 29. Bg5 Qb6 30. f6 c4+ 31. Kh1 Qxb5 32. fxg7Rxf1+ 33. Bxf1 Kxg7 34. Bd8

With two pawns less than his opponent, Carlsen thought quite a lot before playing his
bishop to d8. He was trying to find a forced win.

34... Nc6??

Topalov replied immediately with this losing move. He had been fully concentrated,
using the reflection time of his opponent, and he arrived at the conclusion that this was
the only move to avoid a forced draw.
34... Qd5! was the correct move, after which both players can sign the draw
immediately, because White doesnt have anything better than a perpetual check
starting with 35.Qe7+.

35. Qf6+ Kg8 36. Qe6+ Kf8

Whites checks practically finish, because both 37.Qd6+ and 37.Qf6+ allow Black to
escape to c8. The end of the checks was the sign of victory for Topalov, but he missed
the simple.

37. Bg5!!

that threatens mate in one, forcing his opponent to resign, because if 37...Kg7 then
38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.Bh6 with unstoppable mate.

Linares 2008 Interview
By GM Amador Rodrguez

MAGNUS achieved a brilliant second place in the Linares tournament, behind World
Champion Anand, repeating last year's standings in the event. Together with Carlsens
fifth place in the 2008 April rating list, he was confirmed as a serious contender for the
world title. GM Amador Rodriguez, at Linares for the tournament, interviewed Carlsen
for the 74th issue of the Peon de Rey chess magazine.

You normally seem quite relaxed. What do you think about between tournament
games? Do you have a hobby that keeps you so calm?

My activities between each round are not so different from those of other kids at my
age. I like to keep in touch with my friends via the Internet, read books, watch sports on
TV and also some movies. I have been playing a tournament every month for a long time
and I'm used to such a tight schedule, so now that I play less, I feel more relaxed when I
play individual games. I should add that during the game, although I may seem to be
distracted and watching the games of the other players, I try to keep focused on my own

Nearly all the other elite players are more than twice your age. Therefore it seems
quite clear that most of them will be out of your way in a few years. Can you
estimate when you will be ready to launch an attack on the World Championship

It would be great to become World Champion during my career, earlier or later. At the
moment I dont have this estimation. This year I shall participate in the Grand Prix
events and maybe even in the 2009 World Cup although I understand that it will be
tough to qualify for the next World Championship, as there are so many good
opponents. My immediate plans include the Baku tournament, from April 20th to May
6th. My father is currently evaluating several tournament proposals for the second half
of the year, although none of them have been confirmed yet.

Can you identify yourself with any chess idols among the best players in history
that have inspired you?

Actually I dont have any particularly favourite player. I always try to extract knowledge
from all the great players, past and present. I have read books written by many of them
and I recall that I was very impressed by Kramniks book when I read if 5 years back.

We would like to know who is in your team of coaches.

Actually I dont have a coach! When I am at home between tournaments I take

advantage to carry out my school obligations, in the school for the best athletes, where
chess is a relevant subject, teached by GM Simen Agdestein. I have also worked for a
weak or two each year with Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen and during the last few
years both him and Norwegian GM Kjetil Lie have helped me as seconds in some

With Agdesteins words during the recent Gibraltar open as a reference - "Carlsen
improves, then he consolidates and then he improves again. Now it looks as if he is
improving again" can you explain to our readers if you have a calendar of
preparation and tournaments, with expectations of certain results?

Its very difficult for me to explain how and when I improve, but tournament activity,
specific preparation for each game, the game itself and post-game analysis is obviously
what helps my game improve most. When I look back and analyse the games that I
played the year before I always understand that my play was less mature. Therefore I
sense that my progress curve has kept quite stable.

Based on Korchnois unpleasant statements at Wijk aan Zee "This boy doesnt
deserve to win such a tournament, there are still thousands of positions that he
hasnt seen", do you think that there is such a massive hole in your knowledge of
classical chess? Do you actually dedicate most of your time to openings theory?

In the first place, I would like to say that I dont consider Korchnois words to be
unpleasant! I think that he was partly joking and partly critizising my opponents for not
being able to prevent me from accomplishing such a great result, in spite of my obvious
lack of experience. There are certainly many important games and positions that I have
not had time to look though, although actually I have already seen a lot! In fact I love to
spend time thoroughly reviewing top-level games and not only fritter it away on
opening theory

What has your relationship with Kasparov been? Is it true that you had several
training sessions together or even that he still oversees your preparation?

I had the pleasure to be with Kasparov for a few hours when he visited Oslo three years
ago and soon after we had another training session in Moscow. Both of these stages
were very interesting and challenging for me, and I realized that I still have a lot to

During your childhood you played in Oropesa del Mar, in one of the World Youth
Championships, but at that time you didnt make the news. Did these tournaments
mean something to you or were they just mere steps for the future as any other

Having played well both at home and in some open events abroad, the Norwegian
Federation changed its policy requiring a minimum of 13 years of age, and I was
allowed to participate in the World Under-12 Championship in Peniscola. It was a great
experience to attend this event with other young Norwegians, although but after a great
start with 4/4 I wasnt able to keep up the pace and finished sixth, if I remember
correctly. The following year, in autumn, the Norwegian representative at the
Championships decided not to go and I was able to take his place and finish second in
Crete. By the way, the winner in both events was Russias Ian Nepomniaschi, who just
won the strong 2008 Aeroflot Open.
Although you have mentioned it before, I would like to clarify if you go to school
normally as any other young man at your age, or if you follow Polgars pattern,
learning at home.

In 2003 my parents took all of us out of school for a year to travel through Europe. With
that one exception, I've been attending classes regularly every year, although its fair to
point out that during 2007, when I was about 200 days in tournaments, I couldnt go to
school much.
Game 29
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
We don't usually see Magnus in defensive tasks but when he does he is a magnificent
defender. In this game his opponent tries to get a game going with a typical Dragon
attack but he sacrifices too much material and Magnus cold-bloodedly reaps the
rewards. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Radjabov, T AZE 2751

Carlsen, M NOR 2765
Sicilian Defense [B78]
GP FIDE Bak, 2008

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6

Nowadays, the Dragon variation is a rare bird in elite tournaments, because theory
considers White to have several promising continuations to put his opponent under
pressure. However, in practice things are not so clear and a few years back it was very

6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2

The attacking plan based on long castling is clearly the strongest line for White. But it
does involve playing a sharp game, which is what Black is looking for.

8... O-O 9. Bc4

This has always been considered the main line, although during some years the
alternative 9. O-O-O was very popular. White has achieved good results in the line 9... d5
10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 e5 13. Bc5 Be6 which used to be considered

9... Bd7 10. Bb3 Rc8 11. h4

The fast attack with the "h" pawn is White's main idea, although for some time Black has
had to defend against other problems that arise after Topalov's idea 11. O-O-O Ne5 12.
Kb1 Nc4 (One of the ways to avoid this is the move 12... Re8 and then 13. h4 h514. Bg5
Rc5 arriving at the same position as in the game) 13. Bxc4 Rxc4 14. g4 b5 15. b3 Rc8 16.
Ndxb5 Qa5 17. a4 a6 18. Nd5.

11... h5

This continuation became popular when Britain's GM's Miles and Mestel used it with
very good results 20 years ago.
The alternative is 11... Ne5 12. O-O-O Nc4 13. Bxc4 Rxc4 14. h5 Nxh5 15. g4 Nf6 leading
to a very complicated position. No definite conclusion has been made yet.

12. O-O-O Ne5 13. Bg5 Rc5

An old idea by Sosonko that improves 13... Nc4 against which White has two good
alternatives with 14. Qe2 (and 14. Bxc4 Rxc415. Nde2)

14. Kb1

A prophylactic move that is always useful and was mainly used by Karpov.

The alternative is 14. g4 directly which has also been analyzed extensively.

14... Re8

This continuation has become more important since it's being used as a method to avoid
Topalov's idea, which we mentioned on move 11.

Previously 14... b5 was preferred, which is still considered to be playable.

15. g4

Radjabov decides to play this sharp advance that entails a material sacrifice. It isn't easy
to know where his preparation ended, although he probably didn't expect Carlsen to
defend this way.

In any case the main line is 15. Rhe1 to continue with f4 and e5, which was played in the
1995 World Championship match between Anand and Kasparov.

15... hxg4

16. h5

A few days before this game, in the Plovdiv European Championship, GM Motylev
achieved a win with White with a less common continuation 16. f4 Nc4 17. Qe2 Qc8 18.
f5 Black's answer wasn't correct 18... Na3+ (18... gxf5 is better) 19. bxa3 Rxc320. fxg6
Rxb3+ 21. axb3 fxg6 22. Qd3 Nh5 23. Rhf1 Be5 24. Ne2 g3 25. Nf4 Bg4 26. Nxg6 Bxd1
27. Qxd1 g2 28. Rg1 Bg7 29.Qxh5 Qc3 30. e5 dxe5 31. Bh6 Bxh6 32. Rxg2 Motylev,A -
Carlsson,P. Plovdiv.

16... Nxh5 17. Rxh5

All this is well-known and the exchange sacrifice is not considered to be the best option,
as Black has enough defence.

The alternatives 17. Nd5 Rxd5 18. exd5 Nxf3 19. Nxf3 gxf3.

and 17. Bh6 e6! 18. Rdg1 Nxf3 19. Nxf3 gxf3 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Qxd6 Rg5 are also not
considered to be dangerous for Black.

The critical line is probably 17. f4 Nc4 18. Qd3 b5 19. f5 Qb6 with an unclear position.
Apparently, Radjabov's preparation was not up to his opponent's standards because he
was unable to improve on the known theory.

17... gxh5 18. Qh2 Ng6! 19. Qxh5

In the game Enders-Cao, Budapest 1995 White played 19. Nd5 but after 19... Rxd5 20.
Bxd5 Qb6 21. c3 e6 22. Bb3 a5 Black took over the initiative.

19... Qa5

Funnily enough, this natural move a novelty, although this position has certainly only
been played in very few games.

The first was Glimbrandt-Pavlovic, Barber del Valles 1994 that continued 19... Rxg5
20. Qxg5 e6 21. Qxg4 Qf6 22. Qg3 (22.Nd5 Qe5 23. c3 but as Carlsen demonstrates, this
swap is not yet necessary.) 22... Qe5 and Black achieved satisfactory play. Later on
White tried to improve the line.

20. f4

20. Nd5 e6 (20... Rxd5 21. Bxd5 e6 22. Qxg4 Ne5 23. Qg3 exd5 24. Bf6 Ng6 25. Bxg7
Kxg7 26. Nf5+ Kg8 27. Nh6+ Kg7 28. Nf5+with a small advantage for White.) 21. Rh1
(21. Qxg4 Ne5) 21... Rxd5 22. exd5 Bxd4 23. c3.

20... Rxg5!

20... Rxc3 21. Bxf7+ Kxf7 22. f5 is dangerous for Black, although it seems that after 22...
Rh3 23. Qxg6+ Kf8 24. f6 exf6 White has no more than a draw.

21. fxg5 e6
22. Nf5?!

After this move Black's perspectives are already better.

Apparently Radjabov didn't like the continuation 22. Qxg4 Rc8 where Black solves all
his problems and will soon take over the initiative However, this was probably the best
way to go.

22... exf5 23. Qxg6

23. Rxd6 Rxe4 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7 25. Rxd7+ Ke8 26. Qxg6+ Kxd7 27. Qxg7+ Re7 is good for

23... Be6 24. Qh5

If 24. Bxe6 Rxe6 25. Qxf5 Bxc3 26. bxc3 Qxc3 with a clear advantage.

24... fxe4 25. Rf1

If 25. Bxe6 Rxe6 26. Rf1 and Black has the ingenious defence 26... Rf6 and if 27. Rh1 Rf4.

25... Qe5!

In spite of White's attractive next move, this is the best option and confirms Black's

26. Rxf7!? Bxb3

Carlsen chooses the simplest line, although White can now forget about the mating
problems on the first rank.

Therefore, probably better was 26... Rf8 to exchange rooks. Play could continue 27. Bxe6
(27. Rxf8+ Kxf8) 27... Qxe6 28. Rf6 e3!29. a3 Rxf6 30. gxf6 Bxf6 31. Qg6+ Kf8 and Black
wins without any problems.

27. axb3 g3 28. Ka2

28. Rxb7 Rf8 29. Qe2 Rf2 is also very good for Black.

28... Rf8 29. Rxf8+

29. Rxb7 Qa5+ 30. Na4 Qf5 doesn't offer any hope of saving the game.

29... Kxf8 30. Qg4 e3 31. g6

31... e2??

A serious mistake that could have cost Black a well-earned victory.

After 31... Bf6 Black can reply 32. Qd7 with 32... Qe7 and should win quite easily, for
example 33. Qc8+ Kg7 34. Ne2 Qe5Possibly, both players were in time trouble, and that
is why White was also unable to take advantage of his opponent's mistake.

The simple 31... Ke7 should also lead to an easy win.

32. Qf3+?

Carlsen now has everything under control.

However, after 32. Qd7! White could have saved the game, for example 32... Qe7 (32...
Kg8 33. Qc8+ Bf8 34. Qxb7 Be7 35.Qh1) (and if 32... Qe8 33. Qxd6+ Kg8 34. Nxe2! and
White is already better, as 34... Qxe2 35. Qd5+ leads to mate) 33. Qc8+ Qe834. Qf5+ Kg8
35. Qd5+.

32... Ke8 33. Qf7+

Of course 33. Qxe2 Qxe2 34. Nxe2 g2.

33... Kd8 34. Qg8+ Kd7

34... Qe8 also wins.

35. Qf7+ Qe7 36. Qf5+ Kd8 37. Qa5+ b6 38. Qd5 e1=Q 39. Qa8+ Kd7 40. Qb7+ Ke8
Game 30
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
A good win by Carlsen that combines some exquisite opening play in this difficult
variation of the Dragon, with deep strategic vision that includes a typical positional
exchange sacrifice, topped up with his impeccable tecnique. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Nisipeanu, L ROM 2684

Carlsen, M NOR 2765
Sicilian Defense [B70]
Aerosvit - Foros, 2008

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be2 Bg7 7. O-O Nc6 8. Nb3

Of course, 8. Be3 is a normal move that has been played in hundreds of old games.

8... O-O 9. Kh1

White enters a dubious line. 9.Re1 and 9.Bg5 used to be much more popular. Both of
these moves have a similar idea: to omit out the advance f2-f4 and play with Nd5 to
pressure on the semi-open e-file after the exchange of knights on d5.

9... a6 10. f4 b5 11. Bf3 Bb7

How some Grand Masters choose their openings is often a mystery. In this specific
variation I have 50 games in my database in which White won 14 and lost 18. The worse
thing is that not one GM has incorporated the line into his repertoire.

12. a4?! b4 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Na5 15. c3 bxc3 16. bxc3 Rc8 17. Rb1 Ba8 18.
Nd2 Nc4 19. Nxc4 Rxc4 20. Bd2?!

20. f5 with a small advantage for Black.

20... Qa5

It's now quite clear why no one plays this with White. The position is quite poor.

21. Qe1 Bxd5 22. Be2

22. Qxe7 Bxf3 23. Rxf3 Qd5 followed by Rxa4 and Black has a clear advantage.

22... Qxa4! 23. Bxc4 Bxc4 24. Rf2 e6

White has won the exchange, but his position is very bad.
25. Be3 Bd5 26. Rfb2 Qe4 27. Qd2 h5 28. Bd4

28... Bh6! 29. Be3 a5 30. Rb8 Kh7 31. h3 Rxb8 32. Rxb8 Bg7 33. Bd4?! Bxd4 34.
cxd4 a4

The duo queen and bishop applies a great deal of pressure against White's king! This
guarantees that the pawn can advance by itself.

35. Kh2 a3 36. Rb4 a2 37. Ra4 Qb1

White correctly decided to stop the fight.

After 37... Qb1 38. Qc3 Qf1 39. Qb2 h4 and White's position collapses. The f4 pawn falls
and after that Black will launch a pawn storm on the kingside. White can't do anything
about it.

Game 31
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
Again and again, even in really high-level games, Carlsen resorts to a pawn sacrifice to
take over the initiative and unbalance the fight. On this occasion his idea 15.d5 leaves a
deep impresion, besides the fact that it is more or less correct after detailed
analysis. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2787

Aronian, L NOR 2751
QGD Semi-Slav [D47]
Bilbao Grand Slam Final, 2008

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7

9. a3

The main alternatives in this position are 9. O-O and 9. e4

9... b4 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4 bxa3 12. O-O

A pawn sacrifice that Topalov popularized in his match against Kramnik (Elista 2006) to
unify the World Championship.

12... Nf6 13. Bd3 axb2 14. Bxb2 a5

This is how Kramnik played in a game against Gelfand in 2007. The idea is to prepare
15...Bb4. 14... Be7 or directly 14... Bb4 are acceptable alternatives.

15. d5!?
After thinking for a while Carlsen played this pawn sacrifice, which is not entirely

15. e4 was played successfully a few days before in the Spanish Team Championship in a
game between Moiseenko and Illescas that continued 15... Bb4 16. Qc2 Nd7 17. Rfd1
Rc8 18. Qb1 O-O 19. d5!? cxd5 (19... exd5!? 20. exd5 g6) 20. exd5 Nf6 21. dxe6 Qe722.
Ng5 h6? (22... fxe6) 23. Bh7+ Kh8 24. Bxf6 Qxf6 25. Nxf7+.

15... Nxd5

15... exd5 doesn't seem bad either 16. Nd4 Qb6 (but not 16... Be7?! 17. Nf5 O-O 18.
Nxg7!! Kxg7 19. Qg4+ Kh8 20. Bxf6+ Bxf621. Qf5Even 15... Qxd5 seems acceptable, for
example 16. Qc2 Bb4 followed by castling.

16. Ne5!

16... Nf6?!

After this, is seems that White can take over the initiative.

Neither better is 16... Bd6 17. Qg4 while 16... Nb4 17. Qh5 g6 18. Bxg6! gives White a
dangerous attack. 16... Qc7 seems to be the safest alternative.

17. Qa4 Bb4 18. Nxc6 Bxc6 19. Qxc6+ Ke7 20. Rfd1 Rc8 21. Qf3 Qb6

White has good compensation for the pawn, thanks to his superior piece activity and
bishop pair. However, it's still probably not enough to talk about an advantage.

22. Bd4 Qb8 23. Ba6 Rcd8

24. Bb7!?

Very artificial, but 24. Rab1 with the idea 25.Bc5 probably isn't enough for anything
positive. Black always has the resource of sacrificing his queen for a rook and a bishop,
resulting in an ending that is probably a draw.

24... h5?!

After the game Aronian recognized that he had been too optimistic assessing his

Therefore, he rejected the natural 24... e5 25. Bb6 Rd6 26. Rxd6 Qxd6 27. Bxa5 Bxa5 28.
Rxa5 leading to a ending which is drawn.

25. h3 h4?! 26. Rab1! e5 27. Rxb4! axb4?

27... exd4 28. Rbxd4 would probably be more resistant, but Black's perspectives would
not be very good.

28. Bc5+ Ke6 29. Ra1!

Simple and decisive. Aronian accepted that he had not considered this move.

29... Rd6 30. Bxd6 Kxd6 31. Qc6+ Ke7 32. Ra8 Qd6 33. Qxd6+ Kxd6 34. Rxh8 b3 35.
Ba6 Nd7 36. Rxh4 Nc5

By winning this game, Carlsen became number one in the 'live ratings' for the first time -
an honour that only lasted three days!

Carlsen and Aronian shared second place, but the two victories by the Norwegian against
the Armenian Norwegian,was given to Magnus the runner-up Grand Slam Final 2008,
which was won by Topalov.
Game 32
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Carlsen has always been an ambitious player, ready to take huge risks to to try and win.
This can be seen in the following game, in which his king dangerously travels across the
board. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Huzman, A ISR 2590

Carlsen, M NOR 2786
Queen's Indian Defense [E15]
Kallithea, 2008

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. e4 d5 8. cxd5 Bxf1

9. Kxf1 exd5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Qd7 13. Kg2 Nc6 14. c4 Nd8

A theoretical position in which White has tried several alternatives, from the violent
15.e6 to the calm 15.Qb3 and 15.Be3.


This is a novelty, which doesn't actually impress much because the black queen is
perfect on d5.

15... Qxd5 16. Qa4+ c6 17. Rhc1 Kd7!?

A move that White was probably not expecting at all. The analysis engines don't
understand it either, and they even suggest 18...Ke8 as Black's next move.

18. Bb4

18. Rc3 Ne6 19. Rac1 Rhc8 with a complicated position.

18... b5 19. Qa3 Bxb4 20. Qxb4 a5 21. Qb3

A relevant moment.

21... Ne6?!

Black could have calmly played 21... Qxb3 22. axb3 Ne6 23. Rc2 Ra6 reaching a
comfortable ending.

22. Rxc6!?

Now the game becomes incredibly dangerous tactically.

22... Qxc6

22... Kxc6? 23. Rc1+ winning.

23. d5 Qc4 24. dxe6+ Kxe6

Carlsen's king now embarks on a forced journey, with no fear.

Two interesting alternatives were 24... Ke7!? 25. Qe3 Rhc8 26. Rd1 Qxe6 27. Qe4 Qg6.

and 24... fxe6!? 25. Rd1+ Ke8 and in both cases it seems that Black is defending well,
although White isn't completely without resources.

25. Nd4+

Interesting was 25. Qe3! and White has some interesting tactical resources, for example
25... Rhc8 (25... Rhd8? 26. Rc1 Qd5 27.Rc5) 26. Rd1 Ke7 27. Rd4 Qe6 (27... Qc2 28. e6)
28. Qd3 with a small advantage for Black.

25. Ng5+ wasn't good because of 25... Kf5! (25... Ke7 26. Qf3 Rab8 (26... Rhd8 27. Rc1
Qd5 28. Rc7+ Ke8 29. Nxf7 Qxf3+ 30. Kxf3Rd7 31. Nd6+ Kd8 32. Rc5 b4 33. Rb5 Rc7 34.
Ke4 Ke7 with a clear advantage for Black.)) 26. Qe3 Rhd8 with a clear advantage for

27. Qe3+?

Tempting, but Black will be able to overcome the attack quite easily.

Very interesting was 27. Re1!? and it's unclear how Black can win as the forced line with
27... Kc5 28. Qe3+ Qd4 (28... Kd5 29.e6! with the idea Rd1+ and Rc1) 29. Rc1+ Kd5 30.
Qb3+ Kxe5 31. Re1+ Kf6 32. Qf3+ Kg6 33. Re4 leads to a position in which White is
about to achieve a draw.
27... Kd5 28. Rd1+ Ke6 29. Rd6+ Ke7 30. Qg5+ Ke8 31. e6 Rc8 32. exf7+ Qxf7

32... Kf8 was also good after 33. Rd8+ Rxd8 34. Qxd8+ Kxf7 35. Qxh8 Qd5+ 36. Kg1 Qxa2

33. Rd3 Qb7+ 34. Kh3 Rf8 35. Qh5+ Ke7 36. Re3+ Kd8 37. Rd3+ Kc7 38. Rd5 Rce8
39. Rc5+ Kd6 40. Rxb5 Qc8+ 41. Kh4 Qc4+42. g4 Qd4 0-1
Worlds number one
By IM ngel Martn

MAGNUS began 2009 as world number four with 2776 rating points. His goal to reach
number one didnt seem unreasonable, as he was only 20 points away from Topalov.

As usual, his first event was Wijk aan Zee. The tournament, although not as strong as the
previous year, was harder for him. Perhaps his rivals were playing more cautiously
when facing the Norwegian, but this time it was harder to win and he made many more
draws. But he still had chances until the last round, where he suffered his only loss
against Wang Yue and had to settle for fifth place. The winner was Karjakin.

Linares, right after Wijk, didnt go well either, unless finishing third (half a point from
the winners Ivanchuk and Grischuk) is considered a success. He did have the
satisfaction of defeating Anand for the first time in a classical chess game. The Indian
came fourth.

Therefore, in the next rating list, published in April, Carlsen was already 3rd in the
world ranking, although he had actually lost 6 points. But Ivanchuk had dropped even
more and now only Topalov and Anand were above him.

A couple of months later, Magnus won the Leon rapid chess tournament, defeating
Ivanchuk in the final. He then took part in the strong M-Tel Masters tournament, played
in Sofia, which reached the Category XXI. After a close fight, Magnus went into the final
round half a point ahead of Topalov and Shirov, but was defeated by the former Spanish
player after making a serious mistake. Shirov achieved one of the biggest successes of
his career.
Carlsen had to get to the "Armageddon" to beat Ivanchuk in Leon 2009. Above, we see him
picking up the trophy from a local authority.

His next super tournament was the Dortmund Sparkassen (Category XX) where he was
defeated by Kramnik and had to settle for second place.

Around this time Carlsen announced his decision to not compete in the World
Championship cycle, in disagreement with the changes in the Grand Prix system
decided by FIDE. The lack of sponsorship resulted in the cancellation of several
tournaments and the federation changed the qualification rules for the World
Championship. Adams and Carlsen publicly announced that they were withdrawing
from the Grand Prix events.

Despite these relative failures, Carlsen maintained his status of worlds number three.
But the Norwegian seemed to lack something to make the final step and at the end of the
summer he began to train with none other than Kasparov. These sessions were held in
several places such as Croatia and Morocco, but also on the Internet.
The results came immediately and he made a real exhibition in October at the Nanjing
(China) Category XXI tournament. He scored 8/10, two and a half points more than
Topalov, who finished second. Thus, in the November 2009 rating list, Carlsen
surpassed the 2800 mark and became the new number two, just behind Topalov.

He finished the year with two competitions of the highest level, the Tal Memorial and
the London Chess Classic. In the first one, a Category XXI held in Moscow, Kramnik was
the winner. However, Carlsen, who was ill during the the first games, shared second
place with Ivanchuk, undefeated and only half a point behind the winner.

Immediately afterwards, in the same place, the Blitz world Championship was held (5-
minute games). Carlsen destroyed his opponents, achieving 31/42, 3 points ahead of
Anand and 6 ahead of Karjakin, who finished third.

The London tournament was a new demonstration. In the first round he defeated his
main opponent, Kramnik, and again finished undefeated. With this win, Carlsen became
number one, appearing on the January 2010 list with 2810, five points more then
Topalov. He only was 19.
Game 33
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
Carlsen produces an authentic masterpiece that doesn't require many annotations. He
creates winning chances from nothing and around move 60 he plays some really high-
level chess to prevent his opponent from achieving the draw. His opponent, World
Champion Vishy Anand, fights tooth and nail until the end but eventually has to resign in
view of the Norwegian's tenacity.

Carlsen, M NOR 2776

Anand, V IND 2791
QGD Semi-Slav [D45]
Linares, 2009

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 Nxg4 8. Rg1 Qf6 9.

Rxg4 Qxf3 10. Rxg7 Nf6 11. h3 Qf5 12.Qxf5 exf5 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Nb5 Bb4+ 15.
Bd2 Bxd2+ 16. Kxd2 Ke7 17. Bd3 Be6 18. Nc7 Rag8 19. Nxe6 Kxe6 20. Rxg8 Nxg8
21.Ke2 Ne7 22. Kf3 Rc8 23. a4 Rc7 24. a5 h6 25. h4 Kf6 26. h5 Nc8 27. Kf4 Nd6 28.
Rg1 Rc8 29. f3 Ke6 30. Rg7 Rh8 31. Bc2 Rc8 32.Bb3 Rh8 33. Rg1 Rc8 34. Rg7 Rh8
35. Rg2 Rc8 36. Rg1 Ne8 37. e4 fxe4 38. fxe4 Nf6 39. e5 Ne4 40. Ke3 b6 41. axb6
axb6 42. Kd3Nf2+ 43. Ke2 Ne4 44. Ke3 f6 45. Rg6 Rc1 46. Rxh6 Rh1 47. Bc2 Rh3+
48. Kf4 Rh4+ 49. Kf3 Nd2+ 50. Ke2 Rh2+ 51. Kd1 Nc4 52.Rxf6+ Ke7 53. Bg6 Rd2+
54. Kc1 Rxd4 55. b3 Nxe5 56. Rxb6 Rh4 57. Bf5 Nf3 58. h6!

Carlsen had played an excellent positional game up to here, but he practically hasnt got
any pawns left.

As 58. Bg6 Ne5 would go nowhere, he needs to find something special to finish-off the
World Champion.
58... Nd4 59. h7!

59. Bd3 Nxb3+! would lead to a draw, but Carlsen has something very different in

59... Nxf5 60. Rb8! Nd4 61. Kb2!

The key move. White conserves his last pawn, after which the win will be slow but sure.

61... Kd6 62. h8=Q Rxh8 63. Rxh8 Kc5 64. Rh5 Nc6 65. Rh4 Nb4 66. Ka3 d4 67.
Rh5+ Nd5 68. Kb2 Kc6 69. Ka3 Kc5 70. Rh4 Nb471. Rh8 Nc6?!

71... Nd5 would have offered more resistance, although with the 30 seconds of added
time per move, Carlsen would have definitely broken down Anands defenses.

72. Rh5+ Kd6 73. b4 d3 74. Rh3 Ne5 75. Kb3 d2 76. Kc2 Nc6 77. Rh4 1-0
Game 34
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Against an opponent that is technically really very good such as Leinier Domnguez,
Carlsen is forced to play a very complete but also tense game in all its stages. As usual,
the Norwegian doesn't make any forced mistakes but relentlessly takes advantage of
those made by his opponent. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Domnguez, L CUB 2717

Carlsen, M NOR 2776
Sicilian Defense [B78]
Linares, 2009

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O
9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rb8

The "Chinese Dragon" variation is a very popular line with many games but none
between strong players.

10... Rc8 11. Bb3 Ne5 12. Kb1 a6 was played by Carlsen, first against Leinier, and then
several times against Anand. Finally he dropped this variation after suffering a tough
loss against Topalov in Bilbao.

11. Bb3 Na5

Curiously, before playing this line with Black, Magnus played it with White against
Radjabov in Bilbao. It was a very exciting game that Magnus won.

12. Bh6

Personally, during my long career, I have never enjoyed swapping bishops before
launching my pawns.

12. g4 looks like the most dangerous move according to the following example by a
young Cuban GM. 12... b5 13. Bh6 e5?! (13...Bxh6! ! looks like the best move, transposing
after ! looks like the best move, transposing after 14. Qxh6 Nxb3+ to the current game)
14. Nf5 gxf5?! 15. gxf5 Nxb3+ 16. axb3 Ne8 17. Bxg7 Nxg7 18. Qxd6 Rb7 19. Rhg1 Kh8
20. Qh6 Rg8 21. Nd5 Bxf5 22. Nf6Qa5 23. Kb1 Negi- Fidel Corrales, Sabadell.

12. Kb1 was played in the game between the highest rated players up to now. In fact,
Kb1 is good against nearly all the Dragon variations. 12... b5 13. h4 Nc4 14. Bxc4 bxc4
15. Ka1 h5 16. Rb1 Qa5 with a complex position in Carlsen-Radjabov, Bilbao.

12... Bxh6 13. Qxh6 b5 14. g4 Nxb3+ 15. Nxb3 b4 16. Nd5 Nxd5 17. exd5 Rb6
18. Rhe1

A natural move, placing the rook on the only semi-open file in the center. However,
more incisive was 18. h4 This move is analyzed in Book 11 of the former World
Champions Alexander Khalifmans series "Opening for White according to Anand" 18...
e5 Forced, in view of the threat of h5 with an unstoppable attack 19. dxe6fxe6 Now
instead of 20.Rd3 played in Maslak-Porat, Pardubice 2008, Khalifman says that the
queen no longer has anything to do on h6 and should go back to fight against Blacks
weakened pawns. Therefore, he recommends 20. Qe3 e5 21. h5 g5 22. Nd2!Bc6 23. Rh3
Rf4 24. Qb3+ d5 25. Nc4! with a small advantage for White.

18... e5 19. dxe6 fxe6 20. Re3?!

The beginning of a mistaken strategy. Against Khalifmans advice, White is going to

leave his queen on h6 for another 17 moves, far away from the main battlefield, with
nothing to do.

20... Rf7 21. Nd2 d5 22. Nb3

Losing two tempi with the knight seems a high price to force Black to advance his pawn
to d5.

22... Qc7 23. Kb1

Normal, but too slow. The other option was 23. h4 defining the position as soon as
possible. Black would have had to exchange queens on f4 to delay the attack.

23... Rb8!

Black regroups conveniently. The rook has accomplished its mission on the sixth rank
and now heads to c8 from where the threats will be more concrete.

24. Rde1 Rc8 25. R1e2

Great chess players also have their bad days and this was one of Leniers. The location
of his major pieces inspires serious doubts. We have already mentioned the queen on
h6, but also the two doubled rooks which are attacking a blank target on e6. Black
totally controls the two semi-open c and f files, and has tremendous potential for his
bishop and center pawns. Something will obviously happen very soon.

25... Qb6

26. h4?

Unaware of the tremendous danger that approaches.

26... d4! 27. Re5 d3! 28. cxd3 Rxf3 29. d4?

29. Qd2 would have kept the danger under reasonable control

29... Bb5

After this move White could have easily resigned. Blacks pieces are all over the board
and play at ease.

30. R2e3 Bd3+

30... Rf2! was even stronger but Carlsen decides to play naturally.

31. Ka1 Qxd4

Elegant and simple although I must say that 31... Rf2! was a very fast way to win.

32. Rxe6 Rf1+ 33. Re1 Qxg4 34. Rxf1 Qxe6

Although the game is decided Leinier finds some resources to fight on.

35. Nc5 Qe2 36. Rc1 Bf5 37. Qf4 a5

Carlsen decides to keep the queens on the board.

37... Qg4 would have won without risk.

38. h5 Qe7?!

38... Qg4

38... Rd8

39. Qc4+?

By inserting 39. hxg6 White could have put up more resistance, for example 39... hxg6
(39... Rxc5? 40. gxh7+ Kxh7 (40... Bxh7 41.Rg1+) 41. Qh2+) 40. Qc4+ and Black will end
up winning but he still has to negotiate some difficulties.

39... Be6! 40. Qc2

40. Qe4 Rxc5 41. Rxc5 Qxc5 42. Qxe6+ Kg7.

40... Qg5! 41. hxg6 hxg6

White has arrived at the time control but he is practically in Zugswang.

42. a3 bxa3 43. Qc3 axb2+ 44. Kxb2 Qd5 45. Rc2 a4 46. Ka1 a3 47. Qe3 Bf7 48. Qc3
g5 49. Qe3 Re8 50. Qc3 Re2

50... Qd4!

51. Nb3 Rxc2

51... Qd1+ 52. Rc1 Qxb3.

52. Qxc2

52... Qe5+!

Avoiding the stalemate trick that would occur after the naive 52... Qxb3?? 53. Qg6+! and
the queen would start to chase the white king, giving up her life in exchange for the

53. Kb1 Kg7! 54. Qd2 Bxb3 0-1

Game 35
Notes by GM Andrs Rodrguez

The key
Already when he was 18 Carlsen was used to making things really easy when they are
actually quite difficult and this game is a good example. It might seem that Black was
playing a sharp Sicilian quite well but he will be slowly overcome by the Norwegian's
deep strategic anticipation. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2776

Grischuk, A RUS 2733
Sicilian Defense [B84]
Linares, 2009

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. a4 Nc6 9.

Be3 O-O 10. f4 Qc7 11. Kh1 Re8

Kasparovs preferred move, vacating f8 for the bishop.

12. Bf3 Bf8 13. Qd2 Rb8

Black is trying to avoid playing Bd7. He hopes that White will withdraw his knight to b3,
in which case he will be able to develop the bishop to b7 after the useful move b6.

14. Qf2 e5

A typical Sicilian center reaction. Black weakens the d5 square to gain some space in the
center and force the white knight to make a decision.

15. fxe5

Carlsen moves away from the main precedents in this position, in which White generally
continued with

15. Nde2 exf4 (15... b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. f5 (17. fxe5) (17. Nd5) 17... Nb4 18. Ng3 1/2-
1/2 Grischuk,A (2717)-Rublevsky,S (2680). Elista (m) 2007)) 16. Bb6 Qe7 17. Nxf4 Be6
18. Rad1 g6 19. Qd2 Ne5 20. Be2 Rbc8 21. Bf2 h6 22. h3 Rc6 23. Bh4 g5 24. Nxe6Qxe6
25. Bg3 Nc4 26. Qd4 Bg7 27. Bxc4 Rxc4 28. Qxd6 Qxd6 1/2-1/2 Adams,M (2741)-
Anand,V (2786). Linares 2005.

15... dxe5 16. Nb3 Nb4

A typical move, once White has played a4. The knight is placed very well here,
pressuring c2 and controlling the d5 square. But to get to this position Grischuk had
already thought a lot and he had less than an hour to reach move 40.
17. Ba7 Ra8 18. Bb6 Qe7 19. Rad1 Be6

20. Nd5!

20. Nc5!? Bc4 21. Be2 Bxe2 22. Qxe2.

20... Bxd5 21. exd5 e4

22. d6!

An important in-between move, before Black blocks the advance of this pawn. This is
what would have happened if White had moved his attacked bishop.

22... Qe6?!

Grischuk only had 11 minutes for 18 moves, but his problems increase with this move.

Preferable was 22... Qe5 23. d7 Nxd7 24. Rxd7 exf3 25. Qxf3 with a small advantage for
White, although nothing serious.

23. Nc5 Qf5 24. Be2 Qxf2 25. Rxf2

With simple moves Carlsen has consolidated his advantage and now the passed pawn
along with the bishop on b6 completely restrict Blacks game.

25... Nbd5 26. a5

Good enough, although the exchange sacrifice on f6 was also very promising.

26. Rxf6!? Nxf6 (26... Nxb6 27. Rf4 winning) 27. a5 and Whites compensation is obvious

26... Nxb6

But not 26... Bxd6? 27. Rxf6

27. axb6 Rab8

27... Rac8?! 28. b4 Rc6 29. Rxf6! gxf6 30. d7 winning

28. Rxf6!?

Carlsen now sacrifices the exchange, which is also very promising. However, there were
other ways to continue such as 28. g4.

28... gxf6 29. Nd7 f5 30. c4

Naturally White is not interested in capturing any of Blacks passive rooks and therefore
prepares the advance of his pawns.

30... a5 31. c5 Bg7 32. Nxb8 Rxb8 33. Ba6!!

An elegant conclusion. By deviating the pawn on b7 White obtains three unstoppable

pawns. Black no longer has any defence.

33... Bf6

33... bxa6 34. c6 Rxb6 35. c7 Rc6 36. d7 with a decisive advantage

34. Bxb7! Rxb7 35. c6 Rxb6 36. Rc1 Bxb2 37. d7 1-0
Game 36
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
Carlsen starts off the game by solidly controlling the center in order to be able to play
on both sides of the board, something that he enjoys a lot. Taking advantage of the slight
discoordination of his opponent's army and his superiority in the center, he shows his
hand on the kingside, finishing off the game on the attack. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2770

Topalov, V BUL 2812
QGD Semi-Slav [D43]
MTEL - Sofia, 2009

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6

This is one of Topalovs favourite lines in the Semi-Slav defence. He tries to improve
Blacks perspectives in comparison with the sharp Botvinnik variation, after 5... dxc4 6.
e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 where White continues with 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5.

6. Bxf6

However, if White plays now 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 Black can change the move order with 7...
g5 8. Bg3 b5.

6... Qxf6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Bd3

Last year, in the same tournament, Ivanchuk played 8. Rc1 against Topalov and after 8...
Bd6 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O Qe7 White had a small advantage, although Black could have
improved his play at several moments. Carlsens move is more common.

8... dxc4 9. Bxc4 g6

The alternative is 9... Bd6 10. O-O Qe7 although 11. Ne4 is annoying.

10. O-O Bg7 11. e4 O-O

Topalov allows the advance e4-e5 after which his bishops will be passive. This would
definitely have been part of his preparation for this game. He must have taken into
account the game Carlsen-Karjakin, played two months before in the Melody Amber
tournament, in which Black played the most usual 11... e5 12. d5 Nb6 13. Bb3 Bg4 and
after 14. Rc1 O-O 15. h3Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Qxf3 17. gxf3 Rfd8 with a more or less equal
ending, although Carlsen cooked up some problems for his opponent and gradually
grinded him down.
12. e5 Qe7 13. Qe2 b5

The alternative is 13... Rd8 to continue with ...b6, Bb7 and play ...c5 later, although its
slightly passive for a player like Topalov. Also, White can answer the advance ...c5 with

14. Bd3 Bb7

After 14... b4 15. Na4 c5 16. Rac1 cxd4 17. Qe4 Rb8 18. Rc7 White exerts strong
pressure on Blacks position, as in Graf-Kraemer, Bundesliga 2007.

15... Rfd8

Black had tried to liberate his position in a couple of games with 15... Rab8 16. Rac1 c5
although after 17. Bxb7 Rxb7 18. d5 (18.dxc5 should also be considered) 18... exd5 19.
Nxd5 Qe6 20. Qe4 Blacks results have not been very good.

16. Rac1 Rab8 17. Rfd1 a6 18. h4 Ba8

Topalov decides not to force things and adopts waiting tactics. However, there doesnt
seem to be anything wrong with 18... c519. Bxb7 Rxb7 20. d5 exd5 21. Nxd5 Qe6 where
White still keeps a small advantage but nothing serious.

19. Rc2 Rdc8 20. Rdc1 Qf8 21. a4 c5?!

But this doesnt seem the best moment for a center rupture. Preferable was 21... b4 22.
Nb1 and only then 22... c5 and if 23. Bxa8Rxa8 24. dxc5 Rxc5 Black is OK.

22. axb5 cxd4 23. Nxd4 Bxe4

Now Whites knight will occupy a good center square. To be considered was 23... axb5
and if 24. Bxa8 Rxa8 25. f4 Qd8.

24. Nxe4 Rxc2 25. Rxc2 axb5 26. Nc6 Rb6 27. f4
White has consolidated his advantage. However, Topalov thought that his next move
would give him enough counterplay.

27... Qa8 28. Ne7+ Kh7 29. h5! Ra6?

This loses although Blacks position was also very unpleasant after 29... Qf8 30. Rc7
Qxe7 31. hxg6+ fxg6 32. Qd2.

30. hxg6+ fxg6 31. Rc7 Ra1+

Also after 31... Ra7 the shot 32. Qd3! Rxc7 33. Ng5+ is decisive.

32. Kf2 Qd8

32... Ra4 33. Nc6 and Black is lost.

33. Qd3! Qxe7

33... Qxc7 leads to mate after 34. Ng5+ Kh8 35. Nf7+.

34. Rxd7

Of course 34. Nf6+ also wins.

34... Qh4+ 35. Kf3 Qh5+ 36. Kg3 1-0

Game 37
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
This game is an impressive technical exhibition by White, specially taking into account
that it was played under a rapid time control. Carlsen's play is skillful from start to end. I
should also highlight the fact that Ivanchuk defends really well, without any important
mistakes but he is still defeated.

Carlsen, M NOR 2770

Ivanchuk V UKR 2746
QGD [D52]
Len, 2009

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5

Ivanchuk surprised us with his opening election. Bearing in mind that he only needed a
draw, the Indo-Benoni might be considered a very risky weapon. However, unlike the
Dutch defence which Ivanchuk tried in the fourth game, this time the Ukrainian comes
out of the opening quite well.

4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Nf3 a6!?

A popular way to oppose Whites main plan.

The normal move is 7... Bg7 after which White plays 8. h3 the development of the 'c8'

The direct 7... Bg4 is considered imprecise because of 8. Qa4+ and theory has
established that Black has no satisfactory answer.

8. Qe2!?

If 8. a4 is able to complete his idea with 8... Bg4 9. Be2 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Nbd7 11. O-O Bg7
12. Bf4 Qe7 13. Re1 O-O controlling 'e5' efficiently.

8... Bg4

Black would be quite uncomfortable after 8... Bg7 9. e5 dxe5 10. Qxe5+

9. e5 dxe5

Inserting 9... Bxf3!? before capturing on 'e5' was an interesting alternative.

10. Qxe5+ Qe7 11. Qxe7+ Bxe7

Ivanchuk has been able to exchange queens, forcing his opponent to perform on a more
strategic level, in which Carlsen might be less effective. The subsequent development
seems to confirm that the experienced Ukrainian might be right, as he slowly starts to
control the game.

12. Ne5!

A good novelty that questions Blacks setup.

The harmless 12. Bh6 had been played 12... Nbd7 13. O-O-O O-O-O 14. Be2 Bd6 15. h3
Bxf3 16. Bxf3 donde tras 16... Kc7 17. a4Rhe8 18. Rhe1 Rxe1 19. Rxe1 Ne5! Black took
over the initiative. Play continued 20. Be2 Re8 21. Rd1 Ned7 22. Be3 Ne4 23. Nxe4Rxe4
24. b3 Bf4 25. Bxf4+ Rxf4 26. d6+ Kd8 27. Bf3 b6 28. Re1 c4 29. b4 Rf6 30. Bb7 a5 31.
bxa5 bxa5 32. Bc6 Rxd6 33. Bb5 Rd4and after winning a pawn Black won after a long
ending in the game Mecking,H (2567)-Kasimdzhanov,R (2687)/Wijk aan Zee 2009.

12... Nbd7 13. Nxg4 Nxg4

Black gives up the bishop pair in order to blockade the dark-squares.

14. Bf4

More precise seemed 14. h3! as after the forced 14... Ngf6 15. Bf4 White takes control of
this important diagonal without losing time.

14... Nge5 15. O-O-O Bd6

Now the threat is Nd3 after which Black will play 'f5' in time, consolidating the blockade
of the passed pawn.

16. Kb1?!

After this routine move, White loses all hope of achieving an advantage in the opening.

He should have played 16. Bd2! and after 16... f5 , which seems necessary to prevent the
enemy knight jumping to 'e4', White could continue energetically with 17. f4! Ng4 18.
Re1+ Kd8 19. Re6 Kc7 20. h3 Ngf6 21. g4! with the initiative.
16... f5 17. h3 O-O-O 18. Be2 Nf7 19. Bc1

White must avoid the exchange of bishops because he would lose control over the dark-

19... Rhe8 20. Rhe1 Be5!

Excellent concept, swapping the blockading piece. Thanks to Whites timid play,
Ivanchuk has achieved the ideal setup against his opponents passed pawn.

21. Bf1 Nd6 22. Bg5 Bf6 23. Be3 b5

A good move: Black mobilizes his queenside majority.

The ingenious 23... Bd4!? was enough for a draw as after 24. Bxd4 Rxe1 25. Rxe1 cxd4
26. Ne2 Nf6 the position has simplified a lot.

24. a4 c4!

Restricting Whites light-squared bishop.

25. axb5 axb5 26. Na2! Kb7 27. Nb4 Ra8

Carlsen is trying to get the most out of his position, but even so Black has a very
comfortable game.

Maybe 27... Nb6!? was more precise 28. Nc6 Rd7 maintaining control over Whites
passed pawn.

28. Nc6 Ne4 29. g4 Nb6 30. gxf5 gxf5 31. Bg2

31... Na4?!

From this moment onwards Carlsen played very energetically, improving his position
with each one of Ivanchuks mistakes.
Time trouble was looming and Black missed a good opportunity to open up the
queenside in his favor with 31... c3! after which White cant really fight for the
advantage. After the natural sequence 32. Bd4 Nxd5! 33. Bxe4 Rxe4 34. Bxf6 Kxc6! 35.
Bxc3Nxc3+ 36. bxc3 Rae8 Ivanchuk would have probably won the tournament.

32. Bd4 Bxd4 33. Nxd4 Kb6!

Worse was 33... Nd6 34. Nxf5! Nxf5 35. d6+ Kb6 36. Bxa8 Rxa8 37. d7 Rd8 38. Rd5 Nh4
39. Re8 Kc7 40. Rxb5 Rxd7 41. Re4 winning.

34. d6! Rad8

Vasily was probably assessing 34... Nac3+!? After the more or less forced sequence 35.
bxc3 Nxc3+ 36. Kb2 Nxd1+ 37. Rxd1 Rad8it seems that Black will be able to keep the
balance. Here are some example variations: 38. Bc6 (38. Nxf5 Re2+ 39. Kc3 Rxf2 40.Be4
Re2 with equality) (38. Nc6 Re2+! 39. Kc3 Rd7 is equal) 38... Re5! 39. f4 Rc5!? 40. Ne6
Rxd6 41. Rxd6 Rxc6 42. Rxc6+ Kxc6 is equal.

35. Nxf5 Nxf2?!

A serious mistake that allows White to pull ahead.

Era un buen momento para aclarar la posicin con 35... Nac3+! Now was a good time to
clarify the position with 36. bxc3Nxc3+ 37. Kc2 Nxd1 38. Rxd1 Re2+ 39. Kc3 Rxf2 40.
Be4 Re2 and Black obtains a very active game, more than enough to maintain dynamic

36. Rxe8 Rxe8 37. d7 Rd8 38. Rd6+ Kc7 39. Bc6!

As we have mentioned before, Magnus conducted this stage of the game very accurately.
Black needs to eliminate the 'd7' pawn, but in exchange he will lose his pair of
queenside pawns.

39... Nc5 40. Bxb5 Nxd7 41. Rc6+!

Mucho ms fuerte que 41. Bxc4 Much stronger than 41... Rf8 42. Rd5 Nxh3 and Black

41... Kb8 42. Rxc4

42... Nxh3?

Trying to restore the material balance as soon as possible Ivanchuk makes a huge

Better was 42... Ne5 43. Rc3 and, in view of the lack of material, it wouldnt be easy to
convert Whites extra pawn. However, Magnus had a big advantage on the clock, nearly
2 minutes against 30 seconds, which would prove to be decisive.

43. Ne7! Ne5 44. Re4!

Now Black loses a piece.

44... Nf3 45. Nc6+ Kc7

45... Kc8 doesnt help as after 46. Re7 Rd1+ 47. Ka2 Black must defend the bishop mate
with 47... Rd7 48. Rxd7 Kxd7 49. Ne5+with a similar result as in the game.

46. Re7+! Rd7 47. Rxd7+ Kxd7 48. Ne5+ Kd6 49. Nxf3 Nf4 50. Kc1 h5 51. Bf1 Kc5
52. Kc2 Kb4 53. Ne5 Nd5 54. Nd3+ Ka5 55.Kb3 h4 56. Bg2 Ne3 57. Bh3

57... Nd5
Ivanchuk could have tried 57... Nd1 to sacrifice his knight for the pawn and force his
opponent to mate with bishop and knight with not much time. The problem is that the
player with less time was Ivanchuk, with only ten seconds left against one minute.

58. Kc4 Nb6+ 59. Kd4 Na4?

A final mistake in a desperate situation.

60. b4+ Kb6 61. Bd7

Losing the knight. Ivanchuk resigned, handing over his crown to Magnus Carlsen.

Game 38
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
A tense and difficult game. Carlsen starts off very well but Ivanchuk reacts decently and
for the most part the result is uncertain. In the end Magnus gets the best of it and takes
advantage of a mistake by his opponent to win the game.

Carlsen, M NOR 2770

Ivanchuk V UKR 2746
QGD Semi-Slav [D31]
Len, 2009

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. e3 Bd6 5. Bd3 f5 6. Nge2 Nf6 7. Qc2 O-O 8. f3 Kh8 9.

Bd2 a6?!

This move seems to be a strategic mistake.

10. c5! Bc7 11. O-O-O!

A logical move with which Carlsen prepares to attack on the kingside. Ivanchuk takes
some measures in the center but he wont be able to stop his opponents attack.

11... e5 12. dxe5 Bxe5 13. f4!? Bc7 14. Nd4 Ne4 15. Nxe4 fxe4 16. Be2 b6 17. cxb6
Bxb6 18. Bb4 Rf6 19. Kb1 a5 20. Bc3 Ba6 21.g4 Bxe2 22. Qxe2 Nd7 23. g5

Whites advantage is clear in any case, but I would have started with 23. Nf5

23... Bxd4! 24. Bxd4 Rd6 25. h4 Qf8 26. h5 Kg8 27. Qg4 Re8 28. Rhf1 c5 29. Be5
Rde6 30. Bc3

30... d4!
With this counterplay Ivanchuk complicates the game.

