Malcolm Pein on…A Stroke of Good Fortune


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Malcolm Pein resumes his coverage of the FTX Crypto Cup continues in today’s Daily Telegraph column. A stroke of good fortune allows Magnus Carlsen to ‘scrape through’ to the next phase of the event and Fabiano Caruana makes a strong impression in a rare online outing.

Malcolm Pein on…A Stroke of Good Fortune

A stroke of good fortune enabled Magnus Carlsen to scrape through to the knockout phase of the the FTX Crypto Cup online at Chess24, as he finished eighth in the preliminaries.

Needing a win in his 15th and final game against Teimour Radjabov, Carlsen blew a big middlegame advantage and reached a queen and pawn endgame, where his extra pawn was not particularly useful. Had Radjabov kept queens on, Carlsen would have struggled to win, but instead, Radjabov misjudged the king and pawn endgame.

A Stroke of Good Fortune: Carlsen – Radjabov

Carlsen – Radjabov, position after 44.g4-g5

44…Qe6? (After 44…Qe1+ 45.Kg2 Kg7 46.Qd6 Qb1 47.Qf6+ Kg8 48.g6 fxg6 49.Qxg6+ Black’s b-pawn is a huge asset) 45.Qxe6 fxe6 46.f4! Kf7 (Both sides can establish protected passed pawns, but White can break up white’s duo with d3-d4 and he wins after 46…b5 47.Kf1 b4 48.Ke1 Kf7 49.Kd1 Kg6 50.g4 e5 51.fxe5 Kxg5 52.Kc2 Kg6 53.Kb3 Kg5 54.d4 cxd4 55.Kxb4) 47.Kf2 b5 48.Ke3 Kg6 49.g4 b4 50.Kd2 e5 51.fxe5 Kxg5 52.Kc2 1–0 Black cannot capture on g4, as the e-pawn promotes.

Caruana in Action

Fabiano Caruana was playing his first event of the online Meltwater Tour as he had been focussing on the Candidates. The world number two ended top of the all-play-all on 10/15.

F. Caruana – A. Grischuk

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.b3 0–0 8.Be2 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Bb2 Qe7 11.Rad1 Rad8 12.Rfe1 Rfe8 13.g3 Bb4 (13…e5 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.Nb5 is slightly better for White; 13…c5!?) 14.a3 Bxc3 15.Qxc3 c5 (15…Ne4 16.Qc2 f5 17.Nd2) 16.Qc2 cxd4 17.exd4 Rc8 18.Nd2 Qd6 19.Bf3 Qb8 20.Qd3 Qa8 21.Be2 (White wants to preserve the bishop pair) 21…e5!? 22.dxe5 Nxe5 23.Qf5! Ned7 24.Bf1 h6 25.Qf4 Rxe1 26.Rxe1 Re8 27.Rxe8+ Qxe8 28.Qc7 Qc8 29.Qxc8+ Bxc8 30.b4! Ba6 31.f3 Kf8 32.Kf2 Ke7 33.a4 Kd6?

Test Your Strength

White to play and win

Preliminaries final standings:

1 Caruana 10/15; 2-5 Giri, Nakamura, MVL, So 9; 6-7 Carlsen, Radjabov 8.5; 8 Nepomniachtchi 8; 9 Aronian 8; 10 Mamedyarov 7.5.11-13 Firouzja, Svidler, Ding 7.

Highlight the space below the line to reveal the answer.

34.c5+ 1-0 White wins the bishop on a6.

Play Through the Game

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