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Magnus Carlsen vs Throstur Thorhallsson
Bergen Chess International (2001), Bergen NOR, rd 2, Aug-05
Benko Gambit: Accepted. Dlugy Variation (A57)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  egilarne: Magnus 10 years here - his first draw against a Grandmaster.
May-08-16  Sergash: And his 2nd encounter against a GM (the first one being against Bela Badea on April 14 of that same year at the Norway Open, where Carlsen had even had the advantage at some point and had lost the game when he made a terrible mistake in an even position on move 33, possibly in zeitnot.

Throstur Thorhallsson, born in Iceland in 1969, became an international master in 1987, and has been a grandmaster since 1996. He was also Champion of Iceland in 2012.

This tournament was coming after a break of 3 months following the Gausdal IM Classic in which Carlsen could not win a single one of the 9 games, though he had managed to draw 5 of them.

This is only my feeling, but in this Nordic Championship, Carlsen appears more confident and seems to have improved his time management, as before he was often making mistakes between moves 27 and 40, when the time control was coming fast!

Also, this game was the 6th consecutive tournament game with no defeat, since he had drawn the last 4 games of the Gausdal Classic IM.

<5.f3!?> This move is the 6th most played in Chessbase (2524 times in my base), but shows interesting statistics, scoring 54.4%. QUESTION: did Carlsen prepare this move for this game, having seen that Thorhallsson was playing the Benkö Gambit?

May-08-16  Sergash: I have checked the game with the program Stockfish 7 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<7...Qb6?!> Carlsen's strategy seems to have worked, as the best move here, according to theory, is 7...b4! 8.Na3 d6 9.Nc4 Qd8! 10.a3 e6 = Sergey Kishnev (2500) vs Pieter Claesen (2240), Antwerp Open (Belgium) 1993, round 9, 0-1

<11.a3?!N e6! => The opening novelty of the game. White could secure a small advantage with 11.Nh3 (Alexey Yuneev (2390) vs Konstantin Andreev, St. Petersburg Open (Russia) 1992, 1-0) e6 12.Qe3

<13...Be7?!> 13...Bd6! 14.Ne2 0-0 =

<14.dxe6? fxe6 = / > One must think development here: 14.Ne2! . Also note that it is possible that 14...dxe6 would be more precise.

<15.e5? Nd5 > Carlsen helps Black to put his pieces on better squares! 15.Nh3 0-0 (or 15...bxa3 16.Rxa3 Rxa3 17.Qxa3 =) 16.0-0 bxa3! 17.Rfd1 =

<16...Nc6?! 17.f4! = / > Wrong move order that loses Black's advantage. 16...Nb6! 17.f4 Qc6! 18.Bd3! c4! 19.Bc2 bxa3 20.bxa3 Rxa3! 21.Rxa3 Bxa3 /

<23.Bc3> An indirect defense of the pawn on a3, as if 23...Qxa3?? 24.Ra1 would trap the black queen.

<24...Rb8> Black is again threatening the white pawn on a3, as after 25...Qxa3 26.Ra1 Qb3 and everything is secure.

<25.h4?!> 25.a4 = Carlsen chose to ignore his opponent's threat, prefering to attack Black's castling position.

click for larger view

<25...Rb7?!> Apparently no one saw 25...Rb3! 26.a4 (not 26.Qxb3?? c4+ 27.Bd4 Nxd4 28.Qxc4 Nxf3+ etc.) Ra3! 27.Kh2 Rxa4 28.Qd3! Ra3! /

<26.h5> 26.a4!? Nb4! 27.a5 Qa6 (not 27...Qxa5? 28.Rxd7! Rxd7 29.Qxe6+ Kf8! 30.Qxd7 ) 28.Qxa6 Nxa6 =

I am impressed by the line the boy calculated: <26.h5 Qxa3 27.hxg6 hxg6 28.Rxd7! Rxd7 29.Qxe6+ Kg7 30.Qxd7 Qxc3! 31.Qxc6 = >

With the computer, I did not find any mistake from either side after move 25.

In my opinion, this was the best game of Magnus Carlsen since he started playng tournaments in 2000!

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