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Magnus Carlsen vs The World
"Raw Power" (game of the day Sep-11-2010)
RAW Chess Challenge (2010) (exhibition), rd 1, Sep-10
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Uhlmann-Szabo System (E62)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Most of the players were wearing denim, jean jackets. Is that the new hot look?
Sep-11-10  b3wins: OK, so what really happened between moves 9 and 16 that made the World's position so bad?

The rare 9... c6 was Naka's move. While not yet a mistake, it has scored poorly in the past according to the database. Polgar (Ne8)and Lagrave (Nd7) wanted to prepare f5 in typical KID spirit.

10...Bg4?! was again Naka's move. Polgar suggested again the logical Ne8, and Lagrave suggested a5, which would have prevented Carlsen's next move and slowed the upcoming queenside attack. The chosen move (Bg4) turned out to be a serious mistake, as the bishop was forced to return later without having any good squares.

11...cxd5?! - now, imagine what were Polgar and Lagrave thinking. They had to cope with a position they did not choose (no GM is used to this situation), and probably assumed that the last two moves are part of a plan to quickly open the c-file for black. When Nakamura, who suggested 11...Qd7, called 11...cxd5 THE main mistake after the game, he was not only uncollegial in his behavior, but also unfair, since black's problems started earlier.

12...Qd7 again looks suspicious, considering that Carlsen played Qa4 two moves later, and no one in the World Team really wanted to exchange queens. Polgar's Ne8 was again rejected.

13...Rfc8 - the last two moves block Bg4's diagonal. The World again rejected Polgar's attempt at kingside initiative with Nh5.

14...Ne8 finally played, but too late, and unrelated to previous moves. If f5 is the goal, then black shouldn't have played c6, Rfc8, etc. If black plays in the queenside, Bg4 is totally misplaced (pawn b7 is weak), a5 should have been played to gain space, etc.

15...Qd8?! at this point the three GMs were clearly upset, as seen in their facial expressions. Now they had to choose between several bad options. An exchange of queens would leave white with a lasting advantage. Avoiding it probably loses a pawn, but at least may enable some complications later on (which is what happened). How to play in a worse position is also a matter of taste. Many players prefer to go for complications that may not be objectively best.

16...Nc7? was chosen by Nakamura and Polgar.

So that's how it happened. For each of the GMs, coping with a position they did not choose was frustrating, and that probably lowered their level of play. It was also confusing for the World while voting, and the lack of any discussion behind the suggested moves made things worse.

Aside from that, I must mention Nakamura's problematic behavior from a sporting point of view. After 7..e5 he declared "I'm out of book, don't follow my suggestions" (strange, considering how often he plays the KID). Then, suggesting a dubious plan with c6 and Bg4, which confused the other GMs and led to black's bad position after the opening. After move 16 the World played better, but the two most notable mistakes (23...Qb8 and 30...Bc8) where also Naka's ideas, against stronger available alternatives among the other GMs (23...Qd7 and 30...Bf4, the latter being Lagrave's move). Now, not playing particularly good chess that day is nothing to reproach him for, everyone has bad days. But in his twitter comments he continually criticized chosen moves suggested by his colleagues, as well as in the post game interview, as mentioned above (11...cxd5). To all that you can add the photo taken after the game, of Carlsen holding the trophy, with everyone present smiling / applauding, except Nakamura. This shows disrespect towards colleagues and opponents.

Sep-11-10  jsy: <To all that you can add the photo taken after the game, of Carlsen holding the trophy, with everyone present smiling / applauding, except Nakamura. This shows disrespect towards colleagues and opponents.>

You're obviously reading too much into the one photo which only records only that split second instance showing that he wasn't as exuberant as the other 2 GMs but nothing obviously disrespectful. Your supposition can only be substantiated through an entire video sequence so we can have a full accounting of Nakamura's behavior. Sadly, we are all often guilty of seeing (and extrapolating) what we want to see and believe.

Sep-12-10  b3wins: I wrote such a long post, full of "substantiated" details, and mostly about the actual game, and you refer only to one trivial matter? Come on, that's too easy!
Sep-12-10  LIFE Master AJ: Wow, Carlsen won? What a huge surprise! Talk about your upsets.
Sep-12-10  Kazzak: That's how a slow mind works, b3wins. So don't feed it next time. I laughed out loud when Naka wanted to draw attention to what happened around moves 11 and 12 - he knows he screwed up earlier and landed his colleagues in trouble.

And Naka's fans on the net wanted to make this a game between Naka and Carlsen, so they voted for Naka's moves (clearly not knowing better), and ensured The World's loss.

Sep-12-10  Kazzak: Yet, as I now see where the organizers placed Naka, I can understand why he wasn't at the top of his game.

I do not, however, get the "Naka was out of book because of e5 and that's why he played c6" apologists. These tend to be the same who state that he's the unequivocal 960 Champ, which pretty much makes book irrelevant, right?


