Malcolm Pein on…Carlsen’s Struggle


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Malcolm Pein examines Magnus Carlsen’s struggle to overcome Vladislav Artemiev in a recent tournament.

Today’s Daily Telegraph chess column also presents a challenge to the reader.

Malcolm Pein on…Carlsen’s Struggle

Magnus Carlsen had to struggle mightily to overcome Vladislav Artemiev in the 2020 Speed Championship quarterfinal. Carlsen won 13.5-9.5, although many of the games could have gone either way.

The event recommences with the semi-finals on December 11 and can be followed live on, as well as the usual portals. Each match lasts three hours, with 90 minutes of Blitz played with five minutes on the clock and a one-second increment per move. Then 60 minutes of 3+1 Blitz, concluding with 30 minutes of 1+1 Bullet.

Carlsen is not often floored in less than thirty moves. These positions in the Hedgehog are finely balanced. One imprecise move accelerates White’s pawn storm.

V. Artemiev – M. Carlsen
English Hedgehog 3+1

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0–0 e6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Re1 d6 8.e4 a6 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Qc7 11.Be3 Nbd7 12.Rc1 0–0 This position could also arise from a Sicilian Kan in which White plays to establish the Maroczy Bind with pawns on c4 and e4. 13.f4 Rac8 14.g4 Nc5 15.Bf2 h6?! (Carlsen played the sounder 15…g6 against Peter Svidler in 2009. If 16.g5 Nh5 17.Be3 d5! 18.exd5 Nxf4 is better for Black; The immediate 15… d5 16.exd5 Qxf4 17.b4 Nxg4 18.Bg3 is insufficient) 16.b4!?

Malcolm Carlsen's Struggle

16…Ncd7? (16…Nfxe4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 d5! was not bad for Black; Or if 16…Nfxe4 17. bxc5 Nxf2 18.Kxf2 Bh4+ is very good for Black. Now he is pushed off the board) 17.g5 hxg5 18.fxg5 Ne8 19.g6 Ne5 20.gxf7+ Rxf7 21.Bh3 Rf6 22. Nxe6 Qxc4 White to play and win:

Carlsen's Attack

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

23.Nd5 Rg6+ 24.Bg3 Qxc1 25.Nxe7+ Kf7 26.Nxg6 Qxd1 27.Nxe5+ dxe5 28.Rxd1 1–0


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