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Vasyl Ivanchuk vs Magnus Carlsen
World Championship Candidates (2013), London ENG, rd 5, Mar-20
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights. Hungarian Variation (D93)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-20-13  Eyal: <solskytz> 46.Kg4 actually loses to 46...a5 (e.g. 47.Ne3 a4 48.Nc2 Kd3 etc.). The knight endgame was in all likelihood drawn all along, though at some points Black has to be very precise in order to hold it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: I apologize, I was trying to make a joke in the spirit of the people who were complaining about Houdini with some silly analysis.

What's curious is that according to one poster studying the video feed, Ivanchuk actually came close to blundering on move 56, when he reached for his king, held up in time, then went for the knight and played Nc3. Touch the knight and your only hope is: j'adoube!

Mar-20-13  solskytz: <Eyal> is this your own analysis or did you verify with a computer?

If you verified with a computer - perhaps I should, too... as I'm sure it knows what it's talking about re. such a "simple" position...

Bowever if this is your own analysis - well... I have my own questions about it.

For example: let's take the variation 46...a5 47. Ne3 a4 48. Nc2 Kd3.

Let's suppose that I now go 49. Nb4+ and intend to keep to the four squares b4, a2, c1 and d3 - eg, 49...Kc3 50. Na2+ Kb2 51. Nb4 and now after 51...Kb3 52. Nd3, the a-pawn can go to a3 but no further, as ...Nc1+ will pick it up on a2.

So 52. Nd3 a3 (or maybe 51...a3 and now I have a free move, and will traspose later after 52...Kb3 Nd3)

And now I want to go 53. Kh5, or maybe 53. f5 - and I think that his knight won't stop my K-side pawns so easily... whereas my knight won't be prevented from sacrificing itself against the a-pawn (at least I don't see how... must be some black knight maneuver I'm missing - but will black pull it and make a queen before I make my K-side majority count?)

Mar-20-13  solskytz: <Beenthere240> 56. Kc3 would still be okay though, wouldn't it?
Mar-20-13  csmath: Magnus played game on principles, you can see that. With pawn run on opposite sides you keep pawns on the edge because of the knights, which in principle have harder time with pawns on the edge. You also keep your own defensive pawns back. Magnus followed the principles as precise as he could so yes it is probably a draw all along but you really have to be very careful.

The main problem for Magnus is the opening here where somehow Chucky got to harrass black queen enough to stale black development of pieces. I am sure Magnus will revisit that and learn what he needs to learn.

Mar-20-13  csmath: Magnus' chess is now at the stage of complete harmony, he plays clear and very harmonious. When he has a plan he executes that plan well. All of that is combined with complete control over tactics as in the game with Grischuk.

I think if you want to learn chess based on plans and principles as a young player, you need to analize the way Magnus plays. No current player plays such a classical game the way he does.