Sep-12-10  Jambow: <Kazzak> I think an actual Nakamura Carlsen match would have been a better choice and Magnus would have had much more of a challenge. This was a publicity stunt not a genuine chess challenge. Matter of fact how about a real Magnus vs Nakamura match maybe 12 games or something.

That they held a draw once is almost a miracle really, there is a reason a bus has only one seat wheel and pedal set.

Sep-12-10  theagenbiteofoutwit: "The World" lost because of the format.

If you took Hideous Blundermura and let him play against a world team that voted on candidate moves made by Carlsen, So, and Wang Hao, "the world" would still lose.

Too many chiefs spoil the broth.

Sep-12-10  jrlepage: <theagenbiteofoutwit: <For those that watched the game live, was there frequently disagreement among the 3 GMs about which moves to play?> Yes, Lagrave and Polgar wanted to make logical moves, Nakamura disagreed.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <b3wins> -- < After 7..e5 he declared "I'm out of book, don't follow my suggestions" (strange, considering how often he plays the KID).>

I don't find it at all strange that a top GM can find himself or herself 'out of book' after 7 moves in an opening they use regularly. It can happen all too easily in normal one-to-one OTB games, never mind consultation games.

And this was essentially an old-style consultation game of the type that was popular in the 1920s - the World voting mechanism was a device, borrowed from TV shows, to speed up the decision process. I suspect it simply weakened the World's play -- not because the voters were weak players, though many presumably were, but because it short-circuited the planning process. In the old days, with, say, Capablanca and Reti teamed up together, even Capa would have to argue his side and explain the reasoning behind a suggested move.

There is a famous example of this: in the game Fahndrich / Kaufmann vs Reti / Capablanca, 1914 Capa argued strongly for 14...Bd4 rather than an 'obvious' Rook move - and, when they'd won, Reti saw this as the key move, which would not have occurred to him alone.

Ironically, those pre-computer GMs had superior mechanisms for communication and planning, thus making the team play more like an individual (even if this came down to Capa's superior reputation and power of persuasion).

The current guys just weren't able to work like this: partly because of the speed of play, but also because the World's contribution obviated the need to explain plans.

Which takes us back to the KID. It has many subvariations, and nobody plays them all. Even players who play the same opening all their lives (Gufeld with the KID, Uhlmann with the French) can wander into a line they don't know. Usually, their overall knowledge of the opening's typical themes will compensate -- but as I said before, the Fianchetto Variation is unlike other KID lines and Black can't fall back on a standard kingside attack.

As to clothing: yep, the players *that we could see* favored denim. I shudder to think what other members of the World team might have been wearing. Or not ...

<Notice>: the idea of having Magnus play against a team of exhibitionists/ nudists is hereby copyrighted/ patented/ all rights reserved including lunar ones ...

Sep-12-10  visualogic: <Yet, as I now see where the organizers placed Naka, I can understand why he wasn't at the top of his game.>


Sep-12-10  Atking: Good one <visual&logic> ;(
Sep-12-10  icky: E xcellent game GM Carlsen....
Sep-12-10  znsprdx: I am pleased to see MC 'hammered' the World- quelle surprise: NOT
Sep-14-10  zatara: I can't understand how cxd5 was such a big positional mistake. It doesn't look to me like a bad move at all...can someone explain??
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <zatara> Kasparov did not like 9...c6 or 10...Bg4 either. Add 11...cxd5 and Black is just randomly choosing moves rather than having a coordinated plan.

The moves do not make sense played together.

It is as if you played a Ruy Lopez Breyer System 9...Nb8 10 d4 and then decided to exchange 10...exd4. It is legal, but hard to make it work because the point of 9...Nb8 is to insist upon a closed position to make up for the lost time repositioning.

Sep-17-10  The Rocket: <"Given the time constraints, it is understandable that it was not flawless.">

what was the time controll?

Sep-17-10  thegoodanarchist: The name of an old TV show was "Who's the Boss?"

The answer to that question is "Magnus is!"

Nov-28-10  Dredge Rivers: I'm suprised he didn't drop out of THIS contest, like he did the Candidates Matches!
Dec-12-10  notyetagm:
Nov-24-12  cro777: The second encounter Magnus Carlsen vs the World is taking place in Mexico City as part of the Grand Fiesta UNAM 2012 chess festival.

On this occasion Magnus is playing on two boards at once. On one of them Magnus is taking on local chess players, while the other board involves internet users.

Three GMs are suggesting what they consider to be the best move, while the audience is choosing between them in a given time frame.

You can vote here

Jan-31-17  ColeTrane: This is the only example of a sacrifice being used ibn a vs The World game in CG database. The World should shake things up imo
Jan-31-17  Willchess: This game i can only say wow!!!! Carlsen is really from another planet maybe he belongs to super planet
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
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