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Magnus Carlsen vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
Bazna King's Tournament (2011), Medias ROU, rd 5, Jun-15
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Furman Variation (D27)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-15-11  hedgeh0g: I think Black is losing the exchange by force after 31...exd5 32.Rh8+ Kc7 33.Rh7 Kd8 (Kd6 Ba3+) 34.Bd4! and the only reasonable defence to Bb6+ is to play Rc6.

As I predicted, Nisipeanu was simply cannon fodder for Carlsen, but I think two wins may even be sufficient for Magnus to take the tournament in the end.

Jun-15-11  parisattack: <sevenseaman: This is a very confident and cool Carlsen; I do not think Nakamura has any chance.>

I love seeing a Nakamura at the top, shaking things up a bit! That said, Carlsen is still a level above him. I think Nakamura's play still suffers from the fast-and-loose 'coffee-house' of his Internet playing days.

Jun-16-11  sevenseaman: Happily you seem to be a realist. Well, its always possible to play well enough to get a draw. That MC does not need a win now will help. Seeing the relative standings a draw is not to be sneered at.

If there are any hopes for Naka these mainly rest with a 'coffee house' shot, depending upon how far out he is prepared to venture.

Jun-16-11  Bobby Fiske: Magnus needs +3 in Bazna to take back the Elo #1 position on the upcoming FIDE July list.

So, another win is required.

Jun-16-11  hedgeh0g: He'll probably get it when he plays the point farm again as Black.

Also, I have a feeling Nakamura will push a little too hard in his next game against Carlsen, but it's just speculation for the time being :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The final position is unquestionably catastrophic: Black falls apart after Rh8+ and Rh7.

But I'd love to know what Carlsen planned to do if Black had closed up the Kingside with 23...h5. The open h-file is crucial to his actual winning method in the game, and without it there doesn't seem to be a clear point of entry. White is still better, and can perhaps increase the pressure slowly while Black remains passive, but I can't see a definite way of winning.

This is why Magnus is so much better than me, of course. And now seemingly better than everyone in these Queenless middlegames, which were thought by many to be drawn when Kramnik defended them. Suddenly Carlsen is winning them. A rethink on defensive systems like the Berlin and the Lion may be required...

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Carlsen gave a brief plan when asked about 23...h5

He agreed it had to be played, and was going to play 24 Bd3 with the idea of 25 Be4 when Black has no targets and some trouble finding good moves. He said the knight can go to e4 in some lines also.

"It is by no means a decisive advantage" he concludes, "just a very good position"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <tamar> Thanks. It's impressive to watch him turn a 'very good position' into a 'decisive advantage'. And he already seems very close to the likes of Capablanca and Karpov.

It must be torture to play against. You can see what he's doing, and you can't find a way to stop him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Pretty impressive, to win what looks like a balanced middlegame with no Queens. Just playing through the game the first time, you see the advanced g pawn blocking blacks pawns; it just seems like this is a weakness to be exploited.
Jun-16-11  Everett: <This is why Magnus is so much better than me, of course. And now seemingly better than everyone in these Queenless middlegames, which were thought by many to be drawn when Kramnik defended them. Suddenly Carlsen is winning them. A rethink on defensive systems like the Berlin and the Lion may be required...>

There are many masters of the Queenless middlegame who predate Kramnik, Lasker being one of them.

The idea that queenless middlegames are drawish is not quite correct IMHO. Now the Ruy Berlin may be drawish, but that is another story.

Jun-16-11  Everett: Karpov vs Gulko, 1996
Jun-17-11  Ulhumbrus: After 18 h3 Black is not free to imitate White's moves by 18...h6 19 g4 g5 because White's QB may end up going to g7 and winning the h6 pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Carlsen makes chess look easy!
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 31...exd5 32. Rh8+ Kc7 33. Rh7 Kd8 34. Bd4 Bb4 35. Rh8+ (35. Bb6+? Ke8 36. Rh8+ Bf8 37. Nxg6 Kf7) Kc7 36. Bb6+ Kxb6 37. Rxc8 Be7. Now what?
Jun-21-11  bronkenstein: @ al wazir , the g pawn should be queening soon , no matter the exchange up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <bronkenstein>: Of course you have to like white's game and dislike black's. But I would have played on a few more moves anyway.
Jun-25-11  Jaburu: In spite of the classes of Kasparov, Carlsen approaches more and more of Capablanca! This game proof that tendency.
Sep-24-11  notyetagm: <Richard Taylor: Carlsen makes chess look easy!>


