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Alexey Shirov vs Magnus Carlsen
"Fire on Nord" (game of the day Apr-27-2023)
Tal Memorial (2007), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Nov-16
Spanish Game: Open. Bernstein Variation (C80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-16-07  Jim Bartle: Don't know exactly, but I bet it involves Qh5.

Read above and you'll see about five people were screaming for Nf5 before Shirov finally played it.

Nov-16-07  SickedChess: and the end you can watch that the hot blonde is in red dress now! :)

Nov-16-07  SickedChess: after the game Magnus seemed demoralized, "I played like a child!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: null???????????
Nov-17-07  I3illieJoe: poor Magnus...i really hope he wins the tournament
Nov-17-07  Eyal: <russep: What's wrong with 27...gxf5??> Simply 28.Rxd5, and Black can't save the rook on d6 (28...Rxd5 29.Qxd5+ with a quick mate; 28...Re6 29.Rd7+).

Btw, a better idea for Black at an earlier stage of the game might have been 20...Qb6 instead of Qa5, and if 21.Bxd5 then 21...Qd4 winning the e5 pawn; whereas if White defends c6 by 21.Ba4 then 21...Qa5, and white doesn't seem to have anything better then retreating the bishop to b3 (22.Rc1 Bg5) - so Black either gains a tempo compared with the game or can go for a repetition of moves.

Nov-17-07  karik: From Henrik Carlsen's blog:
"... Magnus thought he found the right continuation and even felt quite confident after 25.h4 Qb6 26.Rd2. He considered the probably drawing line Bxd4 but thought Rd6 was better as he had missed the blow Nf5! After having made his 26th move Magnus immediately spotted Nf5 and really suffered during Shirov's long think. After 30.Ne3 Magnus could not see any direct threats and took on h4 with his bishop to recapture the lost pawn, but after Qf3+ Rf6 he is simply losing. Maybe 31....Bf6 instead could have kept him alive but it was obviously a very dangerous position for black."
Nov-17-07  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 13...Nd3 is 13..Nxb3 14 Nxb3 a5 playing for ...a4, ..a3 and the pawn sacrifice ..c5 as in the game ( but in a different position) Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobsterman3000: Wow, how about the fantastic 25. h4!!

Magnus didn't see the attack coming, but Shirov saw it very clearly. 25. h4!! takes away a future dark flight square for the white king, or if 25...bxh4? then Shirov counters with 26. Qg4!!

Nov-18-07  Red October: <I'm glad Carlsen plays the Open Ruy Lopez but I hope he looks at 9 ... Bc5 giving Black more active play than the dull 9 ... Be7. It would be great if he could champion the Black side of this opening.> The boy has taken to the Dark Side.. the Dark Side of the Ruy... good good very good.. there is hope for this boy....
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <HOTDOG: what about 31...Bf6 instead of Rf6? it seems better> <EYAL>after 32.Ng4 it also looks pretty hopeless for Black, e.g. 32...Re6 33.Rd7 Qc6 34.Rf7+!

Or 32. ♔e7 33. ♕e4+ ♔e7 34. ♘f6+!, winning a pawn.

Sep-17-10  lefthandsketch: Check out analysis on this game and other Ruy lopez open games here
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Ouch! :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Black moved one Knight five times to exchange it for a Bishop that never moved, allowing the Ra1 to enter the game without loss of time. Weird to see someone besides myself do that and get punished for it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <An Englishman> Well, I do believe at the time, "Bad Mag" was only 17 years old, and that/those moves can be excused.


But still, I think "Bad Mag" was already GM, and hence, 'inexcusable'??

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Bobsterman3000:> <Wow, how about the fantastic 25. h4!!>

Well, the move was creative but also a bit imprecise. After 26...Bxd4 instead of incorrect 26...Rd6? black would be just fine. 25.Qf3! was a better move giving white big advantage in all lines.

Apr-27-23  goodevans: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Black moved one Knight five times to exchange it for a Bishop that never moved, allowing the Ra1 to enter the game without loss of time...

WannaBe: ... 'inexcusable'??>

A quick check on the Opening Explorer will tell you this has been done many times before and since. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results are heavily in White's favour. Nevertheless, players such as Rapport, Sevian and Anton Guijarro have all achieved draws with it, in the last case against none other than Shirov.

I find the next few moves even more dubious. Carlsen first sacs a pawn then forces the win of the exchange. Stockfish will tell you that the position is about even but it's one which is very difficult to defend for Black as the young Carlsen found to his cost.

27.Nf5 was a beautiful move.

click for larger view

Fans of puzzles might like to work out exactly why Black can't take the N. The reason isn't obvious (or at least it wasn't to me).

