12 Dec 2009


The objective around London seems to be:

Today it is the turn of the US champion from Hawai Hikaru Nakamura.
Have they met? Dunno. Blitz doesn't count.

Carlsen seems to be lucky in draws for White or Black and seems to have more than his fair share of Whites.

D17, Slav it is

Played 250 times in my database. Set Black thinking. 9 mins used up already.
Kasparov played it three times: drew against Tal and Hübner, beat Timman. All replied 6...Bc8, 7.e3 *, as does Nakamura after 10 mins.
So far things continue as in Garry's games against Tal and Hübner.

By retracting move 5...Bf5, and playing 6..Bc8, the LSB frees Black's KS pawns. Not nice to have to 'redo' a move so quickly. White's Knight has to do something else as hanging about on =h4= will not remain productive. Tempo gained? Not sure. Time gained? Definitely. Fits in with Carlsen's throttling technique. Nice One!!

White used 5 mins, Black 23 mins.

This could easily become a 17 move draw, as in Kasparov vs Hübner, unless the new coach has dreamt up a new variation. We can only hope.

10...O-O 11.Re1 was the Hübner game
. Is Carlsen going to deviate?
Bg5, Nf3 and a5 are contenders.

It seems that Carlsen wants to have his Knight keep watch over the LSB-diagonal for a while longer.

11.Re1 *
Oh dear. I feel a draw coming on.

By transposition we are back to Kasparov - Tal, 1988 World Cup, draw in 42 moves.

With move 12.Nf3, Carlsen has called off the dogs, and Black's LSB can now come out and play. Just in time, as he is sorely needed to guard the -d5- square.

13.Qb3 rates a generous half pawn up on Junior 11. Will he play it?
Time has evened out and they both have about 90 mins left.
He does play it and Na6 is the most likely continuation.

It is now turning into a scrap for the possession of the =d5= square. I hope White won't be distracted by the need to grab b7. As soon as the black Knight has gone to =a6, it will have designs on =c7=, also targeting =d5=, so if White wants it, the time is now.
13...Na6 played. 80 mins vs 66 mins.

14.Bd2 shows highest on the engine. Played by Arkell in 1999, vs Gormally in a 15-move draw. Let's hope Carlsen doesn't go there.
Remember those 3 points for a win!!

Good grief! He does. I hope he is not going to start thinking like a machine now. Is all that high-class coaching costing us his intuitive play? Heaven forbid.

So Carlsen wants to keep his options open and allow Black to hang himself.
We seem to have left the drawing line.

15...Bf5 was not the highest rated move, but when I give it to Junior, he says "Yes please", and puts it top. Fickle engine! Black has moved that LSB yet again, now that White has called off one of the defenders of =d5=.

We are out of base now, although I am not sure which move is the Novelty.

Carlsen foregoes the Xchange on =b4= and places his Knight on =e5=. Pity. I would have liked a bit of a clear-out.

Leading to

Back to reality:

16...a5: Black gets his blow in first. Would have been a nice square for White as well. 17.Nc5 -- I must confess to being a little bit lost here. Unless he was afraid of the fork on Nc2 and wanted to be able to mount a counter-attack on =b7=.
Ah, this is looking pretty.

60 mins vs 25 mins

I thought Black might have wanted a stake in the e-file, but he played Qc7 instead.
Well, what do I know.

Black has 20 mins for 20 moves left.

I turn my back for a minute, to fetch some highly needed vittles, and Carlsen plays 20.Qf3??? What for may I ask?. What was wrong with a Rook move here? 20.Rac1 would have done nicely.
I know time is drawing near for Black ( a move a minute required), but isn't it a little early to start throwing spanners in the wheel?

They are both accomplished Blitz players. Though I never rate that highly as a discipline, it does come in handy in normal games. Still, Carlsen knows that this opponent is not going to be phased by shortage of time. Seems strange that he would still risk iffy moves rather than play safe ones.

Kramnik (W) and Adams drew, the others are still playing.

17 vs 5 mins

Black's Knight on =d5= has been a lynch-pin throughout. Clever chap.
Told you Carlsen should have dislodged it when he had the chance on move 13, where again he played Qb3. What is his obsession with placing the Queen there?

Now White has run out of bamboozling tricks: Nakamura is not getting hassled and Carlsen has used up his reserves.
Actually, on reflection, I don't think there was a win there at any stage. It was a well constructed and executed game from both of them.

35.Kg1 is prophylactic and gets out of the way of the Queen should she get a chance to go to =d5= after the white Knight moves.

Well done Nakamura: Carlsen is now in the red as his plan misfired.
I reckon it went pearshaped for Carlsen on move 20.Qf3 rather than getting the a-Rook into action. At the same time Black started to get better and better.

I am off to do better things,as I can't see much beyond a perpetual now.

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