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Magnus Carlsen vs Mark Bluvshtein
Gausdal Classics GM (2002), Gausdal NOR, rd 8, Apr-17
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer Variation. General (B60)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-14-08  morphynoman2: This is a great game!
Sep-14-08  whiteshark: The position after <25.gxh3> is so lost for Black.

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I bet that Carlsen will win it today even if he is playing blindfold.

Jun-04-11  PhilFeeley: <whiteshark: The position after <25.gxh3> is so lost for Black. > Interesting. Did you watch it through to the end?
Jun-04-11  PinnedPiece: I have an intuition that if Carlsen played these same moves up through 51.? today, the outcome would be different.


Aug-16-20  Sergash: Mark Bluvshtein was born in USSR on April 20 of 1988 and so was about to turn 14 years old when the actual game took place, while Carlsen was 11. Bluvshtein was International Master since 2001, the previous year. According to Chessbase, Bluvshtein was rated 2354 when that game took place, while Carlsen was 2127. This actual game was really a battle between two promising kids!

Bluvshtein's family moved to Israel when Mark was 5 years old. Mark Bluvshtein won the Israel U10 Championship and the Israel U12 as well. In 1999, the Bluvshtein family moved to Canada, where Mark became Canada's youngest Grandmaster in History at 16 years old, in 2004.

In 2005, Bluvshtein finished third at the World Junior Championship, while winning the Canada Open ex-æquo that same year. He retired from chess in 2011 to work in finance...

<3.d2-d4 c5xd4 4.Nf3xd4 Ng8-f6 5.Nb1-c3> Magnus played the most popular move for the first time here! Before that, we had seen that same year 3.Nb1-c3 Nb8-c6 4.d2-d4 c5xd4 5.Nf3xd4 Nc6xd4?! 6.Qd1xd4 a7-a6 7.Bc1-g5!? Qd8-a5?! 8.f2-f4?! e7-e5! 9.Qd4-d2? f7-f6?! 10.Bg5-h4 Bc8-e6! 11.f4-f5 Be6-f7 12.Bh4-f2 Ng8-e7 13.b2-b4?! Qa5-c7?! ⩲ Carlsen vs Anders Bekker-Jensen, 2002, 1-0.

<5...Nb8-c6 6.Bc1-g5> Is the all time favorite 5...a7-a6 out of fashion?

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<6...e7-e5? 7.Bg5xf6! g7xf6! 8.Nd4-f5! Bc8xf5! 9.e4xf5 ±> This black move, apparently first played in 1946, is not seen often and is inferior, compared with 6...e7-e6, which is well known to lead to good positions for Black. According to my Chessbase main database, Black only achieved 24.5% of the possible score with 6...e7-e5?, after 332 games. It is possible that Bluvshtein got mixed up with some other variations, as 6...e7-e5? is flirting with disaster... The main and most played line here would be 6...e7-e6 7.Qd1-d2 a7-a6 8.0-0-0 Bc8-d7 9.f2-f4 ⩲ etc. dating back the first time to the game Konstantinopolsky vs Boleslavsky, 1943, draw.

Aug-17-20  Sergash: <9...Bf8-e7? 10.Nc3-d5! 0-0 11.c2-c3! Kg8-h8 +-> Bluvshtein already seems out of his theoric preparation and plays a move which was never seen before or after. If fact, Bluvshtein already has a losing position! The best way here goes like 9...d6-d5! 10.Qd1xd5! Bf8-b4! 11.0-0-0 Bb4xc3 (Jesus Maria De la Villa Garcia (2440) vs. Miguel Tarrago Domingo, Hospitalet Open in Sitges (Spain) 1993, round 2, 1-0) 12.b2xc3! ± Alexander Markgraf (2447) vs. Efim Dan (2116), M Niedersachsen Championship in Verdun (France) 2008, round 5, 1-0.

