lunedì 23 aprile 2018

Roll of Thunder

Magnus Carlsen – Radosław Wojtaszek
5th Gashimov Memorial; Şəmkir, April 23, 2018
Sicilian Defence B23

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6 5. Qd2!? Carlsen avoids to eventually transpose into the Chekhover Variation by 5. Bb5, preferring instead a more creative and personal approach as usual. 5. ... Nf6 6. b3 e6 7. Bb2 a6 8. 0-0-0 b5!? Theoretical novelty? The Alhambra’s book mentions a brief reference: 8. ... Qa5 9. Kb1 Be7 10. f4 ½ : ½ J. Fernández de Bobadilla – G. Fernández de Bobadilla, 2nd Nazarí Chess Festival “Hotel Corona”, Granada 2015. 9. f3! h5? Wojtaszek’s whole idea to... open the h-file seems totally unsound, and the main cause of his impending trouble. He should have played 9. ... Be7 at once. 10. Nh3 Be7 11. Ng5 h4? 12. f4! Bb7 13. Kb1 Rc8 14. Be2 Qc7 15. Rhe1. Black’s King does not look at home in the centre. 15. ... Nh7? 15. ... Nd7? 16. Nd5! is an even more didactic representation of Black’s nightmares. On the other hand, if Black were compelled to move his King to f8, then anyone could draw his own conclusions on the opening’s outcome. 16. Nxh7 Rxh7

17. g4!? Not only intuition, but also his chess culture should have moved Carlsen to dare the thematic pseudo-sac 17. Nd5! which secured White a crushing advantage; for instance: 17. ... exd5 18. exd5 Kf8 19. dxc6 Bxc6 20. Bg4 Re8 21. Qc3 and Black is tied like a knot. That said, however, I should say that the text is also good, because, as Aron Nimzowitsch wrote, “A position that is healthy has at least two ‘only’ moves”. 17. ... hxg3 18. hxg3 Bf6 19. Bd3 Rh8 20. g4 Nd4 21. Re3 Kf8 22. Ne2. 22. g5? Nxb3! would have made Black’s dreams come true. 22. ... Nxe2 23. Rxe2 Bc3 24. Bxc3 Qxc3 25. Qe3 Rc5. After a long and vain struggle, and with shortage of time dominating the finale, Wojtaszek ended up precipitating his defeat, which, however, even after 25. ... e5 26. fxe5 dxe5 27. Rf2 would have been almost inevitable. 26. e5! dxe5 27. fxe5 Rh1? This loses almost immediately, but, objectively speaking, 27. ... Rc7 28. g5 (Δ g5-g6) cannot last much longer either. 28. Rxh1 Bxh1 29. Rh2. Threatening both Rh2-h8+ and Rh2xh1. 29. ... Rxe5 30. Rh8+ Ke7 31. Qa7+ 1 : 0.

Magnus Carlsen (right) vs. Radosław Wojtaszek (left). Photo: Shamkir Chess (@ShamkirChess).

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