31. exd4 e3 32. d5?!

A weak move.

Better was 32. Rfe1 e2 33. Rd2 with advantage.

32... Re4 33. Rfe1 Ne5?!

Too elaborate.

Could have been tried 33... Nb6!?

34. Bxe5 R8xe5 35. Rxe3 Rxf4 36. Qe2 Qf5+ 37. Ka1 Rd4 38. Re1 Rxe3 39. Qxe3
Rxd5 40. a3

Whites advantage is very clear as blacks king has nowhere to hide. Carlsen misses
some opportunities and Ivanchuk could have nearly saved the game.

40... Qd7 41. Qb3 a4 42. Qc4 Kf8

43. Ka2

Carlsen doesnt want blacks king to escape to the queenside but it turns out that with a
series of very precise checks he could have achieved the victory: 43. Rf1+! Ke7 44. Qe4+
Kd8 45. Rf8+ Kc7 46. Qf4+ Kb6 47. Qb8+ Ka5 48. Qa8+ Kb5 49. Rb8+ Kc4 50.Qa6+ Kd4
51. Rb7 Qe8 52. Rxg7 winning easily.

43... Rf5! 44. Ka1 Rd5 45. Rc1?!

As we have mentioned earlier the best move was 45. Rf1+!

45... Ke7 46. g6 hxg6 47. hxg6 Kf6 48. Qc2

48... Rf5

Difcil lo habra tenido el noruego si Ivanchuk acierta con 48... Qg4! the Norwegian
would have had some difficulties. For example after 49. Rf1+ Ke6 50. Re1+ Kd6 51.
Qh2+ Kc6 the black king escapes.

49. Rd1 Qc6 50. Rg1 Qd7 51. Rd1 Qc6 52. Rg1 Qd7 53. Qc4 Re5 54. Qh4+ Ke6 55.
Qg4+ Ke7 56. Qh4+ Kd6?

A decisive mistake low on time. More resistant was 56... Ke6 and its not easy to find a
line in which White wins material.

57. Rd1+ Rd5 58. Qf4+!

Black missed this check. Now there is no defence.

58... Kc6 59. Qxa4+ Kc7 60. Qa7+ Kc6 61. Qa8+ 1-0
Ivanchuk vs Carlsen fought out a thrilling final of Magistral de Len 2009. After a 2-2
draw in the semi-rapid and blitz, the Norwegian won the "Armageddon".
Game 39
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
They say that there is no sure bet. But in chess, nowadays you can put your money on
the table with a high degree of confidence. First of all, when you see a Sicilian Najdorf on
the board; and in second place when one of the two players is Magnus Carlsen. Based on
these two premises, a vibrant game is very possible. On this occasion Carlsen has White
against Ponomariov in a majestic event, the tournament that pays homage to Mijail Tahl
in Moscow. The Ukrainian GM plays the opening dubiously and allows Carlsen to
organize a fast attack with decisive threats. A sudden hesitation allows Ponomariov to
organize his defense, but he misses the opportunity. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2801

Ponomariov, R UKR 2739
Sicilian Defense [B90]
Tal Memorial - Moscow, 2009

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9.

g4 h6 10. O-O-O Ne5

Ponomariov assumes that his opponent will be well prepared against the main line
10...Bb7 which has been player in more than 500 games.

11. Qe1

Carlsen is caught by surprise and goes for this rare move, which is a novelty even
though only 11 moves have been played.

11... Qc7 12. h4 b4 13. Nce2 Nc4 14. Nf4 Nxe3 15. Qxe3 Qb6?!

A natural move such as 15...Be7 was preferable. The queen was well-placed on c7,
controlling the c4 square.

16. Bc4!

White doesnt miss the opportunity to place his bishop on such a convenient square,
aiming at e6.

16... Qc5?

Ponomariov moves his queen again...

17. Qb3!
White takes advantage of this opportunity to increase the pressure on e6. I sense that a
sacrifice is imminent.

17... d5?

This is already a serious provocation.

18. exd5 Bd6

19. Nfxe6

19. Ndxe6 fxe6 20. Ng6 was another tempting way of sacrificing the knight.

19... fxe6 20. dxe6 Be7 21. Qd3

21. g5!? hxg5 22. Qd3 was a possible improvement on Carlsens continuation.

21... O-O 22. Bb3

A preparation move that surprised all the Internet followers who thought that 22.g5
was the correct move. By retreating with the bishop White wants to play Qg6 and Nf5.

22... Rd8?! 23. g5

The attack goes into the defining stage.

23... Nh7 24. gxh6 Qh5 25. Qe4 Qxh6+ 26. Kb1 Ra7

White now starts a forced variation that leads to victory.

27. Nf5 Rxd1+ 28. Rxd1 Qf6 29. Rd7 Bxd7 30. exd7+ Kf8 31. Qd5 1-0
Game 40
Notes by GM Magnus Carlsen

The key
Carlsen analyses this important victory briefly but in a juicy way, revealing some
aspects of the game that we would only know because of his sincerity. A magnificent
win over one of his most difficult opponent's, Vladimir Kramnik (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2801

Krmnik, V RUS 2772
English Opening [A29]
London Chess Classic, 2009

1. c4!?

I wasnt trying to make a tribute to England, as it was the first time that I was playing
there. Actually, I only thought about it around the middle of the game. Garry, who
helped me a lot psychologically, told me that he thought that Kramnik might be
uncomfortable in this type of positions.

1... Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. a3 O-O 9.
b4 Be6 10. Rb1 f6 11. d3 a5

This position has many interesting plans, which is what I was trying to achieve when I
played 1.c4. In recent games 11... Nd4 has been more popular.

12. b5 Nd4 13. Nd2 Qc8

I knew that 13... Nd5? loses a piece after 14. Bxd5! Bxd5 15. e3 but I was unable to recall
the concrete theory, so I just made logical moves.

14. e3 Nf5 15. Qc2 Rd8 16. Bb2 a4

A correct move. Black needs to create some counterplay.

17. Rfc1 Nd6 18. Nde4 Ne8

Again the best move, as c7 must be protected.

19. Qe2!

I was pleased with this move. I would have liked to play 19. Ne2 but then 19... Bb3 is
very unpleasant.

19... Bf8
Now after 19... Bg4 I can play 20. Qf1 later on h3. Meanwhile, if 19... Bh3 then I can just
reply 20. Bf3.

20. f4

20... exf4?!

Capturing on f4 is risky, but its also the critical move. My king is weak and if I am not
able to create some play in the center this factor may be annoying. After 20... Qd7! I
would have played 21. fxe5 but I wont say that Black is not OK after 21... Qxd3

21. gxf4 Qd7 22. d4 c6

This is what I was expecting. After 22... Nc4 23. d5! is winning while if 22... Bc4 23. Qf2
Bd3 I would be happy as I have 24. Nc5!! Bxc5 25. dxc5 Bxb1 26. Rxb1 with huge
compensation for the exchange.

23. Nc5 Bxc5 24. dxc5 Nc4 25. Rd1 Qc7 26. Bc1 Na5

Its tough to suggest another good move for Black. If 26... f5 27. bxc6 bxc6 28. Rd4 must
be good.

27. bxc6 bxc6 28. Nxa4

At the beginning I wasnt sure that I could capture on a4 without losing too much piece
coordination. However, at least his knight will remain immobile on e8 for some time,
and that gave me hope.

28... Rxd1+?!

I dont like this move. I was expecting 28... Nb3 29. Nb6 Nxc1 30. Rbxc1 Rxd1+ 31. Qxd1
Rxa3 32. Qd4! and I think that White has a comfortable advantage. The queen is situated
very well on d4 and I can play 33.Ra1 afterwards. His pawn on c6 will probably be lost

29. Qxd1 Rd8 30. Qc2 Qf7 31. Nc3

31... Qh5?!

Not such a good move. I think that he missed something simple.

32. Ne2! Bf5 33. e4 Bg4

Black should have played 33... Bh3 against which I would have played 34. Bxh3 Qxh3 35.

34. Ng3 Qf7

I suppose that when he played 31...Qh5 his idea was to continue with 34... Rd1+ but then
after 35. Bf1! my next move would be 36.Be3 and White wins. But not 35. Qxd1? Qxc5+!

35. Bf1!

Now I was really enjoying my position. Although both of my bishops have returned to
their starting positions, they are very well placed.

35... Be6 36. Qc3 Ra8 37. Rb4!

At this point I started to look for a forced winning line. By his demeanor I didnt think he
was going to put up much resistance.
37... Qd7 38. f5 Bf7 39. Bf4 Qd1

Against 39... Nb7 I was thinking of 40. e5! fxe5 41. Bxe5 followed by 42.Rg4 with a huge

40. Kf2! Nb3

40... Qd8 necessary, but I think that he wanted to finish quickly.

41. Be2 Qb1 42. Bc4 Rxa3 43. Ne2

Black receives mate or loses material.

A record ELO rating
By IM ngel Martn

MAGNUS began 2010 as number one and since then he virtually hasnt abandoned
that position. Wijk aan Zee in January finished with another victory, this time
unchallenged. He scored 8.5 points out of 13, half a point ahead of Kramnik and Shirov,
although this time he suffered a loss to Kramnik.

He also won the Melody Amber tournament, tied with Ivanchuk. This is a competition
played for prestige, but with special rules: a blindfold and a rapid game against each

Then he participated in the Tournament of Kings in Bazna (Romania), which reached

the Category XX. Carlsen dominated the event with 7.5 points out of 10, two points
ahead of Radjabov and Gelfand, the winner of the World Cup, who had earned the right
to play for the world title against Anand.

By the way, Magnus managed to defeat Anand in the final of a rapid chess tournament,
the Artic Stars Rapid. He defeated him in the first game and tied the second.

Magnus acknowledged that during this period he played less events, due to advertising
commitments. Maybe that was the reason that his participation in the Olympiads, held
in Khanty-Mansiysk, not too so good. He won four games and lost three. He wasnt able
to improve his performance either in the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao, where he finished
third out of four players, with two defeats, one win and three draws.

In the November 2010 rating list, Carlsen had lost 24 points, and Anand overtook him,
although only by a scarce margin of 2 points.

However, he managed to finish 2010 succesfully, with two great tournaments at the end
of the year, precisely the same ones that had helped him reach the top of the world
rankings the previous year.
The first event was Nanjing, which he won with 7 points out of 10, one point ahead of
Anand, followed by the the London Chess Classic, in which he scored 13 points out of 21
(the victories were worth 3 points). However, it wasnt easy since he suffered two
defeats precisely against the players who shared second position, Anand and the local
star Luke McShane.

These wins allowed the Norwegian to recover the first position in the rating list and he
appeared in 2011 with 2814, four points more than Anand.

The tournament in Wijk aan Zee, now under the sponsorship of the Tata Steel company,
ended with the surprising, although deserved, triumph by the American GM Hikaru
Nakamura. With two defeats against Giri and Nepomniachtchi (his former opponent in
youth events), Carlsen had to settle for third place. Maybe he did find some comfort in
his victory over the champion.

Several months of chess inactivity seemed to stimulate his desire to win. In June he
participated in the Kings Tournament in Romania, held in Medias this time, where he
won again although on this ocasion tied with Karjakin.

Afterwards he took part in the Biel Festival. Carlsen naturally played the main event, but
curiously his sisters Ellen and Ingrid also took part in one of the open tournaments.
Magnus won the event unchallenged, despite suffering a defeat against the French
player Vachier-Lagrave.

Then he had a tough win at the Grand Slam final. The first half was played in Sao Paulo
and then they flew to Bilbao for the second stage of the event. Magnus started badly and
after the fourth round he had only managed to draw three games with one loss, while
Ivanchuk was leading the tournament with three wins and one draw.

By defeating precisely Ivanchuk in the fifth round, in the last game of the first half,
Carlsen left Sao Paulo with a discreet 50%, one point behind Ivanchuk.

In Bilbao, Carlsen managed to improve his chances, although the leader held on to his
advantage until the last-but-one round, when they played against each other. Magnus
won the game with a beautiful attack and caught up with him.

According to the classical scoring system Carlsen had won, as the Norwegian had scored
three wins, six draws and just one loss, which traditionally would be 6 points, while
Ivanchuk had lost three games, won four and drew three, or 5,5 points. However, the
scoring system of the Grand Slam (three points per win and only one for a draw) left
both players tied for first place with 15 points. The title was decided by two 5-minute
games. Carlsen won the second game with Black, taking home the winners txapela.
Carlsen got a difficult victory in Bilbao 2011. Above, pictured with the trophy and topped
with the winnerstxapela, a typical Basque beret.

Then Magnus flew to Moscow to participate in the Botvinnik Memorial, a small four
player 25-minute double round-robin tournament. The other three players were Anand,
Kramnik and Aronian, the four best players in the world. His result was very bad. He
finished last with two defeats and with no wins. The tournament was won by Anand,
who has confirmed many times that he has no opponent with this time schedule.

He ended the year by participating again in the two tournaments which are always
scheduled in his agenda: the Tal Memorial and the "London Chess Classic", which also
included the three other players who complete the world's best quartet, all of them with
+2800 ratings.

The Tal Memorial, held in mid-November, reached the Category XXII with an average
rating of 2776. The draw percentage was quite high and therefore the distances
between the players in the final standings were minimal. However, Carlsen beat
Aronian in the tiebreak because he played one game more with Black.

Although Magnus had a good result in London (+3=5-0), it wasnt enough to win the
tournament. He had to settle for third place behind Kramnik and Nakamura who played
very well.

In the January 2012 list Carlsen appeared with 2835, 30 points more than his nearest
rival, Aronian. Under these conditions he played as usual in Wijk aan Zee. Aronian
played incredibly well, scoring 9/13 (+7 = 4-2) while Carlsen finished second with one
point less (+4 = 8-1), tied with Radjabov. He only lost one game to Karjakin, a player
that has been in his shadow since the beginning of his career

After an unusually long five-month break, Carlsen returned to compete in another major
tournament, the Moscow Tal Memorial, which had changed its usual dates. However, it
was still very strong, reaching Category XXII with the same rating average than in the
previous editions (2776).

Magnus was victorious once again, aunque this time he had to sweat it out, by defeating
McShane in the last round combined with Caruanas loss against Aronian.
Then he played the Biel tournament, where the scoring system of three points for a win
favored Chinas Wang Hao (+6 = 1-2). Magnus scored (+4 = 6-0) although the
Norwegian won both the games they played against each other. At least Magnus added
another 5 points to his rating, which allowed him to approach Kasparovs historical
2851 record.

The two championships that were held in Astana (Kazakhstan) shortly before Biel were
not rated. The first one was the World Rapid Chess Championships (15 min +10
sec/move games) and the next was the World Bitz Championship (3 min +2 sec/move)
but in view of the strength of the players they were very important events.

In both tournaments Carlsen took second place, behind Karjakin in the rapid event and
Grischuk in blitz.

Carlsen won the Grand Slam final again, played like the previous year in two stages in
different cities, Sao Paulo and Bilbao. As in the previous edition, the Norwegian started
badly and already in the first round he lost against Caruana. The young Italo-American
remained on top of the standings until Magnus had his revenge by beating him in the
second half of the event.

Finally, both players tied for first place, but Carlsen won both of the tiebreak blitz
games, taking down the event and winning a new txapela.

In November, Carlsen was the main attraction at the UNAM (National Autonomous
University of Mexico) festival where he participated in several events, but especially in a
rapid tournament, in which he defeated Judit Polgar in the final by 3-1.

Carlsen dominated the tournament held in 2012 in Mexico. In the photo, you see him with
Judit Polgar playing a blindfold game. In the background, Alexandrova and Guramishvili
reproduce the moves on the electronic board.

In the December 2012 rating list, Carlsen extended his lead to 2845 points, compared to
Aronians 2815, very near Kasparov s 2851 record, dating from 2000. At his usual
"London Chess Classic" tournament, a Category XXI held in December, Carlsen faced the
task of not only winning, but also trying to to beat that record. Bearing in mind that the
tournament traditionally includes the top English players, it was clear that this figure
would be very hard to reach.

Carlsen play was overwhelming. Despite Kramniks good performance, who had won
the previous tournament with +4 = 4 -0, with five wins and three draws he claimed
victory unchallenged. His rating rose to 2861, an absolute record. His nearest opponent,
Vladimir Kramnik, appeared 51 points below, a superiority that no one had seen since
Kasparovs best times.

Immediately after Carlsen won the Wijk event, Kasparov published the following highly
favourable words on Facebook:

"Congratulations to Magnus Carlsen for his great victory in the Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee
chess tournament! He has equalised my record score of 10/13 and without losing a game,
and has increased his rating even more. I would like to say that his success is due to his last
year when I was his coach, but it was already clear then and even more now that Magnus
is a very special talent. There are no limits to what he can acheive."

Carlsens next step is obvious, but simple: to win the Candidates tournament in London
in March and become the challenger to Vishy Anand for the World Championship title at
the end of this year. I support good chess and fighting spirit, before certain players, but
of course it would be difficult for me not to support my three russian countrymen in
London: Kramnik, Svidler, and Grischuk. How could the World Chess Championship title
go from hot India to cold Norway without stopping by in its traditional home, Russia?

Some say that the match for the World Championshop are not fashionable any more, or
that a sport with a rating list and top-level tournaments doesnt need a World
Champion. But I still think that face-to-face combat is the most exciting and fair way to
decide the title, and that our legacy of great champions is one of the most powerful
elements for chess as a global sport. Magnus is destined to be united to those ranks. He
only need to win when its most important, a real test for a champion.

2013 started off very well for Carlsen, contining his excellent performance in London, at
the end of 2012, confirming that he is still capable of achieving new goals and keep

In fact, after his win in the Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee tournament, his rating increased 11
points, arriving at an incredible 2872, a 62-point advantage over second place Kramnik.
Opening ceremony of the 75th edition of the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee.

At Wijk aan Zee, Carlsen had no rival. His victory began to take shape already in the first
rounds, although at some point it seemed that Anand, the World Champion, might
overshadow him. But while the Indian failed in the last rounds, Magnus continued to
score, and finished the tournament undefeated with a point and a half more than the
runner-up, Aronian, who overcame a bad start.

His level of play was so high that GM Amador Rodrguez wrote in his Pen de Rey n
103 report:

Carlsen is becoming a kind of human robot, designed to win. Unlike his closest pursuers,
he wasts no excessive time in opening preparation, he play apparently unambitious
classical lines, which are not intended to trap his opponents in a deep theoretical network
and in which therefore he runs very little risk of being caught himself, which is what
happened to Aronian when he fell into an exquisite piece of preparation with White
against Anand in the last world championship.

In the middle game Magnus plays very constantly and he plays the endgame
outstandingly due to his great sense of direction and precise technique".
Game 41
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
Carlsen's risky opening play induces his opponent to cross over the safe attacking line
and the Norwegian wins the game due to his material advantage. As usual, Carlsen
assesses correctly the psicological aspects of the game, adopting his opening election
based on his opponent. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Karjakin, S RUS 2720

Carlsen, M NOR 2810
French Defense [C11]
Wijk aan Zee, 2010

1. e4 e6

This was already a surprise for Karjakin. "I had never played the French Defence in top
level games" said Carlsen.

2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qd2 O-O 9. Be2 a6
10. O-O b5 11. Kh1

More common is 11. a3 but in the end its just a move transposition, as Black now
decides not to play ...b4.

11... Qc7 12. a3 Bb7 13. Rad1

13. Rae1 is also possible, although Karjakin has another idea.

13... Rac8 14. Qe1!? cxd4 15. Nxd4 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Bc5 17. Qh4 Bxd4 18. Rxd4 f6!
19. Bd3

This leaves the rook on d4 in a delicate position. But in any case White has lost his
opening advantage and should already be thinking of equalizing the game with a swap
on f6.

19... h6 20. exf6 Rxf6 21. f5?!

Consequent with activating the rook on d4, but really not very effective.

21... Rcf8 22. Rg1 Nc5! 23. fxe6 Nxe6 24. Rg4

24. Rxd5 allows 24... Nf4! 25. Rd4 Nxg2 26. Qg3 Nh4+ 27. Be4 Qxg3 28. hxg3 Nf3
24. Nxd5 Bxd5 25. Rxd5 should have been the lesser of two evils, although 25... Nf4 26.
Rd4 Qb6 gives Black a huge advantage.

24... Nf4 25. Qg3 Qe7!

The threat 26...d4 followed by 27...Bc8, trapping the white rook, cant be defended

26. Rxf4 Rxf4 27. Ne2 Rf1 28. Nd4 Rxg1+ 29. Kxg1

29... Re8!

"A precise way to force the exchange of queens after which the ending is easily won,"
explained Carlsen.

30. h4 Qe1+ 31. Kh2 Qxg3+ 32. Kxg3 Kf7 33. Kf2 Kf6 34. g3 Bc8 35. c3 Bg4 36. Bc2
g5 37. hxg5+ hxg5 38. Bb3 Ke5 39. Bc2Rf8+ 40. Kg2 Bd7 41. Nf3+ Kf6 42. Bb3 g4
43. Nd4 Ke5 44. Bc2 a5 45. Bd1?!

Allowing the Black king to penetrate, but in any case there was no solution to ...b4.

45... Ke4 0-1

Game 42
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
The winner of the tournament, Magnus Carlsen, played some really nice games. In the
following production, he punishes Levon Aronian harshly when he tries to fight against
the Kings Indian with a variation that, although theoretical, in my modest opinion is not
very good. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Aronian, L ARM 2782

Carlsen, M NOR 2813
King's Indian Defense [E98]
Melody Amber - Nice, 2010

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O

The Kings Indian defence, very popular during many years thanks to Fischer and
Kasparov, but currently a bit forgotten. This is probably due to fashion, because every
now and then it makes a comeback with good results for Black.

6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1

The Classical Variation. The knight heads to d3 from where it supports the advance c4-
c5 and allows the defensive option f2-f3. They say that Kasparov stopped playing this
defence because of the 9.b4 variation that Kramnik made popular, a variation that
"refuted" the defence during many years.

9... Nd7 10. Nd3 f5 11. Bd2 Nf6 12. f3 Kh8!?

A flexible option before defining the game plan.

12... f4 13. c5 g5 is the classical way of playing, with violent attacks on both sides of the
board. Some convincing wins by Kasparov in this line with Black (with his plan ... Rf7 -
Bf8) were the reason that many chess fans took up this defence.

13. g4?!

Although this line is theoretical, I have assigned a question mark to the move because I
think that it is dubious. Taking into account general opening principles, it cant be right
to advance a pawn in front of our king. What would Steinitz have to say about such a
move! The idea is to force Black to play ...f5-f4, blocking the kingside, leaving White with
a free hand on the queenside. In some old games this idea worked but Carlsen applies
modern criteria (lateral advance - counterattack in the center) and runs over Aronian.
13.Rc1 or 13.b4 are more correct moves.
13... c6!

14. Kg2?!

An unfortunate novelty.

An old game continued 14. Kh1 b5 15. b3 Rb8 16. a3 a5 17. Nf2 b4 18. axb4 axb4 19.
Na2 fxe4 20. fxe4 and now with 20... c5 Black had a very acceptable position in
Polugaevsky,L (2610)-Gufeld,E (2520). Sochi.

14... b5!

Carlsen applies the concept of pawn tension in advanced fashion. The attack on the base
of the pawn chain is a very old strategy.

15. b3

But not 15. cxb5 fxe4 16. fxe4 cxd5 17. exd5 Bb7 18. Nb4 Nfxd5 with a small advantage
for Black.

15... a5 16. Nf2 b4 17. Na4 Bb7 18. Rc1 fxe4 19. fxe4 cxd5 20. exd5

And now that Whites pieces are located in bad positions (Kg2, Na4, Nf2) Black
convincingly sacrifices a piece to go for the attack.

20... Nexd5! 21. cxd5 Nxd5

The threat is...Nc3+ with a discovered check that wins the queen.

22. Kg1

In the case of 22. Bf3 the correct move is clearly 22... Rxf3! 23. Qxf3 Nf4+ winning

22... e4!

Another good move that threatens ...e3 and also ...Bd4 incorporating another piece to
the attack.
23. Nxe4 Bd4+ 24. Rf2

Neither 24. Nf2 Qh4 25. Bc3 (25. Be1 Be5) 25... Bxc3 26. Nxc3 Nxc3 27. Qd4+ Qf6 28.
Qxf6+ Rxf6 winning.

Nor 24. Kh1 Rxf1+ 25. Bxf1 Ne3 26. Bxe3 Bxe4+ 27. Bg2 Bxg2+ 28. Kxg2 Bxe3 winning,
were better.

24... Rxf2!

25. Nxf2??

Losing directly. Although it may seem incredible Aronian had a "last resort" move that
would have forced Carlsen to work hard to find the solution.

This only move was 25. Bg5! attacking the black queen and at the same time the bishop
on d4 with the white queen. The best line for Black is 25... Bf6 26. Bxf6+ Rxf6 27. Qd4
Nf4!! 28. Bf1 (28. Qxf6+ Qxf6 29. Nxf6 Nxe2+ 30. Kf2 Nxc1) 28... Bxe4 29. g5!Ne6 30.
Qxf6+ Qxf6 31. gxf6 Rf8 32. Rd1 d5 33. Nb6 Nf4 34. Nd7 Rf7 35. Rc1 h5 winning, but it
would have been really hard to calculate this whole variation blindfold.

25... Qh4

The inclusion of the queen decides the game.

26. Qe1 Rf8

Everyone to the party!

27. Bf3 Rxf3 28. Qe4 Qxf2+

28... Qxf2+ 29. Kh1 Qxd2 30. Qxf3 Qxc1+ 31. Kg2 Nf4+ and Black wins.

Game 43
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key

During a period of his career Carlsen wanted to try out all types of openings and on this
ocasion he decided to play the King's Gambit. The Norwegian was able to achieve a
passed pawn in the center which, combined with his usual technique, he converts into
an extra exchange and then the full point. (GM Miguel Illescas)

"In the fourth round I faced Wang Yue from China, the second highest rated player in the
event. I chose the Kings Gambit with White for the first time in my life and, as expected,
Wang was surprised. He decided against trying to keep the pawn that I had sacrificed. I
left the opening with a small advantage and in the middlegame I created a passed pawn
on the d-file, in a balanced but very open position. At one point he allowed me to advance
the pawn to d7 and just before the time control he sacrificed the exchange to eliminate my
pawn and try to draw. The ending was quite complex and interesting but a few moves later
he made a mistake and allowed me to create a passed pawn on the h-file, which brought
me my first win in the tournament." (Magnus Carlsen)

Carlsen, M NOR 2813

Wang Yue CHN 2752
KGA, Abbazia defense [C36]
4th Kings Tournament - Medias, 2010

1. e4 e5 2. f4

What a surprise! Very few elite players have used the Kings Gambit in their careers.
Boris Spassky played it regularly and some +2600 have tried it out occasionally. Why
should this opening be investigated if nowadays it doesnt have a good reputation? To
avoid the Petrov, which in the hands of some players such as Wang, is a wall that cant
be assaulted easily. It also says a lot about Carlsens confidence. He already has more
than enough reasons to think that against these players he can explore any opening.

2... d5

2... exf4 is another big alternative of course, but generally choosing between one and the
other is just a matter of taste. Certainly both variations are completely different.

3. exd5 exf4 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bc4 Nxd5 6. O-O Be7

An important moment There are 160 games in this position and White can choose
between different moves, amongst which 7.d4 is of course a main option.

7. Bxd5 Qxd5 8. Nc3

It seems strange to give away the good bishop so soon, but in exchange White plans to
accelerate his development and recover the pawn on f4.

8... Qd8 9. d4 O-O 10. Bxf4 Bf5

Now this position looks like anything but the Kings Gambit. Material is equal and Black
has a good pair of bishops. Nothing indicates that he will start having some problems
very soon.

11. Qe2

Now Carlsen starts to excel.

11. Qd2 had been played several times. An excellent example for Black was the game
Fedorov-Svidler, Smolensk 2000 that continued 11... c6 12. Kh1 Bb4 13. a3 Bxc3 14.
Qxc3 Qd5 15. Qd2 Nd7 16. b3 b5 and Black has a comfortable position. Maybe this game
was the reason that very few players wanted to continue to explore this line for White.

11... Bd6?

A suspicions move, because it doesnt simply exchange one bishop for the other. Now
Black will lose his bishop pair and Whites knights will have a dominant role.

12. Bxd6 Qxd6 13. Nb5 Qd8 14. c4 a6 15. Nc3 Nd7 16. Rad1 Bg6 17. Qf2

White is better because he controls the center of the board. Blacks bishop shoots into
an empty diagonal and is not cooperating at the moment.

17... Re8 18. h3 Rc8 19. Rfe1 Rxe1+ 20. Rxe1 c6 21. d5 Nf6 22. Qd4 cxd5 23. Nxd5
Nxd5 24. cxd5

White has created a passed pawn and the game will revolve around it. For the moment
Black must prevent the pawn from advancing.

24... Qd6 25. Ne5 Re8

Whites advantage is minimal, but in these positions the most difficult task is the

For example, the Chinese player had to decide now between this move and 25... f6
forcing the exchange 26. Nxg6 hxg6 and after the exchange of queens its unclear if
White can win. Its a difficult position to assess.

26. Re3 Rd8 27. Nc4 Qf6 28. Re5

White manoeuvres with his three pieces, while only two black pieces cooperate to stop
the pawn. The support of the bishop is obviously needed.

28... h6?

28... b5 29. Na5 (29. Qe3 h6) 29... h6 was the correct move order. Black continues to
suffer but his options of hanging on are quite big.

29. d6!

Finally the pawn is able to advance.

29... Bf5

and Black brings his bishop to control d7, but its too late.

30. Nb6!

A strong tactical shot. White advances one more square towards promotion.

30... Be6

30... Qxd6? 31. Rd5 wins for White.

30... Rxd6? 31. Nd5 winning.

31. d7 Kh8 32. a4 g6 33. Qc3 Kg7 34. a5 h5 35. h4

Black cant breathe any more. White can try and exchange queens with Rc5 and then
take his rook to c7 to run over Blacks queenside.

35... Rxd7 36. Nxd7 Bxd7 37. Qd4 Bc6 38. b4 Bb5 39. Kh2 Ba4

Black is trying to create a fortress and actually it already is constructed while the
queens are on the board.

40. Rd5 Bc6 41. Qxf6+ Kxf6 42. Rc5

Now, without queens, we have a different ending in which White has some winning

42... Ke6 43. Kg3 f6 44. Kf2 Bd5 45. g3

Is this ending won? Possibly, but it will be very difficult. Black makes things easy now.

45... g5?

46. g4!!

With the obvious idea of creating a distant passed pawn on the h-file.
46... hxg4 47. h5

Already threatening Rxd5.

47... Be4 48. Rc7!

And with his king cut-off Black will have to sacrifice his bishop when the pawn reaches
h7. Therefore he decides to die with his boots on.

48... f5 49. h6 f4 50. h7 g3+ 51. Ke1 f3 52. h8=Q f2+ 53. Ke2 Bd3+ 54. Ke3!

And Black resigned because once he promotes the pawn with 54... f1=Q the relentless
machinery Q + R comes in with55. Qe8+ and the computer indicates a forced mate in 10
moves. The longest line is 55... Kf5 56. Qd7+ Ke5 57. Qe7+ Kf5 58.Rc5+ Kg4 59. Rxg5+
Kh4 60. Rg8+ Kh3 61. Rh8+ Kg4 62. Rh4+ Kf5 63. Rh5+ Kg6 64. Rg5+ Kh6 65. Qg7#.

Game 44
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
In this game Carlsen demonstrates his excellent capacity for calculation, dominating his
opponent in a tactical fight which is quite typical of this variation of the Sicilian Dragon.
(GM Miguel Illescas)

"Every game won in a tournament is quite enjoyable, but winning a game in which every
piece coordinates harmonically with the others is very special. My opponent today, Liviu-
Dieter Nisipeanu, plays 1.e4 consistently and I decided to repeat the Dragon that we
played two years ago. The game went into an unusual line with 10...Rb8 and I soon
sacrificed a pawn, after which he started to use up a lot of time. Its not easy to point out
exactly where he made his mistake, but after a few imprecisions I was able to improve my
position a lot. After I captured his pawn on g5, Whites position became very difficult. It
became more and more damaged until he made a huge mistake with 31.Bb6 (with only 5
minutes left for 10 moves) allowing me to penetrate on the eighth rank. He was forced to
resign in view of the imminent loss of material." (Magnus Carlsen)

Nisipeanu, L ROM 2672

Carlsen, M NOR 2813
Sicilian Defense [B76]
4th Kings Tournament - Medias, 2010

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O
9. O-O-O d5

A very common Dragon position. White has been playing nearly exclusively 10.exd5.
However, during the past few years other interesting continuations have been explored,
such as 10.Qe1 and 10.Kb1, which is the line chosen by Nisipeanu.

10. Kb1 Rb8

A slightly unusual line, if we compare it to the much more popular 10...Nxd4.

11. Ndb5

A direct move, favored by enterprising players such as Fabiano Caruana and Julio

11... a6 12. Na7 e6

A hyper-complex position in which White has tried 13.g4, 13.exd5 and 13.Nxc8 with
similar results. Nisipeanu goes for the first move.
13. g4

And Carlsen answers with a move that only the Brazilian player Fier had played before.

13... Re8

A quite natural move in these positions. The new idea will come on the next move.

14. g5 Nh5

Which is actually forced because after 14... Nd7? 15. exd5 exd5 16. Nxd5 Nde5 17. Bb6
Qd7 18. f4 Blacks position falls down, as in Balogh-Fier, Beijing.

15. Bf2

15. exd5 exd5 16. Nxd5 was a critical continuation although not devastating as in the
previous example. Thanks to the fact that the knight is not on d7, the bishop can develop
with 16... Be6 and Black has immediate counterplay

15. Nxc8 was an option to prevent the knight being shut-in, which will happen later in
the game, but Black answers with 15...d4! 16. Bf2 Rxc8 17. Ne2 Qc7 with a very nice

15... Bd7

Very cold-blooded!

16. exd5 exd5

The loose pawn on d5 offers the false impression that Blacks position is weak. Also, we
must look at the knight on a7. If it escapes Black will join his pawns and open the file for
his rook. The bishop on f2 doesnt impress either and worst of all, White has absolutely
no chance of attacking the black king, which is very bad in the Dragon.

17. Qxd5
The alternative was 17. Nxd5 Be6 18. c4 Bf5+ 19. Kc1 (19. Bd3 Bxd3+ 20. Qxd3 Qxg5
with advantage for Black) (19. Ka1 Ra8!With the initiative) 19... Ne5 but with the knight
on a7 and the king on c1 White naturally doesnt want to play this.

17... Ne5

And Whites knight is shut-in on a7, where it will stay until the end of the game.

18. Qb3?!

It was difficult to suggest a better move, because the alternatives

18. Qc5 Qxg5 19. Rxd7 b6

18. h4 Qc7 both look good for Black

18... Qxg5

In his blog, Magnus said that it wasnt easy to specify the exact moment in which White
chose the wrong road, but after capturing this pawn Black has a clear way to increase
his advantage and win the game.

19. Ne4 Qf4 20. Be2 Be6 21. Qa3 Nc4 22. Bxc4 Bxc4 23. Nd6 Bf8! 24. Rd4 Qe5 25.
Rxc4 Bxd6 26. Qd3 Bf8 27. a4 Rbd8 28.Qb3 Qd5 29. Rc3 Qd2 30. Be3?

Better was 30. Rc7 Re6 31. Bb6 although after the simple 31... Rb8 Black keeps a clear

30... Qe2 31. Bb6??

With only 5 minutes for his next 10 moves, Nisipeanu makes this big mistake and allows
a fulminating penetration on the eighth rank. Even so, his position was already very

31. Bc1 Rd1 32. Rxd1 Qxd1

31. Bb6 Rd1+ 32. Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33. Ka2 Re1 34. Qc4 Qa1+ 35. Kb3 Rb1
31... Rd1+

And White resigned in view of 31... Rd1+ 32. Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33. Ka2 Re1 34. Qc4 Qa1+ 35.
Kb3 Rb1 winning.

Game 45
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
The Norwegian takes advantage of the King's Indian defence to unbalance the fight
against Ponomariov. In a well-known line the Ukrainian demonstrates that he doesn't
understand the deep subtleties of the chosen variation and Carlsen's positional
judgment definitely prevails again. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Today I decided to repeat the Kings Indian because Ponomariov had already lost against
this opening in the tournament. Something went wrong in the opening and I was quite
unhappy with my position. Therefore I decided to risk and I chose a variation in which I
could sacrifice the exchange. My opponent allowed me to do that and soon after he had to
decide between a very sharp line in which I would have to sacrifice more material to
attack his king, or to return the exchange, which is what he finally did. However, he missed
my subtle queen move with which I attacked his pawns on a4 and e4 simultaneously, and I
was able to recover the pawn. Later on he had some trouble adjusting to the fact that he
needed to start defending. My position gradually improved and just before the time control
I forced the exchange of queens with a winning ending." (Magnus Carlsen)

Ponomariov, R UKR 2733

Carlsen, M NOR 2813
King's Indian Defense [E81]
4th Kings Tournament - Medias, 2010

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Nge2 Nbd7 7. Be3 c5 8. d5 Ne5 9.

Ng3 h5 10. Be2 h4 11. Nf1 e6 12. Nd2 exd513. cxd5 Bd7 14. O-O b5 15. Nxb5 Bxb5
16. Bxb5 Rb8 17. a4 Nh5 18. f4 Nd7 19. Qg4 a6

White must now choose between three good continuations.

20. Bxa6

Natural. Your opponent sacrifices a pawn and you capture it. But it might be the worst
of the options.

20. Bc6 would have kept the bishop in a dominating position, conserving all the middle
game options.

20. Bxd7 Nf6 21. Qxh4 Nxd7 (21... Qxd7 22. f5) 22. Qg3 Rxb2 and now both Nc4 and f5
seem to offer White a clear superiority.

20... Rxb2 21. Rab1 Rxd2 22. Bxd2 Bd4+

23. Rf2?

The position demanded the critical line after 23. Kh1 Ndf6 (23... Kg7 24. Rfe1 in order to
answer 24... Ng3+ 25. hxg3 hxg3 with the simple 26. Be3 winning) 24. Qf3 One must
admit that the position is very intimidating, although there is no clear decisive line for
Black. One main line continues 24... Ng3+ (24... Nxe4 25. Qxe4 Ng3+ 26. hxg3 hxg3 27. f5
Kg7 28. f6+) 25. hxg3 hxg3 26.Be1 Kg7 (26... Nxe4 27. Bxg3 Nxg3+ 28. Qxg3 Kg7 29. Rf2)
27. Bxg3 Rh8+ 28. Bh2 Rh6 (28... Nxe4 29. g3!) 29. g4 Qh8 and there is a lot of game still
to be played. If you want to imagine, a possible continuation could be 30. Rf2 Bxf2 31.
Qxf2 Qe8 (31... Nxg432. Qb2+) 32. Re1 Nxg4 33. Qb2+ Kg8 34. Bb5 Qe7 35. Re2 Nxh2 36.
Rxh2 Qxe4+ 37. Kg1 and Black can put up a fierce resistance but he is worse.

23... Bxf2+ 24. Kxf2 Ndf6 25. Qf3 Qe8!

The key move, which White possibly missed when he was calculating his 23rd move.
26. e5?!

Maybe playing calmly with 26. Bd3 Qxa4 27. Rc1 was better.

26... Qxa4 27. exf6 Qxa6

Black takes over the initiative and will not let it go until the end of the game.

28. Bc3 Qc8 29. Kg1 Qf5 30. Rf1 Re8 31. Ba1 Ra8 32. Qe3 Kh7 33. Bb2 Rb8 34. Bc1
Rb1 35. Qe8 Qxd5 36. f5 gxf5 37. Qe3Qd4 38. Qxd4 cxd4 39. Bg5 Rxf1+ 40. Kxf1 h3
41. gxh3 Kg6 42. Bh4 Nf4 43. Bg3 Kg5 44. Bf2 Ne6 45. Ke2 f4 46. Kf3 d3 47.h4+ Kf5
48. Bb6 Nc5 49. h5 d2 50. Ke2 Ne4 0-1
Game 46
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Carlsen was pitched against the "Rest of the World" in an advertising stunt by a jeans
company. In the middle of this circus the Norwegian was still able to maintain a high
level of concentration to win the game authoritively after obtaining the advantage from
the always difficult King's Indian defence. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2813

The World
King's Indian Defense [E62]
Carlsen vs. World - New York RAW World CC, 2010

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6

This move defeated 2...e6 by a very narrow margin, only 51% of the votes.

3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. O-O e5 8. d5 Ne7 9. e4

For this game, the audience were helped by GM's Nakamura, Vachier Lagrave and Judit
Polgar, who would suggest three moves and then the most voted move of the three
would be played. At this point the proposed moves were c6, Nd7 and Ne8 in that order
for each GM.

9... c6

Surprisingly, the chosen move was Nakamura's proposal, even though the knight jumps
to d7 and e8 are much more popular.

10. a4 Bg4 11. a5

Should Black exchange pawns now or wait? This was a critical question and each player
had a different answer. Specifically, Nakamura though that the pawn exchange was a
mistake. However, this was the move chosen by the participants, suggested by both
Judit and Vachier.

11... cxd5 12. cxd5 Qd7 13. Be3 Rfc8

Magnus was very happy with his position. Certainly, there are no better alternatives.

13... Bh3 14. Qa4.

13... Nxe4 14. Nxe4 f5 15. Neg5 e4 16. Qb3

14. Qa4 Ne8 15. Nd2 Qd8?!

Again, Judit and Vachier agreed with this retreat in order to avoid the exchange of
queens but things are getting worse for Black.

15... Qxa4 16. Rxa4 Bd7 17. Rb4 Rc7 18. Nc4 f5.

16. Qb4 Nc7?!

16... Bd7.

17. Nc4

Also strong was 17. f3 Bd7 18. Qxd6.

17... Na6 18. Qxb7 Rxc4

Things didn't improve by 18... Nc5 19. Bxc5 Rxc5 20. Nxd6 Rb8 21. Qa6 with a huge

19. Qxa6 Rb4 20. f3 Bc8 21. Qe2 f5 22. Qd2 Ba6 23. Rfc1 Qb8 24. Na4 Rb3 25. Rc3
Rb4 26. Rca3 f4 27. Bf2 Bh6 28. Nb6!?

With this move, with which Magnus made use of one of the two extra tempi that he was
allowed, the game comes alive and the audience were having a great time. The official
commentator, Garry Kasparov, preferred 28.g4, a solid intermediate move that would
condemn Black to a slow but sure defeat.

28... fxg3 29. Qxb4 gxf2+ 30. Kxf2 Bc8

Nakamura's move 30... axb6 was Polgar's suggestion but after 31. axb6 Bb7 32. Rxa8
Bxa8 33. Bh3 with enormous advantage.

30... Bf4 recommended by Vachier Lagrave was the move that Carlsen feared the most
but White would continue with 31. Bh3and he has a big advantage.
31. Rb3! axb6 32. Qxb6 Qa7 33. a6 Kf7 34. Qxa7 Rxa7 35. Rb6 Ke8 36. Rxd6 Bf8 37.
Rb6 Nxd5

This move was suggested unanimously by the three Grand Masters. The idea is to try to
aleviate the growing problems by means of tactics.

38. Rb8! Bc5+ 39. Kg3 Ne7 40. Bh3 Kd8 41. Bxc8 Nxc8 42. Rc1

Kasparov was already suggesting to resign but the game continues.

42... Rc7 43. Rxc5! Rxc5 44. a7

And after a quick look at each other, Nakamura, Vachier and Judit suggested to resign.
After sacrificing the rook for the pawn on a8 Black would be an exchange down with a
very poor position.

Game 47
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
A typical Carlsen game, rich in content in each one of its stages, especially in the middle
game. The Norwegian is able to orientate his efforts towards the kingside, organizing an
attack to elegantly defeat Alexei Shirov, always a very dangerous opponent. (GM Miguel

Carlsen, M NOR 2826

Shirov, A LAT 2749
Ruy Lopez Opening [C78]
Bilbao Grand Slam Final, 2010

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. a4 Rb8 8. axb5 axb5
9. c3 d6 10. d4 Bb6

Shirov has set-up the well-known Arkhangel variation of the Ruy Lopez and now,
instead of the normal 11.Na3 which has been played in nearly 200 games, Carlsen
decides on the modest.

11. h3

Which has only been played in 30. A calm day? Something fishy? We shall see.

11... O-O 12. Re1 h6 13. Na3 exd4 14. cxd4 Na5 15. Bc2 b4 16. Nb5

This is the novelty, although the real surprise of the game will be seen on the next

16. Nb1 c5 17. dxc5 dxc5 18. Bf4 Qxd1 19. Rxd1 1/2-1/2 Istratescu(2602)-Sofronie
(2436), Niort.

16... Ba6

Black attacks the intrepid knight which has jumped to b5 without any protection or
17. Na7!!

Here comes the surprise; instead of running away the knight plunges into blacks
position with concrete threats, for example 18.Rxa5 Bxa5 19.Nc6 winning a piece. The
worst thing for Shirov is that the manoeuvre was clearly prepared by Carlsen, maybe
with Garry Kasparov, because he played these 17 moves instantly.

17... Bb7

A natural answer as 17... Bxa7 18. Rxa5 wouldnt be convenient.

18. d5 Ra8 19. Nb5 Nc4 20. Rxa8 Qxa8 21. Nbd4 Qa7 22. b3 Ne5 23. Bb2

Shirov thought out these moves a lot and as a consequence fell behind on the clock.

23... Nxf3+ 24. gxf3 Qa2

Blacks position might be considered to be reasonable, but it hides a big danger. His only
active piece, the queen, is causing this danger because its too far away from her king,
the same as the two bishops on the queenside. Only the knight protects it and obviously
the king needs more protection, especially now that White is going to mobilize all his
pieces for the attack.
25. Qc1! Bxd4

Sad, but the strong 26.Nf5 was being threatened.

26. Bxd4 Nd7 27. Kh1

White proceeds naturally. Also very strong was 27.Qd2.

27... f6 28. Rg1 Rf7

Giving up the h6 pawn but the way to avoid it with 28... Kh8 29. Be3 g5 was worse
because after 30. f4 the attack goes alone.

29. Qd2!

A very important multipurpose move that practically decides the game. Ra1 is
threatened and also e5, forcing back the black queen and the important h6 pawn falls.

29... Qa8 30. Qxh6 Ne5 31. Bd1 Qe8 32. Qe3 c5 33. Bb2 Re7 34. f4 Nd7 35. Qg3 Qf7
36. Bf3 Ba6 37. Bg4 Nf8 38. Bf5 c4 39.bxc4 Bxc4 40. Qh4

I would have preferred 40.Kh2 to avoid the following continuation and go for a safe
conclusion, but Carlsen plays the most direct line which objectively is the best.

40... Bxd5 41. f3 Be6 42. Bxf6 Bxf5 43. exf5 Rc7 44. Rxg7+ Qxg7 45. Bxg7 Rxg7 46.
f6 Rd7

However, he must be careful to avoid any type of fortress that may lead to a draw.
47. Qe1 d5 48. Qxb4 d4 49. Qc4+ Kh7 50. Qd3+ Kg8 51. f5 Kf7 52. Kg2 Kxf6 53. Kg3
Kg7 54. h4 Nh7 55. Kf2 Nf6 56. Qd2Nh7 57. Ke1 d3 58. Qg2+ Kh8 59. Kd2 Nf8 60.
Qg5 Kh7 61. h5 Kh8 62. f6 Kh7 63. f4 Kh8 64. h6! Kh7 65. f5

And Black resigned after 65. f5 because against 65... Kh8 he would continue 66. Qg7+
Rxg7 67. fxg7+ Kg8 68. gxf8=Q+ Kxf8 69.Kxd3.

Game 48
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
A notable production by Carlsen, who overcomes his strong opponent with original
play in the opening, energetic middle game action and brilliant endgame technique.
Magnus, just about to turn 20, is already a chess playing machine, defeating acclaimed
opponent's with apparent ease. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2826

Bacrot, E FRA 2716
Scotch game [C45]
Nanjing, 2010

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nb3 Bb6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Qe2

After working with Kasparov, Carlsen incorporated the Scotch Opening to his repertoire
with good results. With the text he moves away from the theoretical line which
contemplates 7.Bg5 as the main line.

7... O-O

When White played his queen to e2 he clearly expressed his intention to castle
queenside. Therefore it seems wiser to delay castling by playing first 7... d6 The idea is
that against 8. Bg5 Black can answer with 8... h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Qe7 eliminating the
pressure of the pin. In fact this was played in the game Rublevsky-Grischuk, Elista 2007
after which 11. h4 Rg8 12. hxg5 hxg513. O-O-O Be6 14. Rh6 O-O-O Black equalized
comfortably and eventually won the game.

8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4

This natural retreat will be the cause of problems for Black in his following moves.
Bacrot has a dilemma; or he suffers the pin for a long time or he weakens his castled
king position to avoid it. Both options are unpleasant.

9. h4? d6 10. f3 hxg5! 11. hxg5 Ng4! 12. fxg4 Qxg5 with a decisive advantage for Black in
Rublevsky-Anand, Bastia 2004.

9... a5 10. a4 Nd4

This natural move is new although the experience in this position is practically
11. Qd3!

A new and very imaginative idea. We shall soon see why.

11... Nxb3 12. cxb3 Re8 13. O-O-O d6 14. Qc2

This queen was developed on e2, went to d3 and back to c2. This is difficult to explain to
a beginner, as White has also moved his pawn to a4, he has doubled the "b" pawns and
his king has castled behind these pawns. All of this is in theory, but in practice the
pawns b2-b3-a4 defend the king very well, while the bishop on b6 has been cut off from
the rest of the board.

14... Bd7 15. Bc4

With this move the opening stage is over. Both players have developed all their minor
pieces and have castled their kings. Now the position must be assessed and measures
must be taken to improve. From Whites point of view things are much easier. The next
move is Rhe1, and then f4 and from then on White will threat of advance of the pawn to
e5. From Blacks point of view things are much more difficult because the knight is still
pinned and the bishop cant defend his king.

15... Be6 16. Rhe1 Qe7

Maybe Black should have courageously played g7-g5 to eliminate the pin. His king
would have been seriously weakened but now its worse.

17. e5! dxe5 18. Rxe5

Whites rooks are exactly where they should be, dominating the two open files. Now the
threat is 19.Nd5, which would be crushing, and to avoid it Black must play a very sad

18... Qf8 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Re2 Qg7 21. Bxe6 Rxe6 22. Rxe6 fxe6
It may seem that Black has alleviated his position with all these exchanges but its not
true. Carlsen has wisely exchanged all the pieces that were helping with the defence and
with his next move he will launch an attack with his queen + rook + knight against a
king which is only defended by a queen.

23. Rd3! Kh8 24. Rg3 Qh7 25. Qd2 Bc5 26. Ne4! Be7

26... Qxe4 27. Qxh6+ Qh7 28. Qxf6+ mating.

27. Rh3 Kg7 28. Qd7 Kf7

Black has done all he can by bringing the bishop to the defence. The main unbalance in
the position is the white rook, much stronger than his opponents rook. The decisive
moment has arrived.

29. Ng5+!!

A sacrifice that Black is forced to accept. From now on Black will be playing only moves.

29... fxg5 30. Rf3+ Kg8 31. Qxe6+ Kh8 32. Rf7

After this move Black could have easily resigned. The queen has only two moves, g8 and
d3. And 33.Qe5+ is mate against the two of them.

32... Bd6 33. Rxh7+ Kxh7 34. Qf7+ Kh8 35. g3 Ra6 36. Kb1 Bb4 37. f4 gxf4 38. gxf4!

In this type of situation, queen against rook and minor piece, the only way to save the
game is constructing a fortress, which is impossible here. Also, White threatens f5 and
f6 mating, so Bacrot resigned.