<12.Bf1-d3 Nc6-b8 +-> Stronger is possibly 12.Qd1-h5!? Δ 0-0-0 Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<13.0-0 Nb8-d7 14.Bd3-e4 Nd7-b6 +-> 13.a2-a4!? Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<15.Nd5xb6 Qd8xb6 +-> This exchange is not the best idea here. Better is a development move like 15.Qd1-f3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<16.Qd1-b3 +-> Still winning but better are 16.Be4-d5 +- or 16.b2-b3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<16...Qb6-c7 17.Be4-d5 Be7-d8 +-> 16...d6-d5!? 17.Be4xd5 Ra8-d8! 18.Rf1-d1 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT; also, looking a little awkward is 16...Qb6xb3 17.a2xb3 Rf8-b8 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<18.Ra1-d1 Qc7-d7 19.Rd1-d3! +-> Apparently it would have been better to put the other rook on that square: 18.Rf1-d1! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT; also 18.a2-a4!? +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<19...Qd7xf5 20.Rd3-f3 +-> Other playable moves to consider: 19...Bd8-b6 +-; 19...Ra8-b8 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<20...Qf5-g6?! 21.Qb3xb7 Bd8-b6 22.Bd5-e4! Qg6-g4 +-> A tactical error. Bluvshtein should have played 20...Qf5-d7 21.Bd5-e4 ▢ Rf8-g8 22.Be4-f5 ▢ Qd7-c6 23.Qb3xf7 ▢ Qc6-c7 ▢ 24.Qf7-d5 +- or 24.Qf7-e6 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Aug-18-20  Sergash: <23.Be4xh7 Kh8xh7 24.Rf3-h3+ ▢ +-> More than enough to win, but the perfect line here is 23.Be4-f5! Qg4-g5 24.Bf5xh7! Kh8xh7 25.Qb7-e4+! Qg5-g6 26.Rf3-h3+ Kh7-g7 27.Rh3-g3 Qg6xg3 28.h2xg3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<24...Qg4xh3 25.g2xh3 f6-f5 26.Kg1-h1! Ra8-e8 +-> Also, 24...Kh7-g7 25.Rh3-g3 ▢ Qg4xg3 26.h2xg3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<27.Rf1-g1 +-> How to win a "won" game? Always a top question! The easiest way appears to be 27.b2-b4 followed with a2-a4-a5 etc. ; also one could start with 27.a2-a4 etc. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<27...Bb6xf2 +-> There is some risk with opening the f-file. Black could have played 27...Kh7-h6 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<28.Rg1-g2 Bf2-e3 29.Qb7-f3! Be3-h6 30.Qf3xf5 Kh7-h8 31.Qf5-f6+ Kh8-h7 32.Qf6xd6 e5-e4 +-> Much stronger is 28.Rg1-g5! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Of course not 29...f5-f4?? 30.Qf3-h5#.

<33.Rg2-g4?! Re8-e6! 34.Qd6-c5 e4-e3 35.Qc5-f5+ Kh7-h8 +-> 33.c3-c4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT; or 33.Qd6-d5! +- Δ c3-c4 Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<36.Rg4-e4? +-> This is a mistake, even if White still has a winning advantage. The position is very tactical and the game is getting close to the 40th move and control: 36.Rg4-g1 e3-e2 37.Rg1-e1 Rf8-e8 (we understand that Black would like to play Bh6-d2 here!) 38.Qf5xf7 Re8-e7 (If immediately 38...Bh6-d2 39.Qf7-h5+ Bd2-h6 as if 39...Kh8-g7 40.Re1-g1+! and White has a mate in 15 moves! Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 39.Qf7-h5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Aug-21-20  Sergash: <36...Re6-g6 37.Re4-g4 Rg6-e6 +-> In terms of position value from a computer's standpoint, better would be 36...Re6xe4 37.Qf5xe4 Rf8-d8 38.Kh1-g2 Rd8-d2+ (38...Rd8-d1 39.Qe4-h4 +- or 39.Kg2-g3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 39.Kg2-f1 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<38.Rg4-e4 Re6-g6 +-> Repeating the position to reach time control, but being back to the position just before the 36th move was giving Carlsen the opportunity to play the better 38.Rg4-g1!

