domenica 3 giugno 2018

Not So Snow White

Wesley So – Magnus Carlsen
6th Altibox Norway Chess; Stavanger, June 3, 2018
Slav Defence D13

In the end, Magnus Carlsen had to sacrifice himself (even if only in metaphorical form) for turning on again the lights in Stavanger’s playroom. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 a6 7. Rc1 Bf5 8. e3 Rc8 9. Be2 e6 10. 0-0 Nd7 11. Na4. If 11. a3 then 11. ... Be7 12. b4 b5 13. Nd2 0-0 14. Nb3 Nxb4 15. axb4 Bxb4 16. Nxb5 ½ : ½ U. Andersson – Hillarp Persson, 8th Sigeman & Co. Chess Tournament, Malmö 2000. 11. ... Be7 12. h3!? 0-0 13. a3 Na5 14. Nc5 Nc4!? A novelty with a materialistic purpose in mind. Theory gave 14. ... Nxc5 15. dxc5 Nc4 16. Bxc4 dxc4 17. Rxc4 Rxc5 18. Rd4 Rd5 19. Rxd5 Qxd5 20. Qxd5 exd5 21. Rc1 Rc8 22. Rxc8+ ½ : ½ Alienkin – Lintchevski, 39th Eastman Open, Ghent 2016. 15. b4 Nxc5 16. dxc5 Nxa3!? Carlsen grabs the Pawn, apparently oblivious to the powerful positional compensation which White will obtain. 16. ... b5!? might have been a safer course to adopt. 17. Nd4 Be4 18. f3 Bg6 19. Qb3 Nc4 20. Bxc4 dxc4 21. Qxc4 Qe8 22. Bg3 e5!? Quite a creative defence, which perhaps deserved better luck. 23. Nb3. 23. Bxe5 Bxc5 leads nowhere. 23. ... Bd8!? After some thought, Black plays this strange move, cutting off the bridges behind him. 24. Qd5 Qb5 25. Bxe5 Be7. Not 25. ... Qxb4?? because of 26. Bd6 Re8 27. c6 and Black can resign. 26. Qd2 Rfd8 27. Bd6! Bf6 28. e4 h6 29. Nd4 Bxd4+ 30. Qxd4 Re8 31. Rfe1 Kh7 32. g4 f6 33. f4 Qc6 34. f5 Bf7 35. h4! Ra8 36. Rc2 a5 37. g5 Bh5


38. g6+! 38. gxf6! was nevertheless very strong, to be followed by b4-b5 and Rc2-b2, but So wants to cut off Black’s light-squared Bishop. 38. ... Kh8 39. b5! Qxb5 40. Rb2 Qc6. On the last move before time control Black is no longer able to invent anything. However, 40. ... Qd7 doesn’t make much difference from the text, as after 41. Qd5 Black would hardly have anything better than 41. ... Qc6, and finally 42. Qd3! leads to consequences quite similar to those of the game. 41. Rb6 Qc8 42. Qd5 a4 43. Rxb7 Rg8 44. c6 1 : 0.

Wesley So (left) vs. Magnus Carlsen (right). Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

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