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Player: United  KeSetoKaibaChessHere Moderator Subject: Kevin's Corner (Chess Articles)


2020-01-18 17:25:31
Welcome chesshere.com community, "Kevin's Corner" is a place where you can read chess articles as they come out - beginning with the first article: Playing Fighting Chess Like GM Magnus Carlsen.
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2United  KeSetoKaibaChessHere Moderator2020-01-18 17:31:18
Playing Fighting Chess Like GM Magnus Carlsen

Perhaps one of the most important elements that brings chess to life isn’t the analysis: most anyone can do this; it is “the story” that brings chess to life. I believe that it is often these details that brings the game of chess to light: many times, it is the human element behind the chess moves. It is about psychology, it is about logic, and yes – it is about life for many. Over time I’ve discovered a lot and this is just a sample of what I’ve learned writing about chess for other chess sites, but I am most excited to now begin sharing with the chesshere.com community. Where can we investigate this “story” or this “fight?” That is where analysis comes in. Where better to begin than from current World Chess Champion GM Magnus Carlsen?

Carlsen won the penultimate event of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour with one of his best performances: 27 out of 36 points. Despite results, Carlsen went through a lot. This included stomach issues earlier in the event and two blitz losses to GM Ding Liren. Upon Carlsen winning this event, he received the champion trophy (made of bronze) and a check for USD $37,500 prize money.

Let us look at one such stand out game. This game is in round 7 of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour Tata Steel (India Rapid & Blitz), November 24th, 2019. GM Magnus Carlsen has the White pieces and GM Viswanathan Anand has the Black pieces. The chesshere.com diagram (to the right) is to aid in following along with the moves. Using the arrows just below the diagram: one can play through move by move, or even jump ahead a series of moves.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 and these two former World Chess Champions are still in well-studied opening theory of the Queen’s Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense. My personal observation is that this defense has been seeing a surge in popularity recently as a way for Black to handle the Queen’s Gambit setups.

7. …O-O Carlsen got this identical position in 2018, except from the Black side, where he drew against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

8. e3 Bf5 9. Nd2?! Carlsen is the first to play a dubious move. From watching Carlsen, it was apparent that he was nervous; fiddling with the pawn he captured from Anand, Carlsen decides to play this Knight move. Shortly after Carlsen plays it, you can see Anand calculating anxiously. About one minute later, Anand decides on …g5. The reason that I highlight Carlsen’s early jitters is because it is a human thing to feel; chess grandmasters play at such a high level that too many times people assume they are all cold and emotionlessly calculating machines. On the contrary, even chess world champions get nervous in the same way that you and I do! Remember this in your next OTB (over-the-board) chess event and you will play better realizing that even the best players sometimes get anxious.

9. …g5 10. Bg3 c5 attacks the center while White is still uncastled.

11. a3 Bxc3 Chess computer Stockfish prefers 11. …Ba5 12. Nb3 Bxb3 13. Bxc3 c4 14. Nd2 Nc6 Alternatively, 11. …Ba5 12. dxc5 would be risky for White 12. …d4 13. exd4 Re8+ 14. Be2 Bxc3 15. bxc3 Nd5 threatening …Nxc3 attacking d1 and e2 16. Rc1 Bd3 17. Be5 but let us return back to the game.

12. bxc3 c4 13. h4 g4 14. h5 Nbd7 15. Bf4 Qa5 16. Qc1 Nb6 Both chess players are playing fairly well for a rapid time control game (which usually takes roughly one hour to play out the game from start to finish). The idea behind 16. …Nb6 is to move the Knight to a5 and then c3 to create a passed pawn.

17. Bxh6 Na4 18. Bxf8 Rxf8 19. f3 Re8? Carlsen has the slightly better position; Anand’s best try was probably to play the Knight capture on c3 instead.

20. Kf2 b5 21. e4! The plan behind e4 is that it attacks with tempo as it clears the c1-h6 diagonal for the Queen – primarily the Qg5+ fork.

