Malcolm Pein on…The Entertaining Bullet


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Before getting back to his coverage of the Tata Steel Masters, Malcolm Pein turns his attention to an entertaining Bullet chess game in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column. 

Bullet games – with just one minute on each clock – wouldn’t normally merit a place in either  newspaper column or in a blog post, but this one is particularly entertaining and has the merit of being played by none other than the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen.

Malcolm Pein on…The Entertaining Bullet

Magnus Carlsen likes to keep us entertained. Not only does he float a company on the stock exchange and use it to create not one, but two online chess tours, he also regularly goes on to to take on all-comers or logs on to LiChess to play tough opposition.

The week before last, the World Champion played what some were calling his ‘Immortal Bullet Game’. This was one-minute chess with no increment.

DrNykterstein (3057) – MeneerMandje (2833)
Bullet Lichess 1+0
Hyper Accelerated Dragon

1.c4 g6 2.d4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.e4 Qb6 (A tricky sideline, ideal for Bullet. Black usually develops a knight) 6.Nb3 a5 (Intending to push it all the way to a3) 7.Be3 Qb4+ 8.Bd2 Qb6 9.Bc3 (9.Nc3 a4 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Be3! axb3?? 12.Bb6) 9…Nf6! 10.c5 (After 10.N1d2 d6 11.Bd3 a4 12.Nc1 0–0 White is in a muddle) 10…Qe6 11.N1d2 Nxe4! 12.Bxg7!

The Entertaining Bullet

12…Nc3+ 13.Be2 Nxd1 14.Bxh8 Nxf2!? (The tempo lost turns out not to be great value for the pawn; 14…f6 15.Rxd1 Nc6 16.Nc4 Kf8 was at least as good) 15.Kxf2 f6 16.Rhe1 Qg8 17.Bxf6 Qf7! 18.Ne4 Kf8? (Wrong way, now White is winning. If 18…exf6 19.Nd6+ and after 18…Kd8 19.Bf3 exf6 20.Nd6 Qf8 21.Re8+ Qxe8 22.Nxe8 Kxe8 White is a pawn down, but so much better developed that he has the better chances) 19.Kg1 exf6 20.Nd6 Qd5 21.Bc4 Qh5 22.Re8+ Kg7

Test Your Strength

Carlsen Misses Checkmate in Two Moves

Carlsen missed a mate in two. What was it? 23.Re7+ Kh6 24.Bg8 Qg4 25.Rxh7+ Kg5 26.h4+ Kf4 27.Rf1+ Ke3 28.Re7+ Kd3 29.Bc4+ Kc2 30.Rf2+ Kd1

Checkmating the Black King

Now Rd2 is mate in one, but this is much more fun. 31.Re1+ Kxe1 32.Rf1# 1–0

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

23.Rg8+ Kh6 24.Nf7#

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