Apr-27-23  frdmchd: I'm new to the game and would appreciate some insight. Of all the games I've observed with the Ruy Lopez opening, after white castles on move 5, most of the time, contrary to what happened in this game, the black knight on f6 does not take the free pawn on e4. Why is it? It's a free pawn.
Apr-27-23  SChesshevsky: <frdmchd> There's a couple of branches of the RL. Closed and Open. When playing the closed you don't take the pawn When playing the open you do.

Check out some games via CG's opening explorer or you can probably find a introduction video to Ruy closed and Ruy open on YouTube or equivalent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <frdmchd> The free Pawn on e4 is not so much free, as black is practically unable to hold the extra Pawn after 5...Nxe4. Let's say that after 6.d4, which attacks Pawn e5, black takes it with 6...exd4. Then white plays 7.Re1 with a pin of the Knight on e4 forcing 7...d5 with a position, where white has several good continuations, where black is struggling for survival. The most common move here is 8.Nxd4 with threats like 9.f3 winning the pinned Knight and 9.Nxc6, which can lead to a sharp and mostly forced line 8...Bd6 9.Nxc6 (9.f3 is bad now for 9...0-0 10.fxe4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Bxh2+! with overwhelming attack of black) 9...Bxh2+ 10.Kh1! Qh4 11.Rxe4+ dxe4 12.Qd8+ Qxd8 13.Nxd8+ Kxd8 14.Kxh2, where white has two minor pieces for a Rook and two Pawns, and some edge due to Bishop pair. Another possibility is 8.c4 attacking Pawn d5, which is usually followed by 8...dxc3 e.p. 9.Nxc3 Be6 10.Ne5! with advantage of white, though black can try also 8...Bb4 (instead of 8...dxc3 e.p.) or 9...Bb4 (instead of 9...Be6), which can be followed by Nxe4 in both cases, again with two pieces for Rook and two Pawns. Nothing of that gives black full equality from the opening. That is why the main line after 5...Nxe4 6.d4 continues with 6...b5 7.Bb3 d5 (again 7...exd4 8.Re1 d5 is nothing special for black, especially after pretty 9.Nc3! with idea 9...dxc3(?) 10.Bxd5 +-, where black is forced to give material back after 9...Be6 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Rxe4 Be7 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.Nxd4 0-0 14.Bf4 and white is better) 8.dxe5 Be6 with equal material like in this game. And that is also why 5...Be7 is more popular than 5...Nxe4.
Apr-27-23  goodevans: <frdmchd> The line that <Honza Cervenka> gives starting 6...exd4 is called the 'Riga Variation' and it's probably the only valid attempt to hang on to the extra pawn. Here's a game with that variation: M Wahlbom vs B Saemundsson, 2013. (Click on the link and it will take you there.)

As you say you're new to the game, playing through it will be much easier than trying to envisage long lines of chess notation. <Honza> says it's "mostly forced", which it is, but nevertheless it includes some surprising moves. You may wish to work out why in each case they're best. I reckon it would be a useful exercise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <goodevans: <frdmchd> The line that <Honza Cervenka> gives starting 6...exd4 is called the 'Riga Variation' and it's probably the only valid attempt to hang on to the extra pawn....>

As a long-time player of the Open, I am far from convinced that the Riga offers anything but the forced ending of, amongst other games, Wahlbom-Saemundsson, which is unpleasant for Black.

Apr-28-23  frdmchd: Thank you all for your comments. Most helpful. I've started playing the game only for the past six months and I am in my early 60's. I've been following the basic strategy tips - e.g., control the center, castle, develop your game, don't move the same piece too often, leave the queen alone at the beginning and focus on minor pieces first, etc., etc. But here's my problem (at least, one of them). When I see a free piece, my tendency is to take it and that sometimes gets me into a trap or messes up the structure of my pieces making it difficult for me to move later on. Any practical advice on how to improve in this area?
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: I guess there is a tendency, when starting out, to concentrate on what you are trying to accomplish at the board at the expense of what your opponent is trying to do. You always have to double check, when making a move, what your opponent can threaten in response.
Apr-28-23  SChesshevsky: <frdmchd> What <plang> mentions is very important. A good habit might be before making your move, need to answer the question like "What is the idea behind my opponents last move?" or "Why did he make that move?"

This then helps you go through: "If I do this, he does that, then I do this and he probably does that then I do this and he does that." Which is around the minimum you what to think through. Of course the further the better. And the more accurate the projection the better. It's usually not good when you get totally surprised by an opponents move.

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