Malcolm Pein on…Carlsen’s Struggle


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Malcolm Pein on…Carlsen’s Struggle

Magnus Carlsen lost his opening games on days one and two of the $100,000 (£71,000) Goldmoney Asian Rapid. On day one, Carlsen was outplayed by the Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja in the middlegame and a winning position evaporated.

In round six, Carlsen lost to Levon Aronian, who emerged as co-leader going into ‘decision day’, which reduced the 16 players in the preliminaries to the eight who contest a knockout.

Indian teenage star Arjun Erigaisi was well set to avoid elimination after some fine results, including victory over Daniil Dubov and a draw with co-leader Ding Liren.

A demolition:

A. Firouzja – V. Artemiev
Giuoco Piano

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 Be7 7.Bg3 (White’s bishop has few prospects. In King’s Pawn openings, the bishop is often better on the c1–h6 diagonal) 7…d6 8.a4 a5 9.Nbd2 0–0 10.c3 g6 11.h3 Nh5 12.Bh2 Bg5! (Activating a passively placed piece. If 13.Nxg5 hxg5 14.g4 Nf4 15.Bxf4 gxf4 16.h4 Kg7 feels very solid) 13.Nf1 Be6! 14.Bxe6 fxe6 15.Nxg5 (15.Qb3 looks better) 15…Qxg5 16.Ne3 Nf4 17.Bg3 Kg7 (17…Kh7!?) 18.0–0 Rf7 19.d4 Raf8 20.Qd2 Kh7! (Sneaky!) 21.Rad1? (21.Rae1)

A. Firouzja – V. Artemiev

21…exd4 22.cxd4 Nxd4! (A winning blow, if 23.Qxd4?? Ne2+) 23.h4 Qh5 24.Kh2 Nfe2 25.f3 (25.Rde1 Rf4! intending Rxh4+) 25…Nxg3 26.Kxg3 Qe5+ 27.Kf2

27…Rxf3+! 28.gxf3 Nxf3 29.Ke2 (29.Qe2 Qh2+ 30.Ng2 Nd4+ 31.Ke3 Nxe2 32.Rxf8 Qxg2? (32…Ng3!) 33.Rdf1!! g5 34.R1f6 survives) 29…Nxd2 30.Rxf8 Nxe4 31.Rf7+ Kg8 32.Rxc7 (32.Rdf1 Ng3+) 32…Qh5+ 33.Ke1 Qxh4+ 34.Ke2 Qh2+ 35.Kd3 Nf2+ 36.Kc4 Nxd1 37.Rc8+ Kf7 38.Rc7+ Ke8 0–1

Test Your Strength

Carlsen-Svidler White to play and win

White to play and win

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

39.Bxg5 Nxg5 40.Bd1! 1-0

Play Through the Game

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