Mar-20-13  Ezzy: Ivanchuk,Vassily (2757) - Carlsen,Magnus (2872)
FIDE Candidates 2013 London (5), 20.03.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 <Carlsen played the Gruenfeld against Ivanchuk in their last meeting at the Tal Memorial 2011 - Draw.> 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Qa5 8.Rc1 Rd8<This has not been played before at the top Super GM level. 8...dxc4 is the main line.>9.Qa4 Qxc5 10.b4 Qc6 11.Qa3 <Novelty I think> dxc4 12.b5 12...Qb6 < 12...Qe8 13.Bc7 Nd5 14.Nxd5 Rxd5 15.Bxc4 Rh5 16.0–0 Nd7 17.Rfd1 Bf8 18.Qb2 Rc5 19.Ba5 White looks much better here.]> 13.Bxc4 Be6 14.Bxe6 Qxe6 15.0–0 Nbd7 <Perhaps defending the e7 pawn with 15...Bf8 is more accurate.> 16.Ng5 Qf5 <Threatening 17...e5 18 Qe7 Rf8 and black wins a piece.> 17.Qxe7< Eyeing the f7 pawn.> 17...Nh5 18.Rfd1< With idea's of 19 Bc7.> 18...Nxf4 19.exf4 Bf8 20.Qe4 Qxe4 21.Ncxe4 < Threatening 22 Rxd7 Rxd7 23 Nf6+ forking king and rook.> 21...Nb6 22.g3 <Removing back rank mating possibilities and so threatens to win by 23 Rxd8 Rxd8 24 Nf6+ Kg7 25 Rc7 (Not possible without 22 g3 because of 25...Rd1 Mate.) winning.> 22...Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Be7 24.Nf3 Rc8 25.Ne5?! Rc7< [25...f5 26.Ng5 Rc5 Winning the 'b5' pawn.> 26.Kg2 f6 27.Nf3 Kf7 28.h4 Rc2 29.a4 Ra2 30.Nc3 Ra3 31.Rc1 Nxa4 32.Ne4 Rd3 33.Rc7 Ke6 34.Rxb7 <34.g4 Is strong, threatening 35 f5+ gxf5 36 gxf5+ Kf7 37 Ne5+ fxe5 38 f6 winning.] Black can defend with the only move 35...Nb6 though. As the knight can go to d5 hitting the rook on c7 and the pawn on f6 in the above variation.> 34...Rd7 35.Rb8 Rd8 36.Rb7 Rd7 37.Rxd7 Kxd7 38.Nd4 f5 39.Ng5 Bxg5 40.fxg5 Nc3 <and Magnus has defended well and holds easily from here>. 41.h5 gxh5 42.Kh3 Kd6 43.Kh4 Kd5 44.Nxf5 Nxb5 45.Kxh5 Ke4 46.Ne3 Nd6 47.Kh6 Nf7+ 48.Kxh7 Nxg5+ 49.Kg6 Nh3 50.Nd1 Kf3 51.Kf5 Nxf2 52.Nxf2 Kxg3 53.Nd1 a5 54.Ke4 a4 1/2-1/2

Magnus will be disappointed that he didn't create any chances today, but having said that, he defended with accuracy, and was under slight pressure, BUT I think always in control of his position.

Well, you need all attributes to be a world class player. Win won positions all the time, win equal positions most of the time, and draw inferior positions all the time, and Magnus does that better than anyone else.

It's actually a nice change watching the defensive skills of Magnus. Not often you get the chance :-)

Mar-20-13  Eyal: Yeah, you can see Ivanchuk reaching for the king and then changing his mind and reaching for the knight at about 4:12:10 of the live feed (, but of course playing 56.Kc3 would have been perfectly ok as well.
Mar-20-13  Eyal: <solskytz> Black is winning in this line, but indeed it's more tricky than I made it sound, so thanks for making me work it out properly... Here's how it might be done: 46.Kg4 a5 47.Ne3 a4 48.Nc2 Kd3 49.Nb4+ Kc3 50.Na2+ Kb2 51.Nb4 Kb3 52.Nd3 Kc3 53.Nc1 Kc2 54.Na2 Nc3! 55.Nb4+ Kb3 56.Nd3 a3 - now Black is planning to play Ne2 in order to deny c1 from the white knight - so 57.Kf3 Nd5! to be followed by Nb4, which should be finally winning, e.g. 58.Ke2 Nb4 59.Nc1+ Kc2.
Mar-20-13  Eyal: <The main problem for Magnus is the opening here where somehow Chucky got to harrass black queen enough to stale black development of pieces.>

Apparently 11.Qa3! is a strong move that Carlsen underestimated, creating quite a lot of problems for Black. This Rd8 line practically hasn't been played at the top levels, so Ivanchuk is the first who came up with it (over-the-board, judging by the time he spent on it during the game). On move 15 Black can defend against White's immediate threats by playing stuff like h6 or even Bf8 (the comp's top recommendation - preparing Nbd7 by defending e7), but I suppose such moves didn't appeal to Carlsen so he decided to get on with development, believing he can hold the position a pawn down.

Mar-20-13  Eyal: Btw, some Vintage Chucky in the post-game interview:

Trent: Who are you playing tomorrow, Vasily?

Ivanchuk: I don't know, my second will tell me.

Mar-20-13  csmath: Bf8 is not aestatically pleasing and I am not even sure it is a good move even though I saw it on Houdini too. I don't like weakening with h6 either. I was looking Nbd7 the same as Magnus and it was the best move for my taste, exactly what Magnus played. He decided to give pawn away to speed up the development. I think that was the proper decision. Thus the problem is in the opening.
Mar-20-13  solskytz: <Eyal>

Your analysis is pleasing and precise, as my Houdini completely verifies. Thanks for posting it here!

