An unexamined life is not worth living.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Carlsen outplays Karjakin in a tricky endgame

Carlsen, Magnus - Karjakin, Sergey Tata Steel Chess 2013

The game is taken from my E-book about endgames with bishops of opposite colour:

image The book is formatted for electronic readers and can be read on devices of various sizes, from tablets to phones. The free sample includes 3 thoroughly annotated games and the full book comes with dozens of training positions to help develop a good sense for positions with bishops of opposite colour.

This game has drawn a lot of attention due to the manner in which Carlsen outplayed his opponent.

53. f4  Carlsen wisely advances pawns on the dark squares to restrict Black's bishop - something we'll see very often in these endgames.

53. ... Bd6 54. Re8 Rb7 55. Ra8 Be7 56. Kg2 Rb1


57. e5 Re1 58. Kf2 Rb1 59. Re8 Bf8 60. Rc8 Be7


61. Ra8 Rb2+ 62. Kf3 Rb1 63. Bd5 Re1 64. Kf2 Rd1 65. Re8 Bf8 66. Bc4 Rb1

4 Question: How can White make progress?
Answer: by undermining Black's pawn chain and trying to advance f4-f5-f6, even if that involves some sacrifices.

67. g4

After some manoeuvring, Carlsen begins a major pawn breakthrough that aims against Black bishop and king that have been boxed on the kingside. Due to his active rook Black had his chances, but they were extremely difficult to exploit in the time trouble that Karjakin was in.

67. ... hxg4 68. h5 Rh1

( 68. ... gxh5! 69. f5 h4 70. f6+ Kg6 71. Rxf8
5 71. ... Kf5 White won the bishop, but Black gets enough counterplay due to his active pawns, king and rook. 72. Rh8 Rb2+ 73. Kg1 Rb1+ with a perpetual check. )

69. hxg6 fxg6 70. Re6

6 Temporarily Black has an extra pawn, but his pawns are now vulnerable, and Black's bishop still has no moves.

70. ... Kh6 71. Bd5 Rh2+ 72. Kg3 Rh3+ 73. Kxg4 Rxd3


74. f5

( 74. Be4!? was also possible. )

74. ... Re3 75. Rxg6+ Kh7 76. Bg8+ Kh8


77. Kf4

White's pawns are further advanced and better supported by his pieces.

77. ... Rc3 78. f6 d3 79. Ke3 c4 80. Be6 Kh7 81. Bf5 Rc2

9 The black king is still a vulnerable piece that Carlsen keeps exploiting. Now he utilizes the discovered check to transpose into a winning bishop endgame. His two connected passed pawns will be enough for a win because they are still placed on dark squares and cannot be blocked by the black bishop.

82. Rg2+ Kh6 83. Rxc2 dxc2 84. Bxc2


84. ... Kg5 85. Kd4 Ba3 86. Kxc4 Bb2 87. Kd5 Kf4 88. f7 Ba3 89. e6 Kg5 90. Kc6 Kf6 91. Kd7 Kg7


92. e7  Black resigned, as White inevitably promotes a pawn.  1-0

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