Monday, 26 November 2018 08:22

Game 6 – A Fighting Draw

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Many years passed since an American has won a game in World Championship Match; I'm referring to the fantastic player…


… GM Robert Fisher who managed one Boris Spassky at 1972.


For the first time in the match Magnus opened to the game with the move 1.e4. He didn't succeed to create any real chances in the opening and the challenger managed to equal easily.


He tried to complicate the game afterwards however when you're trying to win your taking risks. Your opponents may take advantage of these risks and you may lose the game!


It was almost impossible to find 68...Bh4! and after that 70...Ng1!! which traps his own Knight in order to create zugzwang.



"I am not going to disagree with the computers, I just don't understand it," Carlsen said after being informed that 68...Bh4 was winning.


Report From GM Daniel King





(6) Magnus,Carlsen (2835) - Fabiano,Caruana (2832) [C42]

Fide World Chess Championship London (6), 09.11.2018




This is the first time in the match which Magnus Carlsen played 1.e4. He wants to challenge his opponent opening preparation, however Caruana was extremely prepared in all of the lines and he managed to equalize the game without any real problems.


1...e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nd3!?


This is a weird move. Probably Carlsen would like to avoid the heavy theoretical discussion and to surprise his opponent in the opening. Similalry he doesn’t like to double his c-pawns. During the whole match we can see that he played very solidly and he didn't like to give any real opportunity to his opponent to take any kind of advantage.


4...Nxe4 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.Nf4 Nc6 7.Nd5 Nd4 8.Nxe7





This is a funny moment in which 3 Knights are sitting on the e-line.


9.Nd5 Nd4 10.Na3 Ne6 11.f3 N4c5 12.d4 Nd7 13.c3


White won some tempi and drive back the Knight to d7. He has more space and a safe location for King on f2. Black will kick out the d5-Knight and the position is approximately equal at this point. In the light of that, we can claim that the Black managed to equalize the game at the opening.


13...c6 14.Nf4 Nb6 15.Bd3 d5 16.Nc2 Bd6 17.Nxe6 Bxe6 18.Kf2 h5 19.h4 Nc8 20.Ne3 Ne7 21.g3 c5 22.Bc2


White should press the d5-weakness. For that reason he starred maneuvering his pieces, however, it was better to start with the move Ng2.


22...0–0 23.Rd1 Rfd8 24.Ng2 cxd4!


This is the perfect moment to capture on d4, because White was threatening to capture on c5. White's idea was to create the isolated pawn on d5 and press it. For example: 24...g6 25.dxc5 Bxc5+ 26.Be3 Bxe3+ 27.Kxe3 Rac8 28.Nf4 Kf8 29.Rd2 Ke8 30.Rad1±


25.cxd4 Rac8 26.Bb3 Nc6 27.Bf4 Na5 28.Rdc1 Bb4 29.Bd1 Nc4 30.b3 Na3 31.Rxc8 Rxc8 32.Rc1 Nb5 33.Rxc8+ Bxc8


A lot of pieces was exchanged by this point and the draw seems to be near.


34.Ne3 Nc3 35.Bc2 Ba3!


This is a strong move and now it's so difficult for White to keep alive the a2-pawn. Similarly, he stooped the advanced a2-a4.

35...Nxa2 36.Nxd5




Carlsen understood that the situation may become very critical for him and for that reason he started his counter play right now by attacking the enemy pawns.


36...a6 37.f4


This is another very good defensive idea in order to prevent Bishop e6 and isolate the h5-pawn.


37...Bd7 38.f5 Bc6 39.Bd1 Bb2


39...Nxd1+!? 40.Nxd1³ Black have the bishop pair and they can press for a while but it's hard to imagine that he can get anything real from this position, I mean to bring home the full point.


40.Bxh5 Ne4+ 41.Kg2 Bxd4 42.Bf4 Bc5 43.Bf3 Nd2





This is the best practical decision. Carlsen show his fighting spirit and that he would like to play for win as well.


44.Nd1!? White can defend himself passively; however, he should find the very difficult the moves in the game and took a critical decision. 44...Nxf3 45.Kxf3 d4+ 46.Ke2 Be4 47.g4 Bb1 48.Kd2! White does manage to protect all of his pawns and he would like to re-maneuver his Knight on d3. However, as you can see, Black's position is fantastic and very pleasant to play with. 48...Bb4+ (48...Bxa2? 49.Kc2±) 49.Kc1 Bd3 50.Nf2 Be2µ It might not be losing here, however, it's very difficult to suggest good moves for White.