Game 49
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
Even though it is not very long, the following game was quite tough. It starts off slowly
and it seems as if Black has no problems at all. After a skirmish, Carlsen obtains the
bishop pair and opens up the position energetically. Topalov doesn't react well and his
kingside quickly falls under pressure along the diagonals. Fearing an impending attack
the Bulgarian allows a cool sacrifice that ends the fight. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2826

Topalov, V BUL 2803
Ruy Lopez Opening [C84]
Nanjing, 2010

1. e4 e5

"My last seven games have started with 1.e4 e5" said Carlsen. "Just like the old days!"

2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3!?

One of the benefits of having trained with Garry Kasparov is that Carlsen feels at home
in the positional battles of the Ruy Lopez, with both colours. In this game Carlsen avoids
the main lines and he goes for a complicated fight in a type of position that Topalov has
had trouble with in the past.

6... b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 Rb8 9. axb5 axb5 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. Re1 Bd7

A strangely dull plan for such an active player. "My opening choice was quite bad"
admitted Topalov later.

11... Be6 would have been less obliging.

12. c3 Ra8 13. Rxa8 Qxa8 14. d4

The game is very similar to Kasparov-Topalov, Linares 2004, although that game
emerged from an anti-Marshall variation. In 2004, Topalov was slowly grinded down by
Kasparov, but he was unable to find the final blow in Topalovs time trouble. This game
is a "deja vu" for Topalov, although without the happy ending.

14... h6 15. Nf1 Re8 16. Ng3 Qc8 17. Nh4 Bf8 18. Ng6

This manoeuvre would definitely receive the approval of Kasparov, who used the same
idea to defeat Nigel Short in the third game of his World Championship title in 1993.
"After the exchange of his dark-squared bishop I think that I have a real advantage" said
Carlsen. "Afterwards I can play f4 with a strong attack."

18... Na5 19. Nxf8 Rxf8 20. Bc2 Re8?!

"He played a series of weak moves" said Carlsen.

He really had to play 20... c5

21. f4 Bg4

"This plan of ...Bg4 and ...Nc4 doesnt work" said Carlsen

22. Qd3 exf4 23. Bxf4 Nc4 24. Bc1! c5 25. Rf1! cxd4 26. cxd4 Qd8

27. h3

"I could have won a pawn with 27. b3 and then capture on b5, but I thought it would be
better to conclude with a mating attack" admitted Carlsen. "With all my pieces targeting
his king there is really no possible defence."

27... Be6 28. b3 Qa5!? 29. Kh2

Showing superhuman calm. Again Carlsen could have captured the pawn on h6 but he
has other things to take care of.

29... Nh7 30. e5! g6 31. d5! Nxe5 32. dxe6!

Topalov has seen enough. After 32. dxe6 Nxd3 33. exf7+ Kf8 34. Bxh6+ Ke7 35. fxe8=Q+
Kxe8 36. Bxd3 Black will soon lose the knight on h7.

Game 50
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
The following game was played under a rapid time control, 3 minutes for the whole
game with 2 seconds added after each move. Even so, the game is technically excellent
and is only decided when Black heads the wrong direction a few moves before the
end. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2802

Mamedov, R AZE 2660
Sicilian Defense [B38]
WCC Blitz - Moscow, 2010

1. e4 c5 2. Ne2 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4

The Maroczy bind is a very solid variation. A strong player can slowly strangulate
Blacks position.

5... Bg7

Another popular variation is 5... Nf6 6. Nc3 Nxd4 7. Qxd4 d6.

6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be2 d6 9. O-O Nxd4 10. Bxd4 Bd7

This is the modern way of playing this opening. Years ago the plan with Be6, Qa5, Rfc8,
etc, was preferred.

11. Qd2 Bc6 12. f3 a5 13. b3 Nd7 14. Be3! Nc5

15. Rab1
The move 15. Rac1 is also correct. In fact, this is the natural square for this rook, leaving
the d1 square for the other rook. I won an excellent game with this plan against Cuban
IM, currently living in New York, Guillermo Estevez, that went 15... b6 16. Rc2Ra7 17.
Rb1 Qa8 18. Bf1 Rb8 Black has taken his precautions against the rupture on b4 by
protecting his pawn on b7 and doubling rooks to take over the 'a' file. However, all these
measures will not be enough. 19. Qf2 e6 20. a3 Rab7 21. b4 Na4 22.Nxa4 Bxa4 23. Rd2
Bf8 24. b5! Qa7 25. Rd4! e5 26. Rd5 1-0 Am. Rodriguez-Estevez, Cuba Championship.

15... Qb6 16. Rfc1 Rfc8 17. Kh1 h5

To sum it up in a few words, this move is hard to explain. All that I can say to avoid
complicating these annotations is that White normally plays Qe1-f2 and then Black
replies with Qd8-f8 and Bh6.

18. Rc2 Qd8 19. Bf1 Qf8 20. a3 Kh7

21. Qe1

White is prepared to break open with b4 but he wants to wait for the best moment. In a
previous game Mamedov was OK after his opponent tried this move.

21. b4 axb4 22. axb4 Na4 23. Nd5 e6 24. Nf4 Rd8 25. Rb3 Bh6 26. Ra3 d5 27. exd5 exd5
28. cxd5 Bxf4 29. Bxf4 Rxd5 30. Qe1Rad8 and Black is OK in Rodshtein-Mamedov,

21... Ne6 22. Qf2 f5! 23. exf5 Qxf5 24. Rd1

Angling for Bd3-e4 which would be very strong.

24... Nf4 25. b4?!

At last White makes the advance that he was yearning for. Is it good? Probably not. It
would have been good a few moves ago, with the black queen on b6 and the knight on
c5, but Black prepared his defence. White advances his pawn at the worst moment.

25... axb4 26. axb4 Ra3 27. Bd4 Bxd4 28. Rxd4 Ra1
Now White has weakened his first rank and he has to be careful.

29. Rcd2 b6 30. Rd1 Rca8 31. Qe3 Ne6 32. R4d2 Qf6 33. Kg1 Ng7 34. Ne2 Nf5

Interesting was 34... R8a2

Contrary, defending with the passive 34... Rxd1 35. Rxd1 Rb8 would imply the failure of
Blacks strategy.

35. Qxb6

35... Ba4?

Black had to play 35... R8a2! maintaining some initiative, because if White confidently
plays 36. Qxc6? he loses after 36... Rxd2 37. Rxd2 Ne3 with a mortal attack.

36. Rxa1 Qxa1 37. Ng3! Nxg3 38. hxg3 Qf6?

Black was already in bad shape, but now he definitely falls below the action of Whites
pieces. Better was 38... Bb3, communicating the queen and the rook.

39. Ra2! h4 40. gxh4 Qxh4 41. b5!

The game is decided. White has an extra pawn and superior position.

41... Qf4 42. Qf2 1-0

Game 51
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
In this game Carlsen is able to combine attack and defence prophylactically at a very
high level to overcome Nakamura, who at the time was playing very well. Defeating
Nakamura in this edition of Wijk aan Zee was an impossible feat for everyone except
one player. In view of the form of the American GM, defeating him would require
playing at Gods level and that is why the following game is so good. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2814

Nakamura, H USA 2751
Sicilian Defense [B92]
Wijk aan Zee, 2011

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6

Due to his excellent position in the tournament Nakamura doesnt fear playing the
Najdorf against Carlsen. In addition to this, the day before Carlsen had played poorly
against Anands Najdorf. He tried 6.g3 and got nothing from the opening.

6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Be3

It seems that Carlsen is going for one of the slow positional lines that Karpov glorified
when suddenly Nakamura castles, which is a move that theory considers to be very

8... O-O?!

It has always been known that the correct move order is 8... Be6 because now against 9.
g4 Black would react strongly with 9...d5 and after 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Bxd5 the
attack would be ridiculous.

9. g4!

Carlsen doesnt miss his opportunity and accepts the challenge!

9... Be6 10. g5

Anyone could ask, why is this line considered to be dubious when in the famous 6.Be3
variation Black also castles and White always advances his pawn to g5? Well, here is the
answer. If the current position was the English Attack, the bishop would be on f1 and
the pawn on f3 and this would imply two big differences; first of all, the black knight
could go to h5, from where it can accomplish the important defensive task of paralyzing
whites pawns, and secondly, as White has not played f2-f3, Carlsen will be able to
advance his pawn to f4 in one move. Sicilian players always enjoy saving a tempo.

10... Nfd7 11. h4 Nb6

It may seem strange moving the knight here without having advanced the pawn to b5
first, but this is played quite frequently; its just one of many lines.

12. Qd2 N8d7 13. f4

This was thought to be the novelty, although after painstaking scrutiny we have found
out that it isnt. But when Carlsen decides to advance his pawn to f4 before castling he is
definitely at one of the most important moments of the game. In most of the games in
which White already has his pawns on g5 and h5, the attack continues with g5-g6,
without playing f4, not allowing the knight to get to the important e5 square.

A relatively recent example of this same position is the game Gunnarsson-Adly,

Reykjavik 2008 that continued 13. O-O-O a5 14.a4 Qc7 15. Kb1 Rfc8 16. h5 Nc4 17. Bxc4
Qxc4 18. Qd3 f5 and Black solved his opening problems quite well.

13... exf4 14. Bxf4 Ne5 15. O-O-O Rc8 16. Kb1 Qc7 17. h5

This is the theoretical novelty, although its nothing more than a natural advance. It is
definitely an indication that instead of spending so many hours trying to innovate in a
certain position its more important to spend this time discovering which the most
dangerous variations are and which should be chosen for the game.

17. Nd4 Nbc4 18. Bxc4 Nxc4 19. Qd3 Qb6 20. Bc1? Na3+ 21. Ka1 Qxd4! And White lost a
pawn fair and square in Arizmendi-Ferrer, Torrevieja.

17... Rfe8?!

Nakamura should have played 17... Nbc4 directly, although after 18. Bxc4 Nxc4 19. Qd3
White maintains a small initiative and against 19... Na3+ he can play 20. Kc1 or even

18. Ka1!?

Although the engines prefer a more aggressive disposition, this human move was
praised after the game. White anticipates all the tactical themes on the queenside before
launching his attack.

18... Bf8 19. Nd4 Qc5

After all the previous preparations White is ready to answer 19... Nec4 20. Bxc4 Nxc4
21. Qd3 Qb6 with 22. b3 Ne5 23. Qg3 and his king is very safe. However, note that by
continuously avoiding these variations Nakamura is delaying his counterattack
unnecessarily. Carlsen completely takes over the initiative now.

20. g6! Nec4 21. Bxc4 Nxc4 22. Qd3 fxg6

22... Qb4 23. Bc1

23. hxg6 h6 24. Qg3!

An amazing move. We shall see the effect during the game. For the moment White
prevents the knight from reaching e5, an important defensive resource in the Sicilian.

24... Qb6 25. Bc1 Qa5 26. Rdf1!

In addition to being a very useful move it directly threatens 27.Rxf8!

26... Ne5 27. Nd5 Bxd5 28. exd5 Qxd5

The time to conclude the game has arrived. Carlsen finishes off in an exemplary and
spectacular way.
29. Bxh6!! gxh6

Against 29... Qxd4 then 30. Be3 and if Black moves his queen then 31.Rh8+. wins.

30. g7 Be7

30... Bxg7 31. Nf5.

31. Rxh6

And Whites attack sweeps through.

31... Nf7 32. Qg6 Nxh6 33. Qxh6 Bf6 34. Qh8+ Kf7 35. g8=Q+ Rxg8 36. Qxf6+ Ke8
37. Re1+ 1-0
Game 52
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
A battle between colossus in which Carlsen demonstrates once more his universal play
and his skill to combine attack and defence. His capability to calculate accurately and
objectively in tense and long battles such as this one has been crucial to his success. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2815

Nakamura, N USA 2776
QGD [D31]
Medias, 2011

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. Qc2 Bg4

This move was new for Carlsen. He was too young to remember the days when Lajos
Portisch used this move successfully. Blacks idea is to exchange the light-squared
bishop on g6. This idea is normally a good recipe to equalize in the Exchange Variation
of the Queens Gambit.

7. e3 Bh5 8. Bd3 Bg6 9. Bxg6 hxg6 10. O-O-O Nf6 11. f3 Nbd7 12. Nge2

"I cant play 12. e4 immediately because 12... Nh5 is unpleasant and if 13. Be3 Ng3!"
Carlsen explained.

12... b5!?

Played after half a hour of thought. "It seemed that he hadnt analyzed plans involving
long castling" said Carlsen. "Blacks move is logical - he has to create some activity."

13. e4 b4 14. Na4 dxe4 15. fxe4 Qa5 16. Kb1

"Its important not to rush" said Carlsen.

"I wasnt sure at all of the lines with 16. e5 Nd5 17. e6 and I thought that I could play
17... fxe6 18. Qxc6 Kf7! And if 19. Qxd7 he has 19...Rhd8"

16... O-O

16... Nb6 17. Qxc6+ Kf8 18. Nc5

17. h4!
"I was very pleased with this move" said Carlsen. "That is why it was very important to
exchange on g6 - now I have an objective."

17... Rfe8

"Very provocative" thought Carlsen.

18. e5! Nd5 19. h5 g5

20. h6!

"I really wanted to play 20. e6!?" said Carlsen "but 20... gxf4! 21. exd7 (If 21. exf7+ Kxf7
22. Qg6+ Kf8 23. h6 Bf6 24. hxg7+ Bxg7 25.Rh7 Re7 and I couldnt see a mate.) 21...
Red8 22. Qxc6 Ne3 didnt seem clear to me."

20... g6 21. Bc1

"I also considered 21. Bd2" said Carlsen "and now he doesnt have the trick ...b3 but
after 21... N5b6 22. Nxb6 axb6 23. Nc1 Qd5 , White is obviously better but I didnt see a
clear way to continue."

21... N7b6?

"I thought that I had to play 21... N5b6" said Carlsen "although now its better for me to
have the d-file open [compared with the position with the bishop on d2] in the line 22.
Nc5!? Nxc5 23. dxc5 Qxc5 24. Qe4 when the move 25.e6 has to be taken into account."
However, this line seems to be adequate for Black after 24... Qc4

22. Nc5! Bxc5 23. dxc5 b3 24. Qxb3 Qxc5 25. Nd4

"I was very surprised when my opponent played this way as I was sure that my position
here was favorable" explained Carlsen.

25... Rxe5 26. Nf3 Re2?!

"This seems active but the rook is hanging in many variations" said Carlsen.
"I thought 26... Re7 was the best move."

27. Nxg5 Qe7 28. Qd3! Rf8 29. Rdf1 f5

"A very ugly move but forced" said Carlsen. "30.Rxf7! is the big threat."

30. g4! Na4!? 31. Qd4?!

Allowing some unnecessary tricks.

After 31. Ka1! 32.Qd4 becomes a strong threat and if 31...Qe5 32.Qa3! wins.

31... Qe5!

32. Qxe5

"I missed that after 32. Qxa4? Nc3+! 33. bxc3 Rb8+ 34. Qb3+ Rxb3+ 35. axb3 Black has
35... Qd5! covering f7 and attacking b3" admitted Carlsen. "But I was happy anyway - the
ending with the pawn on h6 and the knight on g5 must be winning."

32... Rxe5 33. gxf5 gxf5

By now Nakamura had less than two minutes left and avoids 33... Rexf5 34. Rxf5 Rxf5
(34... gxf5 35. b3! Nac3+ 36. Kc2 followed by Bb2 and White wins.) 35. Re1! and White
must be winning easily.

34. Nf3 Re7

"A mistake, but I was low on time and the position is very difficult" explained Carlsen.

In any case 34... Re6 35. Nd4 Ref6 36. h7+ Kh8 37. Bh6! doesnt help much.

35. Rfg1+ Kh7

Now Nakamura moved his head from one side to the other angrily while his clock run
down to zero.
35... Kh8 loses even faster to 36. Nh4!

36. Rg7+! Kh8 37. Rhg1! Rfe8 38. Nh4 Rxg7

Played with two seconds on his clock but Nakamura resigned before Carlsen could
answer. After 39.Rxg7 Ne7 40.Rxe7+ ends the fight.

Game 53
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
Over time Magnus Carlsen has developed a sharp instinct to assess correctly each of his
opponent's and detect their weak points, and then adapt his way of playing. This seems
to happen in this game: with a relatively unoffensive opening variation he achieves a
easy win against an experimented grand master. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2815

Nisipeanu, L ROM 2659
QGA [D27]
Medias, 2011

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bxc4 e6 5. Nf3 c5 6. O-O a6 7. dxc5!? Bxc5 8. Qxd8+

Kxd8 9. Be2

At first sight the opening doesnt seem as boring as a Petroff defence but Carlsen
doesnt agree; "I dont know if White is objectively better - actually I doubt it - but I think
that on many occasions White has demonstrated that he can fight for an advantage in the

9... Ke7 10. Nbd2 Bd7 11. Nb3 Bd6?!

"I didnt know this move 11... Bb6 or 11... Ba7 are more normal" said Carlsen.

12. Na5! Ra7?!

"He started to think here for a long time" said Carlsen. "Now I get the bishop pair and a
very pleasant position."

Black had two more promising options 12... b5!? with the intention of playing 13. Nb7
Bb4! 14. a3 Bc6 15. axb4 Bxb7 , and Whites pawn structure makes it difficult to exploit
the bishop pair, or the more passive 12... Bc6

13. Nc4 Bb5 14. b3 Rd8 15. Bb2 Bxc4

"It was still not necessary to capture" said Carlsen "but I think that after 15... Nc6 16. Rfd1
he will still have to capture, as if 16... Raa8 I have 17. Rxd6! Rxd6 18. Nxd6 Kxd6 19. Bd1!
and his pieces are uncoordinated and I have the pair of bishops. Particularly, my bishop on
b2 doesnt have any opposition and eventually it will be very strong."

16. Bxc4 Nc6 17. Rfd1 Raa8 18. h3

18... g6?!

"I was very happy when he allowed me to play g4" said Carlsen. "However, after 18... h5 I
was about to play 19. g3 and 20. Rg2, with the idea of playing g4 later on. He doesnt have
any active play so I dont have to rush."

19. g4! h6

"If 19... h5 I thought 20. g5 Nd7 21. Bd3! was strong, and my bishop will have a very strong
square on e4" explained Carlsen.

20. Bf1!

"My bishop wasnt doing much on c4" said Carlsen.

20... Rac8 21. Rac1 Nd5 22. h4 Ke8 23. g5 hxg5?!

"He should play 23... h5 keeping the h-file closed" said Carlsen. "After 24. Bd3 White
doesnt have a decisive advantage but the position is very unpleasant for Black because he
doesnt have any objectives."

24. hxg5 Be7 25. Kg2 Nb6

26. Bd3! Nb4 27. Be4!

The bishop finally reaches its preferred square - "I think that my opponent is more or less
lost here" said Carlsen.

27... Nxa2 28. Rxd8+ Kxd8

28... Rxd8 isnt better than 29. Rh1

29. Rh1

"There is no way of stopping Whites penetration on the h-file" said Carlsen.

29... Nd5 30. Ne5! f5 31. Bxd5

A surprisingly quick defeat but after 31. Bxd5 exd5 32. Rh8+ Kc7 33. Rh7 Kd8 (33... Kd6
34. Ba3+ Kxe5 35. Rxe7# is even faster) 34. Nxg6 Bxg5 35. Rh5 loses a piece and the


Participants in the Tournament of Kings 2011, held in Medias (Romania). From left to
right: Carlsen, Karjakin, Nakamura, Radjabov and local player, Nisipeanu.
Game 54
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
We don't frequenty see Magnus Carlsen playing well-worn positions such as an isolated
pawn. The Norwegian tries to create his own apparently innocuous battlegrounds, but
as we know he doesn't need much to win a game of chess. However, in this case Carlsen
demonstrates that he can play at a really high level in standard positions and overcome
none less than Vasily Ivanchuk. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2815

Ivanchuk, V UKR 2776
QGA [D27]
Medias, 2011

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Qc2 c5 8. dxc5

This move has been reestablished as the main line against the Ragozin variation,
replacing the usual 8. e3. However, I should mention that 8. g3 has also scored very well.

8... h6 9. Bd2 O-O 10. e3 Bxc5 11. Rc1!?

A new move, but hardly more threatening than the usual 11. Bd3 and 11. Be2 Carlsen
doesnt seem particularly worried about achieving an opening advantage. He simply
tries to achieve a reasonable position where he can play at ease.

11... Qe7 12. Be2 a6 13. Qd3 Nb6 14. O-O Bg4 15. Nd4 Bd7 16. Bf3 Rfe8 17. b3 Ba3
18. Rc2 Rac8

Ivanchuk has came out of the opening with a perfectly safe position, but he is already
playing too fast. This habit was emphasized in the second half of the tournament and it
seemed to indicate that the Ukrainian, normally a deep thinker with time trouble
problems, was not very concentrated.

19. Nce2 Rxc2 20. Qxc2 Be6 21. Bc1 Rc8 22. Bxa3 Qxa3 23. Qd2 Bg4

"Simplifying with the exchange of all the bishops is normal, but here its a bit risky because
he is able to get a knight to f5" said Carlsen.

24. Bxg4 Nxg4 25. Nf5 Nf6 26. h3

"I spent a lot of time here thinking how to continue my attack" said Carlsen, "but 26. Qd4
Nbd7 27. Nf4 Qc5 and now I can win a pawn with 28. Nxd5!? although after 28... Qxd4 29.
Nfe7+ Kf8 30. exd4 Rc2 it isnt very promising."

26... Kh7 27. Qd4 Nbd7 28. Qf4!?

28... Nf8

"I thought that this was a good move, at least psychologically" explained Carlsen. "If 28...
Qxa2 I play 29. Ned4 with the double threat 30.Nxg7 and 30.Nd6 which seems very
dangerous for Black." In fact, Black can probably hold his own after 29... Qa3! although
Ivanchuk would have had to find the right continuation between the dark complications
of 30. Nxg7! Kxg7 31. Nf5+ Kg6! 32. b4! and now the natural 32... Rc1? loses in view of
the ingenious (32... Qc3!holds) 33. Qg3+! Kxf5 34. e4+!

29. Neg3

"I calculated 29. Nxh6!? a long time" admitted Carlsen," but after 29... Ne6! (if 29... Ng6 is
good 30. Qf5) 30. Qf5+ (If 30. Qh4? g5!wins a piece) 30... Kxh6 31. g4 threatening mate on
h4 and Ng3 but he can play 31... Qb2! 32. Ng3 g6! and after 33. g5+ Kg7 34. gxf6+Qxf6 and
Black is very solid and with such an exposed king I dont think that I can stand better here.
Therefore, with only 10 minutes left to get to move 40, I decided to play it safe." Carlsen
was right - after 35. Qxd5 Rc2 Black has a lot of counterplay for the pawn.

29... Ng6 30. Qd4 Qc5

Now 30... Qxa2? 31. Nxg7! Kxg7 32. Nh5+ would be disastrous for Black.

31. f3 Qxd4 32. Nxd4 Ne5 33. Rd1 g6 34. Kf2 Kg7 35. Nge2 Kf8 36. g4 Nc6 37. Rc1

"If 37... Ne7 then 38. Rd1 . I played 37. Rc1 simply to repeat moves and reach the time
control and then decide what to do" admitted Carlsen frankly." Its clear that the position
is nearer to a draw than to a win."

38. h4 Kd6 39. h5 Ne7?!

Played quickly. "39... gxh5 40. gxh5 Nxh5 41. Rh1 Ng7 42. Rxh6+ Ne6 was also good for
him" said Carlsen.

40. Rh1 gxh5 41. gxh5 Rg8 42. Ng3 Rg5 43. b4 Kd7 44. Rh4 Ne8 45. Rf4 Nd6 46. a4

"Unnecessary" said Carlsen. "I thought that Ivanchuk could simply play 46... Kc7 but maybe
he didnt like 47. Rg4!? against which I cant reply 47... f6 because of 48. Ne6+"

47. a5 bxa5 48. bxa5 f5

"Again I thought about 48... Kc7 because if 49. Rg4 I would have to watch out for my
queenside" said Carlsen. "47.a5 is always double-edged because this pawn could end up
being a weakness. Maybe Ivanchuk thought that he didnt have to calculate this line, but
after my next move he will be in serious trouble."

49. Rh4 Nc4?!

Maybe this is the decisive mistake in a position which has gradually deteriorated.

After 49... Rg8 50. Rh1 Rb8 Black still resists.

50. f4! Rg4 51. Rh3!

51. Rh1!? "I calculated 51... Nxe3! 52. Kf3 Rg8 53. Rb1 Nc4 but I didnt think it was totally
clear" admitted Carlsen, an opinion which is justified by the variation 54. Rb7+ Kd6 55.
Ngxf5+ Nxf5 56. Nxf5+ Kc5 57. Rc7+ Kb5 58. Rd7 Kc5 59. Rxd5+ Kxd5 60. Ne7+Ke6 61.
Nxg8 Nxa5 62. Nxh6 Nc4 and Black should be able to hold in this knight ending.

51... Nd6 52. Rh1 Rg8 53. Rb1 Ra8 54. Kf3 Kc7 55. Ne6+ Kc8

Against 55... Kd7 Carlsen was considering repeating moves with 56. Nd4 although (56.
Nc5+ Kc6 57. Nd3! looks very strong, for example: 57... Nc4 58. Ne5+ Nxe5+ 59. fxe5 and
the White king advances. 56. Nc5 Rb8

"This loses directly" said Carlsen, although even the most resistant 56... Nc6 loses to 57.
Rb6 Kc7 58. Nxa6+ Kd7 59. Nc5+ Kc7 60.Ne6+ Kd7 61. a6!
57. Rxb8+ Kxb8 58. Nxa6+ Kb7 59. Nb4 Nc4 60. a6+ Kb6 61. Ke2 Nd6 62. Kd3 Nb5
63. Ne2 Ka5

64. Nc3! Nc7 65. Nbxd5!

The final touch. Tactics, as usual, decide a model positional game.

65... Nexd5 66. Nxd5 Nxd5 67. a7 Nc7 68. Kd4 Kb6 69. Ke5 Kxa7 70. Kxf5 Nd5 71.
Kg6 Nxe3 72. Kxh6 1-0
Game 55
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
In this game Alexei Shirov plays one of his favourite variations in the Merano and he
energetically prepares to attack his opponent's castled king. But Carlsen cold-bloodily
opens up the game on the queenside, and afterwards in the center, fulminating Black's
king. A huge strategic lesson, making Shirov appear to be a very easy opponent for
Magnus. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2821

Shirov, A LAT 2714
QGD Semi-Slav [D47]
Biel, 2011

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7

9. O-O

9. e4 wasnt so effective because of 9... b4! 10. Na4 c5 and Black frees his position
without losing time with...a6, which is what happens in the game.

9... a6 10. e4 c5

10... b4 11. Na4 c5 12. e5 Nd5 13. Ng5 is another possible alternative.

11. d5!

The move that puts Blacks setup to the test.

After 11. e5 cxd4 12. Nxb5 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nd5 14. Nxd4 Nxe5 Black is OK.

11... c4

11... Qc7 is the most popular line but Carlsen just said that "this move will usually
transpose to the same lines", without mentioning any more details

11... e5 is worse because of 12. b3! with the idea to continue with a2-a4.

Its also dangerous to capture the pawn with 11... exd5 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Nxd5 Bxd5 14.
Bxb5 axb5 15. Qxd5 Be7 16. Rd1 Ra717. Be3 and the threat 18.b4 gives White a clear

12. Bc2 Qc7

12... e5 is answered by 13. Ne2 followed by b3

13. Nd4

13. dxe6 fxe6 14. Nd4 is the most usual line but after 14... Nc5 s not easy to fight for the

13... e5

With this infrequent move, Shirov tries to surprise his opponent.

13... Nc5 is the normal move. Nearly everyone knows the brilliant game in which
Kramnik defeated Kasparov in 1996 at Dos Hermanas, which continued 14. b4 (14. Qe2
has been played successfully in recent years.) 14... cxb3 15. axb3 b4 16. Na4 Ncxe417.
Bxe4 Nxe4 18. dxe6 Bd6 19. exf7+ Qxf7 20. f3 Qh5 21. g3 O-O 22. fxe4 Qh3 and Black
won brilliantly.

14. Nf5 g6 15. Nh6! Nh5 16. g3!

"Here I started to like my position", said Carlsen. He explained that he knew a game
between Gelfand and Dreev that continued 16.Qf3 Nf4 17. Nxf7 Kxf7 18. g3 g5 19. gxf4
gxf4 and Black was more or less OK.

16... Bc5 17. Qf3 Rf8 18. Bd2!

"His last two moves were logical, but even so Black is up against a tremendous danger"
said Carlsen, "Now 19.b4 is a serious threat".

18... Bd4

Shirov thought a long time but he was unable to achieve anything decent. If 18... Qd6 I
planned to play 19. b4! in any case, for example 19... Bxb4 20. a4 and against 20... Bxc3
21. Qxc3! not allowing ...b4, and White has excellent compensation for the pawn.

19. b4! cxb3 20. Bxb3 Qd6

Carlsen explained that 20... b4 21. Ne2! Bxa1 wasnt good because of 22. Bxb4 for
example 22... Bb2 23. Bxf8 Nxf8 24. d6 Qd725. Ba4!
21. Rac1 Ng7 22. a4 f5

Black is worse but this move doesnt solve anything.

But Carlsen explained that against 22... b4 he was thinking of answering with 23. Ne2
Bc5 24. a5 followed by Ba4.

23. axb5 f4 24. Ne2 Bb6 25. bxa6

If 25. Ba4 a5

25... Bxa6 26. Bc4

"26. Rc6?! was very tempting, but Black has the reply 26... Qa3!" said Carlsen.

26... g5 27. Bxa6 Rxa6

If 27... Qxh6 28. Bb5 Qh3 29. Kh1 g4 30. Ng1! Qxf1 31. Bxd7+ Kd8 32. Qxg4 with a
winning position.

28. Rc8+!

The direct 28. Rc6 Bxf2+ 29. Qxf2 Rxc6 30. dxc6 Qxc6 is less clear, as Carlsen explained,
as Black gets two pawns for the piece.

28... Bd8

The key of the check on c8 is that after

28... Ke7 29. Rc6 is much more stronger, because against 29... Bxf2+ 30. Qxf2 Rxc6 31.
dxc6 Qxc6 White has 32. Bb4+.

29. Nf5 Nxf5 30. exf5 Nf6

30... Rxf5 doesnt work in view of 31. Qd3 Rf7 (31... Rf6 32. Nc3) 32. Bb4!

31. Qd3 Ra7

As Carlsen indicated, if 31... Rb6 32. Ba5 Rb8 33. Bc7! White wins.

32. Qb5+ Qd7

If 32... Rd7 33. Bb4 Qxd5 34. Rxd8+! Kxd8 35. Qb8#!

33. Rxd8+! 1-0

Game 56
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
In the following game, each player goes for the type of positions that are most
uncomfortable for his opponent, but Magnus judges the position excellently. The
positional exchange sacrifice works perfectly against Caruana, who collapses after a few
moves. Minutes after finishing the game, Carlsen mentioned the fact that Caruana had
never played against the Scotch, which is quite curious as it is a very popular defence. It
reflects the fact that top players have very deep preparation; they delve into their
opponents games and try to lead them into less-known grounds. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2821

Caruana, F ITA 2711
Scotch game [C45]
Biel, 2011

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nxc6 bxc6

The most theoretical move here is 5...Qf6 but its understandable that Caruana prefers a
traditional, less theoretical, path.

6. Bd3 Qh4 7. Qe2 Ne7

Along with the fact that Caruana had never played against the Scotch, it is also
incredible that this natural knight move had never been played before.

The move 7... Nf6 is always played here 8. h3 d5 9. g3 Qh5 10. Qxh5 Nxh5 11. Nc3 Nf6
12. Bf4 Bb4 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. Bd2Nxc3 15. Bxc3 Bxc3+ 16. bxc3 Be6 and the position
doesnt offer anything at all in Ivanchuk-Malakhov, Warsaw.

8. Nc3 O-O 9. Be3 Bb6 10. O-O d5 11. exd5 Nxd5

Against 11... cxd5 Carlsen planned to continue 12. Bxb6 axb6 13. Rae1 with a strong
initiative, for example 13... Ng6 14. Nxd5Rxa2 15. f4 and the position is unpleasant for

12. Bd2 Bd4

A sensible answer.

Worse was 12... Bg4 13. Qe4! Rae8 14. Qc4 and Black suffers.

13. Rae1 Nb4

Trying to simplify with 13... Nxc3 14. bxc3 Bb6 15. Qf3! Bd7 16. Re4 Qd8 17. Qh5
wouldnt have been good as White now launches a tremendous attack on Blacks castled

14. Qe4! Qxe4 15. Bxe4 Ba6 16. Ne2 Bc5 17. a3

White could have won a pawn with 17. Bxb4 Bxb4 18. c3 Bd6 19. Bxc6 Rab8 but Black
would have achieved excellent compensation.

17... Nd5

Another reasonable option was 17... Rae8 18. axb4 Rxe4 19. bxc5 Bxe2 20. f3 although
in this ending with opposite-coloured bishops Black will have to suffer a lot because of
his awful pawn structure.

18. b4 Bd6

Against 18... Rfe8 White was planning to continue in the same way as in the game with
19. Bf3 Bd6 20. Nd4 Bxf1 21. Rxf1.

19. Nd4!

This exchange sacrifice injects some dynamism to the game.

19... Bxf1 20. Kxf1 Nb6 21. Nxc6 Rfe8 22. a4! Kf8
Black reacts in the best possible way.

The ending after 22... Nxa4 23. Ne7+ Rxe7 24. Bxa8 Rxe1+ 25. Kxe1 c5 may be
sustainable, but Black would have to play very carefully because the bishop pair is
always capable of unbalancing any ending.

23. a5 Nc4 24. Bc1

The game is near the end, even though no commentator could anticipate it. Basically
because Caruana now moves his pawn to a6, a reasonable move although apparently

24... a6

The idea of playing a7-a6 can be justified with the following variation: 24... f5 25. Bxf5
Rxe1+ 26. Kxe1 Re8+ 27. Kf1 Ne5 28. Be4Nxc6 29. Bxc6 Bxb4 30. Bxe8 Kxe8 31. a6! in
which White keeps his extra pawn. Caruana will try to reach this ending but with the
pawn on a6, which would prevent White from advancing and therefore defending his
pawn on a5.

25. f4?

When he saw that his opponent replied with 24... a6 instantly, Carlsen sensed that it was
a big mistake. He thought that his opponent had forgotten that his knight on c4 could be
trapped and he quickly advanced his pawn to f4. The idea is logical; he takes away the
only retreat square for the knight and he prepares to attack it on his next move. But in
chess, logic gives way many times to tactics and only after advancing his pawn did
Carlsen realize that he had just made a big mistake. Luckily for him, Caruana didnt
notice either and he missed a good chance.

Against the natural move 25. g3 Black would react in the way that we have mentioned
before with 25... f5! 26. Bxf5 Rxe1+ 27.Kxe1 Re8+ 28. Kf1 Ne5 29. Be4 Nxc6 30. Bxc6
Bxb4 31. Bxe8 Kxe8.

Worse is 25. Bd5 Rxe1+ 26. Kxe1 Re8+ 27. Kf1 Ne5 28. c3 Ng4! and Black is better.
25... Re6??

This is a blackout. His 2.711 rating points were not enough for Caruana to see that he
had an elegant knight jump to e3, not that his knight was in big danger.

25... Ne3+! would have saved the game with no problems. The forced sequence 26. Rxe3
Bxf4 27. Rf3 Bxc1 28. Bd5 f6 leads to a position in which neither of the two players can
find a win, for example 29. Kf2 Bd2 30. c3 Be1+ 31. Kf1 Bd2.

26. Bd5 Rf6 27. Re4

And Black resigned, as the knight is trapped. A really surprising conclusion for a game
which was meant to have been quite long.

Game 57
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Severely punished in earlier games against Carlsen, Shirov goes for a solid setup. But
time has demonstrated that this strategy doesn't work against the Norwegian, who feels
like a fish in the water in this type of games. Magnus sacrifices a pawn to keep his good
bishop and achieves an impeccable win, conquering the board step by step in his own
unique style. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Shirov, A LAT 2714

Carlsen, M NOR 2821
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
Biel, 2011

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. Bg5

In this position everyone castles but Shirov chooses a slow setup.

6... h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. Nbd2 d6

And now he decides again not to castle, and instead plays directly.

9. Nf1 Nb8 10. Ne3 Ng4 11. Bg3 Nxe3 12. fxe3 Nd7

For the third time he delays castling in order to play as soon as possible.

13. d4

And therefore avoid additional preparations to advance his pawn to d4 after 13. O-O

13... Nf6 14. Bd3

White threatens to construct a strong center and achieve a significant advantage.

Therefore Carlsen reacts immediately.

14... Ng4 15. Qe2 Bg5

The game reaches an important moment as White must choose between a large group of

16. dxe5

None of the following variations stands out particularly

16. Bf2 Nxf2 17. Qxf2 Bf6.

16. Nxg5 Qxg5 17. Kd2 exd4 18. cxd4 Re8.

16. h3 Nxe3 17. h4 Bf4 (17... exd4 18. cxd4) 18. Bf2 exd4 19. cxd4 Nf5.

16... dxe5 17. Bxe5 Bh4+ 18. g3 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Bf6 20. Nf3 Qe7 21. O-O-O c6?! 22.
Nd4 a6 23. Rhf1 c5 24. Nf5 Bxf5 25. Rxf5 b526. Bc2 c4

A difficult position to evaluate has been reached. White has an insignificant extra
doubled pawn, but he does control the f and d files, and can create action on the
diagonal c2-h7 or even d5-f7 with his bishop.

27. Rfd5

Nothing was to be achieved by 27. e5 Bxe5 28. Be4 Rad8 (28... Bxc3 29. Bd5) 29. Bd5 g6
30. Rff1 Kg7.

27... Be5

A very important move. Black needs to maintain an iron blockade on this square, to
prevent White from activating his bishop.

28. Qh5 Rae8 29. a3 Qa7 30. Kd2

30. Rxe5 didnt work due to 30... Qxe3+ 31. Kb1 g6.

30. R1d4 is nice but doesnt have any practical use.

30... Qb8 31. Ke2 Re6 32. Qh4 Qb6 33. Rd8 Ree8 34. Rxe8 Rxe8 35. Rd5 Qc7
The game is quite equal. In any case White doesnt stand worse but there are reasons to
lose the game. However, Shirov wants to win, and true to his enterprising style he gives
his colleagues an example with his ambition in this game. And if one player wants to win
he can always lose, that is chess.

36. a4!? Qb6 37. axb5 axb5 38. Qh5

Also interesting is 38. Rd7 b4 39. Re7.

38... Qb8 39. Rd7

It seems that Black is in a crisis, but Carlsen finds some resources.

39... g6 40. Qf3

40. Qxh6 b4 with attack.

40... Rf8 41. Kf2 b4 42. Qe2 bxc3 43. bxc3 Qc8!

43... Qb2 44. Bd3! Qb5 45. Rd5.

44. Qd2 Bxc3 45. Qd5

Threatening e5.

45... Qa6
46. e5?

The decisive mistake

46. Bd1! would have eliminate all of Whites problems 46... Qf6+ 47. Kg2 Rc8 (47... Be1
48. Qxc4 Qf2+ 49. Kh3) 48. Be2 Qe6 49.Rd8+ Rxd8 50. Qxd8+ Kg7 51. Qd5.

46... Qa2 47. Qe4 Bxe5 48. h4 Re8 49. Kg2 h5 50. Kh3

Against 50. g4 hxg4 51. h5 the safest line seems to be 51... Qa8 52. hxg6 fxg6 53. Rd5
Bg7! 54. Qxc4 Rc8 55. Qb3 Rxc2+ 56. Kg3Qa2.

50... c3 51. Rd5 Qa6 52. Bd3

52. Rxe5 Qf1+ 53. Kh2 Rxe5 54. Qxe5 Qf2+ 55. Kh3 Qxc2 56. Qe8+ Kg7 57. Qe5+ Kh7.

52... Qc8+ 53. Kg2 Bg7 54. Rc5 Qd7 55. Qc4 Rxe3 56. Rc7

56. Bxg6 Be5 57. Rd5 Qe6 58. Rd8+ Kg7 59. Qxe6 fxe6.

56... Rxg3+ 57. Kxg3 Be5+ 58. Kf2 Qxc7 59. Qxc7 Bxc7 60. Kf3 0-1
Game 58
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
A great game by Magnus Carlsen, overcoming Ivanchuk with original play full of
dynamics. (GM Miguel Illescas)

One of the most dramatic games of the tournament was Carlsen against Ivanchuk in the
second-to-last game. Back from Brazil, Ivanchuk consolidated his leadership with his
sixth round win against Nakamura, but in the seventh he lost against Paco Vallejo and
drew with Anand in the eighth round. These results allowed Carlsen to place himself
only three points away, according to the special point system in this event. He had to
win to catch up with him. The game between these two great players was extraordinary
and we are pleased to be able to offer it to our readers with some notes by Magnus

Shirov, A LAT 2714

Carlsen, M NOR 2821
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
Biel, 2011

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. Qc2 Bb7 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 Ne4 8. Qc2 f5
9. g3 Nf6?!

Obviously, his intention was to reach the position after 9... O-O 10. Bg2 Nf6 11. O-O Be4 but
White has another option. (Carlsen)

10. Bh3!?

I am really not sure if 10.Bh3 is a great move, but at least its interesting. (Carlsen)

10... O-O 11. O-O a5?!

The idea behind 10.Bh3 is clear in the variation 11... Be4 when after moving my queen I
will soon expel his bishop with Nd2. However, I wasnt expecting the move 10...a4 and
instead I thought that he had to play 11... Qe8 immediately. (Carlsen)

12. Rd1

Usually when Black plays a5 in this type of position White answers with b3 to prevent a4,
but in this specific position I thought that as my development was better he would not
have time to advance his pawn to a4. (Carlsen)

12... Qe8 13. d5 Na6 14. Bf4

After this move I liked my position quite a lot. All my pieces are developed very well.

This was the move that Carlsens father predicted correctly while he was observing the
game through the glass box.

14... exd5

My opponent thought quite a long time before playing this move. I dont think that its very
healthy because it opens the position for my bishops. (Carlsen)

15. Bxf5 dxc4

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Be3 Qe7 6. Bxc6 bxc6 7. Bxc5 Qxc5 8. Nc3 O-O
9. O-O Rb8 10. Qd2 Qe7 11. b3 c512. h3 d6 13. Nh2 Nh5 14. Nd5 Qd8 15. Rae1 Be6 16.
Nc3 f5 17. exf5 Bxf5 18. f3 Bg6 19. Rf2 Qh4 20. Nd5 Rf7 21. Qc3 c6 22.Ne3 Nf4 23. Qd2
Rbf8 24. Nd1 h5 25. Nc3 Bf5 26. Ne2 Ne6 27. Qe3 Rf6 28. Kh1 Rg6 29. Rg1 Nc7 30. Rgf1
Nd5 31. Qd2 The tournament rules stipulated a rapid game match in the case of a tie for
first place. In front of exceptional media coverage, which included live broadcast by the
Basque TV, Carlsen and Ivanchuk played two 5-minute games in the glass box. In the
first game both players had their chances, but in the second game Black had the
advantage right from the opening. Carlsen wanted to attack no matter what while
Ivanchuk defended passively, but playing at the speed of light. His strategy was to hang
on at all costs and then win on time. 31... Rgf6 This move leads to the decisive stage of
the game. The move is not very precise; Black should have taken back the bishop first,
for example to d7. 32. Nc3?! No one realized, but Ivanchuk could have taken advantage
to get rid of some of his problems by playing 32. f4! which would have also been a tough
psychological blow because Black must play on the defensive. 32... e4 33. dxe4 Bxe4 34.
Nf3 Bxf3 35.Rxf3. 32... Nf4 The game continues as before. 33. Ne4 Rg6 34. Rg1 Qd8 35.
Nf1? Ivanchuk keeps playing very fast and makes this mistake, because it allows 35...d5!
that increases Blacks advantage considerably. Carlsen missed it for the moment. 35...
Qe7 36. Nfg3? But he finally ended up spotting the possibility when his opponent
insisted. 36... d5 37. Nxf5 Rxf5 38. Nc3 Qh4 White is now completely defenseless faced
with the aggressive piece disposition of his opponent. At last the tournament came to its
end. 39. Kh2 Qg3+ 39... Qg3+ And White resigned in view of 40. Kh1 Nxh3. 0-1

16. Ng5! Qh5

The position has become very dangerous for Black, for example 16... h6 would have
allowed 17. Bxd7! Qe7 18. Qxc4+ Kh8 19. Qe6 and White wins. (Carlsen)

17. Rxd7!!
I had foreseen this sacrifice a few moves back and I was very excited. In fact, I thought I
was going to win very quickly. (Carlsen)

The computer suggests another very interesting plan 17.Rd4 with the idea of retreating
with the bishop and transferring the rook to h4. None of us in the press room
contemplated this possibility.

17... Kh8!

But after this good defence I was unable to find anything concrete to conclude the game.
Accepting the offer was quickly losing after 17...Nxd7? 18. Bxh7+ Kh8 19. Bg6! because the
queen has no useful squares; for example against 19... Qg4 then simply 20. f3 (Carlsen)

18. Re7?!

I also considered 18. Rad1! but I thought that 18.Re7 was better. I really got lost in the
calculation of all the variations and I missed something. (Carlsen)

18... Nd5 19. Bg4 Qg6 20. Nf7+ Kg8 21. Bf5 Qxf5!

When I played 21.Bf5 I understood that I had missed something very simple because I had
foreseen this queen sacrifice previously in my calculations. Luckily my position is still good.
Black has enough material in exchange for the queen, but the situation of his king is the
only reason that White keeps his options open. (Carlsen)
22. Qxf5 Nxe7 23. Nh6+! gxh6 24. Qg4+ Ng6 25. Bxh6 Rf7 26. Rd1 Re8 27. h4

I must react quickly because if not I can even end up worse. Maybe he should have played
c4-c3 in his previous move, to give his pieces more stability. (Carlsen)

27... Nc5 28. h5 Bc8 29. Qxc4

29... Ne5

This move surprised me, because I thought that the knight would be more exposed on this
square. Ivanchuk meditated for a long time before he moved. One alternative was 29... Nf8
after which I can play 30. Rd5!? but even then things are not totally clear. I was happy that
even after making a mistake in my calculations I still conserved some winning chances.
29... Ne7? seemed to be the best defence but White has the unexpected 30. Qb5! and Black
loses material. (Carlsen)

30. Qh4! Nc6?!

Played instantly, but I should have waited for the advance f4 before retreating my knight
and instead play 30... Ne6 but by then my opponent would have used up all his time.

31. Rd5! Ne6 32. Qc4 Ncd8?

A huge mistake. He could still have resisted with 32... Ne7 33. Re5 Nf5 but he was under
tremendous pressure both on the clock and on the board. (Carlsen)

33. Qg4+ Ng7

Hanging a piece but Ivanchuk had seen that against 33... Kh8 34. Bd2! to give a strong
check on c3, which is another good reason for Black to have played 26... c3. (Carlsen)

34. Qxc8

Ivanchuk was very surprised when I captured his bishop, but he is lost in any case.

Game 59
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Carlsen equalized the game comfortably after Ivanchuk played the opening very
passively. The Norwegian then started to consider playing for a win so he began to
transfer his pieces to the kingside. His opponent wasn't able to react neither on the
queenside nor in the center. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Ivanchuk, V UKR 2765

Carlsen, M NOR 2823
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
Sao Paulo-Bilbao, 2011

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Be3 Qe7 6. Bxc6 bxc6 7. Bxc5 Qxc5 8.
Nc3 O-O 9. O-O Rb8 10. Qd2 Qe7 11. b3 c512. h3 d6 13. Nh2 Nh5 14. Nd5 Qd8 15.
Rae1 Be6 16. Nc3 f5 17. exf5 Bxf5 18. f3 Bg6 19. Rf2 Qh4 20. Nd5 Rf7 21. Qc3 c6
22.Ne3 Nf4 23. Qd2 Rbf8 24. Nd1 h5 25. Nc3 Bf5 26. Ne2 Ne6 27. Qe3 Rf6 28. Kh1
Rg6 29. Rg1 Nc7 30. Rgf1 Nd5 31. Qd2

The tournament rules stipulated a rapid game match in the case of a tie for first place. In
front of exceptional media coverage, which included live broadcast by the Basque TV,
Carlsen and Ivanchuk played two 5-minute games in the glass box. In the first game
both players had their chances, but in the second game Black had the advantage right
from the opening. Carlsen wanted to attack no matter what while Ivanchuk defended
passively, but playing at the speed of light. His strategy was to hang on at all costs and
then win on time.

31... Rgf6

This move leads to the decisive stage of the game. The move is not very precise; Black
should have taken back the bishop first, for example to d7.

32. Nc3?!

No one realized, but Ivanchuk could have taken advantage to get rid of some of his
problems by playing 32. f4! which would have also been a tough psychological blow
because Black must play on the defensive. 32... e4 33. dxe4 Bxe4 34. Nf3 Bxf3 35.Rxf3.

32... Nf4

The game continues as before.

33. Ne4 Rg6 34. Rg1 Qd8 35. Nf1?

Ivanchuk keeps playing very fast and makes this mistake, because it allows 35...d5! that
increases Blacks advantage considerably. Carlsen missed it for the moment.

35... Qe7 36. Nfg3?

But he finally ended up spotting the possibility when his opponent insisted.

36... d5 37. Nxf5 Rxf5 38. Nc3 Qh4

White is now completely defenseless faced with the aggressive piece disposition of his
opponent. At last the tournament came to its end.

39. Kh2 Qg3+

39... Qg3+ And White resigned in view of 40. Kh1 Nxh3.

Game 60
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
True to his style, Carlsen applies the recipe that he believes is most appropriate against
each opponent. In this game, he brings Gelfand out of his comfort zone by playing a
crazy game in which the Norwegian, with huge risks, takes the upper hand in a
complicated tactical battle, triggered by his provocative play. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2826

Gelfand, B ISR 2744
QGD Slav [D12]
Tal Memorial - Moscow, 2011

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Nxg6 hxg6 8. Bd3 Nbd7

A solid move. Gelfand played a more open game against Kramnik in Saint Vincent 8... c5
9. Qb3 Qd7 10. cxd5 exd5 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Qb5Qxb5 13. Nxb5 Kd7 14. O-O Nc6 15. Rd1
Ke7 16. Bd2 Bb4 and it turned out well for him because a few moves later they agreed a

9. O-O Bd6 10. h3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Nb6 12. Bb3 e5 13. Qc2 Qe7 14. Bd2 O-O-O

White has a wide range of options such as Nb5, Rfe1, Rae1, etc, but Carlsen is looking for
something more specific.

15. d5

And he finds an inspired Gelfand who immediately begins a promising attack on Whites

15... e4! 16. dxc6 Qe5 17. f4 exf3 18. Rxf3

18... Ng4! 19. cxb7+

19. hxg4 Rh1+ 20. Kf2 Rxa1 21. Ne2 Bc5 22. Rxf7 bxc6 and Black looks great.

19... Kb8 20. hxg4

20. Ne2? Qh2+ 21. Kf1 Qh1+ 22. Ng1 Bh2

20... Rh1+! 21. Kf2 Rxa1 22. Ne2 Bc5 23. Bc3 Qe7

Anyone would say that Black is better. That is what it seems. How shall White
reconstruct his position, and create threats against his opponent?

24. g5 Rdd1 25. Ng3 Bd6

Each move things are looking worse, as Blacks pieces look very threatening while his
king is completely safe.

26. Qe2

26. Ne4? Rac1 27. Qe2 Rf1+

26... Rg1?
26... Bxg3+ 27. Rxg3 Rf1+ 28. Qxf1 Rxf1+ 29. Kxf1 Nd7 30. Rf3 Ne5 31. Rf4 Qxg5 or Kxb7
and Black is better and also out of danger.

27. Qd3

27. Qb5! looks even more intimidating.

27... Bc7

27... Nd7 28. Ne4 Bc7 29. Qd5!