Especially the move 52...Kc3! is important here - as Houdini says that if black plays the plausible 52...a3 here (or after 53. Nc1) - it is suddenly equal.

However the maneuver is aesthetic and pleasing.

Of course if our own f-pawn was already on f4 to start with, the result would probably be a draw, as in the pawn race we appear to be one move short (I would then go 57. f5! rather than Kf3, and queen right after black would - I suppose...)

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Ivanchuk admitted to watching the other Gruenfelds and delaying his opening moves, with the explanation that he was waiting to see if the other games would show him something on how to play.

It was a humorous moment, but I wonder if it is considered cheating by anyone.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: During the last 10 moves or so of the Ivanchuk-Carlsen game, Chucky seemed to make each move as if it was a devastating blow to his opponent. Magnus would instantly reply as if to say, "This is a draw, let's get it over with." After the game finished and they signed each other's score sheet, Magnus promptly got his stuff together and left. Chucky sat and shook his head and looked out in to space. He didn't leave until the board cleanup crew moved in.

I watched the Vincent van Gogh episode of the modern Doctor Who last night, and Chucky reminds me of him: at turns creative, mad, disconsolate, emotional, inspired, nervous, and competitive.

Mar-20-13  Ezzy: <Check It Out: at turns creative, mad, disconsolate, emotional, inspired, nervous, and competitive.>

<Ivanchuk> Caissa's gift, and a treasure to the world of chess!

Mar-20-13  Eyal: <Check It Out> Interesting - in the press conference there were some moments that sort of repeated the dynamics you're describing. Especially when Ivanchuk was wondering about whether a certain alternative move in the knight endgame could have brought him the win, and then Carlsen started dictating to him (as Ivanchuk was holding the mouse) with a kind of brutal efficiency the line that he calculated to a forced draw. (It was 46.Ne7 a5 47.Kh6 a4 48.Nc6 a3 49.Nb4 Kf5 50.f4 Nd6 51.Kxh7 Ne4 52.g6 Nxg3 53.g7 Nh5.)
Mar-20-13  solskytz: Amazing and impressive!
Mar-21-13  lost in space: <<DcGentle:> I am not so sure whether Ivanchuk had a win at his hands regarding the whole game.>

I am also not sure about that. But my impression is that he missed a win. To find that win will take more time an deeper analyze.

I may find the time to go over the game with shredder in April

Mar-21-13  JPi: Well. Had Ivanchuck played like this vs Aronian then no doubt Carlsen will be leader of the tournament right now.
Mar-21-13  uldinch: can I claim 'the last one' status for once?
during the game MC slightly disappointed me by taking 41...gxh5, my gut feeling said he might have meant a poker-face invitation for White to abandon the b5 pawn, however, this might have been his last chance to squeeze out a win in an otherwise badly started game. good luck, Magnus!
Mar-21-13  csmath: "Uglyness" does not really count for anything here.

1. Pawn chains are never strong because they mean many weak squares and they are always open to tactics like Nxf5.

2. Carlsen plays beautiful classical chess which is:

(a) keep the control of tactics i.e., eliminate opponent tactics when defending,

(b) stay with the principles of the game.

If you want to learn master chess examine moves Magnus makes when you would not. Magnus plays classic textbook chess and he does that precisely.

Mar-21-13  IndigoViolet: <Tarjei J. Svensen ‏@TarjeiJS 19h

@vgsporten catches the moment when @MagnusCarlsen almost falls off his chair! That's hilarious! @Macauley64>!/video/62636/h...

Mar-21-13  Eurotrash: I wonder if Ivanchuks draw offer on move 31 was a teensy bit distracting for Carlsen and which led him to play the inaccuracy 31..Nxa4. Ivanchuks played very quickly and decisive immediately after that move.
Mar-21-13  donehung: I think Carlsen actually regretted not accepting the draw offer, in the press conference he said it was unprofessional, and a bad decision to play on. To me it seemed he almost felt guilty trying to take advantage of a wounded Chucky. I think that shows some respect, kudos
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