<39.Re4-h4?> The war treasury is now taking a hit, though Carlsen is probably still winning. 39.Qf5-e5+ Kh8-h7 (or 39...Kh8-g8 40.Re4-g4! Kg8-h7 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 40.Qe5-e7 (or 40.Qe5-d5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Kh7-h8 41.c3-c4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<39...Kh8-g7? 40.Qf5-e5+! Kg7-g8 41.Rh4-g4! Kg8-h7 42.Qe5-e4! Rf8-g8 +-> A better line is 39...Rg6-e6! 40.Qf5xe6! f7xe6 41.Rh4xh6+ Kh8-g7 42.Rh6xe6 ▢ Rf8-f1+ 43.Kh1-g2 Rf1-f2+ 44.Kg2-g3 ▢ Rf2xb2 45.a2-a4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<43.Qe4-f5 Rg8-f8 +- > 43.c3-c4! Kh7-h8 44.Qe4-e5+! Kh8-h7 45.Qe5-e7! Rg8-g7 46.Qe7-e4! Kh7-g8 (46...Kh7-h8 47.Qe4-e8+ Kh8-h7 would transpose) 47.Qe4-e8+ Kg8-h7 48.Rg4xg6 f7xg6 49.c4-c5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<44.Kh1-g2 Kh7-g7 45.Kg2-f3! +-> 44.h3-h4! e3-e2 (or 44...Kh7-g7 45.h4-h5! Rg6xg4 46.Qf5xg4+ Kg7-h8 47.Qg4-d7 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 45.Rg4-g1 ▢ Bh6-e3 (or 45...Kh7-h8 46.Qf5-e5+! +- Δ Qe5xe2 Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 46.Rg1-e1 Kh7-g8 47.h4-h5! (of course not 47.Re1xe2?? Rg6-g1#) Rg6-g5 48.Qf5-e4 Be3-b6 49.h2-h4! Rg5-g7 50.Re1xe2 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Aug-21-20  Sergash: <46.Qf5-e5+ Kh8-h7 +-> White should advance the Q-side pawn majority, so again 46.c3-c4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<47.Qe5-e4 Kh7-h8 +-> It looks like Magnus has no clear idea how to close the ledgers and pocket the win here, while Bluvshtein might not have any objection to repeating the position, aware of his disadvantage ... again why not 47.c3-c4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<48.Kf3-e2 +-> Threatening Rg4xg6, but better is 48.Qe4-e5+! Bh6-g7 (or repeating the position with 48...Kh8-h7 allowing White to play the already mentioned 49.c3-c4!) 49.Qe5xe3 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<48...Rg6-e6 49.Qe4-d4+ Kh8-h7 +-> Or 48...Rg6-b6 49.Qe4-d4+! Kh8-h7 (or 49...f7-f6 50.c2-c4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 50.c3-c4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<50.Qd4xa7 Re6-f6 +-> Here too, 50.c3-c4! +- Δ c4-c5 Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<51.Qa7-d4 Rf6-f2+ 52.Ke2-e1 ▢ +-> 51.Qa7-e7! Rf6-f2+ 52.Ke2-e1 Rf8-g8 53.a2-a4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

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<52...Rf8-e8? 53.Qd4-d3+! Kh7-h8 +-> The only "playable move" here, as strange as it can be with the computer giving a 10+ winning score to White, is 52...Rf8-g8 53.Qd4-e4+! Kh7-h8 54.Qe4-c6 f7-f6 55.Rg4xg8+! Kh8xg8 56.b2-b4! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<54.Qd3-d6?> Magnus missed a big tactics here, allowing for an easy win: 54.Qd3-b5! Re8-g8 55.Qb5-h5! Kh8-h7 (or 55...Rg8xg4 56.Qh5xh6+ Kh8-g8 57.h3xg4 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) 56.Rg4xg8 Kh7xg8 57.Qh5xh6 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Aug-22-20  Sergash: <54...Kh8-h7?> Repeating the position and giving Carlsen a second chance to go for the tactics of the previous move! Maybe the players were getting short on time here? The only move for Black is 54...Bh6-g7 55.Qd6-g3 (or 55.Qd6-d5 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Bg7-h6 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<55.Rg4-h4? Re8-e6 56.Qd6-d3+! Kh7-h8 57.Qd3-d4+ Kh8-h7 58.Qd4-d3+ Kh7-h8 +-> Second chance to do the tactics of the previous move: 55.Qd6-d3+! Kh7-h8 56.Qd3-b5! Re8-g8 57.Qb5-h5! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<59.Rh4xh6+? Re6xh6 60.Qd3xe3 Rf2-f6 +-> Carlsen's frustration in finding a way to make progress makes him play this line to get rid of Black's passed pawn. He should have kept maneuvering with the objective of limiting the Black piece's mobility to a minimum: 59.Qd3-d4+ Kh8-h7 60.Qd4-d7 +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