27... Bxg3+ 28. Rxg3 Raf1+ 29. Ke2 and the position is very complicated.

28. Ne4

Blacks position faces a cloud of threats. There is nothing specific yet, but I would like to
draw the readers attention to the fact that while Black has doubled his rooks on the
first rank, in front of them White has his queen, rook, two bishops and a knight. Such a
concentration of pieces can generate threats at any specific moment.

28... Raf1+

Black rushes to exchange a pair of rooks, to reduce the potential of his opponent, but its
unclear that this is a good decision.

29. Ke2 Rxf3 30. gxf3 f5

30... Be5!? 31. Bxf7 Bxc3 32. bxc3 Rg2+ 33. Kf1 and White is better.

31. gxf6 gxf6 32. Bxf6 Qh7 33. Qb5! Rg2+

33... Nd7 34. Bd4 Qh3 35. Nd2.

34. Kd3 Qd7+

The only move to avoid even stronger threats but the ending is unfavourable for Black.
35. Qxd7 Nxd7 36. Bd5! Be5

36... Nxf6 37. Nxf6 a5 38. Nd7+ Ka7 39. e4 Rxb2 40. e5.

37. f4?

37. Bxe5+ Nxe5+ 38. Kd4 Nd7 (38... Nxf3+ 39. Kc3) 39. Bc6 Rg1 40. Nf2 Nf8 41. Bd5 Nd7
42. Nd3.

37... Bc7?

He should have defended with 37... Bxf6 38. Nxf6 Nc5+! 39. Kd4 Rc2 40. b4 Nxb7 41.
Nd7+ Kc7 42. Nf8 although White should still be winning.

38. Bc6

This was one of those games in which you really dont understand how one of the
players lost and the other one won. It was all very dark and complicated. At the very
least we can categorically confirm that Carlsen saw more than his opponent.

Game 61
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Rarely do we see Carlsen, and even more in recent years, playing in an unnatural way,
as in this game. The main reason is that the Norwegian wanted to defeat Kramnik and
did not know how to achieve a position that would offer him some prospects, given the
Russian's encyclopedic knowledge in the opening stage. In fact, years later Magnus
joked about it: "Against Kramnik, I am happy and satisfied with an equal position after
the opening, even with the white pieces!" (GM Miguel Illescas)

Kramnik, V 2800
Carlsen, M NOR 2826
English Opening [A20]
Tal Memorial - Moscow, 2011

This is an extraordinary game, although at the start it seems like a joke. Black plays h6
on his third move without White even having prepared to move his dark-squared
bishop. Then he moves his bishop to b4, and two moves later he retreats to c5. Soon
after he begins a manoeuvre with his knight to get it to d4, costing him 4 tempi.

And what to say about the rest of his pieces? They stay on or near their original squares
and the king remains in the center, tempting Whites pieces that quickly move closer.

On moves 17 and 18 Carlsen retreats even more and a strange position appears, in
which 6 of his 8 pieces remain exactly on their original squares. Meanwhile White is still
playing very aggressive moves, both on the kingside and on the queenside.

Most incredibly, at the end of the game, when both players appeared before the press,
no forced win could be found for White. Even more, not even the computer can find a
win. White is better during the whole game, that is clear. Kramnik could have probably
improved his play and increased his advantage, but he is missing that fatal blow that
frequently escapes the human eye, and which the computer usually finds by just
pressing a button.

The huge difficulties that Carlsen faced in this game, along with his heroic defence,
probably justify that at the end, just when he achieved the happy result of a draw, he
missed the fact that in reality he was the player with the advantage, and that he could
play on with some winning chances.

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 h6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. e4 Nc6 6. Nge2 Bc5 7. d3 d6 8. h3 Nh7

If Black plays the natural 8... O-O 9. O-O Nd4 10. Kh2 c6 then White hits first with 11. f4.
9. a3 a6 10. O-O Ng5

Also bad is 10... O-O 11. Kh2 f5 12. b4 Ba7 13. f4 because the player with superior
development is usually favoured when the game opens up.

11. Kh2 Ne6 12. f4 Bd7 13. b4 Ba7 14. Nd5 Ned4

Worse is 14... Ncd4 15. f5 Nxe2? 16. fxe6!

15. Nec3 Be6?

This move must be bad. Carlsen takes the liberty to assume this flagrant provocation.

The natural move was 15... O-O but Carlsen didnt want to face the storm. However, its
not clear how White will mate the black king once he has castled. There are many
alternatives, for example:

a) 16. f5!? 16... f6 followed by Ne7, c6 and there is a lot of play ahead.

b) 16. fxe5 Nxe5 17. Qh5 c6

c) 16. Qh5 f6 17. fxe5 Nxe518. Bxh6 Be8)

d) 16. b5 axb5 17. cxb5 Ne7 18. fxe5 (18. f5 Nxd5 19. Nxd5 f6) 18... Nxd5 19. Nxd5 dxe5
20. Bxh6 gxh6 21. Rf6 Kg722. Qh5 Qxf6 23. Nxf6 Kxf6

16. f5 Bd7

Black retreats after losing two tempi, facilitating the advance of the f5 pawn. Black is in
big trouble: the f pawn is advancing at any moment and he cant castle. The spectators
thought that it was just a question of waiting for a while until Kramnik found the way to

16... Bxd5 17. exd5.

17. Rb1
Very positional and correct.

17. Qg4 Kf8.

17. Qh5 Nb3.

17. b5 axb5 18. cxb5 Na5 19. b6!?

17... Nb8

Its incredible that such a move can work, but its a good defence.

Against 17... f6 there was a convincing reply 18. Nxf6+!! Qxf6 (18... gxf6? 19. Qh5+ Kf8
20. Bxh6+ Rxh6 21. Qxh6+ Kf7 22. Qh7+Kf8 23. Nd5 Be8 24. Qh6+ Kf7 25. Nxc7) 19. Nd5
Qf7 (19... Qd8 20. Qh5+ Kf8 21. f6 Be8 22. f7 Bd7 23. Rf6!) 20. Nxc7+ Ke7 21.f6+ gxf6 22.
b5 with a strong attack.

18. c5!?

18. Be3 also possible was 18... c6 19. f6 g6 20. Ne7 Be6 21. c5 with a strong initiative.

18... dxc5 19. bxc5 Bc8

Another incredible defensive move. The position should be studied carefully.

20. Qh5

An interesting refinement was first 20. Qg4 Kf8 and only then 21. Qh5 reinforcing the
threat f5-f6.

20... Nd7 21. Na4

21. Bg5 This alternative is very important and must be examined deeply in future
analysis. 21... Qxg5 22. Nxc7+ Kd8 23. Qxg5+(23. Qxf7 It would be great if White could
play this way but its just not tactically possible. 23... Kxc7 24. f6 gxf6 25. Nd5+ Kb826.
c6 (26. Rxb7+ Kxb7 27. Rb1+ Nb5) 26... Nxc6 27. Qe6 Bg1+ 28. Rxg1 Ka7 29. Rgc1 Rb8
and Black resists well.) 23... hxg5 24.Nxa8 Bxc5 25. Na4 (25. a4) 25... Bxa3 26. N8b6 The
ending is microscopically better for White and therefore it didnt seem such a great idea
to go for this variation.

21. h4 Bxc5 (21... c6!?) 22. Bg5 Nf6 23. Bxf6 gxf6 24. Qg4 Bf8.

21... c6 22. Ndb6 Nxc5! 23. f6 g5!

23... gxf6 was losing immediately to 24. Bg5! hxg5 25. Qxh8+.

24. Bxg5?!

Kramnik possibly loses the thread of the game from now onward.

The most promising continuation was 24. Nxc8! Qxc8 25. Nxc5 Bxc5 26. h4 and in
exchange for a miserable pawn White has tremendous attacking options against Blacks
king. The bishop on h3 will bring along new offensive ideas.

24... Nxa4 25. Nxa8

25. Nxa4? b5 26. Nc3 Qd6 27. Bxh6 Be6.

25... b5 26. Be3

Against Bxh6 Black can choose between Be6, Ne6 and Qd6. With any of them he would
be better because the knight on a8 would fall.

26... Bb8

26... Qd6 27. Rbc1 Bb7 28. Qg4 and the position is dynamically balanced.

27. g4 Rg8 28. Qxh6

The move order 28. Bxd4!? Qxd4 (28... exd4+ 29. e5! Qd7 30. Kg1) 29. Qxh6 seemed
better taking advantage of the fact that Black cant capture the pawn on d4.

28... Be6 29. Rbc1?!

29. Kh1? c5.

29. Bxd4 exd4+ 30. e5 Bxe5+ 31. Kh1 Kd7 32. Rbe1 would lead to an improved version
of the game in which White would obtain the draw comfortably.

29... Kd7! 30. Bxd4 exd4+ 31. e5 Nc3

Dangerous is 31... Bxe5+ 32. Kh1 Qxa8 33. Rfe1 Qb8 34. Qh5 with attack

32. Rxc3

32. Qf4 Ba7 33. g5 Qxa8 favours Black.

32... Bxe5+

32... dxc3?! 33. Qe3!

33. Kh1 dxc3 34. Qe3 Qb8! 35. Qc5?!

Due to his lack of precision, Kramnik is slowly worse.

35. d4!? Bd6 36. d5 cxd5 37. Nb6+ Kd8 38. Nxd5 Bxd5 39. Bxd5 Qc7 40. Rc1.

35... Qd6 36. Qa7+ Kd8 37. Qxa6 Bd4! 38. Qa5+ Kc8 39. Qa6+

39. Nb6+? Kb7 40. Nc4 Qc5!

39... Kd8 40. Qa5+ Kc8

41. Qa6+

And Carlsen accepted the draw by move repetition. That night he published in his blog
that "I must have been very relaxed when I arrived at move 40 because I missed a
simple line that would have given me chances to continue to play for a win"

41... Kb8! This is the correct move and after 42. Nb6 Black has 42... Bc8! 43. Nxc8 Rxc8
leaving White in a precarious position.
Game 62
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Also in this game Carlsen is willing to take huge risks to try to win. The way that he
opens his kingside in order to win a pawn demonstrates his ambition. Then as usual, he
handles the position with precision and iron nerves, emerging into an advantageous
endgame and the rest is child's play in his hands. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Nakamura, H USA 2758

Carlsen, M NOR 2826
Queen's Indian Defense [E15]
Tal Memorial - Moscow, 2011

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 Bb4+

This move prevents the sacrifice 5...c5 6.d5! which has given White several wins in
important games.

6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. O-O d5 9. Ne5

More popular is 9. b3 O-O 10. Rd1 Nbd7 11. Bf4 Rc8 12. Nc3 gradually building up the
position. A good example is the game Grischuk-Tomashevsky,E (2646) Moscow 2007
that continued 12... h6 13. h3 Nh5 14. Bc1 f5 15. a4 Bd6 16. a5 bxa5 17. Ba3 Bxa318.
Rxa3 dxc4 19. Rda1 c5 20. Rxa5 and White maintains a small superiority.

9... Nfd7 10. cxd5 cxd5 11. Bf4 Nxe5 12. dxe5?!

Dubious and unnecessary. Why not Bxe5 and follow the same line as in the game?
Nakamura wants to give the game a tactical approach, in accordance to his enterprising
style, but these Queens Indian lines are not the best ones for these things.

12... O-O

Black already has a comfortable position.

13. Rd1

In the post mortem both players analysed lines such as 13. Nc3 Nc6 14. Nxd5 Nd4 15.
Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Qa4 Nxe2+ 17. Kh1 Nxf418. Bxa8 Bxf1 19. Qxf4 Rxa8 20. Rxf1 Rd8 and
Black is OK. Maybe even better is 13...Nd7 to avoid the massive simplification.

13... Bb7 14. Nd2

14. e4? d4 15. Nd2 g5

14. Nc3 Nc6 15. Nxd5 exd5 16. Bxd5 Qe8 17. Qe4 Rd8 Feller-Palac, Cap d'Agde.

14... Nc6 15. Nf3?

Nakamura should have played 15. h4 although after 15... Rc8 the position is slightly
worse for White.

15... g5

After this unexpected movement Whites e5 pawn cant be sustained. Its not the end of
the game, because Black must weaken his kingside and that is always troublesome, but
certainly its an important pawn.

16. Be3 g4 17. Nd4 Nxe5 18. Bh6 Re8 19. e4?!

The most aggressive move. 19.Qd2 deserved attention, to transfer the queen to f4

19... Bc5 20. Nb3

20. exd5 Qf6! 21. Bf4 Bxd5 22. Bxd5 exd5.

20... Rc8 21. Nxc5?

The line 21. exd5 Bxd5 22. Bxd5 exd5 23. Qf5 Rc6 24. Bf4 Rf6 25. Qg5+ Rg6 26. Qxd8
Nf3+ 27. Kg2 Rxd8 28. Rac1 offered superior defensive possibilities.

21... Rxc5 22. Qa4 Bc6 23. Qd4 Qf6 24. Bf4 dxe4 25. Bxe4 Nf3+

Another way of playing was 25... Bxe4 26. Qxe4 Nf3+ 27. Kg2 Qf5.

26. Bxf3 Qxd4 27. Rxd4 Bxf3 28. Rd7 Rd5

Also playable was 28... e5 29. Be3 Rd5 30. Rxd5 Bxd5.

29. Rxd5 exd5 30. Be3 Re4

Whites hopes are based on an opposite-coloured bishop ending, after simplification, in
which his drawing options will be big.

31. Re1 d4 32. Bd2 Rxe1+ 33. Bxe1 Be2!

Carlsen doesnt fear the drastic material reduction and has accepted this ending, which
doesnt admit any more simplifications. Whites king is trapped, so therefore he must
sacrifice a pawn to avoid losing quickly.

34. f4 gxf3 35. Bf2 d3 36. Be1 Kg7 37. Kf2 Kf6 38. Ke3 Kf5 39. h3

39. h4 loses instructively. 39... Kg4 40. Kf2 Bd1 41. Bd2 Bc2 42. Bf4 Bb1! 43. a3 b5 44.
Bd2 Bc2 45. Be3 a6 46. Bd2 Bb3 47. Be3Bd5 48. Bd2 Be4 49. Be3 Kf5 and once the
square b3 has been weakened Black marches through with his king.

39... h5 40. Bd2 Bf1 41. Be1

41. Kxf3 Bxh3 42. Ke3 Bf1 43. Kf2 Be2 44. Ke3 Kg4 45. Kf2 f5 with the unstoppable
threat f4 and h4.

41... Bxh3 42. Kxd3 Bf1+ 43. Ke3 Kg4 44. Kf2 Bb5 45. Bc3 Bc6 46. Be5 b5 47. Bb8
a6 48. Bc7 f5 49. b3

49. a3 Bd7 50. Bd6 f4 51. gxf4 Bf5 52. Bc5 h4 53. Kg1 Kxf4 54. Bf2 h3 55. Kh2 Ke4 56.
Kg3 Bg4! And Blacks king has a free walk.

49... Bd5 50. Bd6 f4! 51. gxf4 h4 52. f5 Kxf5

53. Ke3

53. a4 Bxb3 54. axb5 axb5 55. Kxf3 Bd5+ and the pawns are too far away. Normally two
files between them is enough and here there are five.

53... Kg4 54. Kf2 h3 55. Ke3 Be4 56. Kf2 Bb1 57. a3

57. a4 b4 58. a5 Be4 59. Kg1 Bd5 60. Bc5 Kf5 61. Kh2 (61. Bxb4 f2+ 62. Kxf2 h2) 61...
Bxb3 62. Kg3 Bd5 63. Bxb4 f2 64. Kxf2 h2.

57... Ba2 58. b4 Bf7

White resigned.

The game could have finished the following way. 58... Bf7 59. Bh2 Bh5 60. Bg3 Kf5 61.
Bh2 Bg4 62. Kg3 Ke4 63. Kf2 Kd3 64.Bc7 Kc4 65. Kg3 Kb3 66. Bb6 Kxa3.

Game 63
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Carlsen doesn't hesitate to sacrifice two pawns to organize a strong attack against his
opponent's castled king. Then he handles the position with a delicate balance of
patience and determination, which only a very select few are capable of doing. With his
proverbial perseverance, he breaks the resistance of his adversary, but ultimately,
perhaps overconfidently, he nearly ruins it all. At the end of the day, Carlsen must be
human. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2826

Howell, D ENG 2633
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
London Chess Classic, 2011

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8

Nearly everyone advances their d-pawn now, mainly to d6, although a lot of players play
d5 straight away. Magnus had to play this position with Black in the recent Botvinnik

The game went: 6... d6 7. Nbd2 Bb6 8. Nc4 Ne7 9. Nxb6 axb6 10. Ba4 Ng6 11. h3 Nh5 12.
Bg5 f6 13. Be3 Nhf4 14. Bb3+ Kh8 15.Bxf4?! Nxf4 16. Nh4 f5! and Black had a great
position in Anand-Carlsen, Moscow.

7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 Bf8 9. Nbd2 d6 10. d4 exd4 11. Nxd4 Bd7 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bd3
Be7 14. f4

With the advance e4-e5 in his head, Carlsen doesnt hesitate to make this move that fills
the game with dynamism.

14... Qb8 15. Bxf6 Bxf6

16. e5!?

After the game Howell confessed that he had missed this idea, attributing it to his lack of
confidence and bad form. This is one of the problems that non-professional Grand
Masters have when they play against one of the big ones like Magnus Carlsen. Actually,
Howell shouldnt feel bad; very few Grand Masters would have dared to play 16.e5
sacrificing one pawn after another so early in the game.

16... dxe5 17. Ne4 Qxb2 18. f5

When I saw this position on the board I stayed very quiet, in deep concentration, as if it
was me playing the game. I tried to work out the sacrifice, assessing the attacking
possibilities and, in general, the compensation. I was thinking of what I would say if I
had to annotate this game. Its really very difficult. Luckily for us, thanks to the new
technologies, nowadays this uncertainty doesnt last very long. I soon heard Carlsen say
that the evaluation of the position is very complicated, and that the only thing he could
say was that it was easier to play with White. The monster knight on e4 and soon
another monster bishop on c4 will keep Blacks position motionless.

18... Red8 19. Bc4 Be8 20. Qh5 Rd6 21. Rab1

The rook on d6 is untouchable, but it also doesnt create any trouble for White, its just a
defensive wall.

21... Qc2 22. Qg4 Kf8 23. h3 Rad8 24. Kh2

As the position is very static and Black cant do anything, Carlsen has taken advantage
to play two useful moves, putting his king into safety before he sets out on significant
actions. The question is, what can White do to improve his position?

24... Qa4 25. Rb4 Qa3 26. Rb7 R6d7 27. Qf3 Qa4 28. Qe2

For the moment White has made a step in front, placing his rook on the seventh rank,
from where it pressurizes the weak pawns on a7 and c7, which may become vulnerable
if the rook returns to his "wall" position on d6. Meanwhile Black, with his queen on a4,
pressurizes the bishop and prevents Whites queen from going to e3, attacking a7. Black
is hanging on a thread. Howell, low on time, yields to the enormous pressure.

28... Re7? 29. Nxf6 gxf6 30. Qe3!

Great games are always decided by a small detail, which in this case is that Black cant
capture the white bishop on c4.

30... Red7
30... Qxc4?? loses to 31. Qxh6+ Kg8 32. Rb4 and the queen cant retreat because of the
mate on g4. Here we can see how useful it was to move the king to h2. Otherwise, Black
could have checked on c5 followed by the advance of his pawn to e4 cutting off the rook.

31. Qc5+ Rd6

31... Kg8 32. Rb4 Qa3 33. Be6! was quickly losing.

32. Rxc7

Carlsen indicated that he was considering the possibility 32. Rc1 when White is about to
trap the black queen, but he cant achieve it after 32... Kg7 33. Rxa7 Rd5!

32... Qc2 33. Rc8 R8d7

33... Rxc8 34. Qxd6+ Kg7 35. Rf3 and Black has no defence.

34. Be6!

After this elegant move the game goes into the conclusion stage and should be finished

34... Ke7 35. Bxd7 Bxd7

36. Rh8?!

Carlsen was very unhappy about the way he played from now onward, spoiling
everything that he had done before.

36. Qxa7! ! was the correct continuation, which would have forced Black to resign soon.
The threat is Qc7 and if Black plays Rd2, then simply Rg8 defending g2 and insisting on
the mating themes on the eighth rank.

36... Qd3 37. Rf3 Qd5 38. Qxa7 e4! 39. Qb8?

A serious mistake, that could have forced White to start all over again.
White wins quickly after 39. Rf1! Qe5+ 40. Kh1 Rd3 (40... Qb5 41. Kg1) 41. c4! and the
attack is overwhelming.

39... Qe5+ 40. Rg3

With just two seconds to make his move 40 Howell thought that he was being mated
and resigned. Actually, these last moves arrived very quickly on the ICC and everyone
thought the same thing. However, Black can calmly play 40... Qxf5 and there is no mate
as Black has a solid escape route through e6. What would of happened here? White is
still better, but things are not so clear. He would have to try and win by advancing the
pawn to a4 but Black has a center pawn mass that will have to be controlled.

Game 64
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
In the calm structures that appear in the Ruy Lopez opening - in this case arising from
the Italian - Carlsen is one of the best players of all time and it's really dangerous to fight
with him in this area. In this game, although he begins with a slight disadvantage, he
eventually overwhelms his opponent, who appeared to have a strong position. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2826

Nakamura, H USA 2758
Ruy Lopez Opening [C54]
London Chess Classic, 2011

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d6 6. Bb3 a6 7. Nbd2 Ba7 8. Nf1 h6 9.

Ng3 O-O 10. O-O Be6 11. h3 Qd7 12. Be3

In this natural position Nakamura used up half an hour on his clock and then decided
not to exchange his dark-squared bishops. He didnt want to help White open the 'f' file
as that could eventually be very dangerous for his king.

12... Ne7 13. Nh4 Ng6

The post-mortem revealed that both players had calculated the variation 13... Bxh3 The
continuation would be 14. Bxa7 Rxa715. gxh3 Qxh3 16. Ng2! (16. Nf3? loses to 16...
Ng6!) 16... Ng4 17. Re1 Qh2+ 18. Kf1 Qh3 and now 19. f3! allows White to reject the

14. Nhf5 Ne7 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Bxa7 Rxa7 17. f4 c5 18. Bc2!?
A move that few people were able to anticipate. Not even the official daily commentator,
Vladimir Kramnik, who was very surprised by the voluntary retreat from the b3-e6
diagonal. Carlsen just wants to avoid simplifications and get something out of the

18... b5 19. Qd2 Rb7 20. a3 a5 21. Rf2

In the analysis room Nakamura confessed that he thought that he was OK in this
position, but he couldnt explain what had happened. This opinion coincides with what
Carlsen said later. He thought that the position was easier to play with White but that
Black had enough counterplay and a draw would be the normal result after correct play.

21... b4 22. axb4 axb4 23. Raf1 bxc3 24. bxc3 exf4 25. Rxf4 Nh7 26. d4 cxd4 27.

After this center advance Black needs to keep his concentration. In this type of positions
the threats are sometimes hidden, but they appear at the last moment.

27... Qg5

Nakamura plays optimistically and with this and his next two moves, he places his
pieces in very dangerous squares.

28. Kh2 Nf6 29. Bd1 Rfb8 30. h4 Qg6

And we arrive at the position in which Black is lost, even though he hasnt made any
obvious mistakes. That is how Nakamura expressed it when he arrived at the press
room. He was unable to explain where he had made his mistakes.

31. Rxf6! gxf6 32. Qf4

As easy as that. The threats are coming.

32... Rb2 33. Bh5 Qg7 34. Bf3 Ra8?!

This move helps things although after 34... Rd8 35. Rc1 Black is under enormous
35. d5 Bc8 36. Nh5 Qf8 37. Nxf6+ Kh8 38. Rc1!

With multiple intentions, the most elegant of them all Rc7-Rxf7 mating on h6.

38... Kg7 39. e5! dxe5 40. Nh5+ Kh7 41. Be4+

And Black resigned as after 41. Be4+ Kg8 42. Qg3+ Kh8 43. Qxe5+ the rook on b2 falls.

Game 65
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
A seemingly innocuous opening allows Carlsen to enforce his best virtues. With
patience, technique and strategic vision the Norwegian once again wins the fight in his
favor, using even the smallest mistake of his opponent, which finally comes on move
51. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2835

Gashimov, V AZE 2761
English Opening [A30]
Tata Steel - Wijk aan Zee, 2012

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9.

Bg5 a6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Qf4 O-O 12.Rfd1 Be7 13. Ne4 Bxe4 14. Qxe4 Ra7 15. Nd4

This line has been played in hundreds of games and generally Black chooses this move.
He keeps his queen behind the rook on the semi-open file.

The following game was an exception 15... Qc8 16. b3 Re8 17. a4 Qc5 18. Ra2 Qh5 19.
Bf3 Qe5 20. e3 Rc8 in which the queen played in front of the rook and Black didnt have
any problems, in Kramnik-Aronian, Yerevan. Black even ended up winning the game.

16. Rd2!?

This is not a new move, because it had already been played once in 1994, but its the
beginning of a new strategy. In the other 50 known games White was invariably playing
b3, a4, e3, Rac1 or Ra2 and Qb1.
16... Rc5

16... Qc8 17. b3 Re8 18. Rad1 Bf8 19. e3 Nd7 20. a4 Nf6 21. Qb1 with a small advantage
for White in Norri,J (2421)-Rantanen,Y (2356) Finland.

17. Rad1 Qc7 18. b3 Kh8 19. Qb1 Nd7 20. e3 Qc8 21. Rc2 Rc7 22. a4 Rd8 23. Qa2
Ne5 24. h3 Bf6 25. Rcd2 Rc5 26. f4 Ng6 27.Rd3 h6 28. Qd2

White pressures the d-pawn strongly. It will soon be attacked when the knight retreats.
Black cant wait anymore and goes for a desperate counterattack.

28... e5 29. Nc2 b5 30. axb5 axb5 31. Na3 bxc4 32. Nxc4 d5

The only move to escape alive from such an unpleasant situation. Magnus was expecting
this move. However, in his personal blog he said that after a few minutes he was
surprised that the move was stronger than he had initially thought.

33. Bxd5 Qxh3 34. Qg2 Qxg2+ 35. Kxg2 exf4 36. exf4 Rc7

Apparently the advantage has been reduced to minimums, due to the abundant
simplification and the presence of opposite-coloured bishops. But White still keeps
some advantage; he has a passed pawn on b3 that will gain in strength and Whites
pieces are also placed much better.

37. Ne3 Rcd7 38. Ng4 Bb2 39. Nf2 f6?! 40. Be4! Nf8 41. b4 Rxd3 42. Nxd3 Bc3 43.
Rc1 Bd4 44. Nc5 Be3 45. Rc3 Rd2+ 46. Kf3Bd4 47. Rc4 g6

47... h5? 48. Nd3.

48. Nd3 Bg1

The position has simplified even more, but White has increased his superiority.

49. Rc8

49. Rc1!?

49... Kg7 50. Rc7+ Kg8 51. f5

51... g5?

Black loses the game here.

He should have played first 51... h5! 52. b5 (52. fxg6 Ne6) 52... g5 and things would be
quite different.

52. g4!

Now the pawn structure has been fixed and Black has no counterplay at all. The rest of
the game doesnt offer any technical difficulties.

52... Bh2 53. Rb7 Rc2 54. Nc5 Rc3+ 55. Ke2 h5 56. gxh5 g4 57. Ne6 Rc8 58. b5 Rb8
59. Rxb8
59. Rg7+ Kh8 60. h6 was even more conclusive, but Carlsens move wins easily.

59... Bxb8 60. Bd5 Ba7 61. Kf1 Be3 62. Kg2 Kf7 63. Nxf8+ Kxf8 64. Kg3 Ke7 65. Kxg4 Kd6
66. Kf3 Bd2 67. b6

Black resigned because once the pawn gets to b7 he will have to go back with his king to
c7 and then the white king will have a free pass to penetrate to g6 through d5 and
support the advance of the h-pawn, which will cost him his bishop.

Game 66
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
The game between worlds number one and number two didnt disappoint any of the
spectators. It could easily have been decisive for the final result of the tournament. It
was an extraordinarily powerful battle in which Magnus had to raise his game to the
highest limits and beyond to break the resistance offered by a tremendous Aronian. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2835

Aronian, L ARM 2805
QGD [D31]
Tata Steel - Wijk aan Zee, 2012

1. c4

During the last two years Magnus has cast aside some of his more risky openings. Now
he chooses between a selection of solid lines where he can impose a combination of his
strong positional style and excellent endgame technique.

1... e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Be7

The Armenian Chess School (with Vaganian in first place) prefers this move order,
which prevents the exchange variation combined with Bg5 and Nge2 (a plan
popularized by Gary Kasparov).

4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. Qc2

Preventing the development of the black bishop on f5 that favours the development of
blacks pieces.

Another alternative is 6. e3 Bf5 7. Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 Nf6 9. Nge2 Nh5 10. Bxb8 Rxb8 11.
f3 O-O 12. O-O f5 as in the game Nakamura,H (2774)-Ponomariov,R (2754)/Saint Louis
2011 that ended in a draw.

6... Nf6 7. h3

Carlsen prepares an escape route for his bishop. He also opens the option for an
eventual g4.

If 7. e3 Nh5 8. Be5 Nd7 9. Be2 Nxe5! 10. dxe5 g6 11. Bxh5 gxh5 that seems bad for Black
(deteriorated pawn structure, no castling), but another great Armenian player
demonstrated in the following game that the bishop pair is more important, 0-1 in 36
moves in Arizmendi Martinez,J (2568)-Sargissian,G (2671)/Porto Carras 2011.
7... g6 8. e3 Bf5 9. Qd2

White keeps open the option of playing 10.g4 (that is why he avoids playing 9.Bd3

9... h5

The first critical moment of the game. This pawn move was not forced (9...Bd6 was
reasonable) and Aronian will suffer the consequences the whole game.

10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3

The exchange of light-squares bishops is normally good for Black in all these Queens
Gambit structures but certainly the pawn on h5 weakens Blacks castled king.
Obviously, this is an important concession.

11... Nbd7 12. Nge2 a5

With this move Aronian tries to prevent Carlsen from castling on the queenside, and at
the same time he avoids the b4-b5 minority attack. However, there was certain merit in
the more reticent 12...a6, with the idea of reacting with c6-c5 if White castles on the
kingside and plays the game plan with f3 and e4.

13. O-O O-O 14. f3 b5 15. e4 dxe4 16. fxe4 Nc5 17. Qf3 Ne6 18. Be3

With his energetic play in the center White has achieved a significant advantage. GM
Yermolinsky was of the opinion that the best move here for Black was 16...h5-h7! which
says a lot about Blacks difficulties; in fact, one of Whites ideas is e5-e6. Both players
regroup their pieces during the following moves. Its clear that, for Black, playing
without any control of the center is quite difficult.
18... b4 19. Nb1 Nh7 20. Nd2 Rc8 21. Rad1 Bh4 22. g3 Bf6 23. Nc4 Bg7 24. b3 Qe7

From a practical point of view maybe 24... f5 25. e5 Nhg5 26. Qg2 Ne4 was better,
solving the problem of the knight on h7 but Aronian probably dismissed this because of
27. g4!?

25. Qg2!

Prophylaxis, anticipating ...Ng5.

25... Nc7

Low on time Aronian ventures on a pawn sacrifice that at least forces White to advance
his e4 pawn, giving up the control of the light-squares.

26. Nxa5 Rfe8 27. e5 Nd5 28. Bd2

28. Nxc6? Qd7! Attacking the knight and the bishop was a trick that White had to avoid.

28... Red8 29. Nf4

29... Qa7?
The second critical moment of the game. This is the definite mistake that loses even
more material. He had to play 29... Qd7 and just try to hold.

30. Nxc6! Rxc6 31. Nxd5 Rc2 32. Kh1!

But not 32. Nxb4 Rxd4! And now the tables are turned! That is why its important to
maintain the attention and focus during the game, especially when there are tactical
complications. 33. Qf2 (33. Kh1 Rxb4) 33... Ng5.

32... Bf8 33. e6!

Once Black defends the pawn on b4 Magnus opens new attacking lines. In this case he
has Qe4 in mind, attacking g6 and c2. With little time on the clock and a very bad
position, Aronians resistance from now onwards is very commendable. During the ICC
broadcast that I was hosting we thought that the game was about to end.

33... Qa8

The third critical moment of the game. After the game, Magnus said in his blog that he
calculated far ahead but he missed 46...g5. Of course, he had a simple and very good
alternative here.

34. exf7+

34. e7 Rxd5 35. e8=Q Qxe8 36. Qxd5 Rxa2 37. Rde1 Qa8 38. Qxa8 Rxa8 39. Kg2 with a
clear extra exchange and an easy win.

34... Kh8 35. Nf4 Qxg2+ 36. Kxg2 Rxd4 37. Rf2 Rd6

White has two extra pawns and a passer on f7. With his next spectacular move Carlsen
forces a winning ending.
38. Bc1!! Rxf2+ 39. Kxf2 Rxd1

Carlsen also had to calculate 39... Kg7 40. Rxd6 Bxd6 41. Nd5 Kxf7 (41... Nf6 42. Bb2) 42.
Bd2 Nf6 43. Bxb4 Bxg3+ (43... Nxd544. Bxd6 Nc3 45. Bb4! Nxa2 46. Bd2) 44. Kxg3 Nxd5
45. Bd2 Kf6 46. a4 g5 47. a5 g4 48. h4! and soon there will be a zugzwang on the
queenside. Note that the h-pawn promotes on the correct square.

40. Bb2+ Nf6

40... Bg7?? 41. Nxg6#.

41. Bxf6+ Kh7 42. Ne6 Bd6 43. Be5 Be7 44. f8=Q Bxf8 45. Nxf8+ Kh6 46. Ne6 g5!

Carlsen thought that with two pieces and a pawn for a rook, combined with his king in
the center, that it was an easy win but his move 46...g5 opens a line for the king to
access the center via g6 and f5, complicating the result.

Less strong is 46... Rd2+ 47. Ke3 Rxa2 48. h4!

47. h4 gxh4 48. gxh4 Kg6 49. Nd4 Rd3!

After 20 minutes of thought Carlsen chooses the winning plan.

50. Nc6

The following variation illustrates the difficulty in this ending: 50. Ke2 Rh3 51. Nf3 Kf5
52. Bd6 Kg4 53. Nd2 Rxh4 54. Bxb4Rh2+ 55. Kd3 h4 56. a4 h3 57. Bd6 Rg2 58. a5 h2 59.
Bxh2 Rxh2 60. b4 Kf5 and according to the online Nalimov databases consulted during
the broadcast the game would have ended in a draw - or not - based on very small

50... Rd2+ 51. Ke3 Rxa2 52. Bd6!

Carlsens following moves have the idea of capturing the pawn on b4 but at the same
time making sure that the h4 pawn survives enough time to advance his own pawn to
b3. Also, he must prevent the Black king from going to the kingside easily. A titanic task!

52. Nxb4? Ra3.

52... Ra1 53. Kd4! Rg1

53... Rh1 54. Be7 Rh3 55. Ne5+ (55. Kc4 Rc3+) 55... Kf5 56. Nd3 Rg3 57. Kc4 Rg4+ 58.
Kb5 Rg3 59. Nc5 Rg4 60. Bd8 Re4 61. Na6.

54. Kc5 Kf5

In the end all the positions have a common motive: Black has to sacrifice his rook for the
h-pawn quickly.

This other variation isnt enough either: 54... Rc1+ 55. Kb5 Rc3 56. Na5 (Winning, as in
the game, is 56. Nd4 Re3! 57. Kxb4 Re458. Kc5 Rxh4 59. b4) 56... Rh3 57. Be7 Re3 58.
Bg5 Rg3 59. Kxb4 Rxg5 60. hxg5 Kxg5 61. Nc4 Kf4 and according to GM Speelman
(specialist in endings) this position is a draw as the knight cant capture the rook pawn.

55. Nxb4 Rc1+ 56. Kd4 Re1

With this trick controlling e7, Black wins the h4 pawn but its already too late to save
the game.
57. Nc6 Re4+ 58. Kd5 Rxh4 59. b4 Rh1 60. b5 Rb1 61. Nd4+ Kg4 62. Kc6 Rc1+ 63.
Kd7 Rb1 64. Kc7 h4

Other variations that had to be calculated were 64... Rc1+ 65. Nc6 h4 66. b6 h3 67. b7
Rb1 68. b8=Q Rxb8 69. Kxb8 Kf3 70. Ne5+Kg3 (70... Kg2 71. Ng4) 71. Ng6+.

Even this one! 64... Rd1 65. b6 Rxd4 66. b7.

65. b6 Kh3 66. b7 Kg2 67. Nf5! h3 68. Nh4+ 1-0

For example: 68. Nh4+ Kf1 (68... Kg1 69. b8=Q Rxb8 70. Kxb8 h2 71. Nf3+) (68... Kh1 69.
b8=Q Rxb8 70. Kxb8 h2 71. Kb7 Kg172. Nf3+) 69. b8=Q Rxb8 70. Kxb8 Kf2 71. Bh2 and
White is in time to return with his king. And we are completely sure that the World
Champion is capable of mating with bishop and knight!
Game 67
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Magnus Carlsen clearly dominates Topalov in their particular result, in their overall
match game score, but for some reason, against Veselin, Carlsen has achieved many of
his victories only after taking huge risks. This game was no exception, despite its quiet
beginning. It could even be argued that the Norwegian "lost his control" and only got
away with it when Topalov went into panic mode. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2835

Topalov, V BUL 2770
Sicilian Defense [B51]
Tata Steel - Wijk aan Zee, 2012

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. c3 Ngf6 5. Qe2 a6 6. Ba4 Qc7 7. O-O e5 8. d4 b5 9.

Bc2 cxd4 10. cxd4 Be7 11. Nc3 O-O 12.Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 Bb7 14. Rad1 Rac8

It seems that White is slightly better and that is the impression that Magnus had during
the game. However, this evaluation is misleading. The bishop on h4 doesnt contribute
much to Whites position while Black is already very well prepared to start his
counterplay on the queenside.

15. Bb3 Rfe8

Its quite startling that against Bb3, Black moves his rook away from the defence of the
f7 square, but modern chess has these things.

16. dxe5 dxe5 17. Bg3 Bf8

18. h3?!

This move is certainly quite passive. Did Magnus want to play Nh2-g4? His next move
was Nh4, which he could have played now.

18... Nb6 19. Nh4 Nc4

Black threatens to capture on b2. How will White prevent this? Surprisingly, Carlsen
admitted after the game that he didnt even consider this threat.

20. Nf5 Nxb2!

A devastating blow. White should play Rc1 now and Black would return to c4 with his
knight and an extra pawn in his pocket.
21. Bh4?

Magnus launches his attack on Blacks king, although its based on fantasies. As he
wrote afterwards in his personal blog, in all the critical variations the king has a very
healthy square on h7,

21... Nxd1 22. Bxf6 Nxc3 23. Qg4

With an extra rook and pawn, Black must now defend his king, which is under attack by
his opponents queen, two bishops and knight. Carlsen impression during the game was
that Kh7 practically forced him to resign, but White has a very accurate line that keeps
him in the game. The bad news is that Black has other moves to win comfortably.

23... Bxe4

This is the move that allows Carlsen to stay in the game, but deep analysis confirms that
its the correct one.

Against 23... Kh7 then 24. Nxg7 Bxe4 25. Nxe8 Rxe8 and when everything seems lost
White has the ingenious 26. Rd1! and it seems that Black doesnt have anything better
than 26... Bg6 27. Rd7 Ne2+ 28. Kf1 Ng3+ 29. fxg3 Qc1+ 30. Ke2 h5.

23... Re6 is a computer suggestion that cold-bloodily refutes both Nxh6+, Nxg7 and
Bxe6. I leave out the variations because they are both long and irrelevant, and also
because the attack can be refuted later on in a more simple way.

24. Nxh6+

Better was 24. Nxg7 Kh7 25. Nxe8 Rxe8 26. Rd1 transposing to the previous line, but
Magnus missed it. This is a very relevant variation because in the first place Black could
have used it by playing Kh7, and now White could have used it to try and save the game.

24... Kh7 25. Bxf7

And now, unbelievably, Topalov had a panic attack and plays:

25... Qxf7??

When there was no need of resorting to such a radical sacrifice.

Black could have played, for example, 25... Bd3! preparing to transfer his knight to e3 via
f4 and White has no mating themes. The game would have been an easy win for Black as
the variations are quite simple, for example 26. Qh5 (26. Re1 Ne2+ 27. Kh2(27. Rxe2
Bxe2 or Qc1+) 27... Nf4 28. Re3 Qc6) 26... Ne2+ 27. Kh2 Nf4 28. Bg8+ Kh8 29. Qh4 Qc6.

26. Nxf7 gxf6 27. f4 Bg6 28. Qh4+ Kg7 29. fxe5 Ne4 30. Rxf6 Bc5+ 31. Kh2 Nxf6 32.
Qxf6+ Kh7 33. Ng5+ Kh6

White has a perpetual at hand with the knight check on f7, but Carlsen goes for the kill.

34. Ne6 Rxe6 35. Qxe6 Re8 36. Qf6 Be7?!

Topalov is still in fear and he retreats, sacrificing the a6 pawn. He was by no means
forced to do so.

37. Qxa6 b4 38. Qc4 Bf8 39. g4 Kh7 40. e6 Bd6+

Both players have reached the time control and Black is slightly worse. However, Black
shouldnt lose this position because the coordination of the three coordinated minor
pieces will be very dangerous.

41. Kg2 Be7 42. Qc7 Kg8 43. Kg3 Kf8 44. Qf4+ Kg7 45. Qd4+ Kg8 46. h4 Rd8 47.

47... Bd3?

Better was 47... Rd3+ 48. Kg2 Rd2+ 49. Kf3 Bxh4 and although the b4 pawn falls White
wont be able to create threats by advancing his h-pawn.

48. Qc6 Bb1??

A terrible mistake. Its clear to see that the advance of Whites pawns will be very
dangerous. By going after the a2 pawn Black ignores this danger.

49. h5 Bxa2 50. Qe4

Now White wins easily.

50... Kh8 51. h6! Bf6

51... Rg8 52. Qd4+ Kh7 53. Qa7

52. e7 Re8 53. Qf4 Bg7 54. hxg7+ Kxg7 55. g5 Kg8 56. Qf6 1-0
Game 68
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Radjabov plays the opening with great caution and after massive exchanges it looks as
if the game will be a quick draw. But as usual, that's when Magnus begins his personal
crusade for victory, with earnestness and great faith in his ability and with devastating
results for many of his rivals. In this case, the Norwegian manages to win an instructive
rook and bishop ending, with accurate manoeuvres and timely pawn ruptures. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Radjabov, T AZE 2784

Carlsen, M NOR 2835
Scotch game [C45]
Tal Memorial - Moscow, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nxc6 Qf6 6. Qf3 bxc6 7. Qg3 d6 8. Nc3
Qg6 9. Bd3

An important continuation here is 9. Bd2 Qxg3 10. hxg3 Ne7 11. f3 Ng6 12. Rh5 Bd4 13.
O-O-O h6 14. Na4 Bf2 15. g4 with a small advantage for White in Wang Hao-
Tomashevsky, Sochi.

9... Nf6 10. Na4 Bd4 11. c3 Bb6

12. O-O

A dubious novelty as Carlsen will demonstrate. Known was 12. f3 Nd7 13. Bf4 f6 14. Bc4
Ne5 15. Qxg6+ and a draw was agreed here in Radjabov-Aronian, Wijk aan Zee.

12... Qxg3 13. hxg3 Ng4 14. Bf4 f6 15. Rad1 h5

Blacks position is very comfortable.

16. Be2 Be6 17. Nxb6 axb6 18. a3 Ke7 19. f3 Ne5 20. Kf2

20... b5

Carlsen wasnt very pleased with this move after the game. Black has a good position,
the position is equal and the natural continuation is to play for a win. This will not be
easy at all.

21. Bxe5 fxe5 22. Ke3 h4 23. gxh4 Rxh4 24. Rh1

Its really tough to imagine that White is about to lose such a position.

24... Rah8 25. Rxh4 Rxh4 26. Rc1 Rh2 27. Kf2 Rh8 28. Ke3

28. c4 Bxc4 29. Bxc4 bxc4 30. Rxc4 Kd7 and Black is OK but, can he play for a win here?

28... g5 29. Bd3

Instead of opening up the game with c4 Radjabov tries to construct a fortress and his
play becomes passive and cowardly.

29... Kd7 30. Ra1 Bb3 31. Rc1 Kc8 32. Kf2 Kb7 33. Kg3 Be6 34. Ra1 Kb6 35. Rc1 c5
36. Ra1 c4 37. Bc2 Kc5 38. Re1 c6!
Black manouevres at his pleasure and now he plans to return with his king to f6 to
support the advance d5.

39. Bb1 Kb6 40. Bc2 Kc7 41. Kf2 Kd7 42. a4 bxa4 43. Ra1 Rb8 44. Ra2 d5 45. exd5
cxd5 46. Bxa4+ Kd6 47. Bc2 d4 48. Be4 Rb649. Ke2 g4

50. fxg4?

A questionable decision, that leaves Black with a passed e-pawn. In addition to this,
Blacks pieces will penetrate into Whites position through these open lines.

50... Bxg4+ 51. Kd2 Be6 52. Kc2?

This mistake advances the end of the game and now White loses with hardly any
resistance. There were two alternatives that would have offered tenacious resistance.

52. Ke2 Bd5 53. Kf3.

52. Kc1 Bd5 53. Bxd5 Kxd5 54. cxd4 exd4 55. Ra5+ Ke4 56. Rh5.

52... Bd5 53. Bxd5 d3+!

A fine in-between move that reveals the problem of the king on c2. Now White has no
time to exchange pawns and Black ends up with two passers in the center.

54. Kd2 Kxd5 55. Ke3 Rg6 56. Ra5+ Ke6 57. Ke4 Rg4+ 58. Kf3 Rf4+ 59. Ke3 Rf1 0-1
Game 69
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
White's solid opening guarantees equality but not a draw. Carlsen maneuvers with his
knight, causing weaknesses in White's position and the rest seems easy for the great
Norwegian. (GM Miguel Illescas)

McShane, L ENG 2706

Carlsen, M NOR 2835
Ruy Lopez Opening [C85]
Tal Memorial - Moscow, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Bxc6

The English player decides to play this solid continuation that leads to a differed
exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez, a line that he has played in the past.

6... dxc6 7. d3 Nd7 8. b3 O-O 9. Bb2 f6 10. Nc3

More common is the development of the knight on d2.

10... Re8 11. Kh1 Nf8 12. Ne2 c5 13. Nh4 Ne6 14. Nf5 Bf8

The opening has been played thematically by both players. White is looking for activity
on the kingside, and Black wants the same thing in the center and on the queenside. The
position is balanced.

15. Ne3

Black is comfortable after 15. f4?! Nxf4 16. Nxf4 Bxf5 17. exf5 exf4 18. Rxf4 Bd6.

15... Nd4 16. f4 Be6 17. fxe5

17. f5 Bf7 doesnt give Black any problems. With his bishop on b2, White would take
quite a while to organize a pawn storm on the kingside.

17... fxe5 18. Ng1 g6! 19. c3 Nc6 20. Nf3 Bg7 21. Qe1

White could have kept the position solid with 21. Qc2 followed by Rad1, and if Black
then advances a6-a5, then he has a2-a4. Instead, McShane moves his queen over to the
kingside and offers a pawn sacrifice which Carlsen will not accept.

21... a5!

21... Qxd3? 22. Rd1 Qb5 23. Nd5 would be excellent for White.
22. Rd1 a4

With good criteria Carlsen takes advantage to destroy Whites queenside. Now McShane
will have to go all-in on the kingside.

23. bxa4 Rxa4 24. a3 Rf8 25. Bc1 Ra8 26. Qg3 Bb3 27. Rde1?!

27... Qxd3!

Carlsen captures the pawn with no fear. White, in serious time trouble, has to play for

28. Ng4 Be6 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. Qh4 Bf6! 31. Bg5 Bxg5 32. Qxg5 Kg7 33. Qc1 Rf4 34.

34. Ng5 was the last chance to find some initiative in exchange for material.

34... Qc4 35. Rfe1 Raf8 36. Ng5?! Bc8 37. g3 Rf2! 38. Nf5+ gxf5 39. Nh3 Re2 40.
Qg5+ Kh8 0-1
Game 70
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
We attend a balanced fight, with some specific errors by both players, which is not
uncommon for a game played at a fast pace. When the draw seems imminent, Carlsen
demonstrates his superiority in the ending. As Kasparov put it on Twitter: "After the
opening, the gods placed the middle game but in the ending, the gods put Carlsen". (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2837

Karjakin, S RUS 2779
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
WCC Blitz - Astan, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6

Carlsen played the Berlin defence in several games in this tournament. Karjakin decides
to give him a taste of his own medicine but Carlsen has his own recipe.

4. d4 exd4 5. O-O a6

5... Nxe4 is obviously very dangerous because of 6. Re1. Alternatively 5... d6 6. Nxd4
leads to a Steinitz defence, which is considered to be slightly better for White. But 5...
Be7 deserved consideration.

6. Bxc6

With this move Carlsen avoids the main lines, and goes for a relatively unknown line of
the Exchange Variation. 6. Ba4 is the main alternative.

6... dxc6 7. Nxd4 Bc5

A month before, in the Tal Memorial blitz tournament, Aronian had played 7... Be7
against Carlsen and after 8. f3 O-O 9. Be3Nd7 10. Nc3 Ne5 11. Qe2 White reached a
similar position to the game, although he ended up losing.

8. c3 O-O 9. f3 Nd7 10. Be3 Ne5 11. Qe2 Qe7 12. Nd2 f6 13. Kh1 Bd6 14. Rae1 c5 15.
Nf5 Bxf5 16. exf5 Qd7

Black has had to give up the pair of bishops, but he has also weakened the kingside
pawn structure. The position can be considered equal.

17. f4 Nf7 18. g4 Rfe8 19. Qf3 Bf8 20. Ne4 Qd3
Was an interesting option. Meanwhile 20... Qc6 21. Nd2 Qxf3+ 22. Nxf3 b6 Black has no

21. Nf2 Qb5 22. g5! Qxb2?!

Safer was 22... Be7 23. Ne4 Kh8 24. Qh5 Nd6.

23. gxf6 Qxc3 24. fxg7 Bxg7 25. Rg1 Kh8 26. Qxb7

26. Ng4 would give Black more problems, in view of the threat Rc1 and an eventual f5-

26... Nd6 27. Qd5 Nxf5?

A mistake. Correct was 27... Bd4 with a satisfactory position for Black.

28. Bxc5?

Both players missed that 28. Qxf5 Rxe3 29. Ne4! was winning, in view of the threat Ng5.
Maybe Carlsen saw 29... Qxe1 but 30.Ng5 Qh4 31. Nf7+ Kg8 32. Qd5 that leaves Black
without any defence, as if 32... Kf8 33. Ng5 followed by Qxa8.

28... Rad8 29. Rxe8+ Rxe8 30. Nd3 Qf6 31. Rg5 Rd8 32. Qxf5 Qxf5 33. Rxf5 Rxd3 34.
Rf7 Rd1+ 35. Kg2 Rd2+ 36. Kf3 Rxa2 37.Rxc7 Kg8

38. h4

Now a draw would be the normal result, but in rapid games the clock is always decisive.

38... Rc2 39. Rc8+ Kf7 40. Ke4 Rc4+ 41. Kf5 Bd4 42. Rf8+ Kg7 43. Bd6 Rc6 44. Rd8
Bc5 45. Be5+ Kf7 46. Rd7+ Be7 47. h5 Ke8 48. Ra7

Karjakin has been slowly grinded into a delicate position.

48... Rh6 49. Bg7 Rc6

Naturally 49... Rxh5+ doesnt work because of 50. Ke6.

50. h6 Kf7 51. Ke4 Ke8 52. Ra8+ Kf7 53. Rh8

53... Rc4+?

