Malcolm Pein On…Carlsen Thrilled
Magnus Carlsen had to battle hard to take the first set of his quarter-final against Wesley So at the Goldmoney Asian Rapid on Chess24. As we will see, Carlsen blundered and should have lost the first game of the match, and he was positionally outplayed in the return. The world champion took the third game, giving up his queen for two rooks and then parked the bus in game four to take the set.
Carlsen has often found So a difficult opponent and said:
It’s huge for me. It’s the first time, except a third-place match, that I’ve managed to win the first match so it’s massive.
Levon Aronian suffered a defeat to the event’s 17-year-old surprise package Arjun Erigaisi but managed to save the set. The clash between Vladislav Artemiev and Anish Giri was very one-sided as Artemiev, the 2019 European Individual Champion, reeled off three straight wins.
M. Carlsen – W. So
English Opening 10+5
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.a3 d5 (Entering a Sicilian Defence Reversed) 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Qc2 f5 7.d3 Be7 8.e3 (Setting up a Scheveningen System structure) 8…Be6 9.Be2 0–0 10.0–0 a5 11.Rd1 Kh8 12.Na4 ( If 12.Bd2 g5 13.d4 as in the game, or 12…Qe8 13.Nb5 Qg6) 12…Qd6 (Protecting c5) 13.Bd2 g5 (Good timing, the knight on f3 cannot retreat to d2. 13…Nb6!? 14.Nxb6 cxb6= is also fine as Black who can use the c-file and c5 square) 14.d4! (White is passively placed after 14.Be1 g4 15.Nd2 Bg8) 14…e4 15.Ne5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.Bc4 Bf6 18.Nc5 Bg8 (Black has to return the pawn. If 18…Bc8 19.Bxd5 Qxd5 20.Bc3 Qf7 21.Nd7! Bxd7 22.Bxf6+ Qxf6 23.Rxd7) 19.Rab1! (Coolly played, not 19.Nd7 Qxb2) 19…Qe7 20.Nxb7 f4 21.Nxa5? (A blunder, White is better after 21.b4! a4 22.Nc5 fxe3 23.fxe3 and not 21…axb4 22.Bxd5 Bxd5 23.Bxb4) 21…fxe3! 22.fxe3
22…Rxa5! 23.Bxd5 (23.Bxa5 Nxe3 with a family fork) 23…Rxd5 (23…Rc5! 24.Qxe4 Bxd5 was cleaner) 24.Bb4 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 c5 26.Bxc5 Qc7 (26…Bb3! 27.Qxb3 Qxc5 would surely win in the long run) 27.b4 Re8 28.a4 (White is not worse now) 28…Be5 29.h3 g4 30.hxg4 Qg7 31.Bd4 Be6 32.Qc6 Bd7?? For today’s puzzle, it’s White to play and win:
Test Your Strength
M. Carlsen – W. So
White to play and win
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
33.Qxd7! 1–0 In view of 33..Qxd7 34.Bxe5+ Rxe5 35.Rxd7.