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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Corus Chess Tournament:Round 8:Analysis of Adams-Carlsen

In the "A" Group, GM's Michael Adams and Magnus Carlsen squared off over-the -board, with Adams having the White pieces. Carlsen, trying to break his long run of draws in the tournament, essayed the sharp Dragon Variation of the Sicilian defense. The two players followed the moves of a game between Filippov and Stocek played at the Calvia Olympiad in 2004 for the first 10 moves of the game. Then on move 11 after Adams continued to follow the idea of Filippov (playing 11.a4), Carlsen played a theoretical novelty, with the move 11...Ne5. (However, this move is often played by Black in the Dragon, when White has played the bishop to c4). It was at this time that Adams made what has to be viewed as a controversial move, when he played 12.Bc1 (making the bishop very passive. Instead, the strongest chess program in the World, Deep Rybka 3 on my computer, suggested the move 12.Bb3 instead which would have maintained pressure against Carlsen's f-pawn.). Carlsen continued the game by playing the natural 12...Rc8 ,placing his rook on the half-open file for counterplay (In many variations of the Sicilian Black will sacrifice the rook on c3 for the knight, as this weakens the first player's control of the center (and in the case where white castles on the queenside in the Dragon, damages the pawn structure in front of the white king). The game continued with Adams playing the interesting move 13.a5!?. (One would have thought, with two pieces yet to develop, Adams would have moved his queen to d2 to connect his rooks). If allowed to I am sure that Adams would have played 14.a6, which would have forced Carlsen to lose a tempo (either with ...b6 or a move to protect his attacked b-pawn). Carlsen prevented this by playing 14...a6 himself, which is a key thematic move in most variations of the Sicilian for Black. However, with the White pawn on a5, and the White knight on b3, it would be difficult to initiate counterplay on the queenside using ...b5. On move 14, Adams decided to exchange knights on d5 by playing 14.Nd5 (Instead, the chess program Deep Rybka 3 suggested the rook life 14.Ra3 with a possible continuation being 14...Rb8 15.Rb3!? (leaving the a-pawn enprise) 15...Qc7 (note that White would get an advantage after 15....Qxa5 16.Rxb7 Ra8 17.Qd2 Reb8 18.Nb2 Qd8 19.Rxb8 Qxb8 20.Ra1 with a double-attack against the Black a-pawn).

Carlsen made the natural reaction to the fourteenth move of Adams, by removing the White knight with 14...Nxd5, and after 15.exd5 Adams was able to gain control and occupy the important d5-square. At this point, the strong chess program Deep Rybka 3 evaluated the position as equal. Carlsen's next move was 15...Nc4 creating a double-attack against the White b-pawn and the White knight (Deep Rybka preferred to play 15...Qc7 with a possible continuation being 16.Bf2 Bh6 17.c3 Rfe8 18.Qc2 Nc4 19.Nc6!? bxc6 20.Bxc4 cxd5 21.Bxa6 Ra8 22.Bb6 Qc6 +=) . Adams reacted by playing 16.Bxc4 which handed the two bishops to Carlsen. After 16....Rxc4 Deep Rybka 3 evaluated the position as completely equal (=0.00).

The game continued with Adams overprotecting his knight with the move 17.c3 and Carlsen then played the move 17...Re8 (centralizing his rook). Instead, Deep Rybka 3 preferred to play 17...Rc5 (threatening to win a tempo by attacking the white d-pawn, and play might have continued: 18.Qb3 (avoiding the lost tempo and instead trying to win one by attacking the Black b-pawn) 18... Qc7 (avoiding the lost tempo by double-attacking the white a-pawn ). 19.Qa2 (losing a tempo). 19...Re8 with an equal position according to the evaluation of Deep Rybka 3.

Returning to the game, the next move in the game was 18.Nc2 (Adams had the idea of playing his bishop to b6 on move 19, and then move the knight on c2, where it would guard his pawn on c5). (Instead, Deep Rybka 3 preferred to play 18.Ne2 Qc8 19.Qd2 Rh4 20.Nf4!? g5 21.Ne2 h6 22.b3 g4 23.f4 Rh5 with a an advantage for white).

Carlsen reacted to the move of Adams by playing 18...Ra4 (offering to exchange rooks). (Instead, Deep Rybka 3 suggested 18...Qc8 (applying more pressure down the c-file) 19.Bf2 Ra4 20.Rxa4 Bxf4 21.Re4 Qd7 22.Rb4 Rc8+/=).

Instead of exchanging rooks on a4, Adams instead decided to protect his a-pawn (which had been double-attacked by Carlsen's queen and rook after the move 18...Ra4), by playing 19.Bb6.This move effectively killed any chance that Carlsen could gain counterplay on the queenside, by preventing the advance of Carlsen's a- and b-pawns.
It was at this point that Carlsen decided to simply the position by exchanging rooks on a1: 19...Rxa1 20.Qxa1 (winning a tempo because Carlsen's queen was being attacked by the White bishop.) 20...Qc7 (keeping the queen on the c-file). Adams then decided to improve the position of his knight (an idea which Deep Rybka also suggested) by playing 21.Ne3. Carlsen then tried to block the center by playing 21...e5 ,however of course due to the existence of the enpassant rule (see this excellent explanation of the rule if you are not familar with it: http://www.chessvariants.com/d.chess/chess.html) Adams was able to capture on e6 by playing 22.dxe6, which left Carlsen with an isolated d-pawn. (Instead, Deep Rybka 3 preferred to play 22.Qa3 (attacking the black d-pawn after which play might have continued: 22...e4 23.f4 Qb8 24.Nc4 Bf8 25.Bd4 Bf5+/=)

After Adams had captured on e6, Carlsen had to decide how to recapture, using either his rook or bishop to do this task. He played 22...Rxe6, which created a pin against the White knight on
e3. (Deep Rybka preferred to capture on 36 with the bishop which could have resulted in this continuation: 22...Bxe6 23.Qa4 Qc6 24.Qb4 h5 25.Kh2 Bh6 26.Nc2 Qd5 27.Bf3 Bf8 28.Bd4 Be7=). The game continued with Adams playing 23.Qd1 (which forced Carlsen to keep his rook defending his now-attacked d-pawn). This move was also suggested by Deep Rybka 3, with the following continuation possible: 23...Qc6 24.Bd4 Bh6 25.Qb3 Re8 26.Kf2 Be6 27.Qb4 Bg5 28.Kg1 Bh4 29.Rd1 =

The game continued with Carlsen playing 23...Qe8 (creating a double- attack against the White knight on e3 .Adams decided to overprotect his knight by playing his king to f2 ie 24.Kf2 (Instead Deep Rybka 3 suggested 24.Bd4 with a possible continuation being 24...Bh6 25.Qd2 Ba4 26.b4 Bb5 27.g3 Qc6 28.Kg2 d5=).

Returning to the game, Carlsen, now decided to overprotect his d-pawn and did so by playing 24...Qe7. The game continued 25.g3 Qg5 (breaking any pin against the rook on the e-file. (Instead of this move Deep Rybka preferred to increase the mobility of the black bishop: 25...
Bc6 with a possible continuation being: 26.Bd4 Qg5 26.Bxg7 Kxg7 27.Qd4+ Kg8 28.b4 Rf6 29.f4
Qh5!? 30.Qxf6 Qf3+ and black gains a draw by perpetual check.).

Returning to the moves played in the game, it concluded with these moves 26.Qd5 (Adams offered to exchange queens which suggested he was willing to accept a draw). 26...Qxd5 27.Nxd5 Rxe1 28.Kxe1 Kf8. draw

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