Report From Amazing GM Daniel King
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qc2 Nc6 9.a3 Qa5 10.Rd1 Rd8
The first critical moment of this game came in 10th move, in which Caruana deviates from the main line and choose a rare continuation with Rd8. This wasn’t an unknown or new move but defiantly the World Champion was surprised from it.
He knew by hard that the most challenging move was Nd2, a move which played many – many times in Karpov - Korchnoi matches. Karpov choose many moves during this match but Korchnoi stated loyal to Nd2.
However, from time situation he decided not to enter to this variation, 1.Nd2. He was afraid the Caruana’s analytical team and their analysis with help of strong computers. Thus, over the board Carlsen try to find a safer way to play for small advantage but 10...Rd8 was a very unpleasant surprise which helped Black to equalize the game easily and White should fight for the draw afterwards.
[11.Nd2!? This is the most critical line.]
11...Ne4N 12.0–0 Nxc3 13.bxc3 h6 14.a4 Ne7 15.Ne5 Bd6 16.cxd5 Nxd5
He played the normal development move, but it allowed simplifications. [17.Nxf7!? 17...Kxf7 18.Bxd6 Rxd6 19.Bh5+ Kg8 20.e4 Non White can capture back the pawn with the move d5 because the Rook is pined. (20.c4!? Nb4 21.Qg6 This is more complicated line.) 20...Bd7 (20...Nf4 21.Rxd6 Qxh5 22.Rd8+ Kh7 23.e5+ Ng6 24.f4ƒ; 20...Nf6 21.Rxd6±) 21.exd5χ Here Black have a lot of options, like to capture on d5, or a4. Black's king position is exposed but White gave up a pawn for that. In the light of that, Carlsen didn't like to enter in a variation which his opponent had analyzed very seriously before the match. So, he decided to not to enter in this sharp and risky continuation.]
17...Nxf4 18.exf4 Bxe5 19.Rxd8+ Qxd8 20.fxe5 Qc7
Carsen understood very clearly that he was standing little worst in this position, because his pawns, e5, c3 and a4, are weak so he should fight for the draw.
21.Rb1 Rb8 22.Qd3 Bd7 23.a5 Bc6 24.Qd6 Qxd6 25.exd6 Bxf3 26.gxf3 Kf8 27.c4 Ke8 28.a6 b6 29.c5 Kd7 30.cxb6 axb6 31.a7 Ra8 32.Rxb6 Rxa7 33.Kg2 e5 34.Rb4 f5 35.Rb6 Ke6 36.d7+ Kxd7 37.Rb5 Ke6 38.Rb6+ Kf7 39.Rb5 Kf6 40.Rb6+ Kg5 41.Rb5 Kf4 42.Rb4+ e4 43.fxe4 fxe4 44.h3 Ra5 45.Rb7 Rg5+ 46.Kf1 Rg6 47.Rb4 Rg5 48.Rb7 Rg6 49.Rb4 ½–½
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