The decisive mistake. 53... Kg6 is better, although Black is still in trouble after 54. f5+

Contrary 53... Bf6 ensures an easy draw, for example 54. Bxf6 (54. Rxh7 Kg6) 54... Kxf6
55. Rxh7 Kg6 56. Rh8 Rc4+ 57. Ke5Rc5+.

54. Kf5 Rc5+ 55. Be5 Bf8 56. Rxh7+ Kg8

56... Ke8 isnt better in view of 57. Rh8.

57. Rh8+ Kf7 58. Rxf8+ 1-0

Game 71
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
This game reminds me of a younger Carlsen, who practiced a much more direct game,
especially with White. Much has to do with the Chinese player's poor opening setup,
which allows Magnus to develop a nice, clean attacking game. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2837

Wang Hao CHN 2739
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
Biel, 2012

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 b6?

After the game, Carlsen stated that he has known for the last 10 years that Wangs move
was a mistake. At first he thought that maybe the Chinese player had developed a new
idea, but then he realized that Wang had just mixed up his move order, as ...b6 is a
typical move in many Nimzo-Indian variations. Possible moves are 5...d5, 5...c5 and
5...d6 or even 5..Nc6.

6. e4! c5 7. e5 Ne8 8. d5

Alternatively 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 also seems possible.

8... exd5 9. cxd5 d6 10. Bg5

Or 10. Ng5!? g6 11. h4 dxe5 (11... Qe7!?) 12. h5 was proposed by Carlsen in the post-
mortem as an interesting move but maybe its too risky.

10... f6 11. exf6 Nxf6 12. O-O-O Bxc3 13. bxc3 Bg4 14. Re1 Bxf3

Curiously, in the first round Nakamura also exchanged his bishop for the knight on f3
without any provocation so Carlsen was probably expecting it. Actually, Magnus thought
that 14... Nbd7 was the normal move, and then 15. Bd3 h6 16. Bf4 and now16... Bxf3
would transpose to the game while (16... c4 17. Bxc4 would be complicated).

15. gxf3 Nbd7 16. Bd3 h6

17. Bf4

Carlsen couldnt believe that 17. Bxh6 wasnt winning immediately but his analysis
seem to indicate that it doesnt. 17... gxh618. Rhg1+ Kh8 19. Qd2 Rf7 20. Qxh6+ Nh7 and
in this position Carlsen couldnt find a direct win. He considered 21. Re6 in order to
increase the pressure, but after the precise 21... Qf8 there is no forced win for White.
Clearly, this isnt the way to proceed. (But not 21... Ne5?? 22. Bxh7 Rxh7 23. Re8+! Qxe8
24. Qf6+ winning.)

17... c4 18. Bf5

There is no reason to accept the pawn and misplace the pieces, for example 18. Bxc4
Qc7 19. Bb3 Nc5 and Blacks pieces coordinate again.

18... Nc5 19. Rhg1 Kh8 20. Rg6

20. Bxh6 doesnt work this time because of 20... gxh6 21. Qd2 Qc7! The only move (21...
Rf7? loses to 22. Qxh6+ Nh7 23. Bxh7Rxh7 24. Re8+! Qxe8 25. Qf6+ winning, while)
(21... Ng8? also loses to 22. Rxg8+ Kxg8 23. Qxh6 Rxf5 24. Rg1+ Kf7 25. Rg7+with a
decisive advantage for White.) 22. Qxh6+ Nh7 and again there is no direct win.

20... Rf7

At the postmortem Carlsen proposed 20... Nfe4 as Blacks best defence, but after 21.
Rxe4 (21. fxe4 also seems good, then 21...Nd3+ 22. Kb1 Nxf4 (22... Nxe1 23. Qd2 Nf3 24.
Qe3 Nh4 25. Rxh6+ gxh6 26. Be5+! winning) 23. Rg4 Nd3 24. Reg1 with an attack.) 21...
Nd3+ 22. Kb1 Rxf5 23. Rxc4 Nxf4 24. Qxf5 Nxg6 25. Qxg6 and White maintains the
advantage but he has lost his attacking options.

21. Reg1 Qf8 22. Be3

22... Nxd5?

Probably the decisive mistake, but both players were in time trouble.

Magnus also indicated another variation: 22... Nh5 23. Be6 Nd3+ 24. Kb1 Rf6 25. Bd4
Rxg6 26. Rxg6 Kh7 27. Rg1 Qf4 and it seems that Black can hold this position.

23. Bd4! Nf6 24. Qd2 Re8 25. Rxg7 Qxg7

Wang possibly missed that if he captures the rook with 25... Rxg7 26. Qxh6+ Kg8(26...
Nh7 27. Qxh7#) then the definitive blow comes after 27. Bh7+! Kh8 (27... Kf7 28. Qxf6#)
(27... Nxh7 28. Rxg7+ Qxg7 29. Qxg7#) 28. Bxf6.

26. Rxg7 Kxg7 27. Qf4

Maybe the game is not technically won, but there is no doubt that its much easier to
play with White, especially in time trouble.

27... Nd3+ 28. Bxd3 cxd3 29. Kd2 Kg6

29... Re6? 30. Qg4+

29... Re2+? 30. Kxd3 Rxa2 31. Qg4+ Kf8 32. Qe6.

30. Kxd3 Re6 31. h4 Rfe7

The only move to stay alive was 31... Rh7 although after 32. h5+ Kf7 33. Qf5 Rg7 34. f4
White should win by means of the plan a4-a5 combined with the invasion of the queen
on d7 (after the exchange on f6) at the right moment.

32. h5+ Kf7 33. Qf5 Re5

34. Qg6+!

34. Bxe5?! Rxe5 35. Qg6+ Ke6 36. Qxh6 Rxh5 only complicates things.

34... Ke6 35. f4

And Wang resigned in view of 35. f4 Rf5 36. Bxf6 Rxf6 37. f5+ Ke5 38. f4+ Kxf4 39. Qxf6.

Game 72
Notes by IM ngel Martn

The key
Carlsen has been compared to a crocodile. The Norwegian waits patiently for his
opponent's mistake in the opening, in the strategic middle game or during complicated
move calculations. And, as in this game, especially in the ending when his opponent is
tired. After a boring technical game, which seemed to inevitably lead to a draw, the
crocodile, attentive to the opportunity, opens his mouth and... (GM Miguel Illescas)

Wang Hao CHN 2739

Carlsen, M NOR 2837
Queen's Indian Defense [E15]
Biel, 2012

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb7 6. Bg2 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 c5 8. O-O O-O 9.

Bc3 Na6 10. a3 Bxc3 11. Nxc3 cxd4 12.Nxd4 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Nc5 14. Rc1 Qc7 15. b4
Nb7 16. Ncb5 Qb8 17. Qd3 Rc8 18. Rfd1 h6 19. f3 a6 20. Nc3 Nd6 21. Nb1 Nde822.
Nd2 Qb7 23. c5 bxc5 24. bxc5 Qa7 25. N2b3 Nd5 26. c6 dxc6 27. e4 Ne7 28. Nc5 Nf6
29. Ndb3 Ng6 30. Qc3 Nf8 31. Na5Rab8 32. a4 Kh8 33. Rb1 Rb6 34. Rxb6 Qxb6 35.
Nab7 Rb8 36. Nd6 Kg8 37. Rd2 a5 38. Nd3 N8d7 39. Nc4 Qa6 40. Rc2 c5 41.Rb2
Rb7 42. Rxb7 Qxb7 43. Qb2 Qa6 44. Qb5 Qxb5 45. axb5

The seventh round game seemed to be the one that would decide the tournament. Wang
had played excellently and everything indicated that Carlsen would have to face a
depressing knight ending. So, when the Norwegian played the forced move

45... a4

Wang lowered his guard and quickly replied with the obvious
46. Ndb2?

46. b6 a3 47. Nxa3 (47. Nc1 Kf8 48. b7 Ke7 49. e5 Nd5 50. Nxa3 Nb4 51. Nb5 Nc6 52. f4
Kd8 53. Kf3 Nd4+ 54. Nxd4 cxd4 55.Ke4 Kc7 56. Kxd4 Kxb7) 47... Nxb6 48. Nxc5 would
only draw - but the Chinese player forgot about the next trick.

46... Nb6!!

And in view of the fact that 47.Nxb6 loses to 47...a3! Black keeps his extra pawn. Carlsen
went on to win with impeccable technique in 14 moves.

47. Kf2 Nfd7 48. Ke3 Kf8 49. f4 f5 50. exf5 exf5 51. Kd3 Ke7 52. Na3 Nf6! 53. Nbc4
Nxc4 54. Nxc4 Ne4 55. Ne5?!

Totally demoralized, Wang Hao wasnt able to offer any serious resistance.

Instead 55. Kc2 Nd6! 56. b6 Kd7 57. Na5 setting up a barrier, was much more stubborn.

55... Kd8 56. g4 fxg4 57. Nxg4 Nd6 58. b6 Kc8 59. Ne3 Kb7 60. Nd5 Kc6 0-1
Bilbao 2012 Interview
By GM Amador Rodrguez

THE FOLLOWING interview was conducted by the Peon de Rey chess magazine
director, GM Amador Rodriguez, during the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao, just after
Magnus was proclaimed winner by defeating Caruana in a playoff match, during an
informal party with which the tournament organization entertained players and
personalities invited to the event.

Amador Rodriguez: Lets go back to the end of September 2009, at Nanjing. You
achieved 8/10 in Category XXI tournament, two and a half points ahead of the
runner-up. Was this the tournament that consolidated Magnus Carlsen in the
worlds elite?

Magnus Carlsen: No, Nanjing was a huge step forward, because it was my first really
strong win. But I think that my victories in London at the end of that same year and Wijk
aan Zee in early 2010 established me as one of the top players in the world or perhaps
already the best.

The fans watch Magnus through the glass which is separating the players from the public
in Bilbao.

Many fans are concerned that in your recent games you are avoiding opening
theory, turning to secondary lines. Perhaps you're getting a bit lazy and
dedicating fewer hours to study?

I dont think its just to avoid theory. Sometimes, for example in my game against
Caruana, I was sure that he would play the Ruy Lopez, so when he played the French I
realized that he could have prepared something special. In other games, such as against
Anand, it wasnt just to avoid the theory of the Najdorf. I think that 3.Bb5+ is a
legitimate way to play, that offers a slight advantage in almost every line, so that you can
play this variation. Overall I think that its not necessary to go into more complex lines
in order to win: for me its more important to be able to take the battle into positions
that fit well with my style and my way of seeing chess. So for me, the middlegame stage
still remains more important than the opening.

Although your career is still very brief, can you highlight some games that you
remember in a special way?

You will be surprised by my answer, but I am not usually very happy with my games.
Its difficult for me point out some games above others and I hope that my best games
have still to be played.

Who are you training with now, do you plan to repeat your experience with

I dont have a coach at the moment, I study by myself. I have had coaches of course, but
at the moment things are going well and although I dont rule out the possibility of
working with some other player in the future, I will be by myself got the time being.

During many decades chess has been dominated by Russian players and chess
fanatics, such as Karpov and Kasparov. My fellow countryman Capablanca
approached tournaments in a different way, in fact it was said that he enjoyed
being surrounded by beautiful women. Which of these philosophies to you make
use of?

I think that the best solution is to take some of both. I am very happy with my lifestyle.
In general terms I can see a lot of similarities in my game style with Capablanca, above
all because both of us look for the most simple way to win the game.

At 21 you have nearly achieved a tangible superiority with all your persuers. Is
there no danger of you becoming bored and dissapearing, a brief carreer such as
Bobby Fischers?

Right now I cant anticipate my future, but I am sure that I will be playing chess for
many years. I think that I still have a lot to learn to become as good as I would like to.
The battle for the top is very interesting now.

Are you ready for match against Anand?

I think that a match against Anand would be interesting, of course, but at the moment I
think that Aronian and myself have seperated ourselves from the rest of the worls best
players. When Aronian is in top form, he more or less plays at the same level as me.

It has been said that Anand would have the advantage in match-play because of
his experience, which you dont have, do you think that is true?

There is no particular reason to indicate that I am not as strong in matches, therefore I

prefer no to take much notice of these statements. I think that in a match generally the
best player wins. In particular, I think that Anand is a great player, but its been a long
time since he has publically demonstrated his qualities in a high-level tournament
Do you still think that it was a good idea to decline to participate in the previous
FIDE cycle? Do you regret yor decision?

That's part of the past and the truth is I dont spend any time thinking about it, except at
the time when I made my decision. It's something that I prefer to leave behind and not
comment, as I'm very pleased with how things are going now

I see that there are some tournaments that always resist you, such as Biel, while
at others you always win. Does the venue of the tournament influence your play?
Did you get used to playing in one city like another?

Not in my case and in general I think that professional chess players should perform at
the same level anywhere. Right here in Bilbao things were not going well for me in the
past but both last year and this year I have achieved important victories against strong

I would like to finish this interview by asking how do you forsee the future?

I should only talk about the short term and my immediate goal is Wijk aan Zee, because
I didnt play all that well in my last two participations. I think that it will be a very
important tournament for me.
Game 73
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
An important game from an emotional point of view as the World Championship match
was to be played the following year. Carlsen had won very few games against Anand,
especially at classical time controls. However, at Bilbao, a somewhat unmotivated
Anand was defeated by the Norwegian. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2843

Anand, V IND 2780
Sicilian Defense [B52]
Sao Paulo - Bilbao, 2012

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+

A clever psychological decision. Anand had already had some trouble with this variation
against Caruana in a previous round of the tournament (he even lost a game against
Tiviakov in the 2011/2012 Bundesliga season.

3... Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4 Nf6

5... Qg4 6. O-O Qxe4 7. d4! is known to be very risky for Black since the spectacular
miniature between Browne and Quinteros, 1974.

6. Nc3 g6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bg7 9. f3 Qc7!?

A very unusual move order - instead of the nearly automatic...0-0 and ...Nc6 - that
prevents White from setting up his standard layout with (Be3, Nde2, Qd2, etc).

10. b3 Qa5 11. Bb2 Nc6 12. O-O O-O 13. Nce2!?

13. Nde2 would be more natural but after 13... Nd7 Black is very comfortable.

13... Rfd8! 14. Bc3?!

The immediate 14. Kh1! would have prevented Blacks liberating manoeuvre.

14... Qb6! 15. Kh1

15... d5!

The key move behind Anands strange queen manoeuvres. "Now I have no problems at
all" said Anand.

16. Nxc6!

Carlsen tried to make a queen sacrifice work with 16. cxd5 Nxd5 17. exd5 Rxd5 18. Nxc6
Rxd1 19. Nxe7+ but then he saw that19... Kh8! (and not 19... Kf8?! 20. Raxd1 Qe6 (20...
Bxc3 21. Nd5) 21. Bb4 Qxe2 22. Rfe1! Qxa2 23. Nc8+! and White wins) 20.Raxd1 Qe6
and Black recovers the piece with advantage.

16... bxc6 17. Qe1! Rdc8?

"Sometimes you lose control because of just one mistake and then its really difficult to
get back into the game" said Anand, indicating that after 17... Re8 18. e5 Nd7 19. e6 fxe6
20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Nf4 e5 "Black is perfect."
17... a5 was even more accurate, with the idea of answering 18. e5 with 18... Nd7 19. e6

18. e5 Ne8 19. e6!

"Now Black must be careful" said Carlsen.

19... fxe6 20. Nf4 Bxc3 21. Qxc3 d4

Anand is trying to confuse Carlsen by returning the pawn as, in any case, after 21... Ng7
22. Rae1 Black doesnt have anything better than 22... d4

22. Qd2!

Anand was expecting 22. Qe1 c5 when 23. Nxe6 Rc6 24. Nf4 Nf6! leaves Black some
space to breathe.

22... c5 23. Rae1 Ng7 24. g4!

24... Rc6?!

Anand missed Whites next move that ends all resistance.

After the game both 24... Rf8 and 24... Qd6 were proposed by some commentators as
possible options to save the game. However, both players were quite pessimistic about
Blacks long-term perspectives, as White can double rooks on the e-file, play Nd3, Kg2
and gradually advance on the kingside. Blacks only active plan is to play... a5-a4 but it
doesnt seem to amount to much and also it comes too late.

25. Nh3!

"Now the game is over" said Carlsen, and Anand agreed.

25... Ne8 26. Qh6 Nf6 27. Ng5 d3

Black can avoid being mated with 27... Qa6 28. Re5 Qc8 but after 29. Rfe1 Qf8 30. Qxf8+
Kxf8 31. Nxe6+ White wins two pawns and the game.
28. Re5! Kh8

Otherwise 29.Nxh7! wins

29. Rd1 Qa6 30. a4

After only two hours of play Anand resigned in view of the plan Rxd3, Rde3 and Nxe6,
which he cant avoid. "This game was very entertaining!" said Carlsen to the Norwegian
press after the game; "A huge disappointment" said Anand, after his second defeat in a
classical game against Carlsen (the first one was at Linares in 2009) "Sometimes you
feel like a scientist, sometimes like an artist and other times like an idiot!"

Mexico 2012 Interview
By Leontxo Garcia and Mario Diaz

THE FOLLOWING interview with Magnus Carlsen, was conducted by Spanish journalist
Leontxo Garcia and Mexican actor Mario Diaz, on Sunday November 26th, 2012, just a
few hours before the world's number one would cross arms with Judit Polgar in the
final stage of the UNAM tournament. An summary of the interview was published in the
November 102 issue of the Peon de Rey Magazine, and is reproduced here.

Before a large audience and with a lot of media attention, the young 22-year-old
Norwegian showed his more personal side and declared that if he could vote in the U.S.
elections he would have chosen Barack Obama. He also declared being a Real Madrid fan
although he doent lose sleep with football and also that even when playing poker he
tries to demonstrate that he is the best.

Will you be so nice and friendly now that you know that Real Madrid lost tonight?

Being here in this country with a different time zone causes one to disconnect from
what is happening in Europe, where I live usually. Actually, I dont really have to follow
football always.

Why do you prefer Real Madrid and not Barcelona?

Everyone has their preferences and I have been a fan of that team for a long time. Also, I
like Zidane as a player. Even if tried, I couldnt be a fan of Barcelona
Do you consider yourself a genius?

No, I dont think so. I feel that I am a very lucky person; I'm good at what I do and I've
found something in which I can be brillian, excellent. I understand that a certain level of
intelligence is needed, but not genius, which is a very strong word.

We know that as a child your parents took a sabbatical year in Europe playing
chess. Do you think that was a good school of life?

I'm thrilled with that trip with my family. I feel that both my sisters and I learned many
things about the world, things that are very useful and important to know. I think that
we learned much more than if we had stayed at school, and I also really improved my

When you travel to a tournament, what are you interested in the places you visit?

When I travel to a country for a tournament I prefer to concentrate on the event, but I
try to take on some knowledge about the place I visit. I think that compensates for not
going to the museums.

If the Europeans could vote in the United States elections, would Obama have
definitely won?

There was a survey in Norway saying that 93.8 percent of Norwegians would have
voted for Obama and I would definitely have voted for him. In any case, I think that
Europeans have a system that works pretty well, but we are somewhat arrogant when
analysing other societies.

Do you see yourself as a polititian in the future?

No, I dont really see how I can become a politician. I feel much more comfortable giving
my opinions, which are very personal, and dont necessarily have to coincide with the
views of others.

You are not obsessed with chess

For me its a game. I enjoy playing, and I am still playing after so many tears because I
still enjoy it a lot.

We have been told that you also play poker, do you usually win?

I play with my friends and its not really about winning money, its more about
defeating your opponents. That is what we enjoy, to try and demonstrate that we are
the best.

Do you always win?

No, I am too impatient.

Game 74
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
The next game was played during the UNAM Festival (Mexico), in the Nezahualcoyotl
hall in front of 2000 people. Carlsen played two games simultaneously, one against the
audience and another against players from all over the world, who were sending in their
suggestions on the Internet. This one is the following game.

Carlsen, M NOR 2848

The World
Sicilian Defense [B90]
UNAM-Mxico, 2012

1. e4 c5

The participants chose the Sicilian instead of 1... e5 or 1... Nf6 , which were the other two
alternatives that were suggested.

2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6

Of all the possible variations the Internet audience chose the most popular, the Najdorf.
Carlsen replied with an unusual but interesting movement.

6. h3!?

This move goes back to the Fischer period, and even before, but its not as popular as
the main lines such as 6. Bg5 or 6. Be3 or6. Bc4.

6... e5

The Internet users opted for this movement, that leads to positions that are similar to
the Boleslavsky variation (that appears when White plays 6.Be2), with the difference
that White has the option of taking advantage of h3 to play g4 and achieve a superior
square for the bishop on g2.

I personally prefer the setup with 6... e6 for Black, so that I can answer 7. g4 with 7... h6
trying to make h3 a useless move. One of my games continued with 8. Bg2 g5!? with a
double-edged game in Anton,David - Illescas,Miguel, El Sauzal 2010.

7. Nde2 Be7

A standard movement that allows White to enforce his plan with no obstacles.
Liberating his game by means of 7... Be6 8. g4 d5 doesnt guarantee equality for Black, as
after 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Bg2 Nxc3 11.Qxd8+ Kxd8 12. Nxc3 Nc6 13. Be3 White achieves a
comfortable advantage, because of the bad position of Blacks king

the correct move, according to modern theory, is 7... h5! which I proposed as one of the
three candidates, but the audience didnt appreciate it enough. By means of the
aggressive advance of the h-pawn Black slows down Whites kingside expansion. The
move has recently achieved good results at the highest level.

8. g4! O-O 9. Ng3!

Magnus plays naturally and efficiently.

In an old game, White tried to dominate both sides of the board and his ambitious
strategy backfired: 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. a4 Nb6!11. Bg2 Be6 12. O-O Nc4 with good play for
Black in Lombardy, W-Fischer,R, New York.

9... Nbd7

The theory of the line finishes here.

An interesting alternative was 9... Ne8!? 10. Nd5 Bh4 Kupreichik,V (2535)-Dvoirys,S

10. Nf5 Nc5 11. Bg2 Be6

12. O-O

Magnus wants to attack, but without taking unnecessary risks. During their next moves
both sides continue with their respective plans; White plays on the kingside and Black
on the queenside, until the critical moment comes on move 20.

A player such as Shirov would have surely tried 12. g5!? Ne8 13. h4

12... b5 13. a3 Rc8 14. f4 Na4!? 15. Nxa4 bxa4 16. g5 Nd7 17. Nxe7+ Qxe7 18. f5 Bc4
19. Rf2 f6 20. g6
20... h6?!

This move won the voting, but I must say that during the game I didnt like it at all and I
still dont: the white pawn on g6 is a monster with which White has to live for the rest of
the game. Black must constantly control the sacrifices on h6 and the weakness of his
first rank. Also, all the endings are lost because of the strength of the passer on g6.

Black had to have iron nerves to follow up with the correct 20... hxg6! 21. fxg6 Rfd8 and
although the dangers of Blacks position are obvious, it isnt easy for White to progress
in the attack as the obvious 22. Qh5 is answered well enough by 22... Nf8

21. Be3 Nc5 22. Rd2 Rfd8 23. Qe1 Qb7 24. Rad1 Qxb2?!

This move is probably a mistake.

It was probably better to sacrifice the pawn closing the file. After 24... d5!? 25. exd5
Qxb2 Whites position is preferable but not as much as in the game.

25. Rxd6 Rxd6 26. Rxd6 Qxa3 27. Qd2

Threatening Rd8+ or Bxh6. Now Whites position seems winning, but there are tactical
resources that Black can pin his hopes on.

27... Nd3!

A fantastic jump that hinders Whites task. But just now, Magnus opens the lid of the jar
of essences with a high-precision, formidable rook manoeuvre.
28. Rd7!

Blacks move is justified after 28. Rxd3? Bxd3 29. cxd3 Qc3 30. Qa2+ Qb3 and the force
of the passed pawn tilts the balance towards Black.

28... Bb5! 29. Rd5!

Magnus is playing with astonishing precision and keeps his rook on the best square.

The natural 29. Ra7 is not so good, as after an eventual exchange of queens Whites rook
is left out of play, for example: 29...Qb4! 30. cxd3 Qxd2 31. Bxd2 a3 32. Bc3 a2 followed
by Kf8 and Blacks rook plays on the c-file. In these variations, the pawn on a2 is a pain
in the neck for White.

29... Nf4

Now, however, 29... Qa1+ 30. Kh2 Qe1 doesnt work as after 31. cxd3 Qxd2 32. Bxd2 a3
33. Bc3 a2 34. d4! Kf8 35. Rc5! White ends up winning, as the enemy rook cant get back
into play.

30. Rc5!

And again, this is another splendid move, pushing his opponents rook away from his
privileged location on the c-file.

30. Rd8+ Rxd8 31. Qxd8+ Qf8 would have been a mistake as Black breathes with relief.

30... Re8

Slightly better was 30... Rb8 although with the prophylactic 31. Kh2! White stays better.
(White must avoid the tempting 31. Rc7Kh8 32. c4 Be8) (or the direct 31. c4 Bd7! 32.
Rc7 Rb2!) 31... Kh8 32. c4 Be8 33. Qd6 which would win thanks to the multiple threats.
31. Rc7

Magnus continues naturally, transferring his rook to its ideal position on the seventh

However, the computer proposes a direct way to win material by means of 31. c4! Nd3
32. Rc7 replying 32... Qd6 with a very difficult move to find, 33. Qa5! and after 33... Bd7
34. c5 Qe7 35. c6 White wins.

31... Qa1+?

After this useless move Blacks queen remains out of play and his position collapses

The move that offered most resistance was 31... Ne2+! against which White, in order to
win, must reply with the very difficult - and illogical - move 32. Kh1!! It appears that
after 32... Nd4 33. c3 Qd6 34. Ra7 Qb8 the king is safer on h1, as White can win with 35.
Bxd4 exd4 36. Qa2+ Kh8 37. Rxg7 mating in a few moves. Obviously, this variation can
only be found quickly with the help of a computer. Any human player would move his
king to h2 when checked by the knight.

32. Kh2 Kh8

This move saves the king but loses a piece.

Alternatives such as 32... Nxg2 33. Qd5+ Kh8 34. Qf7 Rg8 35. Qxg8+ or 32... a3 33. Bxf4
exf4 34. Qd5+ Kh8 35. Rxg7 and Black will be mated in a few moves.

33. c4 a3

If 33... Nxg2 then 34. Bxh6! is strong.

34. cxb5 Qb2 35. bxa6

The die is cast. Blacks passed pawn is not enough to continue fighting. I proposed to
resign here but the Internet audience chose to carry on playing.
35... Qxd2 36. Bxd2 Ne2 37. Rc4 a2 38. Ra4

And at last I decided to force the rest of the world to resign.

Game 75
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
I cant confirm definitely that Blacks seventh move is a mistake, but the way that
Magnus Carlsen replies is simply brilliant, even more so taking into account that this is a
rapid game. A deep analysis would be necessary to determine exactly at what moment
Black went wrong. Bruzon defended well but his opponent was very inspired.

Carlsen, M NOR 2848

Bruzn, L CUB 2706
Sicilian Defense [B40]
UNAM-Mxico, 2012

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3!?

Carlsen prefers to avoid a theoretical debate in the Open Variation of the Sicilian.

3... Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. Qe2!?

The Norwegian insists on leaving the theoretical paths as soon as possible. The normal
5. Nbd2 would have led to a classical Kings Indian Attack position.

5... Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O b5?!

Bruzon tries to accelerate the attack on the queenside before castling, with variations
such as 7... O-O 8. e5 Nd7 9. h4 b5 10. Bf4a5 11. Nbd2 in mind, while White keeps
accumulating pieces on the kingside, preparing the attack in this sector with the well-
known manoeuvre Re1 followed by Nf1-h2-g4.

8. exd5!

A good decision: by opening the center White wants to take advantage of his
development. He also takes over the initiative from a psychological point of view, as
after the pawn exchange Blacks advance on the queenside loses all justification.

8... exd5

Weak is 8... Nxd5 as after 9. c4 Black would ruin<<< his queenside pawn structure.

9. d4! c4

9... cxd4?! seems bad as after 10. Qxb5 Blacks pawns are weak.

10. Ne5!
White is in non-stop mode. We shall see that Carlsen has discerned the consequences of
the pawn sacrifice with notable strategic clarity.

10... Nxd4

The alternative was 10... Qb6 although Black had to consider 11. Nxc6 Qxc6 12. Re1 Be6
13. Bh3 and White would end up winning the pawn.

11. Qd1 Qb6 12. Be3 Bc5 13. Nc3 Be6 14. a4 b4 15. a5 Qc7 16. Na4

Carlsen probably had this position in mind when he played his tenth move. Whites
compensation is clear and Black has some trouble maintaining the material balance.

16... Bd6 17. Nxc4 Qxc4 18. Bxd4 Be7 19. b3 Qc7 20. c4 Rd8 21. Bxf6 Bxf6 22. cxd5

At last Black finds time to castle, but now Whites passed pawn will become a

23. Rc1 Qxa5 24. Nc5 Bc8 25. d6! Bc3 26. Qd5 Bg4 27. h3! Be2

Maybe objectively better was 27... Rc8 28. hxg4 Rxc5 but certainly after 29. Qd3 Rd8 30.
d7 Blacks position is very passive and unpleasant to play.

28. d7 Bxf1 29. Rxf1 g6 30. Rd1 Rb8 31. Bf1 Kh8 32. Bc4 Bf6 33. Re1 Qb6 34. Re3
a5 35. Rf3 Bg7 36. h4! h5 37. Ne4 Qd4 38.Ng5 Qxd5 39. Bxd5 Bc3

39... f5 offered more resistance although after 40. Ne6 Whites advantage is very clear.

40. Rxf7 1-0

Game 76
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
In the Mexico final Carlsen defeated Polgar quite easily. The second is a good positional
game by Carlsen. The Norwegian deals with his +2700 opponent with insulting easiness,
as if she was a school kid in a simul display, with all respects for Judit who obviously
didn't have her best day.

Carlsen, M NOR 2848

Polgar, J HUN 2705
Sicilian Defense [B31]
UNAM-Mxico, 2012

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Bd3 c5 6. d5 O-O 7. Nf3 Na6 8. O-O Rb8 9. a4

Bg4 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 Nb4 12. Qf2Nd7 13. Be3 a6 14. Rfd1?!

While I was commentating on this game live, I sensed that moving the rook away from
the f-file was a strategic surrender. And now, after analyzing the game, I maintain this
opinion. Whites last moves were not very good, and after this move its clear that Black
has won the opening battle.

14... Nxd3 15. cxd3 Qa5! 16. d4?!

This move only helps Black exploit his advantage on the queenside, as Blacks rooks will
make the most of the open c-file.

16... Rbc8 17. Rab1 Qb4

From this square blacks queen completely controls the queenside. White will pay
dearly for the weaknesses on this side of the board.

18. Kh2 cxd4 19. Bxd4 Rc4!

The action of this rook on the fifth rank will be decisive to tip the scales in Blacks
favour. The a4 and e4 pawns are under unbearable pressure.

20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Re1 Nc5 22. Qe3 Rd4

Magnus has achieved complete control of the position and his opponent decides to
sacrifice a pawn for counterplay.

23. Rbd1 Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Qxb2

At last, Black has won the pawn, and I cant see a way to recover it soon. Therefore, its
no surprise that the Hungarian launches a kingside attack, burning her bridges on an
attack that will never materialize.

25. e5 Rc8 26. f5 Nd7!

Carlsen had to calculate this important move beforehand, combining attack and defence.
Now its very clear that Whites pawn phalanx isnt a threat for Black.

27. exd6 exd6 28. Qd4+ Ne5 29. Ne4

Judit resigns herself to the unavoidable.

29. f6+ Kg8 30. Qe3 Qxc3 31. Qh6 Nf3+ 32. gxf3 Qxf6 winning.

29... Qxd4 30. Rxd4 Rc4!

Forcing a winning ending.

31. Rxc4 Nxc4 32. f6+ Kf8 33. Kg3 b5

Blacks wins easily thanks to his pawn advantage.

34. axb5 axb5 35. Kf4 b4 36. g4 b3 37. Nc3 b2 38. Nb1 Nb6 39. Ke4 g5 40. Nc3 h6
41. Nb1 Kg8 42. Kd4 Kh7 43. Kc3 Nxd5+ 44.Kxb2 Kg6

And Polgar resigned.

Game 77
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
Judit achieved a good position with Black at the end of the opening, but she had the
misfortune to end up playing an almost equal endgame. However, it was of the kind that
you have to play very accurately, one of those that Carlsen enjoys a lot.

Polgar, J HUN 2705

Carlsen, M NOR 2848
King's pawn game [C50]
UNAM-Mxico, 2012

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. O-O Bg7 6. Re1 d6 7. c3 Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3
9. Qxf3 e5 10. a3 Ne7 11. b4 O-O 12. bxc5 d513. d3 Qa5 14. a4 Rab8 15. Qe2 Rb3
16. Nd2 Rxc3 17. Nf3 Qxc5 18. Bd2 Rc2 19. Bb4 Rxe2 20. Bxc5 Rxe1+ 21. Rxe1 Re8
22. Bxa7Ra8 23. Bc5 Nc8 24. exd5 cxd5 25. Nxe5 Rxa4 26. d4 Bf8 27. Nd7 Bxc5 28.
Re8+ Kg7 29. dxc5 d4 30. Kf1 Na7 31. Ne5 Nb5 32. f4

In spite of the fact that Judit has considerably improved her strategic capacity, the
Hungarians weak point has always been the endgame. Once again, we were able to
confirm this in the first tie-break game. Polgar was unable to offer any resistance
defending a slightly worse ending.

32... Ra2?!

This move, cutting off the enemy king, doesnt seem bad, but there were more
important things to do.

This was a good moment for Judit to activate her own king with 32... Kf6 with a balanced
position, as it would be bad for White to start capturing pawns with 33. Rf8 Ke6 34.
Rxf7? d3! and Blacks pawn would be very powerful. 35. Ke1 Ra2 36. Rd7 Re2+ 37.
Kf1Rxe5 winning.

or he would play actively attacking his opponents dangerous distant pawn. After 32...
Ra1+ 33. Ke2 Rc1 it seems that Black is close to equality.

33. Re7 Kf6?

The king is active now, but the price of two pawns is too high.

He had to counterattack with 33... Rc2 34. Rxf7+ Kg8 and White cant avoid the loss of
the c-pawn, as if 35. c6 Rxc6!

34. Rxf7+ Ke6 35. Rxh7

The rest of the game is easy.

35... Kd5 36. c6 Rc2 37. Rb7 Nd6 38. Rd7 Ke6 39. Rd8 g5 40. Nf3 Rc1+ 41. Ke2 Rc2+
42. Kd1 Rc4 43. Nxg5+ Kd5 44. Nf7 1-0
Game 78
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
This was the fourth game of the match he played against Polgar in Mexico. The huge
superiority of the Norwegian in rapid chess became crystal clear after these games.
Black equalizes quickly and achieves a small advantage soon after with simple moves.
Finally, he delightfully accepts his opponents gift.

Polgar, J HUN 2705

Carlsen, M NOR 2848
Sicilian Defense [B09]
UNAM-Mxico, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O d6 5. c3 Bb6 6. a4 Nf6 7. b4 a5 8. b5 Ne7 9. d3

O-O 10. Bg5 Ng6 11. Nbd2 h6 12. Be3 c613. Ba2 d5

After Whites poor opening play, Carlsen has achieved a comfortable position, especially
taking into account that a draw was enough to take down the match. His opponent was
incapable of maintaining the tension. She embarked into a mistaken strategy that leads
to the collapse of her position in just a few moves.

14. Bxb6 Qxb6 15. exd5?!

The cession of center cant be justified, except for the fact that Judit needed to win no
matter what.

15... cxd5 16. Re1 Re8

And Black now has a pleasant advantage in the center. The Hungarians next move
demonstrated that she wasnt in good shape, as she drops a piece.
17. c4?

17... e4!

And where does the knight go? Thats the end of the story.

18. d4 exf3 19. Rxe8+ Nxe8 20. c5 Qd8

And the rest of the game is simple.

21. Qxf3 Nf6 22. Re1 Be6 23. Bb1 Nf8 24. h3 Rc8 25. b6 Bd7 26. Bc2 Ne6 27. Qd3
Bc6 28. f3 Qd7 29. Ra1 Re8 30. g3 Ng5 31.h4 Qh3 32. Nf1 Nge4 33. fxe4 dxe4 34.
Qe2 e3 35. Qh2 Qg4 36. Re1 e2 0-1
Game 79
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Carlsen continues to play non-theoretical lines and it seems to keep giving him good
results. But this time he had to sweat blood. His opponent played courageously,
imaginatively sacrificing his queen for two minor pieces, offering us all a wonderful
show. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2848

Jones, G ENG 2644
Sicilian Defense [B53]
London Chess Classic, 2012

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Qxd4 a6 5. h3

In 2.887 games this move has only been played 9 times. The queen will not return to d1
and Black is not interested in moving his bishop to g4. The usual move is 5.c4. Luckily,
we shall transpose soon.

5... Nc6 6. Qe3 g6

With the mortal threat of Bh6 forcing a quick resignation.

7. c4 Bg7 8. Be2 Nf6

5.h3 makes more sense now although ...Ng4 would not have caused many problems.

9. Nc3 O-O 10. O-O

A new search offers dozens of games, many of them played with White by Macieja
(Poland). Veteran players prefer having their bishop on e3 and the queen on d2 but the
young generation enjoys exploring different setups.

10... Nd7

This is clearly the most popular move. I dont normally recommend inserting complete
games in my annotations, but I shall make an exception due to the convincing beating
that the young Cuban Fidel Corrales gave to his experienced opponent.

10... Be6 11. Rd1 Nd7 12. Rb1 Rc8 13. Bd2 Re8 14. Nd5 f6 15. b4 Bf7 16. Rbc1 e6 17. Nf4
Qe7 18. Qb3 g5 19. Nd3 d5 20. b5 dxe421. bxc6 bxc6 22. Nb4 exf3 23. Bxf3 Ne5 24. Be2
c5 25. Nd3 Nc6 26. Qa3 Nd4 27. Bf1 e5 28. Be3 f5 29. f3 Qd6 30. Nf2 h6 31. Bd3e4 32.
fxe4 Qg3 33. Bb1 f4 0-1 Macieja-Corrales Jimenez,F Merida MEX.
11. Rb1 a5

Along with b6 this is the best alternative for Black.

Jones analyses deeply the alternative 11... Nc5 to play Bxc3 and capture the e4 pawn.
Both players debated the position after the game for a few minutes. Jones was happy
with his extra pawn and Carlsen with his compensation.

12. b3 Nc5 13. Bb2 f5

The position is theoretical but Jones kept thinking while Carlsen was playing instantly.

14. exf5 Bxf5 15. Rbd1 a4!

A critical move. White doesnt have a natural way to defend this pawn, so he turns to

16. Ba3

As always, Carlsen quickly chooses the ambitious alternative.

The other option was 16. Nxa4 Nxa4 (16... Bxb2 17. Nxc5 Rxa2) 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. bxa4
with a minimal advantage in all the lines. Carlsen prefers to leave some other doors

16... Qa5

The most consequent reply. The game becomes more complicated.

16... Bxc3 17. Bxc5 Qa5 18. Bd4

16... axb3!? 17. Bxc5 bxa2 18. Bb6 Qd7 19. Qd2 (19. Nd4!? wasnt considered in the post
mortem and it could be a clear improvement.) 19... Bxh3 20. Ng5!

17. Nb5

The most ambitious reply.

b4 was analysed and Jones dismissed it quickly after the sequence 17. b4 Nxb4 18. Bxb4
Qxb4 19. Nd5 Qa5 20. Nxe7+ Kh8 21.Nxf5 gxf5 declaring that he would then play Rae8
with a good position. This judgment is debatable in my opinion. Amongst other moves,
White can play 22. Bd3 and look for a skirmish on the kingside with his queen via g5-h5
and eventually an annoying rook on the 'b' or 'd' files. I think that at the most Black can
equalize, and it wont be easy.

17... axb3 18. axb3

Arriving at the crucial moment of the game. White has defended his b3 pawn and even
threatens to win the pawn on c5. If Black doesnt react urgently, White will squeeze the
Maroczy bind. Facing the worlds number one, most Grand Masters would cowardly try
to extract a draw. But the young Englishman thought differently: "If I am able to play an
immortal against Magnus Carlsen the game will go over the world in a few minutes". He
transformed this thought immediately into a spectacular action.

18... Qxa3!?

Afterwards, the computer judge found Blacks best response, which a human would
hardly consider. 18... Rf6!? 19. Bxc5 Re6 20.Qd2 dxc5 21. g4 Qxd2 22. Rxd2 Rxe2 23.
Rxe2 Bd3 24. Rd2 Bxf1 25. Kxf1 and it seems that Black solves all his problems although
White keeps a small edge in the ending.

19. Nxa3 Rxa3

In Carlsens opinion Black has significant compensation thanks to his excellent piece
coordination. Sadly, the sacrifice was executed when Jones hardly had any time left and
he soon made some inaccuracies that spoiled his idea.

20. Nd2

The alternative was 20. Rb1 which Carlsen considered but rejected when he saw that
Black could play 20... Rfa8 He was annoyed that Black could calmly refrain from
capturing his rook.

20... Bd4 21. Qg3

Black must stop here and think about how he is going to organize his counterplay; a bad
moment because Jones didnt have enough time for this type of position.

21... Be5?

I must admit that it was not easy to choose between the alternatives Kh8, Kg7, Bf6, Bc2,
Ra2, etc. It is hard to find the Philosophers stone between so many equivalent

22. f4

Carlsen was happy when he played this move, after which his queen is safe. As he
explained later, White needs to make this advance, but he has to waste some time with
the bishop on d4.

22... Bf6

Neither of the players knew before or after analyzing the game together that all of this
had already been played before.

22... Nd4 23. Bf3 Bf6 24. Kh1 Rfa8 25. b4 Ne4 26. Nxe4 Bxe4 27. Qe1 Bxf3 28. gxf3 Nxf3?
29. Qe4 Nh4 30. Rd3 and White has consolidated although he ended up losing in
Rombaldoni,A (2309)-Sorcinelli,F (2116) Bergamo.

23. Bg4 Nd4 24. Kh1 Bc2 25. Rde1 Kh8 26. Re3 h5 27. b4

27... h4?

This move is elegantly refuted with a queen castling.

The critical move was 27... Nd3 leading to many complex variations 28. Bd1! (28. Ne4?!
h4 29. Qh2 Nf2+ 30. Nxf2 Rxe3) (28.Nf3!? is a computer move, too complicated for
humans. 28... Nxf3 (28... hxg4 29. Nxd4 Bxd4 30. Qh4+ Kg8 31. Rxe7 Rf7 (31...Bg7 32. f5)
32. Rxf7 Kxf7 33. f5 and White constructs a huge attack from nothing) 29. gxf3 hxg4 30.
Qh2 Ra2 (30... g3 31. Qxc2Nxb4 (31... Nf2+ 32. Rxf2 Rxe3 33. Rg2) (31... Rfa8 32. Rxd3
Ra2 33. Rd2 Rxc2 34. Rxc2) 32. Qe4) 31. hxg4+ Kg8 32. g5) 28... Nf5(28... h4 29. Qxg6
Nf2+ 30. Rxf2 Bxg6 31. Rxa3) 29. Qxg6 Nxe3 30. Bxc2 Nxc2 31. Rf3 (31. Ne4!?) 31...
Ndxb4 32. Rxa3 Nxa3 33.Ne4 and although Black has achieved material balance he will
be clearly worse in a few moves.

28. Qf2 Nd3 29. Qg1

Blacks pieces have lost their activity and White now has all the time he needs to
reorganize his position.

29... Nf5?! 30. Bxf5 gxf5 31. Nf3

31. Rc1!?

31... Rc3 32. c5

32. g4!

32... Bb3 33. Ne1! Bd4 34. Nxd3 dxc5?

34... Rxd3 35. Rxd3 Bxg1 36. Rxb3 Bd4 37. cxd6 exd6 38. Rd3.

35. Qf2 Rf7

35... Rxd3 36. Qxh4+.

36. Rc1 cxb4

36... Rxd3 37. Qxh4+ Rh7 38. Qxh7+ Kxh7 39. Rxd3.

37. Rxc3 bxc3 38. Qe1 1-0

Game 80
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
I was watching this game live and I couldn't believe my eyes. Could this man defeat
such a good player like Michael Adams from such a dry and lifeless position? There is
only one way to achieve this: your name must be Magnus Carlsen. Come and see. (GM
Miguel Illescas)

Adams, M ENG 2710

Carlsen, M NOR 2848
Ruy Lopez Opening [C84]
London Chess Classic, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 Bd7 9.

h3 O-O 10. Be3 Be6 11. Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nbd2 b4 13. c3

A normal position, in which Carlsen makes a normal advance. However, in this case it
doesnt work adequately.

13... d5?

The correct move order was 13... bxc3 14. bxc3 d5 as Carlsen admitted after the game.

14. cxb4!

This is one of those ugly moves that one doesnt normally consider as a matter of
principle. Now Black has no other way of recovering his pawn.

14... Bd6

The best move given the circumstances. 14... Bxb4 15. Qc2 with the idea Rac1 is very
awkward. 14... Nxb4 15. Nxe5 and then Ndf3.

15. b5 axb5 16. axb5 Rxa1 17. Qxa1 Nb4

With blind faith in the Norwegian, most of the Internet users thought that this was a
positional pawn sacrifice. However, in reality Carlsen had just blundered a pawn.

18. d4 exd4 19. Nxd4 Qe8 20. Qa4 Nxe4 21. Nxe4 dxe4 22. Nc6 Nd5 23. Qxe4 Nxe3
24. Qxe3 Rf5

White maintains his pawn and reaches a comfortable position, but Adams had already
spent a lot of time and was starting to see ghosts, for example that his knight would be
cut off from the defence of his king. Therefore, he voluntarily decided to move it back. In
his live broadcast, GM Nigel Short said that this was the type of positions in which
Adams excelled.

25. Nd4

Or maybe he wanted to allow 25... Bc5 after which the game would quickly head to a
drawn ending. These days, a draw against Magnus is gold. In London he had only drawn
one of his five previous games. Magnus saw this move and the draw but he preferred to
continue fighting, from a worse position!

25... Re5 26. Qb3 Rd5 27. Qc4 Qf7 28. b3

28. Nf3 with the idea Re1 and Qe4 seems very healthy.
28... Qd7 29. Nf3 Rxb5 30. Ra1 Rd5 31. g3 h6 32. Qe4 Qe8 33. Kg2 Kf7 34. Ra2 Qd8
35. Re2 Qf6

The position still seems very normal for White and nothing seems to indicate that he
might lose. Nearly all the GM that I know would be pleased to achieve a draw with Black
in this position against Adams, a very strong GM. But time is an important component in
a game and the Englishman only had a few minutes left.

36. h4?! Qf5 37. Qc4 Rd3 38. Re3 Rxe3 39. fxe3 Qb1

Now things have changed and Black is going for the win. The advantage is very small but
Adams fails again big time, blundering a pawn.

40. e4? Qb2+ 41. Kh3 Qf2! 42. e5 Qxf3 43. exd6 Qh1+ 44. Kg4 Qd1+ 45. Kh3 Qxd6

Maybe he could have resisted a bit more but in any case Carlsen concluded the game in
good style from here onwards.

46. h5 c5 47. g4 Qd4 48. Qf1+ Ke7 49. Qf3? Qd5 50. Qc3 e5 51. Kg3 Kd6 52. Qc4
Qxc4 53. bxc4 e4 54. Kf4 e3 55. Kf3 Ke6 56.Ke2 Kf6 57. Kf3 Kg5 58. Kxe3 Kxg4 59.
Ke4 Kxh5 60. Kd5 g5 61. Kxc5 g4 62. Kd4 g3 63. Ke3 Kg4 0-1
Game 81
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
This game, like so many of Carlsen's games, is a real "tour de force" as the French would
say, a show of force from the undisputed world number one. Carlsen's strength and how
he pushes for a win is simply stunning. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2848

Polgar, J HUN 2705
English Opening [A33]
London Chess Classic, 2012

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. a3 Bc5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. e4 O-O
9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Bf4 d6 12. Rc1Rc8 13. Re1 Ne5 14. Nd2

Although we have arrived at this position from an English Opening, I must say that the
this is quite atypical, as the majority of games that reach this position start with the
Taimanov variation of the Sicilian. Here are the moves: 1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 Nf6 7.N5c3 Be7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 b6 10.Bf4 Bb7 11,Re1 Ne5
12.Nd2. This is a variation that became popular in the seventies and eighties by GM
Lubomir Ljubojevic.

14... Nfd7

Judit avoids playing a6 until move 29. This would allow her opponent to transpose to
other known variations. However, in spite of having good computer programs, the move
orders between the English and the Sicilian complicate things for those of us who want
to study this opening deeply. For example, if we leave out now Rc1 for White and Rc8
for Black we would have the game Ljubojevic-Kasparov, from Tilburg, on the board.
15. Be3

Carlsen deviates from known theory. However, this move is very natural and the setup
has been analysed in depth.

The only game that reached this position finished quickly. 15. b4 Kh8 16. Bg3 g5 17. Nb3
a6 18. Bf1 Rg8 19. Na4 Bc6 20. Nd4Bb7 21. Nb3 Bc6 22. Nd4 Bb7 23. Nb3 Van Wely-
Gashimov, Wijk aan Zee.

15... Qc7 16. b4 Qb8 17. f4 Ng6 18. g3 Rfe8 19. Bf3 Qa8 20. Bf2 Ngf8

I dont understand the need to make this move. White couldnt play 21.f5 because of
21...Ne5. Preferable was 20...a6 maintaining control.

21. Qe2 Qb8

The liberating move 21... d5? doesnt work due to 22. cxd5 exd5 23. Nxd5 y ahora 23...
Rxc1 (23... Bxd5 24. Rxc8 Qxc8 25. exd5Bxb4 26. Qxe8 Qxe8 27. Rxe8 Bxd2 28. d6) 24.
Nxe7+ Rxe7 25. Rxc1 Nf6 26. e5.

22. Red1

The key moment of the game. White is always slightly better after the opening in this
type of setups. But now Judit Polgar makes a mistake and this is very dangerous against
Magnus Carlsen.

22... g6? 23. e5!

White immediately advances his pawn to take advantage of the new weakness on g6.
Note that Blacks piece arrangement is not the best for the g6 pawn advance; his bishop
is on e7 and his knight on f8.

23... Bc6 24. Bd4 Red8 25. Bxc6 Rxc6 26. Nf3

Carlsen prefers to defend his strong pawn on e5 for the rest of the game.

Also possible was 26. exd6 Bxd6 27. Nf3 followed by 28.Ne4.
26... dxe5 27. fxe5 Rdc8 28. Ne4 Qc7 29. Nfd2 a6

29... Nxe5 doesnt work due to 30. b5 and the exchange sacrifice with 30... Rc5 31. Nxc5
Bxc5 doesnt work either as after 32.Ne4 White has extra material and a prevailing

30. Nf2!

Carlsen was particularly happy with this move, after which, in his opinion, Black has a
lot of problems.

30... Bg5

Tempting, but White finds another good answer after which Blacks position collapses.

31. Rf1!

Two or three moves more and Blacks king will receive an exemplary punishment; this
is more than enough reason for Judit to go for the following tactical sequence.

31... Bxd2 32. Qxd2 Nxe5

32... Rxc4 33. Rxc4 Qxc4 34. Ng4 Kg7 35. Nh6 Qd5 36. Rxf7+ Kh8 37. Rf1! and Blacks
defences cant hold against the attack.

33. Bxe5 Qxe5 34. Ng4 Rd6 35. Nh6+ Kg7 36. Rxf7+ Kh8 37. Qf2 Qd4

This is the move that Judit had put her hopes on when she went into this variation. Its
an ingenious, albeit insufficient, solution, as Carlsen will demonstrate with accurate

38. c5! bxc5 39. Qxd4+ Rxd4 40. Rxc5! Rcd8

40... Rxc5 41. bxc5 Rc4 (41... Rd8 42. c6 Ra8 43. c7 Rc8 44. Re7 winning after Nf7+ and
Nd6) 42. Rxf8+ Kg7 43. Rf4! Rc1+ 44. Rf1winning.

