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Player: United  KeSetoKaibaChessHere Gold Member Subject: Sacrificing A Queen To Refute A Carlsen Move!

2021-10-01 09:31:20
Sacrificing A Queen To Refute A Carlsen Move!

The game we are investigating this time is P.H. Nielsen - Carlsen, Drammen 2004. By now, I suspect that most know who Magnus Carlsen is. For those unaware, Carlsen became the World Chess Champion in 2013 (by winning against Anand). Carlsen was a chess prodigy in every sense and crossed the 2800 rating threshold at age 18. At age 19, he reached number one FIDE ranking in the world.

However, at the time of this game (2004), Carlsen was “only” rated 2581 as this was the year Carlsen attained his Grandmaster (GM) title. In fact, his opponent for this game was a higher rated player, Danish Grandmaster and trainer Peter Heine Nielsen; Nielsen had been a Grandmaster for a decade prior (became a Grandmaster in 1994) and rated 2663 when this game was played.

Perhaps this 2004 game ignited something, because Nielsen has been coaching Carlsen since 2013 (at least until the time this is written in 2021).

Let us start looking into this game which possibly impressed Nielsen. The game P.H. Nielsen - Carlsen, Drammen 2004 was played in round 1 of the SmartFish Chess Masters tournament. This game was played December 27, 2004. Peter Heine Nielsen had the White pieces and Magnus Carlsen had the Black pieces.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. d4 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 This position is a mainline of the Slav Defense with a 1. d4 move order more likely to be: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7

The other mainline Slav branch to study would be 6…e6 instead of 6…Nbd7, but both are logical continuations which have stood the test of time.

7. Nxc4 Qc7 7…Qc7 is the “classical move” in this variation, but as we shall soon see: Carlsen was “booked up” on this game as we got fairly deep opening theory. Then again, I’m not entirely surprised by this with two chess players over 2500 facing each other.

8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfg4 Objectively, 10…Nfg4 is a mistake. However, this move was part of Carlsen’s home-brew “preparation” and it worked as Carlsen got a good position out of the opening with it. Objectively stronger than 10…Nfg4 is either the old mainline of 10…Rd8, or the contemporary approach of 10…Nfd7.

Let us look at how the game continued and then look at some alternatives.

Our text game went:

11. f3 g5 12. fxg4 gxf4 13. Nxe5 Qxe5 14. gxf5 Bc5 White was in control of the opening and with good winning chances if they can hang onto the three point material advantage they currently hold.

For analyzing alternatives beginning after 11. f3, I’ll follow along with lines given by GM Lars Schandorff (GM known for his opening preparation)

11…Rd8 12. fxg4! Rxd1+ 13. Rxd1 f6 14. gxf5 “White’s rook and two minor pieces far outweigh the queen.”

11…Qe7 12. fxg4! Nd3+ 13. Qxd3! (13. Kd2?? Nxf4 14. Kc1 Be6 “is better for Black”) 13…Bxd3 14. Nd6+ Kd7 15. O-O-O “White will soon have three minor pieces and a raging attack for the queen.”

Back to our featured game though:

15. Qc2 O-O-O 15. Qc2 gives up most of White’s advantage. Best was 15. Qd3! when the threat is Qe3 to force the exchange of Queens when White is up by three points of material. Here, Queen to c2 doesn’t have the desired effect because getting the Queen off of the d-file allows Black’s King to castle to safety on the Queenside.

16. Qe4 fxg3 17. Bg2 Qd6 The Queen capturing 17. Qxe5?? is embarrassing as 17…Bf2# ends the game abruptly.

18. Qd3 Qf4 White is much better now, as long as they defend the mate threats.

19. Qxg3 Qd2+ 20. Kf1 Qxb2 21. Rb1 Qxb1+ Black giving up the Queen for the b1 Rook is best because of the threat Bxc6! in the air and the b1 Rook aiming at b8 is problematic to say the least.

22. Nxb1 Rd1+ 23. Qe1 Rhd8 24. Be4 Rxe1+ 25. Kxe1 Rd4 Once the Queen is given back and the dust settles, it appears that White is up two points of material and has the game effectively won; the rest is simply a matter of technique; at least in theory, this is true.

26. Bc2 Kc7 27. e4 a5 28. Ke2 Rc4 29. Kd3 Rd4+ 30. Ke2 Rc4 31. Kd3 Rd4+ 32. Kc3 b5 The repeating moves at the end with Rook check on d4 and King shuffling is likely a way to lower the opponent clock; add time to their own clock, or perhaps to add psychological pressure on the losing side. Naturally, they won’t go all-in with 3-fold repetition, but perhaps it is simply a way to wear down the defending side psychologically as a breakthrough is being planned.

33. axb5 cxb5 34. Rd1 Rc4+ 35. Kd3 a4 36. Nd2 Rd4+ 37. Ke2 a3 38. Bb3 f6 The last several moves demonstrate just how passive Black’s Rook is and how White seems to be the one playing for a win. All intuitive glances at analysis would indicate White is on course to win this game…

39. Bd5 Kb6 40. Rc1 Ra4 41. Nb3 Bb4 42. Rc6+ Ka7 43. Nc1 Ra6 44. Rc7+ Kb6 45. Rb7+ Ka5 46. Nb3+ Ka4 47. Nd4 Bc5 48. Kd3 Bxd4 49. Kxd4 Kb4 50. Rxh7 a2 The battle was fought long and hard and now it has all come down to this. Only one move keeps the advantage for White, but it is sufficient.

51. Bxa2 Rxa2 White has simplified down their material advantage to just a single pawn ahead, but the conversion into the full point is fairly standard as White’s passed pawn prospects are better than Black’s passed pawn potential.

52. Rh6 Rd2+ 53. Ke3 Re6 54. e5 Rd5 55. e6 Kc5 Also not good enough for Black is 55…Rxf5 56. Rh4+ Kc5 57. e7 Re5+ 58. Re4 interference and the Rook gives support to the passed pawn.

56. Rxf6 b4 57. Kf4 Rd4+ 58. Kg5 b3 59. Rf8 Rb4 60. e7 b2 Luckily for the White side, their pawn promotion will come first and with it a critical initiative.

61. e8=Q b1=Q 62. Qe5+ Kc4 63. Rc8+ Kb3 64. Qc3+ 1-0 Black resigns as this line would likely continue: 64…Ka4 65. Ra8+ Kb5 66. Rb8+ Ka4 67. Rxb4+ and everything should be exchanged while the remaining White pawns should easily promote and decide the game.

Carlsen lost this game, but his creative 10…Nfg4 inspired me enough to share this game. Amazing was some analysis on how this move could have been refuted over-the-board with a Queen sacrifice; although White still converted into a win (in lesser fashion of course).

If 10…Nfg4!? interestingly comes up, now you’ll have a better chance at remembering 11. f3 with the idea of sacrificing the Queen. The chance of it occurring is slim, but the stylish refutation would be worth the wait!
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