Sep-24-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: MAGNUS CARLSEN'S BEST GAMES
Oct-08-14  1971: Grandmaster game.
Jan-20-21  Gaito: This game is a beautiful example in the art of devising a clear, logical plan, and then carrying it out with simplicity and precision. Starting with the choice of the move 7.dxc5! which practically forces the early exchange of queens, White gets a tiny but very persistent advantage. Nisipeanu is famous for his aggressive style, hence a queenless game with a very slight but persistent advantage for White was the ideal choice for Magnus. Of course, Black had to play with great accuracy all the time, and he did not succeed in that task. After 23....hxg5?! (The engines give 23....Bf8), the h-column was opened to White's advantage.
Jan-20-21  Gaito: A critical moment of the game arose from the following position:

click for larger view

Black had just moved 26....Nc6-b4 attacking simultaneously White's pawn on a2 and the Bishop on d3. I believe that most chess players (even most grandmasters) would have defended that pawn with the logical move 27.Bb1. But Magnus Carlsen saw his chance to let Black capture that pawn, thereby gaining a couple of tempi to mount a quick "blitzkrieg" or "lightning attack". After the inevitable exchange of one pair of rooks, White can very quickly mobilise his other rook to h1, and his knight to e5 with a devastating attack. Therefore, Carlsen played 27.Be4!! After this cunning move, Black could not resist the temptation of capturing the a2 pawn, though that meant wasting tempi and leaving that knight out of the scene of action. The student might say: "well, there is nothing new under the sun, Capablanca and Bobby Fischer often played like that, and Capa even devoted a whole chapter in his book "Chess Fundamentals" to discuss such stratagem". Quite so, but seeing such stratagem in practice always gives us some pleasure. From the diagram, there followed 27.Be4! Nxa2?? 28.Rxd8+! Kxd8 29.Rh1 Nd5 30.Ne5! (the computer evaluation is already +4.65) 30...f5 31.Bxd5 1-0. It was a pity that Nisipeanu resigned, as he deprived us to witness a charming finish, like 31...exd5 32.Rh8+ Kc7 33.Rh7 and then, either 33...Kd8 34.Bd4!, threatening Bb6+ with a crushing attack, or the pretty finish 33...Kd6 34.Ba3+ Kxe5 35. Rxe7 mate! (see diagram).

click for larger view

After the game, Magnus is reported to have said these words: "I think I played a very decent game".

Aug-23-21  Gaito: Six months ago I studied this game, and now I felt like playing over this game again, as it is the kind of game that gives me much pleasure. Grandmaster Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is a colorful player. According to Wikipedia "his highly aggressive style of play has earned him a reputation of a modern-day Mikhail Tal." I have seen some beautiful attacking games by Nisipeanu. He was born in Romania, but apparently moved to Germany and has been playing under the German flag since 2014.

I like this game because it shows how one should play chess against an attacking player: Magnus managed to exchange queens early (obviously the queen is the most dangerous piece in the hands of an attacking player), and simplified to a position where White had a very small but persistent advantage. Nisipeanu obtained an almost equal position, but was forced to play the kind of game he surely doesn't like to play. This shows how Magnus was making good use of psychology. Psychology is a very important ingredient in a chess game, in spite of Bobby Fischer famous quote ("I don't believe in psychology, I believe in good moves").

Aug-23-21  Gaito:

click for larger view


Starting from this position the game became very interesting. Black played 21...Nd5. The engine Leela Chess Zero (Lc0) at first chooses this move, but after some more time it changes to 21...Ne4. Stockfish 14 (SF14) plays 21...Ne4 right away. After Black moves this knight (to d5 or e4) White gets a chance to play h4 and then g5, but in return Black gets a chance to get some active counterplay on the queenside by posting a knight on b4, for example.

After 21...Nd5 Carlsen made up his mind to act quickly with the plan he had previously figured out, and so played 22.h4!? at once. On 21...Nd5 Lc0 quickly plays 22.Bd3, but SF14 suggests that White play the defensive move 23.a3!, a move that protects the square b4 against the invasion of a black knight. I could wager that Anatoly Karpov would also have played 23.a3, because Karpov's style is founded on the principle: "avoid giving your opponent even the slightest shadow of counterplay". But when this game was played Magnus was only 20 years old and possibly liked to take some chances. Maybe the mature Carlsen would have chosen 23.a3 too.

So, after 21...Nd5 22.h4!? Nisipeanu started to make some feeble moves. Instead of 22...Ncb4! (trying to get counterplay on the queenside), he made two or three pointless moves, first 22...Ke8? 23.g5 (the engines still prefer the defensive move 23.a3 but consider g5 as the second best option), then after 23...hxg5 (23...Bf8 deserved attention, yet the engines do like the capture 23...hxg5, so this capture should not be criticized). In a book on Magnus Carlsen's Best Games written by a grandmaster whose name I don't remember (and I don't have the book because a friend of mine borrowed it), I do remember that the author wrote that "it would have been safer to keep the h-file closed by 23...h5." On 23...h5, SF14 recommends 24.Nd2. So does the engine Lc0.

Be what it may, the important point (and what really matters) is that White had a clear plan in mind whereas Black had absolutely no idea of what plan White had in mind. This is the real essence of chess: you have to figure out your opponent's intention or the plan they have in mind. Failing to fathom what your opponent intends to do may cost you dearly. And this is a clear example where White had a simple and clear plan in mind, and Black failed to see what that plan was until it was too late. Otherwise he would not have played 22...Ke8? or 23...hxg5.

Aug-23-21  Gaito: Magnus was modest when he said he had played "a decent game". In fact he played an outstanding positional masterpiece.

Chess students in future years will play over this masterpiece with pleasure and will have a chance to see how the game of chess should be played.

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