41. Rcc7! Rd1+ 42. Kg2 R1d2+ 43. Kh3 R2d5 44. Ng4
Nf6 is threatened and Blacks play is forced.

44... Rh5+ 45. Kg2 Rd2+ 46. Kf3 Rf5+ 47. Ke3!

Nf6 is threatened again.

47... Rxf7 48. Rxf7 Rd8 49. Nf6

And finally the knight lands on this powerful square. Black is able to avoid being mated
in seven moves, but his position has collapsed completely, as he can only move his rook.

49... Rb8 50. Kf4 h6 51. Ke5 a5 52. bxa5 Ra8 53. a6

And Polgar resigned in view of the variation 53. a6 Rxa6 54. Rxf8+ Kg7 55. Rd8 Rxa3 56.
Rd7+ Kf8 57. Ne4

Candidate for the World Title
By GM Miguel Illescas

London Candidates Tournament 2013

FROM MARCH 15th to April 1st the Candidates Tournament was held in London, the
aim of which was to find the name of Anands World Championship title challenger.
Carlsen had prepared very well after Wijk aan Zee, without playing a single tournament
game. The norwegian played a great half, confirming his condition as the main favourite,
but an inspired Kramnik climbed back espectacularly in the second half and both
players were tied at the start of the last round.

The eight candidates. Standing: Radjabov, Carlsen, Grischuk, Aronian, Ivanchuk. Seated:
Svidler, Kramnik and Gelfand.

The outcome of the tournament was spectacular Carlsen and Kramnik were under a lot
of pressure. They lost their games in the last round in a way that can only be explained
by the circumstances in which those games were played.

In the case of the Norwegian, he had a terrible end of tournament. When he realized
how close he was to achieve his goal he melted like a pudding, proving that he is human,
that he is young and he still has much to learn. Certainly, he managed to defeat Radjabov
in an epic struggle, but it was more than anything else by inertia, because his opponent
had emotionally hit rock bottom. Except for the collapse of his nervous system, there is
no other explanation to the fact that the Norwegian lost two decisive games with White.

However, I must admit that Carlsen played a fabulous first half and is certainly the most
qualified opponent to fight against Anand for the World Championship crown.

Carlsens tournament performance

The first round was a classic trial day. All the games ended in a draw, including Magnus
with Black against Aronian. In the second round he also failed to get anything against
Kramnik, one of his direct rivals and he had to settle for a feeble draw. In the third
round, he scored his first win at the expense of Gelfand, in one of his typical shows of
strength, taking advantage of an inaccuracy by Boris just before the time control.

The fourth day allowed Carlsen to catch up with Aronian at the top of the standings
table after defeating Grischuk in a great game. At the time it seemed that the
tournament would be a hand-for-hand duel between these two great chess masters,
Carlsen and Aronian, authentic leaders of the new generation. But as we know, although
they shared the lead for several rounds, several uninvited guests finally decided to join
the party.

In the fifth round, with Black, Carlsen drew with a very difficult game against Ivanchuk,
who was standing last at that moment, but the following day he won comfortably
against Svidler. The first leg ended fortuitously for him when he drew against Radjabov
in the seventh round in a game in which he was lost for the most part despite playing
with White.

Flanked by Gelfand and Radjabov, Carlsen signs a board under the watchful eye of the
organizer Andrew Paulson.

In the first game of the second leg, Carlsen and Aronian quickly drew their game, after
Black equalized completely after the opening. It seemed that Carlsen played with special
caution in clashes with those players that he considered to be his direct rivals, Aronian
and Kramnik. The Norwegian was probably not averse to a draw against them, knowing
his ability to "score" higher against the other theoretically weaker players.

In the ninth round Carlsen survived a significant commitment, Black against Kramnik, in
a game that seemed to have become very difficult for the Norwegian, after Vlads
brilliant opening. But Magnus showed his now legendary defensive tenacity and
achieved a valuable half point, which kept the distances with the Russian and
unexpectedly helped him to become sole leader in the tournament for the first time.

The tenth round definitely clarified any remaining doubts about who were the players
that could win the tournament. The victories of Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik
reaffirmed their lead and left the other contenders without any options.

Miguel Illescas in the press room. Beside him, Andrew Paulson and the famous writer
Fernando Arrabal.

In the eleventh round Alexander Grischuk neutralized the leader Magnus Carlsen with a
quick draw, while Peter Svidler defeated Levon Aronian in an excellent game by the
player from St. Petersburg. He mercilessly punished the reckless approach of the
Armenian who perhaps showed too much eagerness to regain the lost ground and catch
up with Carlsen in the standings table. Aronian's defeat practically ruled out the
Armenian, leaving him a full point behind Magnus with just three games to go.

In the 12th round Ivanchuk showed the best of himself by defeating Carlsen impeccably.
Aronian and Kramnik staged a vibrant showdown, and luck finally smiled on the
Russian. Thus, Vladimir Kramnik was ended the day as the only leader, relegating
Carlsen to second place. Everything would be decided in the last two days.

In the 13th and next-to-last round Kramnik was unable to overcome Gelfand but Carlsen
defeated Radjabov in an epic ending. The stage was set for the last round, which seemed
to be very favorable for Carlsen because the entire tiebreaks system favored him and he
also had White against Svidler while Kramnik had to face Ivanchuk with Black.

Both games lasted for over four hours in an exciting atmosphere and, as you know, with
the most unexpected outcome: both leaders were defeated and Magnus Carlsen was
proclaimed the official challenger to Viswanathan Anand thanks to his superior

Just after the Candidates event ended FIDE announced the venue for the Anand-Carlsen
World title match: it would be held in Chennai (India). Many people were surprised that
Carlsen didnt protest at the thought of playing in his opponents house, until it was
known that the Norwegian had obtained an extra 100.000 euros for the prize fund and
other compensations. Also, the Indian bid was the most solid and profitable.

With his mind placed on his future match against Anand, Carlsen planed the next
months to combine practice with preparation, participating in three important events:
in May a strong tournament in Nowway; in June the tradictional Tal Memorial in
Moscow; and finally a short 4-player Round Robin in Saint Louis.

Press Conference with Magnus Carlsen

Here follows a summary of the most important statements made by Magnus Carlsen, as
the winner of the tournament.

About how I will celebrate the victory, my thoughts do not go further than to get back to
the hotel and rest. I'm very tired both physically and emotionally, and this is a lethal

I suspect that I'm the youngest contender for the world championship since Kasparov.
It's great to be an idol for young chess players but I think they shouldnt take what I do
at face value, such as playing so recklessly, or spending all my time in a decisive game in
which I essentially only needed a draw.

Playing in London makes me very happy, as I have won four of the five tournaments I've
played here. Its nice to be able to choose between all the interesting places to go out to
dinner, for example. We have a bad habit though; my analyst Peter Heine Nielsen and I
go out for burgers and shakes before each rest day, and since I won the first rounds, it
was also a good way to celebrate too.

It's great that chess is recognized much more nowadays in Norway. I know that there
has been a lot of media expectation and in fact thirteen-year-old Norwegian boy just
achieved a GM norm, so positive things are happening in my country.
About the tournament, the last three games have clearly been the most difficult ones.
During the first rounds I arguably played the best chess of all, and overall I think I
played well, with few mistakes. But at the end we were all very tired and the quality of
play went down. Still, I think I deserve the final victory.

I am very impressed by Kramniks comeback in the second half of the tournament,

because in the first half he was very well prepared but he couldnt finish anyone off.
Then everything started to go well for him, although it would be fair to say that he was
lucky in some of the games. If we take into account only the positions achieved after
opening he would be a worthy winner, but tournaments dont just depend on that. He
plays very well with the initiative, he is very well prepared, but he makes mistakes from
time to time, perhaps more than me.

In my last two defeats I have learned that anything can happen when I'm tired and
under a lot of pressure. Maybe my sense of danger went down a bit: I will try to learn
from the practical and theoretical errors of the last two games.

There is still a long way to go for the match with Anand, which will be a great event. Up
to now it didnt make much sense to think of a match for which I wasnt even qualified,
but as for mu preparation I think it wont change much. I suspect that the event will be
as dramatic as this tournament.
Game 82
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
The most important tournament in his life came around and Carlsen seemed in top
form, playing an extraordinary first leg, with wins like the following game. Gelfand was
worse after the opening, but with a tenacious defense he seemed to have finally
managed to keep his feet. But in this type of long and apparently equal games is where
Carlsen leverages his greatest virtue: the Norwegian makes almost no major mistakes,
his rivals occasionally do, as Gelfand did in this game.

Gelfand, B ISR 2740

Carlsen, M NOR 2872
QGD [D52]
Wch Candidates-London, 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Qa5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Rc1

Nxc3 9. bxc3 Ba3 10. Rc2 b6 11. Bd3 Ba6 12.O-O Bxd3 13. Qxd3 O-O 14. e4 Rfe8 15.
e5 h6 16. Bh4 c5 17. Nd2 cxd4 18. cxd4 Rac8 19. Nc4 Qb5 20. f4 Rc7 21. Qxa3 Rxc4
22.Rxc4 Qxc4 23. Bf2 Qc7 24. Rc1 Qb7 25. Qd6 Nf8 26. g3 Rc8 27. Rxc8 Qxc8 28. d5
exd5 29. Qxd5 g6 30. Kg2 Ne6 31. Qf3 Kg732. a3 h5 33. h4 Qc2 34. Qb7 Qa4 35. Qf3
b5 36. f5!

A natural rupture, taking advantage of the kingside pawn majority.

36... gxf5 37. Qxf5 Qxa3 38. Qxh5 a5 39. Qg4+ Kf8

40. h5?

It seems natural to push the passed pawn forward but it is a decisive mistake, precisely
on the last move of the time control.
With more time on his clock Gelfand would have surely found the precise 40. Qh5! with
a simple and efficient plan: to give a check on h8 and advance the rook-pawn to the goal.
Play would continue, for example, with 40... Qd3 41. Qh8+ Ke7 42. h5 and White
generates enough counterplay with the advance of the h-pawn and the aggressive
position of his queen. The most natural outcome would be that one of the sides would
be forced to go for a draw by perpetual.

40... Qc1!

Now the black queen controls the advance of the enemy pawn and White must find a
way to progress before the black pawns become an irresistible force.

41. Qe4 b4 42. Be3 Qc7 43. Qa8+ Kg7 44. h6+

This advance is not so good if a queen ending comes about but White needs to create
some threats on the enemy king, as otherwise he can't stop the advance of the passed

44... Kh7 45. Qe4+ Kg8 46. Qa8+

After 46. h7+ Kh8 there is no way to progress. Therefore, Gelfand goes for a draw by

46... Qd8
47. Qxd8+?

With this exchange Gelfand, already very tired, gives up the fight.

After 47. Qc6 b3 48. Bc1! Black's advantage is unquestionable, but there is still a long
fight ahead to prove - or maybe not - that the advantage is really decisive.

47... Nxd8 48. Kf3 a4 49. Ke4

It may seem that the black pawns can be controlled but Carlsen will demonstrate the

49... Nc6 50. Bc1 Na5!

The black knight finds the way to support his pawns. The rest of the game isn't difficult.

51. Bd2 b3! 52. Kd3 Nc4! 53. Bc3 a3 54. g4 Kh7

Magnus is in no hurry: the white pawns are harmless.

55. g5 Kg6 56. Bd4 b2 57. Kc2 Nd2!

And Gelfand resigned as after 57... Nd2 58. Bxb2 axb2 59. Kxb2 Nc4+ 60. Kc3 Nxe5 there
is no way to exchange black's last pawn.


Magnus Carlsen scored with maximum effectiveness against Boris Gelfand, who won both
Game 83
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
This game gave me a strong impression, while I was following it live. How can White
despise his opponent's attacking chances and pursue the capture of the a5 pawn? Well,
he can, and it results in an incredible game in my opinion, with unbelievable moves of
great originality and strategic depth, such as 17.a4 and 18.c5. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2872

Grischuk, A RUS 2764
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
Wch Candidates - London, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6

Grischuk goes for the Berlin defence in the Ruy Lopez but Carlsen decides against the
typical ending.

4. d3

4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8.

4... Bc5

The most active development for the bishop, although 4...d6 is also possible.

5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3

A good prophylactic move that prevents both ...Bg4 and ...Ng4 and also prepares an
escape route for the white king if necessary.

7... a6

Grischuk already played this variation more than ten years ago against Judit Polgar,
although on that occasion he preferred the solid 7... Ne7 transferring the knight to the
kingside. That game continued 8. d4 Bb6 9. Nbd2 Ng6 10. Re1 c6 11. Bf1 Re8 with
equality although Judit ended up winning in 35 moves. Polgar,J (2677)-Grischuk,A
(2702)/Moscow 2002.

8. Bxc6

Retreating the bishop to a4 is also possible but this capture seems more incisive.

8... bxc6 9. Re1

At the highest level, it's very important to be well aware of what your opponent's are up
to, even in a rapid game such as the Blitz Aeroflot held in Moscow, which was played a
month before, in which the following game was played, which Carlsen knew for sure: 9.
d4 Bb6 10. Re1 h6 (10... exd4! 11. cxd4 d5 12. e5 Ne4 is an option that Carlsen doesn't
allow in the game) 11. Qc2 Re812. Nbd2 exd4 13. cxd4 c5 14. d5 c6 15. dxc6 Qc7 16. b3
Qxc6 17. Bb2 Bd8 18. e5! dxe5 19. Nxe5 Qc7 20. Ndc4 Re6 21. Rad1 with a clear
advantage for White, which Karjakin converted in 55 moves. Karjakin, S (2786)-
Grischuk,A (2764)/Moscow 2013.

9... Re8 10. Nbd2 d5

A dangerous move for Black. After the exchange of pawns Black must recapture with the
queen so as not to lose the e5 pawn, and will therefore have two doubled pawns,
isolated on the c-file for the rest of the game. He can certainly find some compensation
in the bishop pair and an open game, but in any case I slightly prefer White's options.
White's moves 10...h6, 10...Bb6 or 10...Rb8 were all reasonable alternatives.

11. exd5 Qxd5 12. Nb3 Bf8 13. c4 Qd6 14. Be3 Nd7 15. d4

White has an advantage in development and therefore he tries to open up the position
in the center.

15... e4 16. Nfd2 a5 17. a4

Up to here Grischuk hasn't played badly at all and the position is quite double-edged.
However, his next move, although it may seem the correct option, is not good.

17... f5?

This move not only weakens his king position but also deactivates a possible attack of
the c8 bishop on the h3 pawn. In view of the fact that f5-f4 is no longer possible, maybe
the best option would have been to sacrifice the pawn on f7.

The best option seems 17... Qg6 18. Qg4 Qxg4 19. hxg4 Nf6 20. g5 Nh5 with a
complicated position and options for both players. The a5 pawn is weak but it's not easy
to capture (c4-c5 must be played) without opening the a2-g8 diagonal for the light-
squared bishop.
18. c5! Qg6 19. Nc4 Nf6 20. Bf4!

Maybe Grischuk, in his calculations, thought that Carlsen would play the apparently
decisive 20. Ne5 but he had prepared a very promising exchange sacrifice. After 20...
Rxe5! 21. dxe5 Nd5 22. Bd2 f4 23. Qc2 Rb8 Black has many threats such as ...Bxh3, ...f4-
f3, and other ideas based on the activity of his pieces. Naturally, Carlsen preferred to
avoid this alternative.

20... Nd5 21. Qd2 Be6 22. Nbxa5

White has captured a healthy pawn (all the endings are won now) without losing
control of the center and the important blockade of the black pawns. The game is
strategically won and on top of that Grischuk only had 12 minutes to reach the time
control for Carlsen's 75 minutes.

22... Reb8?

After this move there is no longer any option for Black.

His only chance would have been to generate some counterplay against the pawn on d4.
After 22... Nxf4 23. Qxf4 Qf6 24. Red1Red8 25. Nxc6 Bxc4 26. Nxd8 Rxd8 27. a5 Rxd4 28.
Qxc7 White's advantage, thanks to the supported passed pawn, is decisive but Carlsen
would have had to continue carefully in order to control Black's lightening attack
starting with ...f4-f3.

23. Ne5 Qf6 24. Bh2!

But not 24. Bg5 e3! 25. Bxe3 f4 with complications.

Now Grischuk sacrifices material to fish in troubled waters but Carlsen plays solidly,
regroups his pieces and doesn't allow his opponent any options.

24... Rxa5 25. Qxa5 Rxb2 26. Rab1 Ra2 27. Qa6 e3 28. fxe3 Qg5

Threatening mate on g2 but White's avoids it easily.

29. Re2 Nxe3 30. Nf3! Qg6 31. Rxa2 Bxa2 32. Rb2 Bc4 33. Qa5 Bd5 34. Qe1 f4

34... Bxf3 35. Qxe3 winning

35. Bxf4 Nc2 36. Qf2 Bxf3 37. Rxc2

And Grischuk resigned.

Game 84
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
Here is another one of those Carlsen games that impress us so much due to its apparent
simplicity, behind which hides some deep strategic thinking and accurate move
calculation. In some ways, Carlsen's play in this game reminds me of the great
Capablanca. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Svidler, P RUS 2747

Carlsen, M NOR 2872
Ruy Lopez Opening [C84]
Wch Candidates - London, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3

The variations of the closed Ruy Lopez with d3 are making a comeback in order to stay
clear of the Marshall and other gambits.

6... b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. a5 Be6 11. Nc4 Rb8 12. c3 bxc3 13. bxc3

Svidler has tons of experience in these positions with both colours, as the following
games against Sargissian and Kamsky demonstrate.

13... h6

13... Na7 14. Ng5 Bg4 15. f3 Bh5 16. Qc2 Nd7 17. Nh3 Kh8 18. Ne3 Nb5 19. Nf5 Svidler,P
(2739)-Sargissian,G (2663) Ningbo 2011.

14. Re1 Qc8

14... Kh8 15. h3 Qc8 16. Ba3 Nh7 17. Ba4 Bxc4 18. dxc4 Nxa5 19. Nxe5 Nf6 20. Bb4 Qe6
21. Nxf7+ Qxf7 22. Bxa5 Qxc4 23. Qd4Qxd4 24. cxd4 Svidler,P (2727)-Kamsky,G (2729)
Almaty 2008.

15. Bc2

Formally the novelty of the game (Leko-Adams/London 2012 continued with 15.Ba4)
although after the game Svidler mentioned that maybe he should have tried h2-h3 at
some moment.

15... Rd8 16. Qe2 Bf8 17. Ne3 d5!

Magnus opens up the game in the center to pressure on the backward pawn on d3.
18. exd5 Nxd5 19. Nxd5 Rxd5

20. h3?!

When Svidler played 17.Ne3 he had planned 20.d4 but he now understood that his
calculations were mistaken.

20. Qe4!? f5 21. Qe2

20. d4?! exd4 21. Be4 Rxa5 with a clear advantage for Black. Carlsen starts to
accumulate some pressure on the backward pawn.

20... Bf5! 21. Rd1 Qe6!

21... Qd7 22. Ba4!

22. Bb1?!

Threatening the pin on a2.

22... Qd7!

22... Rxa5 23. Rxa5 Nxa5 24. Ba2.

23. Be3
23... e4! 24. Nd4

After 24. Ne1 simply 24... Nxa5 wins a pawn without decreasing the pressure.

24... Nxd4 25. Bxd4

White had to play 25. cxd4!? exd3 26. Bxd3 Bxd3 27. Qxd3 Rbb5 and both players
aggreed that the position is strategically lost for White as both the d4 and a5 pawns are
incredibly weak.

25... exd3

Carlsen played this move quickly because he had calculated it previously and it leads to
a strategically superior position with no risk.

But if he had stopped to think a bit he might have found the spectacular 25... Bxh3! with
the following variations 26. dxe4 (Or26. gxh3 Qxh3 threatening ...Rg5 27. f4 exf3 28. Qh2
Rg5+ 29. Kh1 Qxh2+ 30. Kxh2 Rg2+ 31. Kh3 Rb5! 32. Bf2 Rh5+ 33. Bh4Bd6 34. Ra3
Rg3+ 35. Kh2 Rxh4#) 26... Rg5 27. g3 Bg4 28. f3 and now the incredible 28... Rb2!! 29.
Qxb2 Bxf3 winning the rook on d1 as after 30. Rf1 Rxg3+ leads to mate or the win of the
queen, for example: 31. Kf2 Rg2+ 32. Kxf3 Qh3+ 33. Kf4 Qg3+ 34.Kf5 Qg5#.

26. Bxd3 Bxd3 27. Rxd3 c5

Luckily enough, Svidler has this move that prevents him from losing a piece
immediately, although he continues to have a much worse position.

28. Be5 Rxd3 29. Bxb8 c4!

An important move that defends the rook, fixes the black pawn on c3 (a dark square like
his bishop) and extends the reach of the f8 bishop.

30. Be5 Bc5 31. Rb1

31. Kh2 Qf5 32. Bg3 Rxc3.

31... Qd5 32. Rb8+ Kh7 33. Qh5?

The final mistake. White is clearly worse but if he can find a way to save the game it will
be in a rook ending, maybe a pawn down. Therefore the best option was 33.Re8
defending the bishop and threatening 34.Qg4 with a strong attack. Black would then
play 33...Qd7 attacking the rook that would go to a8 and the game continues. 33. Re8

33... Qe4!

The key. This excellent move by Carlsen, that Svidler recognized having missed
completely (he only considered 33...Qe6), defends the f5 and h7 squares, therefore
avoiding the mortal threats 34.Qf5+ g6 35..Rh8 mate, and the elegant 34.Rh8!+ Kxh8
35.Qxh6!+ followed by 36.Qxg7 mate. In the second variation Carlsen has the defence
35...Qh7. It's easy to miss this type of moves in time trouble so one must recognize the
merit of the players in this stage of the game. In addition, Black's attacking trio made up
of the queen, rook and bishop all work together against the white king. 33... Bxf2+ 34.
Kxf2 Rd2+ 35. Ke1 Rd1+ 36. Qxd1 Qxe5+ 37. Qe2 Qxb8 38. Qxc4.

34. Rb2

34... Bxf2+ 35. Kxf2 Rd2+.

34... Rd5! 35. Re2 Qb1+! 36. Kh2 f6!

An Svidler resigned in view of the pin on his queen.

Game 85
Notes by IM Alejo de Dovitiis

The key
This game was qualified by Magnus Carlsen as his best game in his blog. Facing Boris
Gelfand, an opponent who is always well prepared, the Norwegian was able to achieve a
small initiative after the opening, mostly based on the queenside pawn majority. And
from there on he made his own magic. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2872

Gelfand, B ISR 2740
Sicilian Defense [B30]
Wch Candidates - London, 2013

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5

The Rossolimo setup, with which Magnus side-steps the sharp Sveshnikov, used by
Gelfand in recent games.

3... e6

3... g6 is another very popular alternative.

4. O-O Nge7

Black wants to expel Bb5 without allowing doubled pawns on "c6".

5. Re1 a6 6. Bf1

6. Bxc6 Nxc6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 is a reasonable alternative for White.

6... d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. d4 Nf6

8... Be7 9. dxc5 O-O 10. c4 Nf6 11. Nc3 Bxc5 12. Bg5 was Hort - Timman, Wijk aan Zee
1979 and another five games that all ended in a draw.

9. Be3 cxd4

9... Be7 10. c4 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bd7 12. Nc3 O-O 13. a3 Qc7 14. Qe2 Rad8 15. Rad1
Quesada - Gonzalez Perez, Barbera Open A 2012.

10. Nxd4 Bd7 11. c4 Nxd4

This is Gelfand's novelty. The most common movements:

11... Qc7 12. Nc3 Bd6 13. h3 O-O 14. Qc2 Rac8 15. Rad1 Bh2+ 16. Kh1 Bf4 Stellwagen -
Nataf, Bundesliga 2005.

11... Be7 12. Nc3 O-O 13. h3 Qc7 14. Nf3 Rfd8 15. Qb3 Rdc8 16. Rad1 Be8 17. Bb6 Na5
18. Bxc7 Nxb3 19. Bd6 Bxd6 20. Rxd6Na5 21. Ne5 Nc6 Zvjaginsev - Grigoriants, Russian
Championship 2007.

12. Bxd4 Bc6 13. Nc3 Be7 14. a3

This is Magnus' novelty, literally speacking.

14. Qd3 O-O 15. Rad1 Qc7 was a played in an old game between Kimmark - Paoli, Eksjo

14... a5 15. Qd3 O-O 16. Rad1 Qc7 17. Be5! Qb6 18. Qg3 Rfd8

18... Qxb2? 19. Nd5 Qxa3 20. Nxf6+ winning.

19. Rxd8+ Qxd8 20. Rd1 Qb6 21. Bd4

The torture over the black queen continues.

21... Qb3 22. Rd3! Qc2 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 Nh5 25. Qe5 Bf6

Black tries to simplify but he will still have problems.

26. Qxh5 Bxd4 27. Rxd4 Qxc3 28. Qa5!

The key: the black rook must go back and the white queen is able to transfer from the
queenside to the kingside.

28... Rf8

28... Rxa5?? 29. Rd8+ Be8 30. Rxe8#.

29. Qb6 e5 30. Rd1

30. Rd8 I liked this move when I was watching the game live but the game move covers
White's first rank.

30... g6?!

Gelfand moves the correct pawn as a "breather" (his opponent has a light-squared
bishop but better was 30... h6).

31. b5 Be4 32. Qf6!

A very annoying movement.

32... h5 33. h4 Bf5 34. Rd5 Qc1?

The losing move. Gelfand wants some activity but Carlsen will demonstrate the
precariousness of the idea capturing on "e5" and neutralizing his opponent's attempts
to counterattack.

34... Re8 was essential although after 35. c5 White has the advantage in view of his
advanced pawn majority on the other side of the board.

35. Qxe5 Be6 36. Rd4 Ra8 37. Qe2 Kh7

37... Ra1 38. Rd8+ Kh7 39. Qe5 Qxf1+ 40. Kh2 Qh1+ 41. Kg3 Ra3+ 42. f3.

38. Rd1 Qc3 39. Qe4 Ra1?

The final mistake arrives in time trouble.

39... Ra7.

40. Rxa1 Qxa1 41. c5 Qc3 42. Qxb7

Simply and convincing.

42... Qe1

42... Qxc5 43. b6 Bd5 44. Qd7.

43. b6!

The final touch.

43... Bc4 44. Qf3 Qxf1+

44... Bxf1 45. Qxf7+ Kh8 46. Qf6+ Kh7 47. Kh2 Qe8 48. c6 Ba6 49. c7.

45. Kh2 Qb1 46. b7 Qb5

46... Kg7 47. c6 Ba6 48. Qc3+ Kg8 49. Qe5.

47. c6 Bd5 48. Qg3

And White resigned. An excellent game by Magnus.

Game 86
Notes by GM Jess de la Villa

The key
Neither before nor after this game, I had never seen Magnus Carlsen as happy as when
he appeared in the London press room after this nearly impossible win against Teimour
Radjabov, giving him back some options to achieve the victory in the tournament . His
win was the prize for the inexhaustible energy which he invested in this particular duel.
It seemed - was it? - a miracle to win such an equal endgame, but Magnus did it and left
the playing hall as exhausted as he was happy, with a smile from ear to ear, to embrace
his manager and briefly address the press questions. A dramatic defeat in the last round
did not deprive him of the right to challenge Anand, as Vladimir Kramnik also lost, and
Carlsen was favoured by the tiebreak system. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Radjabov, T AZE 2793

Carlsen, M NOR 2872
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
Wch Candidates - London, 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4!

One of the books which I enjoyed a lot when I was young was "Decisive Games" by
Ludeck Pachman, which featured many tense games with dramatic or unexpected
outcomes. The following game would clearly be published in a new edition of that book.
After his unexpected defeat against Ivanchuk, Carlsen's qualification for the World
Championship challenge seemed quite difficult. In the first leg of the tournament, he
was in trouble with White against Radjabov, but now the Azerbaijan player was
standing last, visibly demoralized. Many ingredients for a dinner with strong emotions
which would not let down the fans from al over the world. From the get-go Carlsen goes
for an asymmetrical structure although avoiding the previous day's mistake when he
engaged into a position that was good for his opponent.

4. Qc2 d6!?

A second-rate although quite decent choice.

5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. g3 O-O

6... b6 This seems the normal move, to oppose the light-squared bishops, in view of the
fact that Black will lose his bishop pair after swapping on c3.

7. Bg2 e5

Although it may seem surprising 7... b6!? is still a decent move.

8. O-O c6 9. Rd1 Re8 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. a3 Bxc3 12. Qxc3 Qe7 13. b4!?

Is the most natural move.

13. b3 Is a reasonable alternative that avoids weakening the light squares a4 and c4.

13. Nh4! Is a very sensible and logical move proposed by the analysis engines. The
knight controls the f5 square, opens the long diagonal for the light square bishop and
awaits the movement of the d7 knight before deciding how many squares forward
should the b-pawn move. For example: 13... Nc5 (13... Nb6 14. b3!) (13... Nf8 14. b3) 14.

13... Nb6

Preventing Bb2.

14. Be3?!

Not very ambitious, clearly revealing Radjabov's state of mind. Instead of fighting for the
best square for his most important piece he allows it to be exchanged.

14. a4! prepares two very useful moves: Bb2 and a5.

14... Ng4 15. Nd2?!

15. Bg5 Is probably the best move but after playing his fourteenth move it's no wonder
Radjabov missed it.

15... f5!

Now the bishop can't escape. Black isn't better but he has everything he would have
asked for from the opening: comfortable equality in an asymmetrical position. Carlsen is
already on his way to winning the game.

16. h3 Nxe3 17. Qxe3 e4!

Leaving the g2 bishop out of play and taking advantage of the missing dark-square

18. Rac1 Be6 19. Qc3 Rad8 20. Bf1

The second key position. White has been playing really bad moves for a while: he has
given back the bishop pair, he has lost space and he has refrained from locating his
pieces on the best squares. Naturally it's just my opinion, but I think that Kasparov
(Carlsen's mentor at some point) would have sat tight and looked for a KO during the
next moves. Contrary, Carlsen settles for the tiny theoretical advantage and lets his
opponent get back into the game.

20... c5?!

Fixing the pawn on c4, but giving up on a more aggressive strategy: the disposition of
his pieces strongly suggests a direct attack on the king.

20... Bf7! with the idea of transferring the bishop to h5 and if 21. e3 Bh5 22. Re1 Nd7!
with the idea of transferring the knight to e5. Carlsen easily finds the best squares for
his pieces in the ending, contrasting curiously with Radjabov's incapability to do the
same thing.

21. bxc5!

Radjabov accepts the weakness but gains access to d4 for his knight.

21... Na4 22. Qb4 Nxc5 23. Nb3 Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Na6 25. Qxe7 Rxe7 26. e3 Kf7 27.
Be2 b6 28. Rd8
Carlsen has obtained an obvious structural advantage which he enjoys although in fact
it's actually quite small. White can defend successfully this position thanks to his active
rook, eternally annoying on the back rank, and his proud knight on the firm d4 square. If
we stop to consider the results that Carlsen gets from this type of positions, which
would make Karpov turn pale from jealousy and force the mythical Capablanca to
abandon the stage, we can't really criticize him. However, I think that on this occasion
his strategy was mistaken and he was near elimination. We now head into a never-
ending stage in which essentially nothing happens. Therefore, we shall refrain from

28... Nc5 29. Nd4 Kf6 30. Kf1 Rd7 31. Rf8+ Bf7 32. Ke1 g6 33. h4 h6 34. Rc8 Be6 35.
Rf8+ Rf7 36. Rh8 Rc7 37. Nb5 Rd7 38. Nd4h5 39. Rf8+ Bf7 40. Rc8 Ke5 41. Ra8 a6
42. Rc8 Rd6 43. Nc6+ Kf6 44. Nd4 Be6 45. Rf8+ Ke7 46. Ra8 Rd7 47. Rb8 Rb7

Th first unnecessary concession which indicates that Radjabov was mentally

unprepared for this game.

48... Nxb7 49. Kd2 Kd6 50. Kc3

The white king protects the weakness and the knight remains well-placed. Radjabov
thought that this was enough the hold the game and he was probably right, with a more
inspired and tenacious defence. Now Carlsen makes use of Capablanca's advice and
instead of thinking about individual moves he considers the best position and tries to
get there.

50... Bf7 51. Nb3 Ke5 52. Bf1 a5 53. Be2 Be6 54. Bf1 Bd7 55. Be2 Ba4 56. Nd4 Nc5
57. Kb2 Be8 58. Kc3 Bf7 59. Nc6+ Kd6 60.Nd4 Nd7 61. Nb5+ Kc5 62. Nd4 Ne5 63.
Nb3+ Kc6
The third critical position. Black has found the best squares for his pieces: the knight on
e5 (keeping an eye on the important squares c4, d3 and g4), the bishop on f7,
controlling c4, far away from the white knight and his king preparing to get to c5. '

64. a4?

A tremendous concession, probably due to exhaustion. By placing another pawn on a

light square, Black will have a new attacking objective on which he will launch an attack

64. Nd4+!? Kd6 65. Nb3 is the natural continuation (65. f3 is an even better solution)
and if 65... a4 66. Nd4 Kc5 Black's pieces converge on the c4 pawn, but 67. f4! Nxc4 68.
Bxc4 Bxc4 69. Nc2 and White can't lose because the black pieces have no way to
penetrate into White's position.

64. Nd2!? should also hold.

64... Kd7!

64... Be8 65. Kd4 Kd6 66. c5+ bxc5+ 67. Nxc5 nearly forces the draw.

65. Nd4

On the contrary, now 65. Kd4?! is unwise 65... Kd6! y 66. c5+?? loses 66... bxc5+ 67. Nxc5

65... Kd6

Preparing the attack on White's weaknesses (now there are 2).

66. Nb5+ Kc5 67. Nd4 Be8!

Without a break.

68. Nb3+ Kd6 69. c5+ Kc7!

69... bxc5 wins a pawn but 70. Nxa5 Bxa4 71. Nc4+ Nxc4 72. Bxc4 and this ending can't
be forced.

70. Kd4 Nc6+ 71. Kc3 Ne7 72. cxb6+ Kxb6 73. Nd2 Bxa4

Black has finally won the pawn but there is still a long way to go to win the game.

74. Nc4+! Ka6 75. Na3+ Kb7 76. Nc4 Ka6

76... Nc6?? 77. Nb2! would win a piece.

77. Na3+ Ka7 78. Kd4 Nc6+ 79. Kc5?!

79. Kd5! Nb4+ 80. Ke6 Nd3 81. Kf6 Nxf2 82. Kxg6 Nh1! 83. Kg5 (83. Kxh5?? Nxg3+) (83.
Bxh5 Nxg3 84. Kg5 Nxh5 85. Kxh5 f4is winning.) 83... Nxg3 84. Bc4 And even though
Black is two pawns up, his chances of winning the game are low because of the
combined weakness of his kingside pawns and the fact that his king is far away from the
action. 84... Bd1 85. Kf4! Nh1 86. Kxf5Nf2 87. Bf7
79... Ne5 80. Nc4?!

80. Kd4! would have probably led to a move petition.

80... Nd3+ 81. Kd4 Nc1 (!)

81... Nxf2 is also probably winning, but it gives White some counterplay chances.

82. Bf1 Bb5!

Now White's pieces are tangled up.

83. Nxa5?

Radjabov simply gives up. A great fighter, who has even defended lost positions against
Kasparov, is unable to resist Carlsen's enduring pressure in an equal position.

83. Kc3 Is the best option although after 83... Ka6 84. Kb2 Nd3+ 85. Bxd3 exd3 86. Nd2
Kb6 87. Kc3 a4 Black should eventually win with his two passed pawns. For example:
88. Kb4 Kc6 89. Kc3 Kc5 90. e4 Kd6 91. exf5 gxf5 92. Nf3 Kd5 93. Nd2 Ke5 94.Nf3+ Ke4
95. Nd2+ Kd5 96. Nf3 f4!

83... Bxf1 84. Nc6+ Kb6 85. Ne7 Nd3 86. Nxg6 Kc7!

With precision, Carlsen avoids White's last tries for counterplay. His most important
victory is inevitable. Along with Kramnik's draw, he again depended on himself to
challenge the world champion. Everything was perfect, as in a drama film, but
everything could fall apart the next day. Of course that is another story.

87. Ne7 Bh3 88. Nd5+ Kd6 89. Nf6 Bg4 0-1
Leading up to the title

Norway Chess 2013

Carlsen second behind Karjakin
By GM Amador Rodrguez

During the month of May, 2013, more exactly between the 8th and the 18th, the first
major chess tournament in the history of Norway took place. It reached Category XXI
(2766) and Magnus Carlsen appeared to be the favorite to win.

However, the final victory went to Russian GM Sergei Karjakin, sixth seed, who defeated
all his opponents clearly, among them the World Champion Viswanathan Anand and
number 2 in the world rating list, Armenian Levon Aronian, who is also Carlsens main
opponent in all major tournaments.

Carlsen could not be "prophet" in his land and had to settle for second place, after

Karjakin started off with four straight wins, while Magnus began very slowly with 4
draws: his engines were clearly turned off. In the fifth round they played against each
other, in a game in which the Norwegian defeated Karjakin spectacularly. Furthermore,
he won another two games, getting only half a point behind before the eighth round, in
which both players were defeated like in London.

It was a very hard blow for both and neither of them managed to win in the last round
so the half-point difference between the two remained. Anand nearly caught up with
Karjakin but he too was defeated in the final round by Chinas Wang Hao.

The organization of the tournament was brilliant, perfect, at a very high level. As in
London, Magnus couldnt handle the pressure and failed to reward his fans with a
victory that everyone expected.

In his individual match against the world champion, which attracted the attention of a
number of journalists, the Norwegian could have sentenced the game from a clearly
better position but he didnt play well enough to achieve it and the game ended in a

In total Carlsen won three games against Karjakin, Radjabov and fellow countryman
Hammer, and he lost to Wang Hao.

Tal Memorial 2013

Gelfand wins, Carlsen second
By GM Amador Rodrguez

Belarus GM Boris Gelfand won authoritatively the eighth edition of the Tal Memorial in
Moscow, which took place between the 13th and the 24th of June.

It was an extraordinary success for Boris as the tournament reached Category XXII, with
an average rating between 2776 and 2800, a really impressive number that speaks
highly of the tough field.

For Magnus, the Tal Memorial is a special event, because it was his first super
tournament. He received the coveted invitation to take part in the 2006 edition when he
was only 15, although he certainly didnt win any games: his final balance was 7 draws
and 2 losses. Since then he has taken part in this event regularly: this is the 6th occasion
in which he has visited Moscow to honor the legendary figure of Mikhail Tal.

The worlds number one made use of a series of simple, offbeat openings with which
you really have to be a genius to get something out of the opening. Nevertheless, they
were enough to defeat Kramnik in round one but he had to face a tough loss against
Caruana with White in the third round together with a poor game against Morozevich in
the seventh.

He embellished his performance with a big win against Anand in the fifth round in
which he finally played a decent opening. He inflicted a painful defeat to the reigning
World Champion, a very important victory because both players will face each other in
November for the World Championship match. The psychological effect of this win in
just 29 moves and in less than two hours of play is important. We also shouldnt forget
that last year in Bilbao, Carlsen signed another miniature game against Anand, so now
he was won two fast-speed games.

If we analyze the results coldly, its easy to realize why there is a "Carlsen phenomenon".
Even with these offbeat openings against Kramnik, Morozevich and Caruana, with two
draws that could easily have been defeats against Gelfand and Mamedyarov, Magnus
Carlsen was able to clinch second place, just a half a point behind the winner. This
actually means that very little effort is required from him to win a tournament,
something that is unthinkable for many elite grandmasters, as much as they prepare
and work hard from the start to the end of any event.

St.Louis Sinquefield Cup 2013

A demonstration of Carlsens personality
By GM Miguel Illescas

Carlsen won the event in San Luis, in his last tournament as a candidate player, before
his proclamation as world champion, winning the first prize of $ 70,000, under the
exclusive personal sponsorship of US tycoon Rex Sinquefield.
Other aspects of Carlsens play might have offered some hope to Anand, such as the
Norwegians openings, which were far from being a threat. In addition, Carlsen only
seemed to be able to achieve absolute concentration when he was under pressure and
needed to calculate accurately.

Surely, Magnus was already saving energy for the upcoming clash in Chennai. Even so,
his performance was 2966 and he finished unbeaten. His fear of being out of shape after
remaining inactive since the Tal Memorial in Moscow in June was incorrect, but Carlsen
only expressed that he was "reasonably satisfied".

With this victory, Carlsen completed a fabulous series of six wins in his last nine
tournaments, finishing second in the remaining three.

Jeanne, wife of Rex Sinquefield, presents the winner's trophy to Carlsen.

The Tournament Round-by-Round

The first round gave way to the biggest surprise of the tournament in the game between
Nakamura and Aronian. And its not that the Armenian cant lose to the American, its
the way that it happened, with an incredible error. However, it also wasnt easy for
Carlsen, who had some trouble against Kamskys enterprising play, but he finally
achieved victory by taking better advantage of the critical moments.

In the second round the two highest-rated players drew their game, while Nakamura, in
a very sharp game, resolved in his favor the American "derby " agaisnt Kamsky. Thus
Hikaru remained as the sole leader, while Kamsky assumed the ugly last place where he
would stay for the rest of the tournament.

The third round produced two daws. Kamsky, tired of losing, used the White pieces to
"dry out" Aronian, while Carlsen had some trouble against Nakamura, and only his
virtuosity in defense saved him from defeat.

The standings gave a turnaround in the fourth round. While Carlsen routinely
dispatched a nervous Kamsky with great effectiveness, Nakamura fell to Aronians
sudden inspiration. This left the Norwegian leading with Nakamura at half a point, a
situation that persisted after the fifth and penultimate round, in which the two games
ended in solid draws between Carlsen and Nakamura on one side and Aronian and
Kamsky on the other.

So, before the sixth and last round the standings were: Carlsen, M (3,5) Nakamura (3,0)
Aronian, L (2,5) Kamsky (1,0).

Nakamura, with Black, played recklessly against Gata Kamsky but instead of
"wrinkling", he played at times like a giant, handling the complications with great ease
and nearly defeating his opponent. The draw by repetition left both of them happy:
Kamsky finished his ordeal and "Naka" had saved his neck and secured at least second

After the relatively quick draw between the Americans, everything was left to the game
between Carlsen and Aronian. The Norwegian played a very solid opening, with an early
exchange of queens, knowing that a draw guaranteed him at least equal first position,
and perhaps a win by himself.

But what looked like a boring positional fight doomed to eventually draw became a
drama filled with tension, and finally lady luck awarded Carlsens audacity once again,
when he rejected a draw offer which would have given him victory alone. A great
example of Magnus Carlsens attitude, which each passing day is more reminiscent of
Bobby Fischer, both in his behavior on and off the board as with the huge distance level
with his direct competitors. "This has been a warning to Anand" Carlsen said.
Game 87
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
This game seemed to be following the script that has already become a classic when
referring to Magnus's games. The young Norwegian obtains a small advantage, and he
converts it into a win with more or less help from his opponent. This time Anand
resisted and with a meritorious defense he saved half a point. In any case, everyone had
the feeling that Magnus would win such games in the match, if similar situations came
about. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2868

Anand, V IND 2783
Sicilian Defense [B51]
Norway Chess, 2013

1. e4

Magnus had to face Anand in the second round of the Norway International. The game
was very exciting, with huge psicological importance due to the fact that the World
Championship match is very near. Also, the game represented an additional emotional
load, as he was playing for the first time in front of his own spectators. Tens of
journalista and photographers came to the venue to cover this specific game.

1... c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+

No surprise! When we published in "Pen de Rey n 103" (The Spanish chess magazine)
the photo in which Carlsen's hand, holding the bishop, was moving towards the b5
square, we all though that this was just a one-off decision. After this game, everyone is
asking if there will be a theoretical discussion on 3.Bb5+ in the World Championship
match? I personally think not, for the good of chess. It would be a very boring match.

3... Nd7

Anand deviates. On that ocassion he played 3...Bd7. Covering with the knight is
considered to be a more modern and ambitious option, in which Black fights for the
victory from the get-go.

4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4

Of course, there are also many other options, such as 7.O-O or 7.Nc3 possibly castling

7... e5 8. Qd3 b5 9. Nc3 bxc4 10. Qxc4 Be6

Curiously, there are quite a few games in my database that use this particular move
order to skip the famous Sofia rule, because now after 11.Bc6+ Bd7 12.Bc4 Be6 there
could be an eternal move repetition.

11. Qd3 h6 12. O-O Nf6 13. Rd1 Be7 14. Ne1 O-O 15. Nc2 Qb6 16. Ne3 Rfc8

Does Black have to be worried about anything here? In principle no. His king is very
safe, which is always very important in the Sicilian and he is also very active on the 'b'
and 'c' semiopen files. There is, however, one detail that is in White's favour, the control
of the d5 square. This square is a crucial element in the position and the position
evolves around it.

17. b3 a5 18. Bd2 Qa6

I am not sure if Black had time for 18... Bd8 19. Be1 Rc6 to retreat with his queen and
then transfer his bishop to b6. The knight will probably jump to d5 to stop it or at least
minimize the effects.

19. Be1

The position is very tricky. It still seems that White is OK, but as there are no possible
ruptures, it's difficult to improve his position and at any given moment White can press
along the d5 square.

19... Nd7 20. f3 Rc6 21. Qxa6 Rcxa6 22. Ned5

Another was of playing was 22. Ncd5 Bg5 23. Nc4 but Magnus is a genius in this type of
calm positions and therefore his decisions are normally quite appropriate.

22... Bd8 23. Nb5 Rc8 24. Bf2 Kh7

This move seems very strange: why would Black want to move the king away from the
center in an ending without queens? But whoever thought like that would have freaked
out in the post-game press conference, in which Anand defended that the precise move
was Kh8! and not Kh7. These are stratospheric evaluations that are out of our reach.

25. Kf1 Rcc6

A move that Anand referred to as "ridiculous".

26. Rac1 Bg5 27. Rc3

This move, however, was described as "sophisticated".

The most immediate move was 27. Rxc6 Rxc6 28. Ndc7 but Magnus apparently wanted
to press on a bit more and not allow the black rook to get to the seventh rank.

27... Bxd5 28. Rxd5 Rxc3 29. Nxc3 Rc6 30. Be1 Nc5 31. Nb5 Nb7 32. h4 Be3 33. Ke2
Bc5 34. h5?!

34. a3 Rb6 35. a4

34... Bb4 35. Bd2 g6

From here on the danger for Black has disappeared. And recognized at the end of the
game that he wasn't feeling great a few moves earlier.

36. a3 Bxd2 37. hxg6+ Kxg6 38. Kxd2 h5 39. g3 f6 40. Na7 Rc7 41. Nb5 Rc6 42. Ke2
Kf7 43. b4 axb4 44. axb4 Ke6 45. Rd3 Rc446. Rb3 d5 47. Kd3 Rc6 48. exd5+ Kxd5
49. Rc3 f5 50. Nc7+ Kd6 51. Ne8+ Kd5 52. Rxc6 Kxc6 53. Ng7 Nd6 54. Nxh5 e4+
55.fxe4 Nxe4 56. Kd4 Kb5 57. g4 fxg4 58. Kxe4 g3 59. Nxg3 Kxb4

Carlsen wasn't able to hide his insatisfaction with this draw: allowing Anand to escape
left him in bad humour. The game was one of those tough positional fights, iin which it's
not easy to point out obvious improvements, but his opponent will obviously find them
when he analyses the game deeply.

Game 88
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
Most of Magnus's wins are clean games in which he dominates the game or takes
advantage of a mistake by his opponent after a flawless game. This was not the case in
this game. Karjakin had the advantage but mishandled the tactics and Carlsen
demonstrated that he is also capable in street fighting when necessary. (GM Miguel

Karjakin, S RUS 2767

Carlsen, M NOR 2868
Ruy Lopez Opening [C95]
Norway Chess, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6

In the first elite tournament in the history of Norway, Magnus is unable to achieve first
place. However, he does manage to defeat the winner in a great game that start off badly
for him but in the end he wins thanks to some very precise tactical resources.

4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2
Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8

The Breyer line, a variation of the Ruy Lopez that Magnus has tried out on several
occasions. Always well prepared, Karjakin isn't surprised at all and he goes for the most
difficult line for Black.

13. a4 Bf8 14. Bd3 c6 15. Qc2

This time Karjakin improves his approach, although the plan is well-known.

15. b3 This is another way of playing this variation. Carlsen had already faced this setup
on several occasions, for example: 15...g6 (15... Qc7 16. Qc2 Rac8 17. Bb2 Nh5 18. Bf1
Nf4 19. b4 Nb6 20. axb5 cxb5 21. dxe5 dxe5 22. Qb1 Rcd8 Karjakin-Carlsen, Moscow
2010) 16. Bb2 exd4 17. cxd4 d5 18. Ne5 Bb4 19. Nxd7 Qxd7 20. e5 Nh5 21. Bf1 Nf4 1/2-
1/2 Nisipeanu-Carlsen, Medias 2011.

15... Rc8

For some reason Magnus switches off and plays the opening suspiciously. Here, 15...g6
would have been a reasonable move.

16. axb5 axb5 17. b4

I have found in my database a rapid game by Paco Vallejo that continued 17. b3 g6 18.
Bb2 Qc7 19. c4 bxc4 20. Nxc4 exd4 21.Bxd4 1/2-1/2 Vallejo-Grischuk, Khanty-Mansiysk

17... Qc7

And also another much longer game 17... g6 18. Bb2 Nh5 19. g3 exd4 20. cxd4 d5 21.
Bc3 Nb6 Short-Portisch, Wijk aan Zee 1990 in which the veteran Hungarian GM
demonstrated that his level of strategic knowledge is still very high.

18. Bb2 Ra8

Black acknowledges losing two tempi.

19. Rad1 Nb6 20. c4! bxc4 21. Nxc4 Nxc4 22. Bxc4 h6 23. dxe5 dxe5 24. Bc3 Ba6
25. Bb3

Just by looking at the position we can see that things haven't gone well at all for Black.
White's pair of bishops dominate two very dangerous diagonals, targeting the weak
pawns in Black's structure.

25... c5 26. Qb2

An important and difficult decision, as after

26. bxc5 in the best case scenario Black ends up a pawn down 26... Qxc5 27. Qb2 Bc4 28.
Bxc4 Qxc4 29. Bxe5 although due to the simplified position and with all the pawns on
the same side, the chances of a draw are high.

26... c4 27. Ba4 Re6 28. Nxe5 Bb7 29. Bc2?

It may seem natural to fall back and defend the extra pawn but the position called for
some decisive actions such as

29. Bb5! that creates very dangerous threats. There are many possible answers but
nearly all of them lead to a quick disaster. Maybe the best defence is 29... Ba6 but even
so after 30. Bd7 Rb6 31. b5 White enjoys obvious superiority.
29... Rae8 30. f4 Bd6

Black understands that he is a pawn down and that he must mobilize all his forces to the
best locations in order to achieve maximum counterplay.

31. Kh2?

From here onwards there will be many tactical variations due to the fact that the dark-
squared bishop on d6 will be on the same diagonal as the white king on h2. Certainly,
there is a knight and a pawn in the middle but in chess that isn't really much.

31... Nh5! 32. g3 f6

with this move Black pushes the knight away.

33. Ng6

33... Nxf4!!

And with this other move he eliminates both pawns at the same time. Actually, it's just
one because the capture of the knight would lead to an immediate disaster.

34. Rxd6

34. gxf4 was unthinkable in view of 34... Bxf4+ 35. Kh1 Rxe4! with an overwhelming

34... Nxg6 35. Rxe6 Rxe6

White has equal material and the pair of bishops but Black has the advantage because
White's king is clearly weak.

36. Bd4?!

Against 36. b5 Black plays 36... Nh4 37. Rf1 f5 with a great position, although obviously
a mistake his still possible. (37... Bxe438. Bxe4 Rxe4 39. b6 and White gets back into the
36... f5! 37. e5 Nxe5!!

