Malcolm Pein reports on the big clash of Carlsen vs. Dubov in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column.

Daniil Dubov is featured in this column with increasing regularity. Indeed, we saw a game of his yesterday. Nobody is complaining though, as the young star’s games are always entertaining and in today’s encounter he gives a fine demonstration of the power of the Tarrasch Defense.

Over to Malcolm…

Malcolm Pein on….Carlsen vs. Dubov

Daniil Dubov again proved he can match Magnus Carlsen at Rapid Chess as he came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Airthings Masters on Carlsen won the first of the four games with some virtuoso endgame play, before Dubov missed winning chances in game two after Carlsen mistakenly turned down a repetition of moves.

Dubov took his chances in game three when Carlsen again spurned opportunities to simplify.

M. Carlsen – D. Dubov
Tarrasch Defense 15+10

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.e3 a6 5.d4 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.g3 (Not very challenging in combination with 4.e3. 7.Be2 is standard) 7…Nc6 8.Bg2 c4 9.0–0 Bb4 10.Ne5 0–0 11.Bd2 Re8 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.b3 (Fighting for queenside squares. After 13.Re1 Bf5 Black is very comfortable and 14.b3 Ba3 15.Bc1 Bb4 16.Bd2 repeats moves) 13…Bxc3 (Improving on 13…a5 14.Qc2 cxb3 15.axb3 g6 16.Rfc1 Carlsen-Mamedyarov, Shamkir 2019, which was a draw) 14.Bxc3 Ne4 15.Rc1 a5! 16.bxc4 Ba6! (Regaining the pawn after which Black is already the more active) 17.f3 Nxc3 18.Rxc3 Bxc4 19.Rf2 Qg5

Meek Reply

20.Qc1 (Rather meek and most unlike Carlsen. There was no objection to 20.e4 Qe7 21.e5 c5 22. f4) 20…h5 21.Bf1 Bxf1 22.Kxf1 Rab8 23.Rxc6 h4 24.Kg2 (24.e4 Qh5!? 25.g4 Qh7) 24…Rxe3 25.Rc8+ Rxc8 26.Qxc8+ Kh7 27.Qd7 f6 (Black has some initiative and gets his pawn to h3. It’s hard for White to simplify now) 28.Qb5 Qf5 29.g4 h3+ 30.Kg3 (30.Kg1?? Re1+ 31.Rf1 Qxf3) 30…Qe4! 31.Qxa5 (31.Qf1 Qxd4 32.Qxh3+ Kg8 33.Qh5 Qe5+ 34.Qxe5 fxe5 35.h4 should be a draw, although Black has the active rook; 31.Qd7 Kg6 32.Kh4! Rxf3 33.Rxf3 Qxf3 34.Qe8+ Kh7 (34…Kh6?? 35.Qh5#) 35.Qh5+ = is also a draw) 31…f5! (Threatening Qxg4# and opening up the white king)

Carlsen vs. Dubov

32.gxf5 Qxf5 33.Qb5 Re6 34.Re2 Rg6+ 35.Kf2 Qf4 36.Qb1 Kh6 37.Qd3 Qxh2+ 38.Ke3 Re6+ 0–1

Test Your Strength

Today’s puzzle is from the So– Vachier-Lagrave quarter-final first leg which MVL won 3-1.

Simplify to a won endgame

How did Black simplify to a won endgame?

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

44…Rxg2+!! 45.Kxg2 Rxg3+ 0-1 In view of 46.Kxg3 Qg6+ winning the rook.

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