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<61.Qe3-d4?? Kh8-g8 ▢ => As surprising as it may sound, this is the move that loses the winning advantage... Carlsen would still be winning after 61.Ke1-d1! +- Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT. The White King has to go to the Q-side, where he could take advantage of the protection of his pawns.

<62.a2-a4 Rf6-e6+ 63.Ke1-f2 Re6-f6+ 64.Kf2-g3 Rh6-g6+ 65.Kg3-h4 ▢ Rf6-d6 66.Qd4-e4 Rd6-e6 => Despite complete equality, Bluvshtein doesn't seem eager to force the draw with perpetual checks yet...

<67.Qe4-a8+??> A fatal mistake... Probably short on time, Magnus goes for a quick check... Here, 67.Qe4-d5 =, or 67.Qe4-d4 = or 67.Qe4-d3 = Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

Aug-22-20  Sergash:

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<67...Kg8-g7?? 68.Qa8-d5 ▢ Re6-e2 69.Qd5-d4+ Kg7-h7 70.Qd4-f4 Kh7-g8 71.Qf4-b8+ Kg8-g7 72.Qb8-f4 Re2-g2 73.Qf4-d4+ Kg7-h7 74.Qd4-e4 Rg2xb2 75.a4-a5 Rb2-b8 => Now Black wins with 67...Kg8-h7! and here

A) 68.Qa8-d8 Rg6-g8 (threat Re6-h6+) 69.Qd8-d3+ Re6-g6 ▢ 70.Qd3-f5 (or 70.Qd3-e4 Rg8-h8 -+ Δ Kh7-g7+ or Kh7-g8+ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Kh7-g7 ▢ 71.Qf5-e5+ f7-f6 72.Qe5-c7+ (or 72.Qe5-e7+ Kg7-h8 73.Qe7-e3 Rg6-g7 -+ Δ Rg7-h7 Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT; also if 72.Qe5-h5 Rg6-h6 -+ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Kg7-h8 73.Qc7-f4 f6-f5 74.Qf4-e5+ Rg6-g7 75.Qe5-f6 f5-f4 76.a4-a5 f4-f3 77.Qf6xf3 Rg7-h7+ 78.Qf3-h5 Rh7xh5+ 79.Kh4xh5 Rg8-g2 -+ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT;

B) 68.Qa8-d5 Rg8-g8 (threatening Re6-h6...) 69.Qd5-f5+ Kh7-g7 ▢ 70.Kh4-g5 (or 70.c3-c4 Rg8-h8+ -+ Δ Re6-g6+ and Rg6-f6 and the white queen falls Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT; also 70.a4-a5 Rg8-h8 -+ Δ Re6-g6+ and Rg6-f6 killing the white queen. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Re6-g6+ 71Kg5-f4 (or 71.Kg5-h4 Rg8-h8+ (mate in 12 moves!) 72.Qf5-h5 Rh8xh5+ 73.f7-f5! -+ mating 10 moves later. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT) Rg6-f6 -+ Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT;

C) 68.Qa8-f3 Rg6-h6+ ▢ -+ Δ Re6-g6 and Rg6-f6 winning the white queen. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

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<76.a5-a6?? Rb8-h8 ▢ 77.Qe4-e5 Kh7-g8+ 1-0> This loses the game immediately! White maintains equality by attacking the f7-pawn with the queen: 76.Qe4-d5 =, 76.Qe4-f5 = or 76.Qe4-c4 = for instance. Stockfish 11 - 64 bits POPCNT.

An epic game! This illustrates why IM and GM players are so hard to beat : you beat them in the opening? You must also keep winning in the middlegame and endgame stages!

This game also shows that even with an overwhelming advantage, evaluated by a computer to be +10 or +11 points, you cannot necessarily sit on your laurels...

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