Karjakin probably missed this decisive shot that leaves him KO.

38. Bxe5 Qc6 39. Rg1?

The last chance was 39. Be4 fxe4 40. Re3 complicating Black's entry routes although
after 40... Re7 the next move would be Rd7 and the rook on d3 will break the blockade
for sure.

39... Qd5

From here onwards the outcome is clear and simple but that doesn't take importance
away from Carlsen's impeccable finish.

40. Bxf5 Rxe5 41. Bg4 h5 42. Bd1 c3 43. Qf2 Rf5 44. Qe3 Qf7 45. g4 Re5 46. Qd4
Qc7 0-1
Game 89
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
As we have seen already many times, this game is a fine positional work by Carlsen,
defeating Radjabov in an ending in which the Azeri has a bishop which is not so bad, but
the Norwegian has a fabulous knight. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2868

Radjabov, T AZE 2745
English Opening [A35]
Norway Chess, 2013

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. d4 d5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5 Bd6 8. O-O O-O
9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. b3 Bg4 11. Bb2 a6 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13. Rc1 Ba7 14. Ne2 Qd6 15. Be5
Qe7 16. Ned4 Bxf3 17. Nxf3 Rfc8 18. Qd3 a5 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Rc2 Rd8 21. Rfc1c5
22. e4 Qg6 23. Re1 dxe4 24. Qxe4 Qxe4 25. Rxe4 Rd1+ 26. Re1 Rxe1+ 27. Nxe1 Rd8

A few days before this game Carlsen had achieved a decisive victory against Radjabov in
the London Candidates Tournament. He defeated him in a drawish ending in which
Magnus prevailed after a lot of patience and, of course, with the collaboration of his
opponent. in this game we shall distinguish a similar pattern.

28. Kf1 a4 29. bxa4 Rd4 30. a5 Ra4 31. Rd2 Kf8 32. Nd3 f6 33. Nb2 Rxa5 34. Nc4
Ra4 35. Rc2 Ke7 36. Ke2

Can we affirm that White is better? Yes, the knight is better than the bishop and his
passed pawn is further away although that is not so important. Black's rook on a4 is
located superbly. How can White win this position? Well, much easier than it seems, as
we shall see.
36... Ke6?

Many hours will be needed to analyze this position deeply but it seems that this natural
move is the first step to a fatal outcome.

After 36... Bb8 37. g3 (37. Kd3 Bxh2 38. g3 h5) 37... Ke6 38. Kd3 Bc7 39. a3 Kd5 Black
reaches a position which seems impregnable.

37. Kd3 Kd5

37... Bb8 was still playable although it's not as good as before, because the black king
can't get to the centre. Even so it might be enough to hold. 38. Re2+ Kf5 39. h3 (39. a3
Bxh2) 39... h5 40. a3 Be5.

38. a3

And suddenly Black is in big trouble, he is in zugswang! The position is dynamically

equal. White can't go for the 'b' or 'e' files with his rook because he would leave his
knight unprotected. He also can't move his king and the knight check doesn't lead
anywhere. However, it's Black's turn to play and he doesn't have any useful moves
because moving the bishop would allow a check on b6 while moving the rook or the
king would reduce the pressure on the knight and allow White to play Re2 creating
strong threats. As in the famous "opposition" theme whoever plays loses and that is
what is going to happen to Black, who is not lost yet but he must play.

38... h5

38... Ra6 39. Re2 Re6 40. Rxe6 Kxe6 41. Ne3 followed by Kc4, Nd5, a4-a5-a6 leads to a
very unpleasant ending.

39. h3 h4 40. Rc1 g6 41. Rc2 g5 42. Rc1 Ra6

There are hardly any pawn moves left. 42... f5 but after 43. Rc2 g4 44. Rc1 gxh3 45. gxh3
Black will soon be left without moves. In the game the players arrived at this sort of
position, so therefore we should count the tempi to see if Black should have played this
way or wait as in the game.
43. Re1 Bb8 44. Re7 Bf4 45. Kc3 f5 46. Kb3 g4 47. a4 gxh3 48. gxh3 Rg6 49. a5 Rg1
50. a6 Rb1+ 51. Kc3 Rc1+ 52. Kd3 Rd1+ 53.Ke2 Ra1 54. Nb6+ Kd6 55. Rg7 Kc6 56.
Rg6+ Kb5 57. Nd5

Black has defended excellently up to here but there were too many precise consecutive
moves to be made and the mathematical probability of a mistake just keeps increasing.

57... Be5?

This move loses.

The correct defense was 57... Ra2+! 58. Kf3 Bd2! and it's unclear how White can

58. Rb6+ Kc4 59. Ne3+ Kc3 60. f4!

This is the move that Black missed and that leaves him without a chance.
60... Bd4 61. Nxf5 c4 62. Rc6! Rh1?!

62... Bg1 would have resisted slightly more.

63. Nd6! Rh2+ 64. Kf3 Kd3 65. Rxc4 Rxh3+ 66. Kg4 Rh1

66... Rg3+ 67. Kxh4 Rg6 68. Rc6 Rg1 69. f5.

67. Ra4! Bf2 68. Ra3+ 1-0

Game 90
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
If someone had told me that after Black's 24th move Carlsen was going to win the game
I wouldn't believe him. But that is Magnus; when it seems that he is going backwards he
is actually just warming up... (GM Miguel Illescas)

Hammer, J NOR 2608

Carlsen, M NOR 2868
Catalan Opening [E04]
Norway Chess, 2013

Carlsen had a tough game in the seventh round of the tournament. First of all his
opponent was his Norwegian compatriot, who has 260 points less than him, someone
that he is expected to defeat and in second place because the game was quite difficult
and due to the pressure Magnus fell into time trouble pretty soon.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 a5 7. Qc2 Bxd2+ 8. Qxd2

c6 9. a4

Hammer chooses the Catalan Opening, which Kramnik plays expertly with both colours.

9... Ne4

Both this move and b5 are the main lines.

9... b5 10. Na3 Bd7 11. Ne5 Nd5 12. O-O O-O 13. e4 Nb4 14. Rfd1 Qb6 15. d5 Wang Yue-
Kramnik, Khanty-Mansiysk 2010.

10. Qc2 Nd6 11. Nbd2 Na6 12. Nxc4 Nb4 13. Nxd6+ Qxd6 14. Qd2 O-O 15. O-O Rd8

Also well-known is 15... b6 16. Rac1 Ba6 17. Rfd1 Rac8 18. Bf1 Rfd8 19. Qf4 Qxf4 20.
gxf4 f6 21. e3 and a draw was agreed in this position in Ragger-Wojtaszek, Porto Carras

16. Rfd1 b6 17. Qc3 Ba6 18. Rd2 Rac8 19. Rad1 Qe7 20. h4

The result of the opening is satisfactory for Black. Many things could be said for and
against each player but the objective assessment is equality. Obviously, this result is not
enough for Magnus Carlsen, as he needs to win.
20... c5?!

And now he plays this move, which is quite logical but it's unclear that this is the
appropriate moment to play it.

21. dxc5 Rd5

A slightly sophisticated move but Carlsen doesn't achieve much.

21... Rxd2 22. Qxd2 Qxc5 23. Ne5 h6 24. Qf4 maintains certain pressure on Black's

22. Rxd5 Nxd5 23. Qe5 Qxc5 24. Bh3

Taking advantage of the centralized position of his queen, Hammer start to create some
small problems that don't amount to much but require attention from Black. Against 24.
Nd4 Black could consider 24... Nc3 25. Qxc5 bxc5 26. bxc3 cxd4 27. cxd4 Bxe2 although
the position seems to be heading for a draw.

24... Re8

Maybe too passive but the position was very complicated.

One option was 24... Kf8 and against 25. Nd4 then 25... Nf6 and everything seems to be
under control.

25. Nd4 Kf8 26. Bf1 Rc8

Carlsen had very little time left with 14 moves still to go and now his opponent makes a
huge mistake.
27. Nb5?

A move that practically loses the game without a fight. And Hammer did have a lot of
time on his clock.

The critical alternative was 27. Nf5 Nf6 28. Qxc5+ bxc5 29. Rd6 Bc4 30. Ne3 Bb3 31. Ra6
and the position is equal.

27... Bxb5 28. axb5 Nf6 29. Qd6+ Ke8

29... Qxd6 30. Rxd6 Nd5 looked very good as well.

30. Qd3 Qd5

After this move he exchange o queens is unavoidable and the penetration of the rook
decides the game comfortably for Black.

31. Qxd5 exd5 32. e4?

Very attractive, but bad. Better defensive options were Rd2 or even b4.

32... Rc2 33. e5 Ne4 34. Rxd5 Rxb2 35. Rd4 Rb4 36. Rd1 a4 37. Bg2 Nc3 38. Bc6+
Ke7 39. Rd7+ Ke6 40. Ra7 Kxe5 0-1

Carlsen look carefully the position after move 23 ... Qxc5.

Game 91
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
After testing the theoretical knowledge of Vladimir Kramnik in a secondary opening
line, Carlsen doesn't achieve an advantage with the white pieces. Around move 27 the
Norwegian has a slightly better ending but considering the technical level of his
opponent the normal result is naturally a draw. And just then Carlsen again opens the
jar of essences and triumphs with style. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2864

Kramnik, V RUS 2803
Queen's pawn game [A45]
Tal Memorial-Moscow, 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. e3 c5 4. Bxf6 gxf6 5. dxc5 e6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. c4 dxc4 8. c6 Nb6

9. Nbd2 c3 10. bxc3 bxc6 11. Qc2 Bg7 12.Bd3 f5 13. e4 Qf6 14. Rc1 O-O 15. O-O c5
16. Rfe1 Rd8 17. a4 c4 18. Bf1 fxe4 19. Nxe4 Qf5 20. Nd4 Bxd4 21. cxd4 Bb7

In this game Carlsen treats the opening extravagantly, choosing the Trompowsky, a rare
line at the highest levels. Black had no trouble equalizing.

22. Nc5

Understandably, at the first opportunity, Carlsen makes a break for the advantage in an
unclear ending, missing an elegant tactical shot.

22... Qxc2 23. Rxc2 Bc6 24. a5 Rxd4! 25. axb6 axb6

Now we can see the reason why Black decided to sacrifice his knight. Actually it's quite
simple, as his colleague on c5 has no valid move.
26. Nxe6 fxe6 27. Bxc4 Bd7

As a result of the previous operation the position has simplified considerably and the
most probable result is a draw, even more considering that both grand masters are
accomplished specialists in this field.

28. h3 Kf7 29. Bb3 Ke7 30. Rce2 Rd6 31. Re4 Ra3 32. R1e3 h5 33. Rh4 Be8 34. Kh2
Bg6 35. Rb4 Kf6 36. Kg3

It looks like a piece of cake for Black but as always Magnus looks for small details here
and there in order to create the most danger for his opponent's. His idea is to transfer
his king to h4, check on the f-file and gain access to the g5 square for his king, which in
itself doesn't amount to much but it's a start. It's not even clear that White can achieve
even this because Black always has a check on the fifth rank with his rook. In any case
Kramnik starts to give up hope or just becomes too ambitious.

36... e5 37. Kh4 Rd4+ 38. Rxd4 exd4 39. Re6+ Kg7 40. Rxb6 d3

And sacrifices a pawn with the conviction that his passed pawn on d3 will lead him to a
comfortable draw.

41. Bd1 Ra2 42. Kg3

It's still unclear if Kramnik's assessment is correct or not, as it's a conceptual idea that
goes much deeper than a sequence of moves. Black has his passed pawn and White has a
3-1 majority on the kingside, from which he will obviously want to extract two passed
pawn. How can he achieve that? It's quite difficult because the rook pressures the
seventh and White will want to protect his pawn first and only then go for the g4

42... h4+?

But suddenly this sweet arrives and after.

43. Kxh4 Rxf2

By magic arts White is able to make the rupture and get his to passed pawns. A huge
surprise coming from Kramnik but the best is still to come.

44. Kg3 Rf6??

Kramnik voluntarily offers this rook exchange that leads to a completely lost ending,
which had been studied, analysed and published a century ago.

45. Rxf6 Kxf6 46. Kf4 d2

The pawn is lost in any case.

47. Ke3 Ke5 48. g3 Bf5 49. h4 Be6 50. Kxd2 Ke4 51. Ke2 Bg4+ 52. Ke1 Be6 53. Kf2

White is now threatening Pc2+ followed by h5-h6 and the pawn advances unstoppably
to the promotion. Black can't give up his bishop for this pawn, he has to exchange it for
the other one to reach the drawn ending of rook pawn that promotes to a square
contrary to the bishop. This is the only reason that Black doesn't resign yet.

53... Ke5 54. Ke3 Bd7 55. Bc2 Bg4 56. Bg6! Bd7 57. h5 Kf6 58. Kf4

Again White threatens to advance the pawn and force the black king to retreat.
58... Be6 59. Be4 Kg7 60. Kg5 Bd7 61. h6+ Kh8 62. Kf4

62. Kf6 Bg4 63. Bf5 Bd1.

62... Be6 63. Bf5 Bf7 64. g4 Bh5 65. g5 Kg8 66. Be6+ Kh7 67. Kf5 Bg6+ 68. Kf6

White has reached his ideal position and he is ready to finish-off the game in a few
moves The king on f6 is very important because there have been some occasions in
which White has ruined this ending by playing h5-g6-Nh6.

68... Kh8 69. Bd7 Bh5 70. Bc6 Kh7 71. Bd5 Bg6 72. Bg8+ 1-0
Game 92
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
This game is very important. For one, it was the last time that Carlsen and Anand
played each other before the match for the title. Furthermore, Magnus defeated Anand
demonstrating his superiority. I've always been a big fan of Anand, but seeing him lose
this way made me harbor many doubts about his chances of success in the future
match. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2864

Anand, V IND 2786
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E46]
Tal Memorial-Moscow, 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2

5.Bd3 is much more popular than 5.Nge2. There are 10.000 games in the Mega Database
with the first move, for about 4.000 with the second move. But move are good moves
and Carlsen's choice is not considered to be "secondary". It's a valid and consistent
alternative, a traditional move which is played in several variations of the NimzoIndia.
This is the way the kid should study his openings!

5... d5 6. a3 Be7 7. cxd5

We are still on the main line of this variation with Nge2 and there are thousands of
reference games. Anand now deviates by recapturing with his knight, a move that is
used four times less than the capture with the pawn.

7... Nxd5 8. Bd2

Does White really need this move with the knight on e2? There are many players who
think that it's unnecessary and proceed immediately with 8.g3.

8... Nd7 9. g3 b6

To prevent the following exchange, in several games Black has chosen to move his
knight back to b6 or d5. At the highest level, the most relevant games is the following

9... N5f6 10. Bg2 e5 11. O-O exd4 12. Nxd4 Ne5 13. Qc2 c5 14. Nf5 Bxf5 15. Qxf5 Qxd2
16. Qxe5 Bd6 17. Qf5 Qxb2 18. Rfc1With positional compensation in exchange for the
sacrificed pawn in Aronian-Gelfand 2005. This game was played in Spain, in Merida, in
the National Team Championship.
10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Bg2

Once Black has played ... b6 this is White's most natural option, exchanging knights
before developing the bishop to g2, as his bishop will enjoy a longer and more offensive
diagonal when compareed to the black bishop on b7 which has a shorter diagonal and

11... Bb7

It seems that White should castle now, at least that is what most grand masters would
do but Magnus surprises us with an original idea which can be seen in origin in the
following game.

11... Nf6 12. O-O Ne4 13. Rc1 Bb7 14. Qc2 Rc8 15. Rfd1 Bd6 16. Bb4 Qf6 17. Nc3 Nxc3 18.
Qxc3 c6 19. Bxd6 Qxd6 20. b4 and Ponomariov ended up winning against Kramnik in
Wijk aan Zee 2003 after a fine positional job.

12. Bb4!?

The idea is obvious. White goes for the exchange of the dark-squared bishops, which has
been demonstrated to be favorable for White in this type of positions However, there
are two risks for White here, the exchange of the bishops on b4 and the advance of the
black pawn to c5.

The standard way to play these positions goes 12. O-O Re8 13. Qc2 Bd6 14. Rac1 Qe7 15.
Nc3 Nf6 16. Nb5 c6 17. Nxd6 Qxd618. f3 with a small advantage for White, which in
practice is not easy to neutalize for Black. A good example is the game Milov-
Cheparinov, Dos Hermanas 2004 which White ended up winning.

12... Nf6

12... c5 13. dxc5 (13. Bc3 c4) 13... bxc5 14. Bc3 Nf6 15. O-O

12... Bxb4+ 13. axb4 Nf6 14. O-O Re8

13. O-O Re8 14. Rc1 c6 15. Bxe7 Rxe7 16. Re1 Qd6
Carlsen stated after the game that he was expecting 16... Ne4 17. Nf4 Nd6 and from this
central position the knight will hinder his attack on the queenside. His idea was to
continue with 18. Re2 transferring the rook to c2 and continue pressing.

17. Nf4

The general impression is that White enjoys a small advantage because of the semiopen
c-file and the poor black bishop on b7. Nonetheless, up to this moment the position is
relatively normal; it's a typical setup which can be found in many different openings
such as the Nimzo-Indian, the Queen's Indian, the Tartakower variaton of the Queen's
Gambit and probably many more.

17... Bc8?!

But from here onwards Anand starts to play strangel. He could have tried to work on the
semiopen e-file, doubling his rooks and supporting the knight on e4 but instead he
forgets about his other rook and starts to play passively, prioritizing the relocation of
his bishop, even though he won't have enough time.

18. Qa4 Rc7

If Black had defended with 18... Bd7 then Carlsen was ready to answer with 19. Qb4! a
2.0 version of the ocupation of the b4 square.

19. f3!

How could Anand have forgotten that when he withdraws his rook to c7 and his bishop
to c8 he was going to leave the center in his opponent's hands? Isn't the control of the
center the main objective of every opening? A World Champion always has answers to
these questions, but this is ches an sometimes these things happen beyond
understanding Now Carlsen, by means of the thematic rupture on e4, will obtain an
enormous positional advantage.

19... Be6 20. e4 dxe4

Black gives up the center even more, but I must say that his situation was very

21. fxe4 Qd7

22. d5!

Carlsen only needed 3-4 minutes for this decisive rupture. When Anand put his queen
on d7 he probably did it to prevent this advance and simplify into a slightly worse
ending, but Carlsen hs calculated far ahead and has considered some tactical elements
that his opponent has missed.

22... cxd5 23. Qxd7 Rxd7 24. Nxe6! fxe6 25. Bh3!

This was the move that Anand probably missed in his calculations. Now he suddenly has
to face many threats.

25... Kh8

25... Re8 26. exd5 Rdd8 27. Bxe6+ Kh8 28. Re5 was not an option for Black.

26. e5!
White continues to push forward and Black colapses, choosing the worst defences.

26. Bxe6 Rd6 27. exd5 Rad8 is still very bad for Black but at least it allows him to
organize his position.

26... Ng8?!

26... Ne4 27. Bxe6 Rdd8 28. Red1 d4 29. Bg4 also look marvelous for White but again
Black has more life.

26... Ne8 27. Bxe6 Re7 28. Bxd5 Rd8 will also lose but it was better than the game

27. Bxe6 Rdd8?! 28. Rc7 d4 29. Bd7!

And Anand resigned. White will advance his pawn to e6, keeping the black knight
occupied with the blockade of the e7 pawn and White can calmly capture the pawn on
d4. Maybe it's not even necessary because after e5-e6, the retreat of the bishop to a4
will create the irresistable threat of advancing the pawn, which will eventually cost
Black's knight. We can't say that this was a great game by Carlsen, because of all the
help that he recieved from his opponent, but it must be said that Carlsen played very
quickly, with a huge amount of self-trust, finding the best moves time and time again.

Game 93
Notes by GM Amador Rodrguez

The key
The confrontations between Carlsen and Nakamura are usually explosive and this game
is not an exception. Maybe this is not one of the Norwegian's best games, but it serves to
prove yet again the universality of his play game and his competitive character, as we
shall see that Magnus is able to overcome his mistakes on the fly. Also noteworthy,
reminding us of Capablanca, is the use of simple tactical tricks to simplify the position
and pave the way to victory.(GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2864

Nakamura, H USA 2784
English Opening [A13]
Tal Memorial-Moscow, 2013

1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. Qc2 Nf6 5. Nf3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 b5 7. Qb3 Bb7 8. O-O Nbd7
9. d4 a6 10. Ne5

Although the most explored move here is 10. a4, in the most recent games in this line
White has chosen this immediate knight jump.

10... Qb6

All moves except the knight swap are in the minority but in any case this is a bad sign,
because after

10... Nxe5 11. dxe5 Black doesn't equalize neither with knight to d7 nor to d5.

11. Be3 c5 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. d5 e5

A new move that doesn't impress. It actually seems worse than the exchange on d5 if we
compare it with the two most recent games.

13... exd5 14. Bxd5 Bxd5 15. Qxd5 Rd8 (15... Rc8 16. a4 b4 17. Nd2 Nf6 18. Qe5+ Qe6 19.
Qxe6+ fxe6 20. Rac1 Be7 21. Nc4 O-O22. f3 and the ending is pleasant for White, who
was winning some moves later in Smirnov-Zontakh, Sochi 2012) 16. a4 Be7 17.axb5
axb5 18. Nc3 and Black is slightly worse in Meier-Ponomariov, Dortmund 2011.

14. a4 b4 15. Nd2 Bd6 16. Nc4 Qc7 17. f4 O-O 18. Rac1 exf4 19. Bxf4 Bxf4 20. gxf4
a5 21. e4 Rae8 22. e5

White's position is so good that it seems a dream come true, as at this level it's
practically impossible to achieve such a good position after the opening.
22... Ba6 23. Rfe1 Kh8 24. Nd6 Re7 25. Qe3

Magnus decides on this square for his queen, when it seemed much more stronger to
move it to g3.

25. Qg3 threatening Nf5 25... g6 26. Ne4 Ree8 (26... c4 27. d6 Qb6+ 28. Qf2 Ree8 29.
Bh3) 27. d6 (also 27. Qh4!?) 27... Qa7 28.Qf2 and White's advatage is enormous.

25... Qd8 26. b3

And when everything seemed under control Nakamura shakes the surprise jar and finds
the next move.

26... g5 27. Kh1

27. Nf5 Ree8 28. Qg3 seemed even stronger.

27... Qb8 28. Qf2 gxf4 29. Qxf4 Bd3

30. Re3?

Incredibly enough this move was about to ruin th game for White. Among other options,
he just had to play 30. Bh3! because Black's position is just collapsing. Note that bad is
30... Rxe5 31. Nxf7+ winning.

30... Bg6?

After the forced sequence 30... Rxe5!! 31. Rxe5 Qxd6 32. Rf5 Qxf4 33. Rxf4 c4! Black gets
a very favourbale version of what we shall see in the game and White will have to play
very acccurately to win this complex ending.

31. Rf1?!

Again 31. Bh3 was very strong and would have prevented the exchange sacrifice
resource. 31... Rxe5 32. Bxd7 Rxe3 33. Qf6+Kg8 34. Nf5! Bxf5 35. Bxf5 con ataque de
31... Rxe5 32. Rxe5 Qxd6 33. Re8 Qxf4 34. Rxf8+ Kg7 35. Rxf4 Kxf8

As we mentioned before, Black could have reached a much better version of this ending
on move 30. Now it is different, although White still has to play very accurately to win.

36. d6 Ne5 37. Bf1 Bc2 38. Bb5 f5

38... Bxb3 39. Rf5

39. Kg2 c4? 40. Bxc4 Be4+ 41. Kg3 Nxc4 42. bxc4 Ke8 43. c5

Black hasn't defended well an White has increased his advantage considerably.

43... Bc6 44. Rxf5 Bxa4 45. Re5+ Kd8 46. Re7 Bc6 47. Rc7 1-0

The games between Carlsen and Nakamura are often thrilling

Game 94
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
As usual, Carlsen's play doesn't seem especially impressive in the opening stage. On this
occasion, his opponent understands perfectly the needs of the position and even seems
to have the initiative. But after just one small mistake by Kamsky, the Norwegian takes
the lead and with accurate play, beginning with his excellent 30th move, Carlsen
elegantly wins the game. With this victory, he started very well his last event before the
decisive match in Chennai.

Carlsen, M NOR 2862

Kamsky, G USA 2741
QGD Slav [D15]
Sinquefield Cup-St. Louis, 2013

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. d4 d5 4. Nc3 a6 5. e3 Bf5 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 e6 8. O-O Bb4 9.

Bd2 Bxc3 10. Bxc3 O-O 11. a4 Nbd7 12.a5 Ne4 13. Bb4 Re8 14. Rac1 h5!?

A brave decision, demonstrating Kamsky's intentions to attack on the kingside. "I don't
think that 14...h5 was a good move, he leaves the pawn quite weak", said Carlsen. "But it
did confuse me and I made some stupid moves".

15. Ne5 Qc7 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17. Qe2 Nf6 18. Rfd1 Qc7 19. h3 Rad8 20. b3 Rd7 21.
Rc2 Qd8 22. Rcc1 h4 23. Be1 Ne4 24. Qg4 g525. cxd5 f5 26. Qf3 cxd5?!

Kamsky decides to take some unnecesary risks. In order to get a quick attack on White's
king he allows the opening of the c-file. He will lose the game because of this.

Clearly better was 26... Rxd5 and Black keeps the queenside closed with a healthy

27. Rc2 Rg7 28. Rdc1 Nf6?

A serious strategic mistake: the knight retreats for absolutely no reason at all and
Black's plan loses strength.

For good or for bad he had to continue with 28... g4! because Black has been planning
this move for a long time and it wasn't the moment to doubt.

29. Qd1 g4
30. f3!

I was following the game live on the ICC and I was impressed by this move. The rook on
'c2' protects the second rank, but more important the pawn on h4 has become a target
for White's bishop. Black must choose betwen two evils: blockade the kingside with g3
or allow the bishop to invade. Kamsky goes for the second option.

30... gxh3

30... g3 is too passive and leaves White with a free hand on the queenside.

Even though it is an ugly move, maybe 30... Rh7 was better although White's position is
already clearly better.

31. Bxh4 Kf7?! 32. Qe1!

The queen coordinates with the bishop and prepares to invade the kingside. White will
soon have a decisive attack. The following capture on 'g2' will only help White's king as
it will be a protective shield.

32... hxg2 33. Rc7+! Re7 34. Bxf6! Kxf6 35. Rc8 Qd6 36. Qh4+

The hunt for his opponent's king begins and Carlsen won't let it escape. In this stage of
the game he demonstrates great accuracy based on move calculation.

36... Kf7 37. Qh5+ Rg6 38. f4! Qa3 39. Qh8 Rg7 40. Qh5+ Rg6 41. Qh8 Rg7 42. Qf8+
Kg6 43. Kxg2 Rgf7 44. Qd8 Rh7 45. Rg1!

This is the last accurate move required to complete the mating attack which is now

45... Qa2+ 46. Kf3+ Kf6 47. Qg8 Rh3+ 48. Rg3 Rxg3+ 49. Qxg3 1-0
Game 95
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
Clearly affected by several losses, Kamsky wanted to draw the game and opted to
exchange queens, giving the initiative to his powerful opponent. It's difficult to imagine
a worse strategy against Carlsen. The American soon falls into trouble and decides to
sacrifice a pawn and the game takes a long time to finish.

Kamsky, G USA 2741

Carlsen, M NOR 2862
Ruy Lopez Opening [C69]
Sinquefield Cup-St. Louis, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O f6 6. d4 Bg4 7. dxe5 Qxd1 8. Rxd1
fxe5 9. Rd3 Bd6 10. Nbd2 Nf6 11. Nc4 O-O 12. Nfxe5 Be2 13. Re3 Bxc4 14. Nxc4 Ng4

Black recovers the pawn and takes over the initiative.

15. Re2 Bxh2+ 16. Kf1 Rae8!?

The text move is probably an improvement with respect to the previously played 16...

17. Nd2 Rd8! 18. f3 Bg3 19. Kg1 Ne5 20. b3 Ng6 21. Nf1 Be5 22. c3?!

White tries to free his game although the price of a pwn is too high. However, Black's
doubled pawns certainly make White's position playable.

The alternative was 22. Rb1 Rd1 23. Rd2 which, frankly, is very ugly but maybe better
than what was played in the game.
22... Bxc3 23. Bb2 Nf4 24. Rc2 Ba5 25. Ng3 g6 26. Rf1 Rd3 27. Kh2 Bb4 28. Ne2 Ne6
29. Nc1 Rd7 30. g3 Rfd8 31. Kg2 Kf7 32.f4 h5 33. Kh3 a5 34. Kg2 Nc5 35. Kf3 Nd3
36. Re2 Be7 37. Nxd3 Rxd3+ 38. Kg2 Bc5 39. Rc1 Rd2 40. Rc2 Rxe2+ 41. Rxe2
Rd342. Rc2 Bd6 43. Bc1 Be7 44. Kf2 a4 45. Rd2 Rxd2+ 46. Bxd2 axb3 47. axb3 c5
48. g4?!

Understandably, Kamsky wants to activate his pawn majority. However, this might be a
mistake because White's h-pawn will be a passer. White's two central passed pawns
seem threatening but Carlsen will demonstrate that they won't be able to play a
significant role in the outcome of the game. Therefore, a waiting strategy was better.

48... b5! 49. gxh5 gxh5 50. Bc3 b4!

As we shall see, Carlsen has found the winning plan.

51. Bb2 Bh4+ 52. Ke2 Bg3 53. f5

The key to Black's victory is based on the following variation 53. Kf3 Be1 54. Ke2 Bc3!
55. Bc1 c4 56. bxc4 b3 where the importance of Black's passed h-pawn can be

53... h4 54. e5 h3 55. e6+ Ke7 56. Kf3 Bf4 57. Bg7 Bg5 58. Be5 c4 59. bxc4 Bf6 0-1
Game 96
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
This was Carlsen's last game before the World Championship match against Anand. The
Norwegian decides on a very solid setup, with an early exchange of queens, knowing
that a draw would guarantee at least shared first and perhaps even a win by himself
depending on the result of Nakamura, who was half a point behind. What seemed to be a
boring positional struggle doomed to end in a draw turned into a drama full of tension.
After Nakamura drew with Kamsky, and as a warning to his future opponent Anand,
Carlsen turned down a draw offer and earned a creditable victory in a demonstration of
the real character of the future world champion.

Carlsen, M NOR 2862

Aronian, L ARM 2813
Ruy Lopez Opening [C88]
Sinquefield Cup-St. Louis, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 b4 9.
d4 d6 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12.Nbd2 h6 13. a5 Bc5 14. Bc4?!

A small mistake. Better was, for example 14. Ba4 Nxa5 15. Nxe5 with approximate

14... Ng4 15. Re2 Be6!

A solid positional move. The doubled pawns will increase Black's control over 'd5'.
During the following moves Aronian increases his control over the queenside, resulting
in the win of the 'a5' pawn.

16. Bxe6 fxe6 17. h3 Nf6 18. Re1 Rab8 19. Nc4 Rb5 20. b3 Bd4 21. Bb2 Rc5 22. Ra2
Bxb2 23. Rxb2 Ne8 24. Ra2 Nd6 25. Nfd2Nb7 26. Nf3 Kf7 27. Kf1 Kf6 28. Ra4
28... Nbxa5?!

Black has culminated his strategy winning a pawn but this wasn't the best decision as
his knights and one of his rooks have lost a ton of mobility. The surrounding maneuver
28... Nd6 29. Nfd2 Nb5 offered better chances of obtaining a substantial advantage.

29. Ne3 h5 30. Rea1 Rd4 31. Ne1 Ke7 32. f3 Rd2 33. Rd1 Rd6 34. Rda1

The position presents a dynamic equilibrium. Black's pawn advantage hardly

compensates for the structural defects of his position. Carlsen was expecting a draw
offer at any moment, as no progress can be made as Black. But Levon Aronian didn't
have his day and lost his objectivity. His plan to bring over the king to the queenside
makes no sense, because it will be worse there, exposed to the dangerous action of the
white rooks should open the game open up. By his body language and the expression in
his eyes, I thought that Carlsen was angry, considering his opponents to be disrespectful
by deciding to continue the game.

34... Kd7 35. Nd1 Rd2 36. Nf2 Kc8 37. Nfd3 Rb5 38. h4 Kb7 39. R1a2 Ka7 40. Kg1
Kb6 41. Kf1 g6 42. Kg1 Kb7 43. Kf1 Kc844. Nf2

44... Rd8?
Aronian takes advantage of the opportunity to bring his rook out of confinement and
continue "torturing" his opponent thanks to his extra pawn. But in fact, he gives Carlsen
the opportunity that the Norwegian was waiting for to improve the organization of his
forces and start playing for a win.

45. Ned3 Kb7?! 46. Ke2 Kb6 47. Ke3 Kb7?!

Black's last fifteen moves are meaningless, and while the Armenian was thinking, I
guessed - and dared to forecast it in my work as a commentator on ICC - that Aronian
was going to offer a draw on his next move. Carlsen moved around nervously in his seat,
while considering the proposal. To accept the draw automatically proclaimed him the
champion, with the trophy, the $ 70,000 prize and the winner's glory. Instead, to keep
playing would risk losing, allowing Nakamura and Aronian to keep the chase on and
maybe a rapid game tiebreak. Few players have rejected the draw in such a scenario. I
think that Carlsen declined the draw to give his opponent a lesson for "playing around":
and also as a warning to others who intend to continue the game to try and "Blitz"
Magnus Carlsen in the future. During the broadcast I thought that Carlsen intended to
take his knight to g5 via h3, but the Norwegian had found something much stronger.

48. Nd1!

The knight heads to c4, and Black can't do nothing about it.

48... Kc8 49. N1b2 Rd6 50. Ra1

The prophylactic value of this move can be seen in four moves, when Black advances his
pawn to 'b3'.

50... Kd8?

The last mistake.

50... Rd4 offered some defence, although Black's position is very unpleasant after 51. g3
followed by f4.

51. Nc4!
Black's position is now lost.

51... Nxc4+ 52. bxc4 Rb8 53. c5 Rd7 54. Rxa6

54... b3

There was no defence. This advance is desperate. If 54... Nd4 then 55. Ra8! Nxc2+ (If
55... Rxa8 56. Rxa8+ Ke7 57. Nxb4 winning) 56. Kd2 Nxa1 57. Rxb8+ Ke7 58. Rxb4 and
the black knight is lost.

55. Rxc6 bxc2 56. Ne1 Ke7 57. Nxc2

Black can just resign here but Aronian played on a few moves in a state of shock.

57... Rb3+ 58. Ke2 Rb2 59. Rc1 Ra2 60. Ke3 Kf7 61. f4 Kf6 62. fxe5+ Kxe5 63. Ne1
Ra3+ 64. Kf2 Rd2+ 65. Kf1 Rd7 66. Nf3+ Kf467. Rxe6 g5 68. hxg5 Kg3 69. Rf6 Ra2
70. Ne5 1-0
New World Champion!
By GM Miguel Illescas

ON FRIDAY November 22nd 2013, Magnus Carlsen was deservedly proclaimed world
chess champion, defeating his predecessor, Viswanathan Anand, by 6.5 to 3.5 in the
match for the crown in Chennai (India), which was initially agreed to twelve games. The
inevitable happened: that was the almost unanimous feeling of the millions of fans who
followed the last game of this magnificent combat live on the Internet.

The match had three clearly different parts. In the first four games we saw a nervous
Carlsen, paying his inexperience in this type of hand-to-hand fighting. Things turned out
well for Anand, with two draws and the question of the status of his opponent as a
favourite. But the Indian abused his strategy in the fifth game: Carlsen had sacrificed the
advantage of the white pieces to avoid opening theory and force his opponent to play
unfamiliar positions, where Anands experience would not be a determining factor.

And Anand had the opportunity of choosing: a relentless struggle with opposite side
castled kings, or the exchange of queens and another draw. The Indian chose the latter,
and ended up losing a marathon game that left him exhausted, both physically and
psychologically. In the sixth game, Anand violated the sacred rule that a draw must be
made after a defeat and lost again. The match was sentenced, and the third part was a
mere formality.
A photo for history: Carlsen is crowned as the new World Chess Champion by Kirsan

So, the mediatic Magnus Carlsen, who on November 30th celebrated his 23rd birthday
doing the kick-off at the Santiago Bernabu football stadium he is a huge Real Madrid
fan became the second youngest champion in history after Kasparov and the first
Western player to win the crown after Bobby Fischer.

Carlsen was a favorite by Elo and by results but at a match of this nature these statistics
remain on a second relative level, since the competitive success of a player as a whole
doesnt count, because hand-to-hand matches are somewhat different. For example,
rating computations punish solid play overall, something that in a match may not
necessarily be bad, we only have to recall Petrosian or Kramnik.

However, both before and during the match a Magnus displayed huge motivation.
Naturally, other factors play a role, such as experience, energy and preparation, but the
will and motivation that pushes the challenger is a very powerful ally, as it results in
greater concentration, more capacity for work and capacity for suffering.

This happens in all sports, and we just have to review the rich history of the matches for
the world chess title: Lasker against Steitnitz, Capablanca against Lasker, Fischer
against Spassky, Kasparov against Karpov and most of the duels for the crown. Even
when the champion was superior, the challenger used to give his best shot and even win
the match, as Alekhine against Capablanca or Euwe against Alekhine himself. And what
about Botvinnik ... he would only find the necessary motivation after losing the title!
Celebrating the title in an unorthodox manner.

Few expected such an overwhelming score and yet its perfectly justified in view of the
merits of each player and the positions that appeared on the board. The result was fair,
and made clear the enormous difference that separated the performance of both
players, as Carlsen outplayed Anand completely.

In how many games did Anand have a winning advantage? Not in one; at most we can
find a moment in the third game in which he could have achieved a real advantage, and
perhaps in the ninth he had a promising attack but nothing more.

Meanwhile Magnus, besides his three wins, pressed strongly in the fourth and the tenth
games. But not only that: we must admit that the draws in the seventh and the eighth
rounds were half wins for Carlsen, and the truth is that he achieved them easily. So the
data tells us that Carlsens performance was overwhelming, and that it naturally spread
from the board to the scoretable.
Game 97
Notes by IM Michael Rahal

The key
In my opinion this was a decisive game for the outcome of the match, not the actual
defeat but more the way in which it occurs. The Indian insists on abandoning his own
style looking for a draw, a strategy that was working well for him, and ends up losing an
equal ending, one of those than can't, well shouldn't, be lost. But this does not take away
from Carlsen, who played extraordinarily to win this game: the choice of the opening,
the way how he increased the pressure, his delicate prophylactic maneuvers, and his
outstanding technique in the ending... A true masterpiece, worthy of the new World
Champion. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Carlsen, M NOR 2870

Anand, V IND 2775
QGD [D31]
WCh (5) Chennai, 2013

1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 c6

Carlsen leaves the Reti opening for another occasion and the Triangle Defence appears
on board. White has several options but for the moment goes for the main line, taking
advantage of the lack of a knight on f6.

4. e4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3

Carlsen decides to avoid the main line that involves the sacrifice of two pawns: 6. Bd2
Qxd4 7. Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8. Be2 Qxg2 (8...Na6 is safer) 9. Bf3 Qg5 10. Ne2 with compensation
for the material.

6... c5 7. a3 Ba5

Better than exchanging knights. For example: 7... Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Qa5 9. Bd2 Nf6 10. Bd3
O-O 11. Nf3 Nc6 12. O-O Rd8 13. Qc2 with advantage for White due to his center and
bishop pair in Romanishin,O (2590)-Sveshnikov,E (2535) Frunze 1981.

8. Nf3

Another option is 8. dxc5 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qxd1+ 10. Kxd1 with a difficult position to
assess (bishop pair and extra pawn but a horrible pawn structure) in Georgiev,K
(2636)-Potkin,V (2647) Khanty-Mansiysk 2013.

8... Nf6 9. Be3 Nc6 10. Qd3

Preparing long castling and defending the knight with the queen.
10... cxd4 11. Nxd4 Ng4

A game between two amateurs continued 11... Ne5 12. Qc2 Neg4 which I think is even
better than Anand's move. he game was Martins,S (2029)-Quintiliano Pinto,R (2308)
Maringa 2013.

12. O-O-O Nxe3

This exchange is consequent with his previous moves but Anand has a forced line that
would have equalized the game now.

For example 12... Nxd4 13. Bxd4 e5! 14. Bc5 (14. Re1 O-O! 15. Bxe5 Qxd3 16. Bxd3 Nxf2)
14... Qxd3 15. Bxd3 Bxc3 16. bxc3 b617. Be4 bxc5 18. Bxa8 Nxf2 19. Rhe1 Nxd1 20.
Rxe5+ Be6 21. Kxd1 Ke7 with equality.

13. fxe3

Worse is 13. Qxe3? Bb6

13... Bc7?!

I don't like this move, it seems too passive.

I prefer to simplify the position with 13... Nxd4 14. exd4 Bxc3 15. Qxc3 O-O 16. Bd3 Qc7
17. Kb1 Rd8 18. h4 b6 19. h5 h6.

14. Nxc6! bxc6 15. Qxd8+ Bxd8 16. Be2

With the exchanges Carlsen has left Black with a passive light-squared bishop and a
weak pawn on c6. Nothing special but Carlsen already demonstrated in a similar
position against Caruana in 2012 that he doesn't need much to play for a win.

16... Ke7

I don't like this move either although the game is theoretically still equal.

Interesting was 16... Bb6 17. Rd3 (17. Bf3!? Bxe3+ 18. Kc2 Bd7 19. Rhe1 Bf4 20. g3 Bc7
21. Ne4) 17... Ba6 18. b3 Ke7 19. Bf3Rad8 20. Rhd1 Rxd3 21. Rxd3 Rd8 22. Kc2 Rxd3 23.
Kxd3 Kd7

17. Bf3 Bd7 18. Ne4

Now Anand simplifies the position even more.

18... Bb6 19. c5 f5! 20. cxb6 fxe4 21. b7! Rab8 22. Bxe4 Rxb7

Carlen is slightly better because of his superior minor piece and his three pawn islands
for Anand's four. But the Indian starts to defend brilliantly and nullifies this small
advantage, placing his pawns on dark squares and activating his rooks.

23. Rhf1 Rb5 24. Rf4 g5 25. Rf3 h5 26. Rdf1 Be8 27. Bc2 Rc5 28. Rf6!
Paralyzing at the same time the rook on h8 and the bishop on e8.

28... h4 29. e4 a5! 30. Kd2 Rb5!

With his previous moves Carlsen pretends to put his bishop on b3 to attack the pawn on

31. b3 Bh5 32. Kc3 Rc5+ 33. Kb2 Rd8 34. R1f2 Rd4 35. Rh6 Bd1 36. Bb1

Worse is 36. Bxd1 Rxd1 37. Rh7+ Kd6.

36... Rb5 37. Kc3 c5 38. Rb2 e5 39. Rg6 a4?!

The last move of the time control, and Magnus is in time trouble. Anand played this
move very quickly and missed another more solid option.

39... g4 40. Bd3 Rxb3+! 41. Rxb3 Bxb3 42. Kxb3 Rxd3+ 43. Kc4 Rd4+ 44. Kxc5 Rxe4 45.
Kd5 Re2 46. Rxg4 Kf6 47. Rxh4 Rxg2.

40. Rxg5 Rxb3+ 41. Rxb3 Bxb3 42. Rxe5+ Kd6 43. Rh5 Rd1 44. e5+ Kd5 45. Bh7

45... Rc1+?

And he throws the game away with this move. In the three games that he lost Anand
made huge mistakes in the fifth hour, probably because of the mental exhaustion of a
World Championship.

Looks like Anand could still draw with 45... Ra1 46. Bg8+ Kc6 47. Bxb3 Rxa3 48. Kc4
Rxb3 49. Rh6+ Kd7 50. Kxc5 Rb2 51. Rxh4a3 52. Ra4 Rxg2 53. Rxa3 Ke6 54. Kd4 Rg4+
55. Ke3 Rh4.

46. Kb2 Rg1 47. Bg8+ Kc6

47... Kd4 48. Rxh4+ Kd3 (48... Kxe5 49. Bxb3 axb3 50. g3) 49. Rg4 Bxg8 50. Rxg8 Re1 51.
Rd8+ Kc4 52. Rd2.

48. Rh6+! Kd7

48... Kb5 49. Bxb3 axb3 50. Kxb3 c4+ 51. Kc3.

49. Bxb3 axb3 50. Kxb3 Rxg2 51. Rxh4

This ending is won and the rest of the game is a question of technique.

51... Ke6 52. a4 Kxe5 53. a5 Kd6 54. Rh7! Kd5 55. a6 c4+ 56. Kc3 Ra2 57. a7 Kc5

More resistance could be offered with 57... Ra4 58. h4 Ke5 59. Rc7 Kf5 60. Kd4 Kg4 61.
Kc5 c3 62. Kb6 Ra3 63. Rxc3 Rxc3 64. a8=Q Rh3 65. Qe4+ although White wins in the

58. h4

And Anand resigned in view of 58. h4 Ra3+ 59. Kb2 Ra6 60. h5 Kd5 61. h6 Ke6 62. Rb7
and the pawn promotes.


After a slow start, the victory of Carlsen in the fifth, strengthened his stake for the rest of
the match.
Game 98
Notes by GM Jess de la Villa

The key
The Soviet School of Chess had a sacred rule: after a defeat you have to make a draw as
quickly as possible, to recover your spirit. Moreover, it is normal to want to take
advantage of the white pieces in such a short match when you are down on the
scoreboard. The problem is that Anand was halfway between the two recipes, and
finally ended up in trouble. He was not able to overcome these difficulties, in part due to
his state of mind and also because of the top performance by Carlsen in this interesting
ending. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Anand, V IND 2793

Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
WCh (6) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6

After the first game, in which he tried out the Caro-Kann and went through a patch of
trouble, the candidate (and match favorite), returns to his favorite 1.e4 e5, which allows
him to play without much stress and develop long positional battles without suffering
much for his king. In this match the Berlin is confirmed as the strongest defense of the
moment, becoming the preferred opening among positional players, agreeing with
Lasker who defended this variation all alone more than 100 years ago.

4. d3!?

This is the move that keeps all the pieces on the board, but experience shows that it
doesn't offer any edge. Anand chose the critical 4.O-O in the fourth game, but now,
behind in the match, he felt obliged to play more ambitiously. The choice is natural, but
we often get poor results, because we feel compelled to play a position that we don't
fancy at the time. Anand, who had just lost a painful game and who had played actively
and at Carlsen's level for 45 moves in the fifth game, maybe should have followed
Petrosian's old recipe: "After a defeat, one should play for a draw to recover one's

4... Bc5

This is now the main move and probably the most correct. Carlsen had already tried it
out even against Anand and his score is really good: 3 wins and 2 draws! (after the

5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8

Carlsen changes the course of the previous game with Anand and decides to keep open
the option of d5 at some moment.

6... d6 7. Nbd2 Bb6 8. Nc4 Ne7 9. Nxb6 axb6 10. Ba4 Ng6 11. h3 Nh5 12. Bg5 f6 13. Be3
Nhf4 14. Bb3+ Kh8 15. Bxf4 Nxf4 16.Nh4 f5 17. Nxf5 Qg5 18. Qg4 Qf6 19. Qh4 Qxh4 20.
Nxh4 Nxd3 21. Nf3 Rf6 22. Rad1 Nxb2 23. Rd2 Na4 24. Nxe5 Be6 25. Ng4Bxg4 26. hxg4
Nxc3 27. Re1 h6 - Anand,V - Carlsen,M /Moscow 2011/ A natural move, but not very
frequent, which anticipates a novelty.

7. Re1

7. Nbd2 a6 8. Ba4 b5 9. Bb3 d6 10. Re1 Be6 11. Nf1 Bxb3 12. axb3 d5 13. Qc2 h6
Radjabov,T (2793)-Aronian,L (2809)/London, 2013, is the most important recent game.

7... a6 8. Ba4 b5 9. Bb3 d6 10. Bg5!?

The first novelty of the game. This development is natural, but new in this position,
although there will be a transposition soon. The development of the bishop is quite
aggressive and adequate for the moment of the match. The bishop that pins can be
attacked but that is not Carlsen's style.

10... Be6?!

Carlsen didn't make any big mistakes during the match but this isn't the best move and
he probably won't repeat it.

Best is to attack the bishop and then choose. 10... h6! 11. Bh4 And now 11... g5 is
perfectly playable but clearly Carlsen doesn't consider this type of moves if they are not
forced. (11... Bd7!? is also a natural development.) (11... Be6 would be similar to the
game and a natural exchange. 12. Bxe6 fxe6) 12. Bg3 Bb6

11. Nbd2?!

Missing the first (and only) chance to sharpen the game.

11. Bxe6! is the most normal move now that Black can't recapture with the rook and
White's pieces can then go to comfortable squares. For example: 11... fxe6 (11... Rxe6 12.
d4 and although Black can save the game with Houdini-type moves it's not worth the
risk.) 12. b4 Bb6 13. a4 with pressure on b5 and planning moves like Na3 and Qb3.

11. d4 Also good is 11... Bxb3 12. axb3 Bb6 (12... exd4 13. cxd4 Bb6 14. Nc3 h6 15. Bxf6
Qxf6 16. Nd5) 13. d5 Nb8 14. Na3 Nbd715. Nc2 h6 16. Bxf6! In this variation we can see
how it would have been good to attack the bishop. 16... Qxf6 17. Nb4 with some

11... h6!

Carlsen attacks the bishop before deciding his plan.

12. Bh4 Bxb3 13. axb3

White has eliminated the Spanish bishop, a maneuver that Carlsen repeats in many of
his games (see his game with Aronian from the Candidates match or with Adams from
the London Chess Classic), and he has reached clear equality.

13... Nb8!?

The game had transposed to a known position and Carlsen takes his chance to make a
theoretical novelty. Instead of radically eliminating any of the inconveniences of the pin
he prefers to maneuver patiently and keep a healthy position. Let's see how a player
with a more abrupt style, such as Fedorchuk, understands the position: 13... Bb6 14. Nf1
g5!? 15. Bg3 d5 16. exd5 Qxd517. Ne3 Qd7 18. h3 Rad8! 19. Rxa6 Qxd3 And we see how
active play is also good to equalize 20. Qc1 Re6 21. Kh2 Ne4 22. Rxb6cxb6 23. Rd1 Qe2
24. Re1 Qd3 25. Rd1 Qe2 26. Re1 Qd3 - Spraggett, K (2631)-Fedorchuk,S
(2603)/Metz 2007.

14. h3!?

White anticipates the typical maneuver Nb8-d7-f8-g6 and he now plans Nf3-h2-g4
justifying his novelty on move 10.

14... Nbd7 15. Nh2

Anand misses his last chance to sharpen the game with 15. b4!? Bb6 16. d4 exd4 17.
Nxd4 Bxd4 18. cxd4

15... Qe7

Cf8 can't be played but the queen maneuver to activate and unpin the knight is also

15... Nf8?! 16. Ng4 g5? 17. Nxh6+

16. Ndf1 Bb6 17. Ne3 Qe6!

Black has gradually solved his problems and equalized the position.

18. b4

18. Nf5!? to continue with Ng4 and Qf3 forces Black to play carefully. 18... Kh7 (18...
Nf8?! 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Ng4 Qe6 21. Nge3c6 22. d4) 19. Ng4 Nxg4 20. hxg4 g6 21. d4 f6!
22. d5 Qf7 23. Ne3 a5.

18... a5!

Carlsen eliminates his backward pawn and fights for the file.

19. bxa5 Bxa5 20. Nhg4 Bb6 21. Bxf6 Nxf6 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6

If we don't talk about a game of chess, and instead a drama, we can say that play begins
now, or if you prefer the second act. So far, both players have followed a very
predictable script: Anand has been forced to press a little, because he is behind on the
scoreboard, and Carlsen is very careful to preserve is newly acquired lead, but now
White's initiative has evaporated completely and Anand must have thought of playing
for a draw.