44...Bxe3 45.Bxc6 Bxf4 46.Bxb7 Bd6 47.Bxa6 Ne4 48.g4 Ba3!


This is a powerful move which Carlsen missed. Now White is a forced to give up one of his pawns.


49.Bc4 Kf8 50.g5 Nc3 51.b4!


Outside passed pawns are stronger in the endgame and Magnus is following the basic endgame rules. The only side which can try for win here is White despite the fact of the computer evaluation. The a2-pawn is a strong passer which Black shoulder blockade. In the other side of the board White have the majority and he can create play there as well. We can conclude that in the practical game White is not winning but Black should be very careful in order to avoid any tricks.


51...Bxb4 52.Kf3 Na4 53.Bb5 Nc5 54.a4 f6 55.Kg4 Ne4!


By putting pressure on c5-pawn Black managed to blockade the king-side pawn majority.


56.Kh5 Be1 57.Bd3 Nd6 58.a5!


White is deflecting the Knight and he tries to create the passed pawn in the king-side. This was another good practical decision.


58...Bxa5 59.gxf6 gxf6 60.Kg6 Bd8


White gets what he want, however, he should be extremely careful as well. If Black manage to blockade the h4-pawn, then he can rearrange his pieces and he can potentially capture both of White's pawn.




61.Bc2? Kg8 62.Bb1 Nb5 63.Bd3 Nd4 64.Bc4+ Kh8 65.Bd5 Ne2 66.Bc4 Nf4+ 67.Kf7 Kh7–+ You can see now that the h-pawn is blocked and Black can re-arrange his pieces and capture white's pawns. 68.Bb3 Kh6 69.Bd1 Ng2 70.h5 Nf4 71.Bf3 Nxh5–+ White cannot capture the Knight because then the endgame will be lost. If he just wait then Black can go to g5 with the king. Then with the Knight help he will win the f5-pawn as well.


61...Nf7 62.Bc4 Ne5 63.Bd5 Ba5 64.h5 Bd2 65.Ba2 Nf3 66.Bd5 Nd4 67.Kg6?


Magnus is still fighting for a win and for that reason he played this move. Objectively he should force the draw by moving his Bishop forward and backward.


67...Bg5 68.Bc4





68...Bh4!! This was the only winning move. The idea behind it is to create zugzwang; a situation in which White don't have any good moves.


69.Bd5 (69.h6 Nf3! 70.h7 Ne5+ 71.Kh5 Kg7–+) 69...Ne2 70.Bf3 Ng1!!


In order to find the continuation Caruana should find this move as well, which is extremely difficult. As players mention in the press conference if they knew that this position was winning then they will be able to find the solution! However in the real match situation, when your clock is ticking and separate move have its own importance, it's really hard to find such continuations. It's really difficult for any level of player to trap his own pieces as Black did here with the last move, Knight to g1.




(71.Bg4 Kg8! 72.Kh6 Bf2 73.Kg6 Bd4 74.Kh6 Be3+ 75.Kg6 Bg5‡ 76.h6 Kh8 77.h7 Bh4 78.Kh5 Be1 79.Kg6 Bc3 80.Kh6 Bd2+ 81.Kg6 Bg5‡)


71...Bg5‡ 72.Kh7 Ne2! 73.Ba2 Nf4! 74.h6 Ng2 75.Bb1 Ne3 76.Kg6 Kg8 77.Bd3 Ng4 78.Bb1 Nxh6–+


69.Kh7 Ne5 70.Bb3 Ng4 71.Bc4 Ne3 72.Bd3 Ng4 73.Bc4 Nh6 74.Kg6 Ke7 75.Bb3 Kd6 76.Bc2 Ke5 77.Bd3 Kf4 78.Bc2 Ng4 79.Bb3 Ne3 80.h6 Bxh6 ½–½


Press conference





Video lesson






View the game



Endgame technique


3 years ago I had a very similar endgame with similar pieces which I managed to win with black pieces.




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Angelos Kesaris

Angelos Kesaris, an active chess coach.

He teaches Greek students from 2003. He worked in different chess clubs. At current times, he is taking lessons on Dias Petroupolis, the biggest club in Greece with more than 500 members.

In 2017, he created a chess club, Pyrros Ioanninon; he holds the president position.

He works on RCA from 2011 in different positions. Currently, he is working on the Academy Department, helping other titled authors to create quality chess courses.

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