21. …dxe4 Recall that earlier I asked: “Where can we investigate this “story” or this “fight?” If there was an answer to this rhetorical question, then the answer would probably be right here with Carlsen’s next move.

22. Nxc4? I like this move for White. Why then does this move get a question mark? Simply put: it is not as strong as 22. Nxe4 would be in this position. The game of chess shouldn’t be viewed as linearly as “mistakes” and “best” moves though. If we want to understand the deep planning behind 22. Nxc4 then we must look a few moves ahead before we become too critical. Keep in mind that Carlsen is undoubtedly calculating how strong his initiative would be if he could get his Queen to give a check from g5 as it would begin to infiltrate the enemy camp. With the d2 Knight preventing this from happening immediately, Carlsen plays the clearance sacrifice to make g5 accessible. I am sure Carlsen was thinking along these lines and believed that threatening Black’s Queen with the Knight was a way to ensure the initiative. This is a “fighting” move for sure: that is why I like this move so much. Is it as strong as taking on e4 instead? No, probably not. Carlsen surely would have taken on e4 if he gave the position more thought (Carlsen moved within 15 seconds). It is true that Emanuel Lasker famously said, “When you see a good move, look for a better one.” However, I also applaud Carlsen for having such confidence in his intuition. I am sure his slight nervousness from the start of the game is still present, but it is nice to see that Carlsen doesn’t let this define his game: the capture on c4 is a fine move as well. This is one reason they are grandmasters; we all get nervous, but they have learned to manage it and so can we if we want to improve our chess ability.

22. …bxc4 Many of the next few moves (beginning with 23. …Kh7) are slightly inaccurate, but this is in part to the heat of the moment pressure and in part to the time control.

23. Qg5+ Kh7 24. Qxf6 e3+ 25. Kg1 Be6 26. d5 Qxd5 27. Re1 Qd2 28. Re2 Qc1 29. Qd4 gxf3 30. Qxe3 Qxc3 31. gxf3 Rg8+ 32. Kf2 Qg7 Anand threatens …Qg3#

33. Qe4?! Maybe Qe5 would have been a slightly stronger defensive try where White’s advantage is not as apparent as after Qe4.

33. …Kh6 34. Qf4+ Kh7 35. Qe5 Qh6 36. Rg1 Rc8?? Of course by now holding the defense against a strong grandmaster isn’t practical, but 36. …Rxg1 was the computer recommended move. After 36. …Rc8?? The computer already calculates to checkmate.

37. Qe4+ Kh8 38. Qd4+ Kh7 39. Rxe6 1-0

There were a few critical points in this game, but the 22. Nxc4 (versus 22. Nxe4) junction stood out to me. Keep in mind that Carlsen’s “mistake” was what created an initiative that turned into an attack and eventually transformed into a win. It is a testament to imperfection, initiative and “fight.” It is this same determination that fueled Fischer’s rise in the chess world years ago and it can be the same flame that leads yours. Next time you find yourself pondering a chess move, remember that your move doesn’t need to be computer perfect – it just has to be human enough to win.

3United  abbyknotChessHere Moderator2020-01-18 19:32:04
Excellent article Kevin! :)

4United  neverherebeforeChessHere Gold Member2020-01-22 20:16:09
I humbly request that that the text moves be highlighted as moves are made

5United  KeSetoKaibaChessHere Moderator2020-01-22 23:03:27
Thank you @neverherebefore. I'll certainly keep this in mind to streamline following along with the text game.

6United  abbyknotChessHere Moderator2020-02-11 05:35:36
I see that ADMIN has reprogrammed this section!
They have W I D E N E D the area for posts which makes the text much more comfortable to read.

I also see that ADMIN has added the feature to "automatically post the moves below the diagram in bold text!

My compliments to the NEW Owner, his programmer, and our New chess author Kevin!
:)

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