23. Qg4?!

An active move, which condemns White to three hours of suffering.

23. Qe2! and the game would have finished in a draw for sure, although possibly not a
quick one.

23... Bxe3!

Carlsen doubles his opponent's pawns on e3 and now has the right to torture his
opponent until the end of times.

24. fxe3 Qe7!

Preventing the active move Dd7 and preparing the advance c5-c4, playing against
White's damaged pawn structure.
25. Rf1 c5! 26. Kh2 c4 27. d4! Rxa1 28. Rxa1 Qb7!

Carlsen prepares ed4 followed by Te4, forcing another unpleasant concession by his

28... exd4?! 29. exd4 Qxe4 30. Qxe4 Rxe4 31. Ra8+ Kh7 32. Rb8 and a draw is

29. Rd1!?

Anand, chooses active defence.

29. d5!? is a move that no one can imagine would lead to a loss but it leaves White with
an inferior structure for a long time and with no counterplay.

29... Qc6?!

29... exd4! 30. Rxd4 Re6 would have regrouped quicker but Carlsen probably hadn't
designed it yet.

30. Qf5

30. d5 is also possible again.

30... exd4 31. Rxd4 Re5

One more step, White's position looks very solid and should be sufficient to draw, but it
is increasingly unpleasant.

32. Qf3 Qc7

The queen approaches the kingside.

33. Kh1 Qe7 34. Qg4 Kh7 35. Qf4 g6 36. Kh2 Kg7 37. Qf3 Re6

And we've reached another turning point. Black has stabilized a static advantage, which
without being enough to tip the outcome in his favor assures him many opportunities to
pressure his opponent. Anand doesn't like these positions, which you must defend
during many moves with no prospects at all.

38. Qg3?!

It may be a right decision or a manifestation of impatience. White sacrifices a pawn to

simplify the material and reach a rook ending.

38. Qf4!? maintaining material equality, but required the calculation of some annoying
variations, for example: 38... Rf6 (38...Qf6 39. Kg3!) 39. Qg3 Rf1 40. Rxd6 Qxe4 41. Rd4
Qb1 42. Qe5+ Kh7 43. Rf4! Rh1+ 44. Kg3 Qe1+ 45. Kg4 f5+ 46. Rxf5! and White gets the
perpetual. This variant has gone well, but maybe next time it won't work. It is difficult
and tough to defend well and perhaps even a little humiliating.

38... Rxe4

Carlsen accepts the rook ending.

39. Qxd6 Rxe3 40. Qxe7 Rxe7 41. Rd5 Rb7

Let's consider the new scenario: Black has won a pawn, but his rook is passive, while the
white rook can't be expelled from its current position. The eternal principles of rook
endings proclaim that the position is a draw.

42. Rd6!

Black's king can't come nearer.

42. Kg3!? Activating the king, which is good for a draw. 42... Kf6 43. Kf4 Ke6 44. Ke4 f5+
45. Kd4 g5 (45... Rd7 46. Rxd7 Kxd747. Kc5 Ke6 48. Kxb5 Kd5 49. Ka4! g5 50. b4 f4 51.
b5 h5 52. Ka5 g4 53. hxg4 hxg4 54. b6 f3) 42. Rc5?! is much less clear, for example 42...
Kf6 43. Kg3 Ke6 44. Kf4 Kd6 and White's rook loses his ideal position.

42... f6

Another of Carlsen's small mistakes.

42... h5! is the natural way to place the pawns.

43. h4 Kf7 44. h5!

Anand demonstrates that he understands this position well and sacrifices a second
pawn to force the black king to passivity. The draw seems to be very near.

44... gxh5 45. Rd5 Kg6 46. Kg3 Rb6 47. Rc5 f5
48. Kh4!

Dodging the lost pawn ending that appears after Kf4. Now the stage is set for one of the
deepest moves of the match.

48. Kf4?! h4! 49. Rxf5?? Rf6 and Black wins the pawn ending. 50. Rxf6+ Kxf6 51. Kg4 Ke5
52. Kxh4 Ke4 53. Kh5 Kd3 54. Kxh6Kc2 55. g4 Kxb2 56. g5 b4 and only now we see that
the c-pawn promotes with check.

48... Re6!!

I think that few people understood this move when it was made on the board. Most of us
thought that it was a manifestation of Carlsen's tenacity, with the sole intention of
forcing Anand to suffer a little longer, but with no real hope of winning. However, move
58, 10 moves later, will show us the depth of Black's idea. Carlsen probably didn't see
the specific variations, since there are many similar options, but he did see the outlines
of the idea: Black sacrifices three pawns, including the 2 healthier ones, to create a new
passed pawn supported by his king. Many games in history have revealed this concept,
the most famous of them are Tartakower - Capablanca and Korchnoi - Karpov, the 31st
game of Baguio, but from now on this example will be in all the chess textbooks. The
idea is not good enough to win, neither was it in those games, but it manages to create
enough practical problems that even an opponent at the highest level can easily go

49. Rxb5 Re4+ 50. Kh3 Kg5 51. Rb8?!

We can't say that this move is a mistake, but if Anand could guess what was coming,
maybe he would have forced simplifications with: 51. b3! Re3+ 52. Kh2 Rxc3 53. bxc4
Rxc4 Leading to an ending that has occurred many times and must be a draw. But
perhaps the threat of several more hours of torture is a deterrent even for a world

51... h4 52. Rg8+ Kh5 53. Rf8 Rf4 54. Rc8 Rg4 55. Rf8 Rg3+ 56. Kh2 Kg5

57. Rg8+!?

Some annotators started to criticize this natural move as the cause of later difficulties,
but the alternative would face similar difficulties, for example: 57. Rc8 Rg4 And now
White has two options 58. Rg8+?! (58. Kh3 Might be the best move but leads to similar
difficulties as in the game, for example: 58... h5 59. Rc7 Rg3+ 60. Kh2 f4 61. Rxc4 Kg4 62.
Rc8 (62. Rd4 h3 63. gxh3+ Kf364. Rd3+ Kf2 65. Rd2+ Ke3 66. Rd7 Rg5) 62... h3 63.
gxh3+ Kf3 64. b4 Rg2+ 65. Kh1 Rb2 66. Rf8 h4 67. Kg1 Rb1+ 68. Kh2 Rb3 69.Rc8 Kf2
followed by f3.) 58... Kf4 59. Re8! (59. Rc8?! Ke3) (59. Rh8?! Ke3 60. Rxh6 Kf2!) 59... Rg3
60. Re7 h3! and a passed pawn is created here 61. gxh3 Kf3 with the idea Tg2 and Tb2
(61... Re3) 62. h4 Rg2+ 63. Kh3 f4 64. Rc7 Rg1 65. Kh2 Kf2 66. Rxc4 f3 67.Rc6 h5 68. Rc5
Rg2+ 69. Kh1 Ke3 70. Rxh5 Rg8 and White will have to sacrifice his rook for the passed
pawn very soon.

57... Kf4 58. Rc8 Ke3! 59. Rxc4 f4

Black has crowned his strategy. He will play h3 and the f-pawn will become a passer. His
king will support it and the enemy king is cut off. Now, White panicked, and a long and
quite correct defence ended in a debacle.

60. Ra4?

60. b4! is the only move that leads to a draw. The idea is logical, to create counterplay
with the pawn as quickly as possible, and the variations are not too complicated, but for
a person (but not for a machine) it has to be a brutal psychological shock, to suddenly
have the need to calculate accurately, and make a draw by one move when a few moves
before the position seemed dead. 60... h3 61. gxh3 Rg6 62. Rc7 f3 63. Re7+ Kd2 64. Rf7
Ke2 65. Re7+ Kf1 (65... Kf2 66. b5 Rg2+ 67. Kh1 Rg1+ 68. Kh2 Re1 69.Rxe1 Kxe1 70. b6
and the pawn promotes just in time.) 66. b5! Rg2+ (66... f2 67. c4) 67. Kh1 Re2 68. Rf7 f2
69. b6 Ke1 70. b7!arriving on time. By analyzing all these variations we see that the loss
of a single time tempo leads to defeat. With the move of the game, White wants to
prepare a defense based on side checks (the famous long side), but his 2 pawns boycott
this attempt. If he could remove either or both of them, the position would be drawn.

60... h3!

Black sacrifices his third pawn.

61. gxh3 Rg6

And immediately the passed pawn threatens to advance and his prices is the white rook.

62. c4

Trying to move the two pawns but it's just too much.

62. Ra8 is a logical defence, trying to check from behind, but it's too late. 62... f3 63.
Re8+ Kf2 64. b4 Rg2+ 65. Kh1 Rg1+ 66. Kh2Re1.

62... f3 63. Ra3+

63. b4 f2 64. Ra3+ Kf4 65. Ra1 Re6 followed by Re1.

63... Ke2 64. b4

64... f2!

64... Rg2+ 65. Kh1 Rg1+! is the quickest way to win, which all the viewers saw, but
Carlsen surely wanted to avoid any possibility of a fortress. 66. Kxg1 f2+ 67. Kh2 f1=Q
68. Ra2+ Kf3 69. Ra3+ Kf4 70. Rg3 and the position is lost but some work is needed.

65. Ra2+ Kf3 66. Ra3+ Kf4 67. Ra8 Rg1

And as we mentioned before, the pawn costs the rook.

Game 99
Notes by IM Roi Reinaldo

The key
Anand opens predictably with 1.d4, somehow as an act of surrender to the strength of
the Berlin defense. However, I was quite surprised by Carlsen's reply, in view of his
advantage on the scoreboard, because although the Nimzo-Indian Defense is a very
reliable weapon, it does allow White to go for a sharp fight in several lines. I expected
instead a trendy Slav or Grunfeld, full of encyclopedic analysis and different game
strategies, intending to meet every specific line and eliminate White's advantage
completely. Thanks to Carlsen's courageous opening choice we all enjoyed a very
interesting fight. (GM Miguel Illescas)

Anand, V IND 2793

Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E25]
WCh (9) Chennai, 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4

Anand knows this line, as he prepared and used it in his match against Kramnik in 2008.
Of course, re-entering the Berlin didn't seem to be the best choice for his urgent need of
a win in the match.

4. f3!? d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5

7... Nxd5 is the other option, something more concrete than the pawn capture, but
leading to a more theoretical battle, and that would not benefit or motivate Carlsen
much. 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. e4 Ne7 10. Be3 O-O 11. Qb3 from here there are numerous games
of the elite. We'll continue without knowing for now, what was the improvement that
Anand had prepared.

8. e3 c4!?

Lately Black's choice. The idea is to hinder the development of the white bishop and
prevent it from being placed on the "b1-h7" diagonal, contributing to the kingside attack
and supporting the square "e4". Now the cards are dealt and the battle breaks open.
Black looks to break on "b4" while White angles for "e4" and push his kingside pawns as
far as he can. White's plan looks more attractive because an attack on the king is always
more motivating. However, if Black achieves his plan he can destabilize White's center.

The most classic move in this position is 8... O-O 9. Bd3 b6 10. Ne2 Ba6 11. O-O Bxd3 12.
Qxd3 Nc6 13. Ng3 and even though Black has a dynamic game, White's center rupture
plans are more unpleasant. Nowadays the position is considered better for White.
Relevant is: 8... Qc7 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 h6 11. Ra2 Be6 12. Bg2 O-O-O 13. Nf4 g5 14. Nxe6
fxe6 15. O-O h5 16. h3 Rd7 17. Raf2Qg3 18. e4 hxg4 19. fxg4 Rxh3 20. Rxf6 Qh2+ 21. Kf2
Qg3+ 22. Kg1 Qh2+ 23. Kf2 Qg3+ 1/2-1/2 (23) Volkov,S (2615) -Alekseev, E (2673)
Taganrog 2011.

9. Ne2

Some players have successfully tried the humble advance 9. g3!? with the idea Ch3, Cf2,
Ag2 and a break on "e4".

9... Nc6 10. g4!?

Anand shows his cards. The kingside will be for him, and he is seeking a square to
develop his bishop, starting his particular odyssey against the enemy king. The
intellectual patent for this idea comes from, of course, the great Gary Kasparov, who put
it into practice against Judit Polgar in 1997. The game was pretty tense, as the eternal
champion liked, and he finally prevailed.

10... O-O

Carlsen chooses to show his cards amazingly quickly. There are also some plans with
opposite side castling, which are not bad.

Kasparov's game went 10... h6 11. Bg2 Na5 12. O-O Nb3 13. Ra2 O-O 14. Ng3 Bd7 15.
Qe1 Re8 16. e4 dxe4 17. fxe4 Nxg4 18. Bf4 Qh4 19. h3 Nf6 20. e5 Rad8 21. Qf2 Nh5 22.
Bxh6 Re7 23. Nf5 Qxf2+ 24. Rfxf2 Re6 25. Be3 Bc6 26. Bf1 f6 27. Bxc4 Bd5 28. Be2fxe5
29. Bxh5 exd4 30. Bg5 Rd7 31. Rae2 Be4 32. Nxd4 1-0 Kasparov,G (2820)-Polgar,J
(2670) Tilburg 1997.

11. Bg2 Na5 12. O-O Nb3

The transfer of the knight to this square if full of logic. From "b3" it doesn't only stop the
white rook from playing on the "b" file, but it's prepared to exchange the bishop pair
when it sees fit.

13. Ra2 b5

To understand the dangers of this position, let us consider a game by the young talent
from Catalua, Ipatov 13... Qa5 14. Bd2 Bd7 15. Ng3 Bc6 16. e4 dxe4 17. fxe4 Nxd2 18.
Qxd2 Rae8? 19. Rxf6!! gxf6 20. h4 Re6 21. d5 Rd6 22. Qh6 Qc5+ 23. Rf2 f5 24. Qf4 Bd7
25. exf5 Re8 26. f6 Rxd5 27. Bxd5 Qxd5 28. Qh6 Qd1+ 29. Nf1 1-0 (29) Ipatov,A (2601)-
Debashis,D (2489) Kocaeli TUR 2013.

14. Ng3 a5
A game of Saric with Black had reached this position, and he made a quick draw with
Bb7. The improvement is a logical move that continues with our aforementioned plans.
Here the must make a choice. To break on "e4" or play "g5" first? Each move has its
strengths and weaknesses. The pawn on "g5" severely limits the option of transferring
pieces for a possible attack on the kingside, and also offers Black the option of
blockading the light squares. The direct advance of the "e4" pawn would sacrifice the
"g" pawn, perhaps prematurely. Personally I like this option, but there's no denying that
the position that Anand achieved seemed quite promising.

15. g5

15. e4!? dxe4 (with similar ideas to the game but a tempo down and White would have
no problems. 15... Nxc1 16. Qxc1 Ra6 17.e5 Ne8 18. f4 Bxg4 19. f5 with a lot of
initiative.) 16. fxe4 (16. Bg5!? h6 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. fxe4 Qb6 19. g5! White must act fast
because the rupture on "b4" will be very strong. 19... Ra6 (19... hxg5?! 20. e5 Ra6 21.
Raf2 b4 22. Qh5 Qg6 23. Qxg6 Rxg6 24. d5!bxc3 25. e6! with advantage.) 20. Qh5 with a
doubled-edged position, for example. 20... b4!? 21. axb4 axb4 22. gxh6 Rxa2 23.hxg7
Kxg7 24. Qg5+ Qg6 25. Nh5+ Kh7 26. Nf6+ and a draw by perpetual although White can
try other options.) 16... Bxg4 17.Bf3 Bh3 18. Bg2 Bg4 19. Qe1!? h6 (19... Nxc1!? 20. Qxc1
Rb8 21. Raf2 Rb6 22. Qg5 with good compensation) 20. Raf2 Ra6! to avoid sacrifices on
"f6" as in the Ipatov game 21. Be3 Bc8 22. h3 and White has compensation for the pawn
and an interesting dynamic game ahead.

15... Ne8 16. e4 Nxc1

Black can try to blockade on "f5" with 16... Nd6!? 17. Bf4 (17. exd5?! Nf5) (17. e5? Nf5)
17... Ra6 18. exd5 (18. Bxd6 Rxd6 19. e5Rb6!) 18... Nf5 19. Nxf5 Bxf5 20. d6 Rxd6!? with
a very interesting exchange sacrifice due to the total blockade of White's structure and
many weaknesses. 21. Bxd6 Qxd6.

17. Qxc1 Ra6

Adual utility move. It protects the rook that was undefended and prevented the advance
to "b4" and also casts an eye to the kingside in case he has to come to the aid.

18. e5
18... Nc7?!

The Norwegian's tranquility and coolness is certainly very strange. He sends a knight to
the corner of the board and then brings it back to defend. He gives away several tempi
and doesn't fear the slightest his opponent's attack.

18... g6!? looking to blockade another way 19. f4 Ng7 20. Rb2! Rb6 21. Qb1! forcing a
strange defence of the "b5" pawn 21... Qd7 22. f5 Nxf5 23. Nxf5 gxf5 and although
White's position looks good, the rook on the third defends enough for the position to be
considered equal.

Black also has some active defence moves. 18... b4!? 19. axb4 axb4 20. Rxa6 Bxa6 21.
cxb4 Qb6 22. Nf5 Nc7 23. Qc3 Rb8 24. f4 Qxb4 25. Qxb4 Rxb4 with no problems for

19. f4 b4 20. axb4 axb4 21. Rxa6 Nxa6 22. f5 b3!?

The Norwegian probably didn't like the other option 22... bxc3 23. Qxc3 Nc7 24. h4 Nb5
25. Qe3 Qb6 26. Ne2! Qc6 27. Nc3Nxc3 28. Qxc3 and White has a better position
although he always has to be worried about his king.

23. Qf4

Anand launches the logical attack although he had another promising option.

23. h4! Valor 0,0 from this moment I challenge the readers to find a variation that
defends this complex position, even with the help of computers, that are unable to
evaluate such an asymmetric position and assesses the position as 0.00 23... Nc7 (The
active23... Qa5 doesn't work 24. h5 Nc7 25. h6 g6 (25... Ne8 26. Nh5 gxh6 27. Nf6+ Nxf6
28. gxf6 Kh8 29. e6 Qc7 30. e7! Re8 31. Qxh6Qg3 32. Qf8+! winning) 26. e6! Nxe6 27.
fxe6 fxe6 28. Qe3 and White has a decisive advantage although there is a lot of work to
be done yet.) 24. h5 and Black's situation is very uncomfortable because he can't play
actively. For example, if 24... Bd7 (if 24...Nb5 25. f6 g6 26. hxg6 fxg6 27. Ne2 with the
idea Cf4 with a clear advantage) 25. Qf4 Be8 26. Bh3! adding more fire to the attack26...
Kh8 (26... f6? you can't be so optimistic! 27. h6! breaking open with everything 27... fxg5
28. Qe3 gxh6 29. f6 Bg6 30. Nf5Bxf5 31. Bxf5 Qe8 32. Qh3 h5 33. Kf2 Kh8 34. Rh1 h4 35.
Qg4 Rg8 36. Ra1! winning) 27. f6! gxf6 28. exf6 Nb5 29. g6 fxg6 30. f7Qd6 (30... Rxf7 31.
Qe5+ Kg8 32. h6 and there is no defence) 31. fxe8=Q Rxe8 32. Qxd6 Nxd6 33. h6 and
White's advantage is clear, although the position is always very difficult because of the
pawn on "b3".

(Analisys diagram)

23... Nc7 24. f6 g6 25. Qh4 Ne8 26. Qh6

It seems that the plan Ne2 for Nf4 was a good option for the Indian, both now and on his
next move, although he is no longer winning, but it was enough for a draw. 26. Ne2!?
Be6 27. Nf4 Qa5 28. Nxe6 fxe6 29. Bh3 Nc7 30. f7+ and White must pay attention
because the pawn on "b2" supported by the queen will be very unpleasant. 30... Rxf7 31.
Rxf7 Kxf7 32. Qxh7+ Kf8 33.Qxg6 Qxc3.

26... b2!

27. Rf4!?

Against 27. Ne2 There are an impressive number of only moves that lead to a draw that
I can't believe Magnus calculated. I recommend that readers play them out on a board to
observe the countless tactical motives hidden in the position and draw their own
conclusions. 27... Qa5 (If 27... Bf5?? then the incredible 28. Rf4!! now it works! 28...
b1=Q+ 29. Kf2 winning a queen down! 29... Bg4 30. Rxg4 Qf5+ 31. Bf3 Qxg4 32. Bxg4
with the unstoppable idea of "e6" winning.) 28. Nf4 Be6 29. Nxe6 fxe6 30.Bh3 Qa6!
keeping open the options of penetrating with the queen on the "a" file. (If 30... Qb6 31.
Rb1 Rf7 32. Qh4 Ra7 33. Kg2!!Ra1 34. f7+ Kxf7 35. Qf2+ Ke7 36. Rxb2 and White has a
good advantage.) 31. Bg4! (31. Qh4 Ng7! with the idea Cf5) 31... Rf7 32.Qh3 Nc7 33. Qg2
up to here Black's is playing only moves! 33... Qa1 (33... Qa3!? 34. Rb1 Qxc3 35. Qxb2
Qe3+ 36. Qf2 Qxg5 37.Kh1!? and if 37... Qxg4? (37... Rf8! is much better 38. Qf3 c3! 39.
Rg1 c2 40. Qc3 Qf4! 41. Qxc2 Qxd4 42. Qxc7 Qe4+ 43. Rg2Qe1+ and a draw by
perpetual) 38. Rb8+ Rf8 39. f7+ Kg7 40. Qf6+ Kh6 41. Rxf8 Qe4+ 42. Kg1 Qxd4+ and
White escaped the perpetual and wins incredibly 43. Kf1 Qd1+ 44. Kf2 Qd4+ 45. Kf3
Qd1+ 46. Kg3 Qg1+ 47. Kh3! Qe3+ 48. Kg2 Qe2+ 49. Kg3Qe3+ and after this
triangulation he is able to hide with 50. Qf3 Qxe5+ 51. Qf4+ Qxf4+ 52. Kxf4 Kg7 53. Rh8!!
Kxf7 54. Rxh7+Kf6 55. Rxc7 winning.) 34. Qc2 Rf8! 35. f7+! so that he can't bring the
rook over to the queenside, just in time! 35... Rxf7 36. Rb1!Rf4 37. h3 Nb5 38. Bxe6+ Kg7
39. Qxb2 Qxb2 40. Rxb2 Nxc3 41. Rf2 Rxf2 42. Kxf2 Nb5 and a draw.

27... b1=Q+

28. Nf1??

An incomprehensible mistake, due to desperation. The correct move was 28. Bf1! Qd1!!
29. Rh4 Qh5 30. Nxh5 gxh5 31. Rxh5 Bf5 which is unbelievable but Black defends and
White has to play very accurately now to hold the game 32. g6! (If 32. Bh3 Bg6 33. e6
Nxf6! 34. gxf6 Qxf6) 32... Bxg6 33. Rg5Nxf6! 34. exf6 Qxf6 35. Rxd5 Qf3 and Black has a
draw guaranteed because of the weakness of the white king. If the Norwegian analysed
all these variations from move 18, he will surpass the barrier of the 3000 Elo rating.

28... Qe1!

And Anand resigned because of 29. Rh4 Qxh4.

Game 100
Notes by GM Miguel Illescas

The key
I dare say that under the circumstances each players first three moves were perfectly
predictable. Carlsen opens with 1.e4 to play a well known theoretical line, in which his
opponent can hardly surprise him. Anand, in a must-win situation, responds with the
Sicilian defense; what else can he do? And Carlsen, in turn, goes for the check on b5
variation, an extremely solid line that Magnus knows very and which is ideal for this
game; we can recall his win against Anand in the 2012 Bilbao tournament, and he used
it twice against Svidler and Anand a few months before in Norway. Faced with the
check, Anand chooses to cover on d7 with his knight, which is the most ambitious line.
In many cases Black obtains the bishop pair, but gives over the center to White, who
also has an important development advantage. Well, foreseeable or not, both players
cards were now on the table.

Carlsen, M NOR 2870

Anand, V IND 2775
Sicilian Defense [B51]
WCh (10) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7

The most solid move is 3... Bd7 which leads to a very equal game, while the alternative
3... Nc6 is going through some difficulties now after 4. O-O Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. c3 a6 7. Bf1
Bg4 8. h3.

4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4

As usual in this type of positions White covers the absence of his light-squared bishop
with a Maroczy structure that guarantees optimal control over the light squares.
7... Nf6

Anand moves away from the game they had played months before, which continued 7...
e5 8. Qd3 b5 9. Nc3 bxc4 10. Qxc4 Be611. Qd3 h6 12. O-O Nf6 13. Rd1 Be7 14. Ne1 O-O
15. Nc2 Qb6 16. Ne3 Rfc8 17. b3 a5 18. Bd2 Qa6 19. Be1 Nd7 20. f3 Rc6 21.Qxa6 Rcxa6
22. Ned5 with a small advantage for White in Carlsen,M (2868)-Anand,V (2783) Norway

8. Bg5 e6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. O-O Bc6 11. Qd3!

This move was probably part of Carlsen's preparation and helped him get a comfortable
position. The queen vacates the d4 square for the knight and thereby White's position
achieves the required harmony.

The game Bologan,V (2663)-Van Wely,L (2680), played on the Internet in 2004
continued with the natural moves 11. Rfe1 O-O12. Rad1 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Qxd6 Qxd6
15. Rxd6 Rfc8 and Black had enough compensation.

11... O-O 12. Nd4

The control of the center and the space advantage compensate the pair of bishops.

12... Rc8

The only reference to this game was a game between two amateurs that continued 12...
Qc7 13. Nxc6 bxc6 Kidzinski,L (2001)-Szczesniak,P Bartkowa 2002.

Maybe 12... Bd7!? was interesting, with the idea of keeping the bishop pair. If Black is
able to complete the mobilization of his pieces with Qc7, Rfd8 y Be8 he will have a very
reasonable position. Carlsen probably had something planned against such an obvious
answer and maybe that is why Anand didn't go for it. But it is likely to see this idea in
future games with this variation.

13. b3 Qc7

Anand carries on playing in a standard way.

The ambitious 13... Bd7!? was still possible.

14. Nxc6!

The exclamation mark is considering the overall match score. After this exchange Black
loses almost all his possibilities to unbalance the fight.

14... Qxc6

Also reasonable is the capture with the pawn 14... bxc6 although in this case White's
position is also very easy to play.

15. Rac1 h6 16. Be3 Nd7 17. Bd4 Rfd8

Finally we reach the typical position of this variation. Objectively the game should be
even, but it's nice to be on the White side of the board.

18. h3 Qc7 19. Rfd1 Qa5 20. Qd2

Black has maneuvered to activate his queen and now White replies with the standard
threat Nd5. Anand's next move us ugly but not bad.

20... Kf8 21. Qb2 Kg8

Acknowledging that his previous move had been quite bad.

For the moment Anand decides against the natural 21... Bf6 that would allow White to
simplify the position.

22. a4!

Meanwhile, Carlsen understands perfectly the position they are playing. For now he
begins to gain space on the queenside.

22... Qh5 23. Ne2!? Bf6

At last the Indian accepts the need to dispute the long diagonal.
The alternative was 23... Qg6 although the Black queen will be slightly misplaced after
24. f3.

24. Rc3!

Carlsen is maneuvering intelligently. The knight leaves space for the rook, which begins
to exert its action on the third rank. White prepares to eventually double rooks on the d-
file, putting uncomfortable pressure on the pawn on d6.

24... Bxd4 25. Rxd4 Qe5

This move is blessed by the analysis engines, but I personally do not like it, because the
queen will be slightly exposed in the center of the board.

Instead I would recommend regrouping the queen, for example after 25... Qc5!? 26. Qd2
Qc7! and Black is in time to relocate his knight and organize his game because after 27.
Rxd6?! Nc5! 28. Rxd8+ Rxd8 29. Qc2 Nxe4! 30. Rd3 Nc5 31. Rxd8+ Qxd8.

26. Qd2 Nf6?!

After this move we can say that White's position is slightly better. The consistent play
was 26... Nc5 27. Re3 Qf6! 28. a5 Qe7 and Black's queen reaches a safe square 29. b4 e5!
30. Rd5 Ne6 and Black's position, albeit the weaknesses on the 'd' file, offers enough
counterplay thanks to the pressure on 'c4' and the superior activity of his knight.

27. Re3 Rd7

The engines recommends 27... g5 although it's not a nice move to make, because White
can answer 28. g3 and although there is nothing directly, Black's castled king may up
being somewhat exposed.

It's late to regroup the queen, as after 27... Qc5? 28. e5! taking advantage of White's
power on the d-file.

28. a5!
Excellent positional concept. With this standard advance Carlsen fixes the Black's
queenside. Anand was increasingly uncomfortable and the mistake finally comes.

28... Qg5?

I can't understand what Vishy meant with this strange move, because he certainly
missed White's simple reply.

He should have reinforced the 'd6' square with 28... Rcd8 or even a 'useful' waiting
move such as 28... Kf8.

29. e5! Ne8 30. exd6?!

Carlsen played this move pretty fast. I would say that he had an eye on the chess board
and the other one on the scoreboard.

The way to go for an advantage was to keep up the tension with 30. Nc3! Black has to
face the unpleasant pin and he won't be able to prevent the loss of a pawn. But Carlsen
didn't even look for this move. The Norwegian was quite happy with the game move,
which as we shall see causes a huge simplification and leads the game to a very
comfortable knight ending for White.

30... Rc6 31. f4 Qd8 32. Red3 Rcxd6 33. Rxd6 Rxd6 34. Rxd6 Qxd6 35. Qxd6 Nxd6

This ending is more or less equal although White has a slight edge. With every move
made on the board, Carlsen was nearer to the World Champion title. Both players now
activate their kings.

36. Kf2 Kf8 37. Ke3 Ke7 38. Kd4 Kd7 39. Kc5 Kc7

Black's king has arrived just in time to prevent the invasion on b6. Once the kings have
taken their places in the front row it's time for the knights to carry on the show. Both
players try to activate their knights in the best way possible.

40. Nc3 Nf5! 41. Ne4 Ne3 42. g3

And at last it's time for the pawns.

Carlsen defends his pawn accurately, as 42. g4 Ng2 would be worse. And Anand,
intelligently, starts to advance his kingside pawns.

42... f5!

43. Nd6

Both players, especially Carlsen, has been playing fast up to now. But from now on they
started to think a lot, Carlsen above all, as he had two or more interesting alternatives
each move. Interesting was 43. Nd2!? which guarantees a small advantage for White.
But Carlsen was looking for forced variations to win the match.

43... g5

The complement of the previous move.

44. Ne8+

Worthy of attention was 44. fxg5!? hxg5 45. Nf7 and White might be slightly better, for
example 45... g4 46. hxg4 Nxg4 47. Ng5e5 48. Ne6+! Kd7 49. Kd5 e4 50. Nd4 e3 51. Ne2.

44... Kd7 45. Nf6+

During the game I thought that 45. Nd6 would have forced Black to return with his king
and accept the move repetition, but actually he can find some counterplay with 45... Nf1
(and also with 45... gxf4 46. gxf4 Ng2).

45... Ke7!?

This move leaves White with a huge array of options. Objectively better was 45... Kc7
but Anand knew he had to fight.
46. Ng8+

Carlsen spent a lot of energy calculating difficult variations, such as the following lines.

46. Nh5 Kf7 47. Kb6 Kg6 48. Kxb7 Kxh5 49. c5 gxf4 50. gxf4 e5 51. c6 exf4 52. c7 f3 53.
c8=Q f2 54. Qe8+ Kh4 55. Qe7+ Kh5! 56.Qxe3 f1=Q

46. fxg5!? hxg5 47. Nh7 f4 48. Nxg5 fxg3 49. Kb6 g2 50. Nf3 Nc2 51. Kxb7 Nd4 52. Ng1
e5 53. c5 Nxb3 54. Kb6.

46... Kf8 47. Nxh6!

The exclamation mark is in recognition for Carlsen having arrived here by calculation all
the variations beforehand. He could have returned with 47. Nf6!? as Black could lose if
he doesn't repeat moves. But the Norwegian didn't want to give Anand any chances and
he preferred to play a forced line.

47... gxf4 48. gxf4 Kg7

The white knight sacrifices itself and now there is a race to promotion. On the way all
Black's pawns disappear, except the last one that will be promoted.
49. Nxf5+ exf5 50. Kb6 Ng2 51. Kxb7 Nxf4 52. Kxa6 Ne6 53. Kb6 f4 54. a6 f3 55. a7
f2 56. a8=Q f1=Q

This is the position that Carlsen had in mind. Even if he lost his three pawns the game
would still be a draw but he can't go for a win with his backwards pawns.

57. Qd5 Qe1 58. Qd6 Qe3+ 59. Ka6 Nc5+

Anand goes for the draw. Both players continued until the end for the audience.

60. Kb5 Nxb3 61. Qc7+!

The white queen will check on the seventh and eight rank until Black crosses his third
rank, when a check on b6 will force the exchange of queens. Now it was clear that the
match was about to end.

61... Kh6 62. Qb6+ Qxb6+ 63. Kxb6 Kh5 64. h4 Kxh4 65. c5 Nxc5

And at last, with both kings undressed and exhausted, the substitution at the top of
chess happened. This was a great game by Carlsen, who seemed to adjust his needs to
the scoreboard. I think that if he had needed to win he would have found the way.

All the games of the World
Game 101
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Anand, V IND 2775
Reti Opening [A07]
Reti Opening [A07]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 c6 5. O-O Nf6 6. b3 O-O 7. Bb2 Bf5 8. c4 Nbd7 9.

Nc3 dxc4 10. bxc4 Nb6 11. c5 Nc4 12. Bc1Nd5 13. Qb3 Na5 14. Qa3 Nc4 15. Qb3
Na5 16. Qa3 Nc4 1/2-1/2
Game 102
Anand, V IND 2775
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Caro-Kann Defense [B18]
WCh (2) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 e6 8. Ne5 Bh7 9.

Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Nd7 11. f4 Bb4+ 12. c3Be7 13. Bd2 Ngf6 14. O-O-O O-O 15. Ne4
Nxe4 16. Qxe4 Nxe5 17. fxe5 Qd5 18. Qxd5 cxd5 19. h5 b5 20. Rh3 a5 21. Rf1 Rac8
22.Rg3 Kh7 23. Rgf3 Kg8 24. Rg3 Kh7 25. Rgf3 Kg8 1/2-1/2
Game 103
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Anand, V IND 2775
Reti Opening [A07]
WCh (3) Chennai, 2013

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. c4 dxc4 4. Qa4+ Nc6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nc3 e5 7. Qxc4 Nge7 8. O-O
O-O 9. d3 h6 10. Bd2 Nd4 11. Nxd4 exd4 12.Ne4 c6 13. Bb4 Be6 14. Qc1 Bd5 15. a4
b6 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. a5 Rab8 18. Re1 Rfc8 19. axb6 axb6 20. Qf4 Rd8 21. h4 Kh7
22. Nd2Be5 23. Qg4 h5 24. Qh3 Be6 25. Qh1 c5 26. Ne4 Kg7 27. Ng5 b5 28. e3 dxe3
29. Rxe3 Bd4 30. Re2 c4 31. Nxe6+ fxe6 32. Be4 cxd333. Rd2 Qb4 34. Rad1 Bxb2
35. Qf3 Bf6 36. Rxd3 Rxd3 37. Rxd3 Rd8 38. Rxd8 Bxd8 39. Bd3 Qd4 40. Bxb5 Qf6
41. Qb7+ Be742. Kg2 g5 43. hxg5 Qxg5 44. Bc4 h4 45. Qc7 hxg3 46. Qxg3 e5 47. Kf3
Qxg3+ 48. fxg3 Bc5 49. Ke4 Bd4 50. Kf5 Bf2 51. Kxe5Bxg3+ 1/2-1/2
Game 104
Anand, V IND 2775
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C67]
WCh (4) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8.
Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Bd7 10. Rd1 Be7 11. Nc3Kc8 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Nxe7 14. Rd2
c5 15. Rad1 Be6 16. Ne1 Ng6 17. Nd3 b6 18. Ne2 Bxa2 19. b3 c4 20. Ndc1 cxb3 21.
cxb3Bb1 22. f4 Kb7 23. Nc3 Bf5 24. g4 Bc8 25. Nd3 h5 26. f5 Ne7 27. Nb5 hxg4 28.
hxg4 Rh4 29. Nf2 Nc6 30. Rc2 a5 31. Rc4 g6 32.Rdc1 Bd7 33. e6 fxe6 34. fxe6 Be8
35. Ne4 Rxg4+ 36. Kf2 Rf4+ 37. Ke3 Rf8 38. Nd4 Nxd4 39. Rxc7+ Ka6 40. Kxd4
Rd8+ 41. Kc3Rf3+ 42. Kb2 Re3 43. Rc8 Rdd3 44. Ra8+ Kb7 45. Rxe8 Rxe4 46. e7
Rg3 47. Rc3 Re2+ 48. Rc2 Ree3 49. Ka2 g5 50. Rd2 Re5 51. Rd7+Kc6 52. Red8 Rge3
53. Rd6+ Kb7 54. R8d7+ Ka6 55. Rd5 Re2+ 56. Ka3 Re6 57. Rd8 g4 58. Rg5 Rxe7
59. Ra8+ Kb7 60. Rag8 a4 61.Rxg4 axb3 62. R8g7 Ka6 63. Rxe7 Rxe7 64. Kxb3 1/2-
Game 105
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Anand, V IND 2775
QGD [D31]
WCh (5) Chennai, 2013

1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 c6 4. e4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 c5 7. a3 Ba5 8. Nf3 Nf6 9.

Be3 Nc6 10. Qd3 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Ng4 12. O-O-O Nxe3 13. fxe3 Bc7 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15.
Qxd8+ Bxd8 16. Be2 Ke7 17. Bf3 Bd7 18. Ne4 Bb6 19. c5 f5 20. cxb6 fxe4 21. b7
Rab8 22.Bxe4 Rxb7 23. Rhf1 Rb5 24. Rf4 g5 25. Rf3 h5 26. Rdf1 Be8 27. Bc2 Rc5
28. Rf6 h4 29. e4 a5 30. Kd2 Rb5 31. b3 Bh5 32. Kc3 Rc5+33. Kb2 Rd8 34. R1f2
Rd4 35. Rh6 Bd1 36. Bb1 Rb5 37. Kc3 c5 38. Rb2 e5 39. Rg6 a4 40. Rxg5 Rxb3+ 41.
Rxb3 Bxb3 42. Rxe5+Kd6 43. Rh5 Rd1 44. e5+ Kd5 45. Bh7 Rc1+ 46. Kb2 Rg1 47.
Bg8+ Kc6 48. Rh6+ Kd7 49. Bxb3 axb3 50. Kxb3 Rxg2 51. Rxh4 Ke652. a4 Kxe5 53.
a5 Kd6 54. Rh7 Kd5 55. a6 c4+ 56. Kc3 Ra2 57. a7 Kc5 58. h4 1-0
Game 106
Anand, V IND 2775
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
WCh (6) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Re1 a6 8. Ba4 b5 9.
Bb3 d6 10. Bg5 Be6 11. Nbd2 h6 12. Bh4Bxb3 13. axb3 Nb8 14. h3 Nbd7 15. Nh2
Qe7 16. Ndf1 Bb6 17. Ne3 Qe6 18. b4 a5 19. bxa5 Bxa5 20. Nhg4 Bb6 21. Bxf6 Nxf6
22.Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. Qg4 Bxe3 24. fxe3 Qe7 25. Rf1 c5 26. Kh2 c4 27. d4 Rxa1 28.
Rxa1 Qb7 29. Rd1 Qc6 30. Qf5 exd4 31. Rxd4 Re532. Qf3 Qc7 33. Kh1 Qe7 34. Qg4
Kh7 35. Qf4 g6 36. Kh2 Kg7 37. Qf3 Re6 38. Qg3 Rxe4 39. Qxd6 Rxe3 40. Qxe7
Rxe7 41. Rd5Rb7 42. Rd6 f6 43. h4 Kf7 44. h5 gxh5 45. Rd5 Kg6 46. Kg3 Rb6 47.
Rc5 f5 48. Kh4 Re6 49. Rxb5 Re4+ 50. Kh3 Kg5 51. Rb8 h4 52.Rg8+ Kh5 53. Rf8 Rf4
54. Rc8 Rg4 55. Rf8 Rg3+ 56. Kh2 Kg5 57. Rg8+ Kf4 58. Rc8 Ke3 59. Rxc4 f4 60.
Ra4 h3 61. gxh3 Rg6 62. c4f3 63. Ra3+ Ke2 64. b4 f2 65. Ra2+ Kf3 66. Ra3+ Kf4 67.
Ra8 Rg1 0-1
Game 107
Anand, V IND 2775
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C65]
WCh (7) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. Nf1
Nd7 9. Ng3 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 g6 11. Be3 Qe712. O-O-O O-O-O 13. Ne2 Rhe8 14. Kb1 b6
15. h4 Kb7 16. h5 Bxe3 17. Qxe3 Nc5 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. g3 a5 20. Rh7 Rh8 21.
Rdh1Rxh7 22. Rxh7 Qf6 23. f4 Rh8 24. Rxh8 Qxh8 25. fxe5 Qxe5 26. Qf3 f5 27. exf5
gxf5 28. c3 Ne6 29. Kc2 Ng5 30. Qf2 Ne6 31. Qf3Ng5 32. Qf2 Ne6 1/2-1/2
Game 108
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Anand, V IND 2775
Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense [C67]
WCh (8) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8.
Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. c3 Rxe112. Qxe1 Ne8 13. Bf4 d5 14. Bd3 g6 15.
Nd2 Ng7 16. Qe2 c6 17. Re1 Bf5 18. Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Nf3 Ng7 20. Be5 Ne6 21. Bxf6
Qxf622. Ne5 Re8 23. Ng4 Qd8 24. Qe5 Ng7 25. Qxe8+ Nxe8 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8 27.
Nf6+ Kf8 28. Nxe8 Kxe8 29. f4 f5 30. Kf2 b5 31. b4Kf7 32. h3 h6 33. h4 h5 1/2-1/2
Game 109
Anand, V IND 2775
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E25]
WCh (9) Chennai, 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 c4 9.

Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 O-O 11. Bg2 Na5 12. O-O Nb313. Ra2 b5 14. Ng3 a5 15. g5 Ne8 16.
e4 Nxc1 17. Qxc1 Ra6 18. e5 Nc7 19. f4 b4 20. axb4 axb4 21. Rxa6 Nxa6 22. f5 b3
23. Qf4 Nc724. f6 g6 25. Qh4 Ne8 26. Qh6 b2 27. Rf4 b1=Q+ 28. Nf1 Qe1 0-1
Game 110
Carlsen, M NOR 2870
Anand, V IND 2775
Sicilian Defense [B51]
WCh (10) Chennai, 2013

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4 Nf6 8. Bg5

e6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. O-O Bc6 11. Qd3 O-O 12.Nd4 Rc8 13. b3 Qc7 14. Nxc6 Qxc6 15.
Rac1 h6 16. Be3 Nd7 17. Bd4 Rfd8 18. h3 Qc7 19. Rfd1 Qa5 20. Qd2 Kf8 21. Qb2
Kg8 22.a4 Qh5 23. Ne2 Bf6 24. Rc3 Bxd4 25. Rxd4 Qe5 26. Qd2 Nf6 27. Re3 Rd7 28.
a5 Qg5 29. e5 Ne8 30. exd6 Rc6 31. f4 Qd8 32. Red3Rcxd6 33. Rxd6 Rxd6 34. Rxd6
Qxd6 35. Qxd6 Nxd6 36. Kf2 Kf8 37. Ke3 Ke7 38. Kd4 Kd7 39. Kc5 Kc7 40. Nc3 Nf5
41. Ne4Ne3 42. g3 f5 43. Nd6 g5 44. Ne8+ Kd7 45. Nf6+ Ke7 46. Ng8+ Kf8 47. Nxh6
gxf4 48. gxf4 Kg7 49. Nxf5+ exf5 50. Kb6 Ng2 51.Kxb7 Nxf4 52. Kxa6 Ne6 53. Kb6
f4 54. a6 f3 55. a7 f2 56. a8=Q f1=Q 57. Qd5 Qe1 58. Qd6 Qe3+ 59. Ka6 Nc5+ 60.
Kb5 Nxb3 61.Qc7+ Kh6 62. Qb6+ Qxb6+ 63. Kxb6 Kh5 64. h4 Kxh4 65. c5 Nxc5
World Chess Champions

Wilhelm Steinitz

Emanuel Lasker

Jos Ral Capablanca


Alexander Alekhine

Max Euwe

Mikhail Botvinnik

Vasily Smyslov

Mikhail Tal
Tigran Petrosian

Boris Spassky

Robert J. Fischer
United States

Anatoly Karpov

Garry Kasparov (*)


Vladimir Kramnik (*)


Viswanathan Anand

Magnus Carlsen

(*) Between 1993 and 2006 FIDE proclaimed their own champions (Karpov, Khalifman, Anand, Ponomariov,
Kasimdzhanov and Topalov), without recognizing Kasparov or Kramnik.
Main results in Tournaments

U10 Nordic Championship. 1st


Norwegian Junior Championship. 1st

U12 European Championship. 6th
U12 World Championship. 1st-2nd


Norwegian Junior Championship. 1st

U14 European Championship. 3rd


Norwegian Championship.1st-2nd
Corus Wijk aan Zee Group C. 1st
Sigeman Chess Tournament. 3rd
Politiken Cup. 3rd


Norwegian Championship. 1st-2nd

6th European Championship. 34th
Gausdal Byggern Masters. 1st


Norwegian Championshi. 1st

Corus Wijk aan Zee Group B. 1st-2nd
Bosna Sarajevo Tournament. 2nd
Midnight Sun Challenge. 2nd
Biel International Festival. 2nd
Gausdal Classics. 2nd


FIDE World Chess Cup. 3rd-4th

FIDE Baku Grand Prix. 1st-2nd
Linares-Morelia. 2nd
Biel International Festival. 1st
Arctic Chess Challenge. 2nd
Tal Memorial. 3rd


Corus Wijk aan Zee Group A. 1st-2nd

Linares-Morelia. 2nd
Aerosvit. 1st
Bilbao Masters. 2nd

Dortmun. 2nd
M-Tel Masters. 2nd
Nanjing Pearl Spring Tournament. 1st
Tal Memorial. 2nd
London Chess Classic. 1st


Corus Wijk aan Zee Group A. 1st

Bazna - Kings Tournament. 1st
Nanjing Pearl Spring Tournament. 1st
London Chess Classic. 1st


Tata Steel - Wijk aan Zee. 3rd

Bazna - Kings Tournament. 1st
Biel International Festival. 1st
Bilbao Masters. 1st
Tal Memorial. 1st
London Chess Classic. 3rd


Tata Steel - Wijk aan Zee. 2nd

Tal Memorial. 1st
Biel International Festival. 2nd
Bilbao Masters. 1st
London Chess Classic. 1st

Tata Steel - Wijk aan Zee. 1st

London - Candidates. 1st
Norway Chess. 2nd
Tal Memorial. 2nd
Games index

1. Gaasland, Glenn - Carlsen, Magnus.

2. Carlsen, Magnus - Gulbrandsen, Gustav.

3. Ekeberg, Carl Fredrik - Carlsen, Magnus.

4. Carlsen, Magnus - Harestad, Hans Krogh.

5. Carlsen, Magnus - Taylor, Timothy.

6. Carlsen, Magnus - Popov, Valerij.

7. Carlsen, Magnus - Werle, Jan

8. Carlsen, Magnus - Ernst, Sipke

9. Carlsen, Magnus - Dolmatov, Sergey

10. Carlsen, Magnus - Kasparov, Garry

11. Carlsen, Magnus - Vladimirov, Evgeny

12. Carlsen, Magnus - Nikolic, Predrag

13. Pavlovic, Milos - Carlsen, Magnus

14. Carlsen, Magnus - Morozevich, Alexander

15. Carlsen, Magnus - Andersson, Ulf

16. Carlsen, Magnus - Morozevich, Alexander

17. Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily

18. Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily

19. Carlsen, Magnus - Portisch, Lajos

20. Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon

21. Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon

22. Carlsen, Magnus - Bu Xiangzhi

23. Carlsen, Magnus - Radjabov, Teimour

24. Carlsen, Magnus - Cheparinov, Ivan

25. Van Wely, L. - Carlsen, Magnus

26. Kramnik, Vladimir - Carlsen, Magnus

27. Ivanchuk, Vassily - Carlsen, Magnus

28. Carlsen, Magnus - Topalov, Veselin

29. Radjabov, Teimour - Carlsen, Magnus

30. Nisipeanu, Liviu Dieter - Carlsen, Magnus

31. Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon

32. Huzman, Alexander - Carlsen, Magnus

33. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

34. Dominguez Perez, Lenier - Carlsen, Magnus

35. Carlsen, Magnus - Grischuk, Alexander

36. Carlsen, Magnus - Topalov, Veselin

37. Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily

38. Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily

39. Carlsen, Magnus - Ponomariov, Ruslan

40. Carlsen, Magnus - Kramnik, Vladimir

41. Karjakin, Sergey - Carlsen, Magnus

42. Aronian, Levon - Carlsen, Magnus

43. Carlsen, Magnus - Wang Yue

44. Nisipeanu, Liviu Dieter - Carlsen, Magnus

45. Ponomariov, Ruslan - Carlsen, Magnus

46. Carlsen, Magnus - The World

47. Carlsen, Magnus - Shirov, Alexei

48. Carlsen, Magnus - Bacrot, Etienne

49. Carlsen, Magnus - Topalov, Veselin

50. Carlsen, Magnus - Mamedov, Rauf

51. Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru

52. Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru

53. Carlsen, Magnus - Nisipeanu, Liviu Dieter

54. Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily

55. Carlsen, Magnus - Shirov, Alexei

56. Carlsen, Magnus - Caruana, Fabiano

57. Shirov, Alexei - Carlsen, Magnus

58. Carlsen, Magnus - Ivanchuk, Vassily

59. Ivanchuk, Vassily - Carlsen, Magnus

60. Carlsen, Magnus - Gelfand, Boris

61. Kramnik, Vladimir - Carlsen, Magnus

62. Nakamura, Hikaru - Carlsen, Magnus

63. Carlsen, Magnus - Howell, David

64. Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru

65. Carlsen, Magnus - Gashimov, Vugar

66. Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon

67. Carlsen, Magnus - Topalov, Veselin

68. Radjabov, Teimour - Carlsen, Magnus

69. McShane, Luke J - Carlsen, Magnus

70. Carlsen, Magnus - Karjakin, Sergey

71. Carlsen, Magnus - Wang Hao

72. Wang Hao - Carlsen, Magnus

73. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

74. Carlsen, Magnus - The World

75. Carlsen, Magnus - Bruzon Bautista, Lazaro

76. Polgar, Judit - Carlsen, Magnus

77. Polgar, Judit - Carlsen, Magnus

78. Carlsen, Magnus - Polgar, Judit

79. Carlsen, Magnus - Jones, Gawain C

80. Adams, Michael - Carlsen, Magnus

81. Carlsen, Magnus - Polgar, Judit

82. Gelfand, Boris - Carlsen, Magnus

83. Carlsen, Magnus - Grischuk, Alexander

84. Svidler, Peter - Carlsen, Magnus

85. Carlsen, Magnus - Gelfand, Boris

86. Radjabov, Teimour - Carlsen, Magnus

87. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

88. Karjakin, Sergey - Carlsen, Magnus

89. Carlsen, Magnus - Radjabov, Teimour

90. Hammer, Jon Ludvig - Carlsen, Magnus

91. Carlsen, Magnus - Kramnik, Vladimir

92. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

93. Carlsen, Magnus - Nakamura, Hikaru

94. Carlsen, Magnus - Kamsky, Gata

95. Kamsky, Gata - Carlsen, Magnus

96. Carlsen, Magnus - Aronian, Levon

97. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

98. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

99. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

100. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

101. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

102. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

103. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

104. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

105. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

106. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

107. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

108. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan

109. Anand, Viswanathan - Carlsen, Magnus

110. Carlsen, Magnus